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Politics

Backroom Briefing: Candidates Make Themselves at Home

October 20, 2016 - 10:00pm

Maybe the presidential candidates and their surrogates could just wave at each other from Florida's airport tarmacs.

Last week, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, did something of a tag-team routine as they campaigned across Florida for five straight days.

Trump started in Panama City Beach, spent the next day visiting Ocala and Lakeland, and finished the following day in West Palm Beach. Pence picked up from there, campaigning one day in Pensacola and Miami and the next night speaking to Republican leaders in Tampa.

Now, it's the Democrats' turn.

President Barack Obama started the latest campaign swing Thursday with an appearance in Miami Gardens for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Former President Bill Clinton will pick up the baton Friday, campaigning for his wife in Orlando and Jacksonville, before going to Panama City and Pensacola on Saturday.

Then it will be Democratic vice-presidential candidate Tim Kaine's turn, as he is expected to appear Sunday in Alachua and Orange counties before heading to Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties on Monday. Finally, Hillary Clinton is expected to be in the state next Tuesday and Wednesday.

GUERRILLA WARFARE

They call themselves the "band of brothers."

But four Democrats running in conservative congressional districts across North Florida are clearly outgunned and outmanned in the Nov. 8 elections.

The four candidates --- Steven Specht in the western Panhandle's Congressional District 1; Walt Dartland in neighboring District 2; Ken McGurn in North Central Florida's District 3; and Dave Bruderly in Northeast Florida's District 4 --- held a news conference Thursday in Tallahassee.

They all have military backgrounds and announced proposals to help veterans, a huge constituency across the top of the state. But they also made a pitch for their underdog candidacies.

“We are running a grassroots insurgency," said Bruderly, who is running against former Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford in District 4. "I really believe that the voters should decide who wins the election. That is what we are trying to do is to get the word out that voters have a choice."

McGurn is the only one of the candidates running against an incumbent, U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla.

But the others have received relatively little attention as they run against better-known, better-funded Republicans. Along with Bruderly running against Rutherford, Specht face state Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, and Dartland is running against Panama City physician Neal Dunn.

DEMOCRATS HOPE FOR WIN --- GOD WILLING

Florida Democrats are trying to convince voters that Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio will look elsewhere for employment if re-elected to a second six-year term in November.

The state Democratic Party launched a mock website Thursday with a domain name it had pounced on --- MarcoRubioForPresident.com --- "in preparation for Marco Rubio's inevitable 2020 presidential campaign."

On Monday, during a debate with Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy, Rubio said he won't abandon his office for a presidential run in 2020 if re-elected to the Senate.

However, Democrats have noted that Rubio was adamant he wouldn't run again for the Senate as he unsuccessfully campaigned for president earlier this year. During the debate Monday, Rubio also repeatedly added a "God willing" phrase to the six-year commitment.

The MarcoRubioForPresident website simply features a 30-second video of Rubio repeating the "God willing" comment.

TWEET OF THE WEEK: "Tonight was Donald Trump's best debate, and he lost." --- Republican strategist and Trump foe Mac Stipanovich (@MacStipanovich) after Wednesday's final presidential debate.

Comments

I guess you "Boys" mean "unlike what Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton do on airport tarmacs in the middle of the night.." I guess you "3 boys" and your "news service" need to "get out more" and expand your stunted "worldly view" in the hopes we "buy your pablum"..! (Anyone else working there in that "News Service" that can "cover your exposed asses"???

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