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Robbie Mook says Hillary Clinton is leading Donald Trump in early balloting in Florida by 170,000 votes

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Hillary Clinton is leading Donald Trump by 170,000 ballots in Florida heading into the final weekend of early voting. That’s what Clinton campaign manager Robbie Mook said on a conference call Friday afternoon. In comparison, Mook said that on the Friday before Election Day in 2012, Barack Obama was losing to Mitt Romney in Florida by 15,000 votes. The president went on to defeat Romney in the Sunshine State by less than one percentage point.

Political scientists have stated that there is no way that Trump can win the White House without taking Florida’s 29 electoral votes.

Earlier on Friday, Democrats surpassed the Republicans early vote in the state, for the first time since voting by mail began early last month. But the Democrats had a much larger lead at this time in the early vote compared to 2012.

Mook said the strategy has been to “bank” the low-propensity voters in the states with early voting, freeing campaign officials to concentrate more on voters in states that don’t have early voting on Election Day. “Our campaign has organized to leverage this early voting period to build a firewall in states with early voters to turn out our supporters early, and buildup a lead that Donald Trump is incapable of overcoming,” he said, adding that it’s being fueled by the “Clinton Coalition”: Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, millennials and suburban women voters.

A huge development in the early voting in Florida so far has been the increase in Latino voters. At the end of the day on Thursday, Mook said 30 percent more Latinos had turned out to vote than in entire 2012 election, a total increase of 120 percent from 2012.

And while the story had been that African-American enthusiasm was down in Florida, Marlon Marshall, the director of state campaigns and political engagement for the Clinton campaign, said that 650,000 blacks have cast a ballot in Florida, more than this point in 2012, a 22 percent increase. Much of that has came from black voters going to the polls on Wednesday and Thursday.

Also, the Asian vote in Florida is up 90 percent, and the Millennial (under 35 years of age) vote is up 70 percent, “which is incredible in a state with a lot of electoral votes,” said Marshall.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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