Andrew Gillum Archives - Page 5 of 99 - Florida Politics

Steve Schale: Like the Jaguars season, the election is nearly over.

To: Fellow Americans Who Don’t Sleep

From: Steve Schale, Tired Florida Man

Re: You know you are going to miss these.

*5 hours until the polls open

*17 hours until the first of 23 phone calls between 7 and 7:05 p.m. asking what I think.

*19 hours until FSU basketball season tips off against the boys from Hogtown, East Florida Seminary

*3 days until we the media forget this election and goes all-in on 2020.

*5 days until the Jaguars lose again.

*6 days until the Vet Fest 5K in Tallahassee, as I need to burn off the last few week’s diet.

*708 days until someone else writes the first Florida memo of the 2020 cycle

*728 days until the Election Day 2020.

This is the second memo of the last day, and for ease of life, I am going to copy and paste the first part, so you have it, sans the jokes about Democrats voting like Blake Bortles throws touchdowns to the opposing teams — virtually everywhere, and often and get into this thing. There is really no reason to repeat it, any more than there is a reason for Bortles to throw two interceptions in a single half.

Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I am writing this after a day that began at 5:30 a.m., has included multiple GOTV shifts, and about 400 miles in the car. I can attest for the record that my entire diet has consisted of granola bars, candy I rifled from campaign offices, some tacos, a slice of old pizza, and caffeine in a variety of forms.

So, forgive me in advance for the bad jokes, sarcasm and etc., that you will find.

As of this evening, Floridians have cast: 5,111,452 votes

Democrats: 2,074,400 (40,58 percent)

Republicans: 2,049,877 (40.105)

NPA: 987,175 (19.3 percent)

Total Democratic margin: 24,523 (+0.48)

For comparison, yesterday we were at just over 4.8m voters and Republican Party +24,689

Friday we were at 4.46m voters, and GOP at 56,902.

Despite many counties not opening Sunday (Sunday was optional for counties in Florida), nearly as many people voted Sunday as Saturday, when the polls were open statewide. The nearly 50,000 voter net gain the Democrats had was twice as big as the last Sunday in 2014, and nearly matched the 55,000-net gain of the final Sunday in 2016.

Already, 2 million more people have voted as voted before the Election Day in 2014. The Republicans went into that Election Day with a 97,000-vote lead, or roughly a 3 percent advantage. One way to think about this election in comparison — even with the Election Day advantage Republicans had in 2014 and will have in 2018, I have no doubt Charlie Crist would have won in 2014 with the electorate where it is today.

In terms of the partisan difference in the electorate, Democrats start Tuesday morning in a net of about 120,000 votes better position than four years ago.

My Republican friends like to point out that the electorate in 2016 was very similar, and I agree, it is. I also agree to their point that the electorate tomorrow is likely to be more Republican than Democratic, possibly by as much as 150,000-200,000 votes (though I think the latter is unlikely given that Democrats will still have infrequent voters turning out to cancel some of their advantage). But one thing appears in all polling to be different: crossover voters, and independents, both who broke late to Donald Trump in 2016, and appear to be breaking for Andrew Gillum and Bill Nelson.

To give a quick example of what this means, even with the large surge of GOP voters in 2016, the defining feature of Trump’s win was late deciding independents, who overall gave Trump a four-point edge in the exit poll — a number that based on polling, seems quite plausible. If that same segment of the electorate had given Hillary Clinton a four-point edge, she would have won Florida by a margin like Barack Obama in 2012, who, yup you guessed it, won independents.

Republicans also will point out, and if they won’t, I will for them, that Crist won independents, and lost. This is also true. But again, if you go back three paragraphs, you will see that the electorate was substantially more Republican.

There is a point at which the GOP turnout advantage could be so big that Gillum and Nelson would have to win independents by something so herculean, akin to the scale of imaging Blake Bortles throwing 10 passes without bouncing one off an offensive lineman’s helmet, that the math doesn’t work. But this is far from that kind of model. More on this later.

A couple of other cut and paste facts from the morning memo:

The share of the electorate that is Black at 13.6 percent, which means Black voters are turning out at a higher rate than their share of voter registration (13.2 percent). Hispanic is up to 13 percent, which still lags its registration, but it is moving up. Overall, the electorate that is about 68 percent white.

Several of you have asked why I keep mentioning this number, and it is simple: Democrats in the last few cycles have struggled with white voters, so the greater the percentage of the electorate that is diverse, from a math perspective, the lower share of the white vote required.

It is not likely that tomorrow will see the electorate get more diverse, nor do I think much will happen to make it less diverse.

The Black turnout is driven across all groups: 2014 voters, 2016 voters, new voters, etc. — consistent across all targets. The Hispanic and NPA turnout is being driven by newer voters. The percentage of voters who did not vote in 2014 is up to 33 percent.

Within that universe, it is more Democratic — Dems have about a 110K voter lead among the expansion universe, and it is more Hispanic — over 18 percent, than the electorate at large. It is also more NPA, with 26 percent of expansion voters not registering with either party, which makes sense because it is also younger — nearly 23 percent under the age of 34.

So what happens tomorrow? Republicans show up, and infrequent voters continue at some level, maybe not as high as in early vote, but still at a steady click So what does this mean? I have been pretty set on about 7.25 million for turnout for most of two weeks.

I don’t see it going lower than this, and while it may be a bit higher, I don’t know that it is a lot higher, mainly because while we have seen a surge, a lot of the surge is really just convenience voting.

As I told a reporter (or two) today, the most remarkable thing is just how normal this electorate looks — just with more volume.

So let’s do some quick math (I NEVER SAID THERE WOULD BE NO MATH).

Dem edge today is roughly 25,000. It could go up or down a bit by morning, given the absentee ballots that came in today but isn’t likely to change much.

Let’s say, worst case scenario for Democrats, virtually every likely GOP target shows up tomorrow, and they win the day by 200,000 voters. Again, I think reasonably, this number is closer to 160,000, but for sake of this model, let’s say it is 200,000, And let’s say that to get there, turnout is about 1.5-1.6 million for these super voters.

At this level, based on how infrequent votes have been voting another 400,000 infrequent voters are likely to show up and at the current Democratic pace, Democrats probably net minimum of 30,000 voters.

200,000 GOP edge on EDay

25,000 Current Dem edge

30,000 Dem infrequent edge.

= 145,000 final GOP edge in turnout.

At 145,000, this means Republicans would have a 2 point edge in the share of the electorate, and as I showed the other day, there are a variety of ways, with very little crossover, and a very reasonable NPA win, that the Democrats win.

More on this in a bit.

Let’s go back to an exercise from one of the first memos — how do both parties win? Well, for Democrats, run up the score in a few places, and keep it between the ditches everywhere else.

The big places for us, Broward, Dade, Palm Beach, Orange and to a lesser extent, Hillsborough. Let’s start with Broward, where Democrats entered Eday in 2014 with a 100,000 voter lead — today, that number is 165,000, and arguably even more important, the county will turnout a bigger share of the electorate. In 2014, the total Broward turnout was 44 percent, and as of just today, it is 40 percent. It will exceed its 2014 turnout, quite possibly by a significant number — and that is just volume, a volume that adds up in the Democratic column. Turnout in Broward has made Florida Man’s driving on I-95 seem peaceful and tame.

In fact, there are 8 counties that are within 10 percentage points of reaching their 2014 turnout percentages — in other words, the counties that are performing the best relative to their 2014 turnout, and of those 8, four are significant Democratic base counties: Dade, Broward, Orange and Hillsborough. Every single one of these counties will be a bigger chunk of the electorate than 2014, and every one of them will deliver large majorities for Gillum and Nelson.

A fifth county, Osceola, is also in this category and is a Democratic base county.

If you take these five counties, currently the Democratic advantage in turnout is 313,584 voters. In 2014, the advantage was 134,439 voters — and even if you just factor in the higher turnout numbers, these three counties are still about 90,000 voters ahead of where they were four years ago. That is not insignificant.

Let’s also look at the two “play defense by playing offense” counties that I mentioned in one of the first of these memos, which feels like 18 months ago now. In two large counties in North Florida, Clinton outperformed Crist: Escambia (Pensacola), and Duval — also known as DUUUUVAL, which is Jacksonville, home of Blake Bortles’ fumbles.

The key for the ticket in those two places will be increasing African-American participation. These are also two communities that both Ron DeSantis and Rick Scott will want to look more like they did for Scott in 2014 than they did for Trump in 2016

So what is going on there? Well in Duval, in 2014, Republicans had about a 3 percent lead in party share entering Election Day — in 2016, the Dems had about a 1.4 percent lead, and today, the Democratic advantage is over 3, or roughly 12,000 voters. Democrats are not only denying the Republicans a large margin in a county that Scott won by 34,000 votes (+13 percent), but they might just win the whole darn place.

I have wanted to win DUVAL since taking the head coaching job for Florida Obama in 2008 — we almost got there in 08, Clinton got closer in 16, and I am going to go bold, and throw a Blake Bortles deep ball into triple coverage and say Gillum go up and grab that pass, and bring DUVAL home in 2018. As for Escambia, the party advantage was 23 percent in 2014. Today it is 17 percent. Chipping away at the margin. That’s how Democrats win. DUUUUUUVAL.

Secondly, Republicans run up the score in a handful of counties and win a few dozen by decent vote total, to counterbalance the growth the Democratic ticket is likely to see in the urban counties. For DeSantis and Scott, their path lies with the dozen or counties where Trump (2016) outperformed Rick Scott (2014). While the GOP ticket is unlikely to see the same kind of raw vote margins Trump won in these counties, they will want the final percentage spread to look more like Trump than like Scott. Most of these counties are in the I-4 corridor:

Tampa market:

Hernando (Scott 47.9 percent +2,013 votes — Trump 62.9 percent, +27,211 votes)

Citrus (Scott 53.7 percent, +8,881 — Trump 68.3 percent, +31,667)

Pasco (Scott 46.8 percent, +2,859 — Trump 58.9 percent +51,967)

Pinellas (Scott 41 percent -39,659 — Trump 48.6 percent, +5,551)

Sarasota (Scott 48.7 percent, +4,972 — Trump 54.3 percent, +26,541)

Manatee (Scott 51.7 percent, +12,356 — Trump 57.0 percent +30,647)

So how does it look there?

Again, keep in mind the goal in these counties is to change the math, like what the Democrats had done in their base counties. In 2014, the Republicans went into Election Day — and today, their margin is 8 percent, for a net lead of 58,107, which is nearly the same percentage margin as 2014, and a net gain in voters of just about 15,000. Sure, tomorrow could blow up here, but what has been keeping the GOP markets down isn’t lack of GOP enthusiasm, it is Democrats in these places are voting. In fact, in Pinellas, Sarasota and Manatee, Democratic voter turnout rates match, or even exceed the Republicans.

Orlando and South

Marion (Scott 55.3 percent, +19,869 — Trump 61.7 percent, +45,806)

Volusia (Scott 48.8 percent, +6,434 — Trump 54.8 percent, +33,937)

Charlotte — Ft Myers DMA (Scott 52.5 percent, +8,273 — Trump 62.5 percent, +26,781)

Martin — West Palm DMA (Scott 55.3 percent, +9,220 — Trump 62.0 percent, 23,091)

Just like above, in places where Trump blew up the numbers, we are seeing flatter growth — Republicans leading these four counties in early vote in 2014 by 15 percent, or about 33K votes, and today leading by 14.3 percent, or about 48K votes (with 100,000 more votes cast).

In fact, generally, while Democratic counties are quickly reaching their 2014 turnout rates, Republican counties are trailing; 25 counties the GOP traditionally win are more than 20 percent behind their 2014 final turnout percentage, and 40 total are more than 15 percent behind. They are simply not getting enough volume — so far. This will change tomorrow, but there is a lot of catching up to do to get to the kind of turnout the GOP saw in 2014 in contrast to the Democrats that cycle.

A couple of other quick observations — right now, the Miami and Orlando media markets are ahead of their projected share of vote, while most of North Florida is behind. This should level out tomorrow, though Miami and Orlando will both be a bigger share of the electorate in 2018 than 2014.

So here is where I am. While I don’t discount the GOP edge on Election Day, I do think if the NPA and crossover vote is doing anything close to what pollsters are finding, that edge gets eliminated quickly. In fact, a 9-point Gillum edge in NPA eliminates a 2 point GOP edge in turnout without having to win a single more GOP vote than DeSantis wins among Democrats — and I think Gillum wins more Republicans than DeSantis wins Democrats.

I know a lot of the polling of late has shown it stretching to a 4-5 — and even 7-point race, but honestly, I’ll believe it when I see it. That being said, I will be less surprised if he wins by that margin than I will be if he loses — and honestly, if James Comey hadn’t sent a memo, and I hadn’t lived with watching the disaster for my party that was Election Day in Florida in 2016, I probably would have no hesitation in saying where this plane lands. I think 2016 is the thing that gives most people pause, when in reality, the vast majority of signs pont to Gillum and Nelson.

That doesn’t mean a win is a certainty — if GOP really shows up, Dems turnout stalls and white independents crash tomorrow, that could be a bad combination. For Trump, it took all three of these things happening to win, and while I expect one will happen, the other two are a lot less certain.

Moreover, the polling seems to show the race consolidating toward both Gillum and Nelson, whereas in 2016, you could feel the race slide toward Trump late.    Again, I put the odds of DeSantis winning at lower than the odds of Gillum winning by a comfortable margin — but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

So, if you are on my team, GOTV. If you are not, I hear there are some Jaguars reruns on Netflix.

Tomorrow I will be watching turnout in the counties north of Tampa, and in Pinellas. This where the real Trump surge happened on Election Day in 2018, and where if we see a repeat, we will see signs during the day.

At 7, I will check Pasco. I can’t say I have a specific trigger on Pasco, other than kind of like when Bortles chucks one up under pressure with no specific offensive player in mind, I more go by feel, but anything close to parity is a good sign for Democrats.

Pinellas will report quickly and will report most of their vote at once.

Up, and I will feel good. Down, and I’ll settle in.

DUVAL is also early, and I want to see my side up. Dade early reports quickly, and Crist margin was 50,000 in early/VBM in 2014 — I want to see north of this.

I’ll start checking the urban/suburban counties around Orlando, and again, mostly just want to see margins in line with, or below 2014, as well as Orange and Osceola, and will want to see margins closer to 2016 numbers than to the Crist 2014 margins.

Then heading to 8 — what does the total margin look like? In 2014, Scott won the Central time zone markets by 140,000 votes — so are the Dems clear by at least that? If so, given late reporting southeast Florida counties, they are probably fine. If not, well, you can probably turn on basketball.

Florida is pretty fast reporting, except for Palm Beach, which I think is still counting ballots from 2000, so unless this thing is really close, I think we will have a good sense of where this is headed at a reasonable hour.

Real quick, I want to thank a few people.

First, my friend Dan Newman, who for two cycles has been an invaluable resource to these pieces.

I also want to thank the other vote counters — Dan Smith, Caputo, Wiggins, Tyson and Wayne Bertsch — I appreciate bouncing things off each other — and the thoughts you all share with me, as well as — and I will protect the innocent, some of the national guys who help me check myself.

And to everyone who reads these things, truly, thank you.

As I think I have said in the past, in my younger years, I struggled with reading and math comprehension, so I made Excel sheets, and wrote out concepts to help me think things out.

To this day, I think by writing.

I started writing these pieces as more internal objects in my campaign days, to help me process decisions — and as I migrated out of day-to-day campaign stuff (getting old sucks), someone suggested sharing these to provide maybe a little insight into how at least one old hack thinks about the state and its trends.

Like everyone else who spends time in this data, it is a time-consuming labor — but a labor of love, and I really do appreciate you reading.

To all the candidates who ran, congratulations, you have more guts than me, someone who has decided not to run a few times in his life. Your willingness to step into the arena is admirable.

In the words of Teddy Roosevelt: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena … who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

And lastly, while I have a lot of folks I am rooting for, I want to specifically wish Andrew Gillum good luck tomorrow.

While I initially was on another team, I’ve known Andrew for well over a decade, and I have nothing but genuine admiration for what he’s achieved in his life. His improbable story is one that can give hope to so many for whom hope is a shrinking commodity. I also think back to my first two years working in the legislature, when divided government led to some incredible achievements; Bright Futures scholarships, KidCare expansion, School construction and many more, and I believe Andrew will bring a much needed, fresh voice to the process, and help drive some big ideas, and big conversations. I’d be proud to call my friend my Governor.

Bring it home, sir.

PS — Congrats to Miami Dade College on turning out the most earlier votes, and winning the early voting Team Democracy State Championship. With a top-five finish, look for UCF to declare themselves the Early Voting National Champions.   Thanks to all who voted, you quite literally help save democracy.

For the 12 of you who read my other posts, see you soon. For the other 38, see you all in 2020, God willing.

‘Economy’: Why Ron DeSantis used Donald Trump for his closing argument

Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis went back to his roots on Election Day, voting and greeting supporters at a Catholic Church in Ponte Vedra Beach.

In Congress, his district was redrawn in 2016 south of there, compelling him to change official residences for much of his last term. But as the campaign came to close, DeSantis came home.

The question for DeSantis and other Republicans on the ballot: will Republicans and right-leaning and moderate NPAs follow suit?

President Donald Trump and his surrogate network powered DeSantis first through the primary, and now through the general election, with Trump often able to say things (like calling Democrat Andrew Gillum a “stone cold thief”) that DeSantis couldn’t quite.

DeSantis vigorously defended employing the President as a closer in his campaign’s stretch run appeal to independent voters, noting that for voters that he has represented, the economy is radically improved in recent years.

“Economy,” DeSantis said. “If you look at where we were when I ran for Congress in 2012, of course this area’s always been pretty good, but other parts of my district, Daytona Beach, they had unemployment eight, nine percent.”

“Now all these areas are under four percent and Florida’s obviously been on a roll. Those voters look at it and say that is really the foundation of everything,” DeSantis said, channeling current Governor Rick Scott.

“Say you want more education funding,” DeSantis added. “Well, guess what? If you have a healtthy economy, you’re going to have a strong and vibrant tax base, you’re going to have more resources to do education, environment, transportation.”

“If you wreck that, if you start doing tax increases and drive business away and kill jobs and stop investment coming into Florida … just think about like in Jacksonville close by here, the number of corporate headquarters that have come over the last say ten years. How many of them would have come if our taxes had been increased forty percent,” DeSantis asked. “I’ll bet you few of them would.”

The reference, of course, is to a Gillum proposal to raise the corporate tax rate to 7.75 percent, an idea that has elicited little enthusiasm from anyone else in a competitive race.

“From an economic perspective and a results perspective,” DeSantis added, Trump’s message is a “good message for folks.”

“You people have to decide: if you’re more concerned about tweeting than results, I respect that. That’s your vote, you can do what you want. To me, it’s all about results,” DeSantis added.

We also asked DeSantis why, after the fractious primary campaign, runner-up Adam Putnam offered no material help to the ticket.

There, his answer was more terse.

“You’d have to ask him,” the candidate said about his primary opponent not backing the ticket during the pivotal stretch run.

Andrew Gillum: Victory ‘will send a message to Mr. Trump’

Andrew Gillum cast his vote in Florida’s close governor’s race in a Roman Catholic Church meeting hall in Tallahassee’s northern suburbs, saying he was focused on making history, but also on the need to win.

“I’m extremely excited to have just — I think I can reveal — cast a vote for myself,” Gillum told reporters, surrounded by his wife, R. Jai, and their three small children.

“This has been a long journey — 21 months moving across the state of Florida, talking to everybody that we could meet.”

That included voters in the Panhandle, a deep red section struggling to recover from Hurricane Michael. An area, he conceded, not likely to be rich in votes for him.

“But that’s OK. What I want people to know — even in the deepest red areas — that I want to be their governor, too. In order for that be true, you’ve got to go there, you’ve got to hear from people, you’ve got to talk to folks and let them know that you plan to work on their behalf, too.”

Gillum and his family arrived at the Good Shepherd Catholic Church at 10:03 a.m. and emerged from voting about 15 minutes later. He then spoke to the press.

Asked about the message from Republicans Donald Trump and Ron Desantis that a Gillum election would hurt Florida’s economy, the mayor noted that 44 percent of Floridians can’t make ends meet, and 36 counties are economically worse off than in 2007.

“What we’re going to do is grow an economy where people can work one job instead of two or three jobs in order to make ends meet,” he told reporters. “We’re going to lean into the kind of economy where folks can earn enough where they can not only pay their bills, they can save up enough to take a vacation every once in a while.”

And what about the historical implications should Gillum become Florida’s first African-American governor?

“Us winning tonight, I think, will send a message to Mr. Trump and Mr. DeSantis, as well — that the politics of hatred and of division, of separation, that they’ve come to an end.

“At least in this election, that’s what we’re going to show. That people are going out and they’re voting for something and not against. And by voting for something, we’re returning the politics of decency and what’s right and what’s common between all of us,” Gillum said.

“We’ll worry about history later, but today we’re working to win.”

Has the nasty turn the campaign has taken overshadowed the issues?

“I am extremely proud that we ran a campaign focused on expanding access to health care, paying teachers what they’re worth, leaning into the green economy,” Gillum said.

“We’re really, at every turn — in spite of all the distractions — tried to keep voters in the state focused on what matters. I believe that is what’s going to allow us to walk away with a win today.

“I’m looking forward to then turning around and going back to those voters whose votes I didn’t get and letting them know that I plan to be a governor for them, too.”

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.”

South St. Pete polling place has Election Day glitch

Election Day started out with a bang in South St. Petersburg, but the hoopla was quickly deflated around 7:53 a.m.

That’s when a technical glitch at the Jet Jackson Recreation Center caused voting to temporarily halt.

The line as polls opened at the precinct was about 40-deep, according to poll watchers. That line was moving swiftly until the glitch allegedly caused poll workers to receive error messages that voters had already cast ballots.

The issue affected several voters who insisted they had not yet voted.

Some of the stories are conflicting. Some reported malfunctioning voting machines. Others said there was user error caused by people double feeding ballots into scanners.

The Supervisor of Elections office said its initial reports suggested it was a poll worker error in which voters were being scanned into the voting queue twice, creating an error.

The issue was fixed by 8:23 a.m. and the SOE office said no voters were turned away. A handful of voters left during the wait because they had to get to work, but planned to return later in the day.

“I’m told everything is fixed and voters were able to cast their ballots,” said state Sen. Darryl Rouson, a Democrat who represents the South St. Pete area.

On the other side of town in West St. Pete, voters in precincts 211, 215, 216 and 222 casting ballots at Pasadena Community Church formed a line about 40 deep that remained steady through 8:00 a.m.

The tone was excited. Every voter left smiling and jovial, proudly boasting their “I Voted” stickers. But their reactions leaving the polls were also indicative of the vitriolic atmosphere surrounding this midterm election.

Dozens refused to comment on the election or talk about their votes. One young man approached the polling place with his mom. He said he was a first time voter, but his mother, asked if they would answer questions about the election, quickly wrapped her arm around him and shuffled him by.

Of the few who did comment, one wouldn’t say who she voted for.

“The most important issues I think would be the healthcare, Social Security and Medicare,” Lori Crisp said. “I want it to be affordable. I don’t want to be paying outrageous amounts. You know, with Social Security and Medicare, you’ve worked all your life and they’ve taken it out of your paychecks, you should be entitled to it.”

Crisp said she doesn’t make voting choices based on partisanship.

“I do my research and make my choices,” Crisp said.

But she sees too many people making voting decisions based on political ads that she described as “mudslinging” that often include misleading or false claims.

Another voter, Joe Davis, came out to vote in favor of Amendment 4, which would restore constitutional rights to non-violent felons who paid their debt to society.

“I’ve got friends that are affected, so this is really important,” Davis said.

Davis completed the entire ballot — right down to local races. He said it wasn’t intentional, but voted for Democrats including Senate candidate Lindsay Cross and House candidate Jennifer Webb. He also supported U.S. Senator Bill Nelson and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum for governor.

Throughout St. Pete, polling places were packed with signs for different candidates and issues. Polling places with multiple precincts casting ballots had long lines. Single precinct polls were quiet.

In Tyrone, Pinellas County Democrats waived signs for local candidates including Webb and Cross. Many proudly wore Gillum shirts.

At Creative Soul coffee shop in the Grand Central District, the barista asked everyone who came in, “Have you voted?”

They all had.

Polls are open until 7 p.m. tonight. Anyone in line by 7 p.m. will be able to vote.

It’s not the party … it’s the after party! A rundown of where South Florida candidates will be on election night

On Election Day, as the polls close, the after-parties begin.

Candidates — along with nearly everyone else in America — will be glued to their screens Tuesday night for election results. In the end, win or lose, there will be a party.

Some will celebrate a hard-fought victory, while others will be a bit more somber, drowning their sorrows.

Want to party like a politician? Here’s a rundown of where major statewide candidates will be as the polls close, followed by locations for candidates in the South Florida scene.

If your favorite candidate isn’t listed, check the Party or venue websites for more information.

U.S. Senate

Gov. Rick Scott is hosting his election night party at 7 p.m., Naples. The address will be provided upon RSVP. Press credentials required; media access begins 3:30 p.m. Hotel rooms are available in the Scott for Florida room block; email for details. RSVP must be submitted by Friday, November 2, to


The Ron DeSantis for Governor campaign election night party begins 6 p.m., Rosen Centre Executive Ballroom, 9840 International Dr., Orlando. The event is open to members of the media with credentials; press preset begins 4 p.m. Please apply for credentials here.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, wife R. Jai Gillum will join running mate and Orlando businessman Chris King and his wife Kristen will hold an election night celebration starting 7 p.m., Florida A&M University Lee Hall, 1601 South Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, Tallahassee. While it is a public event, those planning to attend should RSVP to secure a ticket. Tickets are required for entrance in the area. Parking will be limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Shuttle service will be available from Bragg Memorial Stadium to the election night celebration starting at 6 p.m. and ending at midnight. Attendees should prepare to go through an airport security-style entry — please do not bring large bags/backpacks, laptops, large camera equipment, signage or weapons. Additionally, there will be a “clear bag” policy in effect for the event. Clear bags must adhere to the dimensions of no larger than 12” x 6” x 12;” small non-clear shoulder bags or clutch purses must be no larger than 4.5” x 6.5.” All bags will be checked upon entrance to the event. The public entrance for this event will be on Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, south of Lee Hall and adjacent to the FAMU Student Union Building.

Florida Cabinet

The Ashley Moody for Attorney General campaign party will be at the Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel, Costa Del Sol Ballroom, 4200 Jim Walter Blvd., Tampa. Doors open at 7 p.m. Media will be allowed access at 4:30 p.m. and must be set up by 6 p.m. Media contact is Erica Geiger. Email is

State Sen. Jeremy Ring, who is running for Florida Chief Financial Officer, will join The Nikki Fried for Agriculture Commissioner campaign for an election night watch party at Good Spirits, 476 N Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. There will be parking available in the corresponding lot and garage as well as workspace set aside for the press. Doors open for guests at 7 p.m. and 4:20 p.m. for members of the press. RSVP to

U.S. House

CD 18 — Democratic challenger Lauren Baer hosts a watch party with friends and supporters from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., Palm Beach Gardens Embassy Suites, 4350 PGA Blvd, Palm Beach Gardens. Those looking to attend can RSVP by using this link.

CD 22 — Republican Nicolas Kimaz will be at Nikki’s Orange Restaurant, 1 N Ocean Blvd #102, Pompano Beach, from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m.

CD 25 — Mary Barzee Flores is hosting an Election Night party at The Bend Liquor Lounge in Hialeah, 6844 NW 169th St. Doors will open to the public at 7 p.m.

CD 26 — The Carlos Curbelo campaign is inviting voters to an 8 p.m. watch party at his campaign headquarters, 12877 SW 42nd St, Miami. Contact

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell is gathering at the Black Point Ocean Grill, 24775 SW 87th Avenue, Cutler Bay. The party will begin at 7:30 p.m.

CD 27 — Democrat Donna Shalala will hold her election night watch party at 7 p.m. at the Coral Gables Woman’s Club, 1001 E Ponce De Leon Blvd, Coral Gables.

State Senate

SD 36 — Democratic nominee David Perez will be meeting with supporters at La Carreta Restaurant, 5350 W 16th Ave, Hialeah. The party will run from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

SD 40 — State Sen. Annette Taddeo will be at the Miami-Dade Democrats’ Party at The Brick, 8955 SW 72nd Pl, South Miami. That gathering starts at 7 p.m.

State House

HD 89 — Jim Bonfiglio will be party of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party’s election night watch party. The event will be held at the Embassy Suites, 1601 Belvedere Rd, West Palm Beach and will run from 7 p.m. to midnight.

HD 93 — Democratic candidate Emma Collum hosts an election night party running from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. The party will be located at 26 Degrees Brewing Company, 2600 E Atlantic Blvd, Pompano Beach.

HD 103 — Democratic nominee Cindy Polo will be at the 5inco Indoor & Colombian Flavor, 8081 W 28th Ave, Hialeah. The event begins at 7 p.m.

HD 105 — Javier Estevez, the Democratic nominee, hosts a watch party at 7 p.m. at 8502 SW 146th Ct, Miami.

HD 113 — Starting at 7 p.m., Democratic candidate Michael Grieco will be at Hotel Gaythering, 1409 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach.

HD 115 — Jeff Solomon will be attending a party hosted by the Miami-Dade Democratic Party beginning at 7 p.m. Democratic will be gathering at The Brick, 8955 SW 72nd Pl, South Miami.

HD 118 — State Rep. Robert Asencio will be at Isla del Encanto 2, 11236 SW 137th Ave, Miami, starting at 7p.m.

HD 120 — Democratic challenger Steve Friedman is meeting supporters 7 p.m. at Angler House Marina, 80500 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada.

Local candidates are also hosting election night parties.

Palm Beach County Commission — Starting at 7:30 p.m., District 4 candidate Robert Weinroth will be at the Delray Beach Marriott, 10 N Ocean Blvd, Delray Beach.

And it’s not just candidates taking in the election results..

Amendment 4 — A watch party for backers of the voting rights restoration measure will gather at 6 p.m. at Little Haiti Cultural Complex, 212 NE 59th Terrace, Miami. An RSVP is available on Facebook.

United Teachers of Dade — The group will gather in support of Gillum at the UTD headquarters, 2200 Biscayne Blvd. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. and an RSVP is required, which you can make here.

Nate Silver pegs Florida Gov. race at 3 in 4 chance of Andrew Gillum victory

According to national elections forecaster Nate Silver and other folks at, Democrat Andrew Gillum has a 3-4 chance of prevailing against Republican Ron DeSantis in Florida’s gubernatorial election on Tuesday.

That estimation, however, doesn’t mean Gillum is polling at 75 percent. In fact, Silver figures Gillum will walk away with about 51 percent of the vote share, while DeSantis will finish at around the 47 percent mark.

That margin is close to some of the latest polling, including a St. Pete Polls survey published Monday that put Gillum ahead of DeSantis by five points.

In a Monday election update, FiveThirtyEight put Gillum’s race in the context of other states the went for Donald Trump in 2016 and Barack Obama in 2012. In that category, Democrats in the Sunshine State hold a “more modest lead” than those in others, like Michigan and Pennsylvania, where the candidates for Governor are “clear favorites.”

But Gillum, has “a clearer lead than the Democratic candidates in the other three Obama-Trump states —Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin,” writes FiveThirtyEight’s Perry Bacon Jr.

Among the other three black candidates for Governor across the country, Gillum is a “narrow favorite.” Georgia’s Stacey Abrams, a Democrat, trails closely behind Republican Brian Kemp, but has a 3 in 10 chance of winning. Maryland’s Ben Jealous, also a Democrat, has just a 1 in 100 chance of emerging victorious Tuesday.

‘Excitement and enthusiasm’: Andrew Gillum’s impact on 2018 politics, polling

Jacksonville’s Michael Binder, the director of the University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Lab, sees a difference between the 2014 and 2018 Florida gubernatorial races.

That difference: the appeal of Democrat Andrew Gillum, which Binder says has created “excitement and enthusiasm” compared to the 2014 ballot.

Whereas Crist, a former Republican, may have been perceived as a “carpetbagger,” there are no such concerns with Gillum.

Gillum, says Binder, has helped to make Democratic turnout in Duval especially “light years ahead” of the 2014 cycle.

Duval’s African-American voters “propelled Gillum in the primary,” and they are likewise a key to victory Tuesday should it happen.

A big story coming out of the August primary: Surveys missing the #GillumSurge.

Logistics drove that, Binder said.

“There aren’t a lot of public polls in the last week. A poll released the day before the election is not going to get media attention,” Binder said.

“Polls are only as good as the voters are,” Binder said.

In other words, if voters say they are undecided, then decide after the poll, the survey can’t catch it.

Polls also have trouble with soft support, which can factor into primaries.

“There’s very little difference between most primary candidates in policy,” Binder explains.

Binder’s latest polling showed a decided move toward Gillum over DeSantis (56-31) among NPA voters.

He said that “midterms reflect the President” and that DeSantis, like Trump, has “done well among the base” but has seen drag with NPAs and moderates.

Another issue for DeSantis: a “charisma” deficit.

Looking forward to 2020, if “Gillum wins, expect extraordinary support of the Democratic nominee,” Binder said.

And where Gillum’s popularity stands will matter. If he’s popular in two years, it bodes well for Democrats.

“If he’s wildly unpopular, it could help Trump,” Binder said.

Meanwhile, the Senate race between Gov. Rick Scott and incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson, actually mirrors Scott’s 2014 re-election.

“Not a lot of excitement,” Binder said, but the race is “neck and neck.”

Ron DeSantis expecting GOP super voters to make the difference on Tuesday

The polls and the voter turnout through the weekend might have a blue tint but Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis is counting on Florida’s Republican super-voters to do what they always do – turn out en masse on Election Day – and make the difference.

“I really believe if we can get people out to vote I will be elected governor on Tuesday,” DeSantis told a crowd of about 150 people gathered in an Orlando pharmacy parkling lot Monday morning.

DeSantis made the comment during a get-out-the-vote rally that featured Republicans U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, Agriculture Commissioner nominee Matt Caldwell, Attorney General nominee Ashley Moody, and congressional nominee Mike Miller, among others. So naturally, the comment was a standard line for such a rally.

Yet an edge in DeSantis’s voice sounded as if he knows it will be needed, as someone trailing by five points in three different polls released Monday morning, and with reports that Democrats had a big voter turnout over the weekend. After his Orlando speech he told reporters that the voter turnout numbers will turn.

“We have a lot of our super voters left to vote. We have hundreds of thousands of voter-advantage in terms of potential voters,” DeSantis said. “Not all the votes have been tabulated from weekend in the Panhandle from earely voting. I think we’re going to go into the election having  rough parity, which we were not anticipating. We thought we’d have to come back.

“We just have a lot of our voters who like to vote on election day,” DeSantis added. “That’s just the way they are. So I think we’re definately going to win election day.”

Considering the star power of three cabinet nominees and Florida’s Republican U.S. Senator appearing at Monday in Orlando the rally drew a modest crowd to a small space. DeSantis’s end game speech included the usual comparisons with his Democratic opponent Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and reminders that Tallahassee is being investigated by the FBI for potential corruption.

Yet DeSantis also put more emphasis Monday on seeking to define the leadership differences, and in reminding the crowd that he has at least a good working relationship with President Donald Trump, if not a mutual-admiration society, while Gillum has called for Trump’s impeachment.

“You also have to someone who is a good leader and can get this stuff done. If you look at transportation, which we obviously need in Central Florida, you should have a governor who can work constructively with the administration in Washington to make sure Florida is getting what it needs for us to be able to fix our infrastructure,” DeSantis said.

“I can do that because I can call the president, I can call key people in the administration, and I can fight for Florida and fight for Florida’s interests,” he continued. “Andrew Gillum wants to impeach Donald Trump.”

Rubio spoke only briefly, mainly warning against a state of high taxes and business regulations that he said Gillum would bring.

“We’re not going backwards,” Rubio said. “We are most certainly not going to become a state like people are leaving. That’s not going to happen.”

Andrew Gillum says don’t judge him by his ‘worst day’

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum has been motoring around North Florida, making closing arguments.

Gillum has been drawing huge crowds at most stops, and his visit to Madison County on Monday was no exception.

His remarks tend to cover much of the same ground from stop to stop; however, in Madison, Gillum’s most compelling words were about second chances.

Speaking of Amendment 4, which would restore the rights of many reformed felons (except, say, rapists and murderers), Gillum was passionate advocating for a “second chance.”

“You can’t tell people to pull themselves up by the bootstraps, then erect every barrier,” Gillum said, before pivoting to somewhat more cryptic territory.

“I don’t want to be judged by my worst day,” Gillum said, without adding detail as to what that worst day would be. “There are second chances in life.”

Since getting the nomination, Republican Ron DeSantis has slammed Gillum for perceived ethical lapses regarding taking perks from lobbyists and undercover FBI agents investigating corruption in Tallahassee.

“You cannot accept a thousand dollar junket to Costa Rica, which he did not pay for, from a lobbyist doing business with the government,” DeSantis has said. “That violates Florida law.

“What did he do after getting that? He turned around and gave the lobbyist exactly what that lobbyist wanted,” DeSantis said. “To me, those are ill-begotten gains that he should not have had. And what he did, doing the favor for the lobbyist, is exactly how we don’t want government to work.”

Indeed, Gillum has struggled with answers to these questions.

This, from the Miami Herald: “Now folks are asking me to answer for which caterer does what? I’ve done more events than I could count.

“I couldn’t tell you anything about a food venue or, quite frankly, whether somebody cooked it or somebody catered it. But that apparently is the new expectation,” Gillum has lamented.

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