TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida Democrats are celebrating one of their best elections in many years and they predict it's just the start of a shifting electorate in Florida.
Democrats made a strong showing in the state Legislature. They picked up two seats in the Senate and as many as five in the House, depending on the outcome of an undecided race involving Rep. Chris Dorworth, who's slated to become speaker of the House in 2014.
President Obama was winning the presidential race in Florida by about 55,000 votes, though counting continued Thursday, and Democrats were also pleased with their results in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. The president won both counties and Democratic candidates defeated two GOP incumbents in the Florida House.
The Florida Democratic Party credits a strong grassroots effort leading up to the election, registering more voters and turning out heavily in early voting.
"We out-registered Republicans for eight consecutive months, we cut the GOP's historical absentee ballot advantage by half and we crushed them every day of early voting this year, so a very concentrated, strong ground game by Florida Democrats and the Obama campaign," said Democratic Party spokesman David Bergstein.
He added that changing demographics in Florida are changing the political landscape.
"Demographics in our state are changing and they are trending blue. Larger Hispanic populations, more African Americans voting, more younger voters participating in the system. This is bad news for Florida Republicans moving forward."
While Democrats picked up seats in the state Legislature, they still trail by wide margins. In the Senate, Republicans lead 26 to 14 and in the House the margin could end up at 76 to 44.
The Republican Party of Florida did not respond to our inquiries to talk about the election results, but issued a statement blasting Democrats for questioning a new proposal from Gov. Rick Scott to cut corporate income taxes.
First Coast News