(cross-posted at FlaPolitics)
Tuesday was a great day for the Florida Democratic Party – we elected Democrat Darren Soto to a Republican-held seat in the State House District 49 Special Election!
This is huge, and Republicans are already trying to spin the heck out of this major loss, claiming that they expected to lose and/or that it doesn’t mean anything for the future. (My question to them: So why did you waste tens of thousands of dollars on the race?)
The truth is that the election of Darren Soto bodes extremely well for the future of the Democratic Party in Florida. This is the pivotal I-4 corridor, and the Party’s new, revitalized ground operation proved it can deliver a majority of voters who care about positive change for the people.
We can win more seats like this AND the Presidency in 2008. But progress doesn’t come cheap, and we need help funding improvements.
It takes money to fund these operations, and our contributors' dollars are spent wisely on developing campaigns that can win. During the 2006 and 2007 elections, despite spending millions of dollars less than Republicans, Florida Democrats picked up eight Republican-held seats in the State House, while also adding two Democratic seats in Congress, a major upswing from recent years. We’re on course for even bigger gains in 2008.
Case in point: two Congressional Districts overlap significantly with State House District 49, and our win in 49 proves we can take these seats. Moreover, the current Republican officeholders, Ric Keller and Dave Weldon, have made them themselves extremely vulnerable because they have failed to stand up for the people of Florida, choosing George W. Bush’s agenda over the people’s needs nine out of every ten votes.
We’re looking forward to electing Democrats to those seats in 2008.
But we need your help now. To continue laying the groundwork, we need to raise early money in 2007. Please contribute to victory in 2008 today.
Another interesting thing to note is that in District 49, there’s a large Hispanic population. In 2006, Democrats won the Hispanic vote statewide for the first time in three decades, and the election of Darren Soto only bolsters the argument that Republicans can no longer take Hispanics for granted in Florida.
Yesterday’s election reflects of the changing tides in Florida politics. Hispanics are supporting Democrats in greater numbers because they realize Democrats are putting the needs of everyday Floridians first.
Congresswoman Karen L. Thurman
Chair, Florida Democratic Party