As expected, statewide Democratic candidates fared well in South Florida, where the party dominates voter rolls.
DeSantis ran a largely negative campaign, calling Gillum a socialist and saying he oversaw one of the most corrupt and crime-ridden cities in the state.
From the beginning of his career and his campaign, DeSantis, 40, a former Navy prosecutor and Tea Party congressman from Northeast Florida, has represented a rejection of the establishment and a strict ideology based in small government.
Andrew Gillum, Democratic nominee for governor of Florida, conceded to Republican Ron DeSantis shortly before 11 p.m. on election night. In the weeks leading up to the election, numerous polls had projected Nelson as the likely victor, though the race was competitive leading into Election Day.
More than 5.2 million voters cast ballots ahead of Election Day in the battleground state, and records show that Democrats have a slight edge.
On issues like climate change, which is increasingly important in Florida, Mr DeSantis has said he didn't want to be known as an "alarmist", while Mr Gillum promised to be a governor who "believes in science".
"You should have a governor who can work constructively with the administration in Washington to make sure Florida is getting what it needs", DeSantis said.
"I worked as hard as I could and left everything on the field", DeSantis told the crowd.
"I'm relieved to say that of the two of us, I'm the only one who can credibly say I'm not under investigation by the FBI", DeSantis said of Gillum at an October rally in Coral Springs. I've been voting my whole life.
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Winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy was also fined $3,000 for using his whip nine times before the last 100m. Saftote are offering win, place, exacta and double bets on the four races .
DeSantis quit his job in Congress to focus on the gubernatorial race, a heated affair that largely reflected the broader national tensions over race and class in the Trump era.
"If he doesn't have a photographic memory, it's close", Wiles added. Gillum's campaign asserted that Gillum believed the tickets were reserved for him, but that he thought his brother paid for them.
After his concession speech, supporters hugged one another.
But to win the general, DeSantis needed to do more than have the support of a polarizing president to win over moderates. In contrast, Gillum in part ran on a corporate tax rate hike.
Gillum was favored by polls to win the state, thanks to his strong support from the African American community and young people.
"You've got to have good leadership and you've got to keep taxes low".
Gilllum said he called DeSantis and congratulated him.
Perhaps his earliest backer among state-level politicians was Rep. Jose Oliva of Miami, who is designated to be Florida's House speaker next year.
It was Trump's support, including a July endorsement rally in Tampa, that helped propel DeSantis past a better-funded and more widely known opponent, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, in the August 28 Republican primary.