Updated 08/29/2012 08:35 PM
Florida seen as a must win
With 29 electoral votes, the same amount as New York, Florida will play a crucial part in this year's presidential election. It's a fact that has both campaigns working hard to win over voters. Our Erin Billups reports.
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TAMPA, Fla. -- Florida is the largest of a handful of swing states that will decide this year's presidential election. Its 11 million voters hold lots of political power.
"It's hard to imagine winning without winning Florida's electoral votes. It's a large state, it's a growing state," said Michael Franc of the Heritage Foundation.
The state now has 29 electoral votes, the same number as New York State.
Franc said, "If you were to go back to say 1980, a state like New York had, I think nine, 10 more electoral votes than it has today. Florida had that many fewer. So those states have sort of flipped and their relative importance in the Electoral College."
The last four presidential election winners also won Florida and many agree, it's not a coincidence.
"Twenty-nine electoral votes is why people come to Florida, why politicians come to Florida," Florida State Senator John Thrasher said.
Already, republicans say they're seeing the impact of their presence in the swing state and are banking on momentum built here to carry Mitt Romney to victory.
Thrasher said, "They’re gonna go back enthused, empowered and they're going to work hard. We're gonna have a good November 6th."
Democrats, who have also set up a camp in Tampa, have made it clear they're ready to fight for Florida voters.
Just Wednesday, a federal judge said he would block republican passed voter laws that have resulted in a significant drop in new democratic voter registration.
"Seventy-one days left before the election. We're not going to cede anyone of them," said Stefanie Cutter.