Democrats may be dominating voting in some critical battleground states, but Florida isn't one of them. For the first time ever, more republicans are casting early ballots in the sunshine state. If the trend continues, Florida democrats could be disappointed on election night.
Early voting. It's become one of the democratic party's most powerful political weapons... That is, until now.
At last check, 150,000 more republicans had cast early ballots, either in-person or by absentee. For a party that's never won even a single day of early voting, it's a sign GOP enthusiasm is growing.
“Let's get to work!”
Republican Party of Florida Executive Director Ronnie Whitaker says it all comes down to the two men who are driving the turnout.
“One of the things you see is having Rick Scott and Marco Rubio at the top of the ticket,” he said. “There's a lot of enthusiasm around the state for those two, and I think that's why you're seeing it different here than you are in other states.”
Just two years ago, democrats rode to victory here in Florida by overwhelmingly capturing the early vote. Republicans turned out on election day, but by then, it was too late. With a 360,000 early vote edge, Barack Obama had already effectively won Florida.
Today's math is bad news for democrats, especially the party's gubernatorial nominee, Alex Sink, who's in a tight race against Scott. But early voting isn't over yet.
Democrats Gerald and Patricia Wright are casting their ballots now, after taking time to study what they call the election's 'complicated' issues.
Overall, they're feeling, “More enthusiastic than ever before, because it's important to be enthusiastic all the time about voting because there's so many changes taking place.”
But *they* may be the exception. Unless a flood of democrats start showing up - and quickly - the GOP may have the election all but wrapped up before election day.
Officially, the state republican party is cautiously optimistic. Party operatives say they don't expect to win the early vote battle but say any gains over the years indicate the GOP is on the right track.