National Dems Signal Surrender to DeSantis in Florida

Democratic Governors Association will not prioritize Florida race

Florida governor Ron DeSantis (R.) / Getty Images
November 5, 2021

The Democratic Governors Association will not prioritize efforts to unseat Florida governor Ron DeSantis (R.) in light of the hefty costs of boosting a challenger and the slim odds of a Democratic win in the race, according to a Politico report.

The DGA, a political organization "dedicated to electing Democratic governors and candidates," has spent more than $15 million on the last two Florida gubernatorial elections, according to Politico. But Florida Democratic consultants in contact with the association told the outlet that the DGA is standing down ahead of the state's 2022 gubernatorial election, essentially surrendering the race to DeSantis.

The organization is occupied with defending Democratic incumbents this cycle, the consultants said, and lacks confidence that a Democratic challenger could topple DeSantis. The enormous costs of effectively advertising across Florida would be a major drain on the DGA's finances if it were to prioritize the state's election.

"I spoke to [the DGA] two weeks ago. … DeSantis is looking strong politically and financially," one consultant told Politico. "They might do some money, but they are not going the way they have been in the past. There are not going to be multimillion-dollar checks."

A DGA staffer told Politico the Florida race is not a priority during an election cycle in which Republicans hope to flip Democratic seats all across the country.

"Let me tell you how the DGA works," the staffer said. "First, it’s incumbent protection, and there is a bunch of that this year. Then they look at open seats, then they look at challenging incumbents, and DeSantis isn’t the easiest incumbent to challenge."

In 2018, the DGA spent $7.6 million on Democrat Andrew Gillum's failed campaign against DeSantis. The Cook Political Report rates Florida's 2022 gubernatorial race as "lean Republican."