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Parties battle for voters in ‘must-win’ Florida

Published: Sep. 3, 2020 at 10:56 AM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- As polls for the Presidential race tighten in Florida, the Democratic and Republican parties intensify efforts to win over voters.

The deadline to register to vote in Florida is about a month out. Residents have until October 5 to register to vote, if they would like to participate in the 2020 elections.

“Democrats take states like California and New York. We have to win Florida,” said Ronna McDaniel, RNC chair.

McDaniel says while there are more registered Democrats in the state, the Republicans are closing that gap.

“The efforts that we’re putting on the ground in Florida are like nothing we’ve ever done before,” said McDaniel.

The RNC touts a robust campaign infrastructure up and running in the state since 2016. In the last presidential election, then-candidate Donald Trump won Florida by just one-point-three percentage points. He earned 119,770 votes more than opponent Hillary Clinton out of nearly 10 million ballots cast.

“I feel very good about where the President is right now in Florida,” said McDaniel.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, both parties tell me they’re taking public health precautions for voter outreach. McDaniel says Republicans are knocking on a million doors a week across the country to directly reach potential voters.

“These are things that are going to be difference-makers as we’re trying to turn out our vote,” said McDaniel.

The GOP is also emphasizing its work building relationships with Latinos, as McDaniel argues a Joe Biden administration would raise taxes and warm up to Cuba’s regime.

“President Trump’s always focused on the average American and his policies show that and how he’s fighting coronavirus,” said McDaniel.

But the Democrats say they have the upper hand in terms of voter registration and vote-by-mail enrollment.

“It reflects the enthusiasm that Democrats have to support our ticket, as well as a real revulsion that voters have with Donald Trump’s ineffective record,” said David Bergstein, DNC spokesman.

Bergstein says thousands of their volunteers and staff are aggressively leveraging digital tools to reach voters, like texting one million Floridians urging them to vote by mail.

“We feel very strong about our ground game in Florida,” said Bergstein.

With elderly voters also making up a key voting group, the Democrats argue Biden would be stronger on protecting Medicare and Social Security.

“Even voters in Florida who may have voted republican or may have been leaning more independent this cycle, they’re voting for the democrat because they don’t like the way Donald Trump has failed to come up with a good plan to deal with the coronavirus,” said Bergstein.

Early voting in Florida begins next month.

A new Morning Consult survey puts Biden ahead of Trump by just two percentage points, which falls within the margin of error.

CNBC/Change Research, Public Policy Research and Mason-Dixon polls also show a tight race in Florida.

Copyright 2020 Gray DC. All rights reserved.

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