FLORIDA- Breaking- Election 2018: Did State Candidates Toby Overdorf and Belinda Keiser Pay For Endorsement From Fired Trump Strategist? Robert Paisola Reports for Western Capital Investigations Live
The state campaigns of Toby Overdorf and Belinda Keiser — as in Keiser University — have just received endorsements from a fired Donald J. Trump strategist in the wake of a large payment made by Keiser’s campaign to the strategist’s company.
Keiser’s $70,325-check to a New Jersey firm for political consulting, according to state elections records, has birthed rumors that the cash also secured Trump-related endorsements for Florida senate hopeful Keiser and Overdorf, who is running for the Florida house in an overlapping district in and around Stuart.
Within days of the July 16 payment to Kingston Public Affairs, owned by strategist Karen Giorno, the campaigns to elect Keiser and Overdorf received her ringing thumps-up.
Giorno said of Keiser: “Belinda is my kind of Republican, we need to send Political Outsider Belinda Keiser to Tallahassee to help drain the swamp that exist there, too. (Some say it’s worse than D.C.!) We need someone like Belinda who isn’t beholden to special interests or party bosses.”
Then, the discarded Trump helper endorsed Overdorf in a press released that referred to Trump 12 times in four paragraphs: “Toby Overdorf is the only leader in this race who truly stands with President Trump. Despite his opponent’s claims to the contrary, Toby has always been 100 percent on board with the President’s plan to secure our borders and protect our constitutional rights. We can count on Toby to promote new jobs, strengthen our economy, and continue supporting President Trump’s Make-America-Great-Again agenda.”
Giorno was Trump’s lead strategist in Florida during the 2016 primary campaign when Trump beat a large field that included two Floridians, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush.
What happened next is, like many things at the White House, subject to interpretation.
Giorgo says she was promoted to regional director for 11 southeast states after the primary.
Fox News say she was then canned for failing to open field offices throughout Florida at a time when polls showed Hillary Clinton was ahead.
And the controversy has now engulfed Overdorf and Keiser.
In an email where he answered eight questions, Overdorf defended the endorsement.
It came, he said, fair and square, without any of his campaign money going to Kingston Public Affairs.
“I’ve known Karen for a couple of years now,” Overdorf wrote, through political circles and the 2016 Trump campaign.
“I am aware she does not work for Trump now, and I have no reason to believe she was ever fired from any campaign.
“I did not pay for the endorsement, nor have I paid for any endorsement of my campaign. I would reject any endorsement that was paid for.”
Overdorf said he knows Keiser, “not super well, but well enough.”
Keiser, who’s in the race to replace former Senate President Joe Negron, declined comment.
So far, her campaign has spent a whopping $1.2 million on trying to get the job. The $70,000 payment to Kingston Public Affairs stands out, however, because it is unusually high for political consulting, more than double normal consulting charges.
In an interview, Giorno said she doesn’t charge for endorsements. What she did for Keiser included data processing and hyper-targeting potential voters online, and that’s expensive, Giorno said.
She added both her endorsements of Overdorf and Keiser are heartfelt.
“Both were there for the Trump campaign from the start,” she said, “at a time when few people wanted to be involved. They stand for the Trump agenda.”
Robert Paisola Reports for Western Capital International, All Rights Reserved