Florida Soon to be Officially Blue for Obama
Around the State
The major media outlets, including the Associated Press, have yet to call the race in Florida, but the inevitable is dawning that the Sunshine State is going to be painted blue to signify a Democratic victory in the presidential contest.
With 58,070 votes separating President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney, as of 8 p.m. Thursday, the Florida Democratic Party has already hoisted its victory banner while the Republican Party of Florida has seemingly accepted the pending media declarations.
“We're pleased that despite a Democratic wave across the country, Republicans in Florida made a strong enough showing that the outcome is still up in the air,” Brian Burgess, RPOF communications director, responded in an email.
“By keeping the presidential contest close, Republicans in Florida were able to hold onto majorities in both the Florida House and Senate, and return enough representatives to Washington to maintain a GOP control of Congress.”
Florida’s congressional delegation, expanded by two because of the state’s population growth, is poised to enter 2013 with 18 Republicans and nine Democrats. U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Palm Beach Gardens, is trying to contest his apparent defeat.
In the state Legislature, the Democrats were able to break the GOP’s supermajority hold on both chambers, which allows the majority to limit debate and easily pass bills. Heading into the 2013 session, there will be 26 Republicans against 14 Democrats in the Senate and 76 or 77 Republicans as opposed to 44 or 43 Democrats in the House.
A recount is expected to decide the fate of Rep. Chris Dorworth, R-Lake Mary, who was in line to be House speaker.
Besides congratulating Obama, Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith placed the drawn-out vote count squarely on Gov. Rick Scott's shoulders.
“This embarrassment lays at the feet of Governor Rick Scott who made a decision to cut early voting in half and continually refused to extend early voting hours in light of the record turnout,” Smith stated in a release.
“Clearly, his move was a serious mistake that should and must be corrected. We call on Governor Scott and the Legislature to reform Florida's voting systems in the upcoming legislative session to ensure that we correct this affront to our system of democratic participation.
"But over the last few days, I, like so many here, was moved watching Floridians stand in record long lines and inclement conditions -- doing everything they can to overcome the obstacles to participating in our democracy placed in their path by Governor Rick Scott and the Republican Legislature."
Former Republican and former governor Charlie Crist, who many expect to become a Democrat to challenge Scott in 2014, also lambasted the ongoing counting.
“Not embarrassing; shameful. This can never happen again,” Crist tweeted out Thursday.
Because people waited hours at some polling locations during early voting and the delayed count, Scott has said the state should review to see what can be done better.
County supervisors of elections have until noon Saturday to submit their first certified numbers from Tuesday’s election.
As of 8 p.m. Thursday, three counties continue to be listed as counting absentee ballots on the Department of State website: Duval, Palm Beach and Broward.
Most counties still have provisional ballots out.
Without Florida’s 29 Electoral College votes Obama already had 303 votes, easily atop the 270 needed for re-election.
The following electors have been designated by the Florida Democratic Party to cast ballots if the state goes to Obama:
Carol M. Bartleson
State Rep. Joe Gibbons
Ambassador Luis Lauredo
County Commissioner Jean Monestime
Chairman Rod Smith
Ashley M. Walker
Dr. T. Wayne Bailey
Mayor Buddy Dyer
State Sen. Audrey Gibson
City Commissioner Vonzelle Johnson
State Rep. Alan Williams.
Names submitted by the Republican Party of Florida
Hon. Allan Bense
Bertica Cabrera Morris
Remedios Diaz Oliver
Reach Jim Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (772) 215-9889.