As the Republican National Convention is underway in Cleveland, Ohio, a few Florida politicians are on hand to do more than just support the party, and Donald Trump. People like Gov. Rick Scott are also possibly building support for their next election.
Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald is there and tells us how state politics are also playing a part in the Republican National Convention:
Well, we have Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi. They're both supposed to speak to the convention at some point, probably today. And we have the Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam who held a press fest for all of Florida's delegates to the convention Tuesday morning. And it seemed a lot like he was planning a 2018 run for governor.
What about Gov. Scott's potential Senate run?
Well, Gov. Scott has been rumored to be a potential 2018 Senate candidate and he was quick to endorse Donald Trump after Trump won the Florida primary on March 15th. And that could help him do well in Florida if Trump wins the general election and there's a president in the White House who he supported.
The question will be what the electorate look looks like in 2018, whether Trump or Clinton wins. Scott is making the rounds with reporters in Cleveland to the theme of the day, which is 'Make America Work Again' and of course Rick Scott was elected in Florida with the slogan 'Let's Get To Work,' so this is right up his political alley.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is a big Trump supporter. If he wins, is she up for a Cabinet position?
I think that might be what she's auditioning for. Bondi is a friend of Trump's. They've known each other for a long time. Of course, her appearance here is also going to bring up some uncomfortable questions about how she declined, as attorney general of Florida, to prosecute or investigate Trump University, the now-defunct school associated with Trump. And at some point he also gave her a $25000 reelection donation to her committee, so they have strong ties and he seems to like her very much. We'll see how she does in prime time and how the delegates react to her and that will probably affect her moving forward if Trump does win the White House.
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is eyeing the governor's office, but how does this convention help him get closer to that?
Well, he had a captive group of delegates this morning [Tuesday] that he made his pitch to and these are the true grassroots dedicated Republican activists who he was telling to 'join me' in the meeting, but he has not said he's running for governor yet. But he said that electing Republicans up and down the ticket is a team effort and he was very appreciative of having them there. And those are the first people you're going to have if you eventually decide to to seek the governor's mansion.
How much are you hearing about the Sunshine State during this convention and the relevance of Florida in this election?
Well, for both camps it's very important. The Clinton camp will tell you that they don't want to take any state for granted and that they expect polls to tighten and that they want to scare their supporters essentially into not becoming complacent. And for any Republican, Florida is really a must win state because of the demographics of the country and the way the Electoral College works. Trump's campaign says that it's going to put other states in play that are not usually competitive in general election years. But we have yet to see the proof of that in the polling, which means that Florida's importance still stands.