Florida Primary: Key races for Governor, Congress, local taxing issues

Jacksonville, FL — Polls are open today from 7am-7pm across the state for the 2018 Florida Primary.  And while there are contested local, state and federal races, the race for Governor has captured the most attention in recent months.

The Democratic field is more crowded, with several people vying to become the first Democratic Governor since 1994.

"You've seen it in the presidential years. And you've seen especially with President Obama who is able to excite young voters, excite minority voters. My question is can Gwen Graham do that. So we'll see", said Matthew Corrigan, Professor of Political Science at the University of North Florida.

Corrigan said Gwen Graham appears to have a slight edge over Philip Levine, Andrew Gillum, and Jeff Greene.

"You have about 35% of Democratic voters who are African American. If Andrew Gillum could basically get that vote as a bloc, he could win. I don't think he's going to get that vote as a bloc", Corrigan said.

The Republican race changed dramatically when President Trump endorsed Congressman Ron DeSantis of NE Florida.

"We've had presidential endorsements before but probably not with this impact controlling the whole governor's race because the state of Florida usually likes to concentrate on Florida issues", said Corrigan.

If Putnam doesn't win, he may be forced to figure out what went wrong.

"I've been a Congressman, I've been a cabinet member in Florida, my last name is even a county in the state, he basically did everything you would want to do as a typical candidate who runs for Governor, and he may end up losing", said Corrigan.

Another intriguing story line is the political comeback of former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown, who is attempting to unseat U.S. Representative Al Lawson in Congressional District 5.  The winner of the Democratic primary will face Republican Virginia Fuller.

VOTER GUIDE:  What you need to know before you head to the polls

At the local level there are races for Duval County School Board and Tax Collector.  In St. Johns County, voters will choose candidates to lead the City of St. Augustine as well as the County Board of Commissioners.

And Clay County voters will decide the fate of a funding measure for school security.  A proposed 1.0 millage rate increase to 7.438 is estimated to generate approximately $10 million annually, and will allow Clay to comply with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, which puts a School Resource Officer in every school.

Duval County Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan says, based on early voting and mail-in ballots, he’e expecting turnout of 24-28%. The 2014 Primary turnout was 17% in Duval.

Turnout in Clay County was 13% following early and mail-in voting.  Early voting turnout in St. Johns County was 14%.

WOKV will keep you up to date throughout the day on voter turnout, and after the polls close at 7pm tune in to 104.5 FM for results and analysis from around the State of Florida.

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