The most striking thing about Hillary Clinton's Florida campaign is how little it's doing
Hillary Clinton winds up a two-day fundraising swing through Florida today with a rare public Florida campaign event in Orlando. The "Hillary for Orlando Grassroots Event" is scheduled for 1 p.m., but the voter outreach effort is clearly a secondary priority to raising campaign dough from Floridians.
Her stop at the Meadow Woods Recreation Center in Orlando is squeezed between private fundraising receptions at Alex Sink's east Hillsborough County home this morning and then private fundraisers at the home of Bill Kitchen in Windermere and then the Jacksonville home of Sally Pajcic. Last night she was in Miami-Dade, raising money in Pinecrest and Miami Beach.
One striking element about the Clinton campaign's Florida operation is how little it seems to be doing to prepare for the general election. Most recent polls show her losing the mega state to most of the GOP candidates, but, Florida being Florida, it is almost guaranteed to be close. The bottom line remains the Democratic nominee will, at the very least, pretend to fight for Florida's 29 electoral votes. If Democrats win Florida, they win the White House.
But for now, team Hillary only wants to talk about the primary. Eager to tamp down perceptions of arrogance or entitlement on her part, the Clinton campaign insists it is concentrating on winning the Democratic nomination, and not yet turning any attention to the general election in America's biggest battleground state. That means only raising $2,700 donations for the primary and it means no hiring of non-fundraising staffers in Florida. (The most likely Florida 2016 campaign leaders include the state party's Scott Arceneaux and/or Jackie Lee, who has been working with NextGen Climate in Florida).
This is a big contrast to Barack Obama who by this point in the 2012 cycle already had several paid staffers on the ground and was busy building a formidable turnout organization.
The Clinton campaign boasts of having thousands of Florida volunteers already active in Florida and having held more than 350 grassroots events such as phone banks, canvasses, and debate watch parties. Still, Clinton appears to be gearing up for a late Florida start in line with John Kerry '04 and Obama '08, rather than early, a la Obama '12.
Today marks Clinton's third public event in Florida as a presidential candidate. She spoke at Broward College in Davie in October on the same day she held a few fundraisers, and in July she addressed the National Urban League conference in Fort Lauderdale and Florida International University in Miami.
The campaign notes that Florida has a relatively late primary — March 15 — and that it is only the second state holding a March primary where she will have held three public events this year. The other state is Texas.