Donald Trump is projected to win Florida, a major victory for him that will bring him 29 electoral votes closer to winning the presidency. The race for the Sunshine State was called just before 11 p.m. by the AP and Fox News.
The polling in Florida stayed close between the two candidates for most of the race, and narrowed to basically a tie right before Election Day.
The state plays a crucial role for Trump’s path to the 270 electoral votes required for win the White House.
Trump’s victory in Florida was also in the face in what looked like an ominous early voting period for him, as Hispanics and low-propensity voters turned out in significant numbers. Trump, it appears, was able to overcome whatever disadvantages early voting had set up for him with the supporters of his who showed up on Election Day.
Both Trump and Hillary Clinton hosted numerous rallies in Florida, a perennial swing state, in the final days of the campaign. Clinton appeared at an event at Pembroke Pines, in southern Florida, which is home to many Latino voters. The Trump campaign put on a rally in Sarasota Monday. Throughout the primary and general election campaigns, Florida operated as a second home base for Trump, in addition to his New York headquarters. He owns a variety of properties there, including the resort Mar-A-Lago, where he held numerous campaign event.
The Clinton campaign opened an extensive ground game in Florida that included dozens of field offices. Trump, meanwhile, appeared to be reliant on the Republican National Committee staff there, who were working on get-out-the-vote operations for both him and down-ballot candidates.
Trump’s victory comes after a surge of early voting, that many predicted signaled momentum for the Clinton campaign, given the uptick in Latino voters. It’s worth noting, however, that the Latino population in Florida tends to be more conservative than that of other states, due to the presence of Latinos of Cuban descent. The Trump campaign courted older Cubans — who tend be more conservative than their younger counterparts — aggressively.
Florida is also home to a significant population of older white voters, another important demographic for Trump’s base.