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Following state-wide trend, Trump, Clinton lead way among county voters

By Staff | Mar 16, 2016

Florida’s Democrats and Republicans have spoken on who they want to see as president.

The state held its Presidential Preference Primary on Tuesday, with around 156,050 voters in Lee County casting a ballot. Because Florida is a closed primary state, the election was a closed primary, meaning voters had to be a registered Republican or Democrat to vote for a candidate in the parties.

These primaries help determine which candidates should be nominated at each party’s national convention to serve as the parties’ candidates in the general election, which is set for Nov. 8.

Voters registered as no party affiliation or with a minor party could not vote on Tuesday.

In Lee County, Hillary Clinton came out on top for the Democratic Party, garnering 62.70 percent of the total votes. The Lee County Elections Office reported that 44,290 Democratic ballots were cast.

Bernie Sanders came in second with 34.99 percent, and Martin O’Malley scored 2.31 percent.

As for the Republican Party, Donald Trump soared past his opponents in Lee County, claiming 47.56 percent of the total votes. The Elections Office reported that 107,568 Republican ballots were cast.

Marco Rubio came in second with 22.03 percent, while Ted Cruz came in a close third with 17.64 percent. John R. Kasich, Jeb Bush and Ben Carson garnered a combined 12.19 percent of the ballots.

One of the 127 precincts were unaccounted for as of press time.

Yoseph Tedros, chairman of the Democratic Party of Lee County, said the local organization had no idea who would win. He noted that Clinton was expected to win Michigan, but that she did not.

“Sometimes, it’s hard to predict those things,” Tedros said.

He explained that younger Democrats seem to side with Sanders, while the older generation appears to support Clinton. With the large number of retirees in Lee County, Clinton’s win was not a complete surprise.

“We have a lot more elderly voters here,” Tedros said.

He added that his party is looking forward to November’s general election.

“That’s what we’re really excited about,” Tedros said.

According to the Lee County Elections Office, voter turnout on Tuesday hit 36.75 percent out of 424,606 registered voters. More than 24,000 voted early and over 81,000 used a mail-in ballot.

Jonathan Martin, chairman of the Lee County Republican Party, said a recent straw poll at its committee meeting found the race between Cruz, Trump and Rubio highly contested, respectively. He also pointed to the above-average turnout on Tuesday among the county’s Republican voters.

“I think it shows that there’s a heightened interest in this race,” Martin said.

He added that while Florida made its voice heard, Rubio has now pulled out of the race.

“The race is definitely going to be interesting moving forward,” he said.

Election results are unofficial until certified by the Lee County Elections Office.