This year, the Princeton College Democrats traveled to Florida to campaign for the midterm elections. We had a total of seven people on the trip, including myself, Celia Buchband (’22), Paul Horvath (’20), Shafaq Khan (’21), Brent Kibbey (’21), Ben Parker (’20), and Nalanda Sharadjaya (’21). We chose to travel to Florida because it was home to two pivotal statewide races, Mayor Andrew Gillum’s campaign for Governor, and Senator Bill Nelson’s reelection campaign. At this time (Nov. 11), neither race has been called, and they are both proceeding to recounts. Both Gillum and Nelson are behind by less than one percent, and the margins are tightening daily. We knew there were going to be razor-thin margins in Florida, and it shaped up to be one of the most important states of the 2018 election cycle. We were campaigning in Florida’s 7th Congressional district, which encompasses part of Orlando and its suburbs. There was a competitive House race in the district, in which freshman Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy was reelected to a second term. Murphy represents the exciting new wave of Democratic talent that emerged in 2018, as she is a Vietnamese-American immigrant, an accomplished former Department of Defense staffer, and a former Professor at Rollins College.
We were hosted by Sebastian Quiroz (’21), whom some of you may know as the current President of College Dems. Overall, the trip went incredibly well. In total, we knocked on over 1,000 doors in the district, and reached even more voters through phone-banking. We got a great response from voters, and had some really productive (and sometimes odd) conversations. Some travel issues, including a canceled flight and several delays in Florida, shortened our time on the ground, but we were still able to make a meaningful contribution and connect with voters. We had a great group of committed Democrats, and made many new friends on the trip. Most of us met up on campus to watch the midterm results come in. While the final results in Florida were somewhat disappointing, we’re still hopeful that the tightening margins and recount may lead to Democratic victories.
None of this would have been possible without the support of the Princeton Progressives organization. PPro’s contributions made it possible for us to fight for a Democratic victory in Florida, and to move the needle in three extremely important races. I would also like to thank PPro’s Vice President Sandy Harrison for his work on this trip, and throughout this election season. He helped me coordinate and plan the trip, and made sure we were able to get down to Florida despite the travel issues. The midterm elections were a rejection of the current administration, and showed a new wave of Democrats ready to take on Donald Trump and fight for progressive values. Thanks to PPro, we were able to participate in this movement, and take action for Democratic candidates who represent our values.