The latest Florida voter registration numbers publicly available date back to August and show registered Democrats outnumbering Republicans by less than 24,000 votes. Political parties, though, have more up-to-date figures at the county level, and Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Friday that the numbers have shifted.
“Today for the first time in the history of Florida we’ve now overtaken Democrats,” DeSantis commented at the National Conference of State Legislatures. The announcement indicates a major turning point in the state; Democrats over the years have shown a significant voter registration over Republicans for years.
In 2008, former President Barack Obama won Florida by roughly 200,000 votes. At the time, there were nearly 700,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans in the Sunshine State. The 2020 election was especially devastating for Florida Democrats as former President Donald Trump won the state a second time by more than 3 percentage points.
Helen Aguirre Ferré, the Republican Party of Florida’s executive director, said on Friday that the governor’s policies have driven people towards the party. She has also said previously that Democratic messaging has pushed voters to Republicans, specifically Latino and Hispanic voters who have concerns about socialism.
“The level of enthusiasm in support of registering Republicans is unprecedented, and this is a true milestone moment in Florida’s history,” Ferré commented.
Two South Florida House seats also flipped to the Republicans in 2018 as voters in Miami-Dade County leaned right. Chair of the Florida Democratic Party, Manny Diaz, has vowed to push the party’s operation for registering voters. But Republicans aren’t showing any signs of backing down as DeSantis recently put $2 million into the state GOP’s voter registration efforts according to Politico.