Trump campaigns in Florida, claims ‘most popular’ title

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US President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall in Tampa, Florida, on July 31, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB

US President Donald Trump campaigned in the battleground state of Florida Tuesday, hoping to energize Republicans facing a stiff test in November polls.

With tight US Senate and state gubernatorial elections coming up, Trump offered impassioned voters in Tampa a greatest hits of his administration and a plea to get out to vote and “win big.”

Among key ballots this November 6 is a close contest between Republican Rick Scott and Democrat Bill Nelson for a US Senate seat that is crucial for Republicans to win if they want to keep control of Congress.

A RealClear Politics poll average has Scott ahead by just over one percent in a toss-up race.

Trump endorsed Scott and Ron DeSantis for the key governor’s race.

But Trump spent most of the speech that lasted more than an hour hailing his own record and lapping up the adulation of the thousands-strong crowd of mostly white, middle-aged Americans.

He claimed credit for more people celebrating Christmas, hailed support from “blacks for Trump” and stated that he is the leading figure in the 160-plus-year history of his party.

“The most popular person in the history of the Republican Party is Trump, can you believe it?” he asked, to rapturous applause.

“This may be the greatest movement in the history of our country,” he said. “To keep it going, we need to elect more Republicans.”