It is becoming increasingly clear Republicans will take back the House of Representatives, albeit by an extremely thin margin. The rumor mill is abuzz with hot takes on how Kevin McCarthy can corral enough votes for Speaker to lead a conference of certain extremists who would love nothing more than to make his life a living hell. Nobody is better at covering this soap opera than Jake Sherman and our friends at Punchbowl News, who have reported that the so-called Freedom Caucus is already preparing a list of demands to essentially hold McCarthy hostage in the days ahead.
But there is a group beyond the far-right Freedom Caucus and the run-of-the-mill moderates who the D.C. media is ignoring and could play a pivotal role in deciding the direction of the Republican Party in the years to come: Florida’s 20-member congressional delegation — who essentially delivered the majority for Republicans.
It has never been a secret that Florida’s GOP congressional delegation lacked the clout in Washington compared to their Republican colleagues at the state level. However, all that changed earlier this year when Gov. Ron DeSantis insisted on redrawing the Legislature’s map to give Republicans a chance at expanding their majority. Fast forward, and that’s precisely what happened with Florida’s red tsunami delivering four pickups for Republicans, making Florida’s GOP delegation the second largest in the country behind Texas.
So I ask: What will Florida do with its newfound political power?
Prior to Tuesday’s election, U.S. Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart, the dean of the delegation, was already hinting Florida would be looking to gain influence for the state — and that was BEFORE the Red Wave turned into a Red Fizzle.
One potential line in the sand for Díaz-Balart and Florida Republicans would be to insist they have representation at the helm of committees or leadership positions.
How is it possible that the state with such Republican muscle does not have a Chair leading any committee in Washington? In fact, Florida has not had a Committee Chair since Rep. Jeff Miller Chaired the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
That argument could be laid to rest if Congressman Vern Buchanan takes the gavel of the powerful Ways & Means Committee. Buchanan, the co-Chair of the entire delegation, is extremely well-respected by his colleagues and spent the final weeks of the election traveling the state raising money for Florida’s four new representatives. Díaz-Balart has previously said the committee Chair for Buchanan “is extremely important to us.”
Regarding leadership positions, Congressman Byron Donalds is pursuing his candidacy for GOP Conference Chair, the No. 3 position in the House. While his bid is viewed as a long shot, with Congresswoman Elise Stefanik the heavy front-runner, could congressional leaders still find a place for Donalds, who is viewed as a rising star in some GOP circles?
And what about Florida’s new Fab-Four? Newly elected Representatives Cory Mills, Laurel Lee, Aaron Bean and Anna Paulina Luna all possess impressive backgrounds and may rebuff the idea of not having a seat at the table to begin their congressional careers.
This is all to say Florida may never again have the political muscle they have at this very moment.
Will they use it?
November 14, 2022 at 12:26 pm
Yeah flex their muscles for the rich but that’s about it. Shovel money to the rich and sabotage government in their favor. Also do phoney investigations in retaliation for real investigations done for good reasons.
Florida is behind the Country
November 14, 2022 at 12:57 pm
Florida has become the new state of corruption. It’s were MAGA verse comes to die. Though they may enjoy victories through cheating and bullying it will not last! Give it a few more elections cycles and Florida will be solid blue
November 14, 2022 at 4:58 pm
Keep dreaming libitardo. The free state of Florida is where old commies are buried deeply and forever. Why don’t you move to NY where you’ll fit in perfectly with the other jungle rats.
Florida will never be free under the GOP
November 14, 2022 at 5:15 pm
No dream Riverman the other guy is right. I have loved in Florida a long time. Its like an extention of GA where they have the good ole boys contriling Government. It isnt FREE they are conrolling you. Are you a bully? Do you condone bully behavior?
Florida is so far behind in education and just basic human rights. The young people are organizing and will get rid of the good ole boy bullies in florida called the GOP.
November 15, 2022 at 10:22 am
Former Liberty Belle Anna Paulina Luna’s “impressive background” is 80% manufactured out of thin air. She’s only slightly more qualified to be a Congressional representative than a goldfish, nor does she have any relevant experience other than speaking stock MAGA phrases, including “Trump won the 2020 election.” I’m curious how the creation of Charlie Kirk and Kevin McCarthy undertakes her duty of representing ALL her constituents as opposed to those who were hoodwinked into voting for her. I’m especially eager to see how she fulfills her campaign promise to “make Pinellas affordable again.” I also wonder how she’ll respond to questions about her own role in creating affordable housing, considering she and husband bought a flipped house for over 3x the previous sales price only 6 months earlier.
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