Early voting turnout has already reached levels expected for an entire election.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has added a national endorsement to a local campaign that has already attracted higher-than-typical voter participation a week before election day.
Biden publicly endorsed Democrat Margaret Good in the special election for Florida House of Representatives District 72, her campaign announced this week. In his endorsement, Biden said Good presents “a real opportunity to elect a strong Democrat to a critical seat in the Florida House.”
“Margaret will be a champion in Tallahassee in the fight for affordable health care, public education for all our kids, and protecting Florida's vital coastline,” Biden said in a written statement.
Also on the ballot: Libertarian Alison Foxall and Republican James Buchanan, who has received endorsements from Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. Rick Scott.
In early voting, which closes Saturday, turnout has reached 18%, which Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Ron Turner said was higher than the typical overall turnout for a special election. Election Day is Feb. 13.
According to the county’s elections office, there are 51,658 registered Republicans in District 72, 39,600 Democrats and 31,389 voters not affiliated with either party. Shortly after 11 a.m. Tuesday, 8,816 registered Republicans, 8,435 Democrats and 2,301 unaffiliated voters had their ballots returned and accepted.
Good said Biden’s endorsement underscores the significance of the election on a national scale. Along with the public support from the former vice president, the campaign announced former Maryland governor and 2016 presidential candidate Martin O’Malley will attend a fundraiser for Good on Wednesday.
“This is an important election and this is an important district,” Good said. “Obviously Sarasota is really important itself, but it’s also really important to Florida and to the national conversation.”
The winner will take the seat vacated by Republican Alex Miller, who resigned on Sept. 1 citing a desire to spend more time on her business and with her family. She won the 2016 election with 58.06% of the vote to Democrat Edward James’ 41.94% out of 86,917 total votes cast.