The Wall Street Journal: Trump-backed Ron DeSantis wins Florida GOP primary for governor

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Rep. Ron DeSantis won the Republican gubernatorial primary in Florida on Tuesday after he was catapulted from underdog to victor by an endorsement from President Trump.

Enhancing the president’s reputation as a GOP kingmaker, Santis was declared the winner by the Associated Press over Florida agriculture commissioner Adam Putnam, a well-funded Republican backed by the party establishment.

DeSantis, a Navy veteran and member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, now heads into a general election expected to be one of the most hard-fought in the country. Democrats also were choosing their nominee Tuesday, and the Associated Press declared that Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, running from the left, had defeated the favored Rep. Gwen Graham.

The race to succeed term limited Gov. Rick Scott is considered a tossup by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. Florida is closely divided between the parties and was won by Trump in 2016 by less than 2 percentage points. Some Republicans worry the choice of the more conservative DeSantis will make it harder to hold the governor’s mansion than if the nominee had been the more mainstream Putnam.

Meanwhile, Rep. Martha McSally won the Republican Senate primary in Arizona, beating more conservative rivals in another political contest that had evolved into a test of loyalty to Trump. McSally, who was declared the winner by Associated Press over former state senator Kelli Ward and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, was the candidate strongly favored by the GOP establishment in the race to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Jeff Flake.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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