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The Tamiami Trail

by Derek Newton

For years, state and national pundits have blathered on about the so-called I-4 corridor between Tampa, Orlando and Daytona Beach being the key to unlocking Florida elections. The candidate who wins I-4, the old wisdom was, wins Florida. But the 2004 elections paint a different picture: namely that winning the Tamiami Trail may be more politically important than I-4.


Unlike I-4, the Tamiami Trail runs, as the name suggests, from Tampa to Miami. And Tampa Bay is, as John Kerry learned, Florida's unquestioned electoral king-maker.


Of George Bush's top six "most improved" counties from 2000 to 2004, four of them encircle Tampa Bay. Together Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Polk gave the Bush campaign a comfortable winning margin of 81,000 in 2000. But the 2004 Bush outfit nearly doubled that margin in whipping up on Kerry by 161,000 votes in those same four counties. Those four Tampa counties alone accounted for nearly 20% of Bush's entire winning margin statewide and instantly dashed Kerry's hopes of stealing Florida.


Farther south along the Tamiami Trail are four overlooked but important counties along the lower western coast. Bush carried Sarasota, Manatee, Collier and Lee Counties by a combined 81,000 votes in 2000. In 2004, he pushed that advantage to 127,000 - a 54% increase. The difference, 46,000 votes, accounted for another 12% of Bush's total Florida victory margin.


For those scoring at home, those eight large counties along Florida's west coast accounted for about one third of Bush's Florida winning margin.


But while the top of the Tamiami Trail was a walk in the park for Republicans, the last leg is more a bright spot for Democrats. It is Miami-Dade County, Florida's largest. With little fanfare, Miami-Dade County gave a 49,000 vote edge to John Kerry when it mustered a 39,000 vote margin for Al Gore four years earlier. Even though it's only an increase of 10,000 votes, Miami-Dade is one of just three large counties in Florida to actually increase its vote margin for Democrats.


This could be the best news of all for Democrats. With their continued dominance in Broward and Palm Beach Counties, an emerging stronghold in Miami-Dade could give Democrats a real trifecta in the southeast where Kerry collected nearly 1.2 million votes.


But to have any real chance of winning statewide, Democrats can't allow themselves to be bludgeoned in Tampa. They will have to offer candidates such as Betty Castor, whose Tampa political base made her a formidable statewide candidate, or impressive Tampa Congressman Jim Davis, who is already a candidate for Governor in 2006. Or Democrats may have to cultivate newcomers like State Representative Charlie Justice from St. Petersburg if they hope to make inroads around Tampa Bay.


Even more than competing in Tampa, Democrats can no longer afford to ignore Florida's lower western coast. The region is growing in population and Republican strength. Democrats must recognize the importance of campaigning there and will have to make real investments to be competitive.


Last, Florida Democrats must take advantage of the political climate in Miami and make changes that will exploit and accelerate the growth of their new emerging majority. That means grooming Hispanic candidates and developing messages that work in Spanish.


Republicans have a naturally easier time along this new political road. They can either move to maximize their advantages in Tampa by fielding candidates like Attorney General Charlie Crist from St. Petersburg who is a rumored 2006 candidate for Governor or override growing Democratic strengths in Miami-Dade like Cuban-American Mel Martinez did to win his seat in the Senate. But if Republicans allow Miami-Dade to become another Broward or Palm Beach County, their days of winning in Florida are over.


Candidates looking for election roadmaps in Florida in 2006 and beyond would do well to take a spin down the Tamiami Trail. The candidates who focus their campaigns on the voters who live there will be best positioned to win. And the political party that develops messages that work in Tampa, Naples and Miami at the same time can likewise look forward to a long and prosperous winning streak.

2 Comments:

6/29/2005 6:05 AM, by Blogger pc93

Secret Service Visits Terri Supporter,. Pinellas Pasco Judicial / LEO corruption exposed:

http://tekgnosis.typepad.com/tekgnosis/2005/06/more_re_secret_.html

 

 

1/01/2010 12:43 PM, by Blogger JAZMON

LISTEN UP!!!

PASS THE WORD

At the track, the long shot may truly be the best horse. Bets on this horse win the biggest.

Now think Florida 2010 U.S. Senate Race.

Commercial media wants you to believe, the only two jockeys that count, ride the republican horses, and between these two, you the voter must choose; period.

Media tells you if you vote otherwise, you will crack and split things, causing great harm to structures they have been harming you with for a very long time.

Their control is what led Florida and our country into current dismay and shambles.

Media is paid to keep the spotlight on them and shined into your eyes, so you remain hypnotized enough not to see the new jockey on the track that is there to represent you and me in D.C.

Tradition shows, you need millions to pay the media monster, or do not think you can be a jockey in this political race, no matter how qualified or how great a leader you may be.

Millions were needed to pay TV, radio, and fill our mailboxes and trash with glossy ads with their names. One or two lines and vote for me.

Internet has changed this. Information is available and communication possible between voters, who are real people who need real representation in D.C. to help them have jobs, homes and healthcare, which we are losing daily. Look around.

Who amongst the millionaires in power can honestly relate to you and me? Can you name one you think cares about you or your family?

Who has voted for the interests of the People over the Corporations’ interests that financed their fancy ads to get them elected? Research of donations and voting records will show that.

Media may tell you otherwise, (as they are paid to do), but in Florida, for the first time in history, there is an official registered TEA Political Party with a 2010 U.S. Senator Candidate on the November 2nd ballot.

Jorge Antonio Lovenguth (George) swore on the Constitution at age 17 and volunteered to fly in a USMC helicopter to rescue fellow marines.

He again has volunteered, this time to help rescue Florida and America as a candidate for the U.S. Senate.

He is not accepting any corporate donations. He, on his own, has stepped forward into this political horse race, as he sees no one else representing the Veterans, the elderly and the young people no one in power is helping.

We need help now instead of just more and more being taken from us!

Lovenguth has heart, not millions of dollars to pay the media to get his name out. He has a degree in literature and will read every bill, write his own thoughts and vote for the People’s interests.

He will owe no one except the voters who put him in D.C. The People are whom he will represent in his vote there. He will not be a puppet for big money interests.

This will make history in Florida; the example an election of VOTES of the People, not media money to dazzle or frighten us.

Help Jorge Antonio Lovenguth (George), to kick open the door, Marine style, for the People, to have a voice in D.C.

PASS THE WORD. Talk, write, email everybody you know about this!

Most important, register and VOTE TEA - Jorge Antonio Lovenguth (George) FL U.S. Senator - November 2, 2010!

Jazmon

Jazmon@TeaParty.Pro

http://florida-veterans.mynetworksolutions.com/

http://www.TeaParty.Pro

http://election.dos.state.fl.us/candidate/CanList.asp

 

 

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