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Scratching Post Friday – Tampa Bay Sunset Fiesta!

Hello Conflucians!  Here is your Tampa, Florida correspondent, SM, giving you some of the LOW DOWN happening in the I-4 Corridor.  What’s the I-4 Corridor you ask?  Well, it’s a stretch of highway and surrounding cities that is one of the most swingiest of swing voters in the US of A which is smack dab in the middle of the dangling-off-into-the-ocean state.   For a better view of what the I-4 corridor is, here’s a glance:

Shaded in gray is the "I-4 Corridor"

Here’s what the Miami Herald has to say about my part of of FL:

Nearly one out of five of the state’s unaffiliated voters live in this swath between Tampa and Daytona Beach, and an even higher percentage are considered ”persuadable” Democrats and Republicans. No wonder the area is seeing a flurry of candidate visits, with Republican vice presidential contender Sarah Palin slated to campaign Monday in Clearwater and Fort Myers.

”Someone suggested to me that the whole thing could come down to a couple square blocks in downtown Tampa, and that’s not out of the question,” said Richard Scher, a University of Florida professor, who calculated that the 12 counties hugging I-4 host 38 percent of the state’s independent voters.

The latest statewide polls tell a familiar story, with the Republican nominee dominating the northern part of the state and the Democrat carrying the more liberal southern end, leaving the state’s heterogeneous midsection up for grabs.

”I-4 is a little bit of South Florida, a little bit of North Florida, a little bit of Yankee transplants, and a little bit of old South rednecks,” said Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker. “It may be the best microcosm of Florida.”

Why do you think that the presidential candidates are always holding events here?  Anyway – point is:  FLORIDA will not go to the FL-primary and convention vote hoarder Barack Obama – the PUMA vote is in EFFECT.  I’ve waited to see the SUSA polls for today, but the latest numbers for SUSA says the following for Florida:

  • 52% of Hispanics are voting McCain
  • 22% of African-Americans are voting McCain (WOW!)
  • 13% of Liberals are voting McCain
  • 39% of Moderates are voting McCain
  • 34% of Pro-Choice voters are voting McCain
  • 53% of Central Florida is voting McCain
  • 18% of registered Democrats are voting McCain
  • 44% of Independents are voting McCain
  • 39% of non-Religious people are voting McCain.

The Florida Panther

PUMA is in definitely in effect.  Normally, the above mentioned demographic groups would be skewed towards the Democratic side.  Despite that, and as we’ve seen in previous elections, even a 1% difference means a LOT in Florida – Mel Martínez won his senate seat against the great Betty Castor by less than 100 votes.  Too close to call and EVERY VOTE has to be counted and verified.

We are sick and tired of having our votes used as toilet paper in this state.  It happened in 2000 with Gore, in 2004 with Betty Castor and in 2008 with Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic Primaries.  But the Florida PUMA is roaring.   So don’t despair my precious PUMAs, don’t believe the HAKA.  There is a very big GINORMOUS silent majority out there, watching steadily, graceful even in repose (h/t Arabella Trefoil) smiling at everyone, but their hearts are determined to vote AGAINST voter fraud and the misogyny.

To celebrate that, here’s a tune I hear from time to time when I go down to Ybor City at the Columbia Restaurant.  Mojitos and Tapas on the house, Rico is passing out fine, hand-rolled Tampa Cigars for the Aficionados and Flo is busting her Flamenco moves for no-no words. Here is one of my favorite songs from The Gipsy Kings called “Viento Del Arena” which is sung in the Gitano language of Caló, demanding freedom for the Gypsy.  At this point aren’t we all political gypsies?

¡Que viva los PUMAs!



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