Politics

Trump's Florida Spokeswoman Resigns

| by Zach Cohen
Healy Baumgardner and her boss, Donald TrumpHealy Baumgardner and her boss, Donald Trump

Healy Baumgardner, Florida spokeswoman and press secretary for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, resigned on Sept. 26 because she is "no longer comfortable" with the direction of the campaign. 

Baumgardner, according to Bloomberg, established herself as a TV surrogate early on in Trump's campaign, before being assigned to Florida after several campaign staff shake-ups. 

Baumgardner didn't say specifically why she was leaving her post and says she looks forward to "honorably casting my vote for Mr. Trump on Election Day."

Some Florida campaign workers told Bloomberg on condition of anonymity that the campaign in the Sunshine State was struggling. Their phone bank is experiencing technical difficulties, and they are lacking in basic campaign materials like bumper stickers and yard signs. Staffers also reported that some people aren't happy about the decision to spend $40,000 on an RV wrapped in advertising for a women's bus tour.

Trump has not had a good week in Florida. In addition to the logistical troubles facing the campaign's ground game, Newsweek reported on Sept. 29 that Trump's company may have violated the U.S embargo of Cuba in 1998. Marc Caputo, senior writer for Politico, told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow that Cuban-Americans in Florida, a population widely acknowledged as critical to Republicans' success in the state, are already turning against Trump in the wake of the scandal. 

Polling analysis from FiveThirtyEight.com, which uses weighted averages across many polls, shows that Trump's chances of winning in Florida have declined. From Sept. 15 to 26, the day of the first presidential debate, Trump was expected to carry the swing-state and at his peak, he was favored by a margin of over 10 points. Clinton has gained heavily since the debate and is leading Trump by about that much as of Sept. 30.

In a post on Red State, a conservative blog, frequent contributor Susan Wright says Baumgardner's decision to resign was smart. "By all accounts, Florida is in self-destruct mode, just like the GOP nominee. Baumgardner knows when it’s time to cut her losses, save what’s left of her 20-year reputation in politics, and to make the quick bail."

Baumgardner is putting the past behind her. Sometime on or after Sept. 26, she retweeted fictional House of Cards president Frank Underwood:

Baumgardner has worked as a republican operative and media professional for 20 years. According to her LinkedIn profile, she worked as a Senior Press Representative in the White House for five years under President George W. Bush. She worked on Rudy Giuliani's presidential bid in 2008, and subsequently as the press secretary for the Department of Energy for the remainder of Bush's presidency.

Sources: Bloomberg, Newsweek, MSNBC, FiveThirtyEight.com, Red StateLinkedIn / Photo credit: LinkedIn, Healy Baumgardner/Twitter

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