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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The final campaign push is on for the two front-runners for governor.
Former Governor Charlie Crist started his day with campaign events in Miami and Lauderdale Lakes on Monday.
At his first stop at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Miami, Crist focused on middle class families.
“We’re on your side. We will always be on your side. We’re going to fight for the middle class, we’re going to fight to raise the minimum wage, we’re gona fight to have equal pay for women. We’re going make sue teachers are appreciated so students can learn,” Crist told the crowd.
“I want to make sure that the Florida that I’m raising my children in is one that has a governor that is going to fight for the middle class and working families, that’s going to invest in education, focus on healthcare and not leave a million people out in the cold like Rick Scott has,” said Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
At another event in Lauderdale Lakes, Crist echoed his earlier message, speaking about education the minimum wage and equal pay for women. Supporters surrounded Crist holding campaign signs.
Orlando Greensword said, “We’ve got to get Charlie Crist in because he’s for the rich; he’s for the poor; he’s for the black; he’s for everybody. We’ve got to get a governor we know we can trust.”
Former President Bill Clinton will join Crist for rally Monday night in Orlando.
Lt. Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera made several appearances in South Florida to counter the Crist campaign.
“Rick Scott, he did what he said he was going do. He said he was going to bring jobs back to our state and he did it, 651,000 new jobs,” said Lopez-Cantera. “Charlie Crist is everything that’s wrong with politics. He’s willing to tell you just what you want to hear to get your vote. As soon as he has it, he’ll move on to what is important to him.”
Governor Rick Scott focused his last-minute campaigning in Central Florida.
With polls showing the governor’s race in a dead heat, both sides said voter turnout is key to victory.
On Sunday, the last day of early voting in Miami-Dade and Broward, both sides echoed the same message to their supporters – get out and vote.
Scott, with former Governor Jeb Bush by his side, courted the Hispanic vote in Hialeah.
“I’m the only Republican to have been re-elected in state history,” said the former governor. “On Tuesday, I will have a good friend that joins that club.”
Crist was joined by Vice President Joe Biden at event targeting Hispanic voters at Florida International University. Biden also campaigned with Crist at a “Souls to the Polls” event in Ft. Lauderdale.
Hundreds of thousands of people across South Florida have cast their ballots early. Some wanted to avoid Election Day lines while others knew they wouldn’t get the chance to make it to the polls on Tuesday.
“I’ll be working so I just didn’t want to risk not coming to vote,” said Marilyn Ioddi who voted Sunday. “So I figured just do it now and I’m glad I did.”
“This is the greatest day to vote because it is a beautiful day,” explained Arthur Cohen. “There are not lines, you get it done and you don’t have to worry about it on Tuesday.”
According to election officials, early voter turnover this time around has increased in both Miami-Dade and Broward counties compared to 2010.
Many voters say the closely contested governor’s race drove them to the polls. The medical marijuana initiative is another hot button issue.
Regardless of what side of the issue you’re on, voters said you lose your right to complain about the outcome if you don’t exercise your right to vote.
As of Sunday evening, 16,486 voters participated in early voting for the day and 116,905 voted during the early voting time period in Miami-Dade County.
In Broward County, the latest numbers showed 19,802 people voted Sunday and 129,073 people voted during the early voting time period.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Tuesday.
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