Florida Politics and Government

Florida politics and Government

Florida Government and Politics

 The government of the Florida, as defined by the Constitution of Florida, consists of three separate branches: judiciary, executive and legislative. Florida legislature consists of Florida Senate that has 40 members and The House of Representatives which consists of 120 members.

History of Florida Politics

Florida politics underwent changes since the Civil War and the Reconstruction that happened in The United States during 1865-77. Elite-white Democrats struggled to come into power, but, regained it in 1877 partly through violent means. From 1885 to 1889, the state legislature passed statutes with provisions to reduce voting by blacks and poor whites, which had threatened white Democratic power with a populist coalition. Thus, White Democrats established a one-party state. Since the African Americans were denied voting rights, majority of their population migrated to the north states which reduced their population in Florida from 44% in 1900 to 18% in 1960. Political power in Florida is dominated by the Democrats. From the year 1877-1948, Florida has been voting for Democratic candidates for every presidential election, except for the year 1928.

Post 1952, Politics in Florida turned. Except for the years 1964, 1976, 1996 and 2008, Florida has been voting for Republican presidential candidates since 1952. In 1966, Florida’s first post-reconstruction Governor was elected and in 1968, the first post-reconstruction Senator.

Political Party Strength in Florida

Local Politics in Florida has been dominated by the Republicans consistently since 1999. The Governor since 1999 for the state of Florida was the Republican Jeb Bush. He continued to be the Governor till 2006. Since 2007 till 2009, Charlie Crist (Republican) was the Governor. In 2010, he became an Independent candidate. The Democratic Senator from Florida, Bill Nelson is active since 2001. The dominance of Republicans in Florida Politics is evident from the Republicans in the State Senate house (76 R and 44 D)

Florida Major Political Parties

  • Florida Democratic Party (DEM)
      Web address: http://www.fladems.com
  • Republican Party of Florida (REP)
    • Web address: http://www.rpof.org

Florida Minor Political Parties

  • American Billionaires Political Party  (BIL)
  • American Bourgeoisie Political Party  (BOU)
  • American Capitalists Political Party  (CAP)
  • American Celebrities Political Party  (CEL)
  • American Christians Political Party  (CHI)
  • American Conservatives Political Party  (ACP)
  • American Economic Elites Political Party  (AEE)
  • American Educators Political Party  (EDU)
  • American Industrialists Political Party  (AIN)
  • American Intellectual Elites Political Party  (ELI)
  • American Multi-Millionaires Political Party  (MIL)
  • American Party of Florida   (APF)
    • Web address:http://www.AmericanPartyofFlorida.com
    • Email: americanpartyofflorida@earthlink.net
  • American Patriot Party  (AMP)
  • American Reform Party of Florida  (ARP)
    • Web address:http://www.americanreform.org/
  • American Wealthy Persons Political Party  (AWP)
  • America's Independent Party of Florida  (AIP)
    • Web address:http://www.aipnews.com/mxPage.asp?SID=FL&ID=19
    • Email: fl@aipnews.com
  • British Reformed Sectarian Party  (BRS)
    • Web address:http://www.brsparty.com
  • The Christian Party  (CHR)
  • Constitution Party of Florida  (CPF)
    • Web address:http://www.cpflorida.com/
  • Ecology Party of Florida  (ECO)
    • Web address:http://www.ecologyparty.org/
  • Faith & Patience Inc. N.P.G.G.  (FAP)
  • Family Values Party  (FVP)
  • Florida Socialist Workers Party  (SWP)
  • Florida Whig Party  (FWP)
    • Web address: http://www.floridawhig.com/
    • Email: chair@flwp.org
  • Green Party of Florida, Inc. (GRE)
    • Web address: http://www.floridagreens.org
    • Email: info@floridagreens.org
  • Independence Party of Florida (IDP)
    • Web address: http://www.ipfl.org/
  • Independent Democrats of Florida   (IDF)
  • Independent Party of Florida  (INT)
    • Email: flaindparty@aol.com
  • Libertarian Party of Florida  (LIB)
    • Web address: http://www.lpf.org
  • Objectivist Party of Florida  (OBJ)
  • Party for Socialism and Liberation - Florida  (PSL)
    • Web address: http://www.VotePSL.org
    • Email: florida@votepsl.org
  • Possibility Party  (POS)
    • Web address:http://www.PossibilityParty.com
  • Progressive Libertarian Party   (PRL)
    • Web address: http://www.prlparty.org/
    • Email address: mjposner@adelphia.net
  • Prohibition Party   (PRO)
    • Email: prohibitionparty@yahoo.com
  • Real Food Party of the United States of America  (RFP)
  • Reform Party  (REF)
    • Web address:http://www.rpfla.org
  • Socialist Party of Florida  (SPF)
  • Surfers Party of America  (SPA)
  • Tea Party  (TEA)
  • Twelve Visions Party of Florida  (TVP)
  • Unity08  (UNI)
  • Veterans Party of America  (VET)

Presidential Elections and Florida

Presidential elections 2000

Florida was in the news for the 2000 presidential elections due to a major recount dispute. Florida was considered to be a swing state and the results which came out were very close. As a result, they had a recount which postponed the results by one month, post balloting. The results of the state of Florida were crucial in determining the next president- Gore or Bush. Finally, Republican George Bush won the majority, and thus, became the President.

Presidential elections 2004

It was George Bush vs. John Kerry. Bush nominated Dick Cheney as his running mate. Florida Democrat Senator, Bob Graham was in the list of Democratic candidates running for the presidential elections. This time too, Bush, the Republican, won hands down in the state of Florida, defeating the Democrat, John Kerry. Thus, Florida politics maintained the Republican favoritism.

Presidential elections 2008

The recent elections of 2008 broke the chain of Republicans becoming presidents. Even politics in Florida had a shift to the Democrats. It was Democrat Obama vs Republican McCain. Florida was considered the largest swing-state. Democrats dominated most of the states including Florida. But, the margin by which Obama won in Florida was pretty less. The Democrats dominated the Republicans by 2.87% votes. Thus, Obama won the presidential elections and Florida politics saw a change after a long time.

Florida and Politics Today

Since 1999, Florida state politics is ruled by the Republicans. The current Governor, Crist, is a Republican turned Independent. The number of registered Democrats still outnumbers the registered Republicans. Yet, in the local last two elections, the Republicans won hands down. On the other hand, in the presidential elections, the Republican votes in the State of Florida are seen to dominate the Democratic votes except for the last presidential elections in 2008.

Thus, Florida Politics has shown a variation in the last couple of local elections as well as the presidential elections. From being an out and out pro-Democratic state after the reconstruction of the United States Political system. To turning Republican in the recent years, political situations in Florida has a very important impact on the overall political scenario in the United States.

Presidential Elections Results

Year Republican Democratic
2008 48.22% 4,045,624 50.96% 4,282,074
2004 52.10% 3,964,522 47.09% 3,583,544
2000 48.85% 2,912,790 48.84% 2,912,253
1996 42.32% 2,244,536 48.02% 2,546,870
1992 40.89% 2,173,310 39.00% 2,072,698
1988 60.87% 2,618,885 38.51% 1,656,701
1984 65.32% 2,730,350 34.66% 1,448,816
1980 55.52% 2,046,951 38.50% 1,419,475
1976 46.64% 1,469,531 51.93% 1,636,000
1972 71.91% 1,857,759 27.80% 718,117
1968 40.53% 886,804 30.93% 676,794
1964 48.85% 905,941 51.15% 948,540
1960 51.51% 795,476 48.49% 748,700

List of Governors of Florida

# Governor Term Start Term End Party Lt. Governor
Terms
1 William Dunn Moseley June 25, 1845 October 1, 1849 Democratic None
2 Thomas Brown October 1, 1849 October 3, 1853 Whig
3 James E. Broome October 3, 1853 October 5, 1857 Democratic
4 Madison S. Perry October 5, 1857 October 7, 1861 Democratic
5 John Milton October 7, 1861 April 1, 1865 Democratic
6 Abraham K. Allison April 1, 1865 May 19, 1865 Democratic
7   William Marvin July 13, 1865 December 20, 1865
8 David S. Walker December 20, 1865 July 4, 1868 Democratic William W. J. Kelly  
9 Harrison Reed July 4, 1868 January 7, 1873 Republican William Henry Gleason
1
Edmund C. Weeks
Samuel T. Day
10 Ossian B. Hart January 7, 1873 March 18, 1874 Republican Marcellus Stearns 1⁄2
11 Marcellus Stearns March 18, 1874 January 2, 1877 Republican Vacant 1⁄2
12 George Franklin Drew January 2, 1877 January 4, 1881 Democratic Noble A. Hull
1
13 William D. Bloxham January 4, 1881 January 7, 1885 Democratic Livingston W. Bethel 1
14 Edward A. Perry January 7, 1885 January 8, 1889 Democratic Milton H. Mabry 1
15 Francis P. Fleming January 8, 1889 January 3, 1893 Democratic None
16 Henry L. Mitchell January 3, 1893 January 5, 1897 Democratic
17 William D. Bloxham January 5, 1897 January 8, 1901 Democratic
18 William Sherman Jennings January 8, 1901 January 3, 1905 Democratic
19 Napoleon B. Broward January 3, 1905 January 5, 1909 Democratic
20 Albert W. Gilchrist January 5, 1909 January 7, 1913 Democratic
21 Park Trammell January 7, 1913 January 2, 1917 Democratic
22 Sidney Johnston Catts January 2, 1917 January 4, 1921 Prohibition
23 Cary A. Hardee January 4, 1921 January 6, 1925 Democratic
24 John W. Martin January 6, 1925 January 8, 1929 Democratic
25 Doyle E. Carlton January 8, 1929 January 3, 1933 Democratic
26 David Sholtz January 3, 1933 January 5, 1937 Democratic
27 Fred P. Cone January 5, 1937 January 7, 1941 Democratic
28 Spessard Holland January 7, 1941 January 2, 1945 Democratic
29 Millard F. Caldwell January 2, 1945 January 4, 1949 Democratic
30 Fuller Warren January 4, 1949 January 6, 1953 Democratic
31 Daniel T. McCarty January 6, 1953 September 28, 1953 Democratic
32 Charley Eugene Johns September 28, 1953 January 4, 1955 Democratic
33 LeRoy Collins January 4, 1955 January 3, 1961 Democratic
34 C. Farris Bryant January 3, 1961 January 5, 1965 Democratic
35 W. Haydon Burns January 5, 1965 January 3, 1967 Democratic
36 Claude R. Kirk, Jr. January 3, 1967 January 5, 1971 Republican None
Ray C. Osborne  
37 Reubin Askew January 5, 1971 January 2, 1979 Democratic Thomas Burton Adams, Jr. 2
Jim Williams
38 Bob Graham January 2, 1979 January 3, 1987 Democratic Wayne Mixson 11⁄2
39 Wayne Mixson January 3, 1987 January 6, 1987 Democratic Vacant
40 Bob Martinez January 6, 1987 January 8, 1991 Republican Bobby Brantley 1
41 Lawton Chiles January 8, 1991 December 12, 1998 Democratic Buddy MacKay 11⁄2
42 Buddy MacKay December 12, 1998 January 5, 1999 Democratic Vacant
43 Jeb Bush January 5, 1999 January 2, 2007 Republican Frank Brogan
2
Toni Jennings
44 Charlie Crist January 2, 2007 Incumbent Republican Jeff Kottkamp 1
 

Florida Other High Offices Held

Governor Gubernatorial Term Other Offices Held
Andrew Jackson 1821 (military) U.S. Representative and Senator from Tennessee, President of the United States
William Pope Duval 1822–1834 (territorial) U.S. Representative from Kentucky
John Eaton 1834–1836 (territorial) U.S. Senator from Tennessee, Minister to Spain, U.S. Secretary of War
Richard K. Call 1836–1839, 1841–1844 (territorial) Territorial Delegate from Florida Territory
Robert R. Reid 1839–1841 (territorial) U.S. Representative from Florida, U.S. Representative from Georgia
John Branch 1844–1845 (territorial) U.S. Representative and Senator from North Carolina, Governor of North Carolina, U.S. Secretary of the Navy
William Marvin 1865 Elected to the U.S. Senate but was refused seat
Napoleon B. Broward 1905–1909 Elected to the U.S. Senate but died before taking office
Park Trammell 1913–1917 U.S. Senator from Florida
Spessard Holland 1941–1945 U.S. Senator from Florida
Millard F. Caldwell 1945–1949 U.S. Representative from Florida
Bob Graham 1979–1987 U.S. Senator from Florida*
Lawton Chiles 1991–1998 U.S. Senator from Florida
Buddy MacKay 1998–1999 U.S. Representative from Florida

Florida Living Former Governors

Governor Gubernatorial Term Date of Birth
Claude R. Kirk, Jr. 1967–1971 January 7, 1926 (1926-01-07) (age 84)
Reubin Askew 1971–1979 September 11, 1928 (1928-09-11) (age 81)
Bob Graham 1979–1987 November 9, 1936 (1936-11-09) (age 73)
Wayne Mixson 1987 June 16, 1922 (1922-06-16) (age 88)
Bob Martinez 1987–1991 December 25, 1934 (1934-12-25) (age 75)
Buddy MacKay 1998–1999 March 22, 1933 (1933-03-22) (age 77)
Jeb Bush 1999–2007 February 11, 1953 (1953-02-11) (age 57)

List of United States Senators From Florida

Class 1

# Senator Party Took Office Left Office Other Offices Term Electoral History
1 David Levy Yulee Democratic July 1, 1845 March 4, 1851 Florida Territory's Congressional Delegate
(1841–1845)
Later served in Florida's Class 3 seat
1 Elected in 1845

Lost re-election
2 Stephen Mallory Democratic March 4, 1851 January 21, 1861 Confederate States Secretary of the Navy
(1861–1865)
2 Elected in 1851
3 Re-elected in 1857

Withdrew
Vacant January 21, 1861 June 17, 1868   Civil War and Reconstruction
4
3 Adonijah Welch Republican June 17, 1868 March 4, 1869   Elected to finish term

Retired
4 Abijah Gilbert Republican March 4, 1869 March 4, 1875   5 Elected in 1869

Retired
5 Charles W. Jones Democratic March 4, 1875 March 4, 1887   6 Elected in 1875
7 Re-elected in 1881

Retired
Vacant April 17, 1899 April 20, 1899   8
6 Samuel Pasco Democratic May 19, 1887 April 18, 1899 Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives
(1887)
Elected late to finish term in 1887
9 Appointed in 1893 to continue next term
Elected to finish term
10 Appointed in 1899 to continue next term

Lost election to finish term
Vacant April 17, 1899 April 20, 1899  
7 James P. Taliaferro Democratic April 20, 1899 March 4, 1911   Elected to finish Pasco's term
11 Re-elected in 1904

Lost re-election
8 Nathan P. Bryan Democratic March 4, 1911 March 4, 1917 Judge of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals
(1920–1935)
12 Elected in 1910

Lost re-election
9 Park Trammell Democratic March 4, 1917 May 8, 1936 Governor of Florida
(1913–1917)
Florida Attorney General
(1909–1913)
President of the Florida Senate
(1905)
13 Elected in 1916
14 Re-elected in 1924
15 Re-elected in 1930

Died
Vacant May 8, 1936 May 26, 1936  
10 Scott M. Loftin Democratic May 26, 1936 November 3, 1936 President of the American Bar Association
(1934–1935)
Apointed to continue Trammell's term

Successor elected
11 Charles O. Andrews Democratic November 4, 1936 September 18, 1946   Elected to finish Trammell's term having been elected to the next term
16 Elected to full term in 1936
17 Re-elected in 1942

Died
Vacant September 18, 1946 September 25, 1946  
12 Spessard Holland Democratic September 25, 1946 January 3, 1971 Governor of Florida
(1941–1945)
Elected to finish Andrews's term
18 Elected to full term in 1948
19 Re-elected in 1954
20 Re-elected in 1960
21 Re-elected in 1966

Retired
13 Lawton Chiles Democratic January 3, 1971 January 3, 1989 Governor of Florida
(1991–1998)
22 Elected in 1970
23 Re-elected in 1976
24 Re-elected in 1982

Retired
14 Connie Mack III Republican January 3, 1989 January 3, 2001 Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
(1983–1989)
25 Elected in 1988
26 Re-elected in 1994

Retired
15 Bill Nelson Democratic January 3, 2001 Incumbent Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
(1979–1991)
27 Elected in 2000
28 Re-elected in 2006

Class 3

# Senator Party Took Office Left Office Other Offices Electoral History
1 James Westcott Democratic July 1, 1845 March 4, 1849   Retired
2 Jackson Morton Whig March 4, 1849 March 4, 1855 Confederate States Representative (1862–1865) Retired
3 David Levy Yulee Democratic March 4, 1855 January 21, 1861 Florida Territory's Congressional Delegate (1841–1845)
Withdrew
Vacant during the Civil War and Reconstruction
4 Thomas W. Osborn Republican June 25, 1868 March 4, 1873 Commissioner, Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia (1876) Retired
5 Simon B. Conover Republican March 4, 1873 March 4, 1879 Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives
Florida Treasurer (1868–1873)
Retired
6 Wilkinson Call Democratic March 4, 1879 March 4, 1897   Retired
7 Stephen R. Mallory, Jr. Democratic May 15, 1897 December 23, 1907 U.S. Representatives (1891–1895) Died
Vacant December 23, 1907 December 26, 1907  
8 William James Bryan Democratic December 26, 1907 March 22, 1908   Died
Vacant March 22, 1908 March 27, 1908  
9 William Hall Milton Democratic March 27, 1908 March 4, 1909   Retired
10 Duncan U. Fletcher Democratic March 4, 1909 June 17, 1936   Died
Vacant June 17, 1936 July 1, 1936  
11 William Luther Hill Democratic July 1, 1936 November 3, 1936   Successor qualified
12 Claude Pepper Democratic November 4, 1936 January 3, 1951 U.S. Representatives (1963–1989) Lost renomination
13 George Smathers Democratic January 3, 1951 January 3, 1969 U.S. Representatives (1947–1951) Retired
14 Edward J. Gurney Republican January 3, 1969 December 31, 1974 U.S. Representatives (1963–1969) Resigned
15 Richard Stone Democratic January 1, 1975 December 31, 1980 Ambassador at Large and Special Envoy to Central America
Ambassador to Denmark
Florida Secretary of State (1970–1974)
Resigned
16 Paula Hawkins Republican January 1, 1981 January 3, 1987   Lost re-election
17 Bob Graham Democratic January 3, 1987 January 3, 2005 Governor of Florida (1979–1987) Retired
18 Mel Martinez Republican January 3, 2005 September 9, 2009 Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (2001–2003) Resigned
19 George LeMieux Republican September 10, 2009 Incumbent