2020 election

With 20 Democrats angling for their party’s presidential nomination meeting in two debates in South Florida later this week, some of the underdog candidates are trying to get some attention and momentum in the Sunshine State.

Take Monday for example as Gov. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., and former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Tex., focused on Florida to jump start their campaigns.

Inslee appeared at a media event in South Florida on Monday and pointed to a recent decision allowing oil exploration in the Everglades. At the event, Inslee unveiled his “Freedom From Fossil Fuels” report.

But Inslee wasn’t the only Democrat trying to get attention in an appearance in Florida on Monday. Appearing in Tampa on Monday, O’Rourke called for implementing a tax during wartime with all of the revenue going to help veterans.

Even candidates who aren’t taking part in the debates are focused on the Sunshine State. Florida Politics reported that Gov. Steve Bullock, D-Mont., who did not qualify for the debates, will be in Tampa for a fundraiser on Tuesday.

Based on the polls, the dark horse candidates have work to do in Florida. Last week, Quinnipiac University released a poll showing former Vice President Joe Biden has the lead over the crowded field, taking 41 percent of registered Democrats in Florida. U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.., is in distant second with 14 percent with U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., following with 12 percent, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg taking 8 percent and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., pulling 6 percent.

O’Rourke takes 1 percent in the poll, tying him with U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ, and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. Sixteen other candidates–including Inslee and Bullock–take less than one-half of 1 percent in the Sunshine State. Still, the candidates in the debates will have a chance to make an impression later this week in the debates on Wednesday and Thursday.


Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

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