Chamber Forum: Democrats face ‘tough path’ to break GOP supermajorities in 2024
Ben Albrittion, Daniel Perez.

Albritton Perez
'For now, Democrats are kind of stuck where they are.'

Republican supermajorities in the Legislature are probably here to stay, according to the political experts at the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

While Democrats only need to flip a handful of seats in each chamber to break the GOP’s iron grip, pickup opportunities are few and far between and party resources are scant.

“The short answer is going to be it’s a tough path,” Florida Chamber Director of Data & Analytics Alex Coelho told attendees at the 2023 Future of Florida Forum.

Coelho said the January Special Election in House District 35, which went for Gov. Ron DeSantis last year and President Joe Biden in 2020, will serve as a good indicator of how the 2024 elections could play out. But even if they win that seat, Democrats will need to roll a hard six in November.

“If you start going down the list, they have opportunities, but each of them kind of poses different challenges,” Coelho said.

“One of the things we’ve seen is Hispanic voters have shifted quite a bit Republican in recent years. And Democrats, in order to win back those seats, have to pull that back. They have to overcome the issues they’ve had with the Hispanic community. That’s going to be a challenge.”

Republicans will have an even easier time defending their Senate supermajority since only half of the 40 seats in that chamber are on the ballot next year and the ones that are generally favor the GOP. The party’s significant resource advantage may even afford them a pickup.

In 2024, Senate District 3 is the only truly competitive seat on the ballot. The North Florida district anchored in Leon County went narrowly for Republican Sen. Corey Simon last cycle despite Democrats holding the advantage on paper. This cycle, however, Democrats are having trouble recruiting a solid candidate to challenge the now-incumbent lawmaker.

“The problem for Democrats if you’re trying to get to 14 is every other seat you see there in red — the seats that are on the ballot in 2024 — DeSantis won by at least 25 points in 2022, so there just really is not a realistic target No. 2,” Coelho said. “When 2026 comes around it’s a different conversation, but for now, Democrats are kind of stuck where they are in the Florida Senate.”

Republicans are also benefiting from a statewide surge in voter registrations. Data presented by the Chamber at the Future of Florida Forum shows that the GOP now holds a more than 625,000-voter advantage over Democrats.

“That’s a big flip right there if you look over the last two years,” said Florida Chamber EVP of Government & Political Relations Frank Walker. “And then if you back it up all the way — not the last couple of years prior, but the decades or the century prior to that — It was all in the blue column. It’s a tidal shift.”

Last month alone, 18,000 Republicans were added to the voter rolls, compared to 10,000 Democrats. Part of the growing gap is the precipitous jump in no-party voter registrations. Florida Politics’ own review of post-pandemic voter registrations, based on L2 data, shows new state residents are playing an outsize role in the GOP shift.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


4 comments

  • tom palmer

    October 24, 2023 at 10:12 pm

    First the Democrats would have to field more decent candidates.

  • rick whitaker

    October 25, 2023 at 8:29 am

    sounds like the maga cultists counting maga cultists voters with maga cultists mindset. as a dem, i hope that is what it is. florida is already a national laughing stock because of desantis and his policies. florida needs to be back peddling, not going pedal to the metal with maga cultism.

    • just sayin

      October 25, 2023 at 9:04 am

      Well, it certainly can’t be that your policies are unpopular outside of white liberals, can it? Or that they are articulated with thinly veiled contempt?
      No, it’s somethingsomethingMAGA and somethingsomething DeathSantis. Sure. Keep it up.
      We need an opposition party because God knows the grifters like Corcoran and Gaetz need to be kept in check. But the Democrats have, in large part, retreated into an echo chamber of self-righteous hasbeens and neverwases.

      • rick whitaker

        October 26, 2023 at 10:43 am

        bee in the bonnet huh. what you call an echo chamber, i call solidarity against a known enemy of democracy. we DON’T have an opposition party as you say we need. the recent house vote that installed a maga cultist election denier with a unanimous vote is an example of not having what you say we need. i am not white, i am native american, and i am not a liberal. liberal is a disparaging label that the gop has been using for years. i am a far left democratic socialist. “self-rightous hasbeens and neverwases”, just who are you talking about ? is that thinly veiled contempt? yes, i am contemptuous of the maga cult party led by trump. to me they are very dangerous and deserve contempt. i think i hear you saying that they don’t deserve my contempt. i hate christianity and most christians. they are the group that slaughtered the native americans and justified it by saying the savages were heathens and jesus was ok with robbing and killing them. what will modern christians like mike johnson justify with christian faith? christians worship money and power, so that’s why i despise them. i choose workers and people over corporate greed and christian superstitions. as bernie sanders would say, tax the billionaires and corporations that don’t pay their share of taxes. gun freaks and conservative self-righteous bigots are on my contempt list. i don’t really understand where you are coming from by calling out corcoran and gaetz but not desantis or trump. WTF. one of my current gripes is the dismantling of the public school system and replacing them with homeschooling and private schools , sometimes with taxpayers money. if a rich person wants to homeschool or place there kid in a private school then let them pay for 100% of it. thump went to a private military school, look how that turned out. just saying.

Comments are closed.


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