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With early voting in the primary underway, the Trump and Biden campaigns are sharpening their strategies in the key battleground state that is Florida.

Last week, President Donald Trump stopped in Tampa, giving a short speech to media flanked by local law enforcement officers.

“As long as I’m president, I will never defund your police, that I promise you,” Trump said, later posting a video clip of the Tampa appearance to Twitter.

President Donald Trump at the podium
Andy Morataya/Joint Base San Antonio

After condemning mail-in voting for months, President Donald Trump is now encouraging Floridians to cast their ballots by mail, assuring in a social media post Tuesday that the state’s election system “is Safe and Secure.”

Randy Fine in his hospital bed during a video interview
Facebook

State Representative Randy Fine has been hospitalized with COVID-19.

The Republican lawmaker, who represents southern Brevard County, tested positive for the coronavirus about two weeks ago. His wife and two sons also tested positive, but he says they have already recovered.

Fine spoke with me by telephone on Monday.

'Dark Money' Casts Shadow Over Florida Primaries

Aug 1, 2020
NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

Direct-mail pieces thrashing state Sen. Perry Thurston, an incumbent in a crowded Democratic primary in South Florida, are linked to a web of political organizations with ties to a prominent Republican consultant.

Thomas Iacobucci/WUSF Public Media

Nearly 700,000 ballots had been cast as of Monday for the Aug. 18 primary elections from more than 3.8 million vote-by-mail ballots sent to Floridians, according to numbers posted by the state Division of Elections.

Florida House of Representatives

State Rep. Randy Fine has coronavirus. The Brevard County Republican tested positive for coronavirus along with his wife, Wendy, and sons Jacob and David.

Mike Pence profile photo
whitehouse.gov

Updated: Saturday June 27

Vice President Mike Pence has called off campaign events in Florida and Arizona for this coming week as the states experience a surge in new coronavirus cases.

The White House says Pence will still travel to those states to meet with their governors and health teams. Florida and Arizona have set records for new confirmed infections in recent days.

Joe Biden on the screen
YouTube

Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden took to the internet with his first "virtual" rally late Thursday, billed as being from Tampa. But this new way of campaigning in the age of coronavirus could use a bit of tweaking.

Woman and man stand next to Vote sign
Cathy Carter

As Floridians continue social distancing, many others headed out to the polls on Primary Day.

Before heading into Lakewood Ranch Town Hall to vote, Karen Toney of Bradenton took a minute to snap a selfie. The 27-year old said, yes, she was a bit concerned about venturing out -- but not enough to stop her from casting her ballot. 

map of Florida Counties that took survey
WMFE - Created with Datawrapper

As Florida voters prepare to go to the polls, a non-scientific survey by public media partners WUSF and WMFE could shed some light into what’s driving voter decisions.

The survey - collected over a four-month period late last year - shows that voters in different counties  along the poltiically important Interstate 4 Corridor have different priorities this election.

solar panels
Amy Green / WMFE

Sarasota is known for its sunny skies and beautiful beaches, but two years ago, a terrible outbreak of red tide left Bruce Andersen a virtual prisoner of his waterfront condo.

Voters across the country say health care is one of their top issues going into this year's election.

It ranks as the top issue for Democrats and independents and just below the economy for Republicans, polling from the Kaiser Family Foundation has found.

Frank DiMeglio sitting outside his Daytona Beach condo.
Abe Aboraya / WMFE

Florida’s primary election is just two weeks away and public media stations WUSF in Tampa and WMFE in Orlando are banding together to cover stories along the I-4 Corridor this election season.

The stories from the I-4 Votes collaboration are based on what residents consider the most pressing issues in the 2020 presidential election. This week, we're taking a deep dive into a survey of people living in this region of Florida - a critical part of a key swing state.

We start with two hot-button issues: Guns, and immigration.

Mike Bloomberg meetup
Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

While Iowa and New Hampshire have captured most of the attention of the Democratic nominees for president, Florida is lurking in the background as one of the biggest prizes of all.

Elizabeth Warren's campaign started canvassing two weeks ago, and volunteers with Michael Bloomberg opened an Orlando field office in early February and another one in Tampa this past Saturday.

The day after Florida’s Senate voted on a controversial parental consent bill, a national pro-life group announced a multi-million dollar campaign that targets Florida voters in particular.

RACHEL SMITH / WMFE

In a speech in Bushnell Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo highlighted domestic and foreign policies that he says have defined the Trump administration to a packed crowd at the Sumter County Fairgrounds.

Vice President Mike Pence
Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media

Vice President Mike Pence made his first campaign trip of the year to Florida Thursday, targeting voters inside the highly competitive I-4 corridor. His stops in Tampa and Kissimmee are a sign of who President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign is targeting: older voters and Hispanic residents.