Two years ago Florida Democrats were in utter despair. Republicans had just swept the governor's race and all the cabinet positions, elected Marco Rubio to the the U.S. Senate, and upped their already dominant numbers in the state legislature.
But as low as the Dems were in 2010, there was an equal high among party members on Wednesday, just hours after the state (probably) went for Barack Obama for the second straight election, and their own man (Bill Nelson) was re-elected to the Senate. Democrats also added numbers to both their state congressional and legislative ranks.
The big question now facing Florida Democrats is: Can the party replicate this effort two years from now, when Governor Rick Scott will face re-election in an off-year race — exactly the type of race during which Democratic voter enthusiasm traditionally falls well below the level of a presidential election?
Florida Democratic Party Chair Rod Smith says he thinks the party can pull off an Obama-like coalition — even without Barack Obama actually being on the ballot.
"We've got a tremendous opportunity now to take the next step," Smith said. "We've got to put together a ticket that wins state-wide," Smith says. The coalition would likely consist of women, blacks, Latinos and the young.