Pensacola, Florida
Tuesday December 18th 2018


Stumping for Clinton and Trump

By Rick Outzen

As the November 8 general election nears, the presidential campaigns have made available several surrogates to promote their nominees and early voting. Here are a few surrogates I interviewed last week on News Talk 1370′s “Pensacola Speaks.”

Alfre Woodard
Actress Alfre Woodard spent a week in Florida to promote early voting and Hillary Clinton’s candidacy.

Woodard has been nominated once for an Academy Award, Grammy Award, and 18 times for an Emmy Award (winning four). She has also won a Golden Globe Award and three Screen Actors Guild Awards.

She said the Hillary supporters have been excited.

“People have said that there was an energy gap or enthusiasm gap,” said Woodard. “I think people are just waiting for the game to start. They know that it’s game time now. People are stepping up.”

Why is early voting so important?

“One thing that the early vote does is that if anything goes wrong, you’ve got plenty of time to fix it,” she said.

Woodard believes that electing Clinton is important to continue the momentum of the Obama administration.

“This election is so important because it took Barack Obama eight years with one hand tied behind his back working with an openly hostile opposition to build us back up above ground after an economic low that was catastrophic,” she said.

“With Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State and representing us in the world, we brought back the respect and the cooperation of our allies,” said Woodard. “Donald Trump and his blasters keep going round as if they live somewhere that I don’t know where it is, but we are doing well.”

She believes that President Obama has accomplished more in his two terms than any other president had in history, and Clinton was with him building that progress.

“We don’t want people to come in and start kicking down the beams after we got the foundation and the first floor erected,” Woodard said.

“There are people who along with Donald Trump—Rudy Giuliani and all of those guys—who would like to take us back to a period, before most of your listeners were born, back when people in the early ‘60s could stand in state houses and stand in the national political forum and just spew hatred and intolerance.”

She added, “Lord knows we can’t afford to go back 30 and 40 years. That’s why it’s important that everybody stands up, comes and votes because if you don’t vote, you don’t have a voice. If you don’t have a voice, then you have no leg to stand on.”

Carlos Lopez-Cantera
Florida’s Lt. Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera has pushed early voting for the Republicans.

“One, a vote that’s already cast is a vote that you have already cast,” he said. “That’s important. You never know what’s going to happen whether it’s the weather or, God forbid, something else that may make it more difficult for you to get to the polls on Election Day.”

He said the early voting statistics have a psychological aspect.

Lopez-Cantera said, “In 2012, Republicans in early voting and absentee ballots were outpacing Democrats by four percentage points at about this point. In 2014, in the reelection of Governor Scott versus Charlie Crist, we were outpacing Democrats in absentee ballots and early voting by several percentage points. Now, the spread is only about one and a half points.”

He said, “The Democrats are using that to go on radio, television, and the news, and take credit, and try and prove or show that they’re ‘winning.’ There’s a psychological aspect that could demoralize certain Republicans who may think, ‘No, this is not looking good.’ I would hope that that would motivate folks to go out and vote and to not leave it for tomorrow, but get it out of the way.”

Does the Lt. Governor have confidence in the state’s election process?

“I do. We have 67 elected or appointed election supervisors, and we have faith in what they’re doing and the job they’re doing,” he said. “We’d like to see 100-percent participation if possible.”

Lopez-Cantera does agree with Trump’s assertion that mainstream media has tried to rig the election in Clinton’s favor. He pointed to the estimated increase in Obamacare premiums as a story that has been underreported.

“How people are not just reporting on that every minute of every day and pointing fingers at this administration and the Democratic Party for misleading the American people and now costing them more and more of their hard earned dollars, how that’s not the bigger story is beyond me,” said the lieutenant governor.

Mark Kelly
Former astronaut Mark Kelly and his wife Gabby Giffords returned to Florida last weekend to campaign for Clinton, as part of the Vocal Majority Tour.

On Jan. 8, 2011, former U.S. Representative Giffords and eighteen others were shot during a constituent meeting held in a supermarket near Tucson, Ariz. She was critically wounded in the head. Six others were killed.  She and her husband, who went through flight training in Pensacola, have been advocates for commonsense solutions to protect communities from gun violence.

Inweekly caught up with Kelly as the Vocal Majority Tour was pulling into Tallahassee from North Carolina. He believes that it may appear the Democrats are placing more emphasis than their opponents because the Trump campaign has no grassroots effort.

“He doesn’t seem to have much of a GOP get-out-the-vote effort,” he said in a phone interview. “If you could put votes ‘in the bank’ early, then you can focus on other people.”

Hillary Clinton understands what it takes not only to be elected president but how to do the job of president, according to Kelly.

“I don’t think there’s anything more telling than is how somebody runs their campaign,” said Kelly.  “I mean, if you’re looking for evidence as to how somebody is going to be and how they’re going to serve as president, look to how they run their campaign and you’ll see a huge difference in Secretary Clinton and her opponent.”

Jeff Miller
Congressman Jeff Miller scoffed at the notion that the Democrats would garner more votes than Republicans in the mail-in ballots and early voting.

“Right now in Florida it looks like we’re doing very well on the Republican side with the early voting,” he said. “Of course, the absentees are heavily weighted in our favor, so that looks good.”

Congressman Miller, who chose not to seek another term, said he doesn’t see the Republicans losing control of the U.S. House.

“We were always going to lose seats,” he told Inweekly. “Redistricting, even in Florida, has changed the metric a little bit. There’s going to be some changes in the House, but it’s not going to flip.”

He added, “The House is going to be safe, but I think our margin is going to shrink.”

Miller does believe that Florida is the most critical state in this election cycle for control of the White House and U.S. Senate.

“As Florida goes both in the Senate and at the presidential level so will the rest of the country go because if Donald Trump is not successful in winning our 29 electoral votes, I hear it’s very difficult for him to win the White House,” he said. “And I think if Sen. Marco Rubio loses here it does not bode well for us.”

Congressman Miller said, “I don’t see that happening.”


Early Voting—Escambia County
Early voting remains open through Saturday, November 5. A total of seven sites will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. county-wide.

Escambia Co Extension Office
3740 Stefani Road

Molino Community Center
6450 Highway 95A North

Southwest Branch Library
12248 Gulf Beach Highway

Genealogy Branch Library
5740 N. 9th Ave.

Main Library
239 N. Spring St.

916 W. Michigan Ave.

Supervisor of Elections Main Office
213 S Palafox, Second Floor