TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Republicans maintained their dominance in Florida on Tuesday, winning a number of key races by comfortable margins.

Florida’s incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis defeated Democrat Charlie Crist by a landslide and was the first Republican in more than two decades to flip populous and diverse Miami-Dade County red, dealing Democrats a major blow.

DeSantis’ cabinet will be all Republican after voters re-elected Attorney General Ashley Moody and Chief Financial Office Jimmy Patronis, and chose Wilton Simpon as Agriculture Commissioner.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio was also re-elected to the U.S. Senate after beating Democratic opponent Val Demings.

Voter registration also put Democrats at a disadvantage. There were 5.3 million registered Republicans and just under 5 million registered Democrats in Florida this year.

“I don’t think anyone was expecting us to run away with this in 2022,” one Florida Democrat told The Hill. “But we also have to acknowledge that there are some deeper issues here. Florida is an extremely populist state. It’s also a conservative state.”

Now the question looming over Democrat’s is whether or not they’ll be able to pick up the pieces after a disappointing series of losses, and whether or not the party has a hero to look to for inspiration.

WFLA’s J.B. Biunno asked former Florida congressman and state representative Jim Davis, a Democrat, who could lead the party and help turn things around. He gave these names.

Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla., center, accompanied by Rep. Tony Cardenas, D-Calif., left, and Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez, D-N.M., right, speaks to members of the media following a meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House in Washington, Monday, April 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Darren Soto

Soto, a Kissimmee Democrat and lawyer who served in the Florida Legislature for a decade, easily won re-election to the U.S. House in Florida’s 9th Congressional District.

He bills himself as a strong advocate for the environment and hurricane relief, having supported a number of legislative plans for disaster relief in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. He has also lobbied the Biden administration to support the I-4 Beyond The Ultimate Project, which would improve traffic flow through the area.

“I think Rep. Soto becomes an important leader, whether it’s Puerto Rican community or the I-4 corridor,” Davis said.

Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., speaks about the climate crisis and the Inflation Reduction Act during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Kathy Castor

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor won a ninth term on Tuesday evening.

With name recognition and a larger campaign war chest, she easily defeated Tampa Republican businessman James Judge, to get the 14th Congressional District seat.

Castor is a leader in Congress on the issues of climate change, “which is going to continue to be a major issue, not just for Democrats, but for Republicans and independents in the country. We’re going to have to work together on that,” Davis said.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida speaks during an event with former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, at Florida International University, Monday, Sept. 12, 2022, in Miami. State Democratic officials and candidates joined with Giffords for events on Monday as she continued her Florida bus tour against gun violence. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Debbie Wasserman Schultz

“Rep. Wasserman Schultz, I think is a key leader in South Florida,” Davis added.

The Democrat won the race for Florida’s 25th Congressional District, defeating Republican Carla Spalding by nearly 16 points. It will be her tenth term.

Wasserman Schultz, a leader on women’s and children’s issues, was once the head of the Democratic National Committee, but resigned in 2016 amid controversy surrounding an email leak that suggested bias against then-presidential candidate Bernie Sanders within the committee.

Grassroots candidates

“I think, ultimately, the best type of support and power comes from the grassroots. It’s people who win school board races tonight, the other races,” Davis said.

Independent voters

“Don’t forget about the independents. They’re one of the fastest growing groups in the state. They go back and forth between parties. I’m guessing tonight, they probably went with the Republican party on the economy,” Davis said. “It’s tough. Governing is hell. Joe Biden has not pulled the country out of the ditch yet from COVID and inflation and problems with energy, and he’s go two more years to do that. But I think a lot of these voters are going to respond to the economy and disillusions, and the next thing up in Florida is property insurance.”