It's a matchup that no one expected.
In Florida, progressive Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum pulled off a stunning upset in the Democratic primary for Florida governor. "It's very clear that Mr. DeSantis is taking a page directly from the campaign manual of Donald Trump", Andrew Gillum said on Fox News on Wednesday afternoon, hours after DeSantis made the monkey comment on the same cable news network.
Both nominees won by activating their base.
The governor's race, in a state sure to be a battleground in the 2020 presidential election, will essentially be a referendum on Trump.
Andrew Gillum seized the Democratic nomination for governor of Florida despite being third in the polls just a week ago and outspent by tens of millions of dollars.
Florida, Florida Florida - the governor's race just became the hottest race to watch this fall. Gillum is African-American.
As the only non-millionaire in the Democratic Party, Andrew Gillum stressed his upbringing.
In Orange, Gillum was behind Graham in mail-in voting, which began in late July, but pulled ahead of her in early voting beginning August 16 and outpolled her on election day nearly 2 to 1. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and the "democratic socialist" bloc. Gillum asked the crowd after his improbable victory.
During this year's campaign he spoke often of his working-class roots and being the fifth of seven children born in Miami to a father who was a construction worker and a mother who drove school buses.
That Republican dog whistle is more like a megaphone lately. "Especially growing up for them in the age of Donald Trump".
"Some worry that we are beyond a point in American politics where you can come to the middle", said Susan MacManus, a political analyst and retired political science professor at the University of South Florida.
With algae blooms devastating waterfront communities on both coasts, DeSantis hammered Putnam for being too closely tied to the sugar industry, which is regularly blamed for contributing to excess nutrient levels that fuel algae growth. DeSantis became the favorite in the race even though the Iraq war veteran is fairly new to Florida's political scene.
The president flew to Tampa on July 31 - Putnam's birthday - to tout DeSantis during a rally at the Florida State Fairgrounds.
President Donald Trump is giving his "total and complete Endorsement!" to Arizona's Republican Senate candidate, Martha McSally. They've only been running against each other for about 12 hrs in Florida.
But Gillum faces challenges of his own.
Florida's two major parties are now looking to their most fervent supporters - progressive Democrats and Republican conservatives - for victory in November.
The questions about the FBI investigation aren't likely to go away. Though Gillum has not personally been named in any subpoenas, it will be easy for his detractors to smear him with a broad brush as caught up in a murky corruption probe.
Putnam had always been considered the favorite to win the GOP primary with state party backing and big donations from the biggest corporate entities in the state, including supermarket chain Publix, U.S. Sugar, Florida Power & Light and Disney.