Hillary Clinton Archives - Page 6 of 162 - Florida Politics

In wake of loss to Donald Trump, Hillsborough County Democrats get surge of requests to join their party

At their first event since being devastated by the results of the presidential election, there was literally not enough room to contain the number of Democrats who showed up at the Hillsborough County Democratic Executive Committee meeting in Ybor City Monday night. A second room adjoining the main boardroom at the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County facility was opened to contain the overflow crowd.

“We’ve been inundated since the election,” said Ione Townsend, the chair of the Hillsborough County DEC.

Although officially only 14 people were sworn in as new members of the Executive Committee Monday, there were several dozen more people who were first-time visitors to a DEC meeting. Townsend said those 14 people had already completed applications in advance of the meeting. In addition, she said party officials received a “number” of completed applications on Monday, with other applications distributed to people in the last two weeks who weren’t in attendance at Monday’s meeting. A number of other people left the meeting taking an application form with them.

“There’s a great deal of disappointment in the national election with Hillary’s loss and the election of Trump,” she said about the interest over the past two weeks. “People are saying, ‘maybe I should have been more involved, I need to be involved.’ There were people who said ‘I sat this out and I shouldn’t have’ and, whatever their reasons are, we’re just glad that they want to be engaged.”

Although it wasn’t a perfect night by any stretch for Hillsborough Democrats, the county did vote strongly for Clinton. The voters also voted in support of all the constitutional officers on the ballot (such as Clerk of the Court Pat Frank, Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer and Property Appraiser Bob Henriquez) re-elected, as well as Andrew Warren defeating Mark Ober for state attorney.

Townsend is running for re-election to the party chair position on Dec. 5, and no one is challenging her. She was elected in January, after serving as vice-chair in the previous year.

One factor that certainly has helped the party is the fundraising prowess unleashed by Mark Hanissee, the former Pinellas County DEC chair who lost his bid for re-election there to Susan McGrath two years ago.

Under Hanissee, the Hillsborough Democrats have created two fundraising vehicles — one being the Hillsborough Society, created in 2015 by Alex Sink and Tucker/Hall co-founder Tom Hall. That group was able to raise $40,000 in the past year to help with get-out-the-vote efforts, including slate cards, digital media, phone banking, website upkeep, and social media.

Then there is their Victory Fund. Hannisee said when he was originally hired by the party in the fall of 2014, his goal was to bring in $200,000 by this past election to that fund. In fact, he said, they raised more than $309,000.

During the meeting, Townsend said the party also did a great job in registering voters. On April 30 the Democrats had 305,887 registered in Hillsborough County. They then registered 32,113 between May and Oct. 18, increasing their numbers to over 338,000.

“We actually delivered the vote for Hillary Clinton,” she said to cheers from the audience.

But obviously, Clinton’s loss in Florida was pivotal in the Democratic nominee’s failure to win the state’s 29 electoral votes. After the 2012 presidential election, when Barack Obama won re-election days before the final vote in Florida was counted (he ultimately defeated Mitt Romney here by less than one percentage point), Democrats’ attitude was that while Clinton could afford to lose Florida, Trump could not. Yet that was going by the old Electoral College map, which had states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin going for Clinton. They didn’t, however.

“We share your pain. We share your disappointment,” Townsend told the dozens of new members in the audience. “I encourage you to stay engaged. We can turn out more Democratic voters with more hands for sure.”


Donald Trump won’t pursue investigation into Hillary Clinton emails

President-elect Donald Trump will not pursue an investigation into Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, according to Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway.

But one conservative activist called it a “betrayal.”

Conway, who was Trump’s campaign manager, appeared Tuesday on on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program.

“I think when the president-elect, who’s also the head of your party now, tells you before he’s even inaugurated he doesn’t wish to pursue these charges it sends a very strong message, tone, and content to the members,” she told host Joe Scarborough, a former Florida congressman.  

“And I think Hillary Clinton still has to face the fact that a majority of Americans don’t find her to be honest or trustworthy,” she added. “But if Donald Trump can help her heal then, perhaps, that’s a good thing.”

The news elicited a concerned response from Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group.

“Donald Trump must commit his administration to a serious, independent investigation of the very serious Clinton national security, email, and pay-to-play scandals,” he said in an email.

“If Mr. Trump’s appointees continue the Obama administration’s politicized spiking of a criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton, it would be a betrayal of his promise to the American people to ‘drain the swamp of out-of-control corruption in Washington.”

Trump had hammered Clinton in the Oct. 9 presidential debate on her use of a private email server to send and receive thousands of emails during her tenure as secretary of state, including classified information, and then allegedly deleting thousands more.

“If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation, because there has never been so many lies, so much deception,” he said during the debate. “There has never been anything like it, and we’re going to have a special prosecutor.”

But FBI Director James Comey has told lawmakers his agency hadn’t changed its view that Clinton did not break federal law in her handling of classified information.

Earlier this month, the Republican Trump – a real estate tycoon-turned-reality TV star – beat Clinton, the Democratic nominee, for the White House. He now has won 306 electoral college votes to Clinton’s 232.

On Tuesday, Conway said Trump is “thinking of many different things as he prepares to become the President of the United States and things that sound like the campaign aren’t among them.”

Donald Trump aide suggests he wants no Hillary Clinton probe

The Latest on Donald Trump’s transition to the presidency (all times local):

8:45 a.m. – A top adviser to Donald Trump is suggesting that the president-elect is going to help Hillary Clinton “heal” and not pursue a probe of her private email server.

Kellyanne Conway said on MSNBC on Tuesday that Trump is setting a tone for congressional Republicans by refraining from calling for more investigations. She says that “he doesn’t wish to pursue these charges.”

Days earlier, Trump told CBS’s “60 Minutes” that he wants to think about whether to look more into Clinton’s homebrew email server and the Justice Department’s decision to not recommend charges against her.

Now Conway says that, “if Donald Trump can help her heal, then perhaps that’s a good thing.”

Trump during the campaign vowed to put his Democratic presidential rival “in jail” over the matter.

8:30 a.m. – President-elect Donald Trump has abruptly canceled a meeting with The New York Times. He accused the organization of changing the conditions for the session “at the last moment.” The newspaper denied the charge and said Trump’s aides tried to change the rules.

He’d been scheduled to meet Times reporters, editors and columnists and did not give details of his complaint, saying in a morning tweet only that “the terms and conditions of the meeting were changed at the last moment. Not nice.”

Eileen M. Murphy, the newspaper’s senior vice president for communications, said the paper “did not change the ground rules at all.”

She said Trump’s aides asked for a private meeting only, with nothing on the record, after having agreed to a meeting that would consist of a small off-the-record session and a larger on-the-record one with reporters and columnists.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Darryl Paulson: Getting schooled on the Electoral College

Going into the 2016 presidential election, virtually all political pundits and pollsters projected an easy victory for Hillary Clinton. Several of the most respected pollsters gave Clinton an 85 percent chance of defeating Donald Trump. Highly respected presidential scholar Larry Sabato projected that Clinton would win 347 electoral votes to Trump’s 191.

As we now know, Trump won 290 electoral votes to 232 for Clinton with Michigan’s 16 electoral votes still undecided. Although Trump won the electoral majority and the presidency, Clinton is leading by over 2 million popular votes.

This marks the fourth time in presidential history where the candidate winning the popular vote lost the electoral vote battle. Andrew Jackson lost to John Quincy Adams in 1824, Samuel Tilden lost to Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876, Al Gore lost to George W. Bush in 2000, and now Clinton has lost to Trump. All four of those who won the popular vote but lost the election were Democrats.

Movements are underway to pressure electors to vote for the popular vote winner. Lady Gaga’s petition requiring this to happen in 2016 has already garnered 5 million signatures.

Movements are also seeking to abolish the Electoral College and replace it with the direct election of the president. Both movements are likely to fail.

Supporters of direct election do have the support of a majority of the American public. Their strongest argument is simply that direct election is the most democratic way to select the president. It also is the reason that the drafters of the Constitution opposed direct elections.

Those who drafted the Constitution created a republic and not a democracy. Alexander Hamilton believed the masses could not be trusted since “they seldom judge or determine right.” Hamilton urged the “first class” to “check the unsteadiness of the second.”

James Madison, one of the co-authors of The Federalist Papers written to secure passage of the Constitution, wrote that unfettered masses tend to “tyranny.”

John Adams, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the nation’s second president, noted that “Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy that did not commit suicide.”

Supporters of direction elections argue it is only fair that the popular vote winner is elected as president and not the electoral vote winner. But, if the direct election was used, the candidates would alter their campaign strategy.

Contrary to popular opinion, there is no guarantee that Jackson, Tilden, Gore or Clinton would have won under a popular vote system, because their opponents would have altered their campaign strategy. Republicans would focus more on blue-state Republicans and Democrats would concentrate more on red-state liberals.

Trump, in response to critics who said Clinton should win because she won the popular vote battle, tweeted that “If the election were based on total popular vote, I would have campaigned in New York, Florida, and California and won even bigger and more easily.”

Those who want to alter the Electoral College system face several significant hurdles. The system was designed not only as a check on the masses but also to, protect the small states from the domination of the large states.

If no candidates receive a majority of the electoral vote, the election is thrown into the House where every state gets one vote in selecting the president. California gets one vote as does Alaska. After 230 years, can we amend the Constitution and violate an agreement that was essential to the passage of the Constitution?

Amending the Constitution to replace the Electoral College system with direct election is unlikely to happen. Amendments require a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate and the approval of three-fourths of the state legislatures. This is unlikely since the small states would be undercutting one of their political powers.

As opponents of the electoral college point out, it is not necessary to amend the Constitution if states enter into a compact requiring their state’s electors to vote for the national popular vote winner. The position of elector would be retained, but they would be required to vote for the popular vote winner.

The compact plan, is advocated by computer scientist John Koza, whose 800-page book, Every Vote Equal, can be downloaded for free. Koza’s plan would only kick in when enough states sign the compact and equal 270 or more electoral votes.

So far, 10 states and the District of Columbia, have signed the compact. The 10 states that have signed on are Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Washington, Vermont, California, and Rhode Island. These states represent 165 electoral votes.

Notice anything about the states signing the compact?  Every one is a blue state. Not one red state has signed on and the key battleground states like Florida and Ohio, which receive disproportionate attention under the current system, are not likely to sign the compact.

Even if enough states sign the compact, there is little doubt it would face a constitutional challenge. The Compact Clause of the Constitution states that “no state shall, without the consent of Congress, enter into any agreement or compact with another state, it with a foreign power.”

Tara Ross, the author of Enlightened Democracy, wrote that “If ever a compact encroached on federal and state sovereignty, this is it. The compact would change the presidential selection process without amending the Constitution.”

If you want to make a safe bet, look for the Electoral College to be here for another 200 years. Then again, we thought it was a safe bet that Clinton would beat Trump.


Darryl Paulson is Professor Emeritus of Government at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg.

Donald Trump auditions Cabinet prospects high above Manhattan

Donald Trump held court from his perch high above Manhattan on Monday, receiving a line of former rivals, longtime allies and TV executives while overseeing a presidential transition that at times resembles a reality show like the one he once hosted.

Trump met with nearly a dozen prospective hires, all of whom were paraded in front of the cameras set up in the Trump Tower lobby as they entered an elevator to see the president-elect. Out of public view himself, he fell back on his TV star roots by filming a video that touted his legislative goals once he takes office.

Trump; did not immediately announce any appointments after the meetings, which came on the heels of a two-day whirlwind of interviews at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Unlike his predecessors, who often spoke with Cabinet candidates under a cloud of secrecy, Trump has turned the search into a very public audition process. The extraordinary exercise took on a routine feel on Monday: First, former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown stepped off the gold-plated elevator into the marble-coated lobby after his meeting to declare to waiting reporters that he was “the best person” to become Veterans Affairs secretary.

Next, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, a candidate for interior secretary, did much the same, striding off the lift to say she had “a wonderful discussion” with Trump. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry declined to speak to reporters, but he did take time for a photo with the Naked Cowboy, the underwear-sporting, guitar-strumming New York institution who is normally a fixture at Times Square but has spent recent days camped out at Trump Tower singing about the president-elect.

Democratic Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who resigned her post on the Democratic National Committee after endorsing Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton, also met with Trump but entered and exited out of sight. She later defended crossing party lines to meet with Trump about U.S. involvement in Syria, saying in a statement she would never “play politics with American and Syrian lives.”

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a longtime Trump ally, also arrived with his wife, Callista, and told reporters that he indicated to Trump that he was interested in being a “senior planner” to coordinate long-term political efforts among the Republicans in control of all three branches of government.

Senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said of the visitors, “Not all of them will be in his Cabinet and his federal government, but they are all incredibly important in offering their points of views, their experience and certainly their vision of the country.”

No one was saying whether Trump would announce more appointments before heading to Florida for Thanksgiving. He was planning to leave Tuesday or Wednesday to spend the holiday at his Mar-a-Lago estate, while Vice President-elect Mike Pence will spend Thanksgiving in Mississippi, where his Marine son is stationed.

Trump has largely remained out of sight since winning the election, save for a flurry of brief public appearances over the weekend, often with Pence at his side, to flash thumbs-ups and provide quick updates on his progress in building a government. He remained in the upper floors of his skyscraper Monday, seeking counsel on the phone and interviewing candidates all while keeping an eye on the cable news coverage of the day’s events.

He appeared in a two-and-a-half minute video released late Monday in which he pledged to the American people that he was appointing “patriots” to his administration and reiterated a number of his campaign promises, including plans to renegotiate trade deals, scrap excessive regulations and institute a five-year ban on executive officials becoming lobbyists.

The video — which made no mention of key pledges to build a border wall with Mexico or repeal the Affordable Care Act — continues the president-elect’s practice of trying to go over the heads of the media and take his case directly to the American public. Since Election Day, he has twice ditched the group of reporters designated to follow his movements and has so far eschewed the traditional news conference held by the president-elect in the days after winning.

Trump has not held a full-fledged news conference since July.

But the media were clearly on his mind as he met with executives and on-air personalities from TV networks. He frequently singled out the media — declaring them “so dishonest” — for criticism during the campaign, but it’s not unusual for presidents to hold off-the-record meetings with journalists when trying to promote policies or programs.

Among the attendees were NBC anchor Lester Holt and “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd, ABC’s “Good Morning America” host George Stephanopoulos and anchor David Muir, CBS’ “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and several executives at the networks.

None of the attendees would discuss the meeting with reporters in the lobby, though Conway said it was “very cordial, very productive, very congenial.”

Those Trump met with over the weekend included former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a former critic now being considered for secretary of state; retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, who Trump dubbed an “impressive” prospect for defense secretary, and billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, who is under consideration for Commerce secretary.

“We’ve made a couple of deals,” Trump said Sunday. He gave assurances that “incredible meetings” would be bringing “incredible people” into the government.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Kathy Castor says she’ll work with Donald Trump and GOP majority in Congress ‘if there’s an opportunity’

Kathy Castor says the voters in Florida’s 14th Congressional District re-elected her to get things done in Washington and, when she can, she’ll work with the Donald Trump administration and GOP Congress. But she’ll also resist them, depending on what policies they propose.

“People elected me to solve problems and if there’s any opportunity to do that with President Trump and a Republican Congress, that’s what I’m going to do,” she said Monday. “But I’m not going to compromise the values that this community holds dear. Whether that’s taking our Dream Act students and not deporting them, or fighting for higher wages, the Democratic Party is the party of working people and I’m going to continue to stand up for their interests against the system.”

Yet despite that perception, Hillary Clinton’s failure to win rust-belt states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Michigan in the election has led to the accepted perception the Democrats have lost their way with working people.

In Boston on Sunday night, Bernie Sanders said the party has to return its focus to the working class.

“The working class of this country is being decimated — that’s why Donald Trump won,” Sanders said. “And what we need now are candidates who stand with those working people, who understand that real median family income has gone down.”

“All I know is that every week when I’m in Washington D.C. we’re standing up to moneyed special interests and for some reason that’s not being communicated,” Castor says. “For example, they want to give massive tax breaks to big corporations and the top one percent. That’s not going to help working class people or working people, and what I’m afraid is that the Congress that has passed draconian budgets and tried to keep all the benefits for the wealthiest in the country, that they kind of play on Trump and take advantage of him and the people who elected him. We’re going to be pointing these things out.”

Next week Castor and her Democratic colleagues will vote on whether to retain Nancy Pelosi as their leader, or go in a different direction. Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan has announced his candidacy to challenge Pelosi, the 76-year-old San Francisco congresswoman who leads the Democrats in the House of Representatives.

Castor said she is undecided, but said there’s value in having a female leader.

“The party needs different leaders,” she acknowledges. “It’s time for a younger generation of leaders to run for local office, to get involved in local issues and state issues. But there is one consideration about who is going to be in leadership in Washington. President Trump, Chuck Schumer, Sen. McConnell, Paul Ryan. What do they have all have in common?”

She then answered her own question. “There is a lot of value in having a female leader,” before insisting that she hasn’t made a final decision on who should lead the caucus.

Speaking in Peru Sunday, President Obama said he was reticent to “meddle” in party votes while still in office, but went on to say that he “cannot speak highly enough” of the woman who a decade ago became the first female House speaker. “She combines strong progressive values with just extraordinary political skill, and she does stuff that’s tough, not just stuff that’s easy,” Obama said of Pelosi.


Mitch Perry Report for 11.20.16 — Bill de Blasio’s big moment?

In New York City today, Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to give a “major speech” on the presidential election’s impact on the city. De Blasio wants help from the feds to pay for the additional security costs in dealing with the fact that the president-elect’s home is literally in the heart of Midtown Manhattan.

The NYPD has already put about an additional 50 officers on each shift during daytime hours to manage the flow of traffic in the immediate area of Trump Tower, de Blasio said Friday, and he wants Washington to help pay for overtime costs.

Although being mayor of New York already presents a huge national platform, de Blasio’s profile could grow larger as a dominant liberal voice in opposition to the new Donald Trump administration, along with the usual suspects (Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, etc.)

“The mayor has an enormous opportunity to stand up on behalf of New Yorkers and our values. Lots of New Yorkers are afraid of Trump and the mayor can be their voice,” political consultant Howard Wolfson, who advised Michael Bloomberg and served on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign team, told the NY Post on Sunday.

It also may help him as he begins his quest to be re-elected in 2017.

If you’ve followed de Blasio’s tenure to date so far, you know it’s been somewhat checkered, to say the least, following 12 years under Bloomberg. Scorned by conservatives, he hasn’t exactly fired up his own liberal base, and his poll numbers have been pretty average throughout his first three years.

A Quinnipiac poll released last week shows the populace split in half as he received a 47/47 percent approval rating. However, that was his BEST rating since January and up from a negative 42/51 percent approval rating in August.

However, that same poll shows that by a  49-39 percent margin, NYC voters say they don’t support his re-election. To date, no major players have surfaced to challenge the mayor, but there’s still nearly a year for a serious opponent to surface.

Another big mayoral election will take place a year from now in St. Petersburg, where Rick Kriseman’s poll numbers have been solid, though he could be vulnerable if a strong challenger emerges.

In other news …

Local reporters/pundits discussed the 2016 presidential election at the Tampa Tiger Bay Club on Friday.

Donald Trump has been busy nominating men for his Cabinet, including Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general. Bill Nelson says he’s withholding judgement on his Senate colleague.

Eckerd College president Donald Eastman is one of 110 college presidents to pen a letter to president-elect Trump on the need to speak out against violence being committed in his name.

Donald Trump opponents try to beat him at the Electoral College

Grassroots campaigns have sprung up around the country to try to persuade members of the Electoral College to do something that has never been done in American history — deny the presidency to the clear Election Day winner.

Activists are circulating online petitions and using social media in hopes of influencing Republican electors to cast their ballots for someone other than President-elect Donald Trump and deprive him of the 270 Electoral College votes needed to become the next occupant of the White House.

“Yes, I think it’s a longshot, but I also think we’re living in strange times,” said Daniel Brezenoff, who created a petition in favor of Hillary Clinton and is asking signers to lobby electors by email or phone. “If it was ever plausible, it’s this year.”

Trump has won 290 electoral votes to Clinton’s 232, with Michigan undecided, but Clinton is on pace to win the popular vote by at least 1 million ballots. Trump’s opponents are motivated by the outcome of the popular vote and by their contention that the businessman and reality TV star is unfit to serve as commander in chief.

Just one elector so far has wavered publicly on supporting Trump.

Texas Republican Art Sisneros says he has reservations about the president-elect, but not because of the national popular vote. He told The Associated Press he won’t vote for Clinton under any circumstance.

“As a Christian, I came to the conclusion that Mr. Trump is not biblically qualified for that office,” he said.

He said he has heard from ecstatic Clinton supporters and even supportive Republicans, but also from outraged Trump backers writing “threatening and vile things.”

Sisneros signed a state party pledge to support the GOP’s standard-bearer, but that was before Trump was the official nominee. He said one of his options is to resign, allowing the state party to choose another elector.

Electors are chosen by party officials and are typically the party’s most loyal members. Presidential electors are not required to vote for a particular candidate under the Constitution. Even so, the National Archives says more than 99 percent of electors have voted as pledged throughout the nation’s history.

Some state laws call for fines against “faithless electors,” while others open them to possible felony charges, although the National Archives says no elector has ever been prosecuted for failing to vote as pledged. In North Carolina, a faithless elector’s vote is canceled, and he or she must immediately resign and be replaced.

Layne Bangerter and Melinda Smyser, two of Idaho’s four Republican electors, said they have been flooded with emails, telephone calls and Facebook messages from strangers urging them to reconsider their vote.

“It’s just not going to work,” Bangerter said. “I hope it dies down, but I don’t see that happening.”

The volume and tone of the messages caught the attention of Idaho’s secretary of state, who urged the public to remain civil as electors prepare to cast their ballots on Dec. 19 while meeting in their states.

Republican Party officials in Georgia and Michigan said their electors also have been bombarded with messages, and Iowa reported increased public interest in obtaining contact information for electors.

Michael Banerian, 22, one of Michigan’s 16 Republican electors, said he has received death threats from people who do not want him to vote for Trump. But he said he is undeterred.

“It’s mostly just a lot of angry people who don’t completely understand how the process works,” said Banerian, a political science major at Oakland University.

P. Bret Chiafalo, a Democratic elector in Washington state, said he and a small group of other electors from the party are working to contact their Republican counterparts and ask them to vote for any GOP candidate besides Trump, preferably Mitt Romney or John Kasich.

Under the Constitution, the House — currently under Republican control — decides the presidency if no candidate reaches the required electoral vote majority. House members choose from the top three contenders.

This isn’t the first time electors have faced pressure to undo the results of Election Day.

Carole Jean Jordan, a GOP elector from Florida in 2000, recalled the “unbelievably ugly” aftermath of the recount battle between George W. Bush and then-vice president Al Gore, a dispute that ended with the U.S. Supreme Court leaving Bush’s slim margin intact and handing him the presidency.

Jordan said Florida’s electors were inundated with nasty letters from people saying they should not vote for Bush. Police kept watch over her home until the electors convened in Tallahassee to cast their votes. They stayed at the same hotel, guarded by security officers who also escorted them to cast their ballots at the state Capitol.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

In job growth, blue states outpaced red states in past year

States that voted for Hillary Clinton in last week’s presidential election reported stronger job growth in the previous year than states that supported Donald Trump, according to data released by the Labor Department Friday.

Large cities in states where voters were more likely to support Trump also lagged in job growth, a separate analysis by Jed Kolko, chief economist at Indeed, a job search website, also found. The figures add credence to the idea that economic concerns contributed to Trump’s unexpected victory.

Eleven U.S. states reported healthy job gains in October, and the unemployment rate fell in seven, the Labor Department said Friday . Thirty-four states reported little change in employment from the previous month.

The healthiest gains in the past year were in so-called “blue” states: Job growth was 3.5 percent in Washington state, the biggest gain nationwide. Oregon reported the next largest gain, at 3.3 percent. Other healthy increases were in Colorado, California and Nevada.

There were exceptions to the trend: Florida, which supported Trump, saw hiring rise 3.1 percent in the 12 months ending in October, the third-highest total.

But the smallest increases were in so-called “red” states that voted for the Republican candidate. Job growth was just 0.7 percent in Pennsylvania, 0.9 percent in Ohio and 1 percent in Wisconsin – three Midwestern states that handed 48 electoral votes to Trump.

And two states lost jobs in the past year: Wyoming and North Dakota, which have been hit by falling oil and coal prices. They both voted for Trump.

Overall, the differences weren’t huge: Job growth in blue states was 1.7 percent in the 12 months ending in October, compared with 1.5 percent in red states, according to Kolko’s calculations.

But there are similarities in the city data. Six of the ten metro areas with the slowest job growth were in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin. Allentown and Scranton, both in Pennsylvania, lost the most jobs of any city nationwide.

Nationwide, the economy picked up in the fall even amid the contentious presidential election. Americans ramped up their shopping and applications for unemployment aid fell to a four-decade low, a sign layoffs are scarce.

That’s prompted steady hiring, though it has fallen from last year’s pace. Employers added 161,000 jobs nationwide in October, enough to reduce the unemployment rate over time. The rate slipped to 4.9 percent from 5 percent in September.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Bill Nelson will “reserve judgment” regarding Jeff Sessions nomination as Attorney General

If Bill Nelson is concerned about the fact that his party appears to be in tatters following last week’s election, he wasn’t letting on while addressing reporters in Tampa on Friday afternoon. Nelson will be one of 25 Democratic Senators up for re-election in a map that already looked foreboding for the Democrats before Hillary Clinton lost in the electoral college to Donald Trump in the race for the White House next week.

“I only know one way to run, and that’s to run as hard as I can as if there’s no tomorrow,” he said, adding that whether it was Governor Rick Scott or another Republican challenging his bid for a fourth term in the Senate representing Florida, he’ll continue to run in that mode.

“I always say that I run scared, and that’s the way to win,” when asked about the fact that Scott spent more than $75 million to capture the governor’s mansion in 2010, and this time will have the power of the White House behind him in Trump.

The President-elect made more news on Friday by naming Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions and former Defense Intelligence Agency head Michael Flynn to his administration

Some Democrats have reacted with alarm to the naming of Sessions to be the next Attorney General, who in 1986 became only the second federal judicial nominee in 50 years to be rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee for his comments in part regarding his remarks on civil rights. 

Nelson said little about how he might vote on Sessions when he comes up for a confirmation vote next year. “I will certainly reserve judgment if he is the nominee until we go through the hearings and it comes to the full Senate for a vote,” he said at a news conference at his downtown Tampa district office. “I can tell you that Jeff Sessions and I have worked on a number of pieces of legislation together in a bipartisan way and I’ve always had a very good working relationship with him.”

Last year the two worked on a bill that would reduce the number of H-1B visas from 85,000 to 70,000 a year. The filing of that bill came following reports Disney and other companies are using the visas to cut costs at the expense of American workers.

Nelson said he was briefed a few years ago by Flynn regarding an issue in the Intelligence Committee, but said he didn’t know him personally, and because he wasn’t subject to confirmation in the Senate, he had nothing else to say about him.

Regarding concerns from Latinos and Muslims about a Trump presidency after his harsh rhetoric in the campaign about those groups, Nelson took a relatively laid-back approach, saying there was no reason why anyone needed to be fearful of a Trump presidency. “Look at the Constitution,” he said. “It’s always worked for almost two-and-a-half centuries now. So I want the American people to stop worrying.”

The Florida Senator was not so benign when discussing Steve Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News who was named last Sunday by Trump to serve as his chief strategist. Critics have said he holds racist and anti-Semitic views based on some of the provocative reporting that’s gone on the Breitbart News website led by Bannon.

“If all these things are true about him and if he holds those views that have been articulated, if not by him by the organization he heads, then I think that is quite problematic, but again, the Senate has no role in that because the President ought to be able to have who he wants surrounding him, and in that case it is not subject to Senate confirmation,” he said.

The Democratic Party as a whole appears to be just beginning a period of soul-searching after the election. That includes an upcoming election to choose a new leader of the Democratic National Committee, as well as a challenge now to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s reign.

Regarding the DNC, Nelson told this reporter that “we obviously need somebody really good, and I think that person should be a full-time DNC Chairman. Beyond that, I have not made any judgments. “

By saying that, however, he’s effectively icing out Keith Ellison, the Minnesota congressman and favorite of the progressive wing who of course, already has a full-time job serving in the House.

And of the challenge to Pelosi, the 76-year-old San Francisco Representative who’s led the House Democrats for 14 years now and seen dozens of seats go from blue to red in recent election cycles?

“That’s in the bosom in the House,” Nelson declared. “I wouldn’t dare to speak for the House.”

Nelson said if Trump is sincere about seriously investing in the country’s crumbling infrastructure, he’d have a willing partner in himself. “We’ll just have to take it issue by issue.”

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