Hillary Clinton to campaign with Andrew Gillum in South Florida

Hillary Clinton at Palm Beach State College in Lake Worth during the 2016 presidential campaign. (Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)

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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It will be the sixth consecutive Florida governor’s race in which a Clinton has campaigned for the Democratic nominee. Former President Bill Clinton stumped in the Sunshine State for every Democratic gubernatorial nominee from 1998 to 2014, but the #MeToo movement has put a 2018 Bill Clinton visit in question.

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.

Bill Nelson ad tells Latinos that Rick Scott and Donald Trump are ‘muy buenos amigos’

New Bill Nelson ad notes that Rick Scott and Donald Trump are “muy buenos amigos.”

Amid suggestions he’s underperforming with Hispanic voters, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson‘s re-election campaign is airing a Spanish-language ad that says his Republican challenger, Gov. Rick Scott, and President Donald Trump are “muy buenos amigos.”

Nelson’s campaign released the new ad Wednesday night along with an ad in English that notes — as Democrats also did in 2010 and 2014 — that Scott was CEO of hospital chain that paid a $1.7 billion fine for Medicare fraud.

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Democrat Charlie Crist won the Hispanic vote by 20 points when he unsuccessfully challenged Scott in 2014, according to exit polls. But a recent Quinnipiac University poll shows Scott leading Nelson among Hispanic voters in a race that’s tied 49-to-49 overall. A Mason-Dixon poll in July gave Nelson only a 5-point edge among Latino voters.

The ad aimed at Latino voters features Nelson speaking briefly in Spanish (“Soy Bill Nelson, y apruebo este mensaje.”) before showing seven still images of Scott with Trump, who according to exit polls lost the Florida Hispanic vote by a 62-to-35 percent margin to Hillary Clinton in 2016.

An English translation provided by the Nelson campaign says: “Tell me who you hang out with, and I will tell you who you are. Rick Scott and Donald Trump are great/close friends/pals. Scott raised $20 million to elect Trump. Then Trump recruited Scott to run for the Senate. We need people to stand up to Donald Trump and his extreme agenda.
If Scott goes to Washington, he will do what Trump wants. Rick Scott. We just can’t trust him.”

Scott was an early cheerleader for Trump’s presidential bid and chaired a pro-Trump super PAC in 2016. Scott and Trump met frequently during Trump’s first year in office, but Scott has kept his distance from Trump since launching his Senate bid in April.

 


	

With Supreme Court vacancy, Trump’s 2016 Mar-a-Lago pledge again looms large

Then-candidate Donald Trump pledging to list potential Supreme Court nominees to assuage conservatives at the 2016 Palm Beach County GOP Lincoln Day dinner at Mar-a-Lago. (Daniel Owen / The Palm Beach Post)

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy‘s retirement gives President Donald Trump another high-court nomination and underscores the importance of a pledge Trump made at Mar-a-Lago as a candidate in 2016.

Trump was the clear front runner for the Republican presidential nomination when the Palm Beach County GOP rented Mar-a-Lago’s Donald J. Trump Grand Ballroom for its March 20, 2016 Lincoln Day dinner. But Trump still faced significant skepticism from many conservatives, particularly over his apparent lack of a coherent judicial philosophy.  That fueled Republican concerns that some portion of the right might vote for minor-party candidates or sit out the 2016 election.

So Trump, speaking to local Republicans but with the national media watching, acknowledged his doubters and promised that he would release a list of “great conservative judges” that he would appoint to the Supreme Court as president.

“I am going to give a list of either 5 or 10 judges that I will pick — 100 percent pick — that I will put in for nomination. Because some of the people that are against me say, ‘We don’t know if he’s going to pick the right judges,’ ‘Supposing he picks a liberal judge’ or ‘Supposing he picks a pro-choice judge,’ ” Trump said at the time.

Collaborating with the conservative Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation, Trump’s campaign eventually listed 21 potential court picks — including eventual Trump nominee and Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Trump reaffirmed the importance of the Mar-a-Lago pledge today, telling reporters in the Oval Office that his choice to replace Kennedy “will be somebody from that list.”

Two years ago, the list was crucial in preventing massive conservative defections from Trump, who often brought up the Supreme Court when the GOP coalition appeared restless.

“We have a war to win against a very crooked politician named Hillary Clinton, OK?” Trump pleaded at a June 2016 rally in Tampa.  “The Republican Party really should get their act together, they have to come together. We’ve got to win. And if for no other reason, the Supreme Court, remember that.”

Leading “Never Trump” figure Rick Wilson, who tried in 2016 to get conservatives to support independent candidate Evan McMullin for president, conceded in a 2017 interview that Trump’s Supreme Court pledge hampered his efforts

“The Supreme Court was a value-added for Donald Trump that turned skeptical Republicans into at least tolerant Republicans of Trump. It was something we saw turn up in focus groups over and over and over again,” Wilson said shortly after Trump took office. “The Supreme Court was the unspoken and spoken selling proposition for Donald Trump well beyond any other factor for base Republican voters.”

 

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.

Video: Democrat Lauren Baer focuses on health care in bid for Brian Mast House seat

Democrat Lauren Baer, a former Obama administration foreign policy adviser who hopes to unseat freshman Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, is introducing herself to voters with a three-minute biographical video that doesn’t mention Mast but hints that Mast’s vote for a Republican health care overhaul will be a central issue in her campaign.

Democrat Lauren Baer in her new campaign video.

Baer and U.S. Navy veteran and attorney Pam Keith have launched Democratic campaigns for Mast’s Palm Beach-Treasure Coast District 18 seat.

Baer’s video highlights her mother’s struggles after a 1992 car crash when Baer was a middle school student.

“I know from firsthand experience from what my mother went through that someone can be healthy one day and very ill the next…People need to know that if something comes up in their life, they’re not going to have to worry about making a choice between their health and their family’s economic well-being,” Baer says.

The video also includes footage of Baer with her spouse, Emily Myers, and their baby daughter. Baer is trying to become the first woman in a same-sex marriage to serve in Congress.

Baer, an attorney who grew up in Palm Beach Gardens, is a granddaughter of the founder of the Baer’s Furniture chain. She was a policy adviser to former U.S. Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry and to Samantha Power, who was U.S. ambassador the United Nations during the Obama administration.

 

 

New Gillum campaign manager has Hillary Clinton past, Bernie Sanders flavor

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum at the Florida Democratic Party’s Leadership Blue gathering in Hollywood in June. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

After nearly five months without a campaign manager for his Florida gubernatorial bid, Democrat Andrew Gillum has tapped former Hillary Clinton Pennsylvania political director Brendan McPhillips to manage his campaign.

Tallahassee Mayor Gillum and former campaign manager Phillip Thompson parted ways in early July. Former Florida Democratic Party executive director Scott Arcenaux and Gillum’s communications director, Geoff Burgan, have been overseeing day-to-day operations for the Gillum campaign since then.

Gillum has fired up many Democratic liberals but lagged in fundraising behind three other Democrats in the governor’s race: former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, Winter Park businessman Chris King and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine.

McPhillips managed the long shot 2016 Pennsylvania Senate bid of John Fetterman, the mayor of Braddock (near Pittsburgh) who endorsed Bernie Sanders for president and got 19.5 percent of the Democratic primary vote. The Gillum campaign’s release announcing the McPhillips hire links to an article describing Fetterman as the “Bernie-inspired candidate” in the Pennsylvania Senate race.

After Pennsylvania’s April 2016 primary, McPhillips joined Clinton’s Pennsylvania campaign as political director. Pennsylvania, which hadn’t been carried by a Republican presidential nominee since 1988, narrowly went for Republican Donald Trump in 2016.

McPhillips indicated the Gillum campaign continue trying to court progressives in the Democratic race.

“I’m very excited to join Team Gillum this week. The Mayor has an unmatched progressive record, from beating the gun lobby in court to standing up against oil pipelines, and I know that in 2018 we are finally going to take back the Governor’s Mansion. We won’t get there by running Republican Lite — we have to be bold to convince this state that it is time to put a Democrat in charge again,” McPhillips said in a statement released by the Gillum campaign.

A year after defeating Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump’s approval at 41% in Florida

A new Florida Atlantic University poll has some good numbers for Gov. Rick Scott and better approval ratings for President Donald Trump than he gets nationally.

A year after Florida flipped from blue to red and helped Republican Donald Trump to his stunning presidential victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton, President Trump has a 41 percent approval rating in a new poll of Sunshine State voters.

Trump’s disapproval rating is 47 percent in the  Florida Atlantic University poll released today.

While Trump is under water by 6 points in Florida, that’s considerably better than his nationwide numbers. The RealClearPolitics.com average of national polls shows a net negative of 17.9 points for the president, with 38.7 approving and 56.6 percent disapproving.

Trump won Florida in November 2016 with 49 percent of the vote to Clinton’s 47.8 percent.

Trump’s latest approval numbers are slightly better than the FAU poll found in August, when 37 percent of voters approved and 47 percent disapproved.

FAU’s online poll of 500 voters, conducted Nov. 2-5, has a 4.5 percent margin of error. FAU says the poll was conducted “using an online sample supplied by Survey Sampling International using online questionnaires and via an automated telephone platform using registered voter lists supplied by Aristotle, Inc.”

The poll’s sample is 33.3 percent Republican, 32.3 percent Democrat and 34.3 percent independent. Actual Florida voter registrations are 37.5 percent Democrat, 35.4 percent Republican and 27.1 percent no party or minor party.

The poll contains some good numbers for Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who is expected to challenge Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson next year.

Scott is viewed favorably by 49 percent of Florida voters and unfavorably by 39 percent. His handling of Hurricane Irma rated good to excellent by 72 percent of voters, with
57 percent saying it will help him if he runs for Senate.

Three-term incumbent Nelson is viewed favorably by 45 percent and unfavorably by 22 percent.

You won’t believe what Laura Ingraham said about Rachel Maddow

Laura Ingraham holds up a copy of her new book at a Forum Club of the Palm Beaches lunch on Monday. (Richard Graulich/The Palm Beach Post)

WEST PALM BEACH — Conservative commentator Laura Ingraham promoted her new book and her upcoming Fox News program when she appeared Monday at a Forum Club of the Palm Beaches lunch.

Ingraham argued that President Donald Trump is part of a “conservative populist movement” that includes conservative icon Ronald Reagan. She criticized the “lamestream media” and Hillary Clinton. No surprises there. But the conservative Ingraham also spoke approvingly of recent comments by former Democratic president Jimmy Carter.

An audience member asked Ingraham to name someone she disagrees with but respects.

“Don’t any of you gasp when I say this, but Rachel Maddow,” Ingraham said of the liberal MSNBC host.

“She puts on a nightly show that she writes, she believes it, she’s pushing for the agenda for America that she thinks is the right agenda. And she’s fighting every night,” said Ingraham. “I respect the fact that she’s out there fighting.”

Click here to read the full story on Ingraham’s Forum Club appearance at MyPalmBeachPost.com

Democratic ‘whiners’ urged to move on

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and wife Dorothy before Saturday night’s Palm Beach County Democratic Party fundraiser. It was the couple’s 29th anniversary. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

WEST PALM BEACH — Yes, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote over Donald Trump in 2016 and would be president if not for a sliver of votes in previously Democratic Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, said Virginia Gov. and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe on Saturday night.

But McAuliffe, headlining the Palm Beach County Democratic Party’s annual fundraising dinner, spent minimal time on the rehash and said his party needs to move on from 2016.

“I’ve got zero tolerance for the whiners in our party. We have got to move forward. I cannot relive yesterday’s election but I can tell you this, we have got to move forward. Florida’s an important piece of the puzzle,” McAuliffe said.

McAuliffe is co-chairman of the 2020 Redistricting Fund, a Democratic effort to win governorships in key states to influence the redrawing of congressional and state legislative maps after the 2020 census.

“We’ve got to get off the mat. We’ve got to start winning. I think our party for too long has focused on the presidential. We raise billions of dollars and then we go dormant for a couple years after that and not focus on state and local races. We’ve got to get in and win at the local level,” McAuliffe said.

Winning governorships is crucial for Democrats to prevent Republican gerrymandering, McAuliffe said.

Republicans have held the Florida governor’s mansion since 1999. With Republican Gov. Rick Scott facing term limits next year, Democrats hope to break their losing streak in the open race to replace him.

“Goodness gracious, we need a governor here in 2018 because in 2021 when those lines are drawn, one person can stop a Republican legislature’s map, and that is the governor,” said McAuliffe.

 

Hillary Clinton, in South Florida, blames ‘perfect storm’ for Donald Trump’s win

Woman in the arena: Hillary Clinton on stage at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday night. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

FORT LAUDERDALE  — Forget the “vast right-wing conspiracy.” Hillary Clinton says she was the victim in 2016 of sexism and a “perfect storm” of domestic and foreign forces that worked against her and helped elect Donald Trump president.

The losing 2016 Democratic presidential nominee spoke for more than an hour to a sellout audience that paid $50 to $375 to see her in person at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts as part of Clinton’s tour to promote her book What Happened.

Donna Read of Boca Raton brought a copy of Hillary Clinton’s new book to Clinton’s appearance in Fort Lauderdale. Read says the 2016 election was “a farce.” (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

The first female nominee of a major party said her gender worked against her for many voters.

“Women are seen favorably when we advocate for others, but unfavorably when we advocate for ourselves,” said Clinton, who said she was better liked as a first lady, U.S. senator and Cabinet secretary than when she was a candidate for president. “When a woman moves forward in the public arena on behalf of herself and says ‘I have a chance to lead,’ that causes a lot of cognitive dissonance.”

On top of that, Clinton said, “This was a perfect storm. Deep currents of anger and resentment, felt by many floating through our culture. A political press that told voters the most important story were my emails – that looks really good right now. The unprecedented intervention in our election 11 days before voting by the FBI and the information warfare waged against us from within the Kremlin.”

Clinton also weighed in on the Las Vegas massacre and the Trump administration’s response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Click here to read the whole story.