Florida Democratic Chair Nikki Fried to start voter-registration tour in DeLand Wednesday
Florida Democrats are pinning their hopes for 2024 and beyond on a $1 million commitment to registering voters in an effort that kicks off in DeLand.
Party Chair Nikki Fried and Executive Director Phillip Jerez will speak to Volusia Democrats at the event, starting at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.
“It was an intentional choice to kick off the tour in Volusia County,” said Susanne Raines, Volusia Democrats’ state committeewoman. “The chair is going to come here and meet with the local Democrats to get us confident that the state party is going to support us.”
Statewide, Democrats have seen an advantage in voter registration as recently as 2021, but now trail Republicans by 541,798 voters, as of June 30. In Volusia County, there are 40,000 more Republicans than Democrats.
The Dems have not had control of the Legislature or the Governor’s Office for a quarter-century. And a string of narrow margins of victory for Republican governors going back to 2006 was broken by incumbent Ron DeSantis last November, when he won by 19 percentage points over Charlie Crist.
Raines said Volusia County has applied for a grant from the state party for funds to register potential Democratic voters. She believes potential Democratic voters can be found in Volusia County.
“They need to have a reason to get out and vote,” she said. “People will not go vote if they don’t think it’s going to make a difference.”
The party, in a statement, said Republican control at the state level has resulted in “culture wars” voters don’t want.
“Just this week, the governor doubled down on his racist attacks on African American History, all while Floridians are feeling the real bread-and-butter issues going unaddressed or worsening ― like the homeowner insurance crisis because the governor sold Floridians out,” the party said in a statement.
Raines believes many people are “very unhappy with a lot of the things going on in Tallahassee,” leaving an opportunity for Democrats to make gains.
However, Christian Ziegler, chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, tweeted on Wednesday that he’s heard Democrats pledge to put money into voter registration before, in 2019, when they aimed to attract 200,000 more Democrats ahead of the 2020 election.
But Democrats’ advantage over Republicans dropped by more than 112,000 that year.
“Essentially, the Democrats paid $14.98 for every 1 lost registered voter,” Ziegler said.