Central Florida 100: Florida’s Role in the Election

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Posted this week in Orlando Sentinel’s CF100.

Interstate 4 entrance ramp signs from State Road 599 in Polk City, Fla., Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2008. in this battleground state, no region is considered a greater bellwether of who will win Florida than Tampa Bay and the counties that stretch up through Orlando and into Daytona Beach along Interstate 4. Barack Obama and John McCain have both stopped by the Parksdale Farm Market for a taste of Jim Meeks' strawberry shortcake and milkshakes as they hopped across central Florida. Meeks likes to joke that his strawberry treats have a lucky ingredient: both President Bushes stopped by during their campaigns and won. Meeks' joke highlights a political reality in battleground Florida: No region is a greater bellwether of who will win the state than the counties that stretch along Interstate 4 from Tampa Bay, through Plant City and into Orlando and Daytona. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Florida’s me-too Republican speakers – Rick Scott, Pam Bondi and Marco Rubio — offered little contribution to the conversation at the RNC except for a wee bit of self-promotion. South Florida Congresswoman and former Democratic Party Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz did one better in getting herself booted out of the DNC on a rail. Nonetheless, noteworthy is the prominence of the state in the electoral process. Sen. Bill Nelson, after President Obama’s sweeps through Florida, commented in a debriefing that the state is won or lost on the I-4 corridor. Meaningful to track is how that strategy will play out as this year’s election unfolds.


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