The gap between Republicans and Democrats in Volusia County is now more than 7,000 and growing, as the GOP’s ground game and the demographics of who’s moving to the Daytona Beach area are contributing factors to a reddening county. Less than three years ago, Republicans passed Democrats in the number of registered voters in Volusia County.
That remarkable reversal in Volusia — a Democrat-leaning county for over a century — over those years explains at least some of the statewide trend. In Volusia at the start of this month, the number of registered Republicans had gained 20,000 voters since this time in 2016. The county’s Democrats had picked up fewer than 2,000 voters.
The number of registered Flagler County Republicans is up nearly 31% since this time four years ago, a News-Journal analysis shows. Flagler’s Democratic Party grew by 9.9% in the same time frame. Flagler County has long been a Republican stronghold.
Why are Republicans so much more appealing to Volusia and Flagler voters than Democrats in recent years?
“It’s a combination,” said Paul Deering, the Volusia County Republican Party chairman. “We’re actively recruiting new voters and welcoming voters from other parties that are disenchanted with some of their elected officials and the positions they have taken. ... It’s like Ronald Reagan said: They didn’t really leave the party but the party left them.”