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Republican Party of Florida

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Republican Party of Florida
ChairmanEvan Power
GovernorRon DeSantis
Senate PresidentKathleen Passidomo
Speaker of the HousePaul Renner
Senate Majority LeaderBen Albritton
Florida House Majority LeaderMichael J. Grant
Founded1867; 157 years ago (1867)
Headquarters420 E. Jefferson Street
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Student wingFlorida College Republicans
Youth wingFlorida Young Republicans
Florida Teen Age Republicans
Women's wingFlorida Federation of Republican Women
Membership (2023)Decrease 5,158,753[1]
National affiliationRepublican Party
Colors  Red
28 / 40
House of Representatives
84 / 120
Statewide Executive Offices
6 / 6
U.S. Senate
2 / 2
(Florida seats)
U.S. House of Representatives
20 / 28
(Florida seats)

The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) is the affiliate of the Republican Party in the U.S. state of Florida. Florida was dominated by the Democratic Party for most of its history (like most southern states). The Republican Party has rapidly gained ground in recent decades. It is currently the state's dominant party, controlling 20 out of 28 of Florida's U.S. House seats, both U.S. Senate seats, the governorship and all other statewide offices, and has supermajorities in both houses of the state legislature.


Harrison Reed organized the Union Republican Club in Jacksonville and sent a delegation to the National Union National Convention.[3] After the American Civil War black Republicans mainly joined the Union League organized by Daniel Richards and William U. Saunders. Richards was able to have pro-black rights resolutions passed at conventions which Reed stated were "pandering to Negroes".[4]

Richards, Saunders, and Liberty Billings campaigned for black support for the 1868 constitutional convention. Edward McPherson diverted printing contracts away from Radical Republican Jacksonville Florida Times, which later went bankrupt, to the moderate Florida Union. Richards also accused Freedmen's Bureau officials of working against him. Richards and Saunders' wing controlled a majority of the delegates at the constitutional convention.[5][6]

They submitted their proposed constitution to George Meade and held a nomination convention that selected a gubernatorial ticket of Billings and Saunders and Jonathan Clarkson Gibbs for Florida's at-large congressional district. However, Reed's faction, claiming that the Radicals did not have a quorum, held another meeting and received support from Meade, who later approved their constitution. The Radical's constitution made most local and state offices elected while the moderate's constitution made those offices appointed and reduce representation of black counties in the state legislature. The Florida Radicals failed to gather support in Congress for their constitution, with even Benjamin Butler supporting the moderate's constitution.[6] The constitution was approved by voters in 1868.[7]

Several of Florida's governors and U.S. senators were Republican after the Civil War, during the Reconstruction era. Afterwards, Florida's state politics were largely dominated by Democrats until Richard Nixon's Southern Strategy, which took advantage of objections to the advances of the American Civil Rights Movement. This resulted in a regional political realignment for the Southern United States.

In 1967, Claude R. Kirk, Jr. was the first Republican governor elected in the state since the 19th century Reconstruction era. And after Nixon's victory in 1968, the state only voted Democratic in presidential elections in 1976 (Jimmy Carter) 1996 (Bill Clinton), 2008 and 2012 (Barack Obama). The 2000 presidential election was decided by a margin of 537 votes out of approximately 6 million cast, giving George W. Bush the presidency over Al Gore.

The Florida Senate was still dominated by Democrats until 1992, when a majority of Republicans was elected. The Florida House of Representatives turned Republican after the November 1996 election. Since then, the number of Democrats in both chambers have continued to drop.

The Florida Legislature became the first legislature in any of the states of the former Confederacy to come under complete Republican control when the Republicans gained control of the House and Senate in the 1996 election. However, in the 2006 election the Democrats actually gained seats in the State House, the first instance of this occurring since the early 1980s.

Structure and composition

In the 2014 gubernatorial election, the Republican nominee was Governor Rick Scott. He defeated the Democratic nominee, former governor Charlie Crist, who was once elected as a Republican.

The Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida is Evan Powers, elected by RPOF members in January 2024.

The Republican National Committee (RNC) is responsible for promoting Republican campaign activities, developing and promoting the Republican political platform, as well as coordinating fundraising and election strategy. Senator Mel Martinez of Florida is the party's former General Chairman. Michael Whatley is the current Chairman of RNC. The chairman of the RNC is chosen by the President when the Republicans have the White House and otherwise by the Party's state committees. The RNC, under the direction of the party's presidential candidate, supervises the Republican National Convention, raises funds, and coordinates campaign strategy. On the local level there are similar state committees in every state and most large cities, counties and legislative districts, but they have far less money and influence than the national body.

The Republican House and Senate caucuses have separate fund raising and strategy committees. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) assists in House races, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) in Senate races. They each raise over $100 million per election cycle, and play important roles in recruiting strong state candidates. The Republican Governors Association (RGA) is a discussion group that seldom funds state races.


The membership of the party is primarily made up of fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, neoconservatives, and members of the Christian right.

Economic policies

Republicans favor free-market policies supporting business and oppose increases to the minimum wage.

Republicans are generally opposed to a single-payer healthcare system, such as that found in Canada or in most of Europe.[8] They also oppose the Affordable Care Act and the expansion of Medicaid under the Act.[9]

Republicans oppose labor unions and have supported right-to-work legislation (with a right-to-work law currently in effect in Florida).

Social policies

Most of the Republicans' national and state candidates oppose abortion, same-sex marriage, and transgender rights, favor capital punishment (which is still used in Florida), and support gun ownership rights.

Republicans advocate for charter schools and school vouchers; many have denounced the performance of public schools.

Socially conservative Republicans support voluntary organized prayer in public schools and the inclusion of teaching creationism or intelligent design alongside evolution.


In April 2010, the party began investigating $1.3 million in questionable expenses incurred by a former party staffer, Melanie Phister. From 2006 to 2009, the party gave her an American Express credit card on which she charged the expenses for herself and her colleagues. The expenses included: $40,000 at a London, England hotel; $20,000 for plane tickets for indicted former Florida House Speaker Ray Sansom, his wife and children; $19,000 for the Water Club restaurant in New York; $15,000 for a one-month's stay at a Miami Beach hotel, and, $66,000 for chartered flights. The Republican Party of Florida has hired the accounting firm Alston + Bird LLP to investigate the party's finances, including the questionable credit card expenses.[10][11]

The party issued a September 2009 press release about Obama's planned TV presentation to schoolchildren: "Schoolchildren across the nation will be forced to watch the president justify his plans for government-run health care, banks, and automobile companies, increasing taxes on those who create jobs, and racking up more debt than any other president." Politifact said, "There remains no evidence that Obama intends to discuss the controversial policy issues of health care, banking, the automotive industry, taxes or the national debt during his address to students."[12]

In an October 2008 mailing, the party alleged "Barack Obama has consistently voted against tougher penalties for criminals." Politifact found that the party had taken selective votes or positions to prop up sensational headlines that are belied by a fuller examination of Obama's record, and found the ad's claim false.[13]

In May 2008, the party claimed in an email that Cuban leader Fidel Castro endorsed Obama. Politifact found that to be false, and added it "...comes off less like a joke and more like an intentional smear."[14]

Symbols and name

1874 Nast cartoon depicted GOP as an elephant demolishing the flimsy planks of the Democrats

The mascot symbol, historically, is the elephant. A political cartoon by Thomas Nast, published in Harper's Weekly on November 7, 1874, is considered the first important use of the symbol.[15] In the early 20th century, the usual symbol of the Republican Party in Midwestern states such as Indiana and Ohio was the eagle, as opposed to the Democratic rooster. This symbol still appears on Indiana ballots.

After the 2000 election, the color red became associated with the GOP although it has not been officially adopted by the party. On election night 2000, for the first time ever, all major broadcast networks utilized the same color scheme for the electoral map: red states for George W. Bush (Republican nominee) and blue states for Al Gore (Democratic nominee). Although the color red is unofficial and informal, it is widely recognized by the media and the public to represent the GOP. Partisan supporters now often use the color red for promotional materials and campaign merchandise.

Lincoln Day, Reagan Day, or Lincoln-Reagan Day, is the primary annual fundraising celebration held by many state and county organizations of the Republican Party. The events are named after Republican Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan.

Current elected officials

As of 2023, the party controls both U.S. Senate seats, 20 out of the 28 seats Florida is apportioned in the U.S. House, all statewide offices, and both chambers of the Florida state legislature.

Member of Congress

U.S. Senate

U.S. House of Representatives

U.S. Representatives
FL-01: Matt Gaetz
FL-02: Neal Dunn
FL-03: Kat Cammack
FL-04: Aaron Bean
FL-05: John Rutherford
FL-06: Michael Waltz
FL-07: Cory Mills
FL-08: Bill Posey
FL-11: Daniel Webster
FL-12: Gus Bilirakis
FL-13: Anna Paulina Luna
FL-15: Laurel Lee
FL-16: Vern Buchanan
FL-17: Greg Steube
FL-18: Scott Franklin
FL-19: Byron Donalds
FL-21: Brian Mast
FL-26: Mario Díaz-Balart
FL-27: Maria Elvira Salazar
FL-28: Carlos Giménez

Statewide offices

Governor Ron DeSantis

Former Florida governors and U.S. senators


Jeb Bush
Former governors of Florida
Harrison Reed
Ossian Hart
Marcellus Stearns
Claude Kirk
Bob Martinez
Jeb Bush
Charlie Crist (Elected as a Republican, left party during term)
Rick Scott

United States senators

Connie Mack III
Mel Martinez
Former U.S. senators from Florida
George LeMieux
Mel Martinez
Connie Mack III
Paula Hawkins
Edward Gurney
Simon Conover
Abijah Gilbert
Thomas Osborn
Adonijah Welch

RPOF Chairs

See also


  1. ^ "Voter Registration—By Party Affiliation". Florida Department of State. Archived from the original on September 17, 2021. Retrieved March 27, 2023.
  2. ^ Paul Gottfried, Conservatism in America: Making Sense of the American Right, p. 9, "Postwar conservatives set about creating their own synthesis of free-market capitalism, Christian morality, and the global struggle against Communism." (2009); Gottfried, Theologies and moral concern (1995) p. 12.
  3. ^ Abbott 1986, p. 63.
  4. ^ Abbott 1986, p. 130.
  5. ^ Abbott 1986, p. 135.
  6. ^ a b Abbott 1986, p. 144-145.
  7. ^ Abbott 1986, p. 160.
  8. ^ Unsettling Scores: A Ranking of State Medicaid Programs, P. 15 Archived April 19, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Kennedy, John. "After shunning Medicaid expansion, Florida Republicans see the political power of tackling health care". The Florida Times-Union. Archived from the original on January 21, 2021. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  10. ^ "Junior Florida Republican staff had $1.3 million charged to party credit card". St. Petersburg Times. April 10, 2010. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved April 10, 2010.
  11. ^ "Florida republican party staffer racks up $1.3 million on Amex card". Miami Herald. April 10, 2010.
  12. ^ Holan, Angie Drobnic (September 2, 2009). "PolitiFact - Republican Party of Florida says Obama will "indoctrinate" schoolchildren with "socialist ideology"". PolitiFact. Archived from the original on May 30, 2023. Retrieved January 9, 2024.
  13. ^ Farley, Robert (October 27, 2008). "Felony cherry-picking". PolitiFact. Archived from the original on September 28, 2023. Retrieved January 9, 2024.
  14. ^ Farley, Robert (June 5, 2008). "Castro not stumping for Obama". PolitiFact. Archived from the original on August 30, 2023. Retrieved January 9, 2024.
  15. ^ Cartoon of the Day: "The Third-Term Panic" Archived September 21, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. HarpWeek. Retrieved on February 21, 2007.

Works cited

External links

This page was last edited on 25 June 2024, at 04:16
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