Florida’s Republican Party is close to catching Florida’s Democrats in terms of voter registration. The Democrat Party of Florida once held a 700,000-voter registration advantage, and now only holds approximately a 23,000-voter advantage.
According to POLITICO Florida, Florida’s Democrats have known about it for years, but little could be done to maintain their once large margin.
“We are starting to hit our stride and hopefully continue for us,” said Florida Democratic Chair Manny Diaz after registering 20,000 new Democratic voters so far in September. “I can’t speak to the past, it is awful what has occurred from 2012 through today. We are trying to reverse that, but that does not happen overnight.”
Diaz noted that blue counties in Florida are cleaning voter rolls quicker than GOP counties, which removes large numbers of voters from active voter rolls. Simultaneously, as Democrats emphasize their registration efforts while GOP counties clean their rolls, Democrats feel more comfortable about regaining some of their lead. However, the need for a real voter drive is needed, according to Democratic officials.
“The last time Florida Democrats had a sustained, year-round, fully funded partisan voter registration effort was 2012, and well, we’ve seen how well not having one works,” said Steve Schale, a Democratic operative. “If we do literally one thing … over the next 3-4 years, it would be to invest in a real, professional, partisan voter registration efforts.”
After Democrats’ continued struggles in the 2018 election, which led to the election of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), his Democratic competitor, former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum subsequently announced a voter registration effort in 2019 with the initial goal of registering one million voters before the 2020 election. The desire was to flip Florida blue against then-President Donald J. Trump (R).
The voter registration numbers never came to fruition for Gillum, with POLITICO also headlining an article in late 2019 entitled “Gillum lays claim to 100K new Florida voters, but numbers don’t add up.” Trump ended up winning Florida by a wider margin in 2020, compared to his 2016 victory.
In response to Florida Democrats’ slipping advantage, progressive Florida State Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-47) sounded the alarm.
“It is a huge deal for Florida Democrats, I can’t stress that enough,” said Eskamani. “This is an all-hands-on-deck crisis for those who care about common sense and decency, and those who care about our policies.”
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