GOP narrows Democrats’ early vote lead
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - Democrats have held a historic lead in pre-election day voting, outpacing Republican returns by hundreds of thousands, but the GOP is beginning to cut into that lead.
Republicans are hoping to recreate the Florida victory scored in 2016 with Election Day turnout at the center of its strategy.
When speaking in the state’s capital over the weekend, Vice President Mike Pence recalled the President’s reaction when it was clear he’d won Florida in 2016.
“While the returns were coming in, you know, the President took to kind of tapping me on the shoulder and pointing at the screen,” said Pence. “But I’ve got to tell you, when Florida came through I thought he was gonna knock me down!”
Pence urged supporters to recreate that victory, even giving out the address and hours of a local early vote site.
“You can go down to Leon County Courthouse,” said Pence.
But the following day, the county saw the lowest turnout since early voting began.
And even Monday morning, the site pitched by the Vice President wasn’t exactly bustling.
Over the weekend, Republicans did narrow Democrats' lead slightly.
Still, Florida Democrats have cast just over 350,000 more votes than Republicans.
“I don’t think it’s insurmountable. I think what you’ve seen is they took a lot of their super voters and moved them to vote by mail,” said Leon County GOP Chairman Evan Power.
The GOP is counting on Election Day turnout to deliver a victory.
“If you look back two years ago, it was the Election Day turnout that pushed the Governor over the top, and I think we’re looking at the same kind of dynamics here,” said Power.
But Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried, the state’s top elected Democrat, believes even if Republicans turn out in higher numbers, Trump can’t count on all of their votes.
“I’ve traveled the state. Every three out of four Republican ballots and voters that I have spoken to are just not going to do another four years of Donald Trump,” said Fried.
Power said once all votes are cast, he anticipates a one or two point turnout advantage for Republicans, but there is no guarantee that will be the case.
In 2016 Trump won Florida by just 112,911 votes, beating out Hilary Clinton by just 1.2 percent of the popular vote.