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Will fallout from President Trump vs. NYT op-ed impact Florida election?

Republicans running for Florida governor, US Senate closely tied to Trump

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An opinion piece in The New York Times by an anonymous senior administration official claiming to be part of a "resistance" working "from within" to thwart President Donald Trump's "worst inclinations" set off a wild guessing game on the author's identity.

But could it have an impact on Florida's next election?

In an extraordinary move, Trump tweeted a demand that if "the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!" Trump has ordered aides to identify the writer.

Top administration officials, including from Vice President Mike Pence's office, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Dan Coats, director of national intelligence and other Cabinet members swiftly denied their involvement.

News4Jax political analyst Rick Mullaney believes the political back and forth could resonate with Florida voters.

Mullaney, founder of Jacksonville University's Public Policy Institute, noted that Rick Scott, who is running against Bill Nelson for U.S. Senate race, and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, who is facing Andrew Gillum in a race for Florida governor, are closely tied to Trump.

"He casts a big shadow in Florida on both races," Mullaney said. "It's far left versus far right, and this may be a precursor to the 2020 matchup. And that matchup is drawing national attention."

Some voters said the Times' op-ed strengthens their negative opinion of the president.

"If his own people are speaking out against him, that's got to say something," Crystal Shad said. "Because not only are the non-supporters speaking out against him, now people close to him are speaking out against him."

But one Democratic voter told News4Jax that, beyond Twitter, he's not bothered by the president's job performance.

"It's all about the economy," Kenneth Townsend said. "If he could tone it down, that would be great. But I don't dislike him because he's going after different people."

Mullaney said most Florida voters are not paying close attention yet, and as the Supreme Court nomination process plays out, it may make voters forget this controversy.

"It’s really hard to tell whether the New York Times editorial is going to get legs and have staying power," Mullaney said. "I suspect it will not have staying power, but the president’s disapproval ratings have skyrocketed recently."


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