Trump Effect could swing Florida Rooney/Freeman race

Tue, Oct 18, 2016

U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney is defending safe turf — a newly redrawn district stretching from Lakeland and Sarasota to Lake Okeechobee that Mitt Romney won with 58 percent of the vote in 2012.

And yet Rooney has been under siege since he announced last week he could no longer support Trump. He’s been swamped by phone calls, letters and on local Republican talk radio show by Trump supporters vowing to support John Sawyer III, an independent in the race against him. With Cape Coral Democrat April Freeman in the race and capable of pulling 40 percent of the vote, Republicans are now worried.

Stipanovich said Rooney is being “battered” for taking a stand. Stipanovich said there is little doubt in his mind that 90 percent of elected Republicans in Florida know Trump would not be a good president, yet they are “hiding under their beds.”

“This is a very difficult time for the Republican party and it is a shameful for Republican officials,” Stipanovich said.

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