It was no surprise to anyone watching Florida politics that the Hispanic vote played a significant role in the 2022 election cycle in Florida. Governor DeSantis won 57% of the Hispanic vote, compared with 42% for Democrat Charlie Crist, according to exit polls by major news organizations. And he won not only the traditionally GOP-leaning Cuban-American vote but also Puerto Ricans, who normally vote Democratic. In 2017 many Puerto Ricans moved to Florida after Hurricane Maria’s catastrophic damage and overwhelmingly supported the Democratic party, which pushed aid to the island after its devastation.
In 2018 voters in Florida broke for the Republican Party, which helped secure the State for President Trump. The Cuban-American community, in particular, played a significant role in the outcome. Cuban Americans have historically supported conservative candidates due to their experiences with communism and socialism. This was a significant shift from the 2018 gubernatorial election, where Florida Hispanics supported Democratic candidates by a margin of 62% over Ron DeSantis and President Joe Biden won Hispanic voters by 7%. In fact Governor Ron DeSantis won his race by a tight margin of 49.6% to 49.2%, according to Ballotpedia.com.
One organization at the forefront of the Hispanic shift is the Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Florida (RNHAFL.org). The RNHA was founded in 1967 to promote Hispanic issues and candidates and grow Hispanic support for the Republican Party. They love and breathe by the Reagan adage, “Latinos are Republican. They just don’t know it yet.”
In 2022, the RNHA of Florida worked feverishly supporting candidates statewide, offering a platform to reach Hispanic voters and lobbying for key legislators in Tallahassee. At its Annual Conference in June, the RNHA brought together Moms for Liberty, Gun Owners of America and BLEXIT, and several conservative Parliamentarians from Latin America and the Caribbean facilitated Grassroots training provided by the Leadership Institute in an effort to strengthen coalitions of conservative leaders and mobilize its members.
As we gear up for 2024, Emilio Ruiz, Chairman of the RNHA of Florida, announced they are preparing for a fierce fight. They have started to reorganize and increase outreach around the State. They will increase their offering of training for their members on Civics, Political Activism, and Grassroots Campaigning to help them be more effective in their communities. Chapters will shift their focus regionally, rather than County, to consolidate communications and event planning. They also plan to continue their partnerships with like-minded coalitions to join their efforts in education and voter registration. The RNHA will launch its broader outreach today at 7:30 PM ET on Facebook with its new Podcast “Mi Familia.” featuring Chairman Emilio Ruiz.
With the historic number of immigrants flooding the US and Florida, we must make early contact to foster relationships with these groups and convey to them that their values are Republican values. The Hispanic vote is expected to continue to be an essential factor in Florida elections, as the state has one of the largest Hispanic populations in the country, and the RNHA will be on the frontline. If you want to join the RNHA on the front and stay on top of their activities, visit the website or join them with this link.