Recent polls show that Democrat Andrew Gillum has maintained a lead over Trump-endorsed rival Ron DeSantis in the race to become Florida’s next governor. As a result, President Donald Trump and his aides in the White House are getting very, very worried.
According to POLITICO, President Trump plans to barnstorm Florida over the next ten days to campaign for DeSantis and for current Gov. Rick Scott, who is running a tight Senate race against incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson.
— Andrew Gillum (@AndrewGillum) October 26, 2018
“The White House is planning a political rescue mission in Florida, fearing a wipeout in a key swing state next month that could damage President Donald Trump’s reelection hopes.”
“Trump is expected to visit the state at least twice, according to two people familiar with the plans. Visits from several Cabinet members are likely, as well. Presidential text messages are being sent to Floridians who still haven’t cast their absentee ballots. And discussions are underway about blanketing the state with robocalls from Trump.”
Mac Stipanovich, a Florida GOP operative, believes that Trump’s reelection chances will be hurt with a Democrat as governor of Florida. He said that if the “charismatic” Gillum is stumping for the Democratic presidential nominee in 2020 then he is less likely to win Florida’s large pot of electoral votes.
“A Governor Gillum would be a significant obstacle for a Trump presidential campaign in Florida, and a Gov. DeSantis would be a significant asset,” Stipanovich said. “If they think Florida’s important, which I’m certain they do, they should be quite worried.”
And apparently Trump and his people are indeed very worried about the latest Florida polls showing DeSantis trailing, with only 11 days remaining until the election.
According to POLITICO, the White House is also considering “blanketing” the state with Trump robo-calls and sending presidential text messages to voters who haven’t yet mailed in their absentee ballots.
On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway were in Florida helping DeSantis and Scott, both of whom have unusually close ties to the president.
Trump aides have been in constant contact with top Florida Republicans for weeks, and it is apparent that they are very worried.
“It is both my hope and my expectation that the president will be in Florida so much between now and the election that Floridians will be hearing ‘Hail to the Chief’ in their dreams,” said right-wing Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, one of Trump’s strongest House allies. Gaetz has reportedly been in contact with the White House and is attempting to arrange for the president to visit his district, which lies in the Panhandle area recently hit by Hurricane Michael.
Clearly Trump does not want to lose two high-profile races in his adopted home state, which some consider the “swingiest of swing states.”
Trump has placed a huge amount of his political capital on a DeSantis victory, since he intervened in the GOP primary to give him his endorsement. A DeSantis loss would be a great embarrassment and would be seen as a repudiation of the president.
One thing that is not clear at this time is whether or not Trump’s efforts in Florida will do any good. A Florida Atlantic University poll released last month found that just 39 percent of the state’s voters approved and 47 percent disapproved of Trump’s performance, a net negative of 8 percentage points.
In recent polls both Gillum and Nelson have been leading, and right now they are the odds-on favorite to bring Democratic victories to the Sunshine State. This will continue to be true no matter how many desperate trips Trump plans to make as he vainly tries to save face and bolster his chances for reelection.