Express Lane: Some context on Democrats 20 + years of futility in Florida; Crist headed to Lee County tomorrow

Florida has for twenty years been a red state even if elections of US Senate and President indicated it was purplish. At the state level, Democrats were last competitive in the late 1990’s.

Here are some real eye-popping stats:

  • Since 2000, the GOP has won 20 of 22 races for Governor or Cabinet.
  • Florida is the only state east of the Mississippi that has not had a Democratic governor since 2000.
  • Florida Democrats have never had above 48 seats in the 120 seat State House since 1998.
  • Florida Democrats have never had above 17 seats in the 40 seat State Senate since 1996.
  • Florida Democrats have not had control or a split in the state’s US House delegation since 1989, the longest such stretch in any state east of the Mississippi, or south of the Mason-Dixon line.

So it can be argued what appears to be happening here since 2016 is the top-of-the-ticket catching up with the rest of the ballot.

With this in mind Val Demings tries to buck the trend, and she has her one statewide debate with Marco Rubio tonight.

Democrats in Florida are now even more exposed with the lack of national investment and interest, the first time Florida hasn’t been targeted in either a midterm or presidential cycle (including highly-contested Senate elections)by national Democrats in some form since 1984! Still Demings has done well at attracting interest, money and earned media. But in the statewide cabinet and governor’s race, Democrats appear more exposed and less than ever.

Barring a minor miracle in the next three weeks, the above statistics are going to get even worse and the situation seemingly more hopeless.

Charlie Crist is headed to Lee County tomorrow. Ravaged by Ian, but still the state’s eight most populated county, Democrats cannot win Florida without a significant improvement in performance in the Fort Myers area. Appearing with Governor Crist will be Fort Myers Councilwoman Teresa Watkins Brown and Howard Sapp, the Democratic nominee in Florida House District 78. In October 2020, Jill Biden visited Lee County, the first real high-level visit from a Democrat to Fort Myers during the home stretch of a fall campaign in over a decade. It’s good to see the Democrats taking Lee seriously again.

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