Republicans win in traditionally democratic counties across Florida

Reporter: Gail Levy Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
Gov. Ron DeSantis victory party in Miami-Dade County. (Credit: WINK News)

Florida Democrats lost out to their Republican opponents at the polls on Election Day. Major flips came from historically democratic counties like Palm Beach and Miami-Dade.

The swing poses the question; are Democrats done for in Florida?

One of the things that led to the change in representation was the Republican base voted in big numbers.

Many Latino voters also voted red, and so did an increasing number of African Americans.

One political expert said registered Democrats didn’t buy what Charlie Crist was selling;
social issues over the economy.

At Governor Ron DeSantis’ victory speech, he knew he had changed the minds and hearts of many Floridians.

In Miami-Dade alone, he got 80,000 more votes than Democrat Charlie Crist.

“It’s clearly apparent that this election, we will have garnered a significant number of votes from people who may not have voted for me four years ago,” said DeSantis during his victory speech.

WINK News spoke to political expert Kevin Wager about how the election unfolded.

“I think there are some places certainly Miami-Dade County you’ve seen Republican success among Hispanics,” said Wagner.

Miami-Dade wasn’t the only heavily Hispanic county DeSantis flipped. Osceola County, populated by many people from Puerto Rico, also went Republican.

“Republicans are making inroads into democratic areas, and the reverse has not happened. Democrats are not making many inroads into Republican areas. And I think that’s what you’re seeing reflected in the results,” said Wagner.

Four years ago, DeSantis won the governor’s race by just 32,000 votes. This time around, he won by a landslide of more than a million and a half votes.

One Hispanic voter said he sees what happens in democratic states and cities and wants nothing to do with it.

“I think people are tired of all the things that are going on. Particularly northeastern cities, crime wave. It’s ridiculous,” said Edward Lakomy.

DeSantis promises, “We have embraced freedom. We have maintained law and order.” A promise that left voters wanting four more years.

“So increasingly winning elections, it’s just motivating your base to come out and vote. And I think Governor DeSantis was just better at it,” Wagner said.

Wagner said DeSantis, as governor, hammered home his social agenda but, during the campaign, stuck to inflation and President Joe Biden.

Democrats took a big hit in the mid-term election in Florida, but can the party recover?

Political expert Kevin Wagner said the Democrats aren’t dead, but they are on life support.

“I think you can make a pretty good argument that the democratic party is weak in many areas, including results, including an organization including in financial ability to compete,” said Wagner.

Never before have we seen a sweep like DeSantis and Rubio had on Tuesday. Both Republicans blew out their democratic challengers by well over a million votes.

WINK News asked Wagner why when the democratic party nationally fared very well in the midterms.

“The best predictor of who we’re going to vote for was, you know, which party you identified with,” said Wagner.

In Florida, that advantage is with the Republicans. They spent time and money in traditional democratic communities, including Latino and  African American communities.

The GOP had a unified message on the economy and freedom, and it worked.

“The Republican lean of the state has become more pronounced as each, you know, election cycle passes. So while I don’t know that, I’d say it’s, you know, it’s an entirely guaranteed red state. It’s increasingly more red than it was certainly 10 years ago,” said Wagner when asked if Florida is losing its status as a swing state.

If Florida starts to bleed red through and through, it will be hard for any Democrat to win the White House.

“If the nominee is somebody like Governor DeSantis or former President Trump, it’s gonna be hard to see how Democrats are going to be too competitive right now in the state of Florida,” said Wagner.

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