Republican Party of Florida

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Republican Party of Florida
ChairmanJoe Gruters
GovernorRon DeSantis
Senate PresidentWilton Simpson
Speaker of the HouseChris Sprowls
Senate Majority LeaderDebbie Mayfield
Florida House Majority LeaderMichael J. Grant
Founded1867; 154 years ago (1867)
Headquarters420 E. Jefferson Street
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Student wingFlorida College Republicans
Youth wingFlorida Young Republicans
Florida Teen Age Republicans
Women's wingFlorida Federation of Republican Women
Membership (2021)Decrease5,178,159[1]
Fiscal conservatism
Social conservatism
Political positionRight-wing
National affiliationRepublican Party
Colors  Red
24 / 40
House of Representatives
78 / 120
U.S. Senate
2 / 2
U.S. House of Representatives
16 / 27
Official Website

The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) is the affiliate of the Republican Party in the U.S. state of Florida.


Several of Florida's governors and U.S. senators were Republican after the Civil War during the Reconstruction era. Afterwards, Florida's state politics were largely dominated by Democrats until Richard Nixon's Southern Strategy, which took advantage of objections to the advances of the American Civil Rights Movement resulted in a regional political realignment for the south.

In 1967, Claude R. Kirk, Jr. was the first Republican governor elected in the state since the 19th century reconstruction era. And after Nixon's victory in 1968, the state only voted Democratic in presidential elections in 1976 (Jimmy Carter) 1996 (Bill Clinton), 2008 and 2012 (Barack Obama). The 2000 presidential election was decided by a margin of 537 votes out of approximately 6 million cast, giving George W. Bush the presidency over Al Gore.

The Florida Senate was still dominated by Democrats until 1992, when a majority of Republicans was elected. The Florida House of Representatives turned Republican after the November 1996 election. Since then, the number of Democrats in both chambers have continued to drop.

The Florida Legislature became the first legislature in any of the states of the former Confederacy to come under complete Republican control when the Republicans gained control of the House and Senate in the 1996 election. However, in the 2006 election the Democrats actually gained seats in the State House, the first instance of this occurring since the early 1980s.

Current structure and composition[edit]

In the 2014 election, the Republican nominee for Governor was Governor of Florida Rick Scott. He defeated the Democratic nominee, who was the Former Governor of Florida, Charlie Crist who was once elected as a Republican.

The current Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida is Joe Gruters, a newly elected member to the Florida Senate, who was elected by RPOF members in January 2019.

The Republican National Committee (RNC) is responsible for promoting Republican campaign activities. It is responsible for developing and promoting the Republican political platform, as well as coordinating fundraising and election strategy. Senator Mel Martinez of Florida is the Republican Party's former General Chairman. Ronna McDaniel is the current Chairman of RNC. The chairman of the RNC is chosen by the President when the Republicans have the White House or otherwise by the Party's state committees. The RNC, under the direction of the party's presidential candidate, supervises the Republican National Convention, raises funds, and coordinates campaign strategy. On the local level there are similar state committees in every state and most large cities, counties and legislative districts, but they have far less money and influence than the national body.

The Republican House and Senate caucuses have separate fund raising and strategy committees. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) assists in House races, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) in Senate races. They each raise over $100 million per election cycle, and play important roles in recruiting strong state candidates. The Republican Governors Association (RGA) is a discussion group that seldom funds state races.

Current ideology[edit]

The membership of the Republican Party is primarily made up of fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, neoconservatives, and members of the Christian right.

Economic policies[edit]

Republicans favor free-market policies supporting business and oppose increases to the minimum wage.

Republicans are generally opposed to a single-payer healthcare system, such as that found in Canada or in most of Europe.[3] They also oppose the Affordable Care Act and the expansion of Medicaid under the Act.[4]

Republicans oppose labor unions and have supported right-to-work legislation.

Social policies[edit]

Most of the Republicans' national and state candidates oppose abortion and same-sex marriage, favor capital punishment, and support gun ownership rights.

Republicans advocate for charter schools and school vouchers; many have denounced the performance of public schools.

Socially conservative Republicans support voluntary organized prayer in public schools and the inclusion of teaching creationism or intelligent design alongside evolution.


In April 2010, the party began investigating $1.3 million in questionable expenses incurred by a former party staffer, Melanie Phister. From 2006 to 2009, the party gave her an American Express credit card on which she charged the expenses for herself and her colleagues. The expenses included: $40,000 at a London, England hotel; $20,000 for plane tickets for indicted former Florida House Speaker Ray Sansom, his wife and children; $19,000 for the Water Club restaurant in New York; $15,000 for a one-month's stay at a Miami Beach hotel, and, $66,000 for chartered flights. The Republican Party of Florida has hired the accounting firm Alston + Bird LLP to investigate the party's finances, including the questionable credit card expenses.[5][6]

The party issued a September 2009 press release about Obama's planned TV presentation to schoolchildren: "Schoolchildren across the nation will be forced to watch the president justify his plans for government-run health care, banks, and automobile companies, increasing taxes on those who create jobs, and racking up more debt than any other president." Politifact said, "There remains no evidence that Obama intends to discuss the controversial policy issues of health care, banking, the automotive industry, taxes or the national debt during his address to students."[7]

In an October 2008 mailing, the party alleged ""Barack Obama has consistently voted against tougher penalties for criminals." Politifact found that the party had taken selective votes or positions to prop up sensational headlines that are belied by a fuller examination of Obama's record, and found the ad's claim false.[8]

In May 2008, the party claimed in an email that Cuban leader Fidel Castro endorsed Obama. Politifact found that to be false, and added it "…comes off less like a joke and more like an intentional smear."[9]

Symbols and name[edit]

1874 Nast cartoon depicted GOP as an elephant demolishing the flimsy planks of the Democrats

The mascot symbol, historically, is the elephant. A political cartoon by Thomas Nast, published in Harper's Weekly on November 7, 1874, is considered the first important use of the symbol.[10] In the early 20th century, the usual symbol of the Republican Party in Midwestern states such as Indiana and Ohio was the eagle, as opposed to the Democratic rooster. This symbol still appears on Indiana ballots.

After the 2000 election, the color red became associated with the GOP although it has not been officially adopted by the party. On election night 2000, for the first time ever, all major broadcast networks utilized the same color scheme for the electoral map: red states for George W. Bush (Republican nominee) and blue states for Al Gore (Democratic nominee). Although the color red is unofficial and informal, it is widely recognized by the media and the public to represent the GOP. Partisan supporters now often use the color red for promotional materials and campaign merchandise.

Lincoln Day, Reagan Day, or Lincoln-Reagan Day, is the primary annual fundraising celebration held by many state and county organizations of the Republican Party. The events are named after Republican Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan.

Current elected officials[edit]

U.S. Congress[edit]

Senior Senator Rubio
Junior Senator Scott
Congresswoman Maria Elvira Salazar
Congressman Byron Donalds

U.S. Senate[edit]

U.S. senators
Marco Rubio, Senior Member of the United States Senate from the state of Florida.
Rick Scott, Junior Member of the United States Senate from the state of Florida.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

U.S. Representatives
FL-01: Matt Gaetz
FL-02: Neal Dunn
FL-03: Kat Cammack
FL-04: John Rutherford
FL-06: Michael Waltz
FL-08: Bill Posey
FL-11: Daniel Webster
FL-12: Gus Bilirakis
FL-15: Scott Franklin
FL-16: Vern Buchanan
FL-17: Greg Steube
FL-18: Brian Mast
FL-19: Byron Donalds
FL-25: Mario Díaz-Balart
FL-26: Carlos Giménez
FL-27: Maria Elvira Salazar

Statewide offices[edit]

Former Florida governors and U.S. senators[edit]


Former governors of Florida
Rick Scott
Charlie Crist (Elected as a Republican, left party during term)
Jeb Bush
Bob Martinez
Claude Kirk
Marcellus Sterns
Ossian Hart
Harrison Reed

United States senators[edit]

Former U.S. senators from Florida
George LeMieux
Mel Martinez
Connie Mack III
Paula Hawkins
Edward Gurney
Simon Conover
Abijah Gilbert
Thomas Osborn
Adonijah Welch

Former RPOF Chairs[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Voter Registration—By Party Affiliation". Florida Department of State. Retrieved June 4, 2021.
  2. ^ Paul Gottfried, Conservatism in America: Making Sense of the American Right, p. 9, "Postwar conservatives set about creating their own synthesis of free-market capitalism, Christian morality, and the global struggle against Communism." (2009); Gottfried, Theologies and moral concern (1995) p. 12.
  3. ^ Unsettling Scores: A Ranking of State Medicaid Programs, P. 15 Archived 2009-04-19 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Kennedy, John. "After shunning Medicaid expansion, Florida Republicans see the political power of tackling health care". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved 15 January 2021.
  5. ^ Junior Florida Republican staff had $1.3 million charged to party credit card, St. Petersburg Times, April 10, 2010,
  6. ^ Florida republican party staffer racks up $1.3 million on Amex card, Miami Herald, April 10, 2010,
  7. ^ Politfact, 2 Sept 200-
  8. ^ Politifact, 27 Oct 2008
  9. ^ Politifact, 5 June 2008
  10. ^ Cartoon of the Day: "The Third-Term Panic". Retrieved on 2007-02-21.

External links[edit]