Tommy Hicks Jr.: Hispanic Support Surging for Florida Republicans

Floridians are no strangers to close elections. From 2000’s cliffhanger presidential race to the 2018 U.S. Senate recount, Florida has been home to some of the nation’s closest election contests. But that’s starting to change.

In 2020, President Trump carried the Sunshine State by more than 365,000 votes. As we look ahead to the 2022 midterms, Republicans are ready to cement Florida’s status as a GOP stronghold. And to do it, we are registering more voters and closing the gap with Democrats as part of our full-court press to win back the House and Senate.

When Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, Democrats held a 700,000 voter registration advantage over Republicans here in Florida. Today, that number has dwindled down to 23,000. If current trends continue, registered Republicans will soon outnumber registered Florida Democrats for the first time ever.

The reason we are seeing such a strong shift towards Republicans in Florida is simple: the massive inroads our party is making with the Hispanic community. In fact, more than 127,000 Hispanic Americans have registered as Republicans in Florida since 2018 alone. Republicans are winning because our message of freedom, prosperity and opportunity is resonating.

In addition to our optimistic message, Democrats’ failures are also causing many Hispanics to give Republicans another look. Recent polling shows a mere 38 percent of Hispanics approve of the job Joe Biden is doing. It’s a reflection of the fact that Hispanics are overwhelmingly rejecting the radical policies that define the Democrats’ midterm agenda, whether it’s open borders or trying to ban common sense voter ID requirements.

There’s also something more fundamental at play. Many Hispanics here in Florida have seen the true cost of socialism up close and personal, having once lived in countries that implemented this backwards, destructive ideology. As Biden continues to push Bernie Sanders’ economic agenda, Cuban-Americans, Venezuelan-Americans and many other Hispanics want nothing to do with a party or a president looking to export the same failed socialist policies they fled from.

With their policies increasingly unpopular, Democrats have resorted to desperate attempts to try to win back Hispanics. It’s going to take a lot more than Jill Biden flubbing Spanish phrases or her husband playing “Despacito” for them to do so.

That kind of phony pandering shows Democrats aren’t taking the concerns of the Hispanic community seriously. Unfortunately, it’s just par for the course for a party that has routinely taken Hispanics – along with other minority groups – for granted.

For Hispanics looking for more than pandering and failed policies, however, there is good news: there is a welcome home for them in the Republican Party.

Underscoring our efforts to reach new voters and be a voice for all Americans is the RNC Hispanic Community Center we opened in Doral this month. This center will help deliver our message and be a resource for those committed to our conservative cause. And it’s part of the nationwide push our party is making to show up and invest in diverse communities for the long term.

Our inroads with Hispanics aren’t only reflected among our voters. Carlos Gimenez and Maria Salazar are two South Florida congressional Republicans who flipped seats from blue to red in 2020. Each day, they are fighting for policies proving that the GOP is indeed the “Growth and Opportunity Party.”

Here’s what has Democrats really scared: they know 2020 was no fluke. More than 42 Hispanic Republicans have filed to run for Congress this election cycle, the beginning of a long-term trend that our party will build on for decades to come.

2020 was the start of a sea change in how Republicans engage with the Hispanic community. By continuing to bring our hopeful, optimistic message to Hispanic Americans– both here in Florida and nationwide – I know Republicans are poised to win even more elections and deliver commonsense, conservative solutions that improve people’s lives.

Tommy Hicks, Jr. is a co-chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC).

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