I want to congratulate all of our statewide candidates — Val Demings, Charlie Crist, Adam Hattersley, Aramis Ayala, and Naomi Blemur, as well as all other Democratic candidates up and down the ballot for their campaigns and the sacrifices they made as candidates for public office.
Once again, I wish to thank the thousands of Florida Democrats who, under very difficult circumstances during this election cycle, never gave up and continued to fight until the polls closed.
Tuesday night was a tough night for Florida. It followed what was a long campaign cycle filled with hard work by you, our party staff, and our coordinated campaign team.
Every election night is different – and this midterm certainly was – but they are all a reminder to us that polls and pundits don’t decide elections, people do.
What was predicted would be a red wave across the country saw Democrats hold their own. Votes are still being counted, and many races are too close to call, but it appears Democrats may hold the Senate and Republicans’ bid to flip the House is not assured. Democrats also won Governorships and down ballot seats that will make a critical difference for working people, women, and communities of color in those states.
But here in Florida, Democrats stayed home.
I’ve had the opportunity to visit with over half our county DECs personally. We’ve talked about our shared commitment to rebuild our party for the long term. I have felt your passion and your excitement, and you always help restore my faith in our future. This week’s election confirmed what many of us have known for a while: we’ve lacked the resources and funding necessary to compete in Florida and we’ve lost ground to Republicans that can’t be made up in a single cycle. We’ve lost 16 of the last 17 statewide elections since 2012 and our party has had five different Chairs in the past 10 years.
The anger Florida Democrats feel right now about DeSantis’ reelection is valid. The damage he’s done turning everything in our state into a culture war and the threat he poses to our freedoms is real. I assure you, I share your concern.
What was also clear this cycle is that the national Democratic organizations made a determination about Florida. Funding and resources that have helped keep our state competitive were zeroed out and redirected elsewhere this cycle. While in the 2018 midterm elections the national organizations invested nearly $60 million to Florida Democratic efforts, in 2022 their investments plummeted to $1.3 million, barely 2% of what we got in 2018.
Although as Democrats we celebrate the wins in other states, we got the message loud and clear. There’s no cavalry coming. We are the cavalry. We didn’t get the result we hoped for or wanted, but with that comes experience. We need to have tough conversations about how we move forward and how each group working together in Florida reorients to this reality. We need to determine why our get out the vote efforts were unsuccessful and how we work together to build the county-by-county infrastructure necessary to compete statewide.
People decide elections. If we want to win in a large and diverse state, we’ve got to have conversations with Floridians in their communities and at their doors. And that will require all of us, across the broad tent our party encompasses, marshaling our resources and working together.
In ballot measures around the country, Americans protected abortion rights, raised the minimum wage, legalized marijuana, and expanded Medicaid. We saw voters flock to Democratic candidates and reject Republican extremism. We saw a groundswell that should make us hopeful for the direction of our country. But there is no magic bullet. We all have to work together and to do the long and hard work needed to bring that excitement and those victories here to Florida in 2024.
I joined you in this mission to reverse the trends of the past 10-20 years. I am still committed to that end and refuse to give up when the going gets tough. That is not in my nature. I will continue to fight alongside you for the next two years and beyond.
Chairman Manny Diaz