Sunday, February 18, 2018
Politics

Mayor Buckhorn kicks off opening of new Clinton campaign office in Tampa

TAMPA — High off of Hillary Clinton's Super Tuesday success, supporters including Mayor Bob Buckhorn gathered Wednesday to open the Democratic presidential hopeful's first organizing office in the Tampa Bay region.

The new "Hillary for Florida" office is in the bottom floor of Ybor City's Cuban Club, on 2010 N Avenida Republica De Cuba.

Public officials — such as former Mayor Sandy Freedman, Clerk of the Circuit Court Pat Frank and City Council member Harry Cohen — as well as dozens of supporters sporting Hillary stickers spilled onto the sidewalk outside the office. Standing on stairs so he could see over the crowd, Buckhorn gave a speech that praised Clinton's big wins, foreshadowed Florida's pivotal role in the election and mocked leading Republican candidate Donald Trump.

"We are standing in ground zero for American politics," he said. "This is where presidents get picked, right here in Ybor City, right here in Tampa, right here in the I-4 corridor."

Cohen said he watched Clinton's victory speech in Miami on Tuesday night, when she won seven states. He said "the energy was tremendous."

Frank said she is confident in a Clinton win. "I think it's fabulous that glass ceiling will finally break," she said.

For Freedman, supporting the Clintons is a decades-old tradition. She was the first mayor to endorse Bill Clinton in 1991. That history of support prompted Alan Clendenin, the first vice chair of Florida's Democratic party, to describe Tampa as "Clinton country" Wednesday.

"Hillary for Florida" already has what it calls "grass root offices" in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Orlando, Jacksonville, Gainesville and Tallahassee, according to the campaign.

With the state's primary creeping closer, organizers hope the newest location will help the former secretary of state continue her lead on Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and win Florida's Democratic primary March 15.

Buckhorn looked ahead to a Clinton victory in November. He jokingly imaged headlines saying "President Trump," drawing boos from the crowd.

"Are you guys fired up?" he shouted at them. "Are we going to bring home Tampa for Secretary Clinton … and send Donald Trump back to wherever the hell he came from?"

The crowd erupted, chanting "Hillary, Hillary."

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