Florida Florida Florida
October 27, 2020

One week out from Election Day, President Trump's campaign is reportedly pulling advertising out of Florida.

The president's re-election campaign has "all but pulled its advertising" out of the crucial state that he carried in 2016, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. The campaign reportedly canceled $5.5 million in ad spending in Florida during the final two weeks of the 2020 campaign and is now focusing on four states: Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Trump communications director Tim Murtaugh in a call with reporters on Tuesday predicted that Florida, where Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden have been roughly tied in polls, is "going to go the president's way," citing his "ground game" in the state.

Trump's campaign reportedly does still have about $350,000 in advertising spending budgeted for Florida through Election Day, but Bloomberg notes that the president "has cut $24 million from his national ad budget" since Labor Day, whereas Biden "has added $197 million." Read more at Bloomberg.

Update: The Trump campaign in a new statement is disputing Bloomberg's reporting as "horribly wrong," saying that "our ad buying week by week in the state has been consistent, and the reporting on this issue demonstrates a clear misunderstanding of how ad buying works." Brendan Morrow

June 18, 2019

As President Trump heads to Florida for the official launch of his 2020 campaign, a new poll shows him trailing several of his potential Democratic opponents in the key state.

Former Vice President Joe Biden leads Trump by 9 points among Florida voters in a survey released by Quinnipiac on Tuesday, with Biden scoring 50 percent to Trump's 41 percent. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) also leads Trump by six points, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) leads him by four points.

Several other potential Democratic contenders were within the margin of error of Trump, with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg beating Trump by one percentage point. During the 2016 election, Trump carried Florida by a slim margin of just over one percent.

In this poll, 44 percent of Florida voters said they approve of the way Trump is handling his job as president, with 51 percent disapproving. It's not all bad news for the president, though, as 62 percent of Florida voters said Congress shouldn't begin impeachment proceedings against him, and 54 percent of voters said they're better off financially today than they were in 2016.

This comes after Trump fired three pollsters following reports of poor internal polling, including one reportedly showing Biden beating Trump by seven points in Florida. Biden during an event on Monday predicted he will beat Trump in Florida, also saying he hopes to compete in traditionally-red states like Texas and South Carolina. Still, he cautioned at an event on Tuesday per CNN that "I don't believe the polls right now, guys."

Quinnipiac's poll was conducted from June 12 through June 17 by speaking to 1,279 Florida voters over the phone. The margin of error is 3.3 percentage points. Read the full results at Quinnipiac. Brendan Morrow

February 25, 2019

If it sounds increasingly like President Trump is headed toward U.S. military intervention in Venezuela, that seems to be the option his top advisers are pushing. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News on Sunday that "we're gonna do the things that need to be done" to get President Nicolas Maduro out, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has been suggestively posting before/after photos of various authoritarian leaders on Twitter, including Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi right before a mob executed him, after Western military intervention. But the driving force behind Trump's hawkish Venezuela turn, Jonathan Swan reports at Axios, is Vice President Mike Pence, who isn't the "impotent toady" many assume him to be.

Trump has been driven by "instincts, personal relationships, aggressive advisers, and political opportunism" in his Venezuela policy, Swan says. The pivot reportedly started when Pence brought the wife of a Venezuelan political prisoner into the Oval Office with Rubio, and Trump was so "taken by their conversation," he told an aide to snap a photo on his iPhone, told Rubio to read and edit his caption, then tweeted out America's new Venezuela policy.

But there is also a personal angle for Trump. "Privately, Trump often talks about his fondness for the Venezuelan expats who frequent his golf club in Doral," Swan reports, noting that he's also mentioned this in public, saying last September that many Venezuelan expats "live in the Doral area of Miami. I've gotten to know them well. They are great, great people." The White House also believes it can tie Venezuela's kleptocratic Bolivarian socialism to the European-style democratic socialist policies proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and some of his Democratic colleagues, while also courting Venezuelan expats. "The fact that the bulk of those expats live and vote in Florida, of all states, is not lost on Trump and his political team," Swan notes. You can read more at Axios. Peter Weber

November 18, 2018

Following the recent Senate race recount, the elections supervisor of Broward County, Florida, has submitted her resignation letter, The Sun-Sentinel reports.

Brenda Snipes has spent 15 years as the supervisor of elections, and during the election earlier this month, faced criticism from Republican Gov. Rick Scott for taking longer than other counties to finish the initial counting of ballots. Scott was the GOP candidate against incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson, and without providing any evidence, wanted the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate what "may be rampant voter fraud" in the county.

After counting the ballots, Scott had a lead of about 12,000 votes over Nelson, which by law triggered a recount. After a machine recount and then a hand recount that was ordered Thursday, the final vote tallies were submitted to the state on Sunday, and Nelson conceded. The Sun-Sentinel reports that Broward County made many errors after Election Day, including losing 2,040 ballots between the initial count and the recount and not updating results as frequently as the law requires.

Snipes has been criticized during previous elections as well for long lines and destroying ballots before being legally allowed to do so. Snipes did not respond to The Sun-Sentinel's request for comment, but Burnadette Norris-Weeks, counsel to the Supervisor of Elections Office, told the newspaper that she saw an early version of the resignation letter, and Snipes says she wants to spend more time with her family. She believes the resignation is effective Jan. 2, 2019. A Democrat, Snipes was appointed in 2003 by former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, then elected in 2004. Catherine Garcia

November 15, 2018

Following the conclusion of a machine recount on Thursday afternoon, the state of Florida ordered a manual recount in the Senate race.

The incumbent, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, is about 12,600 votes behind his challenger, Republican Rick Scott, the state's current governor. At least three counties did not submit their machine recount results by the 3 p.m. deadline, and are going with the counts submitted last Saturday. About an hour before the deadline, Palm Beach County announced it was not going to finish in time, and Broward County was late by two minutes, because the person uploading the results didn't know how to use the website, The Miami Herald's Alex Harris said on MSNBC.

A hand recount was not ordered for the governor's race, where Republican Ron DeSantis has a 0.41 percent lead over Democrat Andrew Gillum, outside the 0.25 percent threshold for a manual recount. Catherine Garcia

November 15, 2018

As election officials in Florida prepare to wrap up their machine recount, a federal judge has now given voters who had their ballots thrown out due to mismatched signatures time to resolve the issue.

This decision affects 4,000 or more mail-in and provisional ballots, which were rejected because the voter's signature didn't exactly match the signature on record, reports The Washington Post. The deadline for Florida's machine recount comes on Thursday, but those whose ballots were rejected due to mismatching signatures now have until Saturday at 5 p.m. to have their ballot "cured" so their vote can still count.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), who is behind Republican Gov. Rick Scott in the closely-watched Senate race by around 12,000 votes, wanted the matching signature requirement waived entirely, but the judge did not allow for that. However, he said that because the deadline to resolve issues with mismatched signatures was 5 p.m. on Nov. 5, but the deadline to submit a mail-in ballot was 7 p.m. on Nov. 6, many voters weren't given time to respond if their ballots were rejected.

Scott, who leads Nelson by about 0.15 percentage points, is appealing Thursday's ruling, reports the Orlando Sentinel. Meanwhile, in the governor's race, former Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) currently leads Democrat Andrew Gillum by about 34,000 votes, or 0.40 percentage points. Brendan Morrow

November 12, 2018

As President Trump and Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) continue to float baseless allegations of voter fraud in Florida as ballots are recounted, officials are pushing back on their claims.

Broward Circuit Judge Jack Tuter, who was appointed by former Gov. Jeb Bush, said Monday that he has seen no evidence of illegal activity in Broward County, the center of many of the fraud allegations. President Trump has tweeted about the county multiple times and said without evidence Monday that ballots are "massively infected" in the state, where gubernatorial and Senate elections currently have Republicans ahead by razor thin margins. Scott, who leads in the Senate race, has also accused incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) of attempting to steal the election.

But Tuter wants everyone to "ramp down the rhetoric," saying Monday that "we have to be careful about what we say," reports the Tampa Bay Times. The judge denied Scott's request to impound Broward County voting machines while they're not being used to recount ballots, but he did agree to allow three sheriffs to help oversee the recount there. "There needs to be an additional layer of confidence," Tuter explained. The Florida Department of State has also said there has been no evidence of criminal activity, reports Politico.

Nelson, meanwhile, wants to count ballots whose signatures did not match the one on the voter's registration, and he's suing to count mail-in ballots postmarked before Election Day but not delivered until after polls closed, per The Associated Press. Nelson is additionally calling on Scott to recuse himself from overseeing the recount. As this drama escalates, a Thursday deadline to complete a machine recount looms. Brendan Morrow

November 8, 2018

It looks like there may be not one but two major Florida recounts this year.

In the state's gubernatorial race, Republican Ron DeSantis now leads Democrat Andrew Gillum by just 0.47 percent of the vote, with DeSantis at 49.62 percent and Gillum at 49.15 percent, per Politico reporter Marc Caputo. In Florida, if a race comes down to a margin of less than 0.5 percent, a machine recount is automatically triggered. Although DeSantis was projected to win on Tuesday, and Gillum conceded the race, the Democrat's campaign now says they are "ready for any outcome, including a state-mandated recount," reports NBC News.

This is in addition to the recount likely coming in the state's Senate race. Republican Gov. Rick Scott now leads Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson (Fla.) by an even narrower margin: just 0.22 percent, the Orlando Sentinel reports. If the margin ends up lower than 0.25 percent, a hand recount will take place. Florida's counties have until Saturday at noon to report unofficial results, at which point, the likely recounts would begin. Brendan Morrow

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