Will Florida voters seal the deal for the Democratic presidential nominee?

Left: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a primary night election rally in Essex Junction, Vt., Tuesday, March 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Right: Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a primary election night campaign rally Tuesday, March 3, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) (Associated Press)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida takes the spotlight during the 2020 election in less than two weeks after Super Tuesday fulfilled the promise of shaking things up in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Since Tuesday, four candidates have ended their campaigns, including Elizabeth Warren, who made that announcement Thursday. Former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders are the two remaining candidates.

Rep. Val Demings, D-Florida, represents the 10th Congressional District in Orlando. She grew up in Jacksonville. Demings is one of the vocal advocates for Biden.

“I’m excited about this opportunity. I’m excited about the upcoming primary in Florida,” she said. “Let’s get this done.”

News4Jax political analyst Rick Mullaney said Biden’s run on Super Tuesday shows the momentum is on his side.

“Joe Biden coming out with winning 10 states out of 14 -- no one saw coming. Joe Biden with the most delegates -- no one saw coming, and the momentum is real,” Mullaney said. “If you’re looking for the top story coming up Super Tuesday, it’s Joe Biden.”

Florida’s role will be key in determining the nomination with 219 delegates up for grabs. Of the states left to vote, only New York has more.

“If Joe Biden wins big in Florida and does well in some of those other states, the math becomes very difficult for Bernie Sanders because it appears that Joe Biden will have at least a plurality, if not a majority heading into the convention,” Mullaney said. “If Joe Biden has a plurality or a majority, of course, it’s over.”

The most recent survey on the Florida primary came from St. Pete Polls. It was conducted Wednesday before Mike Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren dropped out.

The survey found 61% of likely Florida voters support Biden. Bernie Sanders only had the support of 12% of likely Florida voters. It was less support than Bloomberg had in the poll.

A St. Pete Polls survey from February 27 showed Biden with 34% of likely Florida voters, Bloomberg with 25% support and Sanders with 13% support.

More than 374,000 Florida Democrats have voted early or by mail. That may not be a great sign for Biden, comparing his numbers from early voting in Super Tuesday states.

Florida wont be alone on March 17. Voters in Arizona, Illinois and Ohio will also cast ballots. Georgia’s primary takes place a week after.


About the Author:

Kent Justice co-anchors News4Jax's 5 p.m., 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts weeknights and reports on government and politics. He also hosts "This Week in Jacksonville," Channel 4's hot topics and politics public affairs show each Sunday morning at 9 a.m.