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Republicans build on voter registration momentum in Tampa Bay

No-party registrants continue to be the fastest-growing category.
An unidentified man walks into a voting precent at Belleair Beach City Hall Tuesday, March 9, 2021.
An unidentified man walks into a voting precent at Belleair Beach City Hall Tuesday, March 9, 2021. [ CHRIS URSO | Times ]
Published Mar. 27

Republican voter registration has gained on Democrats over the last year in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties, according to election supervisor’s offices registration figures.

No-party registrants continue to be the fastest-growing category.

The change is greatest in Hillsborough, where Democratic voter numbers hit a record advantage last year over Republicans.

In January 2021, Democrats led by 73,671 — 364,979 to the Republicans’ 291,308.

As of Thursday, that margin had dropped to 61,879 — 344,728 to 282,849.

In GOP-dominated Pasco, Republicans increased their margin from 41,836 in January 2021 to 46,427, with 160,024 registrants to the Democrats’ 113,597.

In evenly-divided Pinellas, where the partisan lead see-saws, Democrats went from a narrow lead of 3,967 voters in January 2021 to a narrow deficit today, 240,503 registrants to the Republicans’ 243,156.

Total voters including minor- and no-party: Hillsborough, 906,979; Pasco, 396,908; and Pinellas, 691,474.

Hillsborough Democratic Party Chair Ione Townsend attributed the change to new data available to election supervisors since the state joined the national Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC, which shares address change and other registration data among states. It allows supervisors to clean voters rolls more efficiently.

ERIC was formed in 2012 but Florida failed to join until 2019, despite its high population of migrant and part-time residents.

April Schiff, Hillsborough Republican state committeewoman, said ERIC may be part of the trend but so are GOP voter registration efforts.

“The new registrants flooding into Florida aren’t bring their northern Democratic politics with them — they’re embracing conservatism,” she said.

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