Broward GOP voters are fired up over Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Here is a snapshot of what some voters said from just one hour at an early voting site: the Coral Ridge Mall in Fort Lauderdale.
The Tea Party of Fort Lauderdale has held a rally by the Coral Ridge mall on Saturday afternoons for seven years. The event on Saturday drew a handful of activists -- but loads of honking on U.S. 1 in response to a sign saying “Honk No Trump Con-Man” and “Dump the Trump.”
Longtime tea party organizer Edward Bender held a sign saying “I’d rather have a ‘Canadian’ than a con-man” -- a show of support for Cruz who was born in Canada to an American mother and is a natural born citizen.
Cruz “has the understanding of the Constitution that none of the other candidates have,” said Bender, of Coconut Creek, who plans to vote Tuesday.
Bender considers Trump a “con man” for his business dealings including the lawsuits against Trump University.
“We don’t need a businessman for America -- you can’t go to Washington D.C. and fire Congress,” Bender said.
Phil Grant of Fort Lauderdale voted for Trump Saturday.
“While I don’t support all of his views I support much of it,” he said. “While I don’t believe he necessarily has 100 percent of the answers I believe he is a leader. .... Some of his language isn’t appropriate but he does seemed to have toned it down.”
Grant is drawn to Trump’s leadership.
“He’s got a ‘pair’ if you know what I mean,” he said. “He’s not going to take crap from any side.”
Grant, a registered Republican, said he is upset with the Republican National Committee because he believes it is “trying to sabotage Trump.”
Grant is a former stockbroker who now runs a small business that helps people transport pets to other countries.
“We need to be more supportive for creating jobs and wealth in this country and Donald can do it,” he said, and then echoed Trump's motto. “I truly believe he does want to make America great again.”
Debbie Bujalski says she will probably vote for Rubio on Tuesday.
“He has fresh ideas,” said the 52-year-old Pompano Beach lawyer and teacher. “He is a young guy -- I am willing to give him a shot. Donald Trump is not impressive at all. He is much too quick to condemn as opposed to finding solutions. Give us solutions other than building the wall.”
Loretta Duval, a registered Democrat in Fort Lauderdale outside the mall Saturday, said she voted for Hillary Clinton by absentee. But she plans to vote for Trump in the general election.
“He tells it like it is,” she said.
Her brother, Paul Myles, is also a Fort Lauderdale Democrat who also plans to vote for Trump in the general election. The 63-year-old is a retired prosecutor from Ohio.
“Everybody else has the same rhetoric,” Myles said. “I don’t necessarily agree with all his positions but at least he brings up topics that need discussing. Trump might not get anything done but at least he brings up a dialogue.”
Broward has about 240,000 registered Republican voters -- so far about 45,000 have voted by absentee or at early voting sites. Early voting ends in Broward Sunday and the election is on Tuesday.
The Broward GOP holds it’s annual fundraising dinner tonight where surrogates are expected to speak for Trump (former candidate Ben Carson) and Rubio (South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott).
Trump will hold a rallies in Boca Raton Sunday and Doral Monday.