Mitt Romney may have a difficult time righting the trajectory of his campaign in Florida following a tough primary defeat in South Carolina, Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith said Monday.
"Right now, I think Romney is going to struggle in Florida. He may have the resource advantage going into this in terms of just the funding for an expensive state to run in," Smith said during an appearance on Andrea Mitchell Reports. "[But] you know Florida is funny, you go south to go north and you go north to go south. And in my neck of the woods, which is north Florida, I think people don’t relate very well to Romney, there’s a distance."
Although a protracted Republican primary race can arguably help the Democrats in the general election, Smith pointed to the former Massachusetts gvernor’s stance on immigration as a factor in his performance in the southern part of the state. South Florida has a large number of immigrants from the Caribbean and Cuba.
Specifically pointing out Romney’s opposition to the DREAM Act, a proposal that would provide a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. Smith said Romney will find that “Florida is very different on the issue of immigration than some of the states he’s been campaigning in” and indicated that reaction to his stance on the issue may not be well received.
On President Obama’s chances in Florida during the general election, the state’s Democratic Party chairman was predictably more optimistic saying he’s never seen a more energized democratic base.
Despite an unemployment rate hovering around 10 percent, and a high number of housing foreclosures in the state, Smith said the economy is going in the right direction and the Florida electorate knows that.
“It’s going to be a slow recovery but people remember how we got here and where we were when we took office,” said Smith. “I look for him to do well in Florida.”