Where The Votes Are: Republicans Registered Big, Stuck Together

Todays News

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING THURSDAY NOV 19, 2020

While ticket splitting in past elections has allowed Democrats to win jurisdictions like state House District 72 in the past, there seemed little such activity going on during this presidential year. When it did happen, it seemed to the benefit of local Republicans.

SRQ’s precinct analysis of the November elections shows the path the Republican Party took to victory in a year when voters appeared largely to vote party line. The results will be discussed as SRQ’s Where The Votes Are virtual workshop on Zoom. The event begins at 8:30 a.m. today. Click here to register.

In a high-profile Congressional race, Democrat Margaret Good didn’t win any precincts where Donald Trump won in Sarasota or Manatee counties, and incumbent Republican Vern Buchanan won just six where Joe Biden led. Republican Fiona McFarland won four Biden precincts while Democrat Drake Buckman did not win in any Trump territory. Republican Rep. Tommy Gregory ended up winning every precinct in state House District 73.

This all led to a strong showing by the local Republican Party, with candidates frequently outperforming Trump in a place Trump won popular within a state the Republican President won by more than 3 percentage points.

Democrats, who enjoyed successes in August thanks to a massive turnout effort, ultimately couldn’t match Republicans’ ground game in the November election. But there were bright spots for the operation. With a pandemic impacting the community, Democrats turned up the volume for record participation in vote-by-mail. IN Sarasota County, more than 60,000 voters cast their ballots through mailboxes or drop boxes, while less than 50,000 Republicans did the same.

But any edge that created early in the cycle was erased once in-person early voting began. Republicans massively outperformed Democrats in the region at polls both in the weeks before Election Day and in getting voters out for a final Nov. 3 push. In fact, in Sarasota County, more than 23,000 Republicans showed up to vote the day of the election, while barely 7,000 Democrats did the same.

In many ways, that reflected an advantage built in for Republicans from the beginning. A strong registration effort by the GOP ultimately meant there were more than 15,000 more registered voters casting ballots in Sarasota than there are Democrats in total. An 84.4% turnout among the party with a built-in numbers advantage left little ability for Democrats ultimately to compete.

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