Last Call for 8.19.20 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

A digest of the day's politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

Voter turnout was up big in Tuesday’s primary elections, with more than 3.8 million ballots cast in nominating contests and nonpartisan elections across the state.

As expected, fewer Floridians chose to vote in person on Election Day than in past cycles, but spikes in mail and early voting more than made up for it.

Florida Division of Elections data shows more than 2.3 million voters chose to vote by mail while another 558,430 filled out their ballot at a polling location before Election Day. All told, about three-quarters of the votes in the primary election were cast through the mail or during early voting.

The figure is half-again higher than the 2018 primary election, when mail and early ballots voting accounted for a combined 2 million votes. In the 2016 primary, there the two methods added up to 1.82 million votes.

Democrats, by far, led in voting by mail. They accounted for nearly 1.2 million mail ballots, while Republicans sent in 808,211 and minor and no-party voters posted a combined 352,024.

Republicans, meanwhile, had a slight edge in early voting. GOP voters cast 298,314 early votes — about 53% of the total — while Democrats cast 221,701.

In both cases, it was a change of pace. Traditionally, Republicans have held the edge in mail voting while Democrats fare better in early voting.

Secretary of State Laurel Lee said the primaries had a “higher than average” turnout when she addressed the media late Tuesday.

“We are in unprecedented times and what we have seen today has been an incredible exercise of cooperation between Florida’s voters, the poll workers and the Supervisors of Election to ensure that Florida’s elections continued safely and securely across our state,” she said.

Coronavirus Numbers

Positive cases:

— 577,891 FL residents (+4,080 since Tuesday)

— 6,156 Non-FL residents (+30 since Tuesday)


— 4,366 Travel related

— 183,933 Contact with a confirmed case

— 4,551 Both

— 385,041 Under investigation


— 35,200 in FL


— 10,067 in FL

Evening Reads

Donald Trump endorses Anna Paulina Luna’s bid to unseat Charlie Crist” via Josh Solomon of the Tampa Bay Times

Val Demings to appear as part of virtual Democratic National Convention” via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel

Inside the Boogaloo: America’s extremely online extremists“ via Leah Sottile of The New York Times

Time to ditch ‘toxic positivity,’ experts say: ‘It’s OK not to be OK’” via Allyson Chiu of The Washington Post

Gov. and First Lady elevate substance abuse awareness amid pandemic” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics

Good COVID-19 trends continue for Florida postelection night” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics

Reopening bars not a near-term priority for Ron DeSantis” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

Expansion of telehealth should continue after pandemic” via Sen. Aaron Bean for The Florida Times-Union

Broward’s first day of remote classes marred by some technical snafus” via Haley Lerner and Michelle Marchante of the Miami Herald

When can schools safely reopen? The answer is part science, part guesswork.” via Kaleigh Rogers of FiveThirtyEight

Freshmen waited for their schools to share reopening plans. Then things got complicated.” via Lauren Lumpkin of The Washington Post

Long-haulers are redefining COVID-19” via Ed Yong of The Atlantic

Mail ballots fuel high August election turnout in Florida and November drama” via David Smiley of the Miami Herald

Brian Mast, Pam Keith release dueling ads ahead of General Election matchup” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

Black candidates sweep races for top Broward offices” via Rafael Olmeda of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Big changes in Broward: Record turnout and a culture change in criminal justice” via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board

Ross Spano paid the price for messing with Grady Judd” via Joe Henderson of Florida Politics

Darren Aquino wants recount after 8th place finish” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

Pasha Baker takes HD 28 Democratic primary” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

Jean-Pierre Bado narrowly wins HD 114 Democratic primary, now faces Demi Busatta Cabrera” via Florida Politics

Women dominate Election Day in Central Florida” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

Money isn’t everything: Primary voters soundly rejected deep-pocketed anti-agriculture attacks” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics

Public defender candidate fired the morning after losing Broward primary” via Rafael Olmeda of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Darren Aquino wants recount after 8th place finish” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

Quote of the Day

“You have to also be realistic about this and say that if this pub isn’t closed, does that mean this behavior isn’t going on? Because people go and they meet and they congregate. I’m not so naive to think that ‘OK, that’s no longer an option, so they’re just going to sit there and decide not to do any socializing.’ That’s not the way the world works.” — Gov. Ron DeSantis, on whether bar closures are effective in slowing the pandemic.

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Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Andrew Wilson, Wes Wolfe, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

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