Obama, Trump headed to Florida to campaign in tight races

Hanna Bogorowski, DCNF

Former President Barack Obama will continue on the campaign trail Friday when he heads to Florida to campaign for the state’s Democratic Senate and gubernatorial candidates in Miami at Ice Palace Films Studios.

Obama has been making his rounds around the country volleying for Democrats ahead of November’s midterm elections, making stops in Las Vegas for Rep. Jacky Rosen of Nevada, Ohio for his former head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Richard Cordray, and Gretchen Whitmer and Sen. Debbie Stabenow in Michigan, among others.

The former president now plans to campaign for Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, who is running for re-election against GOP Gov. Rick Scott, and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum who is running for governor against GOP Rep. Ron DeSantis.

Democrats are hoping Obama’s popularity among the party’s base can put these two candidates over the top in tight races with just about a week until elections.

The CBS News Battleground Tracker released Sunday shows Nelson and Scott in a dead tie among likely voters, 46 percent to 46 percent. A New York Timespoll that tracked likely voters from Oct. 23-27 has Gillum ahead of DeSantis by just about 5 percentage points, 48-43 percent.

Both candidates referenced their similar stances to Obama on health care in a Monday news release from the Florida Democratic Party.

The CBS poll reflectively has Nelson receiving boosts from voters who place health care at the top of their list of issues.

“Barack Obama has been my friend since I first introduced him to Florida in 2005, when he was a rising political star,” Nelson said. “I cast a key vote in support of his healthcare reforms, and he and I fought for public schools and protecting Florida’s unique and treasured environment.”

Gillum, who has found himself fending off implications of fraud and an FBI investigation his whole campaign, echoed his counterpart’s sentiment.

“I’m proud and humbled to have President Obama, my friend and a true patriot, on the campaign trail here in Florida,” the mayor said. “President Obama knows what’s at stake in this election — protections for people with pre-existing conditions, funding for public schools, and leadership to restore our environment. With President Obama’s help, we’re going to bring it home for Florida this November.”

President Donald Trump also plans to energize his party in Florida this week with two rallies planned, one in Fort Meyers Wednesday and another in Pensacola Saturday.

Both Democratic candidates have tried to tie their GOP opponents to Trump, and Gillum even referred to DeSantis as a “Trump apprentice” during an Oct. 21 debate.

The president has given DeSantis a full-throated endorsement, however, he’s been quieter on Scott as the governor has also made an effort to distance himself from the president until the Florida rallies were announced.

Vice President Mike Pence also campaigned in Florida with DeSantis Thursday at a Jacksonville rally and inspected hurricane damage in the Florida Panhandle with Scott.

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