Voting up on Democratic side in Okaloosa and Walton counties in Florida

DEFUNAK SPRINGS — So maybe, but just maybe, call it a “blue drip.”

A projected nationwide “blue wave” of Democratic votes that had in some quarters been expected to sweep Joe Biden, a former vice president and U.S. senator, into the White House against incumbent Republican President Donald Trump failed to materialize Tuesday, as tallying of election results continued into Wednesday.

More:Walton County and Okaloosa County Florida election results

Nonetheless, there were some indications in Northwest Florida balloting, depending on how the tea leaves are read, that Democrats might be making some inroads into the solidly red Republican electorate.

More:Compare how Florida counties voted in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections

Although small, increases in the percentage of Democratic balloting in this year’s presidential contest across the area — as compared to 2016, when Trump faced Democrat Hillary Clinton — were nonetheless notable, as reflected in data gathered nationwide by The Associated Press.

In Walton County on Tuesday, Biden captured 23.9% of the ballots cast, or 10,333 votes, while Trump claimed 76.1%, or 32,924 votes.

Charlotte McKamy and other supporters of presidential candidate Joe Biden wave to motorists at the intersection of Mary Esther Cut-Off and Beal Parkway in Okaloosa County. Across Northwest Florida, there was an uptick in voting on the Democratic side of the presidential race in comparison with the 2016 election.

Compare that to 2016 presidential balloting in Walton County, when Clinton earned 6,861 votes, according to The Associated Press data, or 21.1% percent, while Trump earned 25,695 votes, or 78.9% .

The numbers show an almost 3% percent jump in Democratic presidential balloting in Walton County between 2016 and 2020. And the data tell a similar story for other Panhandle counties.

In Okaloosa County on Tuesday, 34,165 votes went to Biden, or 29.33% of the 116,485 ballots cast in the contest. That’s a 6.04% jump from 2016, when 23.29% of the 102,096 votes cast in the presidential race went to Clinton.

More:Walton decides county commission and mosquito control district

Elsewhere in the area, according to The Associated Press data, Democratic balloting in the 2020 presidential contest in Escambia County was up 3 percent from 2016, at 42.3% as compared to 39.3%.

In Santa Rosa County, there was a 4.3% increase, from 22% to 26.3%, and in Bay County, the increase was 2%, up to 27.9% from 25.9% in 2016.

In Okaloosa County, Supervisor of Elections Paul Lux noted the Democratic Party’s push for mail-in voting was at least a partial potential explanation for the uptick.  

But he also cautioned against drawing specific conclusions as to what might have caused the increase and what it might mean.  

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