Alex Sink, Florida’s Democratic candidate for governor, and former President Bill Clinton appeared at Miami-Dade College this morning for a rally aimed at turning out young and minority voters. The rally drew about 600 people, and came the day after a televised debate with Republican rival Rick Scott in a race that appears to be running even at this point.
“If this were a normal election season, and this guy was running against her with all his problems … she’d be 25 points ahead,” Clinton said, referring to Scott’s forced resignation as CEO of a hospital chain during a massive Medicare fraud investigation. “What happened?”
He answered the question by talking about the economic crash, and the need to rebuild Florida’s economy through job growth. Clinton also implored those present, many of whom were students and minorities, to not only vote but urge their friends to vote. The turnout among African-American voters is expected to drop by 40 percent from the 2008 presidential election, Clinton said, and among young voters it is expected to drop by 50 percent. Those figures would help Republicans, he said, who were counting on apathy among those groups. “On election day I want you to show Mr. Scott you were paying attention!” he said.
Alicia Swann, 19, who is studying graphic arts, watched from a stairwell near the rally. She said she was excited to vote because it would be her very first time. “I want my voice to be heard,” Swann said, adding that among her friends there was a lot of excitement to get involved. In general, though, her peers were not enthusiastic. “A lot of people aren’t interested this year,” she said. “They have negative ideas, or they don’t feel like voting. But me and my friends, we want to make a difference.”