While the pro-Mitt Romney SuperPac buys up piddly amounts of TV ad time in Florida, the candidate's campaign is advertising in nine of the 10 media markets in Florida, starting today, with a buy that's designed to make sure the average TV watcher sees his commercials (link here) about 7 times. Estimated cost: $825,000.
The one media market excluded: Fort Lauderdale-Miami. It's the most expensive market, and it has loads of Democrats as well. Also, moderate Broward County is looking like Romney country and, in Miami-Dade, he can count on the support of Reps Ileana Ros Lehtinen and Mario Diaz Balart, as well as his brother former Congressman Lincoln Diaz Balart.
While they're less likely to see his ads on TV, South Florida Republicans are starting to get hit with Romney mail. Last week, the campaign sent out a piece, followed by another this week.
Given all that, it's a good bet the Romney campaign is starting to target (mail and perhaps call) the nearly 401,000 Republicans who have already requested an absentee ballot. None of the other campaigns appears to be chasing absentee voters yet, but Newt Gingrich isn't far behind and Rick Perry has the staff and money to do it as well.
Given the efforts by Romney, his Iowa win and his strong showing in New Hampshire, there's a possibility Florida could become his firewall. But the days until the Jan. 31 Republican primary are like dog years in this volatile race, so there's plenty of time for his opponents to play catchup.