Why Tampa is so important in Tuesday's primary election

The seven candidates for governor have spent significant time in the Tampa Bay area campaigning over the past year. 

Sunday, it was Gwen Graham and Chris King, both on the Democratic ballot.

"Tampa Bay will be critically important in this election," King said.

Political analyst Dr. Susan MacManus explained why the road to Tallahassee usually leads right through Tampa Bay. 

"This area of the state is often a good bellwether," she said. "You've got the three geographies of politics. The rural area, suburban areas and urban areas."

Republican Adam Putnam, who has made grassroots politicking a staple of his campaign, is trying to cover those grounds.

"We're campaigning in our biggest cities and our smallest towns and our backyards," Putnam said at an earlier campaign event in the Tampa area.

But it's also the demographic diversity that sets Tampa apart.

"You've also got one of the best mixes racially and ethnically in this market, that best reflects the state at large, and you've also got tremendous age diversity," MacManus said.

As for the media's influence, MacManus says the Tampa media market is the state's largest in terms of registered voters.

"Twenty-four percent of all of Florida's current registered voters watch television in the Tampa Bay media market. And in terms of Republicans, the Tampa market has more Republicans than any of the other markets, and it's number two behind Miami in the number or percent of Democrats," she said. 

It's why candidates like Chris King are spending their final campaigning days around Tampa.

"I will be somebody who will stand up for everyone in Florida, and this region is very, very important to me," King said. 

Florida's primary election will take place on Tuesday.