Florida

Exodus From Puerto Rico Could Remake Florida Politics

New York Times: “Every day dozens of Puerto Ricans pour into the Orlando area, fleeing their homes and lives ravaged by Hurricane Maria. In the months to come, officials here said, that number could surge to more than 100,000. And those numbers could remake politics in Florida, a state where the last two presidential and governor’s races were decided by roughly one percentage point or less.”

“There are more than a million Puerto Ricans in Florida, a number that has doubled since 2001, driven largely until now by a faltering economy. But their political powers have evolved slowly in this state, and the wave of potential voters from the island could quickly change that calculus.”

How Hurricane Maria Could Tip Florida to Democrats

James Hohmann: “More than 50 million ballots were cast by Floridians in the seven presidential elections from 1992 through 2016. If you add them all up, only 18,000 votes separate the Republicans from the Democrats. That is 0.04 percent.”

“Florida is rightfully considered the swingiest of swing states. Control of the White House in 2000 came down to a few hundred hanging chads – and one vote on the Supreme Court. The past four statewide elections – two governor’s races and two presidentials – were all decided by a single percentage point.”

“So it could be quite politically significant that tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans, maybe more, are expected to permanently move into Florida as the result of Hurricane Maria.”

Democrats Worry About Florida Ground Game

Tampa Bay Times: “Despite roughly 500 full time campaign staffers spread across Florida to help Clinton win forever close Florida, party leaders and activists across the state are fretting about the campaign’s ground game. Even Clinton campaign staffers in other states are quietly buzzing about the Florida campaign struggling to meet its goals for voter registration and other outreach benchmarks.”

White Voters Keep Florida Close

Nate Cohn: “Donald Trump has almost no plausible path to the White House unless he wins Florida, a rapidly changing state where Hispanic voters could deal a decisive blow to his chances.”

“But a new poll, by The New York Times Upshot/Siena College, suggests that Mr. Trump is keeping his hopes alive in Florida, the largest and most diverse of the crucial battleground states. The reason: White voters favor him by a large margin.”

Why Trump Can Still Win Florida

Politico: “But at its core, the race is about race, about motivating white versus non-white voters. The whiter the electorate, the likelier it is Trump wins. And older whites are keeping Trump in the hunt.”

“Without the backing of older whites, polls indicate Trump would lose Florida — in this retirement mecca, the elderly are still a force at the ballot box. Of Florida’s 12.4 million active registered voters, more than 3.3 million are older than 65 years old, making them the largest age group on the rolls (followed by those 50 to 64). The elderly also have the highest turnout rate in Florida.”

“When it comes to race, non-Hispanic whites are 65 percent of the overall voter rolls and are the most-reliable voters.”

Clinton Has Huge Swing State Lead with Latinos

A new Univision poll of Latino voters in Arizona, Colorado, Florida and Nevada shows Hillary Clinton trouncing Donald Trump among this critical voting bloc.

In Florida, Trump trails Clinton by 24 percentage points — the closest margin out of the four states. Clinton leads Trump 68% to 18% in Arizona, 65% to 19% in Nevada and 62% to 17% in Colorado.

Florida, Colorado and Nevada are three battleground states where Latinos are likely to make up more than 10% of the electorate this year.

Trump Still Has No Ground Game In Florida

“How many of the 24 field offices that Team Trump said in early August they’d open this month in Florida are now up and running? None yet, according to Republican officials in the state.”

“The Republican presidential nominee has one of his campaign’s weakest ground games in his most crucial swing state, several political insiders and donors told Bloomberg Politics. Now, some Republicans are worried it’s getting too late to recover, with vote-by-mail ballots going out starting in late September and Democrats pledging a big push in early voting.”

Florida Is a State, Not a Place

Steve Schale: “Most states are places. Think about Texas, or even a state like Iowa, there is a sense of place to it, a commonality of experience – or as marketers might say, almost a brand. Most states have it. Florida really doesn’t.”

“Florida isn’t a place in the same sense. It is a political circle, drawing 20 million people from vast, and I mean vast experiences and cultures into one spot. And almost everyone here has come from somewhere else.”

“Florida is the new Ellis Island, except our ships come as cars and planes, from inside the borders of the country, and outside. Over the next 15 years, we might add as many as 5 million more residents, grow to as much as 30% Hispanic, with a total population of well more than 50% coming from what are typically considered ethnic minorities.”

Trump Has No Florida Strategy

NBC News: “The Trump campaign has said it will focus on about a dozen states during the general election, including Florida, but the candidate has not held a single campaign event there since winning the state’s primary in March… Even though Trump has become the presumptive nominee well before his Democratic rival, his general election team doesn’t yet have a real presence in the state. The campaign has yet to set up any of the infrastructure necessary to win a campaign in Florida, leaving its 29 delegates very much up in the air.”

“Trump’s lack of a ground game isn’t surprising. It’s been a criticism of his campaign throughout the primary process, but as both parties turn to the general election, the lack of local organization becomes more of an issue.”

Rubio Says He’ll Stay In Race Regardless

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) vowed to stay in the presidential race even if he loses Florida tonight, Politico reports.

Said Rubio: “Tomorrow, our plan is to be in Utah campaigning irrespective of tonight. It would be a lot better to go to Utah being the winner of the Florida primary. It would give us a tremendous amount of momentum. It would give us 99 delegates, and that’s the way we want to do it tonight.”

He added: “I can’t guarantee a win today. I’m telling you I expect to win tonight, but we are not 20 points behind. I mean, that’s absurd.”