Drawn to DeSantis’s ‘fearlessness’ and ‘leadership with a backbone,’ Florida Hispanics choosing GOP

After squandering congressional control through compassionate conservatism, voters are flocking to show their support for a return to Reagan-era “bold colors,” and nowhere has that been more apparent than in the state of Florida where the conviction of Gov. Ron DeSantis has swelled the rolls for one particular demographic enamored by his “leadership with a backbone.”

Looking back to the Sunshine State in 2010, Democrats were blowing Republicans away with a greater than 700,000 voter advantage in registrants while then-Gov. Charlie Crist (who showed himself to be a true-blue liberal after taking a hiatus from politics) was at the helm. With a growing Hispanic population, it was of particular note that while 44.3 percent of new voters in the demographic registered without party affiliation, 37.2 percent were aligning to the left with only 18.5 percent signing on to team GOP.

Now, as Crist seeks to move back into “The People’s House” in Tallahassee challenging incumbent DeSantis as a Democrat in November, the contrast of the RINO-turned-donkey to the stalwart conservative couldn’t be more telling, especially among Hispanics.

“Hispanics really appreciate his strong leadership, his fearlessness, his not backing down,” executive director of the Republican Party of Florida Helen Aguirre Ferré told the Washington Examiner.

“Hispanics really like leadership with a backbone,” she also stated. “They really do recognize that it’s important to have a strong leader, and the governor has a way where he can use the same language and demeanor whether he’s speaking to Wall Street and to Main Street in the same way.”

“That authentic voice makes a big difference,” Aguirre Ferré expressed.

As the outlet pointed out, the oft-considered battleground state won by then-President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election saw then-candidate Joe Biden secure 65 percent of Hispanic support. Nearly two years of seeing the direction he has pushed the country in compared to the almost four years of DeSantis in the state and Aguirre Ferré was pleased to announce the first-ever advantage by 250,000 voters for Republicans in Florida.

“He’s fighting for everyone,” the former director of communications for DeSantis said to the Examiner, “but he has a soft spot in particular for the man on the street, for the blue-collar guy, the person who’s working really hard and sacrificing so much to pull their family ahead. And Hispanics, we’re all about family. We’re all about community. We’re all about faith. And when you look at all of that, that only really thrives if you have freedom.”

The GOP saw an increase in Hispanic voters of 15 percent between August 2020 and August 2022 outperforming their overall increase of five percent in the same period. Those numbers also roughly doubled the percentage increase in total Hispanic registration at 7.8 percent over those two years.

Republican strategist Wes Anderson who worked for Sen. Rick Scott’s (R-FL) 2018 campaign dealing with focus groups and polling explained, “One of the things we found early on was a really sharp rebuke to Democrat racial policy and race theory. The notion we should be teaching our kids that your race is super defining in one way or another is a notion that a really sizable majority, pushing three-quarters of all Hispanics, said in Florida…’Oh, hell no, that’s a horrible idea.’ And DeSantis policies play right into that [sentiment].”

DeSantis has routinely taken the fight directly to the progressives and has been at the forefront of national news of late for increasing the scrutiny of Democratic policies exacerbating the border crisis by transporting a group of illegal aliens to Martha’s Vineyard. Despite numerous parties seeking criminal action against him, the governor pushed right back with another transport sent near Biden’s Rehoboth Beach, Delaware home while slamming Democrats for their selective “freak-out” when the border crisis impacted them directly.

Though Republicans are still at a deficit of Hispanic voters to Democrats matching up with 676,826 to 902,744 the gap has closed considerably just from 2020 when it was 587,552 to 920,324 highlighting the impact that DeSantis’ “what’s good for one group is good for all” policy contrasting the divisive manner in which the left so often targets voting blocs.

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Kevin Haggerty

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