OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Republican legislative majority both got more good news ahead of what will be a hard-fought midterm election in a few months.
According to state records, out of around 1 million new registered voters in the Sunshine State between October 2018 and July 2022, less than 18,000 of them identified as Democrats.
Meanwhile, more than a half-million new registrants during the same period have identified as Republicans, giving the GOP a substantial lead.
“The 2022 numbers show the state with 5,191,018 Republicans,” The Western Journal reported. “That means from the 2018 election until this summer, the Florida GOP added 509,420 people. That is an increase of roughly 10 percent.”
Conversely, during the same period, “Democratic Party enrollment rose from 4,962,064 to 4,944,867 — which is an increase of only 17,197 people,” the outlet added.
Christian Ziegler, vice chairman of the Florida GOP, said regarding the large increase in registered Republicans: “The biggest number in Florida Politics that no one is talking about: 17,197. While Florida has added 1,037,685 net new voters since [Ron DeSantis’] 2018 Victory, the Democrat Party only managed to convince 17,197 of them to register as a Democrat.”
“Governor DeSantis is delivering on the important issues, our Florida GOP County leaders are executing on the ground and voters in every corner of our state are resonating with our record while showcasing a historic rejection of the Democrat Party,” he added, according to Florida’s Voice.
“And while the data is great, we cannot afford to let up at this point,” he said, adding, “The Florida GOP is committed to the fight and we will not take our foot off of the gas until Governor DeSantis achieves victory, freedom in Florida is protected for generations to come and the Democrat Party is extinct in our state.”
Other state Republicans commented on the remarkable gains the party has made in Florida in the age of DeSantis, including some who said Democrats were not offering residents much in terms of favored policies.
“The symptoms currently plaguing the Democrat Party in Florida point back to the virus that is the failed leadership in Washington DC and the disastrous extreme anti-American values leading the state and local Democrats further away from their constituents,” Lee County GOP Chairman Jonathan Martin said.
“Their entire platform is to be against whatever Ron DeSantis does, but they’re never telling the voters what they’re for, what they have to offer, and what they can do better,” state Rep. Spencer Roach added.
A RealClearPolitics average of polling has DeSantis comfortably ahead of his Democratic challenger, Rep. Charlie Crist, a former GOP governor of the state, by around 4.8 points.
The state of Florida has long been considered to be a battleground state for elections. But in recent years, the state has not only gotten more conservative, but Republicans have grown stronger in the Sunshine State.
Recent voter registration data showed that there are 5,142,002 registered Republicans in the state of Florida in 2022.
By comparison, there are 5,007,590 Democrats registered in the state.
This means that there are now 134,412 more registered Republicans in the state than Democrats.
Steve Schale, a longtime Florida Democratic strategist, is telling Democrats that they could be in huge trouble going forward.
“Without a full-frontal, professional and accountable partisan effort to turn it around, sometime before the end of this year, there will be more Republicans registered in Florida than Democrats,” Schale wrote on his blog.
“That has NEVER happened before. And, given their voters have higher turnout scores — this isn’t a great place to start,” he added.
Republicans are also aware of their massive gains, and they do not plan to slow down.
“In a state like Florida, when you consider that you get 1,000 new residents a day, you really can’t stop. You have to keep going, and you have to keep engaging,” said Helen Aguirre Ferré, Republican Party of Florida’s executive director.
Another party leader was even blunter.
“We are going to flip Florida and we’re going to make Florida red permanently,” said Florida GOP State Chair Sen. Joe Gruters.