Rick Scott Strategist Trumpets Overblown Turnout Expectations
Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott strategist Tony Fabrizio blasted out an optimistic memo to the St. Petersburg Times predicting record turnout for the former health care executive running for the Republican nomination for governor:
Given that as of Saturday, August 21st nearly 520,000 Florida Republicans have already voted by absentee or early vote, we expect overall turnout of at least 1.7 million in the Florida Republican gubernatorial primary. … This would represent roughly 41% of registered Republicans, a 70% increase over the 2006 gubernatorial primary. This is consistent with the increased turnout we have seen in Republican primaries across the country, where outsiders have shocked the establishment candidates.
However, The Orlando Sentinel’s Aaron Deslatte notes that more people voting early doesn’t necessarily mean that a proportional amount of people will vote on primary day. In general, election officials have observed that voters are more comfortable with voting early. And Florida election officials said that they expected turnout to be closer to 1-1.3 million.
Anecdotal evidence also suggests that turnout will be light. The Miami Herald reported that voters were “scarce” at polling stations this morning. Duval County Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland wrote on his Facebook page that turnout was “very slow.” It’s also raining throughout much of the state in big cities like Tampa and Orlando — a factor that will likely depress turnout.