A Florida real estate developer who has donated millions to Republican politicians is cutting them off, and urging others to do the same, unless the party takes action on guns.
Florida-based mega-donor Al Hoffman Jr. reiterated on Monday that he will no longer donate to any candidate unless and until they endorse a renewal of the ban on assault weapons in the United States.
Hoffman, a real estate developer who described himself as a “conservative Republican,” also vowed to contact each one of donor contacts and urge them to do the same thing in coming weeks, following the horrific massacre at a high school in Parkland, Florida.
“There’s a movement coming,” Hoffman warned the party during an interview on CNN on Monday.
Specifically, Hoffman wants to see assault weapons banned in the U.S. and noted that such a ban could have saved the students and teachers in Parkland.
“This event could’ve been prevented if we had done something like that,” he said.
The man who killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School used an AR-15 rifle, which is frequently used in American mass shootings.
For Hoffman, the Parkland massacre was personal. He told CNN that his company had built thousands of homes as well as retirement communities in the area. And he noted that his children and grandchildren live not far from the community.
“The state of Florida better get with it and pass this assault weapons ban,” Hoffman stressed on Monday. “This is about well-minded people who have values and principles, to be able to persuade other candidates running for office to ban these assault weapons. That’s all they are. They’re assault weapons they need to be banned and I’m going to work for that.”
Hoffman’s warnings do not come lightly. He has donated millions to Republican candidates and causes over the years, including more than $1 million to Right to Rise, a super PAC that supported Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign in 2016, according to the New York Times.
Hoffman also served as head fundraiser for George W. Bush’s two presidential runs and raised over $600 million.
Considering the fact that many Republicans in Congress urged the party to pass the tax scam bill specifically because their wealthy donors were demanding it, it would seem that the same principle should now hold true regarding gun violence and banning assault weapons.
But Hoffman faces a stiff challenge in the Sunshine State, as the NRA enjoys extraordinary clout in Florida politics. That’s thanks largely to Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who in recent years has helped the gun group usher its radical agenda through the Florida legislature.
Scott boasts an “A+” rating from the NRA, helped by the many laws Scott has passed that weakened gun laws in the state, even over the loud objections of the Florida Sheriffs Association.
The GOP as a party has gone so far to the right when it comes to the issue of gun safety that even its deep-pocketed Florida donors are demanding a change. Perhaps losing money will have an impact on the party’s mindset where the horrific loss of life has not.