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Politics

Florida Democrats Credit Hispanic Voters For Election Victories

Florida Democrats scored some key wins in Tuesday’s election, managing to get enough seats in the Florida House to break the Republican’s super-majority. Those wins come after years of losses for the party and shrinking ranks in the state legislature. Democratic can attribute those wins to the changing Hispanic demographics in the state’s pivotal I-4 corridor.

Powerful state Republicans, such as Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, future House Speaker Chris Dorworth and Representative Scott Plakon all lost their races to Democratic challengers. Bogdanoff, a Republican, faced off with fellow Senator Democrat Maria Sachs in a newly redrawn district. And Plakon moved to a different district so he wouldn’t have to face Dorworth. Both lost anyway.  Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith says the party is gearing up for a comeback.

 “We have a model out there. There’s a design in place, we know how to do it and we know the constituents who we have to energize.” 

That plan includes holding on to young Hispanic voters who voted 60 percent Democratic. Party Executive Director Scott Arceneaux says, having Hispanic candidates on the ballot helped too:

“We had some really great Hispanic candidates on the ballot like Darren Soto, and Darren spent the last two months doing nothing but registering Hispanic voters in Orange and Osceola and it really paid off.”

State Representative Darren Soto becomes Senator Darren Soto after winning 70 percent of the vote in his district over Republican Challenger William McBride.  

The party’s next test will come in 2014 during the state’s gubernatorial elections.

For more news updates, follow Lynn Hatter on twitter @HatterLynn