Following the key elections for governor and the U.S. Senate, Democrats are growing increasingly afraid that Florida, once the nation’s top swing state, may lose its importance this fall and beyond.
The worry was evident this week at The Villages, a retirement home just north of the Interstate 4 corridor, throughout a golf cart parade of Democrats promoting Senate candidate Val Demings. Once a politically diverse area of the state wherein elections were frequently determined, several Democrats now claim they feel more alone in the area.
Sue Sullivan, 77, lamented the state’s rightward tilt and added, “I am terrified.” “There are very few Democrats around here.”
Demings, a congressman and former chief of police for Orlando who is running against Sen. Marco Rubio, said in an interview that her party’s messaging for the midterm elections isn’t having the desired effect.
“We have to do a better job of telling our stories and clearly demonstrating who’s truly on the side of people who have to go to work every day.” she said.
The discontent is the result of nearly ten years of Republican gains in Florida, where candidates have honed social and economic ideas that are radically conservative to create a kind of coalition that includes rural voters and Latinos, notably Cuban Americans. The victory of Donald Trump here in 2016 marked a turning point after the state twice favored Barack Obama. Trump also won Florida by more than 3 percentage points, a surprising victory in a state where elections were sometimes determined by less than a percentage point, even though he lost the White House in 2020.
To support Democrats, President Joe Biden will travel to the state on November 1, precisely one week before election day. Demings claimed to have spoken with the president twice about running campaigns together, but she was unable to confirm any appearances. On the day of the event, Biden will attend a private fundraiser with Charlie Crist, the Democratic candidate for governor, but he is unsure if they will appear together in public.
In an interview, Crist said: “If we could squeeze in a little public airtime, that’d be a wonderful thing I would welcome.”
The GOP is yet confident that it can keep winning, even in traditional Democratic strongholds. Some Republicans believe they can win Miami-Dade County, a once-impossible scenario that would make it nearly impossible for the Democrats to win statewide elections, including the presidency.
And in Lee County, southwest Florida, a significant Republican bastion, not even a catastrophic hurricane seems to have slowed the GOP’s progress. Republicans and Democrats actually concur in private that Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis may have gained support by virtue of Hurricane Ian. He’ll take part in a debate against Crist on Monday, and he’ll probably emphasize his management of the state during a dire crisis.
More on this story via The Western Journal:
The 44-year-old Republican governor has spent much of his first term focused on sensitive social issues. He’s signed new laws banning abortions at 15 weeks of pregnancy with no exceptions for rape or incest, along with blocking critical race theory and LGBTQ issues from many Florida schools. He has also stripped millions of dollars from a major league baseball team that spoke out against gun violence and led efforts to eliminate Disney’s special tax status for condemning his Parental Rights in Education bill.
DeSantis shipped dozens of Venezuelan immigrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard to call attention to illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Crist, a former congressman and onetime governor himself, acknowledged some voters “dig” DeSantis’ focus on cultural issues. CONTINUE READING…