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RNC, Donald Trump campaign encouraged by early voting in Florida

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Republicans are running ahead of 2012 trends in early voting and Democrats are running behind, and that may also be reflected among voters who are newly registered or who’ve rarely voted in the past, officials of the Donald Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee said Friday morning.

In a national news conference phone call Friday morning, RNC Political Director Chris Carr said in the first four days of early voting, 477,600 Democrats voted and 439,800 Republicans voted in Florida, giving Democrats 42 percent of the total early votes, and Republicans 39 percent.

That’s a much tighter spread than in 2012, Carr said, when the first four days saw 518,000 Democratic votes and about 400,000 Republican votes, meaning Democrats had 47 percent of the early votes, and Republicans, 36 percent.

“So Republicans are outperforming our 2012 voter turnout by 10 percent while Democrats are underperforming by 8 percent,” Carr said.

Quite a few analysts have suggested early voting merely means regular voters are voting early, so that increases in early voting can mean decreases in Election Day voting. But the key difference can be motivating “low-propensity voters,” those who are either newly registered, or who have records of rarely voting, to turn out early. And Carr and Trump’s Deputy Campaign Director David Bossie and other key RNC and Trump staffers argued the Republicans may be winning that in Florida as well.

“We think we’re doing very well with our low-propensity voters,” Carr said. “We think they are making up a pretty decent amount, almost a quarter of our votes cast today. That’s very positive for us.”

Looking at the voters’ records and voter-turnout modeling for low-propensity voters, Carr added, “We’re seeing some very positive metrics, I would say we’re running at parity if not ahead of the Clinton campaign.”

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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