'No win without Florida:' Why President Trump will launch re-election campaign in Orlando

Experts say Trump must win 4 of 7 Central Florida counties for re-election

By Erik von Ancken - Anchor/Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - For a presidential candidate, no place in the U.S. is more important to win than Central Florida.

Several election cycles have proven that, according to University of Central Florida history professor and News 6 political analyst Jim Clark.

"Whoever carries the I-4 counties, from Volusia to St. Petersburg, gets to be President of the United States," Clark said. "It's been going on for decades."

Clark said historically there are seven key counties and winning four means a ticket to the White House. For that reason, Clark said, "Florida holds the key and especially the I-4 corridor. President Trump knows there's no win without Florida."

Clark said that's why Trump chose one of the biggest and most notable venues in Central Florida to launch his re-election run on June 18: the 20,000-seat Amway Center in downtown Orlando.

Trump said last week he will be announcing his run for a second term alongside first lady Melania Trump, the vice president and the second lady in Orlando.

"[There are] a thousand places he could go to make this announcement, yet he's coming here," Clark said.

Central Florida has changed significantly from four years ago when Trump first began campaigning.

"Remember four years ago we thought [Republican] Congressman John Mica was unbeatable," Clark said. "You would have bet your house on that. And then he loses."

Seminole County, a former Republican stronghold, has also trended Democrat in the last few elections.

Trump kicked off his first presidential run in the lobby of the Trump Tower in New York City where staffers couldn't find enough people to attend the announcement, Clark said.

"They went out on 5th Avenue and offered people $50 if they'd come to his rally," Clark said. "The announcement was widely panned, everyone thought he wasn't going anywhere, and now here he is almost four years later getting ready to fill 18,000 seats."

Democrats, too, will flood Central Florida, Clark said, as soon as they narrow down a front-runner. They're also focused on raising money right now. Former Vice President Joe Biden was in Orlando last week for a private fundraiser.

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