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Florida’s vote-by-mail totals…both parties dead even!

entering-sarasota-county-630x286I have started a new blog called “Elections Florida”, where I will be examining the numbers behind elections in Florida. The numbers will range from voting behavior to campaign finance. Also, this site will examine more of the scientific side of campaigns and elections in Florida and will not be focused on commentary. This is the most recent post on the site. Also, the site will have up-to-date numbers on all registration numbers throughout the state and pre-Election Day results. Click HERE to visit the site, and subscribe today.

With exactly one week until early voting starts in Florida, Democrats have caught up to Republicans when it comes to vote by mail numbers. However, even though the pre-Election Day totals are now even, Democrats seem to maintain an advantage over the Republicans.

First, let’s look at the raw vote totals. With 513,698 votes cast so far in the state, only 90 votes separate the two major political parties, with the Republicans having the edge. Additionally, the overall state turnout rate as of now is 4.06%. When we break that down into political parties, the Democratic turnout rate is 4.39%, the Republican turnout rate is 4.68%, and NPA/Other turnout rate being 2.74%. Of those who have requested vote-by-mail ballots (which, as of now, is 2.453,504), 19.38% have been returned and counted.

If we examine the swing* throughout the state, Republicans do have an advantage of 2.34%. While this might sound like good news to the Republicans, there are two possible issues. First, many Republican votes have already been cast. In the strongest Republican performing counties, Republican return rates are much higher than Democratic return rates. For example, in Okaloosa County, 64% of Republicans have already turned in their vote-by-mail ballots compared to 26% in the same county. We see this gap of at least 25% in the counties of Walton, Okaloosa, Clay, Santa Rosa, Nassau, Bay, and Collier Counties. As a result, Democrats should be able to close the gap, assuming that Democrats who requested a vote-by-mail ballot actually mail in their ballot.

Click here for more on this article.

Rewind: Florida Watch Action…Susannah Randolph’s “cash machine”?


EDITORS NOTE: In the past, we did a series of articles about Susannah Randolph and her questionable dealings with an individual named Christopher Findlater. With the election for Congress approaching, it seems wise to revisit these issues regarding the integrity of those who may become members of Congress.

Back in 2010 we saw the emergence of Florida Watch Action, a political advocacy group which promoted liberal causes and started the “Pink Slip Rick Scott” campaign, discrediting the current governor. As far as some of the work done by Florida Watch Action, it is nice to see that some people are out there saying things; whereas in the past nobody ever organized.

But with that being said, I wonder what Florida Watch Action is really up to. Yes, I understand that they are trying to move public opinion away from Rick Scott, but is that their main goal? To me, a few bumper stickers around the state as well as protests here and there really doesn’t do it for me. While I think it has made some impact, it still seems quite inadequate. I fail to see the lack of any real action in trying to get progressives elected in the State of Florida.

What is interesting about Florida Watch Action, Inc., is that last part “Inc”. Yes, it is one of those 501(c)(4) organizations which has been able to find its way into politics after the Citizens United case in the United State Supreme Court. Unlike Ruth’s List, who formed an organization (a committee of continuous existence, or CCE) which has to disclose their contributions and expenditures to the Florida Division of Elections, Florida Watch Action doesn’t have to disclose any of theirs.
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Open Letter to the Florida Democratic Party.

Dear Chairwoman Tant-Richard,

When I made the decision to run for the Florida House of Representatives, I did so to make a point. That point was that Florida Democrats should be running in every possible legislative district, regardless of the likelihood of winning. With Donald Trump heading the ticket, Democrats in Florida could bring real change to Tallahassee. However, in House District 44, the numbers are getting better and a Democratic candidate can win the district (which I will get to later).

Unfortunately, the tragic events in Orlando has changed everything.

When I decided to run for House District 44, I did so to make a point. I did it because I was mad at the inaction of the Florida Democratic Party. And, yes, I did it because of my own ego.

However, after the events of yesterday, where 49 people lost their lives in my home town, making sure Democrats get elected to the Florida Legislature is bigger than my ego. It is bigger than the party’s ego. It goes beyond both partisan politics and in-party fighting. It comes down to bringing true policy reform to Florida.

Florida Democrats need to give all Floridians an option to vote against the policies supported by Florida Republicans. Whether we win or lose, we need to give them a voice. Those who live in House District 44 are being deprived of that opportunity to vote against the degenerative and parochial views espoused by Florida Republicans. With this being the case, we are not doing our civic duty as a party.

As of right now, I do not plan on paying the filing fee to run for the Florida House. Why? Because I will probably not be returning to Orlando in the next few months to seek the office that I am running for, and I personally cannot make the investment (with both my time and money) to make a serious run for the seat. However, the people of the 44th District do need a Democratic option to show their opposition, and in some cases disgust, to the policy positions of the Florida House Republicans.

I ask, and in fact beg, the Florida Democratic Party and House Victory to field a candidate in Florida House District 44. The people of the district need to be able to voice their disapproval for Republican policies. If the party cannot find someone to run for the seat, I would be more than happy to remain on the ballot, with the party’s support, to give people the option to vote against the Republican Party’s principles. If Democrats cannot field a candidate for House District 44, then we are doing the citizens of southwest Orange County a great disservice.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this open letter, the numbers are workable. In 2012, Romney won the district with only 53% of the vote, and with about 18% of independents favoring President Obama (using exiting polling data to predict vote trends for major party candidates). Senator Nelson, Sheriff Jerry Demings and SoE Bill Cowles won this district in 2012. In addition, when you calculate for the volatility of votes in each precinct, Republican precincts are much more unstable, with Democratic precincts being solid. Therefore, with Trump leading the ticket, and an expected drop in Republican turnout, Democrats can win this election. Also, Representative Eric Eisnaugle has only raised $1,000 since February.

But again, that is not the entire point, but it should catch your attention.

We need to do what we can for the citizens of Florida. We really do need to give them clear choices. Even if voters do not know the Democratic candidates, they can vote for the candidates with the (D) next to their names as a protest against the increasingly intolerable Republican Party policies facing Florida and the nation.

Again, I beg you to put a candidate, any candidate, in this seat. This is bigger than me. This is bigger than the party. This election is to save the soul of Florida. The Florida Democratic Party has a responsibility to the voters to offer clear policy alternatives. Now is not a moment for inaction, but a moment to rise up.


Dave Trotter

Florida Democrats….seriously?

UntitledThis is a message to the Florida Democratic Party, particularly Chairwoman Allison Tant, incoming Democratic House leader Janet Cruz, outgoing Democratic House leader Mark Pafford, Director of House Victory Dan Newman, and everyone else who is responsible for recruiting Democratic candidates for the Florida House of Representatives in the State of Florida, as well as Juan Rafael Lopez Sanchez and the rest of the Orange County Democratic Executive Committee. 

So, I haven’t written much since I announced, jokingly, that I was going to run for the Florida House of Representatives in District 44. This is a district that I consider home, if I lived in Florida. However, I just spend the last two years living in Montreal and have returned to Illinois to work on a campaign for the 2016 election. Yes, I am not working on my campaign, I am working on an entirely different campaign, in an entirely different state.

By this time, I was expecting the Florida Democratic Party or, at minimum, the Orange County Democratic Party, to actually recruit someone to run in House District 44. However, I still remain the only Democratic candidate running for the district, which is simply mind-blowing!

The reason I initially announced that I was running for the House in this district was because there should be at least one Democrat running for this seat. In 2012, Mitt Romney only won 53% of the vote in the district. Democrats, such as Bill Nelson, Bill Cowles, and Jerry Demings actually won the district. In fact, it is about as much of a “swing district” as you can get.

Fast-forward to 2016. Donald Trump is the nominee of the Republican Party. With there being a lack of any viable third-party option for fiscally-conservative Republicans, all of the Republican candidates at every level are now stuck with Trump. In Florida, Hillary continues to beat Trump. And as the election nears, I am confident that Hillary will start pulling away from Trump in the Sunshine State.

With this election dynamic, and the Democrats looking at historic wins, the Florida Democratic Party should run candidates in every seat possible. In Canada, this is exactly what they do. Take Alberta for example, which is the most conservative province in Canada. The New Democratic Party, which is a center-left party, pulled off one of the biggest election upsets in North American political history. However, because of the parliamentary system, the NDP needed to have candidates in every single district (or ridings as they call them in Canada). The Democrats in Florida need to approach politics in the same way. Most voters vote because of the top of the ticket. But if there are no Democratic candidates lower down the ticket, the Florida Democratic Party will miss a golden opportunity.

Of course, some people say “well, the Republicans will just win it again in 2018”. Are you sure? The new dynamic of the Republican Party, a party based on ethno-nationalist sentiment, might start seeing the beginning-of-the-end in a highly diverse state like Florida. Therefore, don’t count out anything.

Besides the Trump phenomenon being a blessing for the Democrats in Florida, my opponent, Eric Eisnaugle, has raised NO MONEY in the last three months. In February, he did a waiver, and in March and April he recorded no funds coming in. Any of you who know politics knows that incumbent politicians usually receive donations even when they do ask for them. Mr. Eisnaugle not raising any money whatsoever these last three months should be something that is looked at very seriously. Again, the demographics are there for Democrats to make this a competitive seat. The election dynamics are also there for Democrats. And if Mr. Eisnaugle is not going to be raising any money, and is on the outs with his political party, then that is even another opportunity for the Florida Democratic Party.

Yet, nothing has happened. I look at the Division of Elections website every few days and see that I am still the only candidate running against Eric Eisnaugle.

So, Florida Democratic Party, what are your intentions? If you want to pay my filing fee, feel free to do so. Mr. Newman, you can email me at davetrotter@thepoliticalhurricane.com and tell me the check is in the mail. That will require Eric Eisnaugle to use his $94,000 against me instead of against other Democrats. But I surely do hope, for everyone’s sake, that the Florida Democratic Party is actually trying to recruit a candidate for this district which, I cannot stress enough, can flip during this particular election!

While I am a person that knows the issues facing the State of Florida, and can easily take down Mr. Eisnaugle in a debate regarding the issues (let’s face it, Speaker Crisafulli has given us more than enough ammunition, just like Donald Trump), we need a candidate that can run an effective campaign. I am the first to admit that I am not the best candidate for this race. Why? Because I don’t live in the damn district!

So, Florida Democrats, House Victory, Chairwoman Allison Tant, Director Dan Newman, I am begging you to find a candidate to run in this district. Just pick someone, anyone. Ask the next guy walking down the Bronough St. if they are interested in running for the position. I mean, seriously, anyone! And just so you know, I will not be paying a filing fee, and I cannot get 1,010 signatures in the next eight days. And, it’s been 150 days since I “announced”. So please, do something!

Over the last few weeks, the Florida Democratic Party has been telling the U.S. Senate to “do their job” regarding the approval of Justice Garland. Ever wonder what the definition of a paradox was….there you go! Please, Florida Democrats and House Victory…do your job!



Why Democrats should be praying for a Trump nomination.

635838115365780122-901575687_6358235333419573281092854367_donald-trumpIf you are anything like me, you have been wondering which Republican presidential candidate would be the best for the Democratic Party in the upcoming election. Of course, if you support a sane democracy that will have a general election focused on the issues, you would probably go for John Kasich, who would probably beat any of the Democratic candidates. But if you are looking at which candidate can lead to Democratic wins down the ballot, the easy choice would be Donald Trump.

Many of us have been going back and forth wondering if Trump or Ted Cruz would be the best candidate for Democratic chances to win the presidency, the Senate, and even the House of Representatives. Regardless which of these two candidates are the eventual GOP nominee, the general election outcome would probably be bliss for Democrats. But Trump has hit the “trifecta” as far as support: new voters, lack of Republican support, and those voters that Donald loves, “the poorly educated”.

First, let’s look at new voters. One of the biggest stories coming out of this election year is how Trump is in bringing new voters. Of course, these voters are being persuaded to vote because of Donald Trump and nothing else. So, if we come to a general election scenario, there is a likelihood that these voters might go to the polls, only vote for the top of the ticket, and walk out the door. Democrats, on the other hand, might be more likely to vote straight-ticket Democrat because the probable nominee, Hillary Clinton, will have broad Democratic Party support.

The new voter phenomenon links to the second problem for Republicans, which is the lack of support within the Republican Party for Trump. This could have two adverse effects. First, moderate Republicans might either stay home or vote for Clinton. Because of the dislike for Hillary on the Republican side, most will probably just stay home. This, again, helps the Democrats. The other problem that Trump faces is that he is bringing in a number of voters that identify as independents. Because these voters have no partisan attachment, they might also decide to skip down-ballot races, again benefiting Democrats.

Finally, the last group that Donald is doing quite well with is “the poorly educate”, using his words. One piece of research that I have just started working on asks the question “do lower information voters simply vote for who they think is going to win”? One theme that has been apparent during this primary season is Trump spending a good chunk of any speech talking about his poll numbers, boasting him ability to win. If voters who are less sophisticated merely go out and vote for Trump, they also might skip the down-ballot races as well.

When looking at Ted Cruz, he still can solidify Republican voters. While he might perform worse than Trump in a general election, people turning out to vote for Cruz will probably vote in down-ballot races. Therefore, Cruz might hurt the ticket at the top, but Trump will be more damaging to down-ballot races.

Florida Democrats moving forward? Comparing the LEAD and STEP proposed reforms.

Statewide Demos Sample FinalEarlier today, the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida release a party rebuilding strategy, called STEP, regarding their view of the future direction of the Florida Democratic Party. This was a response to the LEAD report released by the Florida Democratic Party earlier in the year, which was a response to the disastrous campaign of 2014. When I saw that it was the Democratic Progressive Caucus presenting this new vision of change, I was expecting that most of it would advocate moving the party ideologically to the left. However, ideology was rarely talked about, and the document was a well thought out response to the LEAD report. Still, I would not call the STEP report an alternative to the LEAD report, but instead an expansion (which will be talked about later).

Before getting into today’s recommendations, let’s first look at the LEAD report. When the report was released, it was criticized by many, mostly because it was too broad. Not only do I agree with this assessment, but the report also seemed to give the impression that the Florida Democratic Party has actually been doing well. Using their own words, 2014 was a disappointment after a “strong” 2012 election. Was it really a “strong” result? Were there any surprise seats that the Florida Democrats won in the Florida House and Senate (besides Clelland’s victory, that this blog predicted would happen)? The LEAD document continues to praise itself by saying that Democrats had good candidates, that their statewide field plans were “strong and effective”, and the legislative efforts were “aggressive”. Again, were they really?
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Florida Democrats start illogical targeting of Republican super-voters.

(Not a full-blown article, but just an examination of events today).

Today, Peter Schorsch at St. Petersblog wrote today that the Florida Democratic Party was targeting super-voters in Republican-leaning Senate district. However, the voters they seem to be targeting are super-voting Republicans. This tactic shows that the Florida Democratic Party, or the consultants that they are hiring, have very little, to absolutely zero, knowledge of voting behavior. One must wonder if the FDP, or their consultants, simply pull a campaign strategy out of a hat and say “hey, we will go with that”.
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