In final blitz, campaigns storm through battleground Florida
Image via AP.

biden Tampa
Trump, Biden campaigns finishing with a flourish.

A final flurry of campaigning whipped through the crucial state of Florida in the waning days of the election season, including another visit by President Donald Trump, as beleaguered voters took solace that Election Day was finally close at hand.

Trump scheduled a late evening event Sunday in his adopted state to make his case to extend his residency at the White House for four more years by defeating Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

California Sen. Kamala Harris, who could become the first woman elected vice president, returned to Florida on Saturday. And Jill Biden, the wife of former Vice President Biden, was scheduled to visit Sunday to persuade voters who had yet to cast a ballot. Former President Barack Obama was also scheduled to return to the state Monday. Biden was in Florida on Thursday, as was Trump.

The last-minute push by both presidential campaigns underscored the importance of Florida’s 29 electoral votes, the largest cache among the country’s prized swing states.

By Sunday, more than 8.7 million Floridians had already cast ballots — approaching the 9.5 million total cast in the 2016 presidential election — and the campaigns were making their final appeals to drive the rest of the state’s 14 million registered voters to the polls Tuesday.

The coronavirus outbreak had brought concerns over Election Day turnout, with Republicans hoping to narrow the advantage opened up by Democrats in their push to encourage people to vote by mail.

The most recent presidential polls show Florida remains a toss up — and the last-minute campaign blitzes are signs of that uncertainty, said Susan MacManus, a longtime professor of political science at the University of South Florida.

“If you feel confident your side’s going to win, you’re not going to spend your last precious moments coming over to a state like this if you think you’ve got it in the bag,” she said.

“And they are leaving no part of Florida untouched,” MacManus added.

The campaign being waged by Trump and Biden is Tuesday’s marquee contest, but Floridians will also be deciding who to send to Congress and the statehouse. They will also weigh in on whether to incrementally raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and whether to change the way elections are run.

Republicans are defending their majorities in the state Legislature as Democrats make a bid to wrest control of at least one chamber by fielding the biggest roster of candidates in decades.

Democrats are also hoping to win a majority of the state’s 27 congressional seats, which now favor Republicans by a single post. That could prove important if uncertainty over Tuesday’s outcome produces the unlikely scenario that the U.S. House of Representatives, in a state-by-state vote, decides who will be the next president.

Both parties have come out against a ballot measure before voters Tuesday that would establish a so-called “jungle primary” in Florida and undo the state’s closed primary system. If approved by voters, Amendment 3 would establish a blanket primary similar to California’s. The top two finishers, regardless of party, would advance to the decisive general election.

Voters are also being asked whether they should be required to ratify ballot propositions twice before becoming law.

Bobby Caina Calvan

Bobby Caina Calvan is The Associated Press reporter in Tallahassee.

One comment

  • Sonja Fitch

    November 1, 2020 at 3:18 pm

    Woah! Yahoo! Vote Democrat up and down ballot for the Common Good! The goptrump death cult ralliesi are using and abusing folks as community spreaders for the Nazi socialist herd immunity ! Vote Democrat up and down ballot!

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