Leaders of Florida's Democratic and Republican parties are already looking down the road to the 2010 elections and this much is clear: Barack Obama's victory has shaken both sides, for very different reasons.
After 12 years of nearly complete control of state politics, the Republican Party of Florida lost the state to a Democratic presidential candidate and the defeat has unleashed a chorus of complaints that the party has retreated from its core principles and lost its message, and that party chairman Jim Greer has mismanaged funds.
Democrats, jubilant over Obama's win, are questioning why they did so badly in legislative races. Some blame the party leadership and want a change of the guard. Some want to jettison convoluted party rules that serve as barriers to newcomers and others want to re-evaluate how the party manages campaigns.
''The fact that Obama won the state by four percentage points yet Democrats picked up one seat in both houses of the Legislature means that we need to reassess how we're running our races,'' said Sen. Dave Aronberg, a Greenacres Democrat. ``It was a missed opportunity. We need to find out where things went wrong.''
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