It’s an official trip rather than one of Trump’s signature campaign rallies.
Gov. Rick Scott, who has kept his distance from the president since launching his campaign for U.S. Senate, plans to attend the chiefs gathering, also in an official capacity rather than as a candidate.
“The event on Monday is an official event, not a political event,” said DeSantis campaign communications director Stephen Lawson. “But this won’t be the last time the plane comes down to Florida.”
At the police convention, Sanders said Trump plans to “speak about the work of the administration to protect American communities by restoring law and order, supporting local law enforcement, and securing the border.”
Trump’s last Florida appearance was a July 31 rally in Tampa in which he promoted DeSantis four weeks before the GOP primary. Scott did not attend the rally, but appeared with the president earlier in the day at a non-political event at a vocational high school.
Nelson gets 47 percent and Scott 46 percent in a survey of 815 likely voters with a 3.5 percent margin of error. President Donald Trump gets a 46 percent approval rating and a 48 percent disapproval rating in the survey, making him “a neutral factor, other than serving as a motivator for partisan turnout on both sides,” says Mason-Dixon’s Brad Coker.
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Coker says key elements of the race have been shifting in Nelson’s direction, and fellow Democrat Andrew Gillum‘s bid to become Florida’s first African-American governor should help the thee-term senator by bringing out minority voters who are otherwise less likely to vote in a midterm.
But, Coker also noted, “this poll was conducted during the week of the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearings, which may have sparked Republican voter interest and closed the enthusiasm gap between Democrats and the GOP. It could explain why Nelson may have had larger leads in several other polls conducted prior to last week, while this one shows him still in a toss-up contest. At least for the moment, the Supreme Court battle is casting a shadow in Florida.”
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló will make a “special campaign announcement” with Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson at 10:45 a.m. in Orlando this morning, then make a “major campaign announcement” with Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum at 1:15 p.m. in Kissimmee.
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The apparent Rosselló endorsements could help Democratic efforts to turn out Democratic-leaning Puerto Rican voters, who are a growing force in Florida politics, particularly in and around Orlando. Democrats have sought to gain from criticism of President Donald Trump‘s response to Hurricane Maria last year.
The number of Floridians who identify as Puerto Rican Hispanics in the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey was estimated at more than 1 million in 2016 — up from 482,027 in the 2000 census. About 30 percent of Florida’s Puerto Ricans live around Orlando in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties.
Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who is challenging Nelson in the Senate race, has made eight trips to Puerto Rico since Maria hit in Septemberr 2017. In a pre-emptive strike Sunday night, the Scott campaign released the names of 46 Puerto Rican officials who have endorsed his campaign, including U.S. Del. Jenniffer González-Colón, Lt. Gov. Luis Rivera Marin and former Gov. Luis Fortuño.
Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson announced on Twitter this morning that he will vote against confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court while Republican Sen. Marco Rubio issued a lengthy statement supporting Kavanaugh.
Nelson’s challenger in the November Senate race, Republican Gov. Rick Scott, responded to Nelson’s announcement by accusing him of being a puppet of Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer. Scott later issued a statement supporting Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
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Scott tweeted from his campaign account that Nelson was “always going to do exactly what your party leaders told you do do. You decided no before you even knew who the nominee was. Your vote does not even belong to you – it belongs to @SenSchumer.”
This is not news. This was always the case. You were always going to do exactly what your party leaders told you to do. You decided no before you even knew who the nominee was. Your vote does not even belong to you – it belongs to @SenSchumer. https://t.co/ZxtJfdyEzG
Later, Scott issued a statement saying he found Christine Blasey Ford‘s testimony that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in the 1980s when both were teenagers “convincing.” But Scott said he also found Kavanaugh’s denial convincing and supports his confirmation.
Scott said both Ford and Kavanaugh “have been used and abused as pawns in a partisan Washington political theater, which is clearly the product of career politicians playing games at the expense of these individuals’ lives and reputations. This hearing was a very good example of why we need term limits in Washington.
“I don’t know what happened 36 years ago in suburban Maryland. The truth is that none of us really know. So, I have to go with what I do know – Judge Kavanaugh has been a fair and brilliant Judge, one of our nation’s very best. He should be confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
In his statement, Rubio said: “This entire ordeal is indicative of something that goes beyond the nomination before us. It has revealed how our culture has become increasingly sick and demented, unmoored from the values upon which this great nation was founded and which have allowed our society to flourish.”
Rubio said both Ford and Kavanaugh offered testimony that was “unequivocal, compelling and heartbreaking.”
Rubio added: “Under these circumstances, I must make my decision on the basis of evidence and established facts. Especially since voting against Judge Kavanaugh would no longer be simply a rejection of his nomination, but an endorsement of the serious allegations against him.
“I will not vote against the nomination of someone who I am otherwise inclined to support and in the process add credence to charges which have already done permanent damage to his reputation, on the basis of allegations for which there is no independent corroboration and which are at odds with everything else we have heard about his character.”
After courting liberals in the primary by campaigning with progressive icon Bernie Sanders, Florida Democratic governor nominee Andrew Gillum is reaching out to the party’s establishment wing and bringing in Hillary Clinton for a rally somewhere in deep-blue South Florida on Oct. 23, the Gillum campaign announced today.
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Hillary Clinton lost Florida to Donald Trump in 2016 with 47.8 percent of the vote — a 2.2 percent drop-off from former President Barack Obama‘s winning margin in the state four years earlier. But Clinton racked up big margins in heavily Democratic Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Turning out Democrats in those counties will be a key for Gillum against Republican Ron DeSantis.
“I’m honored to have Secretary Clinton join me in Florida next month,” said Gillum, who backed Clinton over Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primaries and spoke at the Democratic National Convention that year. “Hillary knows just what’s at stake in this election — affordable healthcare, a brighter future for our children — and that the choice in this election could not be clearer.”
Republicans sought to exploit the split within the Democratic Party between Clinton loyalists and backers of Sanders, whose endorsement of Gillum was a key to his Aug. 28 primary win.
“Clinton’s sudden re-emergence and fundraising tour will do far more to hurt Gillum’s cause than help it,” said RNC spokeswoman Taryn Fenske. “Gillum’s socialist base isn’t going to like him aligning with Clinton who is tainted by decades of controversy and failed policies. Floridians rejected Hillary in 2016 – he better watch out or he’ll alienate his far-left base.”
Gillum is trying to become Florida’s first black governor. He’s also trying to be the first Democrat to win a Florida governor’s race since Lawton Chiles barely won re-election in 1994 over Republican challenger Jeb Bush.
Four years later, Bush began a 20-year winning streak for the GOP by winning election in 1998 and re-election in 2002. Charlie Crist, now a Democratic congressman from St. Petersburg, won the governorship as a Republican in 2006. Republican Rick Scott was elected in 2010 and re-elected — over Crist — in 2014.
The Democrats who lost those races presented themselves more or less as moderates, but Gillum staked out a variety of liberal positions and urged the party’s voters to try something new this year.
“We have nominated five pretty centrist Democrats, white Democrats, for the last 20 years and not one of them have won,” Gillum said in an August interview with the GateHouse Media. Gillum added: “Black voters, brown voters, young voters, poor voters — I trust my chances at being able to reach those constituencies over anybody else running, and if we’re going to win, our nominee must move more of those voters to the polls.”
In a five-candidate Democratic primary, the endorsement from Sanders helped Gillum get a 34.4 plurality to claim the nomination.
With multiple polls showing him trailing Democrat Andrew Gillum in the Florida governor’s race, Republican Ron DeSantis has brought on veteran Florida operative Susie Wiles to lead his campaign with the title of campaign chairwoman.
It’s not the first time a high-profile Florida campaign has turned to Wiles for help in September of an election year. Wiles was chief Florida strategist for Donald Trump‘s 2016 campaign, taking the role shortly after Labor Day that year and helping Trump win the crucial Sunshine State by 1.2 percent over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
She was also Rick Scott‘s campaign manager in 2010 when then-outsider Scott bucked the GOP establishment to defeat Attorney General Bill McCollum for the gubernatorial nomination, then won the general election over Democrat Alex Sink.
Wiles, who lives in Jacksonville, said she will be taking temporary leave from her job as a lobbyist with the powerhouse Florida-Washington Ballard Partners firm.
Brad Herold will remain as DeSantis’ campaign manager.
Since the Aug. 28 primaries, at least eight public polls have shown Gillum leading. The Democrat’s edge is within or close to the margins of error for each poll, though a Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday gives Gillum a 9-point advantage. Republican insiders concede Gillum has a slight edge in his bid to become the state’s first black governor and first Democrat to win a governor’s race since 1994.
“I’m excited to have Susie join our team as Campaign Chairman. She has the knowledge, expertise and acumen to carry our message to voters all across Florida. With her winning record, Susie is the ideal person to lead our campaign efforts and help us secure a big victory come November,” said DeSantis.
“Florida’s future depends on building upon the successes of our state’s outstanding Republican leadership. Ron DeSantis is the only candidate who will lead Florida forward and help our state and its people realize their full potential. With so much at stake for our state in this election, I am honored to lead his campaign team, and look forward to working with Floridians everywhere to elect Ron as our next governor,” said Wiles.
The NBC/Marist poll, conducted Sept. 16-20 with a 4.7 percent margin of error, gives Nelson a 48-to-45 percent lead over Republican Gov. Rick Scott in the Senate race and shows Gillum holding a 48-to-43 percent lead over Republican Ron DeSantis in the governor’s race.
Quinnipiac released Senate results Tuesday showing Nelson with a 53-to-46 percent lead over Scott — a result out of line with other polls released in the last month and deemed “absurd and not even close to accurate” by Scott pollster Wes Anderson.
Quinnipiac today released more results of its Sept. 20-24 survey, this time showing Gillum opening up a 54-to-45 percent lead over DeSantis in the governor’s race. The Quinnipiac surveys, conducted Sept. 20-24, have a 4 percent margin of error.
The polls also paint different pictures of Florida voter attitudes toward President Donald Trump. In the NBC/Marist poll, 46 percent of likely voters approve of Trump’s job performance and 48 percent disapprove — essentially a tie given the poll’s margin of error. Quinnipiac, however, found 44 percent approval and 54 percent disapproval for Trump among likely Florida voters.
The latest Quinnipiac poll shows Floridians evenly divided on whether Brett Kavanaugh should be confirmed for the U.S. Supreme Court, with 47 percent in favor and 48 percent opposed — a virtual tie considering the poll’s 4 percent margin of error. Men favor Kavanaugh’s confirmation, 55 percent to 40 percent; women oppose him by a 54-41 margin.
President Donald Trump‘s Florida approval rating has sunk since Quinnipiac’s last poll, with 44 percent approving and 54 percent disapproving in the new survey. Three weeks ago, Trump had 47 percent approval and 51 percent disapproval scores.
The latest poll of 888 likely voters was conducted Thursday through Monday, with live interviewers calling a mix of cell phones and land lines.
Republican Ron DeSantis‘s campaign for Florida governor has condemned a campaign donor’s recent tweet that called former President Barack Obama the N-word and pledged not to accept any more contributions from the donor.
But DeSantis is rejecting calls from Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo and others to return at least $4,000 in past contributions from Boca Raton communications executive Steven Alembik and his business.
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Alembik’s SMA Communications gave $2,000 to the DeSantis campaign in July and $2,000 to a pro-DeSantis PAC in January. Alembik also gave $2,500 in 2017 to the Fund For Florida’s Future, which is not officially connected to DeSantis but gave $2.5 million to the DeSantis PAC early this year.
“That money was donated before the primary and has been spent. He (Alembik) said something last week and we are not taking any more money,” said DeSantis campaign spokesman Stephen Lawson.
“We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: We adamantly denounce this sort of disgusting rhetoric,” Lawson said of Alembik’s tweet, which has been deleted.
Alembik told The Palm Beach Post last year: “I’m reading about these groups pulling out of Mar-a-Lago and I’m thinking, ‘This is ridiculous. Somebody needs to take a stand here and do something. My president is my president. I like what he stands for. With him as president, I don’t have to worry. He’s got Israel’s back.”
Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Rizzo, who also chairs the Palm Beach County Democratic Party, called Thursday for DeSantis to return past Alembik contributions.
“Ron DeSantis’ campaign is funded by bigots — and he apparently has no problem with it. Since day one, DeSantis has run a divisive, toxic campaign, and it’s only getting worse with each passing day. If DeSantis doesn’t return the money from Steven Alembik immediately, he owns this,” Rizzo said.