Bill Clinton’s frequent Florida appearances could be a #MeToo casualty

Bill Clinton at an October 2016 appearance in Belle Glade for Hillary Clinton. (Damon Higgins/The Palm Beach Post)

Former President Bill Clinton has been a frequent election-year presence in Palm Beach County and elsewhere in Florida — stumping for such Democrats as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Charlie Crist, Patrick Murphy, Lois Frankel and Kendrick Meek.
But 20 years after he survived the Monica Lewinsky scandal as president, Politico reports that Bill Clinton could be shelved for the 2018 midterms amid heightened awareness of sexual harassment and the desire of Democrats to draw a clear contrast with President Donald Trump on the issue.

Bill Clinton appears with Democratic Senate candidate Kendrick Meek in Delray Beach in 2010. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

Putting Clinton on the stump “just brings up a lot of issues that will be very tough for Democrats. And I think we all have to be clear about what the #MeToo movement was,” says House Progressive Caucus Vice Chair Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., in a Politico article that says the 42nd president has become “too toxic” for Democrats.

Bill Clinton with former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy in Palm Beach Gardens in 2014. (Damon Higgins/The Palm Beach Post)

Bill Clinton narrowly lost Florida to George H.W. Bush in 1992 (the last person to lose Florida but win the presidency), then carried the state in 1996. He’s become a popular figure in the Sunshine State, and particularly deep-blue Palm Beach County, since leaving office.

Bill Clinton at Palm Beach State College in Lake Worth for a 2012 rally for President Barack Obama’s re-election. (Lannis Waters/The Palm Beach Post)

In 2016, Bill Clinton’s Palm Beach County appearances included a rally for his wife in Belle Glade a month before the election, a high-dollar fundraiser in Palm Beach Gardens in the summer and a key primary-season stop at the Port of Palm Beach as Hillary Clinton sought to ward off the Bernie Sanders insurgency.

He raised money in West Palm Beach for Democratic congressional hopefuls Frankel and Murphy in 2012 and then campaigned for Murphy’s re-election in Palm Beach Gardens in 2014. In 2012, when he was a frequent “explainer-in-chief” surrogate for Obama’s re-election bid, he appeared at the Lake Worth campus of Palm Beach State College for the Obama campaign. He appeared in Delray Beach for Meek in 2010.

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