Snapshot: Florida Politics in 1999

Continuing our Thanksgiving weekend series we look back at the Almanac of American Politics 2000 (published in 1999)At the time President Clinton was being tried in the Senate for the two charges of impeachment having been brought by the House, the US was going to war in the Balkans and Jeb Bush had just become Florida’s Governor, and our beloved Lawton Chiles had passed away. As a Democratic legislative aide in Tallahassee at the time, it was a confusing and somewhat depressing time.

Depression was justified as more than a decade later Florida’s Democrats are even in worse shape as an organized state party as they were when we hit “rock bottom” in the 1998 elections. In hindsight, the 1998 election looks golden when compared to 2002, 2004, and 2010 debacles.

The Almanac focuses on Florida’s emerging Republican majority in voter registration (Democrats went from a 36 point edge in registration in 1979 to just a five point edge in 1999, but the GOP tide stopped at this point and more than a decade later Dems still hold a five point registration advantage further demonstrating the ineptitude of the FDP) and the focus on environmental issues which is the only area where core Florida Republicans may crossover and back a Democrat. The Gold Coast is by this time producing huge margins for Democrats but they are being cancelled out by the I-4 corridor and what we now call the exurbs in many races. North Florida is still mixed as historical Democratic advantages in rural, southern oriented counties have not completely disappeared at this point in time.  It is also worth noting that between 1992 and 2000 no Florida incumbent lost a Congressional seat, and no district flipped parties in the 1996, 1998 and 2000 election cycles.

Full elected official lineup below.

Voter Registration:

D – 45%

R – 40%

Other – 15%

US Senators:

Bob Graham (D)

Connie Mack (R)

Governor: Jeb Bush (R)

Lieutenant Governor: Frank Brogan (R)
Secretary of State: Katherine Harris (R)
Attorney General: Bob Butterworth (D)
Treasurer: Bill Nelson (D)
Comptroller: Bob Milligan (R)
Commissioner of Agriculture: Bob Crawford (D)
Commissioner of Education: Tom Gallagher (R)

State Senate:  25 R  15 D

State House:  72 R 48 D

Congressional Delegation ( 15 R 8 D)

1st:  Joe Scarborough (R) of Pensacola

2nd: Alan Boyd (D) of Monticello

3rd: Corrine Brown (D) of Jacksonville

4th: Tillie Fowler (R) of Jacksonville

5th: Karen Thurman (D) of Dunnellon

6th:  Cliff Stearns (R) of Ocala

7th: John Mica of Winter Park

8th:  Bill McCollum (R) of Altamonte Springs

9th: Michael Billirakis (R) of Palm Harbor

10th: Bill Young (R) of Indian Rocks Beach

11th: Jim Davis (D) of Tampa

12th: Charles Canady (R) of Lakeland

13th: Dan Miller (R) of Bradenton

14th: Porter Goss (R) of Sanibel

15th: Dave Weldon (R) of Palm Bay

16th: Mark Foley (R) of West Palm Beach

17th: Carrie Meek (D) of Miami

18th: Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R) of Miami

19th: Robert Wexler (D) of Boca Raton

20th: Peter Deutsch (D) of Lauderhill

21st: Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R) of Miami

22nd: E. Clay Shaw (R) of Fort Lauderdale

23rd: Alcee Hastings (D) of Miramar

6 thoughts on “Snapshot: Florida Politics in 1999”

  1. Concerned Democrat

    While 1998 may look better in hindsight it was still the cycle where the infrastructure completely collapsed and Democrats started looking out for themselves supporting Bush, lobbying for business and cutting deals. We still have not recovered.

  2. That cycle we didn’t even field enough candidates to win back the House, even though we had still held the House two cycles earlier. Terrie Brady, Mike Spellman, Scott Fallman and the alliance between north Florida conservatives and Broward Jews that caused all the racial strife like Logan made it e worst cycle ever. It was rock bottom. As bad as oer cycles have been they haven’t been as bad.

  3. Well we keep using the same old time consultants and campaign methods so why expect different results ?