Political Party With Adam Smith is a podcast about Florida politics. The host, an award-winning journalist and the longtime political editor of the Tampa Bay Times, describes the program as “a good opportunity not just to talk about campaigns or races, but issues and the things people are talking about. Very casual, very informal, and hopefully fun.”
Pinellas GOP Chairman Todd Jennings is bullish about unseating Democratic County Commissioners Charlie Justice and Janet Long.
In his appearance on Political Party with Adam Smith, Jennings predicted those could be the biggest Pinellas surprises on Election Day and that Long and Justice could pay for policies enacted to thwart the spread of coronavirus.
“If Trump has a good showing in Pinellas County, if the Pinellas GOP can do our job and get those Trump voters to vote Republican all the way down ballot, I think those races are certainly in play,” Jennings said, citing an Aug. 20 survey by St. Pete Polls.
That automated phone poll found incumbent Commissioner Long leading former state Rep. Larry Ahern, 45.8 percent to 43.2 percent, and incumbent Justice drawing 46.2 percent and Republican challenger Tammy Sue Vasquez 41.7 percent. Conducted for FloridaPolitics.com, the poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.3 percent.
Pinellas comfortably backed Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, but then swung narrowly to Donald Trump in 2016. Jennings is optimistic Trump can win again, based on the enthusiasm he sees with the Republican base. He brushes off critics who say the Republican party under Trump has turned its back on longstanding values.
“I understand that the president champions what we believe in in a much different way than what a lot of long-established Republicans are used to, but I don’t know how you can say the GOP’s lost its way,” said Jennings, an attorney. “I preach the same things I always preached.”