Tag Archives: Tampa

Paul Ryan Rally in Oldsmar, Florida Saturday (Sep 15) 11:00am

The sprint continues in electorally rich Florida with Paul Ryan returningnear the Convention stomping grounds just outside of Tampa:

 Join Paul Ryan for a Victory Rally in Oldsmar!

When: September 15, 2012 – 9:00am
Where: R.E. Olds Park, 107 Shore Drive West, Oldsmar, Florida 34677

You’re Invited to a Victory Rally with Paul Ryan and the Republican Team!
Doors open 9:00 AM | Event begins 11:00 AM
To RSVP and get your ticket, click here http://mi.tt/SFtToh…

Public is asked to park at Tampa Bay Downs located at 11225 Racetrack road Tampa, FL. There will be shuttle service running from Tampa Bay Downs to the event starting at 7:30am

All attendees will go through airport-like security and should bring as few personal items as possible. No bags, sharp objects, umbrellas, liquids, or signs will be allowed in the venue. Cameras are permitted.

For questions, contact us at: TeamFL@mittromney.com or call (813) 644-2493
For Important Campaign Updates: Text (FL) to GOMITT (466488)

The Battle for Florida

Earlier I sung the praises of Michael Steele for getting the Convention in Tampa despite the bed-wetter cries about the weather at the start. Nate Silver breaks down the entire state of Florida with its partisan divide across the state concluding that the choice of Tampa for this year’s convention was a brilliant move for the GOP. As he writes: “In every election since 1960 the presidential candidate who carried Florida has also carried Tampa’s Hillsborough County.” Considering the likelihood that if Romney cannot carry Florida, he likely cannot win the election, perhaps Governor Romney should send a thank you note to the embattled but successful former Chairman if come November we are calling him President Romney:

The Republican Party has good reason to hold its national convention in Tampa, Fla. The Tampa area is the most competitive section of the most competitive region in one of the most competitive states in the nation — the perfect place to seek a glimmer of extra advantage in a closely-fought presidential contest. In many ways, the Tampa area was the weakest link in the regional coalition that Barack Obama built to win Florida in 2008. The Tampa-St. Petersburg media market is home to a quarter of Florida’s registered Republicans, and Mr. Obama carried Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties — home to Tampa and St. Petersburg — by a smaller margin than Florida’s other major population centers. If Mitt Romney wants to win the state, it represents the most attractive target.

And winning Florida is a must for Mr. Romney. Based on the simulations that the FiveThirtyEight forecast model ran on Tuesday, Mr. Romney has only a 0.3 percent chance of winning the election if he loses the state. It is hard to conceive of Mr. Romney winning the election but losing Florida because Florida is an ever-so-slightly Republican-leaning state. If he loses it, he’s probably having trouble elsewhere on the map as well. It’s quite unlikely that Mr. Romney loses Florida but wins a state like Michigan or Pennsylvania, for instance.

Democrat South Florida

Just over a third of Florida’s registered Democrats live in the Miami and West Palm Beach media markets, especially in Miami-Dade County, Broward County and Palm Beach County.

  • Broward County, in particular, is critical to Democratic margins in Florida. Without Broward County Mr. Obama would have lost Florida in 2008; his statewide margin of victory (204,577 votes) was less than his margin in Broward (252,948 votes).
  • Miami-Dade County is reliably Democratic. Its large Cuban-American population leans Republican and keeps the county from tilting all the way to the left. Miami-Dade County is home to 58 percent of Florida’s Hispanic Republicans and 34 percent of Hispanic Democrats.

The I-4 Corridor: from Tampa to Orlando

  • Orlando’s Orange County was just marginally Democratic in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. Then — partly because of an influx of non-Cuban Hispanics — Mr. Obama carried Orange County fairly easily in 2008, and the county itself is probably out of reach for Republicans now. “It’s really tipping the state,” Mr. deHaven-Smith said. A potential dream scenario for Democrats — and a nightmare for Republicans — is if the demographic shifts in this region are enough to shift Florida from being slightly Republican-leaning to strictly neutral, or slightly Democratic-leaning instead.

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Florida is Key for Romney

The selection of Tampa for this year’s Convention was no accident by the Republican National Committee and then-Chairman Michael Steele.  For all Steele’s missteps, placing the Convention in this vital state for Romney was a strategically brilliant move which contrasts greatly with the embarrassment going on with the Democrats in North Carolina were they can’t even name the stadium they are holding their rallies due to special interest control over their party (it’s Bank of America Stadium for those who don’t know). The Wall Street Journal looks at a state Barack Obama would like to win but Mitt Romney must win:

If Mitt Romney is to win the presidency, he probably needs to win Florida. To that end, his campaign has set out this week to make sure the state’s voters feel a lot more appreciated than its delegates. The convention is peppered with high-profile Floridians as speakers, including Sen. Marco Rubio, former Gov. Jeb Bush and Attorney General Pam Bondi. After the convention wraps up, Mr. Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, are set to head to Lakeland, just east of here, for a Florida “farewell” rally Friday. The campaign also will deploy a host of surrogates in coming weeks to barnstorm the state. The race in Florida currently is a dead heat. The Real Clear Politics average of state polls shows President Barack Obama leading the former Massachusetts governor by 1%.

Romney’s advantage

In Mr. Romney’s favor are a sluggish economy and higher-than-average unemployment, both of which have put Floridians in a sour mood and possibly amenable to change. The housing market continues to hurt. And Republicans dominate the state, holding the governorship, both houses of the legislature and every statewide office but one.

Vaunted (and Expensive) Obama ground game

To counter that, the Obama campaign has been organizing for almost a year and a half and has 73 offices in the state. The president also is benefiting from long-term demographic changes that are making Florida more racially and ethnically diverse.

Demographics play a major role

In 1996, the state’s registered voters were 81% white, 10% black and 7% “other”—primarily Hispanic. Today, registered voters are 68% white, 13% black and 14% Hispanic. The Hispanic growth has been fueled largely by non-Cuban Latinos, who tilt Democratic. The totals don’t equal 100% due to “unknown” and similar answers by voters.

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A Video Look at the Battleground State of Florida

The (Legal) Battle for Florida

Ever since the 2000 election, Florida has been a mainstay of ever national election due to its political diversity, high electoral count and notoriously tight outcomes.  Although the state no longer holds the preeminent place as THE battleground state (a title jointly shared by Virginia and Ohio), the state is still fraught with political cross-currents that will make the state a battleground to the very end this election season.  The recent visits by Paul Ryan and President Obama are just the warm-up acts.  The Republican Convention begins shortly which will put an even greater spotlight on a state that is settling its differences in court — hopefully before election day:

Stick a pin almost anywhere on a map of Florida and you’ll find a legal battle over who will be eligible to vote in the coming presidential election — and when, and how, and where. In a state crucial to Mitt Romney’s battle to replace President Obama, a sweeping law passed in 2011 by the Republican legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Scott (R) has created an awesome wake of litigation. The law imposes more than 75 changes, including new restrictions on who can register voters and limits on the time allowed for early voting. Sponsors of the measure said it creates a more reliable system that combats voter fraud, while opponents, a group that included every Democratic lawmaker, called it a partisan ploy to suppress voters who traditionally favor Democrats.

Lawyers take to the forefront

But unlike the frenzied trip to the U.S. Supreme Court that followed the close of voting in the 2000 presidential race, the Sunshine State’s legal battles are being waged in advance of the November vote. “Florida is desperately trying not to be the next Florida,” said Richard L. Hasen, an expert on election law whose new book, “The Voting Wars,” begins with a chapter titled “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Florida.”

Florida ballot litigation is not unique this year

There could be many contenders for the title this fall. In battleground states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and beyond, changes in voting laws have resulted in high-stakes legal battles over whose ballots will be counted.

Litany of litigious locals

One of the many legal battles in Florida was answered last last week, when a panel of federal judges ruled that the new limits on early voting could not be implemented in five counties that receive special scrutiny under the Voting Rights Act. Florida, said the unanimous ruling, “has failed to satisfy its burden of proving that those changes will not have a retrogressive effect on minority voters.” That will hardly be the last judicial decision affecting Florida’s nearly 11.5 million voters before polls close on Nov. 6.

  • In Miami, minority groups have sued the state over whether its plan to purge the voter lists of noncitizens might result in legitimate voters losing their rights.
  • In Tampa, a similar lawsuit asks whether the state’s plan to purge the lists violated a different section of the federal law.
  • In Tallahassee, judges in two courts considered a host of suits and countersuits, including one change that caused the League of Women Voters to suspend voter-registration efforts for fear of criminal penalties.
  • In Duval County, where African Americans make up a larger portion of voters than in any of Florida’s other large counties, Elder Lee E. Harris has joined a lawsuit that would require the state to continue to allow early voting on the Sunday before the election.

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Republican Convention Speakers Expand Literally and Figuratively

This nominating convention continues to present a very different picture of the party than mainstream media likes to misrepresent.  The latest speakers added are both rising stars in the party and reflective of the party;s actual “big tent” nature and not the more narrow appeal the media likes to claim.  Here are today’s additions to convention speakers:

  • Gov. Scott Walker (WI)
  • AG Pam Bondi (FL)
  • AG Sam Olens (GA)
  • Gov. Luis Fortuno (PR)
  • Senate Nominee Ted Cruz (TX)

This adds to the prior list:

  • Former Senator Rick Santorum
  • Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin
  • Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush
  • Kentucky Senator Rand Paul
  • South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley
  • Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee
  • Ohio Gov. John Kasich
  • New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez
  • Arizona senator and 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain
  • Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
  • Florida Gov. Rick Scott, whose state is hosting the convention

Romney “Super Saturday” in Florida

Here is a brief on the Florida “Super Saturday” sites:

Republican supporters across the state will spend Saturday making phone calls and going door-to-door to rally support for Gov. Mitt Romney and other Florida Republicans. The event — dubbed Super Saturday by the campaign — is meant to energize voters and get support for Republican candidates.

Campaign officials said a similar event last month resulted in volunteers contacting more than 100,000 voters in one day. Volunteers will be making calls Saturday out of the Fort Myers Romney Victory Office, 17595 S. U.S. 41. Similar events will be held in Gainesville, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach and Tampa.

Update: Florida Governor Rick Scott stopped by the Jacksonville “Super Saturday”:

Governor Rick Scott is visiting Jacksonville Saturday. He’s here for the nationwide “Super Saturday” campaign effort for Mitt Romney. The governor will be at the Victory headquarters on Beach Boulevard between mid morning and lunch time.

Scott’s visit is part of a series of  massive volunteer mobilization efforts. The goal is not just to know which voters are on board with Romney, but to test the presidential campaign’s ability to turn out the vote – something the GOP struggled with in 2008.

“It’s a way for us to stress-test the network,” said Rick Wiley, political director for the RNC last month, which is running the voter contact effort jointly with the Romney campaign. The results are being tracked in real time through software applications that allow volunteers to enter information into their cellphones on the voter’s doorstep. Information from phone calls is also recorded. A “dashboard” allows Wiley and campaign staff to monitor results as they happen.

“We learn a lot about what our volunteers are capable of doing. As we get into the fall, there’s a ton of voters to cover,” said Dave Kochel, Romney’s Iowa consultant. “More than testing specific messages, we’re testing the effectiveness of our organization.” The GOP is running these Saturday tests once a month. The information is used as the campaign progresses to guide decisions such as where to deploy volunteers, where to focus early-voting turnout efforts, and which areas have the most undecided voters.

Hello Florida! Romney Takes to the Airwaves

An interesting subplot to this early election season was whether President Obama was even going to complete in Florida with a lot of anecdotal evidence that the Sunshine State may be a bridge too far for him in 2012. Strangely no Florida market was in the top 10 in ad spending in the weekly surveys despite its rich electoral college haul.  That changed this past week when the Obama campaign opened up a new front with major spends in Fort Myers and Tampa-St. Petersburg.  From my vantage point, these were ad dollars previously spent in North Carolina that are being shifted to Florida — a state with better prospects for the President. Well, it looks like Mitt Romney is meeting the President head-on with his own new spend in the state:

Mitt Romney’s campaign bought its first ad spots in Florida since he became the presumptive Republican nominee for president, according to a GOP ad buying source. The campaign is spending $631,685 on ads that began airing Friday in four of the ten Florida media markets – Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, and Ft. Myers. They represent essential battleground territories as Romney will need to win Florida’s 29 electoral votes this November. Featured in the spot that airs until July 3rd is the president’s former opponent – Hillary Clinton. Using footage from a 2008 press conference, the Romney campaign accuses the president’s team this year of dishonest tactics a charge similar to one from Clinton four years ago.

The “Hillary ad” will face steep competition on Florida air waves. The Obama campaign is spending $1,347,066 from June 21st – July 2nd in the same media markets as the Romney ad, as well as in Miami, West Palm Beach, and Gainesville, according to the GOP ad buying source. This brings the president’s reelection ad buys in Florida to $12,208,554 since April.

Romney Campaign Ramps-Up Florida Operations

THE state that famously decided the 2000 Presidential contest no longer holds its preeminent position as ground zero for campaign Battlegrounds (that distinction is shared by Virginia and Ohio today).  But Florida is still supremely important with its 29 electoral votes and often close polling results. Today, Adam Smith in the Tampa Bay Times has a meaty write-up on the nascent and expanding efforts of the Romney campaign in the Sunshine State  and even a Battleground county mention.

Obama won Florida by less than 3 percentage points in 2008 after mounting the largest statewide campaign operation ever seen here. The effort promises to be even bigger in 2012, but Republicans are banking on a turnout operation more like George W. Bush’s formidable 2004 campaign than McCain’s. The latest Florida polls show a dead heat, and both sides understand that if Romney loses Florida it’s next to impossible for him to win the White House.

Despite the reality that Florida is not mandatory for an Obama re-election, his campaign is unloading on the state with both barrels:

For 10 months, President Barack Obama has been steadily building a voter mobilization army here and now has about 100 paid staffers, 27 field offices and thousands of volunteers working almost every day to deliver Florida’s 29 electoral votes. A click on Romney’s Florida campaign website Thursday found no upcoming events in the state, while Obama’s site showed 194 events within 40 miles of downtown Tampa.

A rather daunting operation for a candidate who until recently had little more than a skeleton operation.  But “optimism abounds among Republicans across Florida”:

Veteran activists see the start of a Florida campaign operation far more robust than John McCain’s anemic effort four years ago, and they see a Republican electorate fired up to defeat Obama. “The difference between 2008 with (John) McCain and 2012 — I could cry with relief. The people running the Florida campaign today are professional, they’re sharp, they’re disciplined. It’s like we have grownups in the room, people who know what they’re doing and lots of enthusiasm from volunteers.”

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