From door knockers to flotillas: Donald Trump campaign claims high energy in Florida
Image via Walton Sun.

walton sun trumptilla
Trump's X-factor in 2016 was supporter enthusiasm. It's back, Susie Wiles says.

The Florida campaign brain trust for President Donald Trump‘s reelection bid say they’re seeing supporters’ enthusiasm riding high, as reflected in crowds, canvassing efforts, volunteers, turnouts, and even in boat parades.

Susie Wiles, Florida senior adviser to the campaign and a longtime go-to for Republicans’ Sunshine State must-win efforts, says she’s perhaps seeing more enthusiasm than in 2016 when tens of thousands of volunteers, all zealous to help, turned out to drive Trump’s surprise victory.

“It could be a bigger number than in 2016. That was the most I had ever seen, but it is more than it was then,” Wiles said.

In an interview Friday, leaders of the Florida Trump Victory coalition campaign involving the official Donald Trump for President Campaign, the Republican National Committee and other organizations, has the usual boasts for its ground game: An infrastructure in place continuously since Trump’s first campaign; more than 200 paid staff; a highly-developed, sophisticated data operation; and something old-fashioned that Democrats are not trying this year because of the coronavirus crisis — a door-to-door operation.

Democrats have their own ground game and robust staff, much of it focused through a highly innovative virtual campaign. They also have a new pile of money, with Michael Bloomberg‘s plan to pour $100 million into Florida, particularly into data and organizing efforts in the Sunshine State.

But in 2016 there was an X-factor that caught many Democrats, media, and political observers unaware. Trump generated an enthusiasm level that overflowed parking lots at volunteer centers and, for many supporters, made Trump’s election a personal cause.

Alex Garcia, Trump Victory regional political director, insisted Friday that level of enthusiasm is back.

He pointed to Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s visit to Tampa and Kissimmee on Tuesday, the former Vice President’s first public appearances in the I-4 corridor this year. The media pointed out the campaign caravan saw more Trump supporters than Biden backers lining the streets in Tampa.

Garcia contended it wasn’t a fluke.

“This week we had the Women’s Trump bus tour travel throughout the state. You can see the crowds that have been at each of these, the enthusiasm is real. I mean totally packed. Whether it’s the boat parades, whatever events we do, you just see lots of supporters out there,” Garcia said.

Garcia also weighed in on boat parades, which are popping up almost everywhere lately.

“These boat rallies are organic,” Wiles said. “Those are not things that we spend days and nights planning. And I consider those to be really indicative of the enthusiasm for the President. In various places across the state, and in other states too, people that are boaters, that support the President, call their friends and neighbors and those boat rallies pop up. That’s not to say we don’t have a representative of the campaign, a high-level surrogate if you will, come and be a part of it once it’s ongoing. But we don’t plan those.”

What they do plan is what to do with it.

“We’ve been on the ground for years. And we have that infrastructure built up. So we are able to harness that enthusiasm, to train volunteers, to collect voter registrations at the door,” said Danielle Alvarez, Trump Victory regional communications director.

Scott Powers

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 [email protected]


  • Sonja Fitch

    September 19, 2020 at 7:53 am

    Trump is a paranoid delusional racist sexist liar! Trump says will eliminate social security and medicare by 2023 VoteBlue! Vote Democrat up and down ballot!

    • Tanika Mills

      September 19, 2020 at 3:15 pm

      Take your meds, Hillary.

  • Ron Ogden

    September 19, 2020 at 8:46 am

    As one of the organizers of the effort for Trump and a full slate of Republican candidates in north Pinellas County, I can tell you the enthusiasm level is NUTZ! What suprises me most is the number of women who are stepping up for the President–including, it is worth pointing out, quite a number who volunteer that they once were Democrats.

    • Dr. John McMahon

      September 20, 2020 at 12:13 am

      ROn as a former embarrassed Kennedy Democrat myself, I want to thank you and your decent hard working patriots for everything you are doing to contribute to the eventually marginalized Democratic party. Thank you!!

  • Todd

    September 20, 2020 at 5:44 pm

    I don’t see the same level. Some Republicans are sick of Trump over covid cover-up and demeaning our vets. I am done with liar. I regret voting for him and like 4 of my vet friends. God bless America!

    • Tanika Mills

      September 20, 2020 at 5:51 pm

      Serious question: why do you believe an article with no identified sources in a magazine whose owner is a big Biden donor? Why? Even the fired John Bolton, who was there, has denounced this story.

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Ron Brackett, Jason Delgado, Renzo Downey, Daniel Figueroa, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Joe Henderson, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Andrew Wilson, Mike Wright, and Tristan Wood.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn