TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Both candidates in the race for Florida governor are planning to spend their final days on the road to continue to press for turnout ahead of Nov. 8.
Charlie Crist's campaign sounded confident of another windfall in momentum Wednesday morning. The Democrat touted fundraising a million dollars with the help of President Joe Biden in a press release. Biden hosted a rally with Crist a day prior in Miami Gardens.
"Floridians are giving everything they've got to defeat Ron DeSantis and bring decency and kindness back to the Sunshine State," Samantha Ramirez, Crist communications director, said in a statement. "Florida is ready for a governor who will protect a woman's right to choose, make Florida affordable again — and unite our great state — and that governor is Charlie Crist."
It's money the campaign, at the very least, can use for gas as Crist's "Choose Freedom Bus Tour" continues through Election Day. The candidate plans to hit more major metro areas and keep stressing abortion access while urging early voting.
"We’re going to keep on campaigning," Karla Hernández, Crist's running mate, said.
Hernández spoke to us recently about the campaign's strategy in its closing days. She said Democrats knew turnout would be tough going into this election cycle.
"We always have concerns over midterm elections," Hernández said. "We know that people don't treat them like a presidential [election] where they come out in big numbers — so, we're encouraging all infrequent voters to turn out and vote."
Most polls show the duo down double digits, and Republicans hold a margin of more than 200,000 ballots in early voting statewide. GOP turnout even leads in traditionally Democratic areas like Miami-Dade County. There, just 13 ballots separated the parties at one point Wednesday afternoon.
"You see great enthusiasm of Republican voters coming out to vote," Florida GOP executive director Helen Ferré said.
Ferré believed the party was making inroads with Hispanic voters and the coveted suburban mother demographic. She predicted a red wave was truly in store for Florida.
"The big bulk of it is going to come on Nov. 8, so complacency is something you have to be very careful about," Ferré said. "We just want to make sure that every voter who is intending to vote for Gov. DeSantis — and all Republicans down the ballot — are really strongly encouraged to do so."
Hoping to avoid that complacency, the governor is prepping for his major trip across the state. Friday through Monday, he'll make a final 13-stops for the "Don’t Tread on Florida" tour, bringing along familiar GOP faces and country music artists. The final event focused on Miami-Dade County, as the once blue bastion looks more and more purple.
Both candidates on election night won't be too far from each other. DeSantis plans to host a watch party at the Tampa Convention Center. Crist is scheduling an event in St. Petersburg, though officials haven't yet offered a final location.