Democrat Bill Nelson Unknowingly Told Voters His Reelection Bid Is In Trouble

Nelson predicts Pasco County will decide election right before exposé on how much Pasco County loves Trump

Sen. Bill Nelson / Getty Images

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Earlier this month, Florida senator Bill Nelson (D.) rallied a group of supporters in Pasco County by telling them it's their county that will tell him whether he will win reelection.

"The first county that I look at on election night is the one that has always given me the indication of what’s going to happen, and that’s Pasco County," Nelson said during an event held for him by the Pasco Democratic Party. "I’ve seen it in every one of my elections."

Then the Tampa Bay Times went to Pasco County, and the indication they got was that support for Republicans was "as strong as ever."

"The Tampa Bay Times conducted dozens of interviews with voters in this west Pasco enclave that show support for President Donald J. Trump is as strong as ever," found reporters Adam Smith and Langston Taylor.

The reporters found voters in Pasco County, which swung toward Trump more dramatically than any other county in Florida, to be pleased with Trump and angry at the onslaught of negativity directed at him by the media and Democrats.

"Based on dozens of random interviews this month with voters, the widely expected ‘blue wave' of anti-Trump voters carrying Democrats to victory in November is dubious at best," they wrote.

"In interview after interview, voters dismissed the constant drama and controversy surrounding Trump," they wrote. "They sense that the president is getting a lot done, and see the economy improving."

The interviews show voters, many of them Democrats, are passionately behind Trump, who has aligned himself with Nelson's Republican opponent in November, Florida governor Rick Scott.

"I'm sick of everybody trying to knock him down. Trump's doing a good job," said Joe Vellucci, an Obama voter who is now a Republican. "He's done just what he said he was going to do."

Victor Berrios, another Obama voter, is still a registered Democrat, but now says his party needs to "lighten up a little bit" and "let the man run the country."

"I liked Obama and voted for him, but my homeboy was a little soft," Berrios said. "Trump is my man, and the Democrats need to lighten up a little bit. Let the man run the country."

"I have not heard a single person say they regret voting for him, or people who were on the fence before saying they don't think he's doing a good job," said Republican state representative Amber Mariano, who represents a Pasco district.

The Pasco Democratic Party responded to the story not by disputing the findings, based on both interviews and a detailed analysis of the county's demographics, but by lashing out at Pasco voters.

"Facts are simply unimportant to a large voting bloc here in Pasco County," the party wrote in a Facebook post on the Tampa Bay Times story.

The Pasco Democratic Party did not respond to emails asking its response.

One Facebook user responded to the group's post by alerting them they "need to win those voters over again."

"I think you all might be missing the big picture here," wrote the user. "We need to win those voters over again (we have before) but we aren't going to do so by writing them off and calling them morons."

Nelson also did not respond to a request for comment on Pasco County and whether he thinks he could win without its support.

Brent Scher   Email Brent | Full Bio | RSS
Brent Scher is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. He graduated from the University of Virginia, where he studied foreign affairs and politics.

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