Can Florida help Democrats regain the U.S. Senate?
You may have heard about tomorrow's election in Florida. We’ll be picking the mayor of Miami-Dade county, voting on tax savings for businesses and individuals who want to invest in solar power, and selecting a number of State Senators and Representatives. With all the attention around Trump, Clinton, and Ryan Lochte, it can be difficult for local elections to make the headlines. But for those of us who want to see Democrats regain control of the U.S. Senate, with a Floridian whose views are more aligned with their own, Tuesday’s choice could not be more important.
In 2010, 910K Democrats turned out to vote for Kendrick Meek, winning the primary with 523K votes, a mere 11% of registered Democrats! Meek went on to face Marco Rubio and Charlie Crist. Rubio won the election with 48.89% of the vote. Note that Meek and Crist combined for 49.71% of the vote. Looking at these numbers, a single strong progressive candidate may have been able to take Marco Rubio. There are 4.6 million registered Democrats in the state of Florida and 4.4 million registered Republicans.
As a reminder, a Senator’s term of office is six years. The current Senate has 54 Republican seats, 24 of which are up for election in 2016. 10 of the 46 Democrat seats will be decided in November as well. That means that the Senate races in November can easily shift the balance of power. The question remains, who will Florida elect to contest Marco Rubio and does this matter? National security, environmental protection, gun safety, education funding, living wages, care for veterans, women’s right to choose, and health care affordability are critical issues and progressive voters deserve a candidate who can represent them passionately, authentically, and responsibly — without corporate donations getting in the way.
I am writing this not for those of you who already know the significance, but for those who are standing on the sideline, and continue to share articles about Trump and Clinton for an election that is still more than two months away.
We have five qualified candidates to take on Marco Rubio. They appear on the ballot in the following order:
By looking at the Google Trends data over the past 7 days in Florida, all five candidates seem to be generating a decent amount of interest. WMN (Women’s Movement Now) has published a voter guide if you are interested in learning more about all the choices for Tuesday’s election. I’d love to be able to provide you a summary table with the pros and cons of each candidate, but it’s hard not to be biased. This is an appeal to spend an hour to google the candidates, watch some of their videos, visit their sites, read their positions, and tell your friends. Let’s not have a repeat of 2010 where only 20% of registered Democrats participated in the selection process. Make your voice heard.