Prominent Sarasota and Manatee County Republicans joined by Gov. Rick Scott gave one last push Saturday to get voters to the polls.
Scott, joined by U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R—Longboat Key), State Rep. Ray Pilon and others, gathered at Dolphin Aviation where the mood was light, but the party's message was heavy: Vote Republican and vote President Barack Obama out of the White House.
"In our state two years ago, we walked in with a $3.7 billion deficit. We didn't say, 'It was the last person's problem. We can't solve it.,' Scott said. "No. We balanced the budget. And guess what? We cut property taxes, we cut business taxes. We cut regulation, we streamlined permitting processes. And it works. That's what we're going to do in Washington on Tuesday."
Joe Gruters, chairman of the Republican Party of Sarasota County, predicts a resounding Republican victory in the county come Tuesday.
"It's my prediction that every Republican on the ballot in Sarasota County will walk away with a win come Tuesday night," Gruters said, adding that he predicts Gov. Mitt Romney would win Sarasota County and Florida.
Buchanan, who is running for re-election against challenger Keith Fitzgerald of Sarasota, focused on deficit and unemployment.
"The bottom line is we got to put people back to work. We got to help people. In terms of small business, help them be more successful because they create most of the jobs" Buchanan said.
Florida House Rep. Jim Boyd (Dist. 69—Palmetto) said he was glad to support the governor for the personal injury protection automotive insurance reform with a lighthearted compliment.
"I am proud to be called a Rick Scott puppet," Boyd said.
Manatee County Commission candidate Vanessa Baugh, who owns Vanessa Fine Jewelry in Lakewood Ranch, echoed the "we built that" mantra the party latched onto this campaign season.
"When I started my business over 10 years ago right here in Sarasota County, I don't remember the government giving me a check," she said. "I don't remember the government helping with those blood, sweat and tears that my family to run our business and try to make it successful."
Despite the fanfare heralded at the GOP's party, Sarasota County Democrats are encouraged by early voting numbers.
Democrats cast more than 77,000 early ballots than Republicans than Republicans in Florida as of Friday.
"That suggests that the enthusiasm level among Democrats is high — something we have noticed as we talk to voters and that bodes well for our candidates, including President Obama," said Rita Ferrandino, chairwoman of the Sarasota Democratic Party, in a statement. "There is no doubt that this will be a very close election in Florida. However, the early and absentee ballot voting in Florida makes it clear that Florida is in play."