With Crist’s Loss, Demos Are Dead For Decade







Tuesday witnessed the death of the state Democratic Party.

It will be at least a decade until the Democratic Party has a statewide candidate that is viable against the formidable field of Republicans.

With the loss of Charlie Crist, Democrats lost their best chance in years of winning the governor’s mansion. No Democrat had more money and a better organization than Crist had in years…and he couldn’t do it.

Yes, Gov. Rich Scott had a tremendous fund raising advantage.

But Crist had more help from national Democrats than any party candidate in recent years and he still lost. He failed to get the turnout in South Florida he needed, despite the biggest Get-Out-The-Vote effort for any Democratic governor’s candidate in 20 years.

Crist pulled a margin of roughly 175,000 out of Broward, which was better than the 131,000 vote win that Alex Sink got four years ago.

Not enough.

Broward Democratic Chair Mitch Ceasar said the Broward Democrats met its goal of a 175,000 win for Crist.  Other Democrats had quietly hoped for a margin of at least 200,000 (President Obama got 264,000 two years ago.).

The turnout in Broward was a pitiful 43.51 percent, just a shade bigger than the 40.99 percent four years ago.  Miami-Dade had the lowest turnout of any county in the state– 40.71 percent.  Palm Beach Count had 49.11 percent turnout.

Among the best performing areas in Broward were along the GOP-heavy Galt Ocean Mile and east Broward. John Knox Village in Pompano Beach had a 70.25 percent turnout, while a polling place at Coral Ridge Mall had 51.90 percent.

Among the worst: Solid Democratic areas like Collier City neighborhood, where one precinct reported only 37.25 percent voted. Even fabled condominium strongholds lagged, like Hillcrest in Hollywood which turned out a pitiful 44.17 percent in one polling place. Century Village in Deerfield Beach, which once boasted better than 70 percent turnouts, managed only slightly more than 50 percent despite a visit by Crist.

This massive GOTV failure calls into question the skills, techniques and leadership of the local and state Democrats.  Perhaps it is time for a real internal Democratic housecleaning.

Now Democrats face a decade of a Republican governor and a Republican Legislature. I can’t even envision a path to victory for the Ds.

Democrats face a decade of hundreds of Republican appointments —  judicial, water board, hospital districts and others. They face a decade of a GOP agenda in Tallahassee.

The future looks bleak for the Ds.

The Republicans have for the next elections a choice of Adam Putnam, Pam Bondi and Jeff Atwater – all repeated statewide winners. They have others, too.

Democrats have, ah, nobody.

The out-of-power Ds also have no fund raising abilities that can match the Rs. And it takes money to get a nobody known in a state as big as Florida.

It was a former Republican Crist running against an unpopular governor to get even close to victory.

Florida may be purple in presidential elections. But in state races, which count directly in the life of Floridians, forget it.

This state is Deep Red.  It will be for a long, long time.

Florida Democrat’s hopes died with Crist.



24 Responses to “With Crist’s Loss, Demos Are Dead For Decade”

  1. Ron Gunzburger says:

    Democrats have at least one potential and viable statewide candidate: centrist Congressman Patrick Murphy … if he wants to run. Maybe also Congresswoman Kathy Castor, too.

  2. Kevin Hill says:


    This election will go down in history, at least statistically-speaking.

    Crist actually checked off every box he needed as far as winning the right areas by the right percentages. He won Broward 2-1, PB, Alachua, and Leon with 58-60%, Dade , Orange, Hillsborough, and Pinellas, and he held Scott below 60% in Jacksonville and SW Florida.

    So why did he lose? The Democratic turnout was PATHETICALLY & HISTORICALLY low in the Democratic strongholds, especially Dade and Osceola, but also PB and Broward.

    Whoever did the GOTV for the Democrats should be fired and run out of the state. The GOP, on the other hand, threaded a needle and did exactly what they needed to do. As they usually do.

    As I have said before in print: “The Republican Party of Florida is the most pathetic, dumbest organization in the state, except for one: The Democratic Party of Florida.”

    When I saw the early counties come in before 8pm, I was frankly convinced Crist would win, given the fact he was winning by the same percentages in the same places that Obama won in 2008 and 2012. But THEN I SAW THE TURNOUT data developing between 8 and 9pm, and knew he was in trouble.

    Just when I think the Florida Democrats cannot get any more useless, feckless, and self-immolating, another election rolls around.

    Sad, really. And I am not even a Democrat!


  3. Real Deal says:

    Charlie Crist simply came off as too slick to earn the trust of many in his party. He did not run a convincing race. This is not the end of the Democratic party in Florida politics. This is the end of Charlie Crist. He has been rejected.

  4. Andrew Ladanowski says:

    My thoughts on Election 2014. What I found really interesting was very low turnout of public servants (People in the Florida Retirement Savings plan). This was a good early indicator that Charlie was in trouble. Second indicator was low turnout in lower socio-economic areas. I encouraged to really market raising the minimum wage in these regions. I personally shared that information with Charlie and his team when there was still some time to react. Postage not being pre-paid on absentee ballots really hurt Charlie. (Rumor has it in 2016 Dr. Snipes will have prepaid postage for absentee ballots.) Look who did not return absentee ballots. I also think that the school bond distracted took a lot of volunteers and a valuable resource Democrat chair Mitch Ceaser away from concentrating on just getting the vote out in targeted Democratic regions of the county. Cynthia M. Busch was too busy with CSC making sure their funding continued. Neither of them dedicated the time and resources for this party, but served their clients well. I call it as I see it!
    Low turnout in Broward can also be attributed to 2012 election disaster where people had to stay in line for up to 5 hours. People who are in lower socio economic like single moms can’t justify waiting 5 hours just to vote, these were Crist supporters. Those memories will take a long time to fade for those who waited.

  5. Sam Fields says:

    I am disheartened about the elections. The long term tragedy is that the Florida Supreme Court is lost. I suspect that Florida Privacy Amendment, which is the bulwark for protecting a woman’s right to choose, will be whittled down if not lost in the next decade.

    There were three factors to explain the Democratic whipping—turnout, turnout and turnout.
    Here’s a simple fact. If every registered voter goes to the polls the Democrats win big time.

    I spent Election Day in the boiler room with lawyers advising poll workers about glitches. There were very few if any.

    We wasted an enormous amount of time on repeated phone calls to people who had already said they would not be able to work the polls.

    There was interesting new technology but it was superimposed over the basic volunteer system that has been in place since George Washington bought whisky for voters when he ran for the Virginia House of Delegates. It was was so 60’s—that’s 1760’s.

    About 15 years ago I attacked this system and suggested that it be replaced with paid poll workers who would be rewarded with bonuses for high performance.

    I even wrote a paper outlining the details which I will not bore you with. Someone, whose initials are G.J. and had a vested interest in the status quo, leaked it to the Herald. I became the subject of a scathing editorial in which I was called “an odious vote buyer”. It made me wonder if there were “NON-odious” vote buyers.

    I got a good laugh knowing that I have been called worse things by better people.

    In the end I could not find one person to explain why hiring big time companies to get out the vote was O.K. but, paying individual precinct people was wrong.

    It’s called capitalism done at a micro level rather than at a macro level.

    One final note. One of the things that contributed to the low Black turnout was “whitebread” George Sheldon’s defeat of Perry Thurston–who is Black and the former minority leader in the House–in the Democratic Primary for Attorney General.

    Sheldon brought nothing to the table. The Thurston loss undoubtedly discouraged Black vote in November…how much we will never know.

  6. Rico Petrocelli says:

    Buddy, I believe you’re right of target with your “Decade” comment. Whether it is Jeff Atwater or Adam Putnam,Republican Party is well on it’s way for this 4 years, and 8 more, barring some “Rock Star” who comes out of the woodwork (Shaq?.lol)

    Locally D’s have the upper hand just by their registration numbers. A low turnout did not help Charly.

    Should be an interesting decade for sure, Presidential and more..

    Thanks for the articles, both sides..

    Rico Petrocelli
    Former Councilman
    City of Plantation

  7. Martin Gould says:

    Election Day is no longer election day. With more than half of the votes now coming from absentee and early voting, races are won or lost months before. GOP did a better job on pushing absentee voting. Scott had a great deal of media running early, timed to influence absentee voters. As for Election Day turnout, it’s only going in one direction: down. Campaigns and candidates who fail to revise their outmoded strategies will continue to be surprised–and defeated–when the final results are announced.

  8. Well Said says:

    Quite frankly, no matter what party is in any given office, on all Federal, State, and Local levels, the same shit goes down ad nauseum….the people and organizations with cash from both sides will always get theirs…..I fell sorry for anyone under the age of 50-55.

  9. Floridan says:

    I am extremely disappointed in the Democratic leadership’s GOTV effort. Maybe a little less time spent at the Mayor’s Gala and conferring with other office holders and more time doing the grassroots work needed.

    I hope the thinking isn’t “I can win with a low turnout — why encourage people who might not support me?”

  10. pathetic says:

    No disrespect to certain DEC members who individually worked hard to inform voters of the BS Dan Lewis card, but it is pathetic that Mitch never once came out publically to denounce the card or that the DEC made a real effort to inform voters the Democracy Project Blue Card was a fraud.

    Looking at the pathetic Dem turnout on the east side, look no further than Broward Democratic State Committeeman Ken Evans. This guy is supposed to be getting out the vote on the east side and he spends 3 weeks of October hanging out in North Carolina.

    How much time did Evans and others waste helping Scott Herman? Herman was a joke and everyone kissed his ass because they thought they could make money off his campaign after he put big money he never spent. No mailers, no volunteers, just a waste of space. The other Dems on the ballot on the east side would have been better off if Moraitis didn’t have a challenger.

  11. Jimbo says:

    I know she has lots of support in Broward, but DWS must have been in her alternate universe, making such delusional public comments. And having the President do robo calls for any candidate was very stupid with his numbers. But bringing that boob Biden here to sing Obama’s praises took the cake. The buck stops with her on this bloodbath. Kevin, she was ultimately responsible and should be fired.

  12. crabgretch says:

    The Plantation Democratic Club members have been registering voters, issuing and collecting absentee applications, telephoning and canvanssing Democrats since 2013 as well as working with the candidate’s local staff every step of the way. To those of you making the negative comments, what did you do for the candidates running for office?

  13. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Broward County Voters – Nov. 2014 vs. Nov. 2010

    469273 / 426973 = +9.9% MORE Broward County votes cast

    138,269 / 140,445 = -1.5% FEWER Broward votes cast for Rick Scott

    318,689 / 271,606 = +17.3% MORE Broward votes cast for Dem Gov candidate

    Number of votes by which Scott won in 2010: 61,550

    Number of additional 2014 Broward votes cast for Dem Gov candidate: 47,083

    Number of fewer 2014 Broward votes cast for Rick Scott: 2,176

    2014’s change in Broward voting in Governor’s race: 49,259

    % of Scott’s 2010 margin that Broward singlehandedly erased: 80.0%

  14. Seven Oaks says:

    HaHa: you forgot one line above>
    Crist lost…

  15. Ha Ha Ha says:

    The number of votes cast grew by 8.8% statewide from 2010 to 2014. Applying that increase to Scott’s 2010 statewide margin, his 2014 margin would be 66,973 if Scott won in 2014 by the same proportion as in 2010. But Scott’s actual 2014 margin was 65,838, a decline of 1.7% relative to 2010.

    Broward’s 2014 contribution of 49,259 additional net votes against Scott amounts to 74.8% of Scott’s 2014 statewide margin.

    Broward County did way more than its share toward the goal of kicking Rick Scott out of office. Blame for Rick Scott’s re-election properly belongs to Florida’s other counties – they are responsible!

    The following other Florida counties joined Broward by voting against Rick Scott: Gadsden & Jefferson & Leon (Tallahassee area), Alachua (Gainesville), Orange & Osceola (Orlando area), Hillsborough & Pinellas (Tampa area), St. Lucie & Palm Beach & Miami-Dade & Monroe (South Florida area). That’s 12 more counties against Rick Scott. So only 13 counties out of 67 voted against Scott. Those anti-Scott counties include all of Florida’s major population centers except for Duval County (Jacksonville) aka “Lower Georgia”.

    Rick Scott was weaker in 2014 and Broward also opposed him more forcefully in 2014. The pernicious effect of the many misguided voters living in the rural parts of Florida is what kept Rick Scott in office.


    I find it humorous that for 20 years, Democrats in Broward have been arguing about why they are not responsible for Republicans winning.

  16. Bob Bekoff says:

    Maybe people are disgusted with failed Democrat programs……nationwide

  17. WestDavieResident says:

    @ Ha Ha Ha

    Scott won. That is all that matters.

    Have fun interpolating your statistics for the next four years.

    While you are doing so, figure out why Democratic candidates for Governor in Maryland, Massachusetts, and Illinois went down to defeat.

    Perhaps voters have realized the progressive dream of higher taxes, more entitlement programs, and bigger government have hurt them and want those states to be more like Rick Scott’s Florida?

    And I would love your interpolation for why Wisconsin’s Scott Walker beat back the unions, leftists, and phony investigations for the third time in five years?

    And then we can talk the further takeover of state legislative seats by Republicans nationwide.

  18. Andrew Markoff says:

    Charlie Crist ran an excellent campaign. His evolved positions on issues well represent the social evolutions in this state as demographics have rapidly changed.

    Rick Scott spent tens of millions of dollars- I think around 65 million- just on TV ads alone. Crist spent- I think- about 33 million just on TV ads. The ads were relentless and back-to-back. They sowed doubt in the minds of many voters, and the negativity suppressed turnout because too many naive voters didn’t know whom to believe. I absolutely knew that this election would likely be won by Scott based mostly on relentless TV ads alone, and I had said so to Mitch Ceasar.

    That’s the way television political advertising works these days, and the money spent is immense and growing. Billions and billions of dollars spent nationwide on a mid-term election, and so many tens of billions more to be spent on the next election. It is simply very bad for democracy and for voter participation. Crist came extremely close, but Adriane Wiley helped Scott win and the GOP attends well to its base.

    But, there’s another thing: the Democratic Party. It’s not the on-the-ground efforts. It’s the overall messaging and lack thereof. DWS represents that problem very well. Ordinary, regular labor- not just the minimum wage workers or women’s pay and reproductive rights and LGBT rights and racial justice- but LABOR, that is what people vote on- their own economics. When it came to issues nation-wide, most voters voted for items such as increasing the minimum wage that Republicans adamantly oppose even while Republicans clobbered Democrats.

    Where I live in Hallandale, voters overwhelmingly passed a bond referendum to spend millions on our parks, yet the commission candidate opposed to it won his seat overwhelmingly. The same dynamic has gone on nationwide. Issues supported by Democrats and pro-community sorts win on ballots while politicians opposing such efforts simultaneously won as well.

    What we’ve seen is that the youth, single female and minority votes that Democrats need for mid-terms are not tying their own economic circumstances to voting Democrat. Such issues can win individually on ballots, such as increasing the minimum wage, but the Republicans continually promise ACTION- even crazy, untenable and dishonest actions- but they talk about ACTION items. The GOP has also focused on youth recently and claims success with that effort.

    The Democrats, meanwhile, whine about the margins of society like those minimum wage workers and LGBT rights and women’s issues, but the core economic sphere for ordinary workers who make up the majority- and especially the white working class- are not hearing a consistent and bold message from Democrats. Besides that, only Elizabeth Warren and independent Bernie Sanders talk at all about righting the wrongs of Wall Street. Do you hear Debbie Wasserman Schultz ever talking about that?

    So, we Democrats may feel confident that our party better represents the interests of ordinary folk and issues regarding labor, but voters? The ties to voting for our party to enhance the prospects for individual economic betterment have been cut and lost over many years now.

    Finance is the focus of the Democratic Party over the interests of workers and those seeking work, and that makes it pretty easy for the Republicans to point their fingers at Obama and the Democrats for the lack of legislation focusing on jobs and workers’ rights. The GOP has no intention to come to the aid or ordinary folk, but their corner on the market of resentments works exceedingly well for mid-terms.

    So, I’ll say that Charlie’s problem wasn’t so much Charlie or even Taddeo or the GOTV efforts. I have worked my ass off to terrific discomfort and frustration and dealing with heat, weather and very trying personalities amongst activists and organizers to get out the vote, but the climb is just too uphill. It’s ridiculous. By the Monday before Election Day, too many potential voters remained unaware or unconcerned that Tuesday was their final opportunity to vote.

    Understanding the psychology of ordinary, regular folk who might vote is they key. If you knock on doors or make calls and talk to people every day, you might see and hear what I’m talking about. How people think and rationalize might surprise you, and that can be very dismaying. Perhaps the advent of smart phones has actually caused many or most Americans to be dumber than ever.

    The apathy is pervasive in South Florida, but I think that Charlie did the best he could. His rhetoric was excellent, his branding was, I thought, terrific, his debate performances were entirely professional, and he’s a genuinely nice guy who has engendered genuinely solid relationships with Democrats- and Dems on the left- over the years while he had been a Republican in power.

    The FDP really needs a book about it’s inner workings, and much of its operations are a total mystery to campaign volunteers like me, but it should be apparent to everyone that fostering, encouraging and educating Democratic candidates for now and the future is absolutely NOT their priority. Consulting, lobbying and just taking money is the game, it seems, amongst too many operatives.

    The Democrats need to decide whether the party is going to protect and defend its corporate and billionaire donors or regular working folk and do so with honesty and integrity.

    Bear in mind that declining to admit whether or not you voted for Obama and wavering and muttering about the Affordable Care Act and championing the eternal burning of fossil fuels really comes down to one thing: dishonesty. The voters smell it.

    If you can’t win by being honest, then perhaps politics and democracy and government are just not tenable and should be abandoned for some other more totalitarian system for our society.

    I believe that Charlie Crist had been honest and that he has demonstrated integrity. I think that Nan Rich’s campaign performance cannot and should not be blamed on the Florida Democratic Party. I agree that too much faith and weight was piled onto the Crist campaign to stand in for all Democratic operations and potential. I do not, however, blame Charlie. I thank him.

    Ultimately, with our recent and current political dynamics and gargantuan political money for a slim margin of the electorate voting for overwhelmingly unpopular politicians vying for Congress, we may simply be operating in a political dynamic that absolutely cannot get enough unreliable voters out to vote for mid-terms. They don’t perceive the point of it all no matter how much GOTV efforts try to sway them because the overall party messaging is a failure and there’s way too much money allowed to be spent on TV ads.

    Believe it or not, if someone needs Medicaid and their pay has gone down and their hours have been cut, they often do not perceive voting Democrat as having anything to do with any kind of remedy. To many such people, Charlie Crist is just a politician, not a means to an end. I don’t blame Charlie for that. This problem of ordinary workers not perceiving their effort to vote as making any difference has been many years in the making.

    The GOP has succeeded in screwing the 99% and in doing nothing for anyone but the 1% while also marketing itself as a party of action that’s going to stop, repeal, block, and obsfucate, but that may appear to too many voters as doing more than the Democrats. So, this problem goes well beyond Florida.

    There’s blame to be laid, but I’d point to DWS before pointing to Allison Tant, and I’d most certainly focus most of the blame on the President who leads his party and yet appears to disdain getting out in front of it as well as cajoling the political animals on the Hill. If he’s just not really into it, then blaming Charlie and those who strived to get out the vote for him may be missing the overall point.

    Because I wrote a much too long comment, let me summarize with just this: even though I think that the Republicans are a genuine nightmare, perhaps the Democrats deserved to lose. Getting regular folk to turn out for anything beyond a presidential election requires a hell of a lot more than just GOTV efforts on the ground at election time.

  19. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    When you loose, YOU LOOSE because the “other guy” was BETTER! Governor Scott, a terrible candidate wih a terrible political philosophy won because the Democratic Party didn’t have a candidate and had to run a Republican Governor of the past as their current candidate or Governor. The idea was DUMB from the START! Steve Geller and Bob Butterworth running around with their arrogance at Barnes and Noble and on Sistrunk Boulevard with Mitch Caesar! Does anyone except the “mindlessly loyal” believe this crew could win a Statewide election? I am a Democrat who went to a function with a campaign contribution and what do I see, Mitch Caesar, Bob Butterworth, the usual crew! I will NOT support candidates so that Mike Moscowitz, Mitch Caesar, Bob Butterworth, Steve Geller can slime and sleaze and scheme to rip off the public with bloated contracts we have to pay for. The Democratic Party as become the party of the lobbyists, and that’s why the people STAYED HOME!

  20. Republican Super Voter says:

    Speaking of failures, did you see how Tom Truex’s BREC did – under 30% for Scott in Broward. I think that’s a new low for the top of the ticket in Broward. Fact is that BREC did nothing in this election. Truex announced he won’t be running again. Thank God.

  21. Its just business says:

    With out the minority vote Florida is a Republican state. Unless another minority candidate comes along you will never get the minorities to the polls like they did in 2008.

  22. Broward Turnout Beats FL & US says:

    US voter turnout in November 2014: 36.6%

    Florida voter turnout in November 2014: 43.1%

    Broward voter turnout in November 2014: 44.47%




    There are a number of things wrong with these statistics. First of all, Florida had a 50.43 percent turnout according to the state website. That’s substantially better than Broward.

    Second, the U. S. stats mean nothing. Many states had few if any real contested races.

    Third, Broward had one of the worse turnouts in the state. Much worse than Palm Beach, the Tampa Bay area and Jacksonville.

    Democratic activists can try to put lipstick on the pig. The bottom line is Democrats lost….big time. In Broward, Republicans Ellyn Bogdanoff, Chip LaMarca and George Moraitis won. How can Democrats crow about that?

  23. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    The Democrats start looking to put together special interest groups that don’t together get them to 51%, so they need the “moderate” vote, which they alienate with not just going for equal civil rights for Gays and Lesbians but swallow the fanatics and their “Transgender” or, let’s face it, “drag queen prostitute”, and “bi-sexual”, i.e. married men cheating on their wives with guys crapo and you get decent people who support civil rights leaving the rally! I mean what the Hell is a LOBBYIST doing running the Democratic Party of Broward County? and have you ever had to sit next to a “former State Committeman” turned lobbyist like Mike Moscowitz? He should be a Jeb Bush Republican. Its like when Nan Rich carries on about ethics and she as a favour to her daughter made sure the School Board won’t be subject to the Inspector General.
    As long the Democratic “leaders” use their offices to line their pockets, their families’ pockets, how can the working class or seniors trust them?

  24. Ana Gomez-Mallada says:

    Talk it to death all you want. The Dems lost because they ran an unreliable flip-flopping turncoat like Charlie “the Windsock” Crist instead of someone who would really represent their principles and ideals.

    People DO know a phony when hey see one.