Al Jazeera news visits Hillsborough County and Plant City to report on the unique dynamics the area has on presidential politics. The report features Parkesdale Farm Market, the famous fresh produce market run by Jim Meeks and his extended family. For Meeks, business is booming and the stand has been a mainstay of presidential campaign stops since the days of George H.W. Bush. (NPR)
The influence of Hillsborough County voters is as palpable this election cycle as it was in any other. Since the 1960s, Hillsborough County has voted with the winning candidate each and every time with only one exception. This makes the area a key campaign spot for all state and national candidates, partly because so many of the residence of Hillsborough County are independent voters.
Plant City’s mayor, Michael Sparkman, describes his constituents as voters who want to know what is best for the country and not just for themselves. Reporter Andy Gallacher remarks that Hillsborough County is itself a battleground within a battleground.
What follows is the report from Al Jazeera:
Interstate 4 runs through the battleground state of Florida. And once every four years campaigners start referring to it as the highway to political heaven. That’s because it links an array of diverse communities that are vital to both candidates.
Al Jazeera’s Andy Gallacher is traveling the length of the I-4 as part of our election coverage. He pulled into Plant City to find out why it’s such a campaign hotspot.