1. Breaking News

Donald Trump campaign to open offices in South Florida

Published Sep. 7, 2016

Donald Trump will open a campaign office in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, the first South Florida office for the Republican during the general election.

His campaign is expected to open 25 offices across Florida within the next week, including seven in Broward and Miami-Dade, said Healy Baumgardner, a Trump campaign spokeswoman in Florida.

No further details such as the address of the Fort Lauderdale office or the locations of the Miami-Dade offices were immediately available.

Miami-Dade has the highest number of registered Republican voters — about 365,000 — in the state. Broward has the third highest, about 250,000, slightly behind Hillsborough County.

The Trump campaign has been sluggish at opening offices for the general election in Florida. On Aug. 8, the Donald Trump campaign said its first two dozen campaign field offices would open across Florida within two weeks. But that never happened.

On Tuesday, the Trump campaign opened an office in Winter Park. Previously his campaign had only opened one Florida office — his headquarters in Sarasota. An opening is also planned for Pensacola on Saturday.

Campaign offices don't hold the weight they once did in the age of organizing on social media and on cell phones, but they still play an important role in providing a spot for volunteers and staff to meet and rally the troops.

The Trump campaign does have "mobile offices" in the form of a few RVs in different parts of the state. The campaign will also open joint offices with the state and national Republican party. The campaign plans to go door-knocking in Hispanic neighorhoods in Miami-Dade Saturday, departing from Hialeah, Kendall and the Republican Party of Florida's West Miami-Dade victory office.

"Office numbers are a false metric and completely miss the point that, as we saw in the primary, Mr. Trump is not a typical politican and attempts to measure the strength of his campaign by old-world comparisons like these fail to reflect the enthusiasm and grassrooots support seen by the thousands of supporters and new voters he is attracting to his events and his campaign," said Karen Giorno, a Trump senior advisor, in a statement.

During the March 15 primary, Trump won every Florida county except Sen. Marco Rubio's home county of Miami-Dade.

Clinton has run a more traditional campaign in terms of her structure and for months has been announcing the opening of offices — 51 so far statewide.

In South Florida, she has offices in Wynwood, Miami Gardens, Fort Lauderdale, Tamarac, Plantation, Hialeah, Pompano Beach, Sunrise, Little Haiti, Naranja and Coral Springs.

Some of her offices are located in minority neighborhoods, important voting blocs for the Democrat. Over Labor Day weekend, her campaign opened an office in Miami's Little Haiti and in August her campaign opened an office in Fort Lauderdale on Sistrunk Boulevard in an African-American neighborhood. Clinton's campaign opened her South Florida headquarters in Miami's Wynwood neighborhood in July.

Florida continues to be a major battleground in the presidential race, which means that both Trump and Clinton are expected to repeatedly campaign in Florida through Nov. 8. A Real Clear Politics average of Florida polls between Aug. 10 and Sept. 6 shows that Clinton leads Trump by about 2 points.

Tampa Bay Times political editor Adam C. Smith contributed to this article.