The Washington Post

Florida: Where the voters are


Sunset in Florida, near St. Pete Beach. (Photo by Joel Achenbach)

Here’s another fact: Florida isn’t any one thing. I’ll say that in my story. It’s probably obvious, but maybe some people still think of Florida as a bunch of retirees, or they have a simple geographical stratigraphy in mind — the bubbas in the north and the Cubans in the south and the swing voteres in the middle along the I-4 corridor. Yeah, there’s something to that, but it’s widlly more diverse and unpredictable than most people realize. You got all types, everywhere. Plus, there’s lots of people, like 19 million of them. The Florida primary is first real test of a candidate’s broad appeal. Florida is America now. Didn’t used to be. I’m not sure when this happened, exactly. It’s been a long process, going back to Henry Flagler and John Ringling, by way of Castro’s rise to power and the coming of NASA and then Disney and then the arrival of huge waves of retirees that wanted sun and golf and had the money to afford it.

Florida is either now, or soon will be, the third-largest state in America. Yes, bigger than New York. Only California and Texas are bigger. It’s where the voters are. And it’s going to keep growing, because the sun doesn’t turn off, and this past week it was 75 degrees, 77, 79, all across the state while people were scraping ice in the middle Atlantic.

Advantage Florida.

Here’s the story I filed last night about Newt and space.

And a piece I filed a couple of days ago about young ‘uns in Sarasota.


Reporter J. Achenbach hard at work, Clearwater Beach. (Linda Davidson/THE WASHINGTON POST)
Joel Achenbach writes on science and politics for the Post's national desk and on the "Achenblog."
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