Campaigns targeting independent voters

Both the Democratic Party and the GOP have gained new Florida voters since the 2010 elections; however, Historic City News has learned that the number of “no party affiliation” voters has outstripped both parties in new registrations.

Registration of Florida voters without party affiliation rose from 2.18 million in 2010 to 2.57 million this fall — a crucial one out of five voters choosing neither major party. The “NPA” gain of 386,655 voters was more than 20,000 higher than Republican and Democratic gains combined, and mirrors the percentages locally.

“Although St Johns County is heavily Republican, two-to-one over registered Democrats, about 20% of the nearly 153,000 registered voters in St Johns County are neither Republican nor Democrat,” Supervisor of Elections, Vicky Oakes told local reporters today.

In two St Johns County Commission races being decided in one week, Republican candidates are facing other Republican opponents — who chose to run without party affiliation.

In less than 30 days after failing to be elected as a Democrat, lame-duck commissioner Ken Bryan re-registered as a Republican to get elected — but failed to gain re-election. Less than 30 days after his second loss, he has re-registered again — this time he’s a new “NPA”, as well.

One precinct committeewoman, who is a member of the St Johns County Republican Executive Committee but asked not to be identified, said she did not vote for Merrill Roland, but, she did vote for Randy Brunson. “Brunson has participated in every Republican event since I was elected and is still a registered Republican, as far as I know,” she told Historic City News editor Michael Gold. “Voting for Brunson was not like voting for Bryan — who went from Democrat, to RINO, to NPA within 6 years.”

In Florida, registration books for the general election closed October 9. The Division of Elections released statewide voter totals to Historic City News over the weekend, showing that total registration has risen from 11.2 million two years ago to 11.9 million now.

Nationally, with 29 electoral votes at stake in Florida, both sides pushing for a very high turnout in what pollsters are calling “a tight race”, the independent and splinter-party voters may well decide who wins the White House next week.

Voter turnout is always higher in presidential-election years. Besides the Obama-Romney race, this year’s ballot features a US Senate campaign, numerous congressional and legislative races, 11 constitutional amendments and retention votes for three Florida Supreme Court justices.

Mailed ballots went out weeks ago and in-person early voting started statewide on Saturday.