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Florida Dems are ready to run hard.

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Orlandodem Donating Member (859 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-11-08 09:11 AM
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Florida Dems are ready to run hard.

Leaders of the Florida Democratic Party held a little pen-and-paper briefing this afternoon on their plans for delivering the state's 27 electoral votes to Sen. Barack Obama, protecting their congressional gains of 2006 and picking up some seats in the Legislature.

No cameras or voice recorders were allowed. Nothing was off the record, but it wasn't a media event, either.

Basically, the blueprint for delivering Florida on Nov. 4 involves generating a high black voter turnout, winning over the historically Republican-leaning Hispanic vote with appeals on education and the economy and getting North Florida's "yellow dog Democrats" to come home. Leonard Joseph, the party's executive director, said the Democrats are already at work on voter registration, organizing at the county and city level for get-out-the-vote campaigns and all the other little details that go unnoticed -- unless you neglect them.

Those include ballot design, the number and location of early voting places, and how many polling places will be available on Election Day.

Pollster David Beattie said Sen. John McCain and the Republicans are vulnerable on the war, economic issues and health care, among other topics. He said the Democrats should concentrate on the big Tampa Bay media market and the I-4 corridor, and maybe a little less on the expensive Miami media market.

On the legislative level, the Democrats are concentrating on some open Senate seats and a vulnerable incumbent or two, in hopes of getting back in the game for the big reapportionment and redistricting battles that are just four years away. The Republicans have a 26-14 advantage in the Senate, and the Democrats don't expect to win seven seats this year -- but they need to make gains in '08 and 2010 if they don't want to be shunted aside when the new districts are drawn.

If they could make it 23-17 this year or and maybe 21-19 or even 20-20 in two years -- and maybe even elect a governor in 2010 -- the Democrats could force a fair shake in drawing the district lines. Otherwise, they'll be mathmatically consigned to the minority in both chambers for at least another 10 years. And it all starts this summer, with organizing down to the precinct level.

One wild card in today's strategy briefing was Amendment 2, which defines marriage as a heterosexual union. The Democrats will be trying to rally a big African-American voter turnout, and black voters tend to support the "defense of marraige" concept -- which the Democrats oppose. On the other hand, conservative Christians and evangelicals will be working to get blacks to the polls and help the amendment reach the required 60 percent -- and a large black turnout undoubtedly helps Obama.

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