The sprint to Tuesday’s primary is underway

by | Aug 27, 2018

The candidates have one more day to convince voters to support them when they go to into the voting booth to cast their ballots in Tuesday’s primary election. More than 1.8 million Floridians have already submitted their ballots during the state’s early voting period which ended this weekend– already a 14.3 percent turnout.

This year’s early voting turnout exceeded those of the 2014 and 2016 primaries, due mainly to an increase in the number of early Democratic voters.

The state Division of elections reported Monday morning that 1,861,524 voters cast ballots at early voting locations and by vote-by-mail. Many of those, nearly 1.2 million, were mail-in ballots. Republicans led in both the early voting and vote-by mail casting more than 45,000 additional ballots than did Democrats — a 46 percent to 44 percent margin — although Democrats did have a surge in early voting results on Sunday.

The key races in Tuesday’s primary are the Republican and Democratic contests for nomination for governor. The candidates will spend Monday attending events across the state, although Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam cancelled a stop in his bus tour with Attorney General Pam Bondi. The tour was to have an event in Jacksonville, but the Putnam campaign chose to cancel that stop after Sunday’s shooting at a downtown pizza establishment in which four people were killed.  

“Our prayers continue to be with the victims and their families. Please cooperate with local law enforcement and do not hesitate to be helpful in your community any way you can,” the campaign said in a statement released Sunday.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jeff Greene also has an event scheduled in Jacksonville Monday, but he plans to go with his schedule as planned.

Four of the five Democrats seeking the nomination will be in Jacksonville today.

Sunday’s shootings brought a quick response from Democrats, who have all made gun reform part of their campaign platforms.

“I am tired of hearing ‘when is enough going to be enough? I am tired of hearing ‘thoughts and prayers’ from those who do nothing,” Democrat Gwen Graham said Sunday. ”We need to end these mass shootings — and the only way to do that is to vote out the politicians complicit in this cycle of death.”

Graham, who is considered to be a front-runner in the Democratic contest is scheduled to hold a “community conversation” on gun violence in Jacksonville Monday morning.

“I am horrified and I am furious. The shootings are too many to count—in our schools, neighborhoods and nightclubs,” said Philip Levine, who has scheduled a stop to Jacksonville University. “Our thoughts are with the victims, but we should all be outraged. Too many lives are destroyed, while leaders take no action. It’s time for new leaders.”

“This gun violence epidemic must stop, and we simply cannot let this become the new normal,” said Andrew Gillum. “Too many lives are being snuffed out far too soon in everyday places like our high school football games, movie theaters, shopping malls, and public schools. As long as we let this absurd status quo continue, in which the gun lobby controls our elected officials, this bloodshed will continue.”

Another Democratic candidate, Chris King, has scheduled a news conference later in the day Monday in Jacksonville with local anti-gun violence activists and faith leaders.

Putnam will be trying to overtake opponent Ron DeSantis in the GOP primary after polls showed DeSantis pulling out to a large lead in the polls following President Donald Trump’s endorsement in June. However, polls last week indicate the race might be tightening up.

On the Democratic side, recent polls show Graham and Levine out front. Some suggest that Graham is pulling away and Gillum surging. But, the only poll that counts is Tuesday’s primary election.


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