Local campaigns forge ahead

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Posted: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 5:20 pm | Updated: 5:27 pm, Tue Oct 23, 2012.

SARASOTA--Fourteen days. That's all that's left until voters know just who will lead the country for the next four years.

"We've rounded the final bend," said ABC7 political commentator Frank Alcock, "and we're coming into the home stretch in what's likely to be an extremely close election."

An election that up until now was thought to hinge on the undecided voter. Experts, though, say truly undecided voters are by now few and far between.

"I think at this point there aren't too many persuadable voters that are undecided or up in the air, so the strategy is going to shift to the ground game," said Alcock.

All indications say the percentage of undecided voters stands between only three and five percent of the electorate. That means all hands on deck for local campaign volunteers.

"We're calling, walking, robo-calling, emailing we're doing whatever we can," said Sarasota County Democratic chairwoman Rita Ferrandino, "we know where our supporters are now it's all about making sure we get them out to vote."

Republicans are also taking a similar approach.

"We're walking door to door, we're making phone calls, we're doing sign waving, we're doing anything we can to try to get people off their couches to either vote early or make sure that they vote on election day," said Joe Gruters, chairman of the Sarasota County Republican Party.

With so little time to go, local campaign organizers say their biggest challenge now is making sure those who are registered to vote, actually get out and do just that.

"Our job is making sure we get our supporters to the polls," said Ferrandino, "whether it's via absentee ballot voting, early voting or election day voting we're all about making sure we're getting out our vote."

"We have 119,000 registered Republicans here scattered all across the county," said Gruters, "and we have to do our best job of making sure that they're informed, engaged and then motivated to go out and vote."

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