GOP holds lead in returned ballots as statewide early voting begins

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A Republican advantage fills the backdrop as voters head to the polls early across the state on Saturday.

Of the nearly 790,000 mail-in ballots returned as of Friday afternoon, Republicans have the edge with 367,864 ballots cast. Democrats have returned 313,678, according to the Division of Elections.

In the 18 counties that offered early voting this week, Democrats took a slight lead, but not enough to offset the Republican advantage. GOP voters have cast 22,519 ballots at early voting sites, compared to the 26,108 from Democrats returned by Friday afternoon.

With Republicans appearing to show more early enthusiasm, some speculate whether Democrats have the much-hyped momentum — or ‘blue wave’ — behind them this midterm.

“For all this talk of a ‘blue wave,’ Democratic enthusiasm isn’t anywhere close to Republican energy, and it’s showing,” said Taryn Fenske, spokesperson for the Republican National Committee. “Florida Republicans are ready to defy history in November.”

The RNC, along with the Republican Party of Florida, is making its largest-ever investment in data-driven ground efforts in the state, according to Fenske.

The ROI appears to be promising.

“We are arming passionate Republicans with the skills and tools necessary to reach out to their communities,” added Fenske. “It’s about Floridians talking to Floridians, neighbor to neighbor.”

But while Republicans lead in the most-telling metric, the party is slightly trailing in the total share of ballots returned when compared to final 2014 primary numbers. As of Friday afternoon, GOP voters comprised less than 47 percent of all mail-in ballots. On primary day in 2014, that number was roughly a percentage point higher.

Juan Peñalosa, executive director of the Florida Democratic Party, noted that Democrats make up almost 40 percent of returned mail-in ballots — more than half of a percentage point higher than 2014 numbers. Elections are numbers games, both within and outside of the party.

These numbers, however, can fluctuate between green and red throughout each week.

Peñalosa conceded to us that he does think preliminary voter turnout in a primary election is indicative of enthusiasm to come in the fall, “But it’s not the only identifying factor.”

What else is there? Peñalosa — echoing what Republicans attributed to their early lead — highlighted nuances in ground game efforts. The party implemented its field program early this year. Ground efforts are typically reserved for after the primaries in midterm cycles, according to Peñalosa.

They’ve also recruited the “best” candidates, according to Peñalosa, and are fielding competition down the ballot, speaking to voters in rural areas — doing things the party hasn’t done before.

While open to ‘blue wave’ speculation, Peñalosa doesn’t think it will stand against time. When early voting is wrapped, he expects his party will have exceeded 2014 tallies.

“I hope Monday is going to be another good day,” he said, referencing the impending fresh batch of statewide turnout numbers.

Danny McAuliffe

Danny McAuliffe is a Tallahassee correspondent for Florida Politics. He is a graduate of Florida State University, where he served as the editor of the FSView & Florida Flambeau. He is a lifelong Floridian and indulges in swimming, hiking, running and memes when the news cycle permits. Reach him at [email protected]


2 comments

  • J. Russ

    August 19, 2018 at 8:24 am

    “MAWA” Make America White Again, Donny we’re with you, we’re the new Republican Sycophant Trump Republican Party. Yes we used to be against almost everything you politically, economically, and personally stand for like a $1.4T deficit to date or $1T + deficits for years into the future, crippling trade tariffs, ignored the family values of honesty, integrity, porn star philandering, world record serial lying, etc, heck we’d even forgive treachery now. However, we also understand 30% to 35% of American’s are intolerant, xenophobic, misogynist, or outright racists, and your vehement supports and our majority. So even though you are making liars and cowards of us too, we’re falling inline because without your naive, gullible, ignorant, intolerant, and desperately insecure deplorables, we’re afraid we couldn’t win a small town Dog Catcher’s election.

    • Hispanic Republican

      August 19, 2018 at 1:00 pm

      Awww yes, the TYPICAL progressive liberal FEAR mongering, that implies that “Making America Great Again,” somehow implies making it WHITE; that is absolutely FALSE ladies and gentlemen. MAGA id for ALL LEGAL AMERICAN citizens, of every race, color, creed and religion. Don’t buy into their tradition of race baiting and division since 1828.

      The NEW DEMOCRAT PARTY loves to use fancy English words to falsely imply they are more “intelligent,” and “superior,” just like President Woodrow Wilson, the Father of Progressive Politics of the Democrat Party would reserve “a Liberal Education “ only for the enlists and 1%, with quote “We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class of necessity in every society, to forgo the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.” Somehow, they want you to believe, all their sins of the pasts were actually Conservative God fearing Christians and not the violence of anti-God, atheists progressive that DREAM of communism and now mislabel it as “progressivism.”

      Somehow, they want YOU to believe, that all of the intolerant, racist, hate mongering separatists magically became Republicans, yet, you should see that amount of HATE mail I get from white liberals on Facebook for having a conservative view as a Hispanic! How dare I not be another one of their “token Latinos” they parade around during election time, then continue to make FALSE promises year after year while Black and Latino Americans are still living in the barrios and ghettos in reward for decades of faithful party loyalty. Do Republicans attack Democrats at their rallies or personally attack them for being a Democrat? No, we do not; it is your right to be badly misinformed and to be a “minority” prop they exploit for the cameras.

      Ask yourself, what has the Democrat Party done for black Americans for decades of loyalty? Have you walked by poverty black neighborhoods recently? Has anything changed or improved since Liberal Democrats DUPED the black community back in the 1940’s? The only people that benefit are the puppet, token “black leaders” they control that reap the rewards of millions while leading sheep to the slaughter and of blind obedience ..

      Democrats are STILL advocating for the strategic planting of “Planned Parenthood” in every poor black neighborhood to silently abort (murder) black and brown babies and will tell you it’s “healthcare.”

      Research Margret Sanger and “Eugenics,” that same Margret Sanger that the DNC cherishes and PP names awards after and worships!

      We Republicans are against the genocide of black children and are FOR charter schools and school Choice to allow your children to attend better schools and not to limit them just because they were born into a poverty zip code; yet somehow the Democrats want you to believe we are the racists? White liberals only talk to YOU during election time, after that, they disappear and constantly FORGET about you, year after year; so what has changed? I dare you to tell me what has improved since Democrats took an iron-clad domination of black voters. What has changed??

      Meanwhile, under a National Republican MAJORITY, Hispanic unemployment rate fell to 4.6% and 7.2 percent unemployment for Black Americans comparing it to when Obama was in office, it was as high as 17%. Our economy is now booming, we just hit records of 4.1 % GDP this quarter and tens of thousands of industry jobs are coming back to America! It’s a great time to be an American and liberals HATE THAT!!!

      All Americans of every color has seen as increase in their everyday wages and are paying LESS taxes; yet, the Democrats want to RAISE taxes and INCREASE welfare and expand socialistic dependency, we want you to be independent and self-sustainable.

      The NEW DEMOCRAT party is now openly embracing socialism, and as “intellectual” as they think they are, they would have you believe it will finally work under DNC rule; while making you more DEPENDENT to the government plantation, and equality poor waiting in bread lines like they do in Cuba, Venezuela and in Greece. They want the elite class, you know those white liberals that were part of their click that received “a liberal education” to be in CONTROL of your lives and they gain more power! While claiming you’ll get more FREE STUFF, you sign your life away; don’t fall for it folks.

      The NEW DEMOCRAT SOCIALISTS will say scary things and bring up past mistakes with PERSONAL ATTACKS and even STILL carrying on their progressive traditions of HIDING BEHIND MASKS AND BURNING THINGS to scare you into voting for them. If you’re a “minority” (they love to throw that word around as if we were lesser of an American) that sides with our Republican and PRO AMERICAN beliefs, they will slander you, outcast you, hate you and mock you; I know because it happened to me as a Hispanic.

      They will use faux numbers like 30-35% to make you belief that the country is still full of racists, it is not, they are using the fraud numbers of pollsters that same ones that had you believe Hillary would win 95/98% chance of winning the election, and look how wrong they were. They will name call you and actually call you racist names when no one is looking for being a “traitor to your race.”

      I’m sorry liberals I am a VICTOR not a VICTIM, I don’t vote based on my skin color but by using reasoning and informative PRO-AMERICAN beliefs that benefits all Americans!

      They will be wrong again come this November God willingly, and await their even more violent reaction, just wait for it, and you’ll see why we Republicans will NEVER give up our Second Amendment rights to defend our country, our Republic and our families.

      DO NOT side with the Democrats, they are the PARTY OF HATE, they have always been THE PARTY OF HATE, and they will forever be THE PARTY OF HATE, and will always hide behind masks and FAKE troll accounts to harass those that go against them. With God on my side, I do not fear them. You shouldn’t either.. most of them are violent soy boys that were born into PRIVILEGE that want to CONTROL you. Don’t let them.

      #WalkAway #DemExit #VoteRed #VoteRepublican #GodBlessAmerica 🇺🇸

Comments are closed.


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