As of Saturday, about 117,000 ballots had been cast in Pinellas County’s special election for Congressional District 13 - more than half of the votes likely to be cast - and Republicans are gaining steam in the closing days. The GOP advantage in votes cast more than doubled over the last week to about 4,500 votes.
That said, most of what we wrote yesterday still holds, so through the wonders of cut and paste:...
For all the talk about an energized, anti-Obama Republican base in this off-year special election, the key to victory on Tuesday — no surprise for a swing district in the swing state of Florida — is swing voters and independents.
Republican David Jolly wins if he can keep Democrat Alex Sink from peeling away too many Republicans and beating him too heavily among the nearly one in five voters registered to neither major party.
As of Saturday, Republicans had a nearly 4,515-vote advantage over Democrats in District 13 and likely will cast significantly more votes on election day than Democrats. It still may not be enough for Jolly, given the way swing voters ultimately pick the winner in this centrist district.
Consider that in 2012, Republicans had cast nearly 11,000 more votes than Democrats by election day and then outperformed Democrats on election day by more than 9,000 votes. Barack Obama still narrowly won that district.
In 2010, Republicans had a nearly 12,400-vote lead prior to election day and then on election day cast more than 8,600 more votes than Democrats. Sink still narrowly beat Republican Rick Scott in the district.
It’s shaping up to be a squeaker, but giving the recent track record of District 13 voters, Jolly needs an even stronger GOP surge in final stretch and on Tuesday. If it’s really close, we may not know the winner for sure until March 21, the deadline for overseas ballots to arrive.