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Andrew Gillum at The Bethel Church.


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.

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at

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