Florida GOP has nearly eliminated longstanding voter registration gap with Democrats

Florida has been turning toward the right for years, and recent trends in voter registration do not show signs of improvement for Democrats.

Republicans are on the brink of having more registered voters in the Sunshine State than Democrats for the first time in modern political history, Politico reported.

GOP overtakes Dems

There were once 700,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans, as recently as 2008, when former President Barack Obama won the state. That advantage has narrowed to just 23,055 at the end of August 2021. Only eight months ago, the number was 100,000.

Democrats have been wary of the trend for years, but their efforts to reverse it have not worked, Politico noted. They have no illusions about their position, with Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-FL) calling it a “crisis.”

“It is a huge deal for Florida Democrats, I can’t stress that enough,” Eskamani said. “This is an all-hands-on-deck crisis for those who care about common sense and decency, and those who care about our policies.”

The leader of the Florida Democrats, Manny Diaz, pointed to “years of neglect,” but he projected confidence that Democrats will maintain the gap. A push in September has already yielded 20,000 new voters.

“We are starting to hit our stride and hopefully continue for us,” he said. “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.”

A losing proposition?

Former President Donald Trump carried Florida, a bellwether, in both the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, and the party has controlled the governorship and state legislature for over two decades.

The voter registration shift is the latest trend that has many questioning if Florida is still a “swing” state, as some Democratic donors begin to see battlegrounds like Georgia and Arizona as more worthwhile targets for their money, The Hill reported.

“The last election showed that we don’t need to rely on Florida or Ohio — that the map has kind of changed,” one donor said.

But Republicans are not waiting to press the advantage further in Florida. In a July conference call, Republican Party of Florida Chair Joe Gruters, who is also a state senator, said that Republicans were within striking distance of flipping Florida red “permanently” before the 2022 midterm elections.

“We are just over 60,000 voters away from flipping Florida red permanently,” Gruters said. “And we need all-hands-on-deck to push us over by year-end.”

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