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Archive for the ‘2018 – ELECTION NEWS/COMMENTARY’ Category

Will ‘Hurricane Trump’ Impact GOP Gubernatorial Race in FL?

A “political hurricane,” named after a famous Palm Beach and White House resident, is currently swirling off Florida’s coast and scheduled to make landfall on Aug. 28 — the state’s primary day.   Yes, “Hurricane Trump” is central to a contentious Republican gubernatorial primary race between Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis from the 6th Congressional District, which encompasses Daytona Beach.
Just how central?
Trump’s involvement is shaping up to be a political strength test for the 2018 midterms with national implications for the 2020 presidential election.   Lest you think I am exaggerating, let’s start on Dec. 22, 2017, when Hurricane Trump’s “category 5” winds first started blowing from Air Force One after the president tweeted:

Donald J. Trump  @realDonaldTrump
Amazingly, Trump’s endorsement of DeSantis came two weeks before the conservative congressman officially announced on Jan. 5, 2018 that he was seeking the Republican nomination for governor.
DeSantis not only embraced Trump’s endorsement, but the three-term lawmaker’s entire campaign was baptized in Trump water. That has resulted in the Putnam/DeSantis primary fight for Republican base voters, which revolves around which candidate is more “Trumpian” — a clear disadvantage for Putnam, who was characterized last week as a “Trump-basher”  in a RealClearPolitics op-ed.
On the other hand, Putnam, a Florida congressman between 2001 and 2011 who has served in the powerful agriculture post since 2011, is the well-funded “establishment” candidate. He had been planning his gubernatorial campaign for many pre-Trump years, working diligently within the state, building loyalty and collecting IOUs. Putnam is also well-known and liked in Florida GOP circles.
As an active registered Republican in the state, I can attest to the longtime buzz that   Putnam was “the man” who would be the nominee to succeed Republican Gov. Rick Scott, and without much opposition. But, since Trump’s endorsement last December, DeSantis has dramatically increased his name ID among base voters, achieving political rock-star status due to his frequent appearances on Fox News Channel while providing “cable catnip” to Trump-loyal viewers.
In fact, Trump recently called DeSantis one of his four GOP “warriors” who regularly go to “battle” for him on Capitol Hill and in the media against Robert Mueller and the Russia probe.   Back in Florida, the race is virtually tied and a long way from settled. According to the latest Florida Atlantic University poll, DeSantis leads Putnam by a percentage point, 16 percent to 15 percent, among registered Republican voters, with 43 percent undecided.
Conversely, in the money primary, Putnam is winning by a landslide. His May totals are not yet available, but by April’s end he had raised a total of $28.85 million from big traditional Florida money sources and had $19 million in cash on hand.   DeSantis made significant progress after raising $3 million in May, but still lags far behind Putman. At the end of April, DeSantis had raised only $8 million, with $7 million on hand, so May’s haul shows great promise.   Comparing the opening lines from both DeSantis’s and Putnam’s end-of-May fundraising emails speaks volumes about the branding and positioning differences between the two campaigns.
DeSantis opened his May 31 email by writing:
After publicly supporting me for governor, President Trump now calls me to check and see how our campaign is doing.
To be honest with you — at this moment — we’re behind on our end-of-month goal. I don’t want to have to pick up the phone and tell the President that we failed to hit our goal.
Then DeSantis followed up on June 2 with this opening:
The liberal media is attacking me for defending President Trump.  But they don’t understand that I’m not just defending the President. I’m defending you.
Putnam’s May 30 email began:
One of our generous donors has stepped up this month to MATCH all donations through MIDNIGHT before the end of month.
This is your chance to DOUBLE your impact on one of the most important races in the country. Democrats are using Florida as a political pawn to take back the presidency in 2020, and we can’t let that happen.
Thus, while DeSantis is glued to the “Trump ticket,” Putnam is looking past November’s general election to 2020 — subtly insinuating that he will be the Republican governor to fight for Florida’s 29 electoral votes — the key to a GOP victory.
In my discussions with influential Florida Republicans, many say that they like DeSantis but think Putnam would be a stronger general election candidate, believing he is better positioned to attract independent voters. Despite the ongoing efforts of anti-NRA activists, led by Parkland shooting survivors who recently wreaked havoc on Putnam’s campaign in the “Gunshine State,” the following political facts support such thinking:
Scott won re-election in 2014 by only one percentage point in a strong Republican wave year.
Trump won Florida in 2016 by only 1.2 percentage points.
In the May FAU poll cited earlier, Trump’s Florida job approval rating among all registered voters is 43 percent, up from 41 percent in February.
Trump’s Florida disapproval stands at 45 percent, up from 44 percent in February.  Among Florida registered Republicans, Trump’s job approval jumps to 62 percent, with 10.3 percent disapproving and 22.7 percent neutral.
Among Florida’s registered independent voters, only 24.8 percent approve of Trump, with 33.9 percent disapproving.
A huge X-factor in the August primary is whether or not Trump will hit the Florida campaign trail with DeSantis. In mid-May, the New York Times reported  that Vice President Mike Pence had asked Trump not to campaign with his favorite Florida “warrior.” That was well after April 3 when DeSantis publicly said, “I think the president’s going to come down for me very soon. Which will be very good.”   However, the congressman is still waiting for the president. Then it was recently announced that Donald Trump Jr. would campaign with DeSantis in late June. Perhaps Trump listened to Pence — at least for now.
With such a close race in a key state, if DeSantis loses the August primary, Trump runs the risk of suffering political embarrassment with national repercussions just as the fall campaigns enter the stretch run. This, of course, is why presidents don’t normally endorse primary candidates.
But Trump is a risk taker, and DeSantis is a brilliant young candidate with a bright national future who Trump may think is worth the risk. Furthermore, Trump may want to test his political strength in the state to see if he can push DeSantis over the primary finish line. If successful, that would be a great psychological victory for Trump and his base, not only in Florida but around the nation — a sign that he has once again triumphed over the GOP “establishment.”
Politics, like the weather, is unpredictable, but this we know  — “Hurricane Trump” is either going to land with great force, make big waves for Ron DeSantis and drown Adam Putnam. Or, Putnam wins the primary, the hurricane fizzles and quietly tries to sneak out to sea. Check the local Florida forecasts on Aug. 28 and then wait for the national damage assessment.
Myra Adams is a media producer and writer who served on the McCain Ad Council during the GOP nominee’s 2008 campaign and on the 2004 Bush campaign creative team.

“There is good reason to be optimistic about Republicans’ chances in the 2018 midterm elections – and the 2020 elections as well.”

Gingrich Productions

2018: The Surprising Republican Opportunity

2018: The Surprising Republican Opportunity

Fox News
May 24, 2018
Newt Gingrich

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Despite the Democratic hopes for a “blue wave”, there is good reason to be optimistic about Republicans’ chances in the 2018 midterm elections – and the 2020 elections as well.
I think Republicans stand to gain four to six seats in the Senate, and while we may lose some seats in the House, we will still keep control. I think we could potentially do even better – and there are plenty of reasons to support this belief.
Every Republican candidate should pay attention to – and be very encouraged by – the recent Reuter’s poll that found Republicans leading the 2018 generic ballot. According to Reuters, 39 percent of registered voters, when asked last week, reported that they would vote for Republicans in November. This is compared to 36.7 percent who said they would support Democrats. This more than 2-point lead is significant when you consider that in early April Democrats were leading by more than 10 points. A swing of 12 points is a big deal.
I have no doubt the Republican surge is happening because the left-wing media is finding it harder and harder to ignore the positive outcomes of the Trump administration’s policies. As I point out in my new book, Trump’s America: The Truth About Our Nation’s Great Comeback, under President Trump, we have seen ISIS effectively destroyed, we have seen the biggest tax cut in 31 years, the lowest unemployment rate in 17 years – the lowest Black unemployment rate in our history – and one of the healthiest, robust stock markets in decades.
Furthermore, on May 21 Gallup reported that Americans’ optimism about the ability to find good jobs is at a record high. According to Gallup, “67 percent of Americans believe that now is a good time to find a quality job in the U.S., the highest percentage in 17 years of Gallup polling. Optimism about the availability of good jobs has grown by 25 percentage points since Donald Trump was elected president.”
This finding, combined with the dividends from more than a year of Republican leadership, totally validate the Trump administration’s economic policies and totally repudiate the arguments of the so-called experts and left-wing politicians and pundits who have spent the last 17 months misleading the American people about how the economy works. (By the way, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta is estimating 4.1 percent economic growth for the second quarter of 2018. In 2016, these same experts said this was nearly impossible).
The fact is, when you combine the massive Trump-Republican deregulation effort, the tax cuts, and a Republican agenda that is being fueled and guided by innovation, America’s future looks very bright. By virtually every major metric, America is becoming great again – and Americans are starting to feel it.
However, as I also discuss in Trump’s America, the comeback is not guaranteed. Republicans – officials and citizens alike – must realize that we are in a real fight. It is a political-cultural civil war. The forces on the Left are bitterly opposed to President Trump and those who support him because they genuinely want to change this country into something other than America. They see their supposed blue wave collapsing, and they will not go down quietly.
This is not a fight that will end in a compromise. One side will win, and one side will lose. Republicans must not get complacent or allow their enthusiasm or energy to falter. Every time a Republican candidate is asked by media about the supposed blue wave, they should push back. They should point out every way that Republicans have made – and will continue to make – life better for all Americans.
Republicans everywhere should take the recent improvement in American attitudes as a clear signal to continue pushing forward with smart, common sense solutions that make Americans’ lives better. The Left will continue to try to wage niche social fights fueled by identity politics and zany socialist principles.
Let them.
Republicans must stay above the nonsense, fight the fights that matter, and keep delivering good outcomes for the American people. This is the only pathway to success in 2018 and beyond.
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Trump-Bashing Will Sink GOP Establishment’s Adam Putnam

Trump-Bashing Will Sink GOP Establishment's Adam Putnam
It was likely always going to be an uphill battle for establishment candidate Adam Putnam in the race for Florida governor.  Yes, the state commissioner of agriculture has raised a lot of money from special interests in Tallahassee, but as we’ve seen in recent history, no amount of money can paper over a problematic record that, in Putnam’s case, includes support for amnesty (both the Arlen Specter-sponsored immigration bill in 2006 and the so-called Gang of 8 measure in 2013), opposition to E-Verify, support for the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street banks, voting with Nancy Pelosi for the Obama “cash for clunkers” program and supporting a massive expansion of federal authority over K-12 education, which laid the groundwork for Common Core.
But what really will be responsible for sinking Putnam’s candidacy is the hostility he has demonstrated toward President Trump.  This hostility is not just the typical behavior exhibited by run-of-the-mill establishment Republicans, but includes actively seeking to sabotage Trump’s candidacy and to undermine his presidency.  This is a big reason why GOP Congressman and Trump ally Ron DeSantis will win the Republican primary for governor on Aug. 28.
Deny Trump the GOP Nomination at the Convention?
Incredibly, Putnam entertained the notion that Trump would be denied the party’s nomination in a convention fight in Cleveland.  In a piece in the Miami Herald headlined “Putnam ‘not real thrilled’ with Trump, won’t back him,” Putnam ruled out endorsing Trump prior to the national gathering.  “I don’t envision a scenario where I would endorse Trump prior to the convention, and we’ll see what the convention yields,” said Putnam, a “super delegate” as a statewide elected official.  Putnam’s refusal was rooted in his negative view of Trump as a man.
So, even though Trump amassed the necessary delegates in the spring, Putnam wanted to “see what the convention yield[ed]”?  This could only mean that he entertained the pipe dream that a convention fight would result in Trump being denied the nomination.  This is an attitude commonly found deep in the bowels of the GOP establishment: heads the establishment wins and tails the voters lose.  Even though Donald Trump blitzed through the primaries amassing impressive victory after impressive victory, we somehow must allow the party establishment to render the people’s judgment null and void?

Help Hillary by Unfavorably Comparing Trump to Pence

During the general election campaign, Putnam continued his Trump bashing – even though that only helped Hillary Clinton.  He even used Indiana Gov. – and Trump running mate — Mike Pence as a way to criticize the nominee, saying that Pence was “180 degrees different” than Trump.  Unlike Pence, Putnam explained, Trump is not “a level, steady, consistent guy who is a well-read, conservative rooted in sort of the founding philosophical documents of conservatism.”
By that point, Donald Trump had experienced massive success in a variety of fields ranging from real estate to television.   To denigrate him by saying he wasn’t “level” or “steady” on the verge of the most significant presidential election in a generation represented sabotage of the first degree.  With Republicans like Putnam, who needs Democrats?

More Putnam Attacks on Trump: ‘Dishonorable’ and ‘Vile’

As the campaign wore on, Putnam – who refused to attend a single Trump rally in Florida during the campaign, even though he is a statewide official – continued to offer a steady stream of negative commentary of the candidate.  When Trump defended himself against attacks made by Khizr Khan and the news media during the 2016 Democratic convention, Putnam lashed out at Trump for being “abhorrent and dishonorable” and said Trump’s defense of himself “makes me question how badly he wants to win.  He keeps running his mouth about the most ridiculous things.”
When asked whether he intended to support Trump in November, Putnam demurred, saying, “I think I’ve said all I need to say about Trump today.”
Of course, when the “Access Hollywood” tape was leaked to the Washington Post a month before the 2016 election, Putnam rushed to condemn Trump as “vile and obscene.”  That the prospect of a Clinton victory would be detrimental to the country seemed not to have mattered to Putnam, who was more interested in currying favor with the media and anti-Trump political establishment.

Post-Trump Victory: Putnam Keeps Trump-Bashing

Following the election, Republicans across the country basked in the glow of Donald Trump’s historic victory over Hillary Clinton and were delighted as President-elect Trump began assembling a stellar Cabinet, including such luminaries as Mike Pompeo. Not Adam Putnam, who continued his anti-Trumpism by deriding the Trump transition as a “circus.”  It is almost as if Putnam was part of that small and irrelevant class of Republicans who deep down really preferred Clinton as president.
The classic GOP primary battle has traditionally pitted an establishment insider against a conservative reformer.  In the era of Trump, it is imperative that a candidate also capture the Trump/populist wing of the party in order to win.  Given that the president has sky-high approval ratings with Republican primary voters, this is probably the largest share of the primary electorate.
As great as the contrast is between Putnam (a consummate political insider and career politician) and DeSantis (an Iraq veteran and Reaganite) on the “establishment vs. reformer” scale, the gulf between the two of them vis-à-vis support for President Trump is immense.  Since Trump assumed office, DeSantis has been a leader in supporting his policies, ranging from the border wall to the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, as well as exposing the deep state of bureaucrats that targeted Trump and wreaked havoc during the Obama administration.

For Adam Putnam, the Trump presidency is a “circus.”  For Ron DeSantis, it’s a chance to Make American Great Again.

Disclaimer: This video OR article in no way implies that ‘The Highlands Tea Party’ endorses any candidate running for office in: Highlands County, Florida government, the U.S Congress or Presidency. This video/article is presented for public information only. The views or opinions expressed in this video are solely those of the candidate, their sponsors or staff, and do not necessarily represent those of ‘The Highlands Tea Party’. 


John Nelson - jenkan04@gmail.com
Bob Gilmore
Dick Fankhauser