Jacksonville potential key to White House

Politicos spell out path to victory

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Duval County voter with a Jacksonville address could be the person who decides the next resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington, D.C.

An article published on the Huffington Post website described Jacksonville as a potential key to winning November's presidential election.

Traditionally a Republican stronghold in the 1980's and 90's, President Barack Obama came within 2 percent of Republican Sen. John McCain in Duval County in the 2008 presidential races.

According to the Duval County Supervisor or Elections, there are nearly 30,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans. In recent years, the strong Republican electorate has turned more purple, much to the delight of Scott Arceneaux who is executive director of the Florida Democratic Party.

"I think Jacksonville is going to be crucially important. You've got the I-4 corridor which runs up (Interstate) 95 now. You've got really, from Tampa all the way up to Duval county, it's going to be key to this election and make the difference," Arceneaux said.

Across the aisle, Republicans are confident that their presidential candidate, Mitt Romney will pull out Florida, particularly after Wednesday night's presidential debate.

"Obama came to Duval in 2008 and got really close. That can't happen again. I don't think it will because Obama's message of hope and change brought in independents and Republicans. That's not going to happen this time," said chairman of the Florida Republican Party, Lenny Curry.

Florida is the most valuable swing state with 29 electoral votes. Many political experts believe whoever wins Florida, wins the White House. Pundits who really know the demographics of Florida know that if President Obama is strong in Duval County and really close to winning like he was in 2008, election is within reach.

Gov. Romney would need to outperform McCain locally.

With one month until election day, both sides are confident.

"The jobs numbers came out (Friday) under 8 percent. The economy's coming back. We've got momentum that should carry us through election day," said Arceneaux.

"For those that saw the debate, the president was distracted, incoherent. And Mitt Romney gave us a message of an opportunity society and he talked about job creation, which is the issue of the day," countered Curry.

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