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2020

Florida Republicans make voter gains in every close congressional district

GOP gains pushed advantage in Rep. Gus Bilirakis’s CD 12 to double digits.

Republicans’ efforts to hold their congressional seats in purple districts and flip any of the Democrats’ congressional seats got across-the-board boosts with the GOP’s dominant voter registration efforts over the past 10 weeks.

Republicans made voter registration gains in every purple congressional district in Florida since July 20, the last time the Florida Division of Elections locked in the vote registration. Those congressional districts that were leaning red got redder. Those leaning blue got more purple.

Of Florida’s 27 congressional districts, there were only 11, after voter registration book closing for the Aug. 18 primary, in which the gaps of voter registration favored one party or the other by less than 10 percentage points.

Any spreads between Republican and Democratic voter registration greater than 10 percentage points usually makes for long-shot bids by challengers from the weaker party. That meant 16 of Florida’s 27 congressional districts were not terribly competitive, if at all.

Now there is one fewer district where the gap is single digits.

Republicans managed to pad their voter registration over Democrats enough in Florida’s 12th Congressional District to push the Republicans’ advantage to 10.6 percentage points. That’s up from the 9.8-point advantage the GOP held in CD 12 after the July 20 book closing. That’s good news for Republican Rep. Gus Bilirakis, who’s facing Democrat Kimberly Walker in that district serving all or parts of Pasco, Pinellas, and Hillsborough counties.

Elsewhere, Republicans strengthened their existing voter registration advantages since the primary to protect the congressional seats held by Reps. Michael Waltz in CD 6, Vern Buchanan in CD 16, and Brian Mast in CD 18, and to boost efforts from Republicans Kat Cammack to win seat CD 3 and Scott Franklin to claim CD 15.

Waltz, facing Democrat Clint Curtis in CD 6, spanning parts or all of Lake, Volusia, Flagler and St. Johns counties, saw Republicans’ voter registration advantage grow to 8.7 percentage points, from the 7.6 Republicans enjoyed there for the August primary.

Buchanan, facing Democratic Rep. Margaret Good for CD 16, spanning part or all of Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota counties, saw the Republican advantage grow to 7.7 percentage points, up from 7.3.

Mast, facing Democrat Pam Keith in CD 18, covering all or parts of St. Lucie, Martin and Palm Beach counties, saw Republicans’ advantage grow to 4.2 percentage points, up from 3.5.

Cammack, facing Democrat Adam Christensen in CD 3, covering much of north-central Florida, saw the Republican advantage grow to 6.5 percentage points, up from 5.8. Incumbent Republican Rep. Ted Yoho is retiring there, opening the seat.

Franklin, facing Democrat Alan Cohn for CD 15, covering parts of Hillsborough, Lake, and Polk counties, saw the Republican advantage grow to 1.5 percentage points. That’s still slim, but nonetheless stronger than the 0.8 percentage point advantage Republicans had there in the last book closing. Franklin defeated incumbent Rep. Ross Spano in the Republican primary.

At the same time, Republicans improved their chances in four somewhat purple districts held by Democrats. They cut the Democratic voter advantage in CD 7 held by Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy, CD 13 held by Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist, CD 26 held by Democratic Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, and CD 27, held by Democratic Rep. Donna Shalala.

The latter two Miami-based districts were where Republicans made the strongest gains, as they had overwhelmed Democrats in voter registration efforts in Miami-Dade County since July 20.

Mucarsel-Powell, who is facing Republican Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez in CD 26, saw her voter registration advantage trimmed to 2.5 percentage points, from 4.4.

Shalala, who is facing Republican Maria Elvira Salazar in CD 27, saw her advantage trimmed to 3.6 percentage points, from 4.8.

Christ, who is facing Republican Anna Paulina Luna in CD 13 in Pinellas County, saw Democrats’ advantage there trimmed to 4.6 percentage points, from 5.2.

Murphy, who is battling Republican Leo Valentin, saw a much smaller reduction in her voter registration advantage in CD 7, covering Seminole County and parts of Orange County. Still, Democrats’ voter registration advantage dipped to an even 5 percentage points, from 5.1 in the last book closing.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Palmer Tom

    October 15, 2020 at 11:49 pm

    That would be significant if it weren’t for a ton of NPAs

  2. Sonja Fitch

    October 16, 2020 at 7:11 am

    The Independents shall decide who shall provide the best for the common good! There are no Republicans! There are only goptrump cult sociopaths! Seems the remains of the real conservatives Republicans will vote Democrat ! Vote Democrat up and down ballot for the common good!

  3. Dan Lanske

    October 16, 2020 at 7:30 am

    lol sonja fitch is but hurt again

  4. James Robert Miles

    October 16, 2020 at 10:29 am

    Dan Lanske, your butt is about to be mowed on November 3! Better start wearing iron pants poor boy!

  5. GD

    October 16, 2020 at 2:59 pm

    Good luck with that as old people, women NPAs and youth are going to be voting in record numbers totally tired of repubs and their lies.

  6. Ron Ogden

    October 16, 2020 at 3:05 pm

    “Christ, who is facing Republican Anna Paulina Luna in CD 13 in Pinellas County, saw Democrats’ advantage there trimmed to 4.6 percentage points, from 5.2.”

    While reporter Powers may consider Charlie to be his personal savior, the man’s name is “Crist” and to typo him “Christ” is blasphemous, let alone sophomoric.

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