Many Central Floridians turn out for early voting

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FLORIDA,None —

On Jan. 31, Florida's Republican primary will decide which GOP candidate will challenge President Barack Obama.

WFTV has been monitoring the top contenders as they traveled around the state, and checked on the turnout for early voting.

As of 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, 6,350 voters in Orange County turned out at early voting sites.

WFTV learned that three-quarters of them were Republicans, which was what the Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles said he expected.

The Winter Park Library is the busiest of Orange County's 10 early voting sites.  

"I like to take care of things right away and I want to beat the crowd," said early voter John Williams.

Orange County said it expected a 40 percent to 45 percent Republican turnout for the primary, which was about 80,000 voters.

Cowles said he based his projection on the 2008 primary when there was a competitive Republican race.

"They had a 43 percent turnout back then, so I think it's going to be about the same. And, a lot of it has to do with how things went in South Carolina and how the candidates have come into Florida," Cowles said.

The candidates crossed the state looking for support, and bashing Obama before Tuesday night's State of the Union address.

"High unemployment, record home foreclosures, debt that is too high, opportunities too few; this is the real state of our union, " said Republican candidate, Mitt Romney.

"You always have to wonder when Obama speaks which country he thinks he is talking about," said Republican candidate Newt Gingrich.

After weeks of delay, Romney released his 2010 income tax figures on Tuesday morning.

He earned almost $22 million and paid $3 million in taxes at a 14 percent tax rate.

By contrast, an American family earning $75,000 a year pays 18 percent in taxes.

Early voters and precinct voters are usually split evenly.

About 20 percent of the 54,000 absentee voters have turned ballots so far.