Donald Trump Archives - Page 4 of 363 - Florida Politics

Dems whiffed in 2016, so what if they fail again?

For Democrats, the midterm elections have been a beacon in the dark, a chance to re-emerge from the political wilderness and repudiate a President they view as a dangerous force.

But on the cusp of Tuesday’s vote, many Democrats are as anxious as they are hopeful.

Their memories from 2016, when they watched in disbelief as Donald Trump defied polls, expectations and political norms, are still fresh. And as Trump travels the country armed with a divisive and racially charged closing campaign message, the test for Democrats now feels at once similar and more urgent than it did two years ago: They failed to stop Trump then, what if they fall short again?

“Part of what’s at stake here is our ability to send a message that this is not who we are,” said Karen Finney, a Democratic consultant who worked on Hillary Clinton’s losing 2016 campaign.

This year, history is on Democrats’ side. The sitting President’s party often losing ground in the first midterm after winning office, and for much of 2018, voter enthusiasm and polling has favored Democrats as well.

Primary contests filled the Democratic roster with a new generation of candidates, including several minority candidates who could make history in their races. While the fight to regain control of the Senate, largely playing out in conservative states, may prove out of reach for Democrats, the party has been buoyed by its ability to run competitively in Republican-leaning states such as Texas and Tennessee.

Democrats’ focus is largely on snatching back the House and picking up Governors’ seats in Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio and elsewhere. The party is also seeking redemption in the Midwest where Trump won over white, working-class voters who had backed Democrats for years. In Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, Democrats appear poised to regain ground.

Such victories would build momentum behind the party’s shift toward a new generation of candidates who are younger, more diverse, with greater numbers of women and more liberal than Democratic leadership. They would also signal that Trump’s hard-line positions on immigration and his penchant for personal attacks turn off more voters than they energize.

A good night for Democrats on Tuesday would provide a blueprint for how the party can successfully run against Trump in the 2020 presidential race. At least two dozen Democrats are waiting in the wings, eager to take on Trump.

But the President has proved once again to be a powerful political force late in a campaign.

Even with his daily airing of grievances on Twitter and an approval rate below the average for his recent predecessors at this point, he has almost single-handedly put Republicans in a stronger position this fall. He’s aggressively appealed to his loyal, core supporters with a sharply anti-immigrant, nationalist message and by casting Democrats as outside the mainstream.

“A vote for any Democrat this November is a vote to really put extreme far left politicians in charge of Congress and to destroy your jobs, slash your incomes, undermine your safety and put illegal aliens before American citizens,” Trump said during a rally Saturday in Pensacola, Florida.

If Republicans hang on to control of Congress, Trump will almost certainly be emboldened. Democrats would be left with difficult questions about a path forward.

For example, how can Democrats assemble a winning coalition in 2020 if they fail to appeal to the moderate suburban voters who hold sway in the congressional districts that decide which party holds a House majority? And how will Democrats, if they fall short, sustain the energy from young people and women who have marched in protest of Trump, registered to vote and volunteered for the first time this election season.

“I’m concerned that if the election is not what we hoped for that people will say, ‘it’s too hard’ and become disengaged,” said Jennifer Palmieri, who served as Clinton’s communications director during the 2016 campaign.

As Americans participated in early voting this weekend, that same anxiety was palpable among some voters.

In Southern California, lifelong Democrat Theresa Hunter said she didn’t take Trump seriously in 2016. But she sees a chance for Democrats to render their judgment on the President by pushing his party out of power in a different branch of government.

“To see his party jump on board and march in lockstep is what’s terrifying,” said Hunter, a 65-year-old retired salesperson from Lake Forest, California.

A few hours north, California voter Lawrence Reh was casting his ballot. Afterward, his voice quivered and he wiped back tears as he voiced frustrations about Trump and his worries about the direction of the country.

“If we don’t make any progress in this election, I don’t know where we’ll go from here,” Reh said.

Material republished with permission from The Associated Press.

‘No Mo’ Play In FL’: Rapper Pastor Troy endorses Joe Wicker

Joe Wicker has a less famous version of Kanye West, minus the racist comments, backing him in his campaign against Democrat Adam Hattersley for Florida House District 59.

Georgia rapper Pastor Troy recorded a 30-second message supporting Wicker for the seat to replace incumbent Ross Spano.

Wicker grew up with the 40-year-old Troy in Atlanta and the two are friends.

Troy, whose real name is Micah LeVar Troy, is the frontman for the rap group D.S.G.B., which stands for Down South Georgia Boys. He also has several solo rap albums and has collaborated with bigger hip-hop stars including Lil John and Young Jeezy.

He also recorded a “beef album,” which is basically a rap battle, with Master P in the 90s.

“Hey yo, yo, this is your boy Pastor Troy. On Tuesday, November 6 it’s Election Day and we ready,” Troy says in the call. “I’m asking you to go vote for my boy, Joe Wicker. He ready and we ready.”

Like Kanye West, Troy is a black rapper who supports President Donald Trump and other conservatives.

Asked whether the nod from a popular rapper could help the conservative candidate tap into some of the minority vote, Wicker campaign manager Mike Norris said: “that’s the goal.”

But the campaign also hopes the call will drum up support from people in their mid-to-late 30s and early 40s who were in high school when Troy was most popular.

“Obviously you’ve got to be of a certain age to know who he is. His highest selling album was in 2002. It wasn’t minority specific. We figured it wasn’t something people would be expecting from a conservative candidate,” Norris said.

Pastor Troy came up with his stage name as a throwback to his father, who was a pastor. It’s also a play on words for Castor Troy, the villainous character from the 1997 John Woo film Face Off.

Wicker is seeking the Democratic-leaning district covering Brandon, Riverview, Bloomingdale and Valrico.

“I think the reason why Republicans have carried it is because they’ve put a lot of resources and outworked their opponents,” Norris said. “We were both combat arms guys in the military. There’s not going to be anybody who is going to come into this race and outwork us.”

 

Marco Rubio, Lara Trump hitting trail for Ron DeSantis

Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio will spend Monday urging voters to support GOP gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis at events across the state.

Lara Trump, President Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law, also will join the Republican leaders at multiple stops.

Rubio, a former state House Speaker, burst onto the national scene in 2010 with his first run for U.S. Senate, when he rallied conservatives and pushed then-Gov. Charlie Crist out of the Republican primary. Rubio went on to win the Senate seat and re-election in 2016.

Rubio starts the day rallying alongside DeSantis at Bobcat of Jacksonville at 8:30 a.m.

When Rubio won re-election in 2016, he took Duval County by nearly 60,000 votes over Democrat Patrick Murphy.  Republicans hope the second-term U.S. Senator will get voters as excited about the gubernatorial ticket this year.

Rubio and DeSantis then head to Freedom Pharmacy in Orlando to meet with supporters at 11 a.m..

The Republican officials then jet down to Vero Beach, where they will connect with Lara Trump and boost up voters at The Patio Seafood Tavern at 1:30 p.m.

Attendees of “Make America Great Again” rallies will know Lara Trump from video spots played throughout the events. She married Eric Trump, the president’s third oldest child, in 2014 at Mar-A-Lago. From 2012 through 2016, she worked as a story coordinator and producer on Inside Edition.

Lara Trump also joins Rubio and DeSantis at a Pinellas County rally at Quarter Steak & Lube in Clearwater at 4 p.m.

DeSantis and Rubio continue on to one more stop in Fort Walton, at AJ’s Oyster Shanty, at 7 p.m.

The relationship between Rubio and the Trump clan, of course, has been fraught with ups and downs.

Rubio also ran for President in 2016 against Trump in the primary, but dropped out of the race after Trump defeated Rubio here, in his home state of Florida.

After Trump won the White House, Rubio has been a conservative supporter on some issues and a critic on others, particularly regarding foreign relations.

But he and the Trump campaign both want to see the Governor’s Mansion — after eight years of term-limited GOP Gov. Rick Scott — keep a Republican occupant.

MAGA roll call: Who partied with Donald Trump this week? Who stayed home?

Every Republican candidate seeking statewide office in Florida attended at least one of President Donald Trump’s rallies here during the week leading into Election Day. But no candidates from Florida’s tightest Congressional races bothered to show.

The attendance habits shows the varying worth of appearing close to a president whose approval ratings remain underwater overall but who continues to inspire intense loyalty among the Republican base.

At a rally Saturday night in Pensacola, Republican Attorney General candidate Ashley Moody and Agriculture Commissioner candidate Matt Caldwell both earned acknowledgement from the podium by Trump. Neither candidate had been in attendance at a Fort Myers rally earlier in the week, but made the trip to the Panhandle to absorb the partisan love.

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis made it to both rallies and earned a “Good Luck” from the president in Pensacola.

And course, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rick Scott and gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis walked into the Pensacola rally from inside Air Force One, the shared the stage with Trump and gave speeches of their own with the president at their side.

Trump also acknowledged U.S. Reps. Matt Gaetz and Neal Dunn during the Pensacola rally. But neither of those Republican congressmen face a serious threat Tuesday. Gaetz won his 2016 election in Florida’s 1st Congressional District with more than 69 percent of the vote, and Dunn won Florida’s 2nd Congressional District that year with 67 percent.

As for congressional candidates in serious fights, they universally failed to show.

No Panhandle district appears to be in play this year. But the Fort Myers rally included speeches by Greg Steube, the Republican nominee in Florida’s 17th Congressional District, and U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney, the incumbent in Florida’s 19th Congressional District, who even Democrats in the district acknowledge has an edge going into Tuesday.

U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis and Gaetz made special trips to the Fort Myers rally, but U.S. Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, Vern Buchanan, Carlos Curbelo and Brian Mast, all of whom faced less than a 90-minute drive from their home to Fort Myers—and all of whom face well-funded opponents—failed to attend either rally.

Republican candidates in tight races such as Maria Elvira Salazar, Ross Spano and Michael Waltz also found better things to do than attend a “Make America Great Again” rally in the days before an election.

Why the disparity in candidate behavior? Gallup’s Job Approval tracking shows Trump remains less popular than any president at this point in their term since the service started tracking job approval numbers.

The president holds a 40-percent job approval based on the most recent data. Meanwhile 54 percent disapprove and 6 percent hold no opinion.

Democratic President Barack Obama had a 45-percent approval in November of his second year, when Democrats suffered huge losses in the mid-terms.

Republican President George W. Bush, the only president in the modern era to see his party gain seats in his first mid-term, held an approval rating of 66 percent in November 2002.

But to dismiss Trump as unpopular only tells half the story. Among Republican voters, 89 percent approve of the job the president is doing. That compares to Trump’s  a 37-percent approval rating among independents and an abysmal 6-percent approval among Democrats.

So there’s still virtue in rousing the base with a presidential embrace, so long as Republicans make up the bulk of voters a candidate must face on Tuesday.

Ron DeSantis to Donald Trump: ‘We can save you a lot of money’

Does a personal relationship with President Donald Trump make it easier to do a good job for Florida?

Well, Ron DeSantis on Saturday night promised that as Florida Governor, he would try to lure Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump to relocate The Trump Organization to Palm Beach County. “We can save you a lot of money,” the Republican gubernatorial nominee said.

The exchange, at a Pensacola rally, prompted a rapid response from Florida Democrats.

“Before our very eyes, Ron DeSantis literally promised to bribe the Trump organization to come to Florida,” said Florida Democratic Party spokesman Kevin Donohoe. “DeSantis won’t invest more money in our schools — but he’s happy to offer Donald Trump cash to come to Florida.”

Gov. Rick Scott, the Republican U.S. Senate nominee, at the same event said it was his pestering of Trump that landed the funding to speed repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee.

“He [Trump] invited me to the Oval Office. I said, what are we doing about Lake Okeechobee?” Scott said.

The comments came at Trump’s last visit to Florida in advance of the midterm elections. The president riled up Republican voters at the Pensacola International Airport for his second Sunshine State “Make America Great Again” rally this week

Trump touched on many of the same talking points raised at a Fort Myers rally on Wednesday night.

Most importantly, he stressed the importance of sending Scott to the U.S. Senate and DeSantis to the governor’s mansion, and he laid into both men’s Democratic opponents.

“In Rick’s case, he’s going up against someone who’s falling asleep,” Trump said, referencing incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.

Today, Trump tweeted that Nelson never once called him in the past two years. He hit on the same point in his speech in Pensacola. “He never calls and says I’d like to do something for Florida,” Trump said.

Scott said during his first six years as Governor, he repeatedly called on President Barack Obama and on Nelson to fund dike repairs because that’s a federal project, but said he never saw any funding come Florida’s way.

As for the Governor’s race, Trump laid heavily into Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum.

“In Ron’s case, its somebody who has a lot of energy but is running one of the worst cities in the country,” Trump said.

The slam on Tallahassee, Gillum’s city, comes a day after a mass shooter killed two women and himself and left five more injured.

One significant difference in tone at this rally compared to the Fort Myers rally? While Trump continued to hammer on immigration and the need to build a wall, he pushed hard on ending “birthright citizenship” on Wednesday. Tonight, Trump talked about the need for qualified immigrants to come to the country legally and for criminals and illegals to be kept out.

“They have to come through legally. That to come in on their merits,” he said. “They need to help all the companies moving back to Florida and back to the United States.”

Scott, after campaigning with South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham, released a statement making similar contrasts in legal versus illegal immigration.

Al Sharpton campaigning Sunday in Miami congregations for Amendment 4

The Rev. Al Sharpton travels to Miami today to promote the restoration of felons’ voting rights and rally voters to the polls.

The noted civil rights voice and founding president of the National Action Network gets an early start today.

He’ll be at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church of Miami Gardens for service at 7 a.m. Then he heads to New Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church at 7:45 a.m. He plans to do a radio record mid-morning before attending New Birth Baptist Church at 10:15 a.m.

The National Action Network stressed in their announcement of Sharpton’s visit that he will be in town promoting Amendment 4, which would automatically restore the voting rights for most ex-convicts once they complete restitution to the state.

That measure this year has drawn support from a broad coalition of liberal civil rights advocates like the ACLU and conservative evangelicals celebrating personal redemption such as the Christian Coalition of America.

So Sharpton, in town with that ballot measure in mind, has stressed the key reason for his visit remains raising voter turnout across the board.

“I’m out in Miami to get people out on the last day of voting no matter who they vote for,” he said during an MSNBC spot Saturday.

But it’s probably not difficult to discern who Sharpton wants to see win out on Tuesday. In August, he spoke out against Florida’s Stand Your Ground law at a Pinellas County event with all major Democratic candidates, including now-nominee Andrew Gillum, in attendance.

And Sharpton for years served as a voice in Democratic politics, running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004.

And he recently declined to answer a question from Buzzfeed News on whether he’s considering challenging Republican President Donald Trump in 2020.

At age 64, the New York minister remains one of the most prominent minority leaders in the nation.

Donald Trump: Bill Nelson never asked for my help

Ahead of his final GOTV rally for Gov. Rick Scott‘s Senate campaign Saturday in Pensacola, President Donald Trump whetted appetites with tweets bemoaning incumbent Bill Nelson‘s failure to reach out and ask the White House for help.

Trump’s tweets echo complaints the President made about Nelson at his Halloween rally in Estero.

“I am here a lot and I never see Senator Nelson until six months before the election,” Trump said.

Nelson, conscious of the Trumpier elements of the Florida electorate, has been the eighth most likely member of the Democratic caucus to support Trump. However, clearly that hasn’t affected Trump’s calculus in this race.

Gov. Scott has been a close ally of the President’s, with a relationship bordering on symbiosis at times, with the clearest example being Scott founding the New Republican PAC to support Trump, then repurposing it for his Senate campaign.

Polling in the Scott/Nelson race has been inconclusive, with both candidates being able to point to surveys where they are ahead. The Real Clear Politics average of polls shows Nelson clinging to a 1.4 point lead across an index of several polls.

Paula Dockery endorses Andrew Gillum as Ron DeSantis campaigns across town

Lakeland political leader Paul Dockery endorsed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum today just as Republican Ron DeSantis campaigned in her hometown.

“Andrew Gillum is the governor that Florida needs right now,” said Dockery, who was elected as a Republican representing Lakeland in the state House and Senate over the course of 16 years.

“Our state stands at a crossroads — our schools are facing massive teacher shortages, nearly one in five Floridians don’t have health care, and both coasts are being impacted by dangerous environmental crises.”

Gillum touted Dockery as the latest former Republican official to jump off the GOP train and get on track with the Democratic campaign.

Of course, it’s been some time since many of the Republicans on that list, including Dockery, counted themselves as loyal Republicans.

The list reads in many ways like a #NeverTrump roll call, with Dockery joining former Rep. David Jolly and South Florida political commentator Ana Navarro among centrist Republican (or former Republican) voices backing Gillum’s progressive candidacy.

Dockery, who ran for governor as a Republican in 2010, always billed herself as a moderate and now works as a syndicated columnist. She’s been deeply critical of Republican President Donald Trump.

She issued her endorsement of Gillum a day after he briefly left the trail to return to Tallahassee after a mass shooting.

“During a time of tremendous challenges, Mayor Gillum has risen to the occasion,” Dockery said. “He has run a positive, inspirational campaign and put forward specific and ambitious plans that will expand health care coverage for 800,000 Floridians, pay our teachers a competitive salary, and stop pollution at its source.”

She took a swipe at Gov. Rick Scott’s “eight years of dysfunction and slash-and-burn tactics” and said Gillum could restore principle in Tallahassee.

““For too long, leaders in the Capitol have failed to address the pressing issues facing this state — and Ron DeSantis will continue the dysfunction that has paralyzed our politics,” Dockery said.

“As a member of Congress, DeSantis never passed a bill and spent more time talking about Donald Trump on Fox News than serving his constituents. That’s exactly the type of cynical, self-interested politics that has left our water polluted, our schools overpopulated, and our health care system dysfunctional.

“Mayor Gillum’s uplifting, substantive campaign has made me proud to be a Floridian — and that is why I am ready to bring it home this Tuesday.”

Rudy Giuliani, Pam Bondi to stump for Ron DeSantis

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani joins Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis on Sunday during a campaign stop in South Daytona. The Republican leaders, along with Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi, will headline a rally at 1:30 p.m. at the Volusia County REC Headquarters. The group then heads to the Boca Raton Victory Office for another event. DeSantis and Bondi will continue to a barbeque supporting the Republican ticket this year at Sharon J. Sheffield Park in Lynn Haven.

Giuliani, who led New York when the city was attacked on 9/11, today acts as one of President Donald Trump’s personal attorneys.

He’s represented serves at time as a chief surrogate pushing back against the ongoing Russia Probe by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Giuiliani comes to the Sunshine State a day after Trump holds a second rally in a week promoting DeSantis’ candidacy.

DeSantis faces Democrat Andrew Gillum in the gubernatorial election.

This won’t be the first time Giuliani weighs in on the Florida race. On Oct. 30, he attacked Gillum on Twitter.

“The Democrat candidate for Governor in Florida is reportedly under criminal investigation by the FBI,” Giuliani said. “His city has highest crime in State. He wants to raise your taxes. I’m not sure you know this because the press has been sickenly biased. Vote for Ron DeSantis.”

Of course, it may be unlikely voters paying to the attention missed those accusations. DeSantis regularly makes the assertions a part of his stump speeches at rallies, and Trump stressed the talking points at a rally earlier this week.

Bondi ultimately jumped on the DeSantis train after endorsing Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in the primary.

But Bondi’s presence alongside Giuliani helps stress the pro-law enforcement message that DeSantis has drilled in during the final stretch of the campaign. DeSantis, Giuliana and Bondi all started their careers as prosecutors.

Donald Trump gets ready for one more Florida MAGA rally

It’s Trump Day in Florida’s Panhandle.

Just days after rallying voters in Southwest Florida, President Donald Trump returns to the Sunshine State, this time to Pensacola. The event shows Trump’s continued commitment to elelcting Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis to the governor’s mansion and Senate candidate Rick Scott to Washington.

The “Make America Great Again” rally opens its doors at 3:30 p.m. with Trump expected to speak around 6:30 p.m. But expect lines to form well in advance of the Secret Service allowing people into the venue. Attendees can register for two tickets per mobile phone number on the Trump campaign website, and tickets will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Some media outlets already noted the odd choice of hosting a MAGA rally in the ST Engineering Hangar, but city officials say the venue serves as a great backdrop to celebrate Scott’s job creation record as governor, according to the Pensacola News Journal. ST Engineering plans to bring 400 new jobs into the area using the facility, a decision made after Scott committed $4 million in incentives from the Governor’s Job Growth Fund.

Scott looks to unseat Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson.

Trump also has a lot of political capital running on the governor’s race. He endorsed DeSantis early in the gubernatorial race, and his reiteration of support proved to be a turning point in the GOP primary this year. DeSantis faces Democrat Andrew Gillum.

Florida also serves as Trump’s second home. He’s turned Mar-A-Lago into a Winter White House for much of his presidency.

He noted during the Fort Myers rally that he’s long owned businesses and property in the state.

In advance of the first mid-terms since Trump’s election as president, he’s been holding a greater number of rallies around the country, and holds a rally in Belgrade, Montana today before heading to Pensacola.

Trump also plans to hold two rallies tomorrow, in Macon, Georgia and Chatanooga Tennessee, and then plans to hold three events on Monday, in Cleveland, Ohio, Fort Wayne, Indiana and Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

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