POLITICS

Republican Party No Longer Has Tight Grip On Cuban-American Vote, Bill Clinton Says

MIAMI - AUGUST 1:  A motorist waves a Cuban flag while cruising down the famous Calle Ocho in the Little Havana neighborhood August 1, 2006 in Miami, Florida. Cuban Americans were celebrating the news that Fidel Castro had turned over power to his younger brother, Raul Castro, while he undergoes medical treatment for intestinal bleeding.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

MIAMI - AUGUST 1: A motorist waves a Cuban flag while cruising down the famous Calle Ocho in the Little Havana neighborhood August 1, 2006 in Miami, Florida. Cuban Americans were celebrating the news that Fidel Castro had turned over power to his younger brother, Raul Castro, while he undergoes medical treatment for intestinal bleeding. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)  (2006 Getty Images)

His voice was hoarse, and at times barely above a whisper, but Bill Clinton's message to Florida Democrats was clear: We need to do a better job of turning out the vote in mid-term elections.

"So far we're winning in presidential years, and they're winning in non-presidential years," Clinton told the crowd of  1,500 at the state party's largest fund-raising event.

"It is a recipe for gridlock," he said during his 41 minute speech that raised a record $1.1 million for the state party.

Clinton stressed that a primary target for voter turnout should be Hispanics and even Cuban-American voters – who have traditionally supported Republican candidates but are now showing a generational shift.

"More and more young Hispanics, including Cuban-Americans, are voting Democrat, but it only counts if you show up," Clinton said.

According to a recent Pew Research survey, less that half of Cuban registered voters nationwide now identify or lean Republican, down from double digits from only a decade ago.

"The share of Cubans who identify with or lean toward the Democratic Part has doubled from 22 percent to 44 percent over the same time period," according to the research.

Among Latino voters, Cuban-Americans have the highest turnout rates.

In 2012, a whopping 67 percent of Cuban-Americans voted while only 48 percent of Latinos overall turned out for the 2012 presidential election.  

Clinton pointed to the success of Terry McAuliffe, and Democrats in Virginia, who won that state's hotly-contested gubernatorial race because of the high African-American voter turnout rate was the same as the historic 2008 presidential election, when President Obama won.

"If they can do it, you can do it," Clinton rasped.

Recent polls, show incumbent Republican, Gov. Rick Scott, in a statistical tie with his likely general election opponent Charlie Crist, a former Republican governor, now a Democrat.

Scott was blasted by the former president throughout his speech. Clinton called Scott's policies "trickle-down economics," and said if re-elected the Republican governor would give tax cuts to the wealthy and make "cuts in education."

"Explain, explain, explain," Clinton told the audience, intently listening and taking pictures with their iPhones, "then figure out how to physically get people to the polls."

"Go out there, and get people to vote. Our future depends on it," Clinton said, in conclusion.

Serafin Gomez is a White House Producer for FOX News Channel, who also covered the 2016 election as a Special Events & Politics producer and former special campaign correspondent for Fox News Latino. Fin formerly worked as the Miami Bureau Producer for Fox News Channel where he covered Florida Politics & Latin America. Follow him on Twitter: @Finnygo