Gwen Graham Archives - Page 5 of 85 - Florida Politics

Democratic candidates rally souls to the polls

The Sunday before an election means one thing in Florida Democratic Politics: Souls to the Polls, a traditional period near the end of early voting when voters can worship and participate in democracy in a single day.

As candidates for governor and Senate campaign in advance of the Tuesday primary, you might find a politician saying a prayer near you. More importantly, you can likely find them rallying voters in traditionally African-American church congregations to go straight from service to early voting locations.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum today will hit Souls to the Polls events all around South Florida. He will be at the Miramar Branch Library at noon, at New Hope Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale at 1:30, then in his hometown of Richmond Heights for a rally at The Bethel Church. He will be traveling for former HUD Secretary Julian Castro.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson will be in Orlando for Souls to the Polls events with Reps. Val Demings, an Orlando Democrat, and James Clyburn, House Assistant Democratic Leader. He will later join Puerto Rico Lt. Governor Kenneth McClintock for a roundtable in Lakeland.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine continues his heavy campaigning in South Florida, reaching out to early voters at the Coral Gables Branch Library at 9 a.m., followed by a canvassing launch in Miami at 10 a.m. and another launch in Fort Lauderdale at 1 p.m., before he finally heads to a Souls to the Polls event with state Sen. Chris Smith at Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham will attend a Souls to the Polls event in East Tampa at St. John Cathedral’s Open Cafe. She plans to speak with Florence Gainer about the church’s job training programs as they head to the polls. And Graham’s father, former Gov. Bob Graham, will be doing a separate Souls to the Polls event in Broward County.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King will visit four Central Florida churches today, Majestic Life Church in Orlando at 10:30 a.m., The Experience Christian Center in Orlando at 11 a.m., New Life Church in Orlando at 11:30 a.m., and Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Eatonville at 12:15 p.m. Then King heads to St. Petersburg, where he will address supporters and thank campaign volunteers at an event at the Iberian Rooster at 5:30 p.m.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer casts his vote for Gwen Graham

One of Florida’s top mayors officially cast his primary vote Saturday for former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham in the Democratic primary for Florida governor.

Buddy Dyer, Orlando’s mayor since 2003, appeared with Graham today at a rally in Orlando outside the Orange County Supervisor of Elections’ Kaley Street office. He then voted early himself.

“Together, we are going to restore Florida’s public schools, protect our environment and finally pass commonsense gun safety,” Graham said in a statement.

Graham’s campaign announced Dyer’s endorsement yesterday, when Dyer said Graham put particular effort into understanding the needs of the City Beautiful.

“Gwen Graham has spent her life bringing people together to solve problems,” Dyer said. “She has spent a tremendous amount of time here in Orlando over the last year, and she understands how the state of Florida can be a true partner to help Orlando grow into the future.”

Graham called Orlando a model city in the Sunshine State.

“Orlando is a real example of what Florida can be, a place with a growing economy, shared prosperity, and a community open to a diversity of ideas,” Graham said.

“Mayor Dyer has accomplished these goals by bringing together people from different perspectives, forcing compromise to solve problems, while at the same time never backing down from his progressive values. I am honored by his support and eager to work with him to move Florida forward.”

The endorsement also shows the strong support Graham has received so far from some of the biggest Democratic leaders along Florida’s I-4 corridor, an area that has become critical in winning statewide races.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn endorsed Graham earlier this month, and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has publicly defended Graham in the face of primary attacks.

(Notably, Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry went another way, endorsing Andrew Gillum.)

Graham’s campaign hopes her edge with the endorsement from the state’s most notable mayors will move voters into her camp come Tuesday’s primary.

The support seems particularly impressive as the Democratic primary field this year includes two candidates with experience as mayors of major cities—former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and Tallahassee Mayor Gillum.

The most recent polls show Graham and Levine running neck and neck, with Gillum enjoying a surge in support in advance of Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

Former Puerto Rico Gov. Sila María Calderón Serra to join Philip Levine for Orlando tour

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine is planning a whirlwind tour of Central Florida’s Puerto Rican communities with the isaland’s former Gov. Sila María Calderón Serra this weekend.

She endorsed Levine Friday in the Democratic gubernatorial primary election, his campaign announced.

That seal of approval adds to the endorsements Levine already has received from San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto and Ponce Mayor María “Mayita” Meléndez.

Calderón served as the eighth Governor of Puerto Rico from 2001 to 2005. Calderón also served as mayor of San Juan, and as Puerto Rico’s secretary of state.

On Saturday she will be joining Levine for three stops in Orlando and Kissimmee on Saturday evening, and one in Kissimmee Sunday morning.

“As a former governor myself, I was upset with the Trump administration’s handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. In a moment of crisis, Mayor Levine demonstrated true leadership, putting together relief efforts immediately and working to support the people of San Juan, and all of Puerto Rico,” Calderón stated in a news release issued by the Levine campaign. “Floridians deserve a compassionate leader like Mayor Levine, with a clear track record of action and a reputation for standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. Puerto Ricans have an incredible opportunity to decide this governor’s election, It is important that we stand with Philip in the way he stood with us after Hurricane Maria.”

Levine is courting Central Florida’s robust Puerto Rican community heading toward Tuesday’s primary showdown with Gwen Graham, Andrew Gillum, Jeff Greene, and Chris King for the Democratic nomination to run for governor.

On Saturday, Levine and Calderón plan to start with a rally at 11331 Cypress Leaf Dr. at 4:15 p.m. They plan to join a Boricua vota caravana, a political parade, at the El Ponceño Restaurant in Kissimmee by 5:30, and then appear at an early voting center at the Kissimmee Civic Center by 6:30 p.m. On Sunday they will visit the Melao Bakery at 11:30 a.m.

“I’m honored to earn the support of Governor Calderón, a strong public servant who has stood up for what’s right, and has advocated for working people both while in office and after her tenure. As Governor, our state will stand with our Puerto Rican neighbors, strengthen our economic and cultural ties, and ensure that our state is accepting to those who came here after losing everything.”

Gubernatorial candidates making final primary vote push this weekend

With one last weekend to rally votes before the primary election on Tuesday, candidates for governor for both parties can be found in all corners of the state energizing their own coalition of supporters. Who’s campaigning near you?

Democratic candidate Gwen Graham will be at the Orange County Supervisor of Elections office with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, who plans to formally endorse her at a rally with other local officials already on the Graham train before casting his early voting ballot. The event starts at 11 a.m. at the Kaley Street office. Then Graham heads to Se7en Bites Bake Shop for one of her signature workdays, spending a shift serving donuts and buttering up voters.

Republican candidate Adam Putnam will bring his bus tour to The Villages today at 9 a.m. at Brownwood Paddock Square, where he campaigns with Marion Sheriff Billy Woods, state Sen. Dennis Baxley and former state Rep. Marlene O’Toole. Then he rolls on to Sanford for a candidate meet-and-greet. The Seminole for Putnam event’s list of major guests includes former Senate President Mike Haridopolos, former Speaker Steve Crisafulli, Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma, Brevard Sheriff Wayne Ivey, state Sen. David Simmons and state Reps. Colleen Burton and Scott Plakon. The event starts at 1 p.m. at Venue 1902 at Preservation Hall. Putnam will conclude his nine-day bus tour this evening at the Hillsborough for Putnam Grassroots BBQ, which kicks off at 6 p.m. at M&B Products in Temple Terrace.

Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum will take his “Bring It Home” bus tour all over South Florida today, starting with an early voting event in Riviera Beach at 9 a.m., a West Palm Beach Century Village Meet & Greet at 2:30 p.m., Pompano Beach early voting at 4 p.m. and Lauderhill early voting at 5:15. The day reaches its climax when Gillum campaigns alongside Julian Castro, former HUD secretary under President Barack Obama, at a Miami Unidos por Gillum event kicking off at Cubaocho at 6:30 p.m. Gillum’s campaign also welcomes surrogate Angela Rye to the state. She headlines the “Be The Vote” forum at Edward Waters College, an event that kicks off at noon at Milne Auditorium.

Democratic candidate Philip Levine will also work South Florida early voting locations today, and will take time to meet with the South Florida AFL-CIO. He starts the day campaigning at the North Shore Branch Library early voting spot in Miami Beach at 8:45 a.m., meets with the union in Miami Springs at 9:30 a.m., stops by early voting locations in Coral Springs at 11 a.m. and Plantation at noon, launches a canvassing at the Sistrunk Office in Fort Lauderdale at 1 p.m., then hits early voting in West Palm Beach at 2 p.m.

Democratic candidate Chris King will be in Orlando conducting a “Get Out the Vote Day of Action.” The event runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Republican candidate Ron DeSantis has announced that on Monday, he will traverse the state with a “Turnout Tour,” launching in Jacksonville at 9a.m. at The Local, then heading to Tiffany’s Restaurant in Palm Harbor at 11 a.m., Three Fisherman Seafood Restaurant at 2 p.m. in North Fort Myers, Versailles Restaurant in Miami at 4 p.m., E.R. Bradley’s Saloon in West Palm Beach at 6 p.m. and finally the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in Daytona Beach at 8:30 p.m.

This story will be updated as candidates announce more public events.

Voters to decide contentious primary races

By late Tuesday night, it will be better known how much sway President Donald Trump holds among Republican voters.

Meanwhile, Democrats will decide if they are marching for governor in the year of the woman, or if they want to elect the state’s first African-American governor or a wealthy, progressive businessman.

In the top-of-the-ticket governor’s race, Democrats will pick from among former Congresswoman Gwen Graham, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former Miami Beach Mayor and businessman Philip Levine, Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene and Winter Park entrepreneur Chris King.

Republican voters will settle months of fighting between Congressman Ron DeSantis, Trump’s endorsed candidate for governor, and Adam Putnam, the state’s two-term Agriculture Commissioner.

Voters in both parties also will choose nominees to replace term-limited Attorney General Pam Bondi and to succeed Putnam as Agriculture Commissioner.

The Republican contest for attorney general has emerged as the most divisive of the Cabinet contests. State Rep. Frank White, a Pensacola Republican, continues to hammer his primary opponent, former Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Ashley Moody, over her family’s part in a condominium-development lawsuit against Trump nearly a decade ago and for having once been a registered Democrat.

In a new 30-second ad by White, an announcer proclaims, “Ashley Moody was a lifelong Democrat.” The ad includes an edited part of an audio clip from a TV reporter who said, “It’s true Ashley Moody was first a registered Democrat, but it’s false she has been her whole life. She entered college as a Democrat and in her 20s became a Republican.”

However, in the ad, the audio says: “It’s true Ashley Moody was registered Democrat,” with “first a” edited out. The ad also does not include the explanation about Moody becoming a Republican.

Moody’s campaign, which has the backing of Bondi, has labeled White a “car salesman turned politician” with no prosecutorial experience. White is a freshman legislator who is an executive of a chain of family-owned auto dealerships.

The Democratic primary for attorney general also has included animosity, with Rep. Sean Shaw of Tampa filing a lawsuit arguing that his opponent, Hillsborough County lawyer Ryan Torrens, should be decertified as a candidate. Shaw has alleged Torrens improperly used a check written in his wife’s name to help cover the qualifying fee for the Cabinet race. Torrens has countersued for libel.

The tone has a been a little more tempered in the races for agriculture commissioner.

In the Republican contest, Rep. Matt Caldwell of North Fort Myers has lately campaigned in South Florida with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio. State Sen. Denise Grimsley of Sebring has rolled out her own big-name endorsements, while former state Rep. Baxter Troutman of Winter Haven has used his personal wealth to fund ads.

A fourth Republican candidate, Plant City palm-tree farmer and retired Army Col. Mike McCalister, is running his third statewide campaign and has had little money to get his message out.

On the Democratic side of the race for agriculture commissioner, Fort Lauderdale lawyer and medical-marijuana advocate Nikki Fried has been scoring free media. Fried went public this week with a dispute about Wells Fargo dropping her campaign account because of her links to the medical-marijuana industry.

Otherwise, Fried and her primary opponents, Homestead Mayor Jeff Porter and environmental scientist Roy David Walker of Fort Lauderdale, have struggled for funding and attention compared to the other Cabinet contests.

A number of Congressional primaries are also drawing heavy attention heading into Tuesday.

The retirement of longtime Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has attracted nine Republicans and five Democrats for the Congressional District 27 seat in Miami-Dade County.

The Democratic contenders include former University of Miami President Donna Shalala and state Rep. David Richardson of Miami Beach. Among the Republicans are former state Rep. Bruno Barreiro, Cuban-American broadcast journalist Maria Elvira Salazar and former Doral Vice Mayor Bettina RodriguezAguilera.

Democrats, meanwhile, are watching a primary in North Florida’s Congressional District 5, where former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown is trying to oust U.S. Rep. Al Lawson. Also, they are watching the primary in Central Florida’s Congressional District 9, where former Congressman Alan Grayson is trying to wrest the Democratic nomination away from U.S. Rep. Darren Soto.

Additional Republican retirements have created competitive primaries in other parts of the state.

Republicans are looking to replace retiring Congressman Dennis Ross in Congressional District 15 with a GOP field of five candidates who include former state Rep. Neil Combee of Auburndale and state Rep. Ross Spano of Dover.

To replace U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney in Congressional District 17, a contentious primary fight has emerged among state Sen. Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican, state Rep. Julio Gonzalez of Venice, and Bill Akins of Port Charlotte.

Another race that, at least officially, must be watched Tuesday is the Republican U.S. Senate primary.

Gov. Rick Scott has the low hurdle of defeating San Diego businessman Rocky De La Fuente — who has already lost races for the U.S. Senate this year in California, Minnesota, Washington and Wyoming — before facing U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in November.

Legislatively, the biggest fights will occur in the November general election.

Going into Tuesday’s primaries, Democrats are assured of holding 27 state House seats heading in the 2019 legislative session and 15 seats in the Senate. They will also hold five seats in Congress.

Meanwhile, Republicans are assured of occupying 12 state House seats, eight seats in the Senate and none in Congress.

The numbers are based on a lack of primary opposition, candidates who will face only write-in opposition in November and members of the Senate who are not up for election this year.

Counted among the Republican gains is House District 56 in DeSoto, Hardee and part of Polk counties. The race, featuring a pair of Republican candidates, was moved to the November ballot after a write-in candidate who had closed the primary withdrew from the contest.

The remaining 81 House races, 17 Senate contests and 22 congressional races are being contested, mostly between Republicans and Democrats. In some cases, independents or third-party candidates are also on the slate.

Jeff Greene going back up on TV Monday

In the ever-changing landscape of the Florida Democratic gubernatorial race heading into Tuesday, Jeff Greene is back.

The day after the Palm Beach businessman, who had been running a distant fourth in polls, started pulling all his television commercials, he has reconsidered. Jeff Greene for governor commercials will start running again on Monday in Jacksonville, Orlando, and South Florida, his campaign announced Friday.

Campaign spokeswoman Claire VanSusteren said a recent poll showing Greene running second behind Gwen Graham helped lead the campaign to reconsider, and leave commercials already set to air Monday in place, rather than cancel them.

The campaign has more than $100,000 worth of commercials ready to roll

“It’s a race toward the finish line. We’re going to be firing on all cylinders,” she said.

In most polls Greene is running well back of Graham, the former congresswoman from Tallahasssee, and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, and a few percentage points back of Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, though ahead of Winter Park businessman Chris King. That was his position in the polls despite the fact that Greene had spent $29 million of his own money, mostly on television and mail advertising this summer.

On Thursday Greene’s campaign announced he was pulling back from TV commercials and public appearances, but would be focusing on marshaling his ground game, paid staff and volunteers statewide seeking to get Greene voters out to vote.

That effort is continuing VanSusteren said Friday.

Buddy Dyer endorses Gwen Graham

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer has endorsed Gwen Graham in the governor’s race, her campaign announced Friday.

Dyer, mayor of the City Beautiful for 15 years and with with enough statewide recognition that he was considered a possible strong candidate to run for governor himself this year, matches up well political with Graham’s more moderate Democratic views.

“Here in Orlando, together we have transformed our community by creating an inclusive place, where people from all walks of life have united behind the shared goal of creating opportunities for everyone.” Dyer stated in a news release issued by Graham’s campaign. “Gwen Graham has spent her life bringing people together to solve problems. She has spent a tremendous amount of time here in Orlando over the last year, and she understands how the state of Florida can be a true partner to help Orlando grow into the future.”

Dyer, the dean of Florida’s big-city mayors, was elected in 2003. He is the longest-serving mayor in Orlando history, and is popular enough that he is in line for what likely will be another easy re-election in 2019.

“We want to make sure our Orlando community has a loud voice in selecting our next governor, and I hope people will join me tomorrow in casting an early ballot for Gwen,” he stated in the release.

The Central Florida Democratic political leaders’ endorsements in the governor’s race have largely been split between Graham and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, with Chris King and Philip Levine each also picking up a couple of key backers.

Dyer is the the biggest available.

Graham also has gotten the backing of state Sens. Victor Torres and Linda Stewart; and state Reps. Amy Mercado and John Cortes, among others. Gillum’s endorsements have included those from State Attorney Aramis Ayala, Orange County Commissioner Emily Bonilla, state Sen. Randolph Bracy, and state Reps. Carlos Guillermo Smith and Kamia Brown. King’s most notable Orlando backer is former Orange County Chair Linda Chapin. Levine has Kissimmee Mayor Jose Alvarez, plus the mayors of San Juan and Ponce, Puerto Rico, who have considerable influence in Central Florida’s large Puerto Rican community.

Graham, Gillum, Levine, King, and Jeff Greene have a showdown Tuesday for the Democratic nomination. Orlando, as always, is a key swing area in the election.

“Orlando is a real example of what Florida can be, a place with a growing economy, shared prosperity, and a community open to a diversity of ideas,” Graham stated in the release. “Mayor Dyer has accomplished these goals by bringing together people from different perspectives, forcing compromise to solve problems, while at the same time never backing down from his progressive values. I am honored by his support, and eager to work with him to move Florida forward.”

EMILY’s List candidates: Here come women voters

The “pink wave” is coming, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham vowed Friday, as the national Democratic women’s group EMILY’s List introduced her and six endorsed congressional candidates before Tuesday’s primary elections.

The seven Democratic women candidates took varying degrees of explicitly expressing gender politics during a telephone press conference sponsored by EMILY’s List Friday. However, most of them sought to stress intuitive connections between Democratic positions on such things as abortion, health care, gun laws, and the environment, with concerns held by women of all parties.

Graham predicted a larger than traditional women voter turnout both for the primary and for the Nov. 6 election.

“I don’t just see a blue wave coming off our shores. I see a pink wave. And it is coming,” declared Graham, who faces four men in Tuesday’s Democratic gubernatorial primary.

“I really feel that message and frankly the women candidates are pulling in voters that will help us win,” said Nancy Soderberg, in the Democratic primary to run for Florida’s 6th Congressional District.

“I think on Tuesday and in November we are going to prove that when women run, women win,” said U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, who’s seeking re-election and faces a primary challenge Tuesday night.

“I’m so excited for the endless possibilities of what we can get done if all of us women in Florida can come together in Congress and achieve so much after November,” said Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, who’s in a primary to run for Florida’s 26th Congressional District.

EMILY’s list has raised more than $500 million to support pro-choice Democratic women candidates, backing them with direct contributions, in-kind support, and soliciting for them. In addition to Graham, Soderberg, Murphy, and Mucarsel-Powell, the candidates on Friday’s call included Kristen Carlson, running in Florida’s 15th Congressional District; Mary Barzee Flores, who’s running in Florida’s 25th Congressional District; and Donna Shalala, who’s running in Florida’s 27th Congressional District.

Graham went first and set the tone, predicting a big women voters turnout.

“In a traditional year women are over 60 percent of a Democratic primary; I expect it to be even higher this year… and that’s what we’re seeing in the returns from early voting and absentee voting,” Graham said.

“Not only are we going to win on Tuesday, but I just know this: we’re going to win over independent and Republican women in the general, who’ve had enough,” Graham continued. “I hear it every day. They’ve had enough of the attacks on our public schools, and the attempts to privatize our public schools. they want to protect Florida’s environment, and protect our clean water, and they don’t want to see our health care rights restricted.”

Philip Levine confident during final Early Voting push

Former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, per recent polling of the Democratic side of the Florida Governor’s race, is in the game as Early Voting wraps up in just two days.

A recent tracking poll from SEA Polling and Strategic Design, shows Levine leading former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham 26 percent to 25 percent among all Democrats surveyed, 27 to 25 among those who’ve already voted, and 28 to 27 among those who definitely intend to vote.

Other polls show different numbers, but the consistent trend is Graham and Levine atop the polls, with Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum in the mix also. Billionaire Jeff Greene, in what seems like a nod to the emergent reality, has pulled his TV ads.

At this point, there’s little left for any of these candidates (except Greene) to do but continue to execute their plans. Levine already has a closing argument TV spot up, and after months of active campaigning, the endgame for the primary struggle is on.

Levine, in Jacksonville Friday as part of a swing through three markets (Orlando and Tampa area stops being the other two), spoke to Florida Politics by phone en route to a television interview.

As has been the case throughout this run, he is confident that his strategy will prevail despite formidable competition.

“It’s a tight race,” Levine said, with “consistent polls,” a race that will come down to the ground game.

And, despite indications that a key Graham demo (women) are dominating the early vote thus far with 61 percent of the participation (nearly a third of that being white women over 50 years old), Levine does not believe that demographic is voting monolithically.

“I don’t believe people vote that way,” Levine said, “Those days are over.”

The same holds true for African-Americans and Gillum, Levine thinks, even as 21 percent African-American vote share thus far suggests that Gillum’s surge is a real thing.

“We don’t see it,” Levine said, noting that Gillum endorser Sen. Bernie Sanders didn’t do well with African-American voters in 2016.

Levine also touched on the mercurial campaign of Jeff Greene, suggesting that his self-funded efforts made the case for campaign finance reform.

“Repeal Citizens United,” Levine said, suggesting Greene was “running for the wrong reasons” and using “unlimited” financial resources to buy “false, misleading, fictitious ads.”

The race had not been particularly negative until Greene’s entry. Win or lose, Levine will do “everything [he] can” to help the nominee.

Thus far, that willingness to let bygones be bygones doesn’t seem to exist on the Republican side of the race.

Blue wave? Red tide? Election answers could be in numbers

After months of envisioning a “blue wave” because of voters tired of President Donald Trump, Florida Democrats say they still see a swell coming amid an increase in mail-in ballots compared to the 2014 midterm elections.

But Republicans point to a GOP lead in votes already cast for Tuesday’s primaries as a sign that Democratic voters have a “lack of enthusiasm” for candidates at the top of the ticket and that the lack of enthusiasm will translate down the ballot.

More than 1.38 million votes had been cast as of Thursday morning through mail-in ballots or early voting for the primaries. But political experts were cautious about drawing conclusions from the numbers, as both parties gear up for the November general election, which will include choosing a governor and a U.S. senator.

“Should be interesting to see if there is energy on either side that is not typical for a midterm election,” said Florida Atlantic University political-science professor Kevin Wagner.

Wagner said people trying to decipher the primary results to find trends for the general election need to look at party turnout and then mine the demographics of voters.

“Are younger voters participating at higher rates?” he said. “This might give us some clues about the November electorate.”

Susan MacManus, a distinguished professor of government and international affairs at the University of South Florida, said an indication of enthusiasm will initially be based on the turnout percentages of the parties. However, a deeper dive will occur after the primary, as more demographic data is released about turnout rates among Democrats by gender, age, race and media-market location.

“Democrats are banking on higher-than-usual turnout among female, minority and younger registrants,” MacManus said. “Democrats will also be carefully analyzing turnout rates in Southeast Florida counties, especially Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach. Over the last couple of election cycles, Democrats have lost statewide races because of lagging turnout in these counties.”

Further analyses will then go into evaluating open congressional and legislative seats, she said.

“Who wins here? Among Democrats, who wins these seats?” MacManus said in an email. “Any pattern by ideology (progressives), gender (females), younger first-time candidates or established candidates? Among Republicans, level of support for Trump, region of the state and type of location (rural, suburban, urban)?”

The parties are already watching voters who have been to the polls and who will cast ballots over the next few days, but they’re not waiting for the final numbers to project general-election trends.

Florida Democratic Party spokeswoman Caroline Rowland compared the votes already cast this year to the same point in 2014 as she expressed optimism about the fall races.

Rowland said that with special-election victories, “growing voter turnout and a record number of Democratic candidates helping to turn out Democratic voters in every corner of the state, Florida Democrats feel good about our chances in November.”

As of Thursday morning, 646,706 Republicans and 579,672 Democrats had cast ballots. Republicans were up by more than 60,000 in vote-by-mail ballots — 481,149 to 419,480 — and by 5,000 in people who had gone to early-voting locations.

Four years ago, with about a week remaining before the 2014 midterm primaries, Republicans were ahead of Democrats in vote-by-mail ballots 438,893 to 360,387 and were edging Democrats 135,539 to 135,494 in early voting.

Marian Johnson, senior vice president of political strategy for the Florida Chamber of Commerce, is in the camp of people who say that based on the turnout so far, Democrats won’t see their envisioned midterm bump.

“No one knows exactly what the outcome of the primaries will be, so this could change, but right now, there is just not any massive blue wave coming in Florida,” Johnson said.

The Republican Party of Florida also points to the lack of a dominant candidate in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. A Florida Atlantic University poll this week, for example, had former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham of Tallahassee atop the Democratic field with 29 percent of the vote. Former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine had 17 percent, followed by Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and Palm Beach investor Jeff Greene, who both had 11 percent. Chris King, a Winter Park businessman, had 10 percent.

“If the (gubernatorial) nominee gets approximately 30 to 33-percent, that means that Florida Dems will have a much harder time unifying for the general election because nearly two-thirds of their most loyal voters do not have their first choice,” state Republican Chairman Blaise Ingoglia said.

The same poll, however, showed Congressman Ron DeSantis up 32 percent to 31-percent over Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in the Republican gubernatorial primary. The poll indicated 22 percent of GOP voters were undecided.

Ingoglia also indicated that the early Republican lead in primary voting is a sign that a blue wave isn’t in Florida’s near future.

“From what we are seeing right now, the Florida Dems turnout is low, which points to lack of enthusiasm about their candidates,” Ingoglia said. “This will surely bleed over into the general election.”

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