In Brooksville, black turnout key
BROOKSVILLE -- If Barack Obama wants to win conservative leaning Hernando County, it will come on the shoulders of voters like Ericka Simmons. The 28-year-old Brooksville resident voted in her first election today, despite being registered for some time. "There's just never been anyone that really motivated me," she said. She planned to vote at 5 p.m. but an Obama campaign canvasser knocked on her door and nudged her toward to the polls.
Simmons voted at Precinct 11, the heart of Brooksville's black community. The Obama camp and local Democrats launched an aggressive voter registration effort here to try to increase turnout. Obama needs to run up a strong tally her to outweigh older, more traditional Hernando voters on the county's west side.
Simmons did her part by bringing a friend, Tiffany Skinner. This was not the first time for Skinner, 24. "I like politics," she said. She said she voted in 2004, but had difficult time remembering who the person's name was she opted for. "John Kerry, that's right," she said. "Well, it's Obama's time now," she sighed.
Austin Bogues and John Frank, Times staff writers