The two women who are running for their parties’ presidential nominations are heading to South Florida.
Hillary Clinton, the overwhelming favorite for the Democratic presidential nomination, is in the area late next week. Carly Fiorina, a Republican candidate who barely registers in the polls, will be in Palm Beach County this week.
Clinton’s holding fundraising events in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, according to one of the hosts and another Democrat who plans to attend one of the gatherings. The fundraisers, on May 28 in Miami-Dade and May 29 in Broward, were first reported by Politico.
In Broward, the former secretary of state, former U.S. senator from New York and former first lady will raise money at the Parkland home of Mike Moskowitz. He’s one of the county’s top Democratic fundraisers and the father of state Rep. Jared Moskowitz, who represents northwest Broward.
“I think she’s the most qualified candidate in the race,” said Jared Moskowitz, who is co-hosting the event. He said he was ready to support Clinton the minute she announced. “The day she put her video out was the day I decided to support her.”
He said the Moskowitzes are helping Clinton raise money for her 2016 presidential candidacy, just as they did for her 2008 campaign. In February 2008, they hosted a fundraiser featuring her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
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The Clinton camp hasn’t yet announced any non-fundraising events, but there’s enough time in her schedule between the fundraisers that she could hold gatherings or make unannounced stops to meet with voters.
Ali Pardo, regional press secretary for the Republican National Committee, issued a critical statement. “Instead of answering serious questions about shady foreign donations and her secret email server, Hillary Clinton continues to opt for closed door fundraisers and staged campaign events. With new concerns being raised each day, it is clear why Floridians can’t trust her,” Pardo said.
Polls show Clinton has a commanding lead in Florida for the Democratic nomination, and she has a reservoir of support in South Florida.
“South Florida is pretty rich with supporters,” said Mitch Ceasar, chairman of the Broward Democratic Party. “The Clintons have a long history with Florida and South Florida.”
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In 2008, she defeated Barack Obama in the Florida presidential preference primary, though she went on to lose the nomination and he won the presidency. The primary didn’t count because it was earlier than national party rules allowed. The traditional states with early contests, including Iowa and New Hampshire, pressed Democratic candidates to avoid Florida because they didn’t want the Sunshine State horning in on their ability to shape the field of contenders. The candidates were so afraid of upsetting voters in early states that they agreed to stay out of Florida except to raise money.
Clinton won 50 percent of the vote in Florida to Obama’s 33 percent. In Broward, she won 57 percent to Obama’s 33 percent and in Palm Beach County she won 61 percent of the vote and Obama won 27 percent.
Also headed to South Florida is Fiorina, the former business executive and unsuccessful 2010 candidate for U.S. Senate in California. She’s seeking the Republican presidential nomination, staking out territory as perhaps the candidate who’s the most vociferously anti-Clinton, but so far isn’t well known. HuffPost Pollster’s aggregation of a range of national polls shows Fiorina is supported by 1.1 percent of Republican voters.
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The Palm Beach County Republican Party had planned to host an event for her at party headquarters on Wednesday, but moved the event to the Palm Beach County Convention Center, 650 Okeechobee Blvd. in West Palm Beach. Tickets were still available online Tuesday afternoon.
She’ll also appear west of Boca Raton, where the Place of Hope foster care organization will rename its South County location and cut the ribbon on a renovated facility. The faith-based organization describes itself as one of the largest child welfare providers in the area. Besides Fiorina, a large group of local elected officials — four Republicans and three Democrats — will appear at the event.
Another Republican candidate has canceled a South Florida stop that had been scheduled for Thursday.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky was to appear before a Palm Beach County Tea Party event at the Florida Atlantic University campus in Jupiter.
But he’s remaining in Washington for an expected congressional debate on reauthorizing the Patriot Act, said Terry Gallagher, treasurer of the Palm Beach County Tea Party.
The provisions of the Patriot Act, first enacted after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that have been used to justify surveillance of U.S. citizens, are disliked by many Republicans with libertarian leanings and many in the tea party movement.
“We were very disappointed,” Gallagher said, adding that she was heartened that Paul “put country before the campaign.”
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