Some Florida Republicans have already lost their seats thank to the things President Donald Trump has done and said.
The president's attacks on mail-in voting, women and the island of Puerto Rico are being cited as factors in GOP election losses already this year in the state, which Trump must win to secure re-election, reported Politico.
“There’s a lot of nervousness from Republicans over the new wave of Democrats, their ability to turn out voters and their coordination," said former GOP state Rep. Mike Miller, who lost a county commission race in Orange County. "It should be an eye-opener for Republicans."
Miller said the state's GOP has long held an advantage in absentee ballots, but the president's conspiracy theories about mail-in voting has led to a sharp drop-off for Republicans and much stronger returns for Democrats, who have promoted the practice during the pandemic.
“The primary was a dry run for what we’re going to do in November,” said one Biden campaign official. “What Orange [County] has is a new and emerging Democratic population — Latinos, progressive whites, working-class voters — that we could not turn out before. We can now. We have more tools in the toolbox.”
Fast-growing county has backed the Democrat in each of the last five presidential elections, but voter turnout has traditionally been low there and other Democratic-leaning counties -- until this year.
“If you told me four years ago that Seminole [County] would go blue, I would’ve laughed in your face, but it’s changing,” said GOP operative Anthony Pedicini. “It’s spreading from Orlando [in Orange County] into the surrounding areas. Just look at the highway system, it’s like a heart pumping blue blood in every direction from Orlando."
It's not just Puerto Ricans and other Hispanic voters, who are helping to fuel population growth in the Orlando area.
“It’s suburban whites," Pedicini said. "We’re losing too many suburban women.”
Betsy VanderLey, who lost her re-election bid for the Orange County commission, said new arrivals were turning the area increasingly Democratic, and they're motivated to vote.
“Four years ago, when I ran, my district was the last Republican stronghold of Orange County and there was only one Democrat on the [seven-member] board of county commissioners," VanderLey said. "Now there will be just one [Republican] left. The Democrats are clearly energized. If the Republican turnout in November mirrors what we saw in the primary, it doesn’t bode well for Trump in this county.”