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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Can a self-described socialist win Florida?



Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn has a message for Democratic voters in Iowa and New Hampshire.

"It's okay to be right, but it's more important to win. And if you don't win, you can't govern," Buckhorn said when asked about the excitement Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is generating in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire. "When all is said and done — certainly in Florida — Hillary has a much, much better chance of prevailing than Sen. Sanders."

The electoral math is simple: If Democrats win Florida's 29 electoral votes in November, they win the White House. Florida's most prominent Democrats overwhelmingly say Hillary Clinton stands a much better chance of carrying Florida than Sanders.

Like it or not, a self-described democratic socialist like Sanders is simply not a strong Florida candidate, said former chief financial officer Alex Sink.

"Absolutely not," said Sink, who recently hosted Clinton at a fundraising reception at her home east of Tampa. "Look at the history of the Democrats Floridians have elected: Bill Nelson's not going to go for a socialist Democrat. I'm not going for a socialist Democrat. Bernie's touching a nerve, and rightfully so, about income inequality. I totally agree with him that that's something this country has to address and fix, but I don't agree with his solutions."

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[Last modified: Tuesday, January 26, 2016 6:52am]


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