OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Florida under the leadership of a GOP-led legislature and Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to trend red while at the same time shedding its previous reputation as a “battleground” state.
According to a Monday report, registered Republican voters now outnumber registered Democrats by more than 200,000, which is a historic advantage given that the latter had dominated voter registration in the Sunshine State for decades.
“Historically, Democrats have held the clear advantage, but the tide began to noticeably turn over the last two years, as Americans sought shelter from ongoing coronavirus restrictions and vaccine mandates, thrusting the Sunshine State into the spotlight,” Breitbart News reported, adding:
Unlike blue states, DeSantis refused to implement a mask mandate and reopened schools and businesses early on, emphasizing the need for Americans to make their own decisions. That approach continued as President Biden and Democrats attempted to force vaccines on the American people. All the while, DeSantis and Florida Republicans adamantly opposed such mandates and fought against them. And at the end of 2021, Republicans officially overtook Democrats in terms of voter registration in Florida.
Republican voter registrations surpassed Democrats last year in a historic first and the party’s been steadily increasing its advantage since.
“When I got elected governor, we had 280,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said during a press conference in Seminole in November 2021.
“Today, and it will probably be fully publicized very soon, today for the first time in the history of Florida, we’ve now overtaken Democrats. There are more registered Republicans in Florida than Democrats,” he added.
According to DeSantis’s campaign, the GOP has beaten Democrats in new registrants for 23 months in a row, “as well as amongst voters who have switched parties and become Republican.”
“Democrats are falling in line with Joe Biden’s policies that are making Americans’ lives harder and more expensive, but Governor DeSantis is standing in their way, making Florida the firewall for freedom,” Lindsey Curnutte, a spokesperson for his campaign, said in a statement.
“It’s no surprise Republican voter registrations are growing at this impressive rate. Simply put, we will prove Florida is a red state in November,” she added.
“The more blue an area is, the worse it’s governed. I mean it’s just a disaster what we’ve seen,” DeSantis told Breitbart News during an exclusive interview last year after signing an “anti-riot” bill. “It’s always been the case kind of in my lifetime, but I think in the last year, it’s been exacerbated between COVID lockdowns and the rioting.”
In recent months, DeSantis signed numerous pieces of legislation aimed at protecting parental rights and shoring up election integrity.
“Twenty years ago, nobody thought Florida was a prime example of how to conduct elections, but we have become a national leader by running the most secure elections in the country,” DeSantis said in April as he signed Senate Bill (SB) 524.
“We need to do more to ensure our elections remain secure. We have ended ballot harvesting, stopped drop boxes and the mass mailing of ballots, and banned Zuckerbucks, and this bill will give us more resources to make sure bad actors are held accountable,” he added.
The legislation “will strengthen election security measures by requiring voter rolls to be annually reviewed and updated, strengthening ID requirements, establishing the Office of Election Crimes and Security to investigate election law violations, and increasing penalties for violations of election laws,” said a statement from the governor’s office.
“Governor DeSantis has made elections integrity a top priority from the very beginning of his administration, taking steps to ensure we invested in our elections systems, strengthened our cyber defenses, modernized equipment, updated voter rolls, and improved transparency, and we’ve seen results,” added Florida Secretary of State, Laurel M. Lee.
“As Florida’s Chief Elections Official, I share Governor DeSantis’ strong commitment to elections integrity. We want to ensure that every Floridian can have confidence that in Florida, we do elections right,” Lee noted further.