Panhandle Politics

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For the first time, Bay County republicans will lead the race in registered voters.

This encouraging switch for party isn't that much of a revelation. Bobby Roberts, the Chairman of the Republican Party of Bay County, says conservative politics have always ruled the Panhandle.

"Well, actually I don't think it's necessarily conservative roots flourishing as much as people are getting honest with the way they really feel,” explains Roberts.

Alvin Peters, the President of the Bay County Democrats says the roots were here, but the Panhandle resisted the lead for years.

"The parties are basically even in Bay County. The republicans have edged ahead and I think that over the last 20 or 30 years, Bay County has resisted the southern trend towards Republicanism,” says Peters.

And strength in numbers has become the solid base for the Republican Party in the
Panhandle. The Republican Party has grown 400-percent in the last 20 years according to Roberts who says the Panhandle could decide the election.

"We have to be sure that we are strong enough up here that we can offset anything that is done in south Florida. We were able to the last election cycle; it looks like we're going to be able to this time."

Conservative roots have grown thick in the Panhandle, and getting out the vote is something both parties will continue to fight for, a fight that may be more divided than ever before.