For the first time in modern American history last year, registered Republican voters outnumbered Democrats in the critical swing state of Florida.
In 2022, that advantage has continued to swell — and the Electoral College voter-heavy swing state could soon become deep red.
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In Florida, popular Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis enjoys a sizable polling lead into a reelection campaign buoyed by a national profile and a cash reserve unmatched by any Democratic challenger. And Republicans control virtually all of state government.
According to The Daily Caller, there are currently 5,135,749 registered Republicans compared to 4,959,838 registered Democrats in the state — a massive uptick of 82,900 new Republican voters since the 2020 election.
Politico reported that Republicans are set to take a 200,000 registered voter advantage in the Sunshine State by the end of the month.
Democrats have taken notice — and they’re worried.
As of now, Republicans now outnumber Democrats by 165,911 voters in Florida. I’m calling on all voter registration groups to assist me in getting Democratic voters registered. If we are to have a chance, we need voters. Who still believes in the power of our collective votes?
— Allen Ellison Democrat for US Congress Florida (@AllenLEllison) June 27, 2022
Annette Taddeo, a Democratic state senator running for governor, admitted at the Florida DNC’s annual conference in 2021 that there was a clear sense of the difficulties ahead for the party.
“Of course this fight will not be easy, but it’s about so much more than any one of us, and as Florida Democrats, we have lost so many times that donors and pundits have given up on us,” Taddeo said. But, she added, “I believe and I know we can win if we create the coalition of voters that are needed to win in a state where these decisions are made by 1% or less.”
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With the 2022 election approaching, there is a growing worry among Democratic leaders that big donors and the national wing of the party may consider Florida to be GOP territory after years of bruising losses.
“In the current state of American politics, and especially in a state with as many major television markets and population centers, you’re going to need more help,” said state Rep. Evan Jenne, a Democrat. “It’s not as if Floridians can’t be swayed one way or the other. We need more coordination with the national party.”
Florida Republicans are coming off a string of high-profile victories that include Donald Trump’s two presidential campaigns, and have been aggressive in organizing at the local level, especially as DeSantis has gained in popularity due to his leadership over coronavirus lockdowns and mandates.
“We did not dismantle any operations; to the contrary, we continued to build on them,” said Helen Aguirre Ferré, executive director of the state Republican Party. “The power is from the bottom up. It’s not top down, and that continues to be our big commitment.”
Some have noted that there may be hesitance for Democratic donors to pour money into Florida given the party’s track record — most recently in 2020, when Trump carried the state and Republicans gained additional seats in the statehouse and in Congress, despite a $100 million infusion for the Democrats by former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
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“Florida voters are choosing the Republican Party over the Democratic Party because we value freedom and liberty and reject Democrat-led government control. This milestone moment reflects years of hard work, combined with the success of our common-sense conservative policies,” DeSantis said last year in an email.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.