OCALA, Fla. – President Donald Trump is predicting a “red wave” of Republican voting in Florida.
Most polls show a close race in the important battleground state that both the Republican incumbent and Democrat Joe Biden are courting heavily.
Addressing a campaign rally Friday in Ocala, Trump reminded thousands of supporters that “I live here, too.” He recently switched his legal residence from New York.
The president noted that early voting in Florida starts Monday. He says in 18 days “we’re going to win the state of Florida. We’re going to win the White House.” Trump won Florida in 2016.
Trump predicted a “red wave” of Republican voting, “the likes of which they’ve never seen before.”
Trump help a rally on Friday at Ocala International Airport weeks ahead of the Nov. 3 election.
The event marks the second time the president has visited Central Florida this week. On Monday, Trump held a campaign rally in Sanford. His son, Donald Trump Jr. will hold a MAGA rally Saturday in Ormond Beach.
News 6 political expert Jim Clark said that the president is attempting to energize his base to ensure voter turnout.
“He needs a huge turnout,” Clark said. “He needs to get people to go to the polls. He needs to create excitement and surely his rallies have been able to do that in the past.”
According to the Florida Division of elections, there are 14,065,627 registered voters for the 2020 election. That is up more than a million from 12,959,185 registered voters in 2016.
State records also show there are 264,614 registered voters in Marion County, where the president will hold his rally. State records show in 2016, there were 230,841 registered voters in Marion.
The Marion County Supervisor of Elections Office said that 89,983 voters requested a mail-in ballot and 44,632 have already returned them.
“What we are seeing though is an unbelievable outpouring over 2 million votes cast already and absentee voting opens in about a week,” said Clark.
The doors opened at 1 p.m. Friday for the 4 p.m. event but supporters were lining up to get in as early as Friday morning.
News 6 political expert and UCF professor Jim Clark said Dr. Jill Biden’s appearance on Friday in Seminole county is to compete for swing voters along the I-4 corridor.
“Seminole County is a suburb of Orlando so there are thousands of suburban women and the democrats are hoping to get those moved from the Trump column to the Biden column,” Clark said. “For Donald Trump, he has to win Florida, a Republican has not gone to the White House without winning Florida in nearly 100 years."