Florida Atlantic University Researchers Say Florida’s Republican and Democrat Voters Nearly Agree on Climate Change

"There's no planet B" sign

Research from Florida Atlantic University suggests that Florida’s Republican and Democrat voters nearly agree on the existence of climate change but differ on the cause. According to the researchers, approximately nine out of 10 Florida Republicans believe climate change exists. Approximately 96 percent of Florida Democrat voters agree.

Regarding the cause of climate change, half of Florida Republicans believe it is a man-made issue, while nearly 75 percent of Florida Democrat voters would concur.

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Florida Lawmakers Looking to Expand Health Insurance for Children

Florida’s lawmakers are considering expanding state-funded health insurance for children. The idea has gained traction among Republicans and Democrats, and two competing proposals would increase the amount of money beneficiaries can make.

Currently, families making less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible for the state’s program, KidCare. However, the same families do not qualify for Medicaid.

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Republicans Overtake Democrats in Florida Voter Registration

For the first time in the state of Florida’s history, Republicans now outnumber Democrats in official voter registration totals. According to the Florida Department of State’s Division of Elections, there are 5,118,657 registered Republicans and 5,114,039 registered Democrats.

The Florida Capital Star reported as early as September that Democrats weree poised to lose their lead. As recent as 10 years ago, Democrats held a 700,000-voter registration advantage.

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Investigation Reveals Florida Democrats Used Dark-Money Organization to Support Candidates

A statewide investigation that made its way into an alleged scheme by Republican state Senator Frank Artile to influence a Miami-Dade County election in 2020, revealed that a dark-money organization was used by Florida Democrats to pay for “sham candidate mailers.”

In an attempt to make gains against a Republican-controlled Florida Senate, Josh Weierbach, the executive director of a progressive group called Florida Watch Inc., had $115,000 on hand leading up to the 2020 election that he wanted to use in support for Senate Democratic candidates, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

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First Maps of Florida’s New Congressional Districts Released

Florida State Capitol

The first look at Florida’s new congressional maps have been released, and Florida’s newest district could have Polk County existing within its own congressional district. Florida currently has 27 districts but gained one after the 2020 census.

Congressional District 15, which is currently occupied by Rep. Scott Franklin (R-FL-15), represents northern Polk County, southern Lake County, and an eastern portion of Hillsborough County. Franklin could be inclined to run for re-election in the newest congressional district as he is a resident of Lakeland, Polk County’s largest city.

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Florida Democrats Working to Repeal Transgender Athlete Ban

Kristen Arrington and Gary Farmer

Florida State Rep. Kristen Aston Arrington (D-FL-43) filed a companion bill to Florida Sen. Gary Farmer’s (D-FL-34) SB 212 to repeal a transgender athlete ban from last legislative session.

Last legislative session, Florida Republicans passed a transgender athlete ban which banned transgender women from competing in women’s sports in high school and college, and athletic participation is determined by sex assigned on a birth certificate. The ban, which many in the Florida Capitol thought was dead, was resurrected by Florida Rep. Kaylee Tuck (R-FL-55).

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DeSantis: Florida Republicans Overtake Democrats in Voter Registration

Ron DeSantis speaks on bad policy with the national government

This past Friday, in a speech at the National Conference of State Legislatures, Gov. Ron DeSantis said that Republicans have surpassed Democrats in Florida voter registration numbers for the first time in the state’s history.

“Today, and it’ll probably be fully publicized very soon, today for the first time in the history of Florida we’ve now overtaken Democrats,” DeSantis said. “There are more registered Republicans in Florida than Democrats.”

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Florida Democrats Oppose, Criticize Special Session

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) called a special session over President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate and Florida Democrats are criticizing the effort. DeSantis has, numerous times, worked to ban mask mandates in Florida’s schools and vaccine mandates, and is seeking the Florida Legislature to codify those bans even further.

“I think that we need to be making sure that people are healthy and safe, and that they can go to work and that our economy is booming, and that businesses are able to do what they need to do,” said Florida State Sen. Lauren Book (D-FL-32).

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Columbus Day Sentiment Splits Florida’s Political Landscape

  Monday was the federally recognized Christopher Columbus Day, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a declaration commemorating the historical event of Columbus’ landing in the New World. “Christopher Columbus displayed courage, determination, and perseverance when he sailed the ocean blue more than 500 years ago,” DeSantis tweeted. “Happy Columbus…

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Florida Democrats File All-Green Energy by 2040 Bill

Two progressive Florida Democrats filed legislation to require all of Florida’s energy to be generated by renewable energy by 2040. State Sen. Lori Berman (D-FL-32) and State Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-FL-47) filed SB 366 and HB 81, respectively.

Each bill contains language including “prohibiting the drilling or exploration for, or production of, oil, gas, or other petroleum products” and that the state has to put together a plan to “generate 100 percent renewable energy.”

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Florida Lawmakers Launch Congressional Redistricting

Florida Senate Capitol

As a result of the 2020 census, Florida will gain one additional congressional seat, and Florida lawmakers will begin the process to redraw district lines in the upcoming fall committee weeks with the 2022 legislative session beginning in January.

“Prior to the start of the 2022 Regular Session the Legislature will hold interim committee meetings, at which time the committees that conduct the redistricting and reapportionment processes may meet,” according to the Florida Senate’s redistricting site.

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Florida Democrats Close to Losing Voter Registration Advantage

Florida’s Republican Party is close to catching Florida’s Democrats in terms of voter registrations. The Democrat Party of Florida once held a 700,000-voter registration advantage, and now only holds approximately a 23,000-voter advantage.

According to POLITICO Florida, Florida’s Democrats have known about it for years, but little could be done to maintain their once large margin.

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Albritton Wins Florida Senate President Race for 2024

Florida’s Senate Republicans have selected Sen. Ben Albritton (R-26) to be the Senate President for the 2024-2026 term. Currently, Sen. Wilton Simpson (R-10), will serve as Senate President until Sen. Kathleen Passidomo (R-28) takes over for the 2023-2024 legislative sessions.

“It’s a real honor and privilege for me to have earned the support of my colleagues in the Senate,” Albritton said to Florida Politics. “Senator Manny Diaz is a valued colleague and a friend, who puts people above politics. We share a vision for the future of Florida, and we’ll work together in the years ahead to advance policies that are in the best interest of the state of Florida.”

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Albritton Wins Florida Senate President Race for 2024

Florida’s Senate Republicans have selected Sen. Ben Albritton (R-26) to be the Senate President for the 2024-2026 term. Currently, Sen. Wilton Simpson (R-10), will serve as Senate President until Sen. Kathleen Passidomo (R-28) takes over for the 2023-2024 legislative sessions.

“It’s a real honor and privilege for me to have earned the support of my colleagues in the Senate,” Albritton said to Florida Politics. “Senator Manny Diaz is a valued colleague and a friend, who puts people above politics. We share a vision for the future of Florida, and we’ll work together in the years ahead to advance policies that are in the best interest of the state of Florida.”

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Candidate in Florida Special Election Puts Millions in Campaign

Numerous candidates are vying for a Congressional seat in South Florida left vacant by the late Congressman Alcee Hastings, but only one is putting millions of her own dollars into her campaign.

Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, CEO of Trinity Health Care Services in Miramar, has contributed $2.3 million of her own finances into her campaign, which is $1 million more than seven other Democratic candidates have raised, combined. Cherfilus-McCormick is prepared to contribute more if need be.

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Democrats Search for Candidates to Challenge Miami Republicans

Florida Senate Capitol

Just over 15 months from the 2022 midterms, Florida Democrats have yet to find candidates who could take back seats lost to Miami Republicans in 2020.

Former Congresswomen Donna Shalala and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell who represented Florida’s 26th and 27th congressional districts, lost their South Florida seats as a result of the big Republican turnout in Florida in 2020. Former President Donald J. Trump expanded on his 2016 election margin by winning Florida by over three percentage points. 

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DeSantis Backs Cuban Protestors, Media and Democrats Blame COVID

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

Sunday on Twitter, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) extended his support to the Cuban protestors voicing their opposition to the communist regime who seized control of the government when the Cuban Revolution ended in 1958.

“Florida supports the people of Cuba as they take to the streets against the tyrannical regime in Havana,” DeSantis said. “The Cuban dictatorship has repressed the people of Cuba for decades & is now trying to silence those who have the courage to speak out against its disastrous policies”

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Florida’s Senate Democrats Struggle with Infighting

Former Florida Senate Democrat Caucus Leader Sen. Gary Farmer (D-34) is continuing to criticize his fellow Democratic lawmakers even after he was ousted as their leader and replaced with Sen. Lauren Book (D-32).

Farmer and Book are both Democrats from Broward County, and Farmer is accusing his colleagues of “throwing votes” to Republican lawmakers and is questioning their motives.

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Florida Democrats Prepping for 2022 Election Cycle

The Florida Democrat Party (FDP) announced the hiring of seven regional field directors in preparation for the 2022 election cycle.

As reported by Florida Politics, Democrats will be looking to capitalize on grassroots organizing and, they say, will hope to “get a head start on high-profile 2022 contests.”

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Florida Chamber Releases Report Card for Lawmakers

Last week, the Florida Chamber of Commerce released their annual Legislative Report Card which reviews Florida’s lawmakers’ efforts during the legislative session and tabulates corresponding grade. The lawmakers’ grades are determined by alignment to Florida Chamber priorities and Where We Stand, another annual publication detailing the policy positions of the Florida Chamber heading into each legislative session.

For the 2021 Legislative Session, 88 lawmakers earned an “A” and 39 earned failing grades.

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Poll: Charlie Crist Leads Nikki Fried in 2022 Gubernatorial Primary Poll

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist (D-13) leads all Florida Democrats in the 2022 gubernatorial primary in a recently released St. Pete Polls survey. In the poll, Crist came away with 55 percent of respondents, while likely candidate and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried only drew 22 percent.

Only 11 percent of voters are supporting other candidates and 12 percent are undecided.

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DeSantis Signs Bill Curbing Censorship by Big Tech Companies

Ron DeSantis at press conference

Yesterday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill, SB 7072, designed to limit the scope of Big Tech companies and their influence in Florida. The bill will fine companies $250,000 per day if they censor or suspend accounts for political candidates, with Disney World being a notable exception.

“This session, we took action to ensure that ‘We the People’ — real Floridians across the Sunshine State — are guaranteed protection against the Silicon Valley elites,” said DeSantis in a release. “Many in our state have experienced censorship and other tyrannical behavior firsthand in Cuba and Venezuela. If Big Tech censors enforce rules inconsistently, to discriminate in favor of the dominant Silicon Valley ideology, they will now be held accountable.”

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Florida Democrats Prepping for 2022 Challenges

Stephanie Murphy, Nikki Fried and Val Demings

Republicans have dominated Florida Democrats for nearly 30 years, where currently only one statewide elected post is occupied by a Democrat: Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. With Fried all but officially running against Governor Ron DeSantis and U.S. Rep. Val Demings (D-FL-10) challenging Sen. Marco Rubio for his Senate seat in 2022, Florida Democrats are having to rearrange who is going to be running for open positions and the potential political losses those candidates could face.

If Fried continues on her current trajectory for a likely gubernatorial bid, Democrats might lose the only statewide post they have. Fried won in 2018, weeks after Hurricane Michael devastated the agriculture-rich areas of the Florida Panhandle, which saw diminished Republican Panhandle voter turnout compared to the rest of the state. Fried won the race narrowly by approximately 6,000 votes.

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National Republican Groups Joining Fight to Defend Florida’s Election Law

people voting

The Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee are joining the fight to defend the recently signed election law in Florida. The two organizations filed motions to intervene in two lawsuits against the law.

The law, known as SB 90 while in the Florida Legislature, is designed to curb the chances of fraudulent elections in Florida, but critics immediately called it “Jim Crow” tactics. Civil rights groups immediately filed lawsuits against it calling it a “backlash to Black voters.”

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Nikki Fried Announces ‘Something New’ for June 1

Earlier this week, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried released a video where she is planning on making a major announcement, and “something new” is coming on June 1.
In the video, clips of Fried tout her resume as the only statewide elected Democrat in Florida as well as rumors of her being an early frontrunner to challenge Governor Ron DeSantis in the gubernatorial race in 2022.

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Florida Representative Anna Eskamani Not Running for Governor

Representative Anna V. Eskamani

Florida State Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-47) announced on Thursday she is not running for governor and will run for reelection in her state house district.

Eskamani’s name had been thrown around as a potential challenger to Governor Ron DeSantis, and she did consider launching a bid, but opted to seek reelection.

“Florida needs strong Democrats in the State Legislature to fight for the needs of everyday people and I’m damn proud to be one of them,” Eskamani said. “That’s why after a lot of community conversations and self-reflection I’m running for re-election to continue serving my hometown in the Florida House.”

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Florida Congressman Charlie Crist Announces a Run for Governor

U.S. Congressman Charlie Crist (R-13) announced he is running for governor in 2022. He is the first major Democratic opponent for Governor Ron DeSantis.

“Florida has a governor that’s only focused on his future, not yours,” said Crist in a campaign launch video.

Florida Democrats have reacted positively to Crist’s announcement, including St. Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman who has been a vocal opponent to DeSantis and praised Crist.

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Charlie Crist Making ‘Major Announcement’ Tuesday

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist (R-13) is set to make a “major announcement” from St. Petersburg. It has been rumored he is announcing his candidacy for governor, evidenced by Crist teasing a run back in February.

In an interview with Jim DeFede on Facing South Florida, Crist said he is focused on his work in Congress, but he’s open to launching a campaign.

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Florida’s Transgender Athlete Ban Resurrected

Florida Republicans resurrected a ban on transgender women from competing in women’s sports and attached it to a bill related to charter schools. Last week, Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-22) said her bill, which would’ve banned transgendered athletes from women’s sports, was unlikely to  move forward due to constitutional requirements to balance the budget.

However, Stargel did not resurrect the bill, but Rep. Kaylee Tuck (R-55), added the ban as an amendment to SB 1028. Stargel did voice her support for Tuck’s amendment.

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Florida House Passes Bipartisan Police Reform Bill

The Florida House passed HB 7051 unanimously, a police reform bill, designed to be a bipartisan, compromise piece of legislation satisfying the requests of conservatives as well as social justice advocates.

One of the main staples of the bill is amending current use-of-force protocol for law enforcement officers. Each police force and law enforcement agency in the state will now be required to have a use-of-force standard. This would, in essence, create a statewide minimum standard, including methods to de-escalate situations. Chokeholds are banned unless the officer “perceives an immediate threat of serious bodily injury or death.” If another officer is witnessing excessive use of force, they will now be required to intervene.

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Parental Bill of Rights Legislation Heads to DeSantis’ Desk

The Florida Legislature passed a bill instituting a “parental bill of rights” and sent it to the desk of Governor Ron DeSantis.

The bill, HB 241, worked its way through the Florida House and then passed through the Florida Senate on Thursday. It was passed on a nearly party-line vote, with Sen. Lauren Book (D-32), the lone Democrat, siding with Republicans and voting to approve the bill.

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Florida Anti-Riot Law Facing Court Challenge

Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 1, known as the “anti-riot bill” on Monday, and is now facing a constitutional challenge. The challenge was filed Wednesday and the civil rights attorneys behind the challenge are saying the new laws unconstitutionally “seek to arrest the peaceful expression of free speech.”

The bill is designed to enhance penalties for criminals committing acts of violence during riots.

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Florida House Hearing Police Reform Bill

The Florida House is taking up a bipartisan, compromise police reform bill today. The bill would increase the amount of training for law enforcement officers and correctional officers.

The bill, HB 7051, has been a product of House Republican leadership, the Florida Legislative Black Caucus, and key voices within law enforcement to try and limit the use of chokeholds only under instances when on-site officers perceive immediate threats of serious bodily injury or death to themselves or other people. It would also require other officers to intervene when they witness other officers using excessive force.

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Sen. Lauren Book to Lead Florida Senate Democrats4

Sen. Lauren Book (D-32) has been tabbed as the new leader of the Florida Senate Democrats. Sen. Perry Thurston (D-33), a high ranking Senate Democrat, announced his intentions to run in the special election for the late-Alcee Hastings’ seat in Congress, making the way for Book to be heir-apparent.

Book, 36, has served in the Florida Senate since 2016 when she ran unopposed for the Senate’s 32nd district.

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DeSantis Signs E-Fairness Bill

Just before midnight Monday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed SB 50 instituting sales tax requirements for online retailers, into law. 

The bill requires out-of-state online retailers to collect and report sales taxes on purchases made by Floridians. The tax will bring in an estimated $1 billion in revenue, as well as limit taxes paid by Floridians and Florida businesses.

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Florida Legislature Hearing Elections Reform Bills

Dennis Baxley

The Florida House is hearing an elections reform package and the Florida Senate is hearing a bill amending Florida’s election law related to ballot drop-boxes and absentee ballot signature verification.

Sen. Dennis Baxley’s (R-12) SB 90 passed the Senate Rules Committee by a 10-7 vote, and Baxley said the bill is well-intentioned designed to protect Florida’s voters and the integrity of Florida’s elections.

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Transgender Bill Likely Dead in Florida Legislature

A bill creating limited access for transgender women competing in women’s sports is likely dead according to its sponsor, Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-22).
Stargel released the statement yesterday after she postponed her bill in its final committee stop saying she is having to direct her attention to Florida’s constitutional amendment to balance the budget.

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