FOCUS ON: FLORIDA

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9 mins read

WHERE THINGS STAND IN FLORIDA TODAY

Unlike many other states in 2018, Florida delivered some terrible blows to Democratic momentum as we lost the Governor’s race and the Senate race by infuriatingly narrow margins.

The news wasn’t all bad, though, as Democrats managed to flip 2 Congressional seats and 2 State House seats.

But in general, Florida retained it stubborn, ever-so-slight red tilt in a year where Democrats flourished elsewhere.

A similar outcome can be expected this year if we don’t put in the work. Luckily, Joe Biden seems to be attracting more white, over-65 voters voters. But data also shows that Joe Biden may be attracting fewer Hispanic voters, particularly from Florida’s large Cuban population.

However the demographics play out, this state may come down to just a handful of votes. Again. 

And that brings us to the 1st of 8 reasons why we need to come out on top this time.

REASON #1 – WIN 29 ELECTORAL VOTES ON ELECTION NIGHT

Want to stop Donald Trump from stealing the election?

Give Joe Biden a decisive win in Florida on Election Night.

If history is any guide, Florida will have the vast majority of its votes counted by the end of November 3rd. 

If we can get Florida called for Joe Biden on Election Night, no amount of huffing, puffing, grandstanding or cheating will re-elect Donald Trump.

He will have no path without it.

An overwhelming win for Joe Biden on election night will nip this election in the bud and help thwart any lame-duck attempts to subvert the results by Trump.

REASON #2 – FLIP THE FLORIDA STATE HOUSE

Florida State Government is controlled entirely by Republicans, and 2020 offers us a chance to break up that control before the vital 2021 redistricting which will see new State Legislative and Congressional maps drawn for the next 10 years.

So it’s important that we flip one or both State Legislative chambers to get a seat at the table.

There are 120 seats in the Florida State House. All 120 seats are up for election in 2020. Democrats would need a net gain of *14* seats in order to take control of the chamber.

Now if 14 seats sounds like a tall order, that’s because it is.

But it’s also doable. Numerous Florida State House seats were lost by just a handful of votes in 2018. 

The districts that are currently deemed most flippable are: 115, 21, 26, 89, 105, 15, 28, 29, 60, 118, 93, 120, 42, 85, and 50.

The districts that are considered most vulnerable are 44, 84, 69, and 72.

You can see a map of Florida’s State House districts here.

REASON #3 – FLIP THE FLORIDA STATE SENATE

There are 40 seats in the Florida State Senate. Only *20* of those seats are up for election in 2020. And Democrats would need a net gain of *4* seats to take control of the chamber.

4 seats might not sound like a lot, but Democrats would need to have a near-perfect election to pull it off, as many experts believe that there are only 4 seats that are potentially flippable. Those seats are in Districts 9, 20, 39, and 25.

The good news is that there are few Democratic-held seats that appear to be vulnerable, although one (District 37) was very close in 2016 and is worth your attention.

You can see a map of Florida’s State Senate districts here.

REASON #4 – BALLOT INITIATIVES

Much of the progress made in Florida over the last few years has been done so via ballot measures, including the 2018 initiative that saw Floridians vote in favor of restoring voting rights to ex-convicts who served their time. Of course it was kneecapped by Ron DeSantis and the Republican State Legislature, but it moved the ball forward.

This year there are several ballot initiatives that require our attention. 

One considers raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2026, others have to do with voting and elections, and still others have to do with taxes.

All should be reviewed carefully in advance of casting your ballot. Pay close attention to the wording so that you can vote appropriately.

REASON #5 – FLIPPING MORE CONGRESSIONAL SEATS

Democrats managed to flip 2 Congressional seats in 2018, and chipped away at Republican leads in several others. And it’s those other seats that Democrats will need to focus on if they want to increase their majority.

Florida’s 15th Congressional District was the closest House race in this state in 2018 where the seat did not flip, but Democrats made gains. The winner, GOP Rep. Ross Spano, soon found himself mired in scandal and ended up losing his 2020 primary. The stench of his ethics woes could make this seat even more ripe for the flipping than usual. The Democratic candidate is Alan Cohn, and he needs our support.

Democrats also made gains in 2 other seats in 2018, and each have candidates who could flip these seats in 2020 under the right conditions.

Florida’s 16th Congressional DistrictMargaret Good

Florida’s 18th Congressional DistrictPam Keith

REASON #6 – DEFENDING VULNERABLE HOUSE SEATS

Florida’s 26th Congressional District has a long Republican history, and in 2018 Democrat Debbie Murcasel-Powell flipped this seat by just a few thousand votes. This is one of the most vulnerable Democratic-held House seats in the country (not just Florida) and we must defend it by re-electing Debbie. 

Similarly, Florida’s 27th Congressional District also has a long Republican history, and in 2018 Democrat Donna Shalala flipped this seat. It’s not considered as vulnerable as the 26th, but we have to remain vigilant just the same and re-elect Donna by as wide a margin as possible.

REASON #7 – MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS

There are important municipal elections for positions like Commissioners, Mayors, Sheriffs, Clerks and more in the following areas:

Jacksonville

Hillsborough County

Miami-Dade County

Orange County

Pinellas County

REASON #8 – FLORIDA COURT RETENTION ELECTIONS

There is 1 Florida State Supreme Court retention election and 25 Court of Appeal retention elections (split among 5 districts).

Unfortunately if a Justice is not retained their replacement would be appointed by Ron DeSantis, so there is no way to remove any Republican-selected judges. But these elections are an important reminder that the Executive and Judiciary are inexorably tied together in most states, and if anyone wants to start changing the right-lean of the Florida courts, focus on the 2022 Gubernatorial election.

Thank you for taking the time to read about why Florida is so important this year.

Keep in mind that these are not the only reasons to Focus on Florida in 2020. There are a number of other local elections worth your time and attention as well.

If you’d like to help Focus on Florida, please sign up HERE for the DemCast “Focus14” Florida effort.

And for more analysis, follow me at @trumpstaxes on Twitter.


DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.


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