Florida, Florida, Florida - Ground zero in November

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During my primary campaign, these were the issues that voters cared about. They are struggling with the economy and want a president who will turn our county - and the state - around.


Since taking office, the current administration has rebuffed nearly all attempts by Congress to create jobs and improve our economy. Voters will understand this at the polls. The rate of poverty, the number of food stamp recipients and soaring unemployment, especially among minorities, are all factors working strongly against the President's campaign at this time. They are particularly poignant in Florida and the I-4 Corridor.

For instance, in 2008, 16.7 percent of children between five and 17 years were in poverty. In the latest data available, 21.9 percent are. That's more than 150,000 children who were not living in poverty before 2009,entered poverty under the Obama administration.

Overall, 670,000 more Floridians are in poverty than before this administration was sworn in.

The sheer number of people negatively affected by this administration will be central in this race. It has significantly dampened the support and enthusiasm for candidate Obama.  

For those not in poverty, economic factors will also play a key point. High gas prices, combined with food and energy cost spikes. will contribute to keeping many who are dismayed with the economy at home.  

The president was elected with incredible turnout during the last election. Soft Democrats and those not affiliated with a party decided to go to the polls to support Obama. In this election, their enthusiasm is significantly tempered and they still remain undecided. They are the most crucial voting block in this election and their final decision may not come until they walk into the booth on November 6.

That said, voters in the end will see a clear distinction between two candidates. One has lacked the skill or ability to turn the economy around in four long years of governance. Instead, this administration has chosen to expand both our deficit and the size of government. Our national debt has soared to an all-time high and programs like the failed stimulus and ObamaCare are leave long-term problems that can only be fixed with sound economic principles.

The other candidate, Mitt Romney, has demonstrated experience in turning problems into long-term successes. He's credited with saving the Salt Lake City Olympics and has a long track record of rescuing failing businesses, such as Staples. As Governor of Massechuetts, he showed he can work with a difficult legislative body and created a booming economy for the state. This is the experience that is needed to fix our economies, not failed policies that have shown they will not work. Mitt Romney has the experience and record to get America working. 

Aside from the economy, Florida is a solid blue state. In spite of higher Democrat voter registration, Florida Republicans have captured every statewide office except the U.S. Senate seat held by Bill Nelson, and they control both Chambers in the Florida Legislature by wide margins.

Still, Floridians will vote their pocket books in November after all the multimillion dollar campaign ads are off the air.  

There are several unknowns yet to be played out. Of course, an October Surprise has, and may again, turn the tide in any general election campaign. Also, the unmatched volume of TV advertising, unlike in any previous campaign, may turn off voters. As the election date gets closer, the impact of instant and unpredictable social media and 24/7 news reporting can also skew the outcome.

With all that being said, Central Florida should be the president maker and the determining factor in choosing America's next president. While it will be close, and depend highly on voter turnout, once the full record and platforms are investigated and compared, Florida will see that America's future - and its economy - will be brighter with Mitt Romney as our president.

Mica, a Republican from Florida, is chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.