Florida Democrats have a competitive five-candidate primary for governor and a widespread loathing of President Donald Trump to motivate them this year — the perfect conditions for a midterm “blue wave.”
But so far, there’s little evidence of heightened Democratic enthusiasm in the run-up to the state’s Aug. 28 primaries.
According to figures released by the Florida Division of Elections this morning, 448,242 people have already cast vote-by-mail ballots for the Aug. 28 elections. Republicans have cast 209,500 of those ballots, or 46.7 percent. Democrats have cast 173,271 ballots, or 38.6 percent.
Election day is still 19 days away, but this year’s vote-by-mail figures so far look a lot like the final mail-in ballot totals for Florida’s last two primary elections. In 2014, Republicans had a 47.8-to-39.2 percent edge in vote-by-mail turnout for the August primaries. In 2016, the GOP had a 49-to-38.2 percent advantage in mail ballots for the August primaries.
To be clear, Republicans and Democrats aren’t running against each other yet. But interest in the partisan primaries can be an early sign of enthusiasm for the general election.
In addition to the vote-by-mail tallies, which are updated a few times each day by the Division of Elections, another enthusiasm indicator to watch is in-person early voting, which begins next week.