Tonight Charlie Crist will debate Ron DeSantis in Fort Pierce in St Lucie County. Why St Lucie? Why not!
Forget Hillsborough. Or Volusia. Or the mythical “I-10 corridor.” Florida elections usually go the way St Lucie County votes.
It’s the ultimate “Florida” place, where the Florida Cracker Trail begins, the citrus industry until recently thrived, where you have a huge, once planned, now growing-at-the-seems community in Port St Lucie, a historic African-American community in Fort Pierce, the NAVY seal museum, a nuclear power plant and a very representative demographic cross-section of the state. Close to 350,000 people call it home, and it has some of the nicest beaches in the state – as well as some of the coolest natural areas.
The Highwaymen painted beautiful scenes of Florida roadscapes – stereotypical Florida of the era – so much of that was St Lucie County and of course today you can see all those works at the AE Backus Museum.
St Lucie has voted with the winner of the state in every Presidential Election since 1908, with the pesky exceptions of 2000 (I would argue it voted with the state but all the votes weren’t counted) and 2004. In Governor’s and Senate races it’s become similarly predictive of winners.
Pay attention to St Lucie not only tonight, but election night as well. It might just tell you how the rest of the state will vote.