2018 election Archives - Page 4 of 157 - Florida Politics

Andrew Gillum’s final ad shows happy Democrats bringing it home

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum is seeking to bring it home with his final television commercial showing happy Democrats rallying around his call to be the “governor for all.”

The 30-second spot, “Governor for All” is being released as the Democrat’s closing argument. He’s making it simple, with video shots showing crowds of young and old, black, Hispanic and white supporters smiling, cheering and reaching out to him as he vows to “create the kind of state that works for everybody again.”

“I want you to bring it home for the faces that I cannot recognize, the names that I cannot call,” Gillum declares in the commercial. “If we get out and vote, if we get out and organize, if we vote like our lives depend on it, we can have that kind of state.”

The commercial comes as voter turnout on Election Day is expected to make the difference, either making Gillum the state’s first black governor and first Democratic governor in 20 years, or bringing Republican Ron DeSantis into office with his vow to continue the conservative policies of Gov. Rick Scott.

For Gillum there always has been a link between his campaign slogan and the story hinted at in the new ad, and his campaign’s efforts to motivate Democrats to get out and vote. The commercial carries that tone to the end.

But we cannot do it without you,” he concludes. “So y’all, let’s bring it home. Let’s bring it home.”

Democrats tracking increases in younger voters, voters of color

Younger voters and voters of color have turned out in much greater numbers through early voting this year than in 2014, the Florida Democratic Party is reporting Tuesday morning.

The party released data tables Tuesday that also show white voters and older voters, key to the Republican base, are trending behind the levels seen in the last midterm election, in 2014.

Democrats are crediting their strategies for voter registration drives and their voter-turnout drives for targeting the Democratic-leaning demographics that traditionally don’t vote in great numbers.

“Early in 2018, the Florida Democratic Party set out to create the electorate we needed to win, as opposed to accepting the electorate we were told that we ‘had,'”  FDP Executive Director Juan Peñalosa declared in a news release. “Over the past year we’ve invested millions in technology, improved analytics, and outreach to communities of color and young voters – the result is an electorate that is significantly younger and more diverse than any midterm election in Florida history.”

According to the Democrats’ tables, African-American voters are trending two points higher this year as a proportion of the overall electorate, up to 14 percent; and Hispanic voters are trending three points higher, up to 13 percent. By contrast, white voters are making up 68 percent of the voting base thus far; that’s down 6 percent as a proportion of the overall total.

Likewise, younger voters are up, older voters are down, according to the Democrats’ tallies of voters so far, comparing voter turnout among early voters in 2014 to 2018. Those ages 18-29 are up three points, to 8 percent of the total, and those ages 30-39 also are up three points, to 9 percent. The oldest group, age 65 or older, are down five points as a proportion of the total vote, to 41 percent.

Carlson Spano

Ross Spano enters Election Day primed for successful defense of CD 15

Lakeland Democrat Kristen Carlson started Tuesday up three-tenths of a point over Dover Republican Ross Spano, but if he puts some elbow into his final drive he’ll punch his ticket to Washington.

According to St. Pete Polls the top-line score is 46-44 percent, advantage Spano. Six percent of early voters either forgot or closed their eyes when they ticked the box, but those who remembered their vote were split 47-47 percent.

It all comes down to Election Day — a sixth of those heading to the polls Tuesday are still making up their minds, and with the heavy R lean in Florida’s 15th Congressional District it’s not unreasonable to assume Spano will win the day.

Carlson edged out Spano in the early vote. She’s pulling in three-quarters of her base while Spano’s trapping four-fifths of his. Carlson is dominating among black, Hispanic, Asian, and other voters — 41 percent of the electorate. Spano is wiping the floor with non-Hispanic white voters, 54-37 percent. The make up the other 59 percent of CD 15 voters.

Half of men are backing Spano while 40 percent are backing Carlson. Among women, the former general counsel to the Florida Department of Citrus leads 48-43. Millennials and Gen Xers are voting blue by 3 points and 5 points, respectively. 50 to 69-year-old voters and the 70-plus bloc are picking Spano by 4 points and 14 points, respectively.

Spano’s leads in those demos are more significant than Carlson’s edge among the younger crowd, as those over 50 are much more likely to cast a ballot. If the 32 percent of voters waiting until today to cast their ballot come through, and if those margins hold, the Republican could easily end the night with a successful defense of the deep-red seat abdicated by Republican U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross.

The heretofore “safe Republican” seat is currently listed as a “toss up” on Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight. According to their model, Spano would prove victorious four out of seven times given the current lay of the land, but his projected vote share of 50.5 percent comes in just a point higher than Carlson’s.

CD 15 covers parts of Hillsborough, Lake and Polk counties and is considered to be a heavily Republican district. U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, who is giving up the seat after four terms, won his most recent re-election bid by 15 points. The district also voted plus-10 for President Donald Trump two years ago.

The St. Pete Polls survey has a sample size of 1,194 and the margin of error is plus or minus 2.8 percent with a 95 percent confidence level.

Puerto Rico speaker among 14 endorsements for Mike Miller

Puerto Rico Speaker of the House Carlos “Johnny” Mendez iss among 14 members of the Puerto Rican General Assembly to endorse Republican state Rep. Mike Miller for Congress in Florida’s 7th Congressional District, Miller’s campaign announced Monday.

Mendez’s endorsement was joined by those of other Puerto Rico Reps. Jose Aponte, Felix LaSalle, Maria Milagros Charbonier, Michael Adid Quinones, Victor Pares, Eddie Charbonier, Lourdes Ramos, Jackie Rodriguez, Jose “Pitchy” Torres Zamora, Pedro Santiago, Wilson Roman, Manuel Claudio, and Jose “Memo” Gonzales.

Miller is taking on Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy in Tuesday’s general election.

“Mike has been a consistent supporter of the Puerto Rican community in Central Florida. As a member of the Puerto Rican hurricane relief team, he helped bring relief to Puerto Rican residents after hurricanes Irma and Maria, working to ensure displaced residents have access to education, health care documents, and job placements to help them start a new life here in Central Florida,” Mendez stated in a news release issued by Miller’s campaign.

CD 7 covers Seminole County and north and central Orange County.

caldwell fried

Nikki Fried holds slim lead in final poll of Ag. Commissioner race

If Election Day were today, Democrat Nikki Fried would eke out a victory over Republican Matt Caldwell in Agriculture Commissioner race.

That’s according to a new survey from St. Pete Polls conducted Thursday. The poll, commissioned by Florida Politics, found Fried leading by just under a percentage point with 6 percent of voters still undecided.

The same survey found Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum with a 2-point edge over former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis as well as a slim lead for current Gov. Rick Scott in his campaign to oust Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.

In each of the three measures, the Democratic candidate had a significant edge in the early vote while the GOP nominee led among voters yet to cast their ballot. Those leads came despite Republicans outnumbering Democrats in early ballot returns.

As of Saturday, nearly 4.5 million Floridians had cast their ballots early.

The state Division of Elections tally shows Republicans have cast just over 41 percent of those pre-Election Day votes, while Democrats make up a 40 percent share and third- and no-party candidates account for the remaining 19 percent.

Republicans led by 3 points in pre-Election Day voting four years ago, the most recent midterm election.

Fried’s lead came in at just over 6 points among the 58 percent of respondents who said they’ve already voted. Caldwell was up 7 percentage points among remaining 42 percent of respondents.

That lead also comes despite Caldwell’s significant fundraising advantage. As of Nov. 1, the last day of fundraising for Florida candidates, he had raised $5.73 million via his campaign and political committee, Friends of Matt Caldwell.

Fried has raised less than half of that sum: $971,000 in hard money and $1.29 million in soft via her Florida Consumers First political committee.

St. Pete Polls took responses from 2,733 self-identified likely voters through an automated phone call polling system.

The sample included 40 percent Republicans, 39 percent Democrats, and 21 percent independent voters. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 1.9 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

Young Cruz 3

Final poll of SD 18 offers hope to both Dana Young and Janet Cruz

House Minority Leader Janet Cruz is inches ahead of Republican state Sen. Dana Young in the battleground race for Tampa-based Senate District 18.

A new survey from St. Pete Polls found Cruz with a point-and-a-half lead over Young with 7 percent of likely voters still undecided, that lead falls well within the poll’s margin of error.

The source of Cruz’s lead stems from a 12-point advantage in the early vote, 54-42 percent — more than two-thirds of those polled said they had already cast their ballots. Young has more than a shred of hope, however, thanks to the voters who are waiting until Election Day favoring her by a wide margin: 53-32 percent.

Nearly one in six respondents who are waiting to cast their ballot said they were undecided. Which way those voters break in the waning hours of the contest could tip the outcome in either direction.

Cruz and Young each earn around three-quarters of their party’s base, with a fifth of GOP voters and the same number of Democrats defecting and voting for the opposing party’s nominee. Among independent voters, Cruz leads 50-41 percent with the remainder still on the fence.

Young has an edge among voters over 70 and those age 50 to 69, while Cruz takes the lead among Millennials and Gen Xers. White voters, who account for 59 percent of SD 18’s voting age population, are breaking prefer Young 52-44 percent.

Meanwhile, Cruz runs up the score among black voters, 73 percent of whom are looking for a change compared to 24 percent who want to stay the course. The tally is closer among Hispanic voters, though Cruz holds a 46-40 edge with 14 percent undecided. Black and Hispanic voters make up a combined 37 percent of the districts voting age population.

Young holds a 5-point edge over Cruz among women, which counters the national trend of female voters preferring Democratic candidates in the 2018 cycle. Male voters prefer Cruz 51-44 percent.

The Young-Cruz battle is among the most competitive state Senate races slated for the 2018 ballot.

Young won the seat 2016 with a plurality of the vote against a much weaker Democratic challenger in a four-way race that saw third-party candidates net 11 percent of the vote. SD 18 is also one of two districts Florida Democrats are targeting this cycle that went for Hillary Clinton at the top of the ticket two years ago.

Young has dominated the money race, continuing her trend of being one of the most prodigious fundraisers in the Florida Legislature. The latest tally: $983K in hard money and millions in soft for Young versus $500K hard and a million soft for Cruz.

The St. Pete Polls survey was conducted via an automated phone call polling system on Nov. 3. It took responses from 641 voters and the two major parties accounted each accounted for 38 percent of the sample. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

Election Day is Nov. 6.


More than 4.8M ballots cast ahead of Election Day

Nearly 376,000 mail ballots and early votes were reported to the state Division of Elections Sunday, making for more than 4.8 million pre-Election Day votes for the 2018 general election.

The day saw Democrats cut into the GOP’s lead by more than 29,000 votes, while unaffiliated and minor party voters further diluted the Republican share of the early vote with another 85,385 ballots recorded Sunday. Eight counties — Baker, Citrus, DeSoto, Madison, Manatee, Sumter, Suwannee and Union — had not reported updated totals for the day as of late Sunday afternoon.

The Sunday haul pushed statewide turnout past 36 percent.

Many Florida counties were still open for early voting today. Additionally, a half-dozen counties that were in the path of Hurricane Michael have extended early voting into Monday.

As it stands, 1.97 million registered Republicans, 1.94 million registered Democrats and 920,904 independent voters have exercised their franchise. Percentagewise, Republicans lead Democrats by 0.6 points. Independent voters have cast 19 percent of ballots recorded thus far.

Florida Democrats say those numbers exceed their target.

“Our goal was to keep the Democratic vote deficit to under two points by election day in order to put us in the best position to win,” FDP executive director Juan Peñalosa wrote in a Sunday email.

Florida Democrats also noted gains in Collier, Martin, Indian River, St. John’s, Seminole and Sarasota counties and that they’ve pulled into the lead in Pinellas. Democrats lead by 5,600 votes in the bellwether county.

Republicans led by 3 points, or about 90,000 votes, in pre-Election Day voting four years ago, the most recent midterm election.


Here’s another poll showing Ron DeSantis leading Andrew Gillum

Most polls have shown Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum leading the race for Governor and incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson tied with Gov. Rick Scott, but a new poll from Nashville-based Targoz Market Research says that could shift come Election Day.

The poll asked an online panel of respondents who voted in 2012 and 2016 who they were backing in the top-of-ticket races and found former Congressman Ron DeSantis with a 1-point lead in the Guv race and Scott with a 4-point lead over Nelson in the Senate contest.

The caveat? That measure includes “leaners,” or voters who said they were unsure but tossed out a name when pressed for an answer. Without leaners, Scott leads 48-45 percent while Gillum leads DeSantis 47-44 percent.

“As trite as it sounds, the election for both Senate and Governor will hinge on each campaign’s ability to turn out their voters,” the pollster said. “For Democrats, it means turning out 18 to 34-year-old voters who make up 22 percent of registered voters but represent only 15 percent of the likely voters in this poll. Voters age 65-plus make up 29 percent of registered voters and 34 percent of likely voters in our polling.”

Targoz added that the state is on pace to break the Sunshine State’s midterm election turnout record.

“If this turnout mirrors the 2016 election for President, both Scott and DeSantis could win,” the pollster said.

As of Saturday, nearly 4.5 million Floridians had cast their ballots early.

The state Division of Elections tally shows Republicans have cast just over 41 percent of those pre-Election Day votes, while Democrats make up a 40 percent share and third- and no-party candidates account for the remaining 19 percent.

Republicans led by 3 points in pre-Election Day voting four years ago, the most recent midterm election.

RealClearPolitics polling average of the Governor race shows Gillum with a lead of 2.6 percentage points. Nelson leads by 1.4 percentage points in the RCP Senate polling average.

Demings Soto Carlson

Kristen Carlson gets backup from Val Demings, Darren Soto

Democratic members of Congress and a national women’s political group began a heavy push toward Election Day for Lakeland attorney Kristen Carlson in her campaign for Florida’s 15th Congressional District.

U.S. Reps. Val Demings, and Darren Soto and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez a Democrat from New York and the first Puerto Rican woman to be elected to Congress, were at Carlson headquarters in Lakeland on Saturday to speak with an army of volunteers prior to door to door canvassing.

“They are graciously helping fire up the volunteers,” Carlson said. “We’ve been canvassing all weekend and plan to go Sunday as well.“

The main theme for the volunteers as for much of the Democratic campaign across the nation are the three issues they believe will be threatened by Republicans in the new Congress to be seated in January: Medicare Social Security and Health care expansion.

Volunteers fanned out in Polk, Hillsborough and Lake counties within the district to spread the word and push for their candidate.

“This race is a nail biter. As a former prosecutor and general counsel for the Florida Citrus Commission she is a unifier at a time when it is crucial,” Soto said. “We are all concerned with the GOP’s plans to cut Medicare and Social Security after the passage of the tax cut this year.”

Demmings, who like Soto, represents a portion of Orange County, said Carlson is “needed for more fight for the people’s causes.”

Also on Saturday, EMILY’S List, an organization dedicated to elected more women to office, which recruited and endorsed Carlson, slammed Republican candidate for the post, Ross Spano of Dover, after a Tampa Bay Times article reported he had failed to file a financial disclosure form when entering the race, as required by federal election law.

The race for Congressional District 15, which has been represented by a Republican member of Congress for decades, has been ruled as a “toss up” by the Cook Political Report and FiveThirtyEight.

Amanda Murphy Biden

Joe Biden gives Amanda Murphy his full support

Former Vice President Joe Biden announced his support for former Democratic Rep. Amanda Murphy in the hotly contested race for Senate District 16 just three days before Election Day.

The announcement came late Saturday afternoon, just as voting in Pinellas entered its final day. Murphy thanked the former VP and possible 2020 presidential candidate for his support on social media, saying “our campaign is proud to announce Vice President Biden’s full support as we make our final case to the voters in Senate District 16.”

Murphy faces former Clearwater Republican Rep. Ed Hooper in the race for the North Pinellas/West Pasco Senate seat formerly held by Jack Latvala.

SD 16 has a Republican lean, but polling has indicated the Hooper-Murphy contest will come down to the wire on Election Day. A mid-October survey by St. Pete Polls found Hooper with a 48-46 percent lead with 6 percent undecided.

Murphy showed an unprecedented ability to lull GOP voters in her three runs for Florida House. In a 2013 special election, she took over for exiting Republican Rep. Mike Fasano — with his blessing, no less — and won re-election to a full term the following year.

In 2016, she was booted from office by current Republican Rep. Amber Mariano in one of the closest state House races in recent history. Despite of Donald Trump winning the Pasco-based House seat in a 20-point landslide, the Murphy-Mariano contest came down to to just 691 votes, or 0.6 percent.

SD 16 covers northern Pinellas County and southwestern Pasco County, including Clearwater, Dunedin, Safety Harbor, Palm Harbor, New Port Richey and Oldsmar. Republicans make up about 38 percent of the district’s electorate, while Democrats make up about a third.

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