It’s election day and the campaign trail is about to end for the candidates who have spent months traveling the state in buses, attending rallies and meeting with supporters in hope of winning in Tuesday’s primary.
For five of the seven candidates in the two big contests — the Republican and Democratic nominations for governor — the political trail ends tonight, but they are spending the final few hours trying to reach out to voters.
“The grassroots energy and momentum you’re seeing out here, the sign wavers, the rallies, the barbecues we’ve been hosting, all the grassroots work that we’ve been doing for the last year is going to pay off tonight when the polls close,” Adam Putnam told FOX 35 as he waved to supporters along a busy Orlando area intersection.
“Today is a choice between the Washington way and putting Florida first,” Putnam added. ”My campaign was built on putting Florida first. Putting vocational and technical training back into our schools, keeping our streets and schools safe, and lifting up our families. We’re so fortunate to live in this state, we want to make sure we have someone knows our state and is focused on Florida’s issues and solving Florida’s problems.”
Polls showed Putnam’s opponent, Ron DeSantis, jumping out to a large lead after President Donald Trump endorsed him in June. But recent polls suggest the race has tightened.
“We are confident that the high energy and enthusiasm we see on the ground will carry us to victory tonight,” said Putnam’s Communications Director Meredith Beatrice.
In the five-way race for the Democratic nomination for governor, there is excitement in the campaign of Andrew Gillum. Polls have shown the Tallahassee mayor surging into contention with one poll showing him in second place. Gillum’s staff believes they have a shot.
“We’re incredibly excited right now,” said Geoff Burgan, Gillum’s communications director. “Democratic turnout is way up, and we believe our surge in the final week, coupled with Senator (Bernie) Sanders’ endorsement, is going to lead to an incredible upset tonight.”
But another candidate who is usually mentioned as number one or two in the race says the key to winning is organization. Philip Levine’s campaign believes the key to winning is a good ground game and they’re confident they have one.
“Our internal polling shows that we are coming into Election Day tied,” said Christian Ulvert, senior adviser to Levine. “With 14 office across Florida and over 150 members who have knocked over 350,000 doors, made 1,000,000 calls, and sent 600,000 texts—we are confident in the final hours of this election.”
Gwen Graham is considered to be the front-runner in the Democratic race with some polls showing her pulling away, while Jeff Greene and Chris King are a distant fourth and fifth.
But, the only poll that matters is Tuesday’s primary.
Given the dynamic of this year’s gubernatorial contests, it could be an interesting election night.