Trump's handpicked candidates are coming up short in the polls in Florida, so he is visiting the state twice in one week to prevent losses that would be intensely embarrassing.
Trump is visiting Florida twice in the week ahead of the midterm election as his handpicked candidates slip behind their Democratic opponents.
Republican losses in Florida’s two major statewide elections would be a major embarrassment to Trump. He has his Mar-a-Lago residence in the state, and has often cited his 2016 victory there as a sign of strength.
Trump is trying to help out fellow Republicans Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis, the party’s candidates for U.S. senator and governor, respectively.
Both candidates are in tight races, and in recent polling find themselves trailing the Democrats. Scott is behind Sen. Bill Nelson by an average of 2.3 percent, while the gulf between DeSantis and Andrew Gillum is wider, at nearly 3 percent.
Mac Stipanovich, a Florida political operative, served as chief of staff for former governor Bob Martinez and on Jeb Bush’s successful gubernatorial campaign. He told HuffPost that the repeated Trump visits to the state are a sign of weakness: “He’s not doing that because it’s in the bag.”
Trump and his team are concerned about Democratic strength in the midterm elections and how it will reflect on his weakness as the head of the party.
The Daily Beast reports from multiple sources close to Trump that terms like “slaughter” and “massacre” have been bandied about at the highest levels as they predict the election outcome.
One source told the outlet that Trump is “spooked” by the prospect of Democratic victories.
Florida is the biggest swing state with hotly contested elections this year. Trump won Florida by only about 113,000 votes out of over 9 million ballots cast. A loss there, particularly after he has weighed in so heavily in favor of Scott and DeSantis, would be a major repudiation of his election.
It could also be a sign that Florida is swinging back toward the Democrats, as it did when President Barack Obama won there in 2008 and 2012.
Trump is not directly on the ballot there, but he is campaigning like he might as well be. And voters there are indicating that he could lose.
Trump’s actions show he knows that could happen too.