How much trouble do Democrats know they are in with Gov. Ron DeSantis and the governor’s race in Florida? Just how popular is DeSantis?
The Democratic Governors Association (DGA) just gave us all a good indication. They have no plans to put any real money into trying to unseat him in Florida in 2022, according to a new Politico report. Two Florida consultants who are familiar with the DGA strategy told Politico what was happening. The sources said there’s a growing concern that the Democrats can’t win statewide offices in Florida, although the sources didn’t want to go on the record with that.
One of the people who has spoken with the DGA said that DeSantis’ near universal support from the GOP base and $50 million war chest — as well the organization’s focus on incumbents — means Florida is likely to see far less money than past election cycles. There was no dollar figure immediately available.
A second person working with the DGA, who confirmed that the organization is limiting its financial help to Florida Democrats, said he’d be amazed if the DGA invested heavily in the state.
The DGA spent $15 million on the last two governor’s races in Florida and they got bupkis. Democrats haven’t won the governor’s race there in twenty years.
The Democrats are also acknowledging that it may no longer be the “swing state” that it’s been regarded as in the last few presidential elections.
Voter registrations which used to overwhelmingly favor Democrats have now come around. Republicans have finally surpassed Democrats in voter registrations for the first time.
“Today for the first time in the history of Florida we’ve now overtaken Democrats,” DeSantis said at the National Conference of State Legislatures. The governor’s comments were first reported by the Tampa Bay Times.
The latest Florida voter registration numbers available to the public date back to August and show Democrats outnumbering Republicans by fewer than 24,000 voters. Political parties, however, often have more up-to-date figures at the county level.
So now the Democrats are taking what money they have and funneling it to other places where they think they have more of a chance like Massachusetts, Maryland, and Arizona. They’re also concentrating on protecting incumbent governors in Wisconsin and Michigan, rather than trying to take out the immensely popular with the Republican base DeSantis. A DGA staffer said they looked at protecting incumbents first. “DGA does not look at things in a vacuum,” the Democrat staffer said. “We have a lot of races in 2022, and Florida requires, what, $6 to $10 million? That’s a lot.”
That leaves the two Democrats who have already declared to run against DeSantis, former governor Charlie Crist and Agriculture Secretary Nikki Fried, hanging out in the wind and it looks like at least Fried can see a little bit of that writing on the wall, with this interesting take, running away from Joe Biden’s mandate debacle.
Per @fineout in today's @politicofl Playbook:
"Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a Democrat who is challenging DeSantis in next year’s governor’s race, said she did not agree with the Biden administration mandates."
🤔 Interesting. She must know how unpopular it is.
— Christina Pushaw 🐊 (@ChristinaPushaw) November 5, 2021
Meanwhile, DeSantis just keeps ascending on the national field, doing things like taking on Joe Biden with a little “Let’s go, Brandon” humor and offering help for the supply chain problem by offering ports in Florida. He’s going to be tough to beat not only in Florida but in a future national run.