A hellish October surprise is looming off Florida’s Gulf Coast, threatening to upend some of the country’s most important mid-term political races with hurricane-force winds.
Less than a month from election day, Tropical Storm Michael is forecast to hit North Florida on Wednesday as a hurricane. Though the landing spot remained far from certain early Monday as the storm moved north through the Yucatán Channel, the National Hurricane Center’s latest track had Michael striking the Florida Panhandle on a path that could take it right over the state Capitol and into the center of the state’s elections.
Any landfall in Florida would have political implications, given that hurricanes can make or break a politician’s reputation and voting is already underway. But a direct pass over Tallahassee would likely have dramatic consequences for both the race for governor and U.S. Senate, which feature the Democratic mayor of the city and the Republican governor of the state, respectively. Already, the gathering storm has forced Mayor Andrew Gillum and Gov. Rick Scott to focus on the positions they currently hold rather than the ones they’re hoping to win in November.
“This storm will be life-threatening,” Scott said during a briefing Sunday evening in Tallahassee. “And extremely dangerous.”
It will, at the very least, be campaign-changing.