Joe Henderson: Latest numbers have GOP giddy, Dems worried

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Voter registration trends may soon have Florida as red as a sunburned tourist on Daytona Beach.

Republicans understandably celebrated when, for the first time, their number of registered voters in Florida surpassed Democrats.

But why, you may ask, is that a big deal? Haven’t Florida Republicans mostly cleaned the Dems’ clocks for the last quarter-century or so anyway?

Yes, they have.

Many of the statewide races were close, of course. However, that shouldn’t have happened given the substantial lead in registered voters Democrats held during much of that era. That margin is gone now.

The GOP now has a little more than 4,000 more voters than Democrats, which shouldn’t necessarily send Dems into a fit of desperation. I mean, after all, more than 3.8 million Florida voters have no party affiliation.

Here’s the problem for Democrats, however. The voter edge they once held was a mirage.

Republicans purged thousands of names from the rolls, most of them Democrats, for not voting. Those people remain eligible to vote, but will they?

There also is the matter of Florida’s new voting restrictions, which appear primarily aimed at those likely to lean Democratic.

And then there is this issue:

Republican voters — generally older and more conservative — reliably turn out to cast their ballots. However, too many Democrats get fixated on a single issue. If the candidate doesn’t check all the right boxes, enough Democrats decide voting is not worth the bother.

That Primary system also rewards candidates on the extreme end of issues. An example of that is how progressive voters gave Andrew Gillum the edge over Gwen Graham in the 2018 Democratic Primary.

He attacked her centrist policies, particularly on her support for the Keystone XL pipeline. Graham was blasted for what enough people saw as her tepid support for Obamacare. He won the nomination, but it probably cost Democrats a real chance to win the Governor’s race. Most voters live in the middle.

Instead, Gov. Ron DeSantis won the Governor’s Mansion for Republicans and has since transformed himself into a rising star in his party. Democrats can only fume.

Now, Dems face a DeSantis juggernaut in 2022, and the polls predict more misery for them. Of course, that could change if the omicron virus turns into something serious in Florida. The virus seems to have a mind of its own.

For now, though, Republicans are giddy.

In the U.S. Senate race, Val Demings trails Republican Marco Rubio by 12 points in a Redfield & Wilton Strategies poll. Rubio leads Alan Grayson by 11 points in the same poll.

Florida may soon be as red as a sunburned tourist on Daytona Beach.

So the question begs, can Democrats do anything about it?

I guess we’ll find out in November 2022, just 11 months away.

The clock is running and there’s a clear underdog.

Joe Henderson

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.


7 comments

  • Ron Ogden

    November 29, 2021 at 7:45 pm

    The real story is how many New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New Jersey plates you see. “Happens every November,” the Demos will say, but they know better. There has been a wave rising in Florida for months, and it has not crested yet. “It’s the weather,” said that has been Cuomo. Maybe, but it is also the lower taxes, the greater personal freedom, the educational options, the plenitude of jobs, and the sense of hope for a future that fills the air down here. The Republicans have brought that, and as long as they keep bringing it the Demos are going to have to hope that all the so-called “victims” who are their key constituents will have the energy to vote. They usually don’t. They didn’t last time.

  • ScienceBLVR

    November 29, 2021 at 8:30 pm

    So much doom and gloom. Polls have been known to be wrong, and sometimes people just surprise me. I’m hoping Trump does decide to run..he lost once he’ll lose again. Maybe not in FL, but the level of intelligence is so much higher in other states, he doesn’t stand a chance nationally.

    • Tom

      November 29, 2021 at 8:38 pm

      Biden is making it look
      Like a landslide for 45.
      What a disaster.

    • Impeach Biden

      November 29, 2021 at 8:39 pm

      I have to question people’s intelligence that voted for dumbass Biden and his incompetent sidekick. Virginia was a prelude for what is coming next year.

  • Tom

    November 29, 2021 at 9:33 pm

    Joe, Happy Holidays. If appears you engaged in some real reflection.

    Just to note, the FGOP under America’s Governor built in conjunction with RNC a great voter registration program. Under the Govs direction they targeted “new” residents who have abandoned corrupt Midwest & East coast states. Florida GOP is reaching them.

    To their credit the new residents are supportive of freedom, liberty, jobs, education-schools, environment, Etc.

    America’s Governor has tapped into the thirst for freedom that Americans want.

    This Governor is the real deal. When he set up the 25 Regeneron centers in 20 days,
    That was a military blitz. When he held over 50
    Senior events initially for vaccines last winter, spring that was a military blitz.

    Governor Ron suffers fools gladly, Ask 60 mints. He actually reads the science unlike other elected. He is a whiz kid.

    Joe, you fail to mention the share of African American vote the Gov received from African American moms/women over education scholarships, which was the margin of difference vs Gillium, who was African American. Gov Ron ran on that and delivered a huge increase on the education scholarship median access. They abandoned Gillium.

    DeSantis has a great future. It all starts with his re elect. He would be wise to maintain the old adage, “all politics is local!”

    America’s Governor is making a difference in people’s lives. Governor Ron’s management of the economy is outstanding. Florida is 4.6% unemployment. 12 straight months of job growth. He has a lengthy record to offer.

    Lincoln Org will have it all backfire on them. Like it did in VA. They are corrupt. They can’t harm DeSantis, nor can the Dems.

    Lastly Joe, this incompetent WH made Gov Ron a national leader. Everything they do backfires.
    Ron is America’s Governor thanks to them.

    God Bless he, Casey and his family.

  • Charles

    December 1, 2021 at 8:35 pm

    Jackassery Joey Henderson and his yellow journalism is driving Republicans to the polls. ”
    Congratulations

    By the way what does “nearly” 42 y actually mean. The way you misrepresent and manipulate the truth is that 41 y, 5y, or did you ever work there. I’m confused.

  • Thomas M Ubl

    December 5, 2021 at 12:29 am

    Alan Grayson is suing me in the Orlando 9th Judicial Circuit.

    Alan Grayson is also suing others in the US Middle District.

    If you take the time to look up the cases and following the online documents available to the public you will find a truth that will rise above the white noise and fast media cycles.

    Alan Grayson has committed provable perjury and fraud upon the court.

    Grayson took the bait of me taunting him after my settlement with his legal malpractice insurance company when I beat him on a legal malpractice claim in the Alexandria Circuit. He is a sore loser. I could not just stand by watching what he was doing to the mother of his children and wife of 25 years, Lolita.

    That is correct, wife, not bigamist. The evidence is overwhelming that Alan Grayson had a state of awareness in 1993, with multiple witnesses forthcoming.

    Grayson’s elitist idea of self as a Harvard/Kennedy School Grad and “former” congressman, somehow has him thinking that it is alright to use the court as a political weapon to advance his own gains.

    I am apolitical. Years ago I was a big supporter of Bob Graham. Today, American politics is a polarized mess of two sides of the same coin. I have disassociated myself with partisan anything.

    There is a bombshell coming and if reporting still had a shred of balanced, objectivity, it will find what I am about to provide to the court to be so unimaginable that Hollywood could not have written a better script.

    I love justice and I will continue to stand and fight for her.

    Glory to God.

Comments are closed.


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