Florida's 29 Electoral Votes Crucial In Presidential Election
With 29 electoral votes, the same amount as New York, Florida will play a crucial part in this year's presidential election, a fact that has both campaigns working hard to win over voters. Washington bureau reporter Erin Billups filed the following report.
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Florida is the largest of a handful of swing states that will decide this year's presidential election. Its 11 million voters hold lots of political power.
"It's hard to imagine winning without winning Florida's electoral votes," said Michael Franc of the Heritage Foundation. "It's a large state, it's a growing state."
It's a state that now has 29 electoral votes, the same as New York.
"If you were to go back to, say, 1980, a state like New York had, I think, nine, 10, 11 more electoral votes than it has today," Franc said. "Florida had that many fewer. So those states have sort of flipped, and their relative importance in the electoral college."
The last four presidential election winners also won Florida. Many agree that's not a coincidence.
"29 electoral votes is why people come to Florida, why politicians come to Florida," said Florida State Sen. John Thrasher.
Already, Republicans say they see the impact of their presence in the swing state and are banking on momentum built here to carry Mitt Romney to victory.
"They're gonna go back enthused, empowered and they're going to work hard," Thrasher said. "We're gonna have a good Nov. 6."
Democrats, who have also set up a camp in Tampa, have made it clear they're ready to fight for Florida voters. Wednesday, a federal judge said he would block Republican-passed voter laws that have resulted in a significant drop in new Democratic voter registration.
"There's 71 days left before the election," said Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter. "We're not going to cede anyone of them."