Florida has officially crossed a political threshold.
For the first time in the Sunshine State’s history, Republican registered voters outnumber Democratic registered voters, a development that comes as the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) has said there is little point in trying to unseat increasingly popular GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis next year.
“When I got elected governor we had 280,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans in the state of Florida,” DeSantis told attendees at the National Conference of State Legislatures on Friday.
“Today, and it will probably be fully publicized very soon, for the first time in the history of Florida we have overtaken Democrats. There are more registered Republicans in Florida than Democrats,” he continued.
The governor then made reference to the tight race for governor in New Jersey, where incumbent Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy barely hung on against GOP challenger Jack Ciattarelli, who has yet to concede; DeSantis quipped that if so many Republicans from the Garden State had not moved to Florida, Murphy might have lost.
He went on to say that GOP voters are fleeing blue states where there are heavy COVID-19 restrictions, higher crime rates, overall lawlessness, homelessness, and other societal problems, adding that where they are in charge, Democrats have not governed well.
“Once these areas go deep blue they get destroyed,” DeSantis said. “How many places that are deep blue are well governed in this country? Can you name me some?
“Tell me where you can find this success story of ‘woke progressivism’ imposed on a people,” the governor noted further. “I don’t see it.”
In 2008, the number of registered Democrats outnumbered Republicans by about 700,000; that gap has been cut every year since 2012, the Miami Herald reported. And in September, the Democratic lead was just 24,000 voters.
“The level of enthusiasm in support of registering Republicans is unprecedented, and this is a true milestone moment in Florida’s history,” Helen Aguirre Ferré, executive director of the Republican Party of Florida, said.
Meanwhile, the DGA is not going to expend resources trying to defeat DeSantis next year because the organization has determined that he is currently unbeatable.
“The Democratic Governors Association has no plans to give significant financial help to Florida Democrats as they seek to unseat Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2022, a major setback that will make it harder for challengers to take on the popular Republican,” Politico reported Friday.
Citing a pair of Democratic consultants in contact with the organization, Politico noted further that the DGA is beginning to “deprioritize” Florida after spending $15 million in the state over the past two election cycles, which were much closer than the race is expected to be next year during what will also be midterm elections for President Biden.
“I do think, and I can’t stress this enough, the DGA is playing mostly defense this year, and that’s a monumental change,” Jonathan Ducote, a Democratic consulting vet who has worked with the DGA, told Politico. “When I think about Florida statewide elections, the number one thing you have to ask yourself is do you have the money to communicate in a really expensive state?”
Politico added: “The perception that DeSantis is unbeatable has left national Democratic groups like the DGA to weigh whether they should spend resources in Florida, a hugely expensive state with 10 media markets, or use that cash to help incumbents in cheaper states.”
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