WEST PALM BEACH, Florida – Former President Bill Clinton campaigned for Democrats across South Florida on Saturday in the lead-up to Tuesday's general election as polls show tightening races for governor and Congress.
Clinton planned to attend a rally for state Sen. Ron Klein, who is challenging Republican U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw in the 22nd District in one of the most hotly contested races in the country.
Clinton also planned a Miami rally with Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jim Davis and other candidates, including attorney general candidate Skip Campbell and Alex Sink, the party's candidate for state chief financial officer.
"We feel like we have a lot of momentum and the fact that Clinton is coming back for the second time in two weeks really helps to energize people," Klein campaign manager Brian Smoot said Saturday.
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Meanwhile, Davis began his day talking to Cuban voters in Miami's strongly Republican Little Havana. Davis is facing a tough challenger in Attorney General Charlie Crist, who has held a steady lead in the polls.
Miami teacher Paul Lobeck said that times are tough, but the self-described independent added that he's not convinced Davis is the best choice for governor.
"I am looking at the lesser of two evils," Lobeck said. "I am leaning toward Crist."
Davis faced tough questions from Lobeck's peers about how to fix the state's education system and increase teacher pay.
"It shows courage and that he's listening to the issues of the Hispanic community," said Marta Laura Zayas, an elementary school Spanish teacher.
Davis said he's feeling the momentum.
"We're really excited," he said.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and his wife, Grace, rode along Saturday morning on the back of a red Mustang through the streets of downtown Orlando for the University of Central Florida's homecoming parade.
Nelson, who is seeking re-election against Republican U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris, was warmly received by screaming students and alumni lined up along the parade route.
Nelson, the only statewide elected Democrat in Florida, was set to attend the Clinton rally in Miami later in the evening.
"It's going to be big," he said.
Democrat Tim Mahoney, the party's candidate in former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley's district, hit rural areas stumping on agriculture and the environment in one of the 16th District's more conservative strongholds.
"I've got the support of ag and the voters in this district because I understand it," said Mahoney, a rancher and businessman who was a Republican until last year. "What they want is somebody who reflects their views. I can't tell you the number of people who have come up to me and said they're registered Republicans and they're going to vote for change."
Mahoney is facing state Rep. Joe Negron, who was selected to replace Foley in the race. The former congressman resigned in September after being confronted with lurid computer messages he sent to male teenage pages who worked on Capitol Hill.
The race received little attention before the scandal since Foley was seen as an easy shoo-in for re-election. Foley's name remains on the ballot, and Negron has the difficult task of educating voters that a vote for Foley actually goes to him.
In another tight congressional race, Democrat Christine Jennings, who is seeking Harris' seat, hit the 13th District with appearances in Sarasota and Venice. Jennings, a Sarasota banker, is running against Republican auto dealer Vern Buchanan.