Hello and welcome to Thursday.
The daily rundown — Between Tuesday and Wednesday, the number of Florida coronavirus cases increased by 4,423 (0.5 percent), to 821,123; active hospitalizations held steady at 2,485; deaths rose by 32 (nearly 0.2 percent), to 16,922.
The buildup — In the weeks leading up to Election Day, Florida Democrats built a lead in mail-in votes and said they would break the Republican grip on the nation’s third-largest state this year.
Not in doubt — But all that big talk didn’t dissuade Republicans who saw their work pay off this week with a dominating win at the polls where President Donald Trump won his adopted home state by nearly four points. “We never wavered. We had a plan in place, it was executed, and at no point throughout the day did we think the question was in doubt,” said Susie Wiles, senior Florida adviser for the Trump campaign.
The strategy — Along with frequent campaign and surrogate trips, including at least four from the president himself in the final weeks, Team Trump’s winning formula included a heavy dose of messaging that sought to brand Democrats as socialists and anti-police, a focus on opening the economy despite the coronavirus pandemic, generous spending on a traditional ground game, and the buildout of a coalition that Trump in the past had paid little attention to, according to nearly a dozen Florida Republicans and campaign officials.
The bottom line — As Ryan Tyson, a well-known consultant and pollster put it: “When the dust settles on this campaign, you will find that Donald Trump — whether you like him, love him or hate him — has the most diverse coalition of voters of any Republican ever in Florida. I know that will offend a lot of people on both sides, but the data is pretty clear on this point.”