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Florida Democrats will run candidates in all state legislative races for first time in three decades

The Florida Democratic Party announced Friday that they have fielded a candidate for each of the 140 state House and state Senate seats up for election in November, as they aim to stop Florida from its increasingly rightward shift.

All 120 state House seats and 20 state Senate seats up for grabs in November will have a Democratic candidate on the ballot for the first time in nearly three decades, according to the party. Republicans currently have a supermajority in both chambers of the Sunshine State’s legislature and have maintained control of both chambers since the 1990s.

“Democrats made history in Florida today,” Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Nikki Fried said in a statement on Friday. “This is unprecedented. Since control of Florida flipped in the mid-90s, no party has contested every seat in both chambers of the legislature. For the first time in at least 30 years, Florida Democrats are contesting every congressional and legislative race in Florida.”

While Democrats are not expected to come close to flipping either chamber in November, Fried contends that the party has “momentum” since being clobbered in the 2022 election.

President Joe Biden speaks during an organizing event as Nikki Fried laughs Tuesday, April 23, 2024, at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Florida. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

“It’s a record-breaking accomplishment for the Florida Democratic Party and a stark contrast to the party we inherited after 2022 — a party Republicans declared ‘dead’ just one year ago. Now, we have the momentum,” Fried said.

In the 2022 election, Republicans gained their supermajorities in both chambers and every statewide GOP candidate won their election by double-digits, with the worst performing candidate being Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who only won reelection to his U.S. Senate seat by 16.4% — or 1,273,325 votes.

Another negative development for Democrats has been vote registration numbers. For the first time in the state’s history, the Republican Party became the most popular party by registered voters in 2021 and since then the GOP lead has grown to a 930,671 advantage, according to the Florida Secretary of State’s latest data from the end of May.

Florida Republican Party Chairman Evan Power dismissed the “moral victory” for Democrats, saying the GOP is “focused on winning” and dismissing one of the Democrat’s recruits as being a carpetbagger.

“Having a person who lives in Tallahassee running in Miami isn’t going to boost turnout. As I have said before the @FloridaGOP is focused on winning not moral victories or a participation trophy,” Power wrote in a post on X.

Democrats have expressed optimism that abortion on the ballot, with Ballot Measure 4 seeking to enshrine abortion through viability into the state’s constitution, can buoy them to upsets in several races, including the presidential election and the race for Sen. Rick Scott’s (R-FL) seat in the Senate. Fielding a candidate in each state legislative district, while not necessarily leading to more wins in the state legislature, could help boost Democratic voter turnout for statewide contests.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

A poll from Florida Atlantic University and Mainstreet Research shows vulnerability for both former President Donald Trump and Scott. Among likely voters, Trump’s lead fell from a 51%-43% advantage in April to a 49%-43% lead over President Joe Biden in June. In the same June survey, Scott holds a 45%-43% advantage over Democratic challenger Debbie Mucarsel-Powell.

Although the polls have caused some Democratic optimism, the RealClearPolitics polling average does show the recent survey is an outlier. In the RCP average, Scott holds a 5.7% lead over Mucarsel-Powell and Trump holds a 7.6% lead over Biden.

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