By Yaël Ossowski | Florida Watchdog
TAMPA — In the shadow of Mitt Romney’s visit to Florida with freshly introduced vice presidential candidate and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., on Tuesday, more than 8 million registered Florida voters will hit the polls to choose their party’s candidates for local, county and state elections.
As the 42nd state to hold primaries this year, and the most populous swing-state in the union, the partisan results from Florida will set the narrative for the general election, setting the field for the nearly 2.7 million independent voters crucial to the U.S. Senate and presidential races, which could change the power dynamic in the nation’s capital.
More than one million voters have already cast their ballots, according to Florida Department of State spokesman Chris Cate, amounting to about 679,000 absentee ballots and 367,000 early votes, representing just more than 12 percent of eligible primary voters.
Because of the state’s closed-primary system, independent voters will be locked out of party primaries, but they can vote for nonpartisan judges in local county races.
For some seasoned politicians on the ballot, such as 10-term GOP U.S. Rep. John Mica of District 7, at stake is a livelihood and a career, dependent upon name recognition and years of bringing home federal dollars for the district, including being the driving force behind the creation of the Transportation Security Administration.
Read more: Florida Watchdog