John Angelbeck of Ocala wanted Florida Sen. Marco Rubio to succeed in his presidential bid and twice contributed $100 to Rubio’s campaign. But after Rubio bowed out following a landslide defeat in Florida’s March primary, Angelbeck shifted his allegiance — and money — to Donald Trump.
In June, he sent checks to Trump’s campaign for $40 and $80. “Anything to beat Hillary Clinton,” Angelbeck, 78, said Friday.
He is one of 640 Floridians who supported Rubio financially but have given to Trump since the primary, a Tampa Bay Times analysis of campaign finance data shows. That illustrates Trump’s appeal among dedicated Republicans in the state.
By contrast, only 113 donors to former Gov. Jeb Bush have given to Trump since Bush withdrew from presidential contention in February.
Florida's primary election will be on Tuesday. But Miami Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo isn't waiting to find out whom his Democratic opponent will be before kicking off his reelection campaign in earnest.
Curbelo's campaign put out a Spanish-language radio ad featuring one of the congressman's most prominent political backers: former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Curbelo was one of Bush's early backers for the Republican presidential nomination.
"We need honest and hard-working leaders like Carlos Curbelo, who has fought to improve the education our children receive and to reform our country's immigration laws," Bush says in the spot. "I know Carlos, and I know he will continue representing us with integrity in Washington."
On Monday, the Curbelo camp also emailed supporters with a letter from another big-name friend: U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, the man Curbelo endorsed after Bush dropped out of the presidential race.
In the fundraising pitch, Rubio says Curbelo is part of "a new generation of leaders."
"He understands the need to empower people, the private sector, and our local communities to drive prosperity and innovation," Rubio says. "Carlos and I have been working together to respond to the Zika crisis and prevent wast, fraud, and abuse in our refugee assistance program. After seeing him in action, I know Carlos will continue to be a strong voice for South Floridians and that is why I'm behind him 100%."
Curbelo's 26th congressional district, which stretches from Westchester to Key West, is one of the country's most competitive seats -- and now leans more Democratic than it did when he won it two years ago. He'll learn Tuesday if his Democratic opponent will be former U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia or Annette Taddeo. National Democrats have already reserved significant air time ahead of the Nov. 8 general election.
Jeb Bush said Donald Trump looks like “a typical politician” as the nominee has shifted on immigration and appears to hold views similar to Bush’s, despite attacking Bush as soft on the issue.
“I can only say that whatever his views are this morning, they might change this afternoon, and they were different than they were last night, and they'll be different tomorrow," Bush said on WABC.
"Sounds like a typical politician, by the way, where you get in front of one crowd and say one thing, and then say something else to another crowd that may want to hear a different view. All the things that Donald Trump railed against, he seems to be morphing into. It’s kind of disturbing.”
Bush will not change his view on Trump. “I don’t know what to believe about a guy who doesn't believe in things. ... This is all a game," Bush said. "His views will change based on the feedback he gets from a crowd, or, you know, what he thinks he has to do."
"For me, I couldn't do that. I have to believe what I believe, and if it’s popular, great. If it’s not, I try to get better at presenting my views. But shifting my views because it’s political to do it? That’s what politicians do in this country. That's what Trump is trying to do right now. I find it abhorrent.”
Land Commissioner George P. Bush, who has not endorsed Donald Trump, is now asking Texas Republicans to support the party's presidential nominee.
Addressing state GOP activists Saturday, Bush said it was time to put aside any lingering animosity from the primaries — where Trump defeated Bush's dad, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, among others — and get behind Trump.
"From Team Bush, it's a bitter pill to swallow, but you know what? You get back up and you help the man that won, and you make sure that we stop Hillary Clinton," Bush said, according to video of the remarks provided by an audience member.
Jeb Bush may not be endorsing Donald Trump for president -- but he is taking sides in contested Republican primary for a Florida state House seat.
On Monday, Bush will formally back former Miami-Dade County Commissioner Lynda Bell over several rivals -- chief among them embattled former U.S. Rep. David Rivera.
"I'm proud to endorse my friend Lynda Bell for the Florida House in District 118," Bush said in a statement to the Miami Herald. "She's a strong, principled conservative who will continue to serve Florida well."
Rivera is considered the favorite in the five-way primary contested among Bell, Carlos Pria, Anthony Rodriguez and Steven Rojas Tallon in a heavily Hispanic, southwest Miami-Dade County district. They're vying to replace Republican state Rep. Frank Artiles, who's running for state Senate.
Rivera, a newly minted millionaire, lost re-election to Congress in 2014, when he came under federal criminal investigation in an unlawful secret campaign-finance scheme. He was an early supporter of his friend Marco Rubio for president.
Before his single, two-year term in Congress, Rivera served eight years in the state House. Four of those years, from 2002-06, coincided with Bush's tenure as Florida governor.
Jeb Bush's top adviser, Sally Bradshaw, has left the Republican Party to become an independent, and says if the presidential race in Florida is close, she'll vote for Hillary Clinton.
Bradshaw, who's been close to the former Florida governor for decades and was senior adviser to his 2016 campaign, officially switched her registration to unaffiliated. She told CNN's Jamie Gangel in an email interview that the GOP is "at a crossroads and have nominated a total narcissist -- a misogynist -- a bigot."
"This is a time when country has to take priority over political parties. Donald Trump cannot be elected president," Bradshaw said.
The departure from the Republican Party of a Bush loyalist -- Bradshaw began her career working for George H.W. Bush's 1988 campaign -- is the latest sign of an influential and respected member of the GOP establishment turning against Trump.
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Rudy Giuliani fired up the Florida delegation this morning, casting Bill Clinton as a predator and Hillary Clinton as a crook. The veteran prosecutor said never had a criminal case with so many violations of federal law and Clinton's email case, which the FBI said did not merit charges.
"I would bet my life, if you put me in front of 12 fair and decent Americans and you let me prosecute this case against Hillary Clinton, she would go to jail," the part-time Palm Beach resident declared.
"Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up!" the crowd chanted.
Asked about party leaders declining to get behind Donald Trump, Giuliani said he would be supporting Trump even if he did not know him as well as he does.
"How could they possibly want to see Hillary Clinton in the White House, We can't play this game," Giuliani said. "it's not about Jeb Bush, it's not about his ego or whether he feels he was insulted... It's not about Mitt Romney and whether he feels --- I don't know what Mitt feels. I never got much feeling from Mitt to start with," said Giuliani, who ran against Romney for the GOP nomination in 2008.
"The establishment of the Republican party was against Donald Trump. Thank God, because the establishment of the Republican party hasn't done much better than the establishment of the Democratic party."
CLEVELAND -- Gov. Rick Scott appeared to enjoy himself as he made his way through a gauntlet of TV cameras and journalists at the GOP Convention's "media row" by the Quicken Loans Arena, repeatedly swatting away questions about Melania Trump's alleged plagiarism of Michelle Obama's convention speech.
"My experience with Melania is she's a lovely individual that is very nice to sit around to talk to. She's a wonderful mom, and a wonderful wife," said Scott. "...I watched what my wife went through, never expecting to be in the middle of a campaign, never expecting to be a politician's wife."
Asked about former Gov. Jeb Bush's absence from the convention, Scott sounded disappointed
"I think he'd want to be here. This is exciting. This is a Republican party that needs to unite behind an individual who worked hard to win the nomination. We have to make sure he wins in November. I do not want Hillary Clinton to be the next president. She would not be good for Florida."
"Any Republican who is not supporting Donald Trump right now is helping Hillary Clinton. I don't want Hillary Clinton to be our next president."
Likewise, he disagreed with Ohio Gov. John Kasich's decision not to attend: "I would be there."
And as for winning Florida's diverse electorate, Scott is optimistic. "The elections's going to be about jobs and ISIS. Those are the two biggest issues in our state. I would talk to everybody....Hillary Clinton has never created a job in her life. If the election is going to be about jobs, Donald Trump wins. If the election is about ISIS Donald Trump wins. She had her shot. She was Secretary of State and she failed to do anything."
From a Jeb Bush op-ed column in The Washington Post:
Call it a tipping point, a time of choosing or testing. Whatever you call it, it is clear that this election will have far-reaching consequences for both the Republican Party and our exceptional country.
While he has no doubt tapped into the anxiety so prevalent in the United States today, I do not believe Donald Trump reflects the principles or inclusive legacy of the Republican Party. And I sincerely hope he doesn’t represent its future.
As much as I reject Donald Trump as our party leader, he did not create the political culture of the United States on his own.