Donald Trump wants to win Florida -- and to do that, he’s going to need all the manpower and ammunition in staffing he can get. The Republican presidential nominee changed up his Florida campaign staff, replacing former head of staff Karen Giorno with veteran lobbyist Susie Wiles.
Trump initially enlisted Wiles as the campaign’s senior adviser for battleground communications at the end of last month.
Wiles is perhaps best known for her involvement as campaign manager in Gov. Rick Scott’s first gubernatorial campaign in 2010.
She currently works as managing partner at Ballard Partners’ Jacksonville office and has worked on other presidential campaigns as well. She first delved into the presidential sphere when Utah state Sen. Jon Huntsman ran for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012.
Her Republican credentials extend all the way to the party’s beloved Ronald Reagan, who she worked for as a scheduler.
Giorno has been moved as senior adviser to the chairman of coalitions in Trump’s team and will be based in the campaign’s New York City headquarters.
“From this position I can better serve Mr. Trump by organizing my national contacts and expertise to ensure we mobilize these crucial voting blocs,” Giorno said in a statement. “This is a great honor."
A little under two months remain until the November election, and team Trump is honing its focus on the Sunshine State. Florida’s 29 electoral votes are key to any candidate who wants to sit in the Oval Office in January, and both Clinton and Trump are revving up their engines, opening up field offices and taking to the airwaves to trash each other in a battle that’s only heating up.
Clinton’s campaign team spread across the state, opening up Florida field offices in recent months . Her campaign team already has over 50 offices statewide, while Trump is still lagging behind. His team is still playing catch up, planning to open up a South Florida office later this week and have 25 field offices open by mid-September.
Team Trump has been a little slow on the uptake in terms of opening up field offices. In August, Trump’s campaign said they planned to open two dozen offices across Florida, but those plans didn’t pan out.
Despite Clinton leading Trump in many polls, recent surveys suggest the race is getting close between the two candidates. A CNN/ORC poll released earlier this week showed Trump edging Clinton out by one percent and a Quinnipiac Poll released Thursday showed the two candidates in a dead heat.
Another PPP poll showed the billionaire businessman leading the former Secretary of State by one percent in Florida. That same poll showed him leading specifically with white voters which constitute a significant voting bloc in the state.
Team Trump will have to put in overtime work to clinch victory in Florida in November. Florida has gone to the Democrats during the last two presidential election cycles, and Trump needs the state -- badly.
Trump will be campaigning in Pensacola Friday evening.