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2020

Donald Trump raising money in Orlando on March 9; tickets start at $11K per couple

Trump campaign makes fifth visit to Central Florida in a year. All Dems combined so far: 3 visits.

President Donald Trump is coming to Orlando March 9 for a fundraiser featuring top party leaders and an $11,200-per-couple base ticket price in the middle of what normally would be the Democrats’ season in the I-4 corridor.

If someone wants to be at the Trump fundraising event’s roundtable, have a photo taken, and be at the reception, tickets cost $100,000 per couple.

Just a photo and a reception, $35,000 per couple.

No photo: $11,200.

The lunchtime fundraiser, promoted as “A Lunch with Donald J. Trump, President of the United States,”  will be held at a still-undisclosed location.

It will be hosted by Diane and Bob Dello Russo, Lee Chira, Mary Demetree, Bill Heavener, Allan Keen, Mark Modarres, and Lori Summers.

In addition, the invitation touts appearances by Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, RNC Co-Chairman Tommy Hicks Jr., RNC National Finance Chairman Todd Ricketts, Trump Victory Finance Committee National Chair and former FOX News TV personality Kimberly Guilfoyle, and Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale.

The visit to Orlando comes as Democrats seeking to run against him should be organizing their own visits to Orlando, the I-4 corridor, or even to Florida.  The “super Tuesday” Democratic primaries are March 3, and Florida’s is on March 17. In between are a half-dozen primaries, including Michigan, Missouri, and Washington, but of them only Michigan is a state considered critical to who might win in November.

 So far, Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have been to Central Florida more often than all of the Democratic candidates combined, even though Trump has no Florida primary to worry about. Trump held his reelection campaign kickoff rally in Orlando in June and has been back for events in The Villages and earlier this month for the Daytona 500. Pence headlined a rally in Kissimmee in January.

Central Florida has seen one public visit from a Democrat running for President since Trump’s campaign kickoff, when Pete Buttigieg visited in August. Buttigieg and Biden have been back, but for private fundraisers.

Orange County Democratic Chair Wes Hodge said he expects and hopes Democratic visits to start soon, and to continue all year as a Democratic nominee emerges and goes after the traditional battleground, but expressed some concern for how much Trump already is doing in Central Florida.

“It’s obvious how important the Trump campaign sees the I-4 corridor and Central Florida,” Hodge conceded.

Randy Ross, who chaired the Trump campaign in Orange County in 2016 and has been at the forefront of Trump’s 2020 campaign in Florida, suggested that Democratic candidates may be making a mistake of thinking of Central Florida as a safe zone now, with a significant shift toward blue, particularly in Orange and Osceola counties.

“We’re not going to win Orange County, but we certainly want to get as close as possible,” he said.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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