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Candidates staking out political battleground in Florida

Florida will play a key role in the upcoming presidential election. The past couple of weeks, including Tuesday’s visit to Tampa by presumed Democratic nominee John Kerry, have been but a preview of things to come. Naturally that will mean voters in Florida will have substantial pull in the decision-making process.

Both incumbent President George W. Bush and Kerry will be wooing Florida voters in order to garner the state’s 25 Electoral College votes. If trends continue to hold steady, the race will be very close, as the Sunshine State’s voters are essentially split 50-50 between the two candidates. Considered a swing state, Florida remains up for grabs, which translates into many Bush and Kerry appearances.

One of the three presidential debates already scheduled (the dates remain tentative) is planned to be held at University of Miami in Coral Gables, just one of the many indications that the state is valued by both tickets.

As the population of Florida is rather eclectic and does not follow traditional Southern state voting patterns, it is very hard to predict how Floridians will vote. The high number of minorities only adds to the mix, complicating campaigns that are set up to attract the votes of some while not losing those of others.

Whether the election is going to be as close as the remarkable 2000 election remains to be seen. However, stunts such as Al Gore’s visit to the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center before dawn on election day are probably to be expected.

Governor Jeb Bush may be sitting close to the phone again in order to tell his brother about the outcome. This time he may be a bit more careful though, as both sides of the aisle are very much aware of Florida’s importance. Meanwhile, Floridians receive a front-row seat to what is bound to be a very interesting race no matter what the outcome.