Nearly Two Million Floridians Have Already Voted In Primary

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – With Florida’s primary just hours away, Miami Dade enters with most early voting statewide. That’s to be expected for a county with the most voters in the state.

Incumbent Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez is stressing his tax cuts, improvement of the transportation system, balancing a budget and streamlining government.

Gimenez faces Raquel Regalado who is a Miami-Dade County school board member, a lawyer and the daughter of Tomas Regalado, the current the city of Miami mayor.

Regalado is running on her record replacing school buses and improving the school districts social media policies.

Also in the race is new comer Alfred Santamaria. He has gone door-to-door and has made use of social media.

Key Issues: A Look At Florida’s Primary Election

Marco Rubio lost out to Donald Trump in the Florida Republican presidential primary, then decided he’d jump back into the race for Senate. He’s attempting to reclaim the Senate seat he at one point abandoned to run for president.

Rubio is facing Carlos Beruff, who is a Central Florida developer with  roots in Miami-Dade County. Beruff has run a low key campaign.

Florida democrats looking to oust Rubio will be voting for Central Florida Congressman Alan Grayson or Patrick Murphy.

Grayson touts support from the progressive wing of the party, while Murphy has the support of the more conservative Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Both candidates have been controversial – Grayson as a congressman very outspoken and Murphy who CBS4 reported had inflated his resume.

The big story though is what is happening just North of Miami-Dade, in Broward.  Turnout, for a primary, is very surprising.

Final preps are underway for Tuesday’s primary election.  Broward election supervisor expecting it to go smoothly, in what could be one of the most closely watched primaries nationwide.

Dr. Brenda Snipes joked, “We always have the entire nation watching us.”

Still the attention is usually during general elections.  Voters typically do not show up in masses for primaries.  This year though is the exception.

More than 113,000 voters have already cast ballots in Broward via early voting and vote by mail.

Compare that to 2012, another presidential election year, where roughly 58,000 people voted early and by mail.  That is a 94 percent increase.

Miami-Dade has seen an increase (about 27 percent) in votes as well, but not as dramatic.

So who’s voting in Broward? Fifty percent more Republicans, twice as many independents and a lot more Democrats.  Compared to 2012, 116 percent more Democrats are voting in this primary.

“This is very different election because I see a lot of energy.  I see a lot of passion,”  Snipes said.

Broward Democratic Party Chair Cynthia Busch attributes the surge of voting to three hotly contested races and money.

“Debbie Wasserman Schultz versus Tim Canova, they are spending in excess of $6 million dollars between the two of them,” Busch said.

In addition to the Canova – Wasserman Schultz showdown, Broward is home to what could be the most contentious state Senate race.  District 34 covers Deerfield Beach to Hollywood.

“Two candidates, they are spending over a million dollars each in that race,” Busch said.

Some perspective on that:  It’s the most expensive state race in Florida.

And while Tuesday is the primary, Broward Democrats are hoping to keep their voters, volunteers and donors involved into November.

“We are hoping to keep it going,”  Busch said.

Does money equal victory?  Some candidates may know Tuesday night.  It’s clear though more money equals more voting.

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