Mitt Romney is campaigning today in Florida, a swing state with 29 electoral votes. Barack Obama won the state in 2008 and George W. Bush won it in 2004. The election was so close there in 2000 that it took a month of legal wrangling and a Supreme Court decision to determine the winner.
Susan MacManus, a political science professor with deep ties to the state (her family was among the first to develop land in Tampa), spoke with NPR for its series "First and Main," exploring swing counties in swing states.
"Hillsborough County is extremely diverse," MacManus told NPR. "It's why a lot of the political ads are tested here; a lot of focus groups are done in Hillsborough County. Because of all the counties in Florida, it's considered the bellwether county for a lot of reasons.
"First, its racial and ethnic makeup mirror the state's at large. And, of course, it has the three key geographies of politics: very rural areas, suburban areas and, of course, downtown Tampa, the urban core."
MacManus, professor of political science at the University of South Florida, will join The Daily Circuit to take a look at what makes Florida a unique, and what candidates will have to do to win the state.