Four years ago, Republicans and Democrats in Florida were similarly optimistic about their chances of winning the governor's mansion and a toss-up race for a US Senate seat during the 2018 midterms. The results of those races -- razor-thin victories for Republicans in both contests -- devastated Democrats but nevertheless seemed to reenforce Florida's status as a purple state. But as the calendar turns to 2022, doubts are creeping in, as Republican momentum and Democratic malaise have many seeing a deeper shade of red here.
On the back of Gov. Ron DeSantis' aggressive governing style and national appeal among conservatives, Florida Republicans have built a media and fundraising juggernaut that Democrats have struggled to match. For the first time in modern history, there are more active registered Republican voters in the state than Democrats -- a shift in political winds that began with Donald Trump's presidency and continued under DeSantis. And total GOP control of state government in Tallahassee has given Republicans the freedom to set the agenda for the election year, unilaterally change voting laws and draw new congressional maps that could swing the US House their way. With this momentum, Republicans are not only looking to defend DeSantis and the seat held by Sen. Marco Rubio next year, but they also hope to take Florida -- the quadrennial prized swing state -- off the electoral map in the 2024 presidential election cycle.