The Sunshine State, branded proudly as "the free State of Florida" by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, has gone from being a swing state to a solid GOP stronghold. That was plainly clear in the 2022 election in which Gov. DeSantis beat Charlie Crist and sailed to reelection by nearly 20 points, Senator Marco Rubio defeated challenger Val Demings by more than 16 points, and Florida Republicans wiped out a few lone statewide Democrats. Even in long-time blue counties in Florida, Republicans' advantage in the state saw them flip red.
As President Joe Biden's party seems to be increasingly abandoning Florida, just how bad have their losses been? And how significant have GOP gains become? A good place to look at hard data that tells a better picture than lawn signs and boat parades is the Sunshine State's voter registration rolls.
The latest update to the records was made on Monday, and it includes registration data through the end of January.
Between 2018 and January 31, 2023, Florida saw an increase of 1,074,077 registered voters on its rolls, reflecting some of the population growth that Florida has seen as residents of other states take refuge in the Sunshine State. But the changes to party registration show the bigger political shift that's taken place.
In 2018, the year DeSantis won his first statewide election against Democrat Andrew Gillum to become governor, there were 4,975,895 registered Democrats and 4,718,720 registered Republicans — an advantage of 257,175 registered voters for the blue team.
Democrats' advantage continued in 2019 with 4,986,520 registered voters to 4,761,405 registered Republicans — a slightly reduced by still significant +225,115 advantage for Sunshine State Democrats.
2020 saw Democrats continue to hold an albeit shrinking lead of 97,215 in voter registration, with 5,315,954 registered voters to Republicans' 5,218,739 registered voters.
Then, in 2021, the lead switched. Republicans had 5,123,799 registered voters to Democrats' 5,080,697 voters — giving Republicans a +43,102 advantage.
In 2022, Republicans continued to add to their roster, with 5,312,122 registered voters while Democrats dropped below five million registered voters to 4,928,168. That gave Republicans a significant 383,954 lead in voter registrations and saw DeSantis handily secure reelection.
Now, at the start of an off-year, Republicans have 5,299,351 voters to Dems' 4,882,042 — meaning the GOP voter registration advantage has expanded to +417,309.
The Republican voter takeover of Florida means the Sunshine State is no longer one in which Democrats feel a desire to compete, and should set up the 2024 GOP presidential nominee for an easy win of its 30 Electoral College votes. The question now becomes how red can Florida get? Will Democrats attempt to stage a comeback after 2024, or will they turn to focusing on attempts to flip other states such as Texas or try to run up leads in other battleground states?
Whatever Democrats try to accomplish heading into 2024, their strategy has already been faltering, at best, as seen in their attempt to throw out decades of presidential primary tradition that's thrown state parties into crisis as they attempt to work around existing laws, a mess Townhall covered here.