Democrat operatives are continually showing signs that they feel they cannot win in Florida in the 2022 gubernatorial election observing that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis seems “unstoppable.” A recent report from German-owned Politico showed that Democrats in Florida and Washington, D.C. are not feeling confident, the latter determining how many resources will be sent to the Sunshine State to attempt to unseat Republican Gov. DeSantis.
“It is becoming serious [for Democrats],” said Alex Berrios, Palm Beach County regional field director for the then-President Joe Biden campaign. “It’s not unsalvageable, but the situation is becoming critical.”
Another Democrat operative, a consultant in Florida, said that making a pitch to national donors is growing more and more difficult with DeSantis having the momentum in the polls and in total dollar amounts.
“It is getting more difficult to make the Florida case to national donors,” said veteran Democratic consultant Ben Pollara. “The DeSantis thing is kind of a blessing and a curse. He is perceived as really strong ahead of a potential presidential run, which could scare people off, but also some Democrats really want to knock him off before he gets to that point.”
Despite the presidential rumors, DeSantis has routinely pushed away rumors that he is thinking forward to a 2024 presidential run, calling the rumors “nonsense” back in September 2021.
However, since DeSantis’ national popularity has grown from numerous policy wins, he has become a favorite in notable states like New Hampshire and Texas.
While in Florida, DeSantis has shown that he is the candidate to beat based on a recent poll showing DeSantis leading Congressman Charlie Crist (D-FL-13) and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D), the two likely Democrat challengers. The same poll showed DeSantis even beating Biden in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup.
With Biden’s approval numbers being so low, instead of Crist separating himself from the unpopular president, Crist doubled down on his support for the president, saying Biden will go down as “one of the best” presidents in American history.
Additionally, Crist also referred to DeSantis supporters as “toothless” and is just now floating around the idea of bringing back mask mandates in Florida despite nearly the entire country moving on from COVID restrictions.
“I would be open to doing what scientists advise — not political scientists,” Crist said. “Yes. I just read an article this morning. I’m glad you brought it up. So I’m going to the airport right after this. I’m going to Orlando, and I’m going to wear a mask on the plane. You don’t have to anymore, but I’m going to because Florida is experiencing an uptick that began this week. And it’s not even the Omicron B2. It’s a new variant.”
Fried, who has attempted to portray herself as a reliably progressive candidate, even stopped wearing her mask on planes.
Florida Democrats have tried for decades to unseat the Republican majority in the state legislature and in the governor’s mansion but have endured numerous controversies that have labeled them as “broke” and “disorganized.”
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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at The Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “Ron DeSantis” by Ron DeSantis.