Kevin Cate, the campaign consultant for Florida gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried, recently noted the Republican electoral advantage facing Democrats running for statewide office. Cate previously worked on the 2014 Charlie Crist campaign and the 2018 Andrew Gillum campaign for Florida governor.
In a series of tweets, Cate provided his “perspective on the Florida Democratic primary for Governor and the general election environment.”
Cate tweeted, ” I cannot stress enough how tough of an environment the general will be.”
I cannot stress enough how tough of an environment the general will be. I've worked pretty hard on two pretty high-profile generals here (Gillum '18/Crist '14).
Biden is -11 in Florida.
This time in:
2014: Obama was +/-0
2018: Trump was -11
— Kevin Cate (@KevinCate) April 26, 2022
Cate noted that in 2014 then-President Barack Obama’s approval/disapproval rating was even and Crist lost. He added that in 2018 then-President Donald Trump’s approval/disapproval rating was -11 and Gillum lost to DeSantis by approximately 30,000 votes.
The concern, highlighted by Cate, is that President Joe Biden’s approval/disapproval rating is currently -11, per Gallup polling.
Cate said, “But that’s not all…”
Cate wrote, “DeSantis will have ~$150 million to spend (if he wants). He hasn’t even started on TV yet. And the Democratic nominee, similar to 2018, will likely start the general with $0.”
Cate continued, “More bad news in the next tweet.”
Cate addressed the change in partisan voter registration. In 2014, the Democrats had a 38.8% to 35.0% voter registration advantage over Republicans. In 2018, the advantage shrank from 37.2% to 35.9%. The most recent numbers show that Republicans now have a 100,000 vote advantage over Democrats.
Cate points out that while 2018, 2014, and 2010 gubernatorial elections were close, in 2020 Joe Biden “lost Florida by a Florida landslide, 3.36%.”
Cate uses his detail of the dismal electoral environment for Democrats to make an argument for his candidate, Nikki Fried. Cates wrote that “with the current environment (see above %), we need a candidate who can make news (see above $), appeal to NPAs (see above #s), and actually do the job.”
However, Fried is facing headwinds of her own.
Her challenger, Charlie Crist, is racking up endorsements from Democratic party leaders. Just last week the Crist campaign rolled out 13 endorsements.
Included in those endorsements was Florida State Senator Shevrin Jones who represents the largest Black district in Florida. Jones said, “ Charlie’s message is resonating in my community of Miami Gardens.”
Peter Schorsch, the publisher of FloridaPolitics.com, wrote, “More so than almost any other leader, @ShevrinJones is the future of the @FlaDems. He’s also extraordinarily thoughtful as a public figure and deeply connected, both statewide & nat’l. He is one of the last major gets any campaign could land and Crist landed it.”
In addition, earlier in April, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed the Crist campaign.
If Cate’s analysis of the political environment in Florida is correct, none of these endorsements will matter.
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Steve Stewart is a senior contributor at The Florida Capital Star. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Nikki Fried” by Nikki Fried. Photo “Kevin Cate” by Kevin Cate. Background Photo “Florida Capitol” by DXR. CC BY-SA 4.0.