Donald Trump Archives - Page 7 of 351 - Florida Politics

On the road again: Six stop ‘turnout tour’ Monday for Ron DeSantis

As the GOP primary contest in the Governor’s race comes to an end, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis plans a “turnout tour” of the state, with an eye toward hitting six markets Monday.

Events kick off Monday in Jacksonville, with a 9:00 a.m. stop at “The Local” on the Southside.

From there, an 11:00 visit to “Tiffany’s Restaurant” in Palm Harbor, followed by a 2 p.m. in Fort Myers (Three Fishermen Seafood Restaurant.”

The road show moves on to Miami (4 p.m. at “Cafe Versailles”), then a 6 p.m. stop in West Palm Beach at “E.R. Bradley’s Saloon.”

The final stop of the day finds DeSantis in his home district: an 8 p.m. engagement at Daytona Beach’s Motorsports Hall of Fame.

DeSantis, when compared to primary opponent Adam Putnam, has not exactly been a road warrior (even as DeSantis’ camp contends they too have had a robust travel itinerary).

Putnam makes multiple stops a day, hammering his “Florida First” message home to crowds across the state.

“President Trump ran on a plan and he’s working on implementing that plan. No surprises. My opponent’s not running on a plan, he’s running on an endorsement. And Florida deserves better than that,” Putnam said in West Palm Beach — and in many other markets around the state.

The Putnam campaign has emphasized grassroots, with 400,000 doors knocked around Florida, and a lot of local endorsements piled up before Pres. Donald Trump “put his thumb on the scale” and endorsed DeSantis emphatically at a rally weeks back.

Trump described that endorsement colorfully this week in a rally in West Virginia.

“I don’t want to brag about it, but man do I have a good record of endorsements,” Trump told attendees. “In Florida, we have a great candidate, his name is Ron DeSantis, and he called me, and asked whether or not I could endorse him.”

“I said ‘let me check it out,’” Trump said he told DeSantis. “ … This was a few months ago. He was at three, and I gave him a nice shot, and a nice little tweet — bing bing — and he went from three to like twenty something.”

Shortly after the tweet, some polls showed DeSantis skyrocketing in favorability. A St. Pete Polls survey in July gave DeSantis a 20 point edge, a Mason-Dixon survey later that month gave DeSantis a 12 point lead.

Some new polling, however, suggests a bit of that lead has declined. A survey from Florida Atlantic University released on Tuesday gave DeSantis a single point lead, meaning the primary race is in a dead heat.

Material from Danny McAuliffe and A.G. Gancarski was used in this post. 

Jeb Bush, George W. Bush to help boost Rick Scott’s U.S. Senate bid

Republican Gov. Rick Scott has already had President Donald Trump stump for his U.S. Senate bid, and now former Gov. Jeb Bush said says more presidential support is on the way.

“As a resident and former Governor of Florida, I understand the complexity and leadership it takes to serve as the chief executive of our state and the commitment it takes to bring real change,” Bush said in a Thursday email. “I also understand the importance of the election this November and how the outcome will affect the direction of our state and country for generations.”

Bush went on to call Scott “the type of leader that we need to elect to serve in the United States Senate.” Sharing that view is Bush’s brother, former President George W. Bush.

Highlighting his brother’s pre-presidential gig as Texas Governor, Jeb said George also “understands that Rick Scott is the type of leader America needs now.”

To help Scott in his quest to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, the two Bushes will be present at a pair of Sept. 14 fundraisers for Scott. During the day, the brothers will attend a luncheon fundraiser in Tampa before heading down south for an evening reception in Palm Beach. Times and locations weren’t printed on the invitation — it’ll take an RSVP to the Scott campaign to get those details.

As far as the expected donation goes: $1,000 for a reservation at the luncheon, with suggested contributions ranging up to $25K for those looking to chair the event — those that go that route will get a “VIP photo,” two luncheon tix and preferred seating.

The stakes go up in Palm Beach, with the bottom tier donation level set at $2,700. To be a chair at that event, donors will have to give or bundle $50K for Scott’s campaign.

The race between Scott and Nelson is one of the most hotly contested Senate races in the country.

Nelson, currently in his third term, is one of a handful of incumbent Senators up for re-election this year in states that voted for Trump in 2016, making it a prime flip target for national Republicans and a key seat to defend for national Democrats.

So far, Scott has trounced Nelson in fundraising and put that money to work with a ton of media buys. Senate Majority PAC put pro-Nelson ads on TV in May, and his official campaign has since started to run its own ads.

Most recent polls of the race have shown Scott with an edge, though the race is close. Among the polls tracked by RealClearPolitics.com, the margin ranges from plus-5 Scott to plus-4 Nelson. Overall, an average of those polls shows Scott leading by 1.5 percentage points.

The fundraiser invitations are below. Those looking to attend can find the RSVP form on Scott’s campaign website.

New HD 83 TV ad says Toby Overdorf ‘just plain stinks’

A new ad attacking Republican Toby Overdorf is hitting the airwaves in the Treasure Coast’s House District 83.

The 30-second spot, titled “Toby Overdorf Stinks,” comes off like a greatest hits list of the attacks levied against Overdorf thus far in his primary battle with Port St. Lucie attorney Sasha Dadan.

“Something about Toby Overdorf just plain stinks. Overdorf, a paid lobbyist, pushed a plan to dump 40 million pounds of human waste next to the St. Lucie River. Eww,” the ad narrator says, as insects crawl across the screen.

“Then Overdorf tried to raise taxes by over $80 million while refusing to pay his own. Yuck. Then Overdorf trashed President [Donald] Trump on Twitter, calling him ‘not so Presidential.’ Gross,” the ad says. “Overdorf: Higher taxes, anti-Trump, bad for the river. Toby Overdorf just plain stinks.”

A watermark for BadBiologist.com is displayed in the bottom-right corner throughout the ad. The simple text-only web page hits Overdorf again for the biosolid lobbying, and offers a couple attacks on his environmental record — that he’s “paid by developers to remove gopher tortoises from their natural habitat” and that he “testified in favor of eliminating small wetlands in Martin County so developers could pave them over.”

The ad and website are attributed to Build Trump’s Wall, a political committee chaired by Lauren Pardo. Wednesday FCC filings indicate the committee is spending about $30,000 to run the ad on cable within the district, with another $3,500 spent by the committee for airtime on two talk radio stations in the area.

Overdorf and Dadan are competing for the Republican nomination to succeed state Rep. Gayle Harrell, who is term-limited and running for state Senate. The winner of the Aug. 28 primary election will face Jensen Beach Democrat Matt Theobald in the Nov. 6 general election.

HD 83 covers parts of Martin and St. Lucie counties and has a Republican lean. In 2016, Harrell won re-election over her Democratic challenger with 54 percent of the vote, while Trump snagged a 10-point win in the same area.

The ad is below.

Philip Levine talks home stretch in Gwen Graham and Andrew Gillum territory

Philip Levine believes his primary bid for Governor will come down to the wire on Tuesday, and the winner will undoubtedly face Republican candidate Ron DeSantis.

Levine spoke briefly with reporters Wednesday in the capital city, where he’ll reside if he’s victorious in the Aug. 28 primary and the following general election. Tallahassee is home to Democratic opponent Gwen Graham, who’s slightly ahead and in some cases behind Levine in most public polls. It’s also the stomping grounds of the city’s Mayor, Andrew Gillum.

“I understand myself and Gwen are right at the top,” Levine said shortly before a new poll gave him a one-point lead over the former Congresswoman. He’s aware the race could be a photo finish but believes his enormous investment in ground efforts — including 14 satellite campaign offices peppered across the state — will help him prevail. He spoke to supporters at Florida State University earlier on Wednesday and plans to hit the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida before the day’s end.

While confident but ultimately uncertain in his own race, Levine offered no wiggle room in the Republican primary: DeSantis, the Donald Trump-backed Ponte Vedra Congressman, will be the nominee.

A matchup against DeSantis, Levine said, means a fight against the President.

“I believe I’m the right one to go toe-to-toe,” the former Mayor of Miami Beach said. “This is going to be a fight between the Democratic nominee and the White House.”

He was asked whether his anti-Trump messaging was influenced by Democratic opponent Jeff Greene’s self-depiction of being Trump’s adversary, especially through television ads.

Not so. He said he began to bring up Trump “when the Donald got more involved in Florida.”

The President intervened in late June when he formally backed DeSantis on Twitter. Trump followed that endorsement with a campaign rally alongside DeSantis in late July.

Levine, who has had recent beef with Greene via battling television ads, also took a shot at the Palm Beach billionaire’s latest dip in the polls.

“We don’t have to worry about him too much anymore,” Levine said. “Based on the recent polls, I don’t think he’s too relevant anymore.”

Greene on Monday pledged to spend $5 million to get Democrats elected down the ballot, including those in hotly contested races to take back the state Senate.

Levine dismissed that as a political strategy and questioned whether Greene would still spend big on the party if he doesn’t get past the primary. He also contrasted himself with Greene, saying that before the race he spent “millions” to get Democrats elected.

“People talk about all of the things they’re going to do in the future,” Levine said. “They never talk about the things they’ve actually done.”

We asked Levine what he thinks of the Gillum campaign’s claim that their candidate is surging. Most recent polls have Gillum at third, an indubious jump that followed U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ recent endorsement of and two rallies alongside Gillum. And Gillum’s campaign released results of an internal survey on Tuesday showing the Tallahassee Mayor leading both Graham and Levine by 10 points.

“I can’t comment on someone’s internal poll,” Levine said. But noted the results are an outlier from his constant internal polling and public polls.

He added: “We’ll know Tuesday night how accurate they are.”  

Donald Trump: Ron DeSantis called me, asked for endorsement

At a campaign rally in West Virginia on Tuesday, President Donald Trump told the crowd that Florida gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis called him and asked for his support.

“I don’t want to brag about it, but man do I have a good record of endorsements,” Trump told attendees. “In Florida, we have a great candidate, his name is Ron DeSantis, and he called me, and asked whether or not I could endorse him.”

The context: Trump was telling West Virginians just how powerful his endorsements are. He came to the state partially to tout U.S. Sen. hopeful Patrick Morrisey, who is attempting to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin in November.

“I said ‘let me check it out,’” Trump said he told DeSantis. “ … This was a few months ago. He was at three, and I gave him a nice shot, and a nice little tweet — bing bing — and he went from three to like twenty something.”

Trump was referencing DeSantis’ surge in the polls after the President tweeted in June his endorsement for the Ponte Vedra Congressman and held a rally for him in Tampa late July. In December, the President tweeted a pro-DeSantis message, saying he “would make a great governor of Florida.”

Trump overexaggerated his influence if he intended to say DeSantis was polling at 3 percent. A Fox News poll earlier in June put DeSantis at 17 percent, Putnam 32.

Before the June tweet, DeSantis was trailing Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in the Republican primary.

Added Trump: “I gave him my full and total endorsement. And now he’s leading by like 19 points.”

Shortly after the tweet, some polls showed DeSantis skyrocketing in favorability. A St. Pete Polls survey in July gave DeSantis a 20 point edge, a Mason-Dixon survey later that month gave DeSantis a 12 point lead.

Some new polling, however, suggests a bit of that lead has declined. A survey from Florida Atlantic University released on Tuesday gave DeSantis a single point lead, meaning the primary race is in a dead heat.

Looming over Trump’s Tuesday night rally was news that his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was found guilty of eight financial crime charges. Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen also plead guilty on Tuesday to violating campaign finance laws, at the request of a “candidate for federal office.”

Watch the clip below.

A guide to whether a poll of the Fla. Governor’s race should be taken with a grain of salt

Andrew Gillum may indeed be in the lead.

And so may Adam Putnam.

Is it possible that after Donald Trump’s endorsement and the dramatic rise in Ron DeSantis’ numbers, GOP voters are having buyer’s remorse and are reverting back to the more familiar comfort of Putnam?

Maybe. And if so, good for both of them.

But for readers of this website — political junkies, all of you! — please try to ignore many of the recent clickbait polls. Why? Because when you get past the headlines, even those readers without advanced degrees in statistics or polling methodology can and should quickly see that many of these polls are really not worth their (ahem) salt.

To help each of you get through the next few days, use the following guidelines to help you apply your own saltshaker test and decide if a poll is worthy of sharing on social media.

These are a few items that should make you question the validity of a poll:

— Small sample sizes: If you see a statewide poll of fewer than 500 respondents be wary. If it is less than 300, take out your Men In Black neuralizer and block it from your mind.

— Polls of “adults”: Several recent polls actually surveyed “adults.” As if they matter. Well yes, they matter in the grand scheme of things, but not in elections, as only 75 percent of them are even registered to vote, and only about half of those who are registered will cast a ballot in the general election. Of course, for primaries, surveying “adults” is even more of an absurdity.  

— Polls of “registered voters”: Better, but still a problem. Polls — especially primary polls — should be taken only of likely voters as determined by the readily available voting history. Past is prologue, and a good pollster will ensure that a large percentage of the survey sample will contain those who have a proven track record of actually voting. And while it is true that about a third of the electorate will be infrequent and newer voters, having a sample of “registered voters” is not a good sign.  

— Self-described “likely voters”: Everyone who reads Florida Politics flosses every day, balances their checkbooks every month, calls home to mom at least once a week and never – ever – misses an election. Of course, we know that only about half of registered voters will vote in the upcoming general election — and far less will vote in the primaries. Yet in poll after poll that we have taken, about 80 percent of respondents claim they vote in every election. (Sure you do.) There is a voter history and every pollster should always use it! If a pollster is relying on letting the respondent tell their voting history, this is a clue that the poll also has other problems.  

— Online polls: These can be excellent if done right. But in this growing field, getting a valid and reliable online poll (especially of primary voters) is tough. But here’s a clue. If it’s an online poll and has one of the common problems listed above, it probably was not done well.

— IVR or robopolls: Also, potentially good and frankly they are proving to be reasonably reliable if the vendor knows how to manage the voter files (and we do them all the time.) But, as with online polls, they can be tricky, and they have their limitations. Also, consider this; many cannot be taken on cellphones. Do you trust a poll that does not include at least 30 percent of calls taken on cellphones? As a rule of thumb, if a robopoll also has one of the above problems, it likely is not valid.

— Is it an outlier?: Without some dramatic event (A POTUS endorsement, a criminal conviction, etc.) voters’ minds don’t change that quickly. In fact, voters are a stubborn lot, and it takes a lot to change their minds — especially this late in an election. If a poll is very different from the others and defies trends by a large margin, it is probably flawed. (Sorry to use this example because he seems like such a decent guy, but if one showed Chris King surging to the lead, we just have to assume something is wrong with how the poll was conducted.)

Over the past few weeks, we have been asked literally dozens of times to evaluate the validity and reliability of numerous published polls. Use these simple guidelines and decide for yourself.

We hope this helps.

Adam Putnam climbs back within one point of Ron DeSantis in new poll

Many argued U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis had a clear path to the Republican nomination due to a surge in his poll numbers after the endorsement of Donald Trump.

Now, a new poll from Florida Atlantic University’s Business & Economics Polling Initiative (FAU-BEPI) is putting a dent into that narrative.

Surprise: The poll shows Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam statistically neck-and-neck with DeSantis.

In the survey conducted Aug. 16-20, DeSantis leads Putnam by just one percentage point, earning 32 percent to Putnam’s 31 percent. Those results come from a sample of 222 likely Republican voters; the margin of error is 6.5 percentage points.

That’s a large margin of uncertainty, and the results are indeed an outlier when it comes to recent polling on this contest. The RealClearPolitics average has DeSantis up by more than nine points.

But that uncertainty could just as easily break Putnam’s way as it could benefit DeSantis.

And the slim lead for DeSantis is a shift from FAU-BEPI’s own previous results in this race. Their survey from late last month showed DeSantis with a nine-point lead. That lead has almost completely evaporated if these latest results are to be believed.

The FAU-BEPI survey also showed 22 percent of likely Republican primary voters remain undecided. That’s a big chunk of support that could be the difference if the race is truly this close.

“Adam Putnam appears to have regained some of his footing in the gubernatorial race,” said Kevin Wagner, professor of political science at FAU and a BEPI research fellow. “The difference may be which candidate is better able to turn out their supporters in the next week.”

Putnam appeared to be ahead in the polls before Trump’s endorsement of his opponent. Putnam has hammered home his “Florida First” message as the race nears its close in an attempt to claw back into the lead.

But again, this survey stands out in showing a race this close. And the poll included results showing Trump with an 80 percent approval rating among Republicans, meaning he’s still got a lot of sway among the base.

So Putnam’s apparent comeback here could remain an outlier among the other polls. Or this survey could be a sign the race truly has shifted.

The primary election on Aug. 28 will answer the question once and for all.

Bikers for Trump back Scott Sturgill

Scott Sturgill has picked up support from the group Boots on the Ground Bikers for Trump in his quest to be elected to Congress in Florida’s 7th Congressional District.

The endorsement, announced Tuesday morning by Sturgill’s campaign, comes a week out from a contentious Republican primary battle with state Rep. Mike Miller of Winter Park, which the latest poll shows going Miller’s way.

Sturgill, of Sanford, and a third Republican candidate, Vennia Francois of Orlando, are facing an Aug. 28 showdown to see who will be the Republican nominee, presumably to challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy.

The bikers group and the Trump focus give Sturgill a couple more advantages heading into a primary where support for President Donald  Trump is expected to be on the minds of many Republican voters, especially with the ballot topped by a contest between Trump’s chosen one, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. Plus, the appeal of bikers in a society seeking rebellion.

President of Boots on the Ground Bikers for Trump George Colella applauded Sturgill, saying he received the endorsement because he is “a strong supporter of the president, our Constitution and especially the 2nd Amendment.”

Karen Giorno is no friend to Donald Trump, critics say – and that reflects poorly on the candidates she’s backing

Since Donald Trump’s election in 2016, and even during his primary campaign, a new class of political consultants, experts and media whizzes have come out of the woodwork to claim their share of the victory.

The 2016 campaign was different, to be sure. Trump dispatched 16 other Republicans, including two of Florida’s favorite sons, to win his party’s nomination. And he did so without much of a budget and with only a few paid staffers until the general election was in sight.

In the nearly two years since Election Day 2016, Karen Giorno has pitched herself as instrumental to Trump’s electoral success as well as wins by other Republican presidents. Her affiliation with the Trump campaign has been used to give street cred to state-level candidates in Florida who lack traction with Trump’s voters.

The most recent to earn the honor are Toby Overdorf, who faces Sasha Dadan in the Republican primary for House District 83, and Belinda Keiser, who faces state Rep. Gayle Harrell in the Republican primary for Senate District 25.

In both endorsements, her bio sketch follows a similar track. The one appended to Overdorf’s endorsement, which bore the headline “Trump campaign leader Karen Giorno endorses Overdorf,” is as follows:

“Giorno has spent three decades as a political consultant and operative working with presidential candidates and campaigns, four American presidents, and the governor of Florida. She was the first female state director for the Trump Campaign. Following her leadership in President Trump’s historic Florida Primary win, she worked to secure delegates in eleven southern states for Delegate Operations and joined the National Team at Trump Tower, where she was in charge of National Voter and Women’s Engagement during the general election.”

It’s a good elevator speech-version of her background story, and according to many key members of Trump’s 2016 Florida campaign, that’s exactly what it is.

A story.

After Giorno endorsed Overdorf and Keiser, Annie Marie Delgado had had enough.

The former Palm Beach Gardens Councilwoman has known Trump personally for years and was behind his bid for the presidency on day one. In fact, she takes a bit of pride in being the only person who was with Trump’s Florida operation throughout the primary, general election and into his nascent 2020 re-election bid — she currently heads up Trump Team 2020 Florida, an official chartered organization of the Republican Party of Florida in Palm Beach County.

It was one thing when Giorno claimed to be a “campaign leader” during her failed run for national committeewoman, during which she claimed to have endorsements from Trump and Gov. Rick Scott but never produced them. Now that she’s expanded into offering endorsements in Republican primaries, Delgado said she and others are ready to speak out.

Delgado said she believed Giorno was a “pathological liar” that was “divisive and derisive” during her brief tenure on the frontlines of Trump’s Florida campaign, a job that she was removed from — “fired,” in Delgado’s words — in favor of veteran campaign operative Susie Wiles.

“I’m shocked, quite frankly, that this woman continues to portray herself as part of the Trump campaign, or as connected to Trump in any way whatsoever,” Delgado said.

Giorno was hired by Trump out of New Jersey in late October 2015 and subsequently sent down to Florida after a stern warning from then-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who reportedly told Trump at the time, “If I were you, I would run as fast as you can away from that person.”

Regarding her three decades in political work, Delgado took a more diplomatic approach. “[2016] drew out… many people who were never involved in politics,” she said.

Still, Giorno landed in the Sunshine State ready to go to work for Trump.

She had worked in Florida before — she had a position in the early days of the Scott Administration, but after an episode at a Disney GOP fundraiser where she yelled at Republican Party of Florida staffers and donors before being told “to leave the room and not come back” put an end to that. The acrimonious split went down as a resignation.

Five years later, there was no evidence of an attitude adjustment, according to Anthony Stephens, a Leon County volunteer on the Trump 2016 campaign.

Stephens started putting in hours early on in the campaign, and says he never once saw Giorno in the capital, greater Big Bend or Panhandle areas, yet she aimed to micromanage operations from a distance by way of regular conference calls from New York.

When Hurricane Hermine tore through north Florida in September 2016, Stephens and other volunteers thought it would be a prime opportunity to reach out to voters by having Trump campaign RVs drive in and deliver relief supplies.

Giorno scoffed at the idea, leading Stephens to circumvent her by calling campaign HQ in New York, which gladly green-lit the proposal.

Several paid staffers hired by Giorno stuck around after she was ousted from the Florida job, Stephens said, but they just as often came off as saboteurs as they did actual Trump supporters — those staffers would often hoard promotional campaign materials despite numerous supporters looking for some yard flair or a T-shirt to wear at the height of the campaign season.

Reports of that kind of behavior were corroborated by more than a few people involved with the campaign in other regions of the state, with some going so far as to say they believed Giorno and an associate were selling campaign signs, shirts and hats on eBay and pocketing the proceeds.

Many staffers and volunteers were at least willing to corroborate that there was a warehouse in Volusia County stocked full of yard signs and other campaign merch that wasn’t being distributed unless people showed up and took it, most of the time over the flaccid protestations of Tony Ledbetter, chair of the Volusia County Republican Executive Committee.

All the way across the state in Sarasota, Kevin Sifferman also volunteered early and often for the Trump campaign due to his enthusiasm and support for the eventual president.

At one point there were talks of him being moved up to a paid position on the campaign, which would have been a boon, since he had recently been laid off from his gig at Concerned Veterans for America.

Despite there being an office with Giorno’s name on the door at the Sarasota campaign HQ, Sifferman said he never saw her use it, or even enter the building. In fact, the only time he can remember seeing Giorno in the Sarasota area was for a campaign rally.

While attending that rally, Giorno struck up a conversation with a high school student and within days the young woman — who had no campaign experience but was reportedly proficient in ballet — was in charge of the Sarasota office. The paid position never came for Sifferman.

“She makes a lot of promises, but I don’t think she’s for Trump. I don’t think she’s for Florida. She’s only in it for herself,” he said.

Anecdotal reports of her behavior during the 2016 campaign are odd to say the least, but just as dubious are her claims of working for past presidential campaigns and four past presidents.

Longtime Republican operative Derek Hankerson says her narrative is baloney.

In addition to his extensive work for gubernatorial and senatorial campaigns, Hankerson has worked on the campaign of every Republican presidential ticket since 1984, and his campaign bona fides led to him landing positions in the White House during the George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush administrations.

During 2016, Hankerson served as the Trump campaign’s Northeast Florida regional director, and after the campaign’s victory, he was given a position on Trump’s transition team and was asked to volunteer at the inauguration — when Trump was sworn in, he was just 50 feet away.

Asked whether he’s ever seen Giorno in the trenches of a campaign, whether in 2016 or at some other point in his long political career, his response was clear.

“This person has stated that they worked for this campaign. I never saw them,” he said. “34 years — from Reagan ’84 to now — I never saw her. I’d never heard of this person until Trump decided to run, and she tried to run her Florida job out of New York.”

Hankerson, at times painfully, stuck to his personal code of “being a positive person.”

That was tested when he recalled a request that he made to Giorno. Upon Trump’s victory, he asked her — she was in New York at the time — to arrange for a thank you note to be sent to his mother.

“Every president and vice president since Reagan sent my mother a handwritten letter,” he said, adding that Giorno could have signed it herself and it would have been just as good.

But the request went unheeded, and Hankerson’s mother died shortly after.

When it comes to Giorno’s endorsements of Keiser and Overdorf, Delgado said they have about as much substance as Giorno’s resume.

None.

“Toby’s a good guy,” Delgado said, glancing at a recent text he sent her. “I just can’t believe he got sucked up with that woman.”

Editor’s note: FP reached out to Giorno, but was unable to lock down a response from her. 

New Adam Putnam ad says we don’t need a new — ahem — ‘Apprentice’ as governor

A new statewide ad from Republic gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam says voters shouldn’t pick a leader the way a certain reality show chooses its winner.

“Florida’s not picking an apprentice. We’re electing a Governor,” Putnam says in the ad, which started airing today.

It’s an obvious ping against Republican opponent Ron DeSantis, who soared into the lead in the Republican primary after nabbing the formal endorsement of President Donald Trump.

Of course, Trump’s greatest burst into the cultural zeitgeist before his successful 2016 presidential campaign came on The Apprentice, an NBC reality show in which the real estate developer would choose a new company executive based on their performance in weekly tasks and on his own personal whims.

But Putnam works hard in the ad not to criticize the president, who enjoys high popularity among Republican voters right now. A Florida Atlantic University poll in July found that while Trump had just a 41-percent approval rating among all Floridians, he holds an 80-percent approval rating among Republicans.

“I support President Trump’s agenda,” Putnam says. “Tax cuts to create jobs and cracking down on illegal immigration.”

That said, backhanded swipe at DeSantis closely mirrors a more frontal assault by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King, that DeSantis is “fighting to be Donald Trump’s next apprentice.”

Putnam, once the front-runner in the gubernatorial race, has worked over the last month to refocus the contest on Florida issues and not the president’s endorsement.

“I’ve dedicated my life to making our state a better place,” says Putnam, now Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner.

“As your Governor, we’ll make Florida the launchpad for the American Dream. Creating new opportunities for the next generation, keeping our promises to veterans, and protecting all the things that make Florida, Florida.”

Days after a Fox News debate and the presidential endorsement, DeSantis surged ahead in polls. The Real Clear Politics polling composite now has the Ponte Vedre congressman up an average 11 percent over Putnam.

That said, a new Survey USA poll for Spectrum News found Putnam had closed the gap and was back in a dead heat with DeSantis.

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