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Issue #94: The 2022 Elections by Florida State House District
A large number of Biden-DeSantis Seats
Last week, I released the precinct maps for Florida’s 2022 elections. All five statewide contests were GOP landslides, fueled by a massive turnout gap further fueled by a massive money gap. If you want background on what I’ve written about the 2022 elections, here are your links for statewide looks
With all the precinct data collected, I was able to finish calculating the results by legislative district. This article will cover the breakdown by Florida’s120 state house districts.
The State House Map
Florida’s redistricting drama was dominated by the Congressional battles. While the legislature had been aiming to pass a more balanced congressional map, DeSantis vetoed the plan and demanded a GOP gerrymander. This dynamic did not exist with the legislative plans, which are not subject to a Governor’s veto. The House and Senate maps are both less gerrymandered than the Congressional plan. That said, the state house plan did take steps to short-circuit Democratic growth in Tampa. Gainesville, and Jacksonville. However, the map was more balanced in Orlando and south Florida. You can read my back-catalog of redistricting coverage here.
In 2020, Joe Biden won 49 districts to Trump’s 71. A more balanced map would have added a handful of Biden seats, but only likely a few.
So how did this map perform in 2022? Well, with the big landslide comes many seats flipping. First, here is the US Senate map.
With a 16% Rubio landslide, 15 districts flipped from Biden to Rubio.
The Gubernatorial election, which was a 19% win for DeSantis, saw 3 additional seats flip.
In total 18 Biden districts flipped to DeSantis, with three seats splitting their ticket as Demings/DeSantis seats.
The three Demings/DeSantis seats are….
HD9 - A seat dominated by the Tallahassee suburbs that extends into the rural counties. The seat backed DeSantis, but did vote Democrats for State Senate and Congress as well
HD64 - A Hispanic-access seat, which swung to the right thanks to Hillsborough’s massive partisan turnout gap a larger swing with the district’s sizeable Cuban population.
HD89 - A Hispanic-access seat in Palm Beach, which saw very low Democratic turnout in the area.
For both DeSantis and Rubio, I wanted to look at how their margins by state house district shifted from their last contest.
In 2018, Ron DeSantis won by a recount-inducing 0.4% margin. With a 19.4% re-election, it should be no shock that DeSantis improved in every district.
The biggest swings came in Miami-Dade and in Hispanic-heavy portions in Orlando and Tampa. This comes as part of voter preference shifts, but also the turnout issues we have talked about. It is notable the districts who’s swing was well under the statewide swing. While some of this muted swing is from areas that are already very GOP heavy, others that stand out are suburban areas that - turnout issues aside - still are not moving back into GOP columns.
This dynamic is seen MUCH clearer in the Rubio swing map. Rubio improved by 9% from his 2016 win, but in several districts he actually performed WORSE.
The districts were Rubio did worse all share similar dynamics; namely having suburban communities included in them. Several of these districts, like the Duval and Orlando seats, were areas that Rubio greatly outperformed Trump in back in 2016. That was in the early era of suburbs moving to the left, and in 2016 they abandoned Trump but not the full GOP slate. By 2022, the GOP struggle in this upper-income, higher-educated areas is still a real issue.
State House Losses
With the landslide GOP wins statewide, it should be no shock Democrats running for state house had a bad night. Democrats lost 7 seats, leaving them with just 35 districts to the GOP’s 85. Only one is in a district that voted for DeSantis and Rubio; HD93’s Katherine Waldron, who narrowly won her seat.
The story of 2022 was a story of many down-ballot democrats out-performing the statewide ticket. Several Democrats, even those who lost, came closer to winning than Demings, and especially Crist.
My goal is to dig into several individual races and districts in future substacks. Some of these seats have a real chance to flip back to Democrats in 2024 if turnout improves; with major turnout gaps causing their issues.
For example, one major loss for Democrats was Carlos Guillermo Smith, who held this Biden +11 district.
Smith would lose by 3%, which was better than DeSantis’ 5% win.
Just a bit further south was HD47, a newly-drawn Hispanic-majority seat in Osceola County. This seat backed Biden by 13%.
Democrats failed to flip this seat, narrowly losing as DeSantis and Rubio won the seat.
This district was covered in my turnout article. Thanks to a large partisan and racial turnout gap, this seat was far whiter and GOP-friendly than its registration or past voting dictates. Look back at my turnout data article for more on this seat.
I want to look at more districts in the future, so keep your eyes out for that. In the meantime, I didn’t want to delay in getting these results out any longer.
In the next day or two, you all should get my State Senate breakdown. Be sure to subscribe to see them before anyone else!