Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) says that many voters are relocating to Florida and “overwhelmingly” registering as Republicans as a result of the draconian lockdown measures that took place during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During a Wednesday night town hall event on Fox News — hosted by Sean Hannity and featuring other prominent Republican governors — DeSantis also said that voters are also switching their party affiliation from Democrat to Republican after having fled from blue states.
What are the details?
DeSantis said in his town hall remarks that COVID-19-related lockdowns over the last year of the pandemic have turned many Democrats into Republicans and have bolstered the state’s population.
Governors from Arizona, Iowa, New Hampshire, South Dakota, and Tennessee — also in attendance at the event — said that they were seeing an uptick in political migration.
“Florida is seeing a huge impact of migration out of the — out of these blue states,” Hannity began. “Now, my only fear for all of you — and I’ll let you start first, Gov. DeSantis — is that they may bring their liberal policies with them.”
DeSantis responded, “So, it’s interesting with Florida. Like the media at the beginning of [the pandemic] said Florida’s bad. And I think it’s because they want to damage [former President Donald] Trump in Florida. They want to damage me. So, they just kept saying it was bad. And even though the facts didn’t say it, like literally last April, they’re saying Florida is doing worse than New York. New York was like 10 times worse.
“And so,” he continued, “I think what it did is the people that buy those phony narratives for these media, they probably aren’t coming to Florida. But most people see through it. But the people that see through it, they think like us. And so, I think a lot of these people are coming. I think they are registering as Republicans overwhelmingly.”
He added that he has also come across many people across the state who were once Democrats, “but the lockdowns turned them into Republicans.”
“People say, I was a Democrat because of education, and I’m in California and they’re locking my kids out of school,” he explained. “I come to Florida, they’re in school. People are free. People are happy.”
He concluded his remarks, “I think this whole process has caused some people to reevaluate some of their prior commitments. And if you have a political party that puts the interest of teachers unions over the interest of kids being able to just access an education at all, that tells you all you need to know about the modern Democrat Party.”
Florida’s @GovRonDeSantis: “If you have a political party that puts the interests of teachers unions over the interests of kids just being able to access an education at all, that tells you all you need to know about the modern Democratic Party.” pic.twitter.com/hcSO1DJI86
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) May 27, 2021
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) issued a similar statement to that of DeSantis.
“[Former President Ronald] Reagan said if the pilgrims landed in California they would have never discovered the rest of the country,” Ducey said. “Nobody leaves California because they want to.”
He continued, “The lack of opportunity is pushing them out.”
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) added that people — including Democrats — are largely unsatisfied with blue states’ responses to the pandemic.
“I think people across the country are looking around, unsatisfied, in many states with life in particular,” Lee explained. “The health crisis is over. The emergency is over. We have fully opened up, and we’re moving our state forward.”
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) added that her state saw an increase in relocation as Americans became more and more disenfranchised with Democratic leaders’ response to the pandemic.
“What’s happened during this pandemic has allowed us to tell our story,” she said. “Thousands of people are moving to our state, and when you ask them they say they want to live somewhere where the government respects them, they want to live somewhere where they can be free.”
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) pointed out that her state implemented a “robust data program” by zip code in order to monitor areas across the state in which outbreaks would be more prevalent, which she said helped keep the economy open as much as possible during the pandemic
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) also said that it was easy to see that “every governor had to write their own playbook based on what [they were] seeing.”
Author: Sarah Taylor