A last minute surge by Democratic voters in the final days of early voting is giving Florida Democrats renewed hope in tomorrow’s midterm election.
As of Monday, numbers released by the state Division of Elections a total of nearly 5.1 million, or 38.4 percent of the state’s total electorate, voted early in Florida. Democrats currently hold a slim 0.5 percent lead over Republican voters with a handful of counties yet to report their numbers.
Figures compiled by the state shows 2.067 million Democrats, or 40.6 percent submitted early ballots as of Monday morning. That’s compared to 2.043 million, or 40.1 percent, of Republican voters.
“With a handful of counties still to report, Democrats have a +0.5% lead over Republicans in ballots cast — closing a 5 point margin in the past two weeks,” said Juan Peñalosa, executive director of the Florida Democratic Party in a memo sent out to reporters Monday morning. “For context, in 2014 Republicans held almost a 6% lead over Democrats going into election day — a year Democrats lost by 60,000 votes.
“I said it yesterday and I’ll repeat it today, I’d still rather be us, than them,” Peñalosa said.
Florida Republicans dismiss claims by Democrats that they hold an advantage heading into election day.
“Preliminary totals have the Democrats up 29K votes after this weekend; however, that is not taking into account as many as 14 counties, many of them Republican-dominant counties, that have not reported their totals for the weekend. We’re expecting that lead to evaporate once these counties report. So, after a weekend of heavy Democrat turnout, if we go into Election Day even, we would take that every day of the week, and twice on a ‘souls to the polls’ Sunday,” said RPOF Chairman Blaise Ingoglia.
The surge in the number of ballots cast by Democrats is the result of a strong showing over the weekend in the traditionally Democratic stronghold counties of Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach. More than 40,000 early ballots were cast in Miami-Dade Sunday, with more than 36,000 submitted inn Broward and over 16,000 in Palm Beach
GOP voters lead by nearly 63,000 when it comes to mail in ballots, but Democrats did better when it comes to the number of ballots cast at one of the early voting sites in Florida over the past couple of weeks. They currently hold a more than 87,000 ballot lead.
“It’s all about tomorrow,” Al Cardenas, former chair of the Republican Party of Florida, posted on Twitter Monday morning. “This one is going down to the wire in Fla.”
With 5.1 million ballots already cast, the state will surely surpass the 2014 midterm turnout when 6 million voters turned out to vote. With the the top two contests — the races for U.S. Senate and governor — still considered to be toss ups, turnout on election day is expected to be high as well.