Hillsborough can predict election in state, nation

Mark Rivera considers Florida's relevance as Clinton and Trump near Election Day.

TAMPA — As your choices for president crisscross the state for votes -- the entire race could come down to your ballot. It's often said as Florida goes, so goes the nation.

But how important Florida is in this election could be changing.

10News WTSP political reporter Mark Rivera is digging deeper into one Tampa Bay community that's a litmus test for the state and the country.

Welcome to the battleground of the battleground --- right here --- Hillsborough County.

It's one of just a few counties in the nation that's a bellwether and can show you where the country is going to go on Election Day.

It's voted with the winner of Florida for the past 13 elections and the winner nationwide in the last eight out of nine.

So the question, “How is Florida going to vote?” is really, “How do Hillsborough County voters feel?

“Republican ... Republican. Hopefully it'll work out that way,” said Hillsborough early voter Antonia Edwards.

“I just want it to be over. I just want the president to be the president who I voted for,” said Hillsborough early voter Ines Rosales. “Hillary Clinton.”

“I'm voting for Donald Trump,” said Hillsborough early voter Bob Mabry.

“Donald's my man,” said Hillsborough early voter Paul Plante. “I shouldn't say it that way, but in my view, there's no choice between the two.”

Talk about a purple county!

And that's what we are statewide -- Trump and Clinton tight in the polls -- but there's something we haven't seen.

In 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012 Florida was make or break for Democrats. It still is for Trump.

But here's the thing -- Clinton can win the election this year even if she loses Florida.

It's something former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco says he hasn't seen before.

“This is the most unusual election I've ever seen -- and I've been around a long time -- in my entire life,” Greco said.

So how are the parties doing so far in bellwether Hillsborough County?

Democrats are outvoting Republicans two days into early voting.

But Greco says you need more time to see a trend.

“I think it's relatively close in this county from what I'm hearing and I'm seeing. It'd be hard to bet on either candidate,” he said.


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