Saturday, October 31, 2015

Florida Democrats hold rally for 2016 but neither Sanders or Clinton show up.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton was a no-show Saturday. Ditto Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

The Florida Democratic Party held a weekend convention to rally supporters for next year's election without the benefit of a presidential candidate actually showing up. Sure, party activists could pose with life-size cardboard cutouts of Clinton and Sanders, but Clinton was in South Carolina on Saturday and Sanders was in New Hampshire — two of the first four states in the nominating process.

While Florida will play a major role in deciding the presidency, it will have far less influence in choosing the Democratic nominee. And Democratic delegates understand that.

"The first four states are the most important, and I don't consider it any slight politically whatsoever," said Mitch Ceasar, a Democratic National Committee member from Broward County. "I had no expectation either of them would be here. My expectations were met."

But University of South Florida political science professor Susan MacManus said it's a mistake for the candidates to skip the event, considering how important Florida will be in the general election. Florida is the largest state in the country that could swing either way in the presidential election. MacManus noted Florida also has some of the party's biggest donors, so Clinton or Sanders are missing out on fundraising opportunities, publicity and winning the favor of Democrats who might eventually volunteer for a campaign in a key state.
SOURCE: Associated Press