Both Sarasota and Manatee County officials are repeating the mantra that voter turnout today remains low, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. In addition to low early voting and absentee ballot numbers, “few voters were dodging the rainshowers to show up at the polls. As of 12:30, only about 6 percent of Sarasota County voters and 7 percent of Manatee County voters had filled out a ballot in person.”

The counties’ supervisors of elections suggest it’s not just steady rain keeping voters away:

“I also think that the candidates just aren’t doing it for the voters,” [Sarasota Supervisor of Elections Kathy] Dent said.

One of the comment cards left at early voting read: “Can’t you get better candidates? LOL.”

“I think there’s a lot of people feeling that way,” Dent said.

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Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Ocala, has been playing defense lately. A recent water pollution hearing he sponsored in Orlando has been subject to scrutiny, mainly because he invited a slew of agriculture and industrial interests to testify, and only one environmental advocate (who was invited at the last minute). In a new op-ed, Stearns again defends himself against claims that the hearing was one-sided, writing that no environmental groups contacted office or the committee office seeking to testify until after it was final.