President Donald Trump won Florida on Nov. 3, riding a red wave to an easy win. While the win delivered a much-needed victory for the President, it ultimately altered the identity of the state as a prime piece of political real estate for years to come.
Unlike many of the key battleground states that remained in limbo on Election Night, the state of Florida finished counting votes, with Trump netting over 51 percent of the vote thanks in large part to Miami-Dade County.
A once Democratic bastion, Republicans laid siege to the diverse terrain made up of over 600,000 registered Democrats and nearly a half-million nonpartisan voters. Unlike the election in 2016, the President overperformed in Miami-Dade County, raking in at least 529,160 votes this election — a net gain of around 195,161 votes from 2016 — while Democrat Joe Biden drew far fewer Hispanic voters, resulting in the former vice president carrying the county by only seven percentage points.
Hillary Clinton performed much better in 2016, carrying Miami-Dade by 30 percentage points.
The victory in Florida also affected down-ticket races in the region, with Republican challengers Carlos Gimenez and Maria Elvira Salazar ousting Democratic Reps. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26) and Donna Shalala. (FL-27). The GOP also picked up a pair of South Florida seats in the state House and prevented Democrats from sniping a seat in the adjacent Senate.
In all, Republicans exceeded expectations, performing well across the ticket and preventing the Democratic Party from gaining any seats in the chamber.
While the “Trump Effect” played a part in getting people to the polls, efforts made by Republican State Senator Manny Diaz Jr. helped electrify Latinos and get the key minority bloc to put their faith in Republicans.
Chairman of the Senate Education committee with strong ties to the community he’s represented since 2012, Diaz stumped for the President at several rallies while delivering electrifying speeches to packed crowds. The Hialeah Republican capitalized on his name recognition, teaming up with UFC superstar Jorge Masvidal, members of Trump’s inner circle, and people in the district to mobilize voters in rejecting Biden, Democrats, and the far-left movements they have embraced.
Diaz helped summon a red tsunami that swept across Florida and changed the dynamic of the former toss-up state. In many ways, the Trump surrogate was the catalyst in the GOP’s scorched-earth election tour that targeted “Democratic socialism.”
#FightingAgainstSocialism in #Miami 🇺🇸 with @GamebredFighter #305 #supernecessary pic.twitter.com/n0s07oXh1p
— Manny Diaz Jr. (@SenMannyDiazJr) October 16, 2020
On top of that, the ardent defender of school choice flexed his clout as a high-ranking senator, becoming a prominent figure and key backer in down-ballot races across the state.
He was quick to back Tom Fabricio, a Miramar attorney and political newcomer running for House District 103. Fabricio easily dispatched his opponent, Democrat Cindy Polo. — who has been labeled as one of the more progressive officials in the House. Diaz also endorsed former teacher and first-time candidate Alex Rizo, who easily beat Democratic candidate Annette Collazo in the race for House Speaker José Oliva‘s seat in House District 110.
Diaz was also instrumental in holding the line in the Florida Senate. He supported State Representative Ana Maria Rodriguez, headlining her finance committee alongside Governor Ron DeSantis, in her bid to keep Florida Senate District 39 red. The seat was held by term-limited Senator Anitere Flores, and Democrats believed that 2020 was the year they would flip it blue, fielding challenger Javier Fernandez to lead the charge.
Democrats didn’t stand a chance, however, with Rodriguez garnering 55 percent of the vote to Fernandez’s 43 percent.
Most importantly, Diaz didn’t shy away from the frontlines during the dog days of campaigning. Unlike proxy leaders who command from a distance but shy away from the trenches, Diaz fought alongside his allies on the battlefield. He helped lead a massive get-out-the-vote effort in South Florida alongside the aforementioned candidates and could be frequently spotted canvassing for Republicans with Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez.
Today I am honored ro join this team of #freedomfighters in Coral Gables to make a push for Votes! @marcorubio @MarioDB @LtGovNunez @SteveBovo @Hola_Otaola #IleanaGarcia @MaElviraSalazar 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸Get Out the Vote! Vote 4 more years for @realDonaldTrump 👍#MiamiDade pic.twitter.com/FWaV0wdVn1
— Manny Diaz Jr. (@SenMannyDiazJr) October 31, 2020
With Republicans delivering in South Florida, the state’s political pendulum swung right on Election Day and it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to deduce that Diaz’s Midas-like fingerprints were all over the blueprints that resulted in last Tuesday’s landslide — except everything he touched turned red. Now in the driver seat, Diaz and the GOP will look to fortify their defenses and continue to push their conservative agenda.
Moving forward, it’s transparent: the future of the Republican Party resides in the Sunshine State.