In a detailed article at Ocala.com, Bill Thompson profiles the Florida Whig Party and its chairman, Paul Truesdell, providing background on the party’s history and current leadership, and emphasizing the steady rise in voters who are not affiliated with either of the major parties in the Sunshine State.
Three is the number of viable options Truesdell would like voters to have at the polls in 2010 – and beyond. And he, as chairman of the Florida Whig Party, is literally trying to build that alternative to the Republicans and Democrats from the ground up.
“I want to represent the guy who is not really a Republican or a Democrat. I want to attract everybody – RINOs and DINOs (which stands for Republicans or Democrats in name only) – people who do not put party first. Southern Democrats and liberal Republicans are going to find us Whigs very appealing.” . . .
he laments that both parties have become more like businesses than political groups that stand up for people’s concerns.
“Who represents the people who work in this country? The regular guy or gal – who represents them anymore? The Republicans and the Democrats don’t,” he said . . .
The evidence is clear that Florida voters have grown increasingly disenchanted with the two-party “duopoly,” as Truesdell calls it.
In 1994, according to state data, just 8.6 percent of the state’s 6.6 million registered voters were something other than Republican or Democrat. In Marion County, the rate was even more pronounced, as only 7.9 percent of voters opted out of the big two.
But just two years later, that figure had leaped to 13 percent statewide and to 12 percent in Marion County. It has risen steadily both around the state and locally ever since.
By November 2008, the most recent state numbers available, 22 percent of Florida’s 11.2 million registered voters were either members of minor parties or claimed no party.
In Marion at that time, the percentage was 18.6. Today, since local numbers are updated more frequently, it is 19 percent.