Karen Giorno, who oversaw Donald Trump‘s primary win in Florida and was the campaign’s top figure in the state until Wednesday, says she wouldn’t be moving on to a position with the national Trump campaign unless things were going well in the crucial battleground.
Veteran Florida GOP operative Susie Wiles will be in charge of Trump’s Florida campaign while Giorno will work in Trump Tower in New York as chairwoman of coalitions for the GOP nominee — a job focused on mobilizing women, veterans, evangelical Christians, millennials, minorities and other groups for Trump.
Giorno acknowledged her blunt style led to some disagreements with state and national Republicans over how the campaign should be run in Florida, but she said these were “normal conversations about where we should be headed together.”
“We are in very, very good shape to win the state,” said Giorno.
“I trust Susie wiles to be able to run Florida,” Giorno said. “I trust my team, that I hand-picked, to drive a win in November. Susie and I are friends but we’re also colleagues. I’m the one who asked her to be the co-chair of the state for Trump. I can’t think of a better person to turn the operation to at this stage in the game because she’s a seasoned pro.”
Some Republicans have voiced concern about the Trump campaign’s get-out-the-vote efforts in perennially close Florida, where President Barack Obama‘s vaunted ground game helped him win by less than 1 percent in 2012.
While Hillary Clinton‘s campaign has opened more than 50 field offices around the state, the Trump campaign is just beginning to open a few. The Republican Party of Florida, meanwhile, says it has 15 offices around the state focused on turning out voters for Trump and other GOP candidates and plans to open 15 more.
Giorno said several offices are set to open this weekend, but the Trump campaign has never been focused on a traditional ground-game strategy.
“This is an unconventional race and we have 67 counties with 67 county chairs that have been active since October,” Giorno said. She said the Trump campaign has more than 70,000 volunteers in Florida and “there’s a very high enthusiasm level for Donald Trump and there’s not for Hillary Clinton.”
Suggestions of friction or tension between herself and GOP leaders were “overblown,” Giorno said.
“My personality is very New York. I am from New Jersey and New York. I’m very direct. I cut to the chase. I like to get results — 66 out of 67 counties (which Trump won in the March 15 GOP primary) is the reason for that,” Giorno said. But, she added, “I’ve never not extended a hand of cooperation. I’ve never been difficult.”