You’ve done the hard part of registering to vote. Now it’s time to figure out what’s on your ballot.
At long last, the 2022 midterm general elections are finally here! On Tuesday, November 8, 34 U.S. Senate seats and all 435 House of Representatives seats will be up for grabs. Thirty six states will be holding gubernatorial elections this year, and all states will see important local races as well.
If you’re a college student, this may be the first election you’ll vote in. You may be feeling overwhelmed with following all of the races, or you may not even be sure of what’s actually on your ballot. Never fear: We’re here to give you an overview of important Florida candidates and races.
U.S. Senate Race
Marco Rubio (REP): Marco Rubio is seeking reelection for his third term in the Senate, having held the position since 2010. He has previously served in the Florida House of Representatives and ran to become the Republican presidential nominee in the 2016 elections. In Congress, Rubio has voted to not impeach former president Donald Trump both times. He has also voted in support of federal legislation that imposes a nationwide 20-week abortion ban. According to Rubio’s website, he supports restoration of the Everglades and helped create the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses. You can read more about his positions here.
Val Demings (DEM): Val Demings currently serves in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Orlando and Orange County. Prior to working in the House, Demings was Orlando’s first female police chief, having worked in law enforcement for nearly three decades. During her time in the House, she was named one of the impeachment managers in the trial against former president Donald Trump. According to Demings’s website, she supports lowering prescription rates, climate change initiatives, and increasing funding for law enforcement departments. You can visit her official campaign website here.
U.S House of Representatives Races
You can find all of the candidates for Florida races in the U.S. House of Representatives using Ballotpedia. To find out which U.S. congressional district you are covered by, you can enter the zip code of where you are registered to vote on the official House of Representatives website.
If you are registered to vote in Alachua County (District 3), you’ll be deciding between the following two candidates:
Kat Cammack (REP): Kat Cammack first won her seat in the 2020 election. Since then, she has voted against the Build Back Better Act (which would later become the Inflation Reduction Act), the Women’s Health Protection Act, the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, and the impeachment resolution for former president Donald Trump. According to her campaign website, Cammack labels herself a “constitutional conservative,” supporting pro-life polities, law enforcement, and 2nd Amendment rights.
Danielle Hawk (DEM): Danielle Hawk has previously worked as a local community organizer, a university administrator, and digital start-up companies. Hawk is interested in furthering reproductive rights, equitable higher education policy, reducing gun violence, and ending voter suppression. You can read her full platform here.
Ron DeSantis (REP): Ron DeSantis is seeking a second term as the Governor of Florida. He previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives. During his first term as governor, DeSantis has attracted national attention for his support of controversial policies and stances, including the Stop WOKE Act, the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, Florida’s 15-week abortion ban, as well as his perceived influence over the state university system and restrictions on academic freedom.You can read more about his time in office here.
Charlie Christ (DEM): Charlie Christ served one term as Florida’s governor, previously representing the Republican Party. He also served in the U.S. House of Representatives and as Florida’s Attorney General. According to Christ’s campaign website, he wants to focus on defending reproductive freedom, expanding voting access, improving water quality, and increasing renewable energy if elected. You can find the full policy breakdown of each issue topic here.
Okay, so what does an attorney general actually do? Though they often receive less media attention, the attorney general is responsible for introducing civil suits on behalf of the state, enforcing regulations, and even proposing legislation. In Florida, the attorney general serves as a cabinet member under the governor, but is elected by the people, rather than being appointed by the governor. Here are the candidates for Florida’s attorney general:
Ashley Moody (REP): Ashley Moody has served as Florida’s Attorney General since 2019. During her tenure, she has opposed legalizing recreational marijuana and advocated against restoring voting rights for former felons. She also took a leading role in the lawsuit which sought to overturn the results of the 2020 election. You can visit her campaign website here.
Aramis Ayala (DEM): In 2016, Aramis Ayala became Florida’s first Black State Attorney, during which she opposed the death penalty and worked to limit gun crimes and domestic violence. According to her campaign website, Ayala will work to defend workers’ rights, crack down on fossil fuels and illegal polluters, and prevent further gun violence.
Phew, that was a lot to cover. And there are still so many local races that will be on your ballot. You can find a list of the candidates for the Florida House and Senate races using the website Ballotpedia. Five judges on Florida’s Supreme Court are also up for a “merit” retention vote. Check out this helpful article to look at their key rulings and policy positions.
If you’d like to view a sample ballot for your county, many Supervisor of Elections websites offer a PDF preview. If you’re voting in Alachua County, you can fill out your information here to view a sample ballot.
A few last-minute reminders: Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Florida on Election Day. To find your correct polling location, you can visit the website of your local Supervisor of Elections. Those voting in Alachua County can add their address here to see where they need to go in order to cast their ballot properly.
Trust us when we say every single vote matters. There are many close races in this year’s midterms—races that have a huge impact on the future of racial justice, climate change, reproductive rights, academic freedom, and so much more.
If you didn’t know already, you heard it from Rowdy first: Voting is the hottest trend in 2022. So get out there and vote.
Simone Liang is an online editorial writer for Rowdy. Sometimes she remembers she studies Political Science at the University of Florida. You can find her on Instagram @simonexliang.