Next to Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been the conservative that liberals most love to hate.
During 2021, DeSantis’ critics grew increasingly desperate for anything to try to derail the Republican governor, as evidence shows his pro-freedom policies are winning.
Here are six stats to show how that is happening:
COVID “cases” are surging in Florida, as they are across the country.
But the reported mildness of the omicron variant has some, even on the left, suggesting that infections are not the metric to be analyzed for success in fighting the virus. Instead, hospitalizations and death seem more relevant, such analysts say.
Here are two stats about deaths that favor DeSantis.
On Thursday, Becker’s Hospital Review published the death rate per state and per 100,000 residents for the past week.
Florida, which has the oldest population in America, and thus the biggest share of people most vulnerable to COVID, had the fourth-lowest death rate over the past seven days.
Compared to Florida, the death rate in California was twice as high; New Jersey was four times higher; both Connecticut and New York were about five times as great; Illinois’ rate was sevenfold, Minnesota, eight times as high; and Michigan, a whopping 14 times as much.
Viewed differently, according to U.S. News & World Report, Florida’s overall death rate since the beginning of the pandemic was 290 per 100,000. Comparatively, New Jersey’s was 325; New York, 308; Massachusetts (a blue state with a Republican governor), 292; Rhode Island, 288; and Michigan, 287.
Again, Florida has a significantly older population than those states, but also maintained its economy and lifestyle without the same lockdown and masking policies.
Second, the economy.
Earlier this month, DeSantis beamed when it was announced that the U.S. economy added a dismal 210,000 jobs in November. The governor was thrilled because 50,000 of those jobs – or about one-quarter – were in Florida.
Here are two other metrics for Florida’s economic performance during the pandemic.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Florida tied with Texas with the fourth-largest growth rate in non-farm employment between November 2020 and November 2021. They both grew at 5.7 percent. The three states ahead of them, though, have much smaller populations: Massachusetts, (5.8 percent growth rate), Nevada (7.4 percent) and Hawaii (a nation-leading 8.4 percent).
Florida, under DeSantis, outpaced all the blue-state faves of the national media: California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Washington.
Using a different measure of BLS data, the website World Population Review looked at the rate of job growth during 2021, which measures economic expansion and overall economic health.
Florida’s job growth rate was 1.026 percent, which was the fifth-highest in the nation. Florida’s number exceeded the national average by 1.6 percent and surpassed every major blue state except Washington.
Third, population growth.
In the face of distress caused by COVID-19 and its related policies, people are voting with their feet.
The News Service of Florida reported last week that Florida trailed only Texas in overall population growth between July 2020 and July 2021.
Florida added 211,196 new residents during that time, the report says. That was about 99,000 fewer people than Texas, which has about 8 million more people overall.
But where Florida stood out was in comparison to California and New York.
California’s population shrunk by 261,902 residents over that time, while New York reported the biggest drop in the country, as 319,020 people now call themselves former New Yorkers.
Florida, the News Service said, ranked eighth nationally in terms of percentage growth of population, as folks flee the Rust Belt and Northeast for the South and West. The Sunshine State is expected to add enough new residents each year between now and 2026 to equate to adding the city of Orlando yearly.
The backbone of Florida’s economy has been tourism.
Prior to DeSantis taking office in 2019, former Gov. Rick Scott, also a Republican, reveled in the fact that each year of his term was a record-breaker for domestic tourism.
That trend continued under the current governor. In 2019, 116.9 million people visited Florida, more than 4 million than in the record-setting year of 2018, according to the state’s official tourism agency Visit Florida.
Then, COVID hit.
In 2020, tourism from other parts of the U.S. plunged to about 75 million, the lowest number since 2011.
Yet, the tourist traffic in 2021 had already surpassed the 2020 total by the end of September.
By Sept. 30, 88.4 million people had visited Florida from other states. That projects to 117.9 million for all of 2021, which would be a new record.
It may not be the most scientific measure out there, but cops are flocking to Florida, where DeSantis has promised financial bonuses and a welcoming, pro-law enforcement attitude.
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported this week that “the number of out-of-state police officers hoping to get jobs in Florida has nearly doubled in 2021, compared to the average number over the previous four years, according to recent state data.”
In 2021, the paper noted, 1,164 police officers from outside Florida received approval for “Equivalency of Training” status. That grants certified, experienced law enforcement officers from other states an exemption from having to complete the entire basic-recruit program if they relocate to Florida.
From 2017 to 2020, the Herald-Tribune reported, the state averaged 607 officers from out of state seeking to transfer their professional certification.
That’s a one-year growth rate of 92 percent.
A couple of newly relocated cops from blue states – New York and Colorado specifically – said they were willing to accept a pay cut to move to Florida, where DeSantis has resisted vaccine mandates and criminal justice “reforms” that usually mean cutting police budgets and lax policing attitudes toward the lawless.
Sixth, a re-election campaign.
DeSantis raised $1.5 million for his 2022 re-election campaign in November.
That was more than the combined total of his three main Democratic rivals: U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, and state Sen. Annette Taddeo.
But where DeSantis really dominates is in money in the bank.
Florida Politics reported this month that DeSantis sits atop a $69 million campaign war chest.
Comparatively, Crist has raised about $5 million, Fried has reaped $3.4 million and Taddeo has culled $627,000.
Android Users, Click Here To Download The Free Press App And Never Miss A Story. It’s Free And Coming To Apple Users Soon