Republican Party may obtain supermajority in Florida legislature

Posted at 6:08 PM, Oct 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-26 18:08:02-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Redistricting has put all of the state's 160 seats up for election this year.

The new lines mean new groups of voters to appeal to.

And Democrats worry Republicans will capitalize with supermajorities.

As recently as 2018 — Florida Democrats thought they could nab GOP parity in at least one of the chambers.

Fast forward to 2022 — and they're just trying to keep the little power they have.

"If you are a believer in Democracy — if you want to save this republic — as Franklin posed to everybody — you have to have the interplay, the vetting, the back and forth," Sen. Jason Pizzo, a Democrat of Miami said.

Wednesday, Senate members kicked off a 10-day bus tour to support five vulnerable candidates in the upper chamber.

Democrats want to keep Republicans from a 2/3s supermajority, made harder, they say, after GOP-controlled redistricting.

"If you have unilateral decisions being made — drafted and crafted that have absolutely nothing to do with reality, that piggyback on the ambitions of somebody else looking outside the state — then Democracy is in ruin," Pizzo said.

Supermajorities not only make it harder for Democrats to get their bills approved — they allow the GOP to easily change chamber rules.

They can override vetos from the governor.

Or enact policy increasing state revenue.

The threshold is close in both chambers. It's 76 to 42 with two vacancies in the House. Republicans need to get to 80 seats there.

In the Senate, 23 to 16 with one vacancy. Another four-seat GOP net is required.

Senate Republicans are on offense; already attacking Dems in a new ad.

"What we're seeing is more people break from the Democrat Party because they just don't believe in the things they believe in," Rep. Blaise Ingoglia a Republican of Spring Hill said.

GOP members telling us each day that increased control seems more attainable.

Rep. Ingoglia attributed it to voters liking what the Republican-dominated legislature is doing.

"We are creating an environment here that is being noticed by people all over the United States that this is the place to be," Blaise said.

But will that 'place' still have a relevant minority party in the legislature?

Florida finds out on November 8.

Meanwhile, GOP early vote ballots continue to close in on Democrats.

As of Wednesday morning, about 22,000 separate the two parties — and Republicans often turn out in big numbers on Election Day.