The general election is 29 days away and now there’s a new name that could potentially enter the picture and have an affect on the outsomces . It’s name is Michael and it’s currently a tropical storm in the Caribbean, but forecasters say it could develop into a strong hurricane and slam into the Florida Panhandle later this week..
The storm is still a couple of days away from making landfall and the path, as well as Michael’s expected development, could change. But forecasters are currently projecting the storm to make landfall Wednesday near Tallahassee as a Category 2 hurricane..
Democrat Andrew Gillum returned to Tallahassee following a campaign appearance in South Florida on Sunday. The mayor of Florida’s capital city posted a message on Twitter warning Tallahassee area residents to be prepared.
“As Tropical Storm Michael approaches, I will be returnilllng to Tallahassee to focus on preparing the City and residents for what may come,” Gillum tweeted. Everyone please stay safe, stay informed, and be prepared for these changing weather conditions.”
Gillum’s Republican opponent, Ron DeSantis also posted a message.
“We are watching the storm carefully, and Casey and I are keeping those in its path in our thoughts and prayers,” DeSantis posted.
“I will be redirecting my Panhandle campaign staff and volunteers to help prepare their communities ahead of the storm,” he added.
If the storm did hit close to Tallahassee, it could have implications on two major races, for governor and for the U.S. Senate. Republican Rick Scott is governor and Gillum is Tallahassee’s mayor who is running for governor. Their responses to a possible landfall in Florida by Michael could be turned into a campaign issue by their opponents.
Scott, who is trying to unseat U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, and Gillum were involved in a political squabble two years ago when Scott criticized Giillum for the city’s slow response to Hurricane Hermine, which left 75,000 Tallahassee electric customers without power. Scott accused Gillum of rejecting assistance from outside power crews that slowed down the restoration of power. Gillum said crews had to wait until the main power lines into the city were repaired and that there were safety issues that related to visiting crews who did not have knowledge of the Tallahassee area.
The incident was the focus of two political ads unveiled by the Republican Party of Florida that question Gillum’s leadership skills. The RPOF say the ads were intended to expose “Gillum’s systemic failure when Hurricane Hermine caused massive power outages in Tallahassee in 2016.”
As for the election itself, it’s still five weeks away but vote-by-mail has already begun in Florida and more than 2.5 million ballots have been sent to registered voters who requested a mail-in ballot. There’s no word yet from state election official yet as to whether any contingency plans are being made in response to the storm or whether any such plans will be needed.