With nearly ten thousand of the more than one hundred thousand early-ballots cast in the special election in Florida’s 13th Congressional District being returned in just the last two days, it would appear there is a Republican surge at work.
Following up on Marc Caputo’s number-crunching and my accompanying analysis, I reviewed the latest data on the early-ballots returned to the Pinellas Supervisor of Elections. First of all, the race is ending as I expected it to — with a bang and not a whimper. On Monday and Tuesday, 10,079 ballots were returned. The 5,625 ballots returned on Tuesday were the most since the ballots were mailed in mid-February.
A surge this large and a week before Election Day is out-of-the-ordinary in Pinellas County elections. It was not present in St. Petersburg’s 2013 municipal race. It was not present in the 2012 general election.
But this surge is not surprising considering that both David Jolly and Alex Sink are flawed candidates, both running for local office for the first time. Voters have needed time to decide who they were voting for and/or if they were voting at all. Moreover, as explained in yesterday’s post, several Pinellas municipalities, including Clearwater, Pinellas Park, and Safety Harbor, have hotly-contested elections on the same ballot as the congressional race and some voters in those cities may be/have been holding their ballots while those campaigns play out.
Diving into those ten thousand ballots which have been returned the last two days, it’s clear the trend is moving – decidedly – in the GOP’s favor.
As of last Friday, the Republican early-vote advantage was less than two thousand votes (36,370 vs. 34,487). As of Wednesday morning, it’s closer to three thousand (43,083 vs. 40,098). That’s a big shift in a short period of time. It’s only a three-day trend, but, if this keeps up, it could be a very late night next Tuesday.