TALLAHASSEE — Florida’s capital city may be reliably blue, but that didn’t stop Donald Trump from drawing several thousand supporters from North Florida and southern Georgia to a campaign stop in a field Tuesday night.
The rally, at the Tallahassee Automobile Museum, was more subdued than typical for Trump. He spoke using prepared remarks on a TelePrompTer, rather than talking off the cuff, his signature speaking style.
Trump highlighted his plans for the first 100 days in office, as well as health care policy, rattling off the news that premiums on the Affordable Care Act exchange are expected to increase by double digits next year.
“Job-killing Obamacare is just one more way that our system is rigged,” he said.
But that didn’t stop some of the mainstays of Trump rallies everywhere. Chants of “Lock her up” by supporters, a typical jab that “there is nothing more corrupt than those people” in the mainstream media, and a call-and-response that has been part of his repertoire since well before he became the Republican nominee:
“Who’s going to pay for that wall?” Trump asks.
“Mexico!” the crowd roars back.
Just hours earlier before the rally, Florida’s four top elected officials, Gov. Rick Scott and Cabinet, all Republicans, met eight miles down the road at the state Capitol.
Scott, who chairs a pro-Trump super PAC, did not attend the rally, instead hosting a leadership dinner at the Governor’s Mansion. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, who have been less eager supporters of Trump, were likewise absent.
But Attorney General Pam Bondi warmed up crowds before Trump took the stage, saying she voted early Monday, the first day she could.
“My precinct was packed out and guess who was in there: All people who want to make America great again,” Bondi said. “It’s us who’s gonna show them that these polls are rigged.”
Earlier, following the Cabinet meeting, she reiterated her support for Trump, while condemning remarks he has made about women that came to light in recent weeks following the Access Hollywood tape leak.
“I know Donald Trump. I have seen him evolve in the last 14 months,” Bondi said. “I think he will be an excellent role model. I know he has raised wonderful kids.”
Leon County is reliable territory for Democrats, particularly in a presidential election year. President Barack Obama carried the county with more than 60 percent of the vote in 2008 and 2012.
That led many to wonder why Trump, trailing Hillary Clinton in Florida by three or four points in recent polls, would spend time in the state’s capital city,
rather than rallying supporters to vote in more fruitful Republican strongholds like Central Florida or Jacksonville.