The Note: A Sanders vs. Trump matchup for Florida governor

Remember when Donald Trump challenged Bernie Sanders to a debate?

The TAKE with Rick Klein

Remember when Donald Trump challenged Bernie Sanders to a debate?

Whatever 2020 brings, a version of that matchup is becoming a major storyline in 2018. Andrew Gillum's upset in the Florida Democratic primary for governor means Sanders' candidate will face Trump's in the biggest and perhaps most important battleground in the nation.

Gillum and the GOP nominee, Ron DeSantis, are both 39 years old. For all their attributes and flaws, it's hard to imagine a clearer choice for Florida than the African-American Tallahassee mayor vs. the fiery congressman from 60 miles down the coast.

Both Florida and neighboring Georgia will host high-profile governors' races with black Democrats taking on Trump-endorsed white candidates.

While the attention will turn to control of Congress, we may yet learn more about the temperature of the nation from a handful of gubernatorial contests.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

In most of the country, the battle lines are now drawn for November, with the last major primary night now in the rearview mirror.

Overall, Republican primaries this summer seemed like an extreme version of what they always are: a pitch to the far corners of the party.

The question now: Will there be a lurch to the middle?

I asked Maria Elvira Salazar -- the projected Republican nominee in Florida's 27th Congressional District, a closely-watched, open race south of Miami – if she wanted President Trump to campaign with her in the general election.

She hadn't mentioned his name all night as she claimed her win -- and her Republican predecessor, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, marveled at her independence.

Salazar fumbled, hedged and sidestepped the question, recognizing the potential liability in this area Hillary Clinton won in 2016.

In Arizona, after securing her win in that state's Republican gubernatorial primary, Rep. Martha McSally pivoted hard toward a controversial Arizona moderate: Sen. John McCain.

Speaking to her election-night supporters – and presumably to independents in Arizona – McSally talked admiringly about McCain's mentorship and guidance.

The TIP with Lissette Rodriguez

Florida's newly-minted Democratic candidate for governor, Andrew Gillum, has pursued a strategy some in his own party have had issues taking on: talking about something other than Donald Trump.

"The way that we're going to win is by giving voters a reason to go out and vote for something and not just against," the Tallahassee mayor said during a July debate against his four primary competitors.

His strategy paid off with an upset win over the establishment favorite, former Rep. Gwen Graham, and three other formidable and wealthy candidates.

Gillum, along with his GOP counterpart, Rep. Ron DeSantis of Jacksonville, spurred record-setting primary turnout with a combined 3.1 million voters going to the polls, 48.1 percent of them Democrats and 51.9 percent Republicans. The previous primary record was set in 2002 when 2.6 million Floridians voted.

The Florida Democratic Party took note and is now holding a "Winning Ticket" unity rally in Orlando this Friday. The rally will feature Gillum along with his primary challengers and a number of other top state Democrats. More important, the rally will feature Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, who some say is running a lackluster campaign against Gov. Rick Scott in the highly contested Senate race.

Nelson's team is likely hoping he can catch some of Gillum's fire.

Following his victory, Nelson released a statement saying Gillum's win was "historic" for Florida. "It's clear that voters across the state are engaged in this election, reflecting the enthusiasm we've seen around the country. The stakes could not be higher," Nelson said.


  • The late Sen. John McCain lies in state at the Arizona State Capitol. The public is invited to pay their respects starting at 2 p.m.
  • President Trump announces a grant for a drug-free communities program at 2:30 p.m.
  • The president and the first lady attend a White House Historical Association reception at 6:45 p.m.

    "Whoever thought this was possible?" — Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum to supporters at his upset victory party in Tallahassee on Tuesday night.


    ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Wednesday morning's episode features ABC News Deputy Political Director MaryAlice Parks reporting from Florida on the surprising results in the gubernatorial primary. And, ABC News Chief Global Affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz has the latest on talks between the US and North Korea.

    ABC News' "Powerhouse Politics" Podcast. ABC News' Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl and Political Director Rick Klein interview Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana on Wednesday's episode.


    Trumpism, progressivism triumph in Tuesday's primaries as key November races take shape. Primary season is winding down after voters in Florida, Arizona and Oklahoma settled intra-party sparring Tuesday night, sending nominees from key races up and down the ballot on to the general election. (Kendall Karson and John Verhovek)

    Following primary, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema could prove tough competitor for Arizona's moderates. The general election in Arizona is marked by a somber start, with the primary victors -- Democrat Rep. Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Rep. Martha McSally -- temporarily suspending her campaign and not scheduling any campaign events, respectively, to observe the memorial services for Sen. John McCain. (Meghan Keneally, Adam Kelsey and Kendall Karson)

    In upset, Andrew Gillum wins Democratic nomination to face Trump-backed Ron DeSantis in Florida governor race. Gillum, a 39-year old African-American boasting a progressive agenda along the lines of Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Independent, edged out frontrunner Gwen Graham in a crowded five-way primary for the historic win. (Lissette Rodriguez and Kendall Karson)

    Parkland mom who lost daughter wins seat on county school board. In Broward County, Florida, the site of February's massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school, Lori Alhadeff, whose 14-year-old daughter Alyssa Alhadeff was among the victims, won a seat on the county's school board in a landslide Tuesday night. (Kendall Karson)

    Donna Shalala, former Clinton Cabinet member, wins Democratic nomination in Florida. "It took me a while to answer the question of why do I want to do this, but as I got angrier and angrier at Washington, I said: ‘Donna, you've got to step up again and serve your community'," Shalala told ABC News in March, when she announced her campaign. (Cheyenne Haslett)

    ICYMI: ABC News' live updates on the night of primary coverage. From progressive candidate Andrew Gillum's upset win in Florida to the results of an all-female ticket in the Arizona Senate race, see how the night unfolded. (John Verhovek, Kendall Karson, Adam Kelsey and Cheyenne Haslett)

    Cries to build the wall are more than campaign chants for Arizonans. Border security and immigration reform amount to much more than just a campaign issue for people who live in Arizona, which held its primary election Tuesday for Sen. Jeff Flake's seat. (Meghan Keneally)

    Graham's support for Sessions wanes as McConnell says he has 'total confidence in the attorney general.' As the rift between Trump and Sessions continues to grow, Republican Sen. Graham on Tuesday appeared to suggest that their problems are "deeper" than Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the Justice Department's investigation of Russia's interference in the 2016 election. (Mariam Khan)

    Trump claims Google 'rigged' searches against him but company denies it. Trump's attack on Google is just his latest foray into championing recent grievances issued by conservative media figures who have accused tech companies of unfairly targeting conservative voices. (Karma Allen, Alexander Mallin and Meridith McGraw)

    Mattis says no decision yet on suspending more South Korea exercises. As talks with North Korea have stalled, Defense Secretary James Mattis said no decisions have been made yet as to whether the United States will resume large-scale military exercises with South Korea next year. (Luis Martinez)

    The Russia probe: A timeline from Moscow to Mueller. This exhaustive timeline is based on publicly-released FBI documents, congressional records and testimony, court filings, and certain media reports confirmed to ABC News by sources with knowledge of the matter. It will be updated as new information becomes available. (Mike Levine)

    Lover or cover? Maria Butina and the romance at the heart of an alleged Russian influence operation. Federal prosecutors say Butina, a 29-year-old Russian gun-rights activist, ensnared Erickson, a 56-year-old conservative political operative, in a "duplicitous relationship," using him for cover and connections as she developed an influence operation designed to "advance the agenda of the Russian Federation." (Pete Madden, Matthew Mosk and Kyra Phillips)

    The Miami Herald breaks down the race that led to the clash of ideologies as conservative, Trump-backed DeSantis faces liberal, Bernie-backed Gillum in November.

    ABC News' friends at FiveThirtyEight took a look at what the polls got right and wrong in their live blog of the primaries last night.

    The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.