Home BrowardBeat.com Win Doesn’t Mean As Much As Democrats Hope

Win Doesn’t Mean As Much As Democrats Hope


Florida Democrats are dizzy with joy today.  The finally won a big race. 

But does Donna Deegan’s victory in the race for Jacksonville mayor really portend good times for Democrats?

Maybe. If Democrats can find more D’s with a great, great deal of local name recognition.

Deegan is a Jacksonville native. 

Deegan was an anchor on Jacksonville’s WTLV television for 25 years. 

Deegan fought a widely publicized battle against breast cancer. 

Donna Deegan

Deegan founded a much-admired foundation to provide financial assistant to families of those fighting the disease. 

And perhaps as important as her resume, Deegan kept focused on local issues:

  • Building more affordable housing and more infrastructure, especially in neglected neighborhoods.  
  • Developing a “vibrant” downtown, helped by streamlining permitting.
  • Appointing a chief health officer who can coordinate with private medical providers to boost city residents’ health. 

Her website skirts issues that dominate so much of Democratic politics. Issues that turn off some swing voters. 

Nothing on Trump. Nothing on trans rights. Nothing on immigration. Nothing on Black Lives Matter. 

Just local. Local. Local.

Deegan’s win is against a backdrop of the news this week that Republicans continue to widen their edge over Democrats in Florida. 

The GOP now has a nearly 473,000-voter lead over Democrats in voter registration, according to figures released this week.  

Democrats held the registration lead in Florida until 2021. In the November 2022 election, Republicans had roughly a 306,000 registration advantage. 

As of the end of April, there are 5,307,574 Republicans, 4,834,794 Democrats and 4,031,983 without party affiliation. There are also 274,894 registered with third parties, according to the state.

Democrats historically held a registration edge, but Republicans overtook them in 2021.

All that depressing registration news for Democrats isn’t stopping former County Commissioner Barbara Sharief from fast tracking her Democratic campaign for state Senate. 

Yet Sharief’s fund raiser in downtown Fort Lauderdale this week points out the problem Democrats have, even in the Democratic stronghold of Broward County. 

The host committee for the fund raiser stretches back to an era when Democrats mattered in Tallahassee.  Some of these people have been around Democratic politics since the 1970s. These people are now in their 70s.…or maybe older. 

Old. Old. Old.

Not enough new blood.

Sharief is the only candidate in the race now. She could win. What does she really win?  

A seat in a Legislature that is overwhelmingly Republican, which means overwhelmingly against almost anything Sharief says she stands for. There are easier ways to be depressed.

So while Sharief is knocking her head against the Red Wall in Tallahassee, newly-minted Jacksonville Mayor Deegan will be moving forward. Because there is no Democratic or Republican way to fill potholes. 

Ashley Walker, a Fort Lauderdale political consultant who helped on Deegan’s campaign, explained the Democrats’ plight this way in the New York Times:

“Democrats in Florida have to eat the elephant piece by piece,” Walker told the New York Times.

Despite Walker’s prediction, Democrats will find it hard to repeat Deegan’s victory in bright red Florida. 

Democrats will find out what every rural Florida farmer already knows.

Donkeys can’t easily eat elephants. Donkeys are vegetarians. 


This article originally appeared here and was republished with permission.