Absentee balloting has begun in Florida, a state that is considered a must-win for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. The early absentee totals indicate a slight tilt toward Republican ballots, roughly in line with the 2012 election when Republican Mitt Romney narrowly lost the state to Barack Obama.
Other signs, however, point to a more ominous forecast for Republicans on Election Day in the Sunshine State. According to Politico, Democrats have successfully submitted 503,000 new voter registration forms this year, compared to only 60,000 for the GOP.
The strength of the Republican ground game this year has been a source of concern for Republican operatives in light of Trump's fundraising difficulties, caused in part by his campaign's almost total lack of a fundraising operations during the primary. Further, Trump's unwillingness to begin general election fundraising in the two months between the time Ted Cruz dropped out of the race and the Republican convention placed the joint fundraising efforts of Trump and the RNC far behind the money raised jointly by the Clinton campaign and the DNC.
While Trump has argued that his considerable edge in "earned media" over Clinton is enough to overcome Clinton's spending edge in television advertising, Republicans remain concerned that the Trump campaign's lack of organized ground effort — which has been almost entirely supplanted by the RNC — may hamper the party in close races.
In addition to the presidential election, Florida will host a number of competitive races this year, including a Senate race between incumbent Republican Marco Rubio and Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy. There are also three House races in Florida that are currently rated "toss up" by the Cook Political Report.