Democratic voters now outnumber Republicans in Florida by roughly 660,000 this year, so it ought to be a good year for Dems in the state legislature. Plus after 10 years of complete Republican control in Tallahassee, Florida has been hit the hardest by the economic turmoil. You'd expect voters rallying for a change. Eh, not quite.
Republicans have a 75-43 advantage in the state house, and a 26-14 advantage in the senate. They also have a three-to-one fundraising advantage over the Dems this cycle. As the Sun-Sentinel points out, Republican incumbent Sen. Jeff Atwater from North Palm Beach has raised more money than all 16 Democratic candidates statewide.
Even the most optimistic Democrats think the best their party can do is pick up about six seats in the house, but a more likely number is four. The senate has a bleaker number, with most predicting a possible gain of one seat for the Dems.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
State of Sunshine predicts Democrats winning only six of the 14 state senate seats.
Republicans' continued advantage is in no small part thanks to Mario Diaz-Balart, who was chair of the Congressional Redistricting Committee the last time districts were drawn (and where he drew the boundaries of Florida's U.S. Congressional District 25, which he promptly won in 2002). Ironically, Mario might very well be out the door come Tuesday, but his legacy of gerrymandering will live on.
If there's a realignment in the state legislature, it might happen in 2010, when term limits end the run of 21 house republicans and 8 senate republicans. Expect the state Dems to flex their new voter muscle heavily then.