PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Voters in Pinellas County could hold the answer to who wins the White House in less than two weeks.
“It goes from Democrat to Republican depending on the election and that’s what makes it so intriguing,” said Dr. Susan MacManus, ABC Action News Political Analyst.
Pinellas is the biggest swing county in our battleground state, and it has picked the winner in every presidential race since 1980, except one.
“They voted for President Obama and in 2016 they switched over and voted for Trump, and in 2018 they voted for the Democratic Governor Gillum. It’s all about turn out. The party that gets their voters to the polls is the one that gets Pinellas,” Dr. MacManus said.
According to the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Julie Marcus, there is only a difference of about 5,000 registered Democrats and Republicans, making it a snapshot of the entire country.
“We’re within point percentage points different between Republican and Democrat and then again a very large group of folks who do not affiliate themselves with one of the two major political parties,” said Marcus.
We asked Dr. Macmanus what’s behind the close numbers. She attributes it to the make up of the county’s population.
“Very diverse from a racial and ethnic perspective and clearly there’s a sharp general divide and the age make up of that county,” she said.
Republicans lead the northern part of the county, Democrats the south and a mix in the middle. While Florida is known for election-night hold-ups, Pinellas isn’t usually among the trouble counties.
“Voters in Pinellas County have been voting by mail for years and we have seen that Pinellas County’s voter turnout speaks for itself and we can attribute that high turnout to voters participating by mail,” said Marcus.