As the Republican nominee in 2018, Ron DeSantis lost Miami-Dade County by more than 20 points.
As the incumbent Republican governor, DeSantis, is poised to win Miami — the first Republican in 20 years to do so — on the strength of the Hispanic vote in South Florida.
And Democrats are not happy.
The Washington Post reported on Sunday that Democrats — which also would include most of the media — are fretting that “traditionally liberal” Miami will fall into DeSantis’ column next month.
Giancarlo Sopo, a Republican media strategist who advised Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign on advertising with Hispanics, told the Post, “Gov. DeSantis is winning in Miami because his agenda is popular and his opponents are a walking ‘arroz con mango,’” a Cuban saying that means “a messy situation.”
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“The Democrats could earnestly address their issues with Hispanics, but they prefer to attribute their losses to ‘disinformation.’ This helps them save face with donors, but there’s an electoral price to being so out of touch with reality.”
One issue for Democrats is their ground game in Miami.
Democratic state Sen. Annette Taddeo criticized her own party for failing to invest in Miami. Taddeo seeks to oust GOP Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar, who beat a DEmocrat two years ago.
“Republicans can get slaughtered in an election, and their response is, ‘We need to be more present. We need to be there. We need to invest money,’” she told the Post. “Democrats do terrible, and they walk away. … That is definitely one of the reasons why things are so tough.”
Another problem for Democrats, at least in the governor’s race, is their candidate, Charlie Crist, a former governor who served as a Republican before jumping to the Democrats.
One Hispanic Democratic voter interviewed by the Post said he would leave that part of the ballot blank because he sees Crist as “just a career politician.”
In fact, many Democrats are supporting or leaning toward DeSantis because Crist seems to be an empty suit.
“Interviews with other Democratic voters here show that some are not fully on board with Crist’s bid for governor — even if they aren’t fans of DeSantis,” the Post noted.
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One Democratic voter in Miami told the Post, “There’s no way around it. It used to be a toss-up state, but I would say it’s not even close anymore. All the Republicans are going to win for sure.”
Crist “doesn’t seem like the strongest candidate, but I guess that’s what we’re given on the Democratic side,” another one told the Post.
Independents feel likewise.
“I don’t like everything about Ron DeSantis, but Charlie Crist is a joke,” one of them told the Post. “I like Democrats outside of Florida, but the Democratic Party just doesn’t have good leaders in Florida.”