Four years ago Tallahassee was awash in tension and uncertainty, the source of leadership limbo and the butt of late night jokes. Thousands of lawyers and reporters literally moved in. Not this time.
Mark Strassmann, CBS News Correspondent, says, "It was like an armed camp of satellite trucks and media from around the country and around the world, and this time you look around and there's a few hapless hangers-on."
Very few cameras remain downtown. You can even find a parking space. Voters we spoke to, whether they supported the president's re-election or not, are relieved that this election was quick and decisive.
As Gov. Jeb Bush and Secretary of State Glenda Hood sized up Florida's election they spoke of restoring integrity and finally getting rid of “the monkey on Florida's back.”
"With this huge election, with so much at stake and so many people voting and it working as well as it did, it doesn't matter what the odor of the monkey, it's off our backs," says Gov. Bush.
Election 2000 may have put Tallahassee under a national floodlight of shame. Election 2004, though still punctuated by its share of problems, has certainly softened the glare in the Sunshine State.
One thing the governor pointed out in his press conference Wednesday morning is that it is unrealistic to expect a problem-free election in a state with nearly 16 million people. He says many reforms have been enacted and the self-evaluation and improvements will continue.