The Sunshine State has increasingly become Democrats’ white whale, especially when it comes to governors races. Florida hasn’t elected a Democratic governor since 1994. Early on, the party hoped that Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’s hard-right turn and lax COVID measures in the state would make him vulnerable. Instead, as DeSantis has built a national profile for what seems like a likely 2024 presidential bid, his approval ratings in the state have remained strong, above water in the mid-50s.
Add to that that former President Trump actually more than doubled his margin in the state from 1.2 points in 2016 to 3.4 points in 2020, and clear trends last cycle that showed Democrats struggling with many of the state’s Hispanic voters, particularly among Cuban-American voters, and Democrats start off at a significant disadvantage. In 2018 — one of the best recent Democratic years – the party lost close races for both Senate and governor. The Democratic Party in the state has also been severely anemic and plunged into chaos in recent cycles, struggling not just with fundraising but also organizing and
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