Ex-Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka weighs in on Florida GOP post

Former Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka with Karen Giorno in a picture from Giorno’s website for her campaign for Republican national committeewoman.

The Sebastian Gorka primary is over in the race for Florida’s vacant Republican national committeewoman post.

Gorka, the frequent Fox News guest and former adviser to President Donald Trump, is endorsing West Palm Beach resident and former Trump Florida campaign director Karen Giorno for the committeewoman post.

The committeewoman post, one of three Florida representatives to the Republican National Committee, has been vacant since Trump tapped former Committeewoman Sharon Day of Fort Lauderdale to be ambassador to Costa Rica. Republican Party of Florida officials will choose a committeewoman in November before a January vote by more than 200 GOP activists to fill the remainder of Day’s term through 2020.

Gorka, an outspoken hardliner on Islamic terrorism, left the Trump administration in August, when he declared that “forces that do not support the MAGA promise are – for now – ascendant within the White House” and said he could best help Trump from outside the administration. Others said Gorka was forced out by Chief of Staff John Kelly and others.

Regardless, Gorka is a popular figure with much of Trump’s anti-establishment “Make America Great Again” base. Giorno is stressing her Trump loyalty in her bid for committeewoman.

Gorka’s endorsement statement says Giorno is “the only candidate for Florida National Committeewoman who worked on the campaign to elect Donald Trump the 45th President of the United States and the only one who truly understands that the MAGA agenda is the people’s agenda. Karen as your National Committeewoman puts the Republican Party of Florida in the best position to win majorities and elections in 2018 and beyond. As someone committed to the ultimate success of the President’s MAGA agenda, I support Karen Giorno.”

Other potential candidates for Florida committeewoman include Manatee County GOP Chairwoman Kathleen King, former RPOF Chairwoman Carole Jean Jordan and Brevard County Republican State Committeewoman Cheryl Lankes.

Former Trump Florida campaign director, from West Palm Beach, seeks key GOP post

Karen Giorno chats with Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera at the Palm Beach County GOP’s 2016 Lobsterfest in Boca Raton. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

West Palm Beach resident Karen Giorno, the state director for Donald Trump‘s 2016 campaign when he won the Florida GOP primary by carrying 66 of 67 counties, has launched a campaign to become Florida’s Republican National Committeewoman.

The committeewoman is one of three party officials who represent Florida on the Republican National Committee and have a say on party rules and the site of the 2020 GOP convention.

Former Florida Committeewoman Sharon Day of Fort Lauderdale stepped down after President Trump tapped her to be ambassador to Costa Rica. The Republican Party of Florida’s board, which consists of about 35 members, will choose an interim replacement next month. More than 200 RPOF members will then vote in January on a committeewoman to serve the final two years of Day’s term.

At least three other names have circulated as potential candidates for committeewoman: Manatee County GOP Chairwoman Kathleen King, former RPOF Chairwoman Carole Jean Jordan and Brevard County Republican State Committeewoman Cheryl Lankes.

Giorno is a longtime Republican operative with experience going back to an internship in the George H.W. Bush White House. She was director of Trump’s Florida campaign through the March 2016 primary, then continued as the top Florida official while also taking on the role of political director for 11 southeastern states. In a September 2016 shakeup, Giorno moved to a job in Trump Tower in New York overseeing national voter engagement and coalitions; veteran Florida campaign strategist Susie Wiles became Florida director.

A website Giorno has set up for her committeewoman bid features a 2016 quote from Trump calling her “a valuable asset to my team and a consummate professional” and an endorsement from Palm Beach County GOP Chairman Michael Barnett.

 

 

 

NEW: Trump names South Florida GOP leader as ambassador to Costa Rica

President Donald Trump will nominate a longtime Republican Party official from South Florida to be ambassador to Costa Rica, the White House said Wednesday night.

Sharon Day currently serves as national committeewoman for the Broward County GOP, where she has been a key figure for more than 20 years.

Broward County’s Sharon Day speaks to the 2016 Republican National Convention. (Getty Images)

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: Latest news on President Donald Trump

Day was tapped last year to speak at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where she said Trump would be “a president who tells the truth.”

The White House also on Wednesday announced Trump would nominate Kelly Knight Craft of Kentucky to be ambassador to Canada.

Here is the White House announcement on Trump’s intent to nominate Day:

Sharon Day of Florida to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Costa Rica. Ms. Sharon Day most recently served as co-chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC), having been first elected in January 2011 and reelected in 2013 and 2015. She has served the Republican Party at the local, state, and national level for more than twenty years, with a focus on engaging and empowering women candidates and activists, as well as strengthening state parties and volunteerism. She is an active political columnist and commentator. Earlier in her career, she was the chief executive officer and vice president of Marketing of Stop Loss International, a general managing underwriter and reinsurance company, headquartered in Indianapolis. Ms. Day has also been active in community service, including as housing authority chair for the Broward County Housing Authority and as commissioner on the Florida Commission on the Status of Women.”

 

Florida Dems pick new chairman; GOP makes Palm Beach County’s Barnett state vice chair

Republican Party of Florida Chairman Blaise Ingoglia, left, with Palm Beach County GOP Chairman Michael Barnett in Tallahassee in December. Ingoglia was re-elected chairman today and Barnett became the state GOP's vice chairman.
Republican Party of Florida Chairman Blaise Ingoglia, left, with Palm Beach County GOP Chairman Michael Barnett in Tallahassee in December. Ingoglia was re-elected chairman today and Barnett became the state GOP’s vice chairman.

Coconut Grove developer and major party fundraiser Stephen Bittel was elected chairman of the Florida Democratic Party today while the Republican Party of Florida re-elected its chairman, state Rep. Blaise Ingoglia of Inverness.

 

Ingoglia helped deliver Florida’s crucial 29 electoral votes to Donald Trump in November after Democrat Barack Obama carried the state in 2008 and 2012.  In addition to picking Ingoglia, the Florida GOP elected Palm Beach County Republican Chairman Michael Barnett as the state party’s vice chairman.

 

Barnett, an attorney who lives in Boca Raton, has been head of the county GOP since 2014. He has also headed the Republican Party of Florida’s Minority Engagement Committee and was the only black delegate in Florida’s 99-member Republican National Convention delegation last year.

 

The Republicans and Democrats both met in Orlando today to choose party leaders. Click here for an Associated Press account of the votes and the contrasting atmospheres.

 

 

Trump’s coming back — but Florida Republicans steer clear

Trump barnstormed across the state for three days last week, hitting a half-dozen cities even as nationwide polls show his White House bid likely slipping away. He’s back this week with events planned for Pensacola, Miami, Orlando and Jacksonville.

The race remains tighter in Florida but state Republican leaders – and most GOP candidates – steer clear of him.

“I’m spending most of my time being governor,” said Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who last week failed to attend a Trump rally in his Naples hometown and then cited a scheduling conflict for keeping him from another Trump event in Tallahassee.

With shared business backgrounds, Scott endorsed Trump hours after he won the state’s Republican primary in March. Scott was even briefly mentioned as a possible running mate, and continues to chair a Super PAC, Rebuilding America Now, which has spent $17 million helping the nominee, mostly with TV spots.

But Scott, like many Republican leaders and campaign analysts, seem to view Trump now as having little chance of winning.

Sharing a stage with the polarizing nominee carries some political risk. Yet few Florida elected officials want to break with Trump and openly antagonize his voters, a dynamic similar to that which helped him blaze through the GOP presidential primary field.

Full story:  http://bit.ly/2dWoYQL

Mast didn’t think Kozell’s sugar attack was sweet

Rick Kozell turned a question on another topic into an attack on Brian Mast during a debate taping Wednesday night between Republican candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives District 18 seat.

Kozell, a small business owner, insinuated that Mast was in the pocket of the sugar industry.

Republican congressional candidate Rick Kozell
Republican congressional candidate Rick Kozell

Mast, a special forces veteran who lost both legs during an IED explosion in Afghanistan, didn’t take too kindly to the suggestion, using a break in taping to call Kozell “a P.O.S.” (That’d be piece of blankety-blank).

“I was completely taken aback by his comments,” Mast said after the debate, which will be aired by The Palm Beach Post’s news partner, WPTV Channel 5, during its To the Point show on Sunday at 10 a.m. “I was very surprised.”

Kozell didn’t relent during the debate, saying Mast accepted contributions from the sugar industry and raised more money during a fundraiser hosted by someone in the industry. Mast said he returned the sugar money and raised “very little” during the fundraiser.

Brian Mast
Brian Mast

 

With Trump struggling in Florida, state party heightens focus on down-ballot races

With Trump struggling in Florida, RPOF focuses on get-out-the-vote efforts.
With Trump struggling in Florida, RPOF focuses on get-out-the-vote efforts.

While making no mention of presidential nominee Donald Trump’s struggling poll numbers, the Florida Republican Party announced Thursday it is heightening its focus on down ballot races.

The Florida Leadership Victory Committee will be led by Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and is aimed at bolstering GOP grassroots efforts.

Voter registration and get-out-the-vote efforts will be a top priority of the committee.

But the committee is certain to face some challenges. Trump’s presidential campaign has paid little attention to such party-building efforts and his top Florida ally, Gov. Rick Scott, also has spent more time raising money for his own political committee and now heads a Super PAC collecting cash for Trump.

“Our nation’s economy hinges on this year’s election. We must all work to maintain Republican majorities at the local, state and federal level, and the grassroots effort here in Florida will be crucial,” said Atwater, a former North Palm Beach state legislator.

 

Ivanka Trump: My father will ‘change labor laws,’ make childcare affordable

Ivanka Trump delivers a speech during the evening session on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Ivanka Trump delivers a speech during the evening session on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

In one of the most prominent time slots during the final night of the Republican National Convention — second only to the party’s nominee — Ivanka Trump on Thursday introduced her father, Donald Trump, for his acceptance speech.

In doing so, she touted his hiring of women, and revealed he plans to “reform labor laws” to “focus on making quality childcare affordable and accessible for all.”

Trump vows ‘America first,’ ‘Change, right now!’

Trump said that as a mother of three, she understands the challenges facing women in the workplace.

She also said that at her father’s company, “When a woman becomes a mother she is supported, not shut out.”

Ivanka Trump’s speech was one of the first significant mentions in her father’s campaign of a plan to offer affordable childcare to working mothers.

Photos: Ivanka Trump through the years

In November, Donald Trump told a town hall he felt more businesses should offer in-house childcare.

“It’s not expensive for a company to do that,” Trump said, according to The Washington Post.

In addition to discussing her father’s plans for affordable childcare, Ivanka Trump in her speech followed in the footsteps of speakers earlier in the night by telling anecdotes portraying Trump as, in Ivanka’s words, having the “kindness and compassion to be the leader this country needs.”

She also said that throughout her father’s career, she has known him to value the talents of his employees.

“He is colorblind and gender neutral. He hires the best person for the job, period,” she said.

Full coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign

RNC 2016: Quiet at Cleveland protest site ahead of Trump’s speech

A man blows bubbles in Public Square in Cleveland on Thursday. (Kristina Webb / The Palm Beach Post)
A man blows bubbles in Public Square in Cleveland on Thursday. (Kristina Webb / The Palm Beach Post)

Public Square, one of the key protest sites at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this week, was relatively quiet Thursday afternoon ahead of Donald Trump’s Republican nomination speech.

With the exception of a protest of about 10 people, and an open-carry group with a handful of people, most demonstrations consisted of one person holding a sign and occasionally chatting with passersby.

One man, who gave his name only as Gilligan, was performing magic tricks with a sign behind him that read, “Make America Magical Again.”

An employee of the Cleveland Public Library was handing out buttons, books and pens and telling people to “make America read again.”

On a large expanse of grass, one man was blowing large bubbles and calling on people to “feel the wind god.” He declined to give his name.

 

 

 

RNC 2016: Florida speaker’s business in question

Michelle Van Etten delivers a speech on the third day of the Republican National Convention on July 20, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Michelle Van Etten delivers a speech on the third day of the Republican National Convention. (Getty Images)

Michelle Van Etten of Brandon held the spotlight for a few minutes as she spoke at the Republican National Convention.

But as she spoke on stage, people on social media were talking about reports her business was not as large as billed by the Republican Party and that her business may be a pyramid scheme.

While her bio on the Republican National Convention website says she employs 100,000 people, Van Etten told The Guardian that is incorrect — and that she actually has no employees.

Van Etten said she is an independent retailer for Youngevity, a company that sells supplements and is endorsed by radio host Alex Jones.

Van Etten told The Guardian she sells the company’s womenswear line and her income is under $1 million annually.

Youngevity has come under fire for its structure of independent retailers who recruit more sellers to buy into the company.

Read more from The Guardian.