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In Their Own Words: Florida Candidates on Issues Impacting Families

GRAPHIC: AARP Florida released its 2014 midterm election voting guide today, with positions from candidates in their own words. Graphic courtesy: AARP.
GRAPHIC: AARP Florida released its 2014 midterm election voting guide today, with positions from candidates in their own words. Graphic courtesy: AARP.
October 7, 2014

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - With the barrage of campaign ads on the airwaves and in newspapers, it can be difficult to discern a candidate's position on issues like retirement savings, Social Security, and livable communities.

Beginning Tuesday, Florida voters will have access to an online guide from AARP that features positions on those issues from candidates, in their own words.

Tony Brunello, professor of political science at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, says the guide could engage voters fatigued by the tone of the campaign so far.

"The mudslinging turns down and actually limits the turnout," he says. "The more negative it is the lower the turnout will be."

AARP asked specific questions of Florida's three candidates for governor - incumbent Rick Scott, Charlie Crist and Adrian Willie. They included questions on retirement, family caregivers, livable communities and affordable health care. The guide includes public statements from contenders for congressional seats as well.

AARP Florida state director Jeff Johnson says the guide gives voters the chance to evaluate candidates on issues that impact them in their every day lives. He says their positions weren't surprising.

"These issues are really important to people, but they're not coming up in the campaign other than through this process," says Johnson. "Everybody has been inundated by ads and they've all been negative soundbites. There hasn't been really any substance yet."

Brunello says because older Floridians traditionally make up a significant portion of the turnout, their impact could be significant.

"This is a midterm election, and turnout tends to be smaller," he says. "So you have to look at the groups that show up at this time of year for elections. Not only could they impact elections, they could turn some things around."

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - FL