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WHAT THEY’RE SAYING: Why Democrats Are Suddenly Excited About Florida

May 08, 2024

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING: Why Democrats Are Suddenly Excited About Florida

The Debbie for Florida campaign continues to gain momentum – and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell is building a strong coalition of support at every level to hold Rick Scott accountable for his dangerous agenda to cut Social Security and Medicare, back any anti-abortion bill, and hurt working families in Florida.

TIME: Democrats Have a Chance to Notch Big Wins in Florida, Even if Biden Falls Short

  • Much more likely is that we may now have an unexpectedly competitive race between GOP Sen. Rick Scott and his Democratic challenger, former Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell.
  • In other words, Democrats need every break they can get, which is why Mucarsel-Powell is the quiet rockstar that the party is trying to promote without flagging her as a target for the right.
  • He’s never won any of his general-election races by more than two percentage points. (Usually less, and once via recount.)
  • In early 2022, he released a campaign strategy memo that drew the open scorn of some members and the ire of Senate Leadership, specifically its call to sunset popular social programs like Social Security and Medicare.
  • In a warning shot against Mucarsel-Powell, Scott has been spending about $700,000 a week on ads to promote his re-election, including one emphasizing his opposition to socialism—typically a winning message in immigrant-heavy Florida but one that even some Republicans worry may have lost clout when run against Mucarsel-Powell, whose family fled socialist Ecuador when she was a child. Mucarsel-Powell returned the salvo with a Spanish-language ad that says “it’s freedom that Rick Scott wants to take away.”
  • Yet Mucarsel-Powell is poised to see a significant boost, now that courts have cleared the way for Floridians to be asked to preserve abortion rights this fall. Outside groups are readying a ton of cash to get the ballot measure to victory. Polling shows Florida in the same headspace of supporting abortion rights as Ohio and Kansas, both red states that surprised pundits when they backed abortion rights ballot issues.
  • Scott’s team has been across the spectrum when it comes to abortion access in Florida. While he has said he would have preferred a 15-week ban, he nonetheless has backed the six-week one, and said he would have signed it if he had still been governor.
  • As recent elections have shown in spades, support for abortion rights is bipartisan. Of the roughly 1.3 million signatures submitted in the first round of filings for the ballot measure, roughly 150,000 of those Hancocks were registered Republicans.
  • “I’ve been saying this for a long time because I’ve lived in Florida for so long: Florida is a very independent state. It’s a purple state. It’s a third, a third, a third,” Mucarsel-Powell tells TIME.


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