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Since the 2000 election’s infamous “hanging chads” and Bush v. Gore, Florida has been the quintessential swing State, the make-or-break for presidential hopefuls, and a must-win for any Republican candidate. It’s a tricky State, as it’s really three States in one.
North Florida is basically like the rest of the South: pine barrens and good ol’ boys. That’s Trump Country. Southern Florida is a melange of New York Jews and Cubans, the former of which are firmly in the Democratic fold, the latter of which historically have voted Republican, but have begun to shift blue over the last decade. Central Florida is a mix of both regions, it seems.
In the 2016 Florida GOP primary, Trump demolished the Sunshine State’s favorite son, Senator Marco Rubio by 18.68%. The general election was much closer, with Trump winning 49.02% to Secretary Clinton’s 47.82% (Libertarian goofball Gary Johnson won 2.2%, which very nearly spoiled Trump’s narrow victory)—a margin of just over 100,000 votes.
Trump’s win in Florida early on election night surely fed into the electric momentum of that historic night. While other States—think Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan—have gained in importance for President Trump, Florida still remains a critical State, central to the president’s path to reelection.
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