Historically Republican Seminole County on verge of turning blue

Historically, Seminole County has been a Republican stronghold in Florida, but it’s on the verge of a major shift.

“It’s shifting younger, it’s shifting more moderate and liberal,” said Brittany Nethers, Chair of the Seminole County Democratic Party.

Seminole County has been a red county, as long as voters can remember but the tides are changing fast.

“Seminole County went for Trump in 2016, but in 2018, Seminole County actually voted for the Democrat for Governor and U.S. Senator, so we are very competitive and if anything it looks like we’ll be drifting a little bit blue,” said Aubrey Jewett, Professor of Political Science at the University of Central Florida.

Jewett said in 2016 that registered Republicans in Seminole outnumbered Democrats by about 14,000.  In 2020, that number has dropped to 1,000.

“Going from a tent to a castle, we went from having no volunteers to suddenly hundreds of volunteers,” said Nethers.

Nethers added that Democrats are multiplying in Seminole County.

“We went from having 15 active members before the 2016 election, to having 300 people at every meeting,” said Nethers.

But what’s causing the shift?

“We’ve seen a big increase in the number of younger residents and those younger voters. We know this from exit polling -- tend to be more liberal, more progressive and more Democratic,” said Jewett.

Jewett believes the other factor is President Donald Trump.

“Trump’s been controversial and that is driving some Republicans away from the party,” said Jewett.

But the Republican Party said Democrats are also switching.

“We’ve been welcoming Democrats who are flipping to Republican, every day in our victory office,” said Linda Trocine, Chair of the Republican Party of Seminole County.

Trocine with a message for new residents.

“If they’ve moved to Seminole County because it’s such a great place to live, it’s because we’ve had Republican leadership. So we want to keep that part red,” she said.

In 2016, Trump carried Seminole County by just over one percentage point. The true test to determine how blue the county has become will be on Election Day.