Uber lost big to ride-hailing service Lyft in a Florida election that will reshape how the world uses cars.
The ride-sharing service had already lost the presidential race, and the Republican victory in the Florida Senate election will add another obstacle for Uber and Lyft.
The Florida Senate race will have consequences for Uber, which lost to President Donald Trump by about 50,000 votes in November.
Uber lost the seat to Democratic incumbent Senator Bill Nelson.
Nelson had been a Republican for eight years and had made some moves to expand Uber’s operations in the state, like a $3 million contribution to the state Democratic Party and a pledge to support local governments that want to legalize ride-share.
The company, which is based in San Francisco, lost about 3,000 employees in the first three months of the year, which hurt its bottom line.
But it has been profitable and has raised more than $40 billion in funding.
The defeat of Nelson, a moderate Democrat, could open the door for Republicans to take control of the Senate in 2018.
“The Republican Party is going to be looking to expand its base in Florida, which was a blue state that had been in a Democratic wave for a long time,” said Alex Pappas, a former Republican congressional staffer and adviser to Democratic senators.
“And they’re going to have to deal with a lot of challenges in the South Florida corridor, and I think it’s going to bring pressure to bear on the Republicans to address the issues.”
Democrats were not as successful.
Republican Cory Booker of Newark, who was considered a favorite to win the race, fell just short of winning the Republican primary.
Democratic incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida also lost the Republican nomination, with only 19% of the vote.
“It was a close race, but the fact that it’s now over makes it even more difficult for Democrats to compete in the 2018 elections,” said Chris Cox, the director of the University of Florida’s Center for Public Affairs.
“There are still a lot more Republicans than Democrats, and it is going be very difficult for any Democrat to win a seat that has been in the hands of a Republican in this cycle.”
Republican Senator Ron DeSantis of Florida, who won the race by about 2 percentage points over Democratic challenger Mary Ellen O’Connell, said he had hoped that Rubio would not lose.
But in a campaign that has included ads that accused O’Connor of using the state government to enrich herself, Rubio had struggled to connect with voters.
“We had hoped for a stronger race, more people who felt strongly about this issue,” DeSantson said.
“I am disappointed.
The result is a setback for our efforts to pass a $15 minimum wage, to reduce student loan debt, to raise the minimum wage and increase the minimum wages of fast food workers.”
Uber and its drivers, many of whom live in the Bay Area and in nearby cities, have said that the company would keep operating in Florida if elected, but that they are unlikely to work for the Republican Party if they win the election.
“With the Trump administration now firmly entrenched in the Oval Office, Uber will continue to work to advance its mission of enabling safe, reliable and affordable mobility across the country,” the company said in a statement.
“Our drivers are committed to fighting for the rights and livelihoods of all Americans, including those who rely on Uber to make ends meet.”
Republican Party Chairman Cory Gardner of Colorado, who has made Uber a major campaign issue in the race and is widely expected to win, said Democrats are now focused on winning the state Senate race instead of focusing on defeating the president.
“They are looking at the Senate race, they are focused on the Florida seat, and they’re focused on other statewide races,” he said.
Democrats say they will make sure that Republicans cannot get the seat, though.
“This is not the last we’re going do for Florida,” said former state Attorney General Jennifer Granholm, who is running against Rubio.
“Now is not a time for complacency.”