How many, if any, Christians are left in Florida’s Democratic party?

In Florida, a new state House and Senate have elected new leaders and are getting ready to start a new session after the holidays.

The organizational session, the holidays, and the death of the Conservative Democrat across the nation had an interesting question emailed to us this week : “How many, if any, Christians are left in Florida’s Democratic party?”

That piqued our interest, so we started looking.

Methodology

  • Downloaded the names of Democratic elected members to the FL 114th Congressional Delegation and FL Legislature.
  • Visited each members’ official websites, noting the religious affiliation. If no official website, searched campaign sites and press clippings.
  • Inferred race by caucus affiliation and political activity when appropriate.
  • Avoiding any misunderstanding, Seventh-Day Adventist was coded as Christian.
  • Avoiding any misunderstanding, any  member not declaring a religious affiliation was NOT coded as Christian.

Results

64 total elected Democratic officials include in this review.  The break down of that number is as follows:

  • There are no current state-wide elected Democrat officials.  (0/4 = 0%)
  • There is 1 federally state-wide elected Democrat (1/2=50%)
  • There are 7 elected Democratic Members of Congress in the newly elected House of Representatives. (11/27 = 40.7%)
  • There are 52 elected Democratic members to the Florida House and Senate. (52/160 = 32.5%)
    • 38 reside in the Florida House (38/120=31.66%)
    • 14 reside in the Florida Senate. (14/40= 35%)
  • 33 of the 64 (52%) elected Democrats are minorities (28 African Americans, 5 Hispanic)

You can view and download the entire data set at the end of this post.   (Please direct any corrections to OzeanMedia)

Religion in America

Using the non-partisan, Pew Research and the Religious Landscape Study described by Pew as:

  An extensive new survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life details statistics on religion in America and explores the shifts taking place in the U.S. religious landscape. Based on interviews with more than 35,000 Americans age 18 and older, the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey finds that religious affiliation in the U.S. is both very diverse and extremely fluid.

major_religious_traditions

 

78.4% of Americans consider themselves Christian – that is kind of a big number.

The political science literature is littered with notes of religious intensity and voting behavior.

As Pew shows us, while the over-all religious situation in America is somewhat ‘fluid’, America remains a Christian dominated country.

Religion, Race and the Democrat Party

“How many, if any, Christians are left in Florida’s Democratic party?”

The answer:  Out of the entire 64 total Democratic officials, 41 (64%) declare themselves Christian, but as Corso says, “BUT NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND, there’s more.”

If we go a step closer and consider race, we find some interesting information and observe the real fault line in Florida’s Democrat Party.

Florida Democrats – Religion by Race – percentage

Group % of Democrats Number of Democrats
AA, Christian 36% 23
White, Jewish 23% 15
White, Christians 20% 13
Hispanic, Christians 8% 4

 

Florida Democrats – Religion by Race – detail

Race
Religion AA Hispanic White Grand Total
African Methodist Episcopal 2 0 0 2
Baptist 12 0 1 13
Catholic 0 3 6 9
Christian 3 1 1 5
Episcopal 4 1 3 8
Jewish 0 0 15 15
Methodist 1 0 1 2
none listed 5 0 3 8
Presbyterian 0 0 1 1
Seventh-Day Adventist 1 0 0 1
Grand Total 28 5 31 64

Florida Christian Democrats by Religion, race=white

Chamber Member District Religious Affiliation
Congress Graham, Gwen 2 Episcopal
Congress Castor, Kathy 14 Presbyterian
Congress Murphy, Patrick 18 Catholic
Senate Nelson, Bill USSEN Episcopal
FLHOUSE Jenne, Evan 99 Episcopal
FLHOUSE Jacobs, Kristin 96 Methodist
FLHOUSE Dwight, Dudley 68 Catholic
FLHOUSE Murphy, Amanda 36 Christian
FLHOUSE Rehwinkel Vasilinda, Michelle 9 Catholic
FLSEN Sachs, Maria Lorts 34 Catholic
FLSEN Abruzzo, Joseph 25 Catholic
FLSEN Soto, Darren 14 Catholic
FLSEN Montford, Bill 3 Baptist

Ramifications

I realize this blog post is mixing race and religion (yes, I am fun at the Holidays), but race and religion almost have to be talked about together at this point because they are so intertwined.

It is true that we can find little information as to the true base rate of Florida’s Christians/Jews among Party, and a valid point can be made as to this is nothing more than a reflection of redistricting.dem-rel

No one is going to lament that the white Christian viewpoint is underrepresented in Florida; it isn’t.

However, it appears that the white Christian viewpoint is underrepresented in Florida’s Democratic party.

According to a Washington Post article written in 2012, The Politics of Race and Religion in Two Pie Charts, 35% of white Democrat voters in 2012 considered themselves Christian – that is 15% different than Florida’s Democratic delegation of elected officials.  Even accounting for Florida’s increased Jewish population, this still remains a stark difference.

This under-representation makes one consider the long-term ramifications, if any, for Florida Democrats and the Democratic party.

We can observe the Democrats starting to question the current state of affairs in Jason Zengerle’s provocative piece for the New Republic, The Death of the Southern White Democrat Hurts African-Americans the Most and the current redistricting court case in Florida.

  • If African American lawmakers are elected from minority-majority districts, is there little to no incentive to reach beyond their districts’ constituents?
  • Do members elected from minority-majority seats even have a responsibility to reach past their districts’ constituents?
  • Do African American lawmakers – who now outnumber white lawmakers in the State House – find themselves increasingly isolated?
  • Do White, Christian Democrats find themselves increasingly isolated?
  • Does this 20% (White, Christians) indicate the major weakness in Florida’s Democrats bench?
  • Do Democrats remember how to talk with white Christians?  Do they care to?
  • Even with Florida’s changing Demographics and with Florida & America becoming less white, can Florida Democrats win statewide if they don’t know how to talk with white Christians?
  • Have we created a complete segregation of the political system?
  • Is this a whole lot to do about nothing?

The biggest question of all:

  • Is the Democratic Party counting on the courts to do for them in the redistricting process what they know politically they can’t do themselves- move away from minority-majority districts?

 DATA

Download csv file

ChamberMemberDistrictReligious AffiliationRaceSexofficial website
CongressHastings, Alcee20African Methodist EpiscopalAAMhttp://alceehastings.house.gov/
FLSENJoyner, Arthenia L.19African Methodist EpiscopalAAFhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s19
CongressBrown, Corrine5BaptistAAFhttp://corrinebrown.house.gov/
FLHOUSEWilliams, Alan B.8BaptistAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4437&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEJones, Mia14BaptistAAFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4440&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEWatson, Jr., Clovis20BaptistAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4541&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEBracy, Randolf45BaptistAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4548&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEPritchett, Sharon82BaptistAAFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4561&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSELee, Jr., Larry84BaptistAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4576&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEDuBose, Bobby94BaptistAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4612&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEStafford, Cynthia A.109BaptistAAFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4523&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEMcGhee, Kionne L.117BaptistAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4555&LegislativeTermId=86
FLSENMontford, Bill3BaptistWhiteMhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s3
FLSENThompson, Geraldine F. "Geri"12BaptistAAFhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s12
FLSENSmith, Christopher L.31BaptistAAMhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s31
CongressMurphy, Patrick18CatholicWhiteMhttp://patrickmurphy.house.gov/
CongressCurbelo, Carlos26CatholicHispanicMhttp://www.carloscurbelo.com/
FLHOUSERehwinkel Vasilinda, Michelle9CatholicWhiteFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4464&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSECruz, Janet62CatholicHispanicFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4477&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEDwight, Dudley68CatholicWhiteMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4570&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSERodríguez, José Javier112CatholicHispanicMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4563&LegislativeTermId=86
FLSENSoto, Darren14CatholicWhiteMhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s14
FLSENAbruzzo, Joseph25CatholicWhiteMhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s25
FLSENSachs, Maria Lorts34CatholicWhiteFhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s34
FLHOUSEMurphy, Amanda36ChristianWhiteFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4596&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSECortes, John43ChristianHispanicMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4605&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSENarain, Edwin61ChristianAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4608&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSERogers, Hazelle P. "Hazel"95ChristianAAFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4434&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEJones, Shevrin D. "Shev"101ChristianAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4559&LegislativeTermId=86
CongressGraham, Gwen2EpiscopalWhiteFhttps://www.gwengraham.com/
CongressWilson, Frederic24EpiscopalAAFhttp://wilson.house.gov/
USSENNelson, BillUSSENEpiscopalWhiteMhttp://www.billnelson.senate.gov/
FLHOUSETorres, Jr., Victor Manuel "Vic"48EpiscopalHispanicMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4538&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEClarke-Reed, Gwyndolen "Gwyn"92EpiscopalAAFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4432&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEJenne, Evan99EpiscopalWhiteMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4365&LegislativeTermId=86
FLSENBraynon, Oscar , II36EpiscopalAAMhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s36
FLSENBullard, Dwight39EpiscopalAAMhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s39
CongressGrayson, Alan9JewishWhiteMhttp://grayson.house.gov/
CongressDuetch, Ted21JewishWhiteMhttp://teddeutch.house.gov/
CongressFrankel, Lois22JewishWhiteFhttp://frankel.house.gov/
CongressWasserman-Schultz, Debbie23JewishWhiteFhttp://wassermanschultz.house.gov/
FLHOUSERader, Kevin81JewishWhiteMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4431&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEPafford, Mark86JewishWhiteMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4435&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEBerman, Lori90JewishWhiteFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4517&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSESlosberg, Irving "Irv"91JewishWhiteMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4232&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEMoskowitz, Jared Evan97JewishWhiteMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4560&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEEdwards, Katie98JewishWhiteFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4566&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEGeller, Joseph100JewishWhiteMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4614&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEStark, Richard104JewishWhiteMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4557&LegislativeTermId=86
FLSENRing, Jeremy29JewishWhiteMhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s29
FLSENSobel, Eleanor33JewishWhiteFhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s33
FLSENMargolis, Gwen35JewishWhiteFhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s35
FLHOUSEAnton, Bruce46MethodistAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4269&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEJacobs, Kristin96MethodistWhiteFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4613&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSETaylor, Dwayne L.26none listedAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4445&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSERouson, Darryl Ervin70none listedAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4428&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEKerner, Dave87none listedWhiteMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4577&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEPowell, Bobby88none listedAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4578&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEWatson, Barbara107none listedAAFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4532&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSERichardson, David113none listedWhiteMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4556&LegislativeTermId=86
FLSENGibson, Audrey9none listedAAFhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s9
FLSENClemens, Jeff27none listedWhiteMhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s27
CongressCastor, Kathy14PresbyterianWhiteFhttp://castor.house.gov/
FLHOUSECampbell, Daphne108Seventh-Day Adventist AAFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4522&LegislativeTermId=86

(Please direct any corrections to OzeanMedia)

About Alex Patton