Democratic voters in the four largest counties of the 2nd Congressional District Friday increased their lead in the number of ballots cast in the Nov. 4 election. Midday Thursday 7, 429 more Democrats had submitted ballots than Republican voters and by the end of Friday the difference had grown to 9,377.
Congressman Steve Southerland is fending off a challenge by Democrat Gwen Graham to represent a 14-county region stretching from Panama City to Perry. The district’s two population centers’, Panama City and Marianne in the west, Tallahassee and Quincy in the center, voting patterns are mirror images; the Capitol backing Democrats by nearly two-thirds and Bay and Jackson counties providing the same margin to Southerland.
By the end of Friday, 85,095 ballots had been cast in those four counties. Democrats have submitted 42,869 ballots, Republicans 33,492 and 8,734 from people not affiliated with either of the two major parties.
The Democrat turnout Friday consisted of another 4,117 ballots in Leon, 1,291 in Bay, 944 in Gadsden and 625 in Jackson. The GOP numbers were 2,255 in Leon, 2,498 in in Bay, 259 Jackson and 135 from Gadsden.
In 2012, those four counties cast 264,000 of the 333,000 votes counted with Southerland carrying nine of the remaining 10 counties by more than 60 percent, winning the election by 18,000 votes.
Democrats have invested heavily in a get-out-the-vote effort in the Capitol City as part of a strategy to erase Southerland’s margin of victory.