‘Five Alarm Fire’: Democrats Panic as GOP Nearly Erases Voter Registration Advantage in Florida

MIAMI, FLORIDA - JANUARY 09: Newly sworn-in Gov. Ron DeSantis attends an event at the Freedom Tower where he named Barbara Lagoa to the Florida Supreme Court on January 09, 2019 in Miami, Florida. Mr. DeSantis was sworn in yesterday as the 46th governor of the state of Florida.(Photo by …
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Florida Republicans have turned the state red by nearly overcoming Democrat’s voter registration advantage Friday.

In 2008, when former President Obama won Florida, Democrats’ voter registration lead over Republicans was 700,000. Fast forward to the beginning of 2021, Democrats’ lead shrank by 600,000 to 100,000. But on Friday, “that advantage has further narrowed to 23,055 over the past eight months,” according to numbers reported in August.

“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,” Florida Democratic Party Chair Manny Diaz told Politico. Diaz admitted Democrats have reduced Florida’s registration roles by “years of neglect.”

Florida state Rep. Anna Eskamani (D) from Orlando also told Politico the registration race is a “crisis” for Democrats.

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

Republican Party of Florida Chair and State Sen. Joe Gruters said on an internal July conference call” his operation to flip the state red is almost complete. To complete the task, Gruters has hired a “an outside firm to work with local party chair’s with the explicit goal of overtaking Democratic registration advantages by the end of the year.”

“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.”

Along with the Republicans’ voter registration success, the Florida GOP has controlled the Florida state legislature and governorship for 22 years since 1999. But the lopsided control has not yielded many of the grassroots’ priorities, such as limiting abortions, banning private and public vaccine and mask mandates, and passing E-Verify, a federal electronic system to check the immigration status of new workers.

Just after Texas’s heartbeat bill went into law in September, for example, Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R) would not commit to taking up a similar heartbeat bill. In 2019, however, Rep. Mike Hill (R) and Sen. Dennis Baxley (R) filed heartbeat measures were defeated because of what Hill determined as “criticism from fellow Republicans.”

Regarding E-Verify, the Republican controlled legislature in 2020 “fell short of DeSantis’ 2018 campaign promise” and did not support “all public employers — such as local school districts, public universities and state agencies as well as their private contractors — to use E-Verify,” which has left loopholes for illegal immigrants to steal jobs from legal residents.

With the next legislative session gaveling in on January 11, it remains to be seen if Florida House Speaker Sprowls will act on his mandate.

Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø 

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