With Florida Democrats out-registering them for five straight months, GOP takes to paying staff to register voters

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The Florida Democratic Party released tracking data on Thursday that showed how many voters the parties registered last month and Democrats outpaced Republicans for the fifth straight months. In fact, Democrats out-registered the GOP in Florida by a factor of about 10 percent in June, the party figures show.

Currently, Florida Democrats have a registration advantage of about 4 percentage points over Republicans.

To close this gap, the the Republicans apparently have taken to paying to register voters, at least in Pinellas County.

“Registered Democrat voters currently outnumber registered Republicans in Pinellas Co by 3000 voters (plus or minus) and we have been stuck at that number for the past few months,” writes Mark Zornes, who identifies himself as a field director for the Republican Party of Florida in an e-mail to GOP activists.  “Outstanding volunteer efforts over the past year have made great strides to close the gap but we’ve hit a wall and we have to kick it up a notch to break through. … (T)he RPOF has committed funds to help us flip the numbers.”

“I am looking for committed reliable Republicans and will pay $12/hr. to everyone ready to help us win,” writes Zornes.

Zornes even promises that “checks will be cut every week.”

Paying or staff to register voters is nothing new, says Kristen McDonald, a spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida. “As is common in busy presidential election years, outside help has been brought on to assist with our voter registration efforts. This has been done in the past and is not unique to this election cycle.”

Florida Democrats currently have a statewide registration advantage of about 4 percentage points over Republicans. However, as McDonald notes, since President Obama took office, the Democratic Party actually has lost registered voters overall. As of the end of June 2012, the Florida Democratic Party had 133,923 fewer total registered voters than at the end of 2008.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.