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The Villages
Sunday, May 19, 2024

Hundreds of golf carts descend on square as Democrats spread message in The Villages

Members of The Villages Democrats Club served notice Monday night: They’re serious about the midterm election and they plan to do everything in their power to put their candidates in office.

Members of The Villages Democrats Club gather for the start of a golf cart rally Monday night in the parking lot at Barnes & Noble in Lake Sumter Landing.

That was the message that roared through Lake Sumter Landing as close to 500 people staged a rally with about 250 decorated, horn-honking golf carts. And they came to the Barnes & Noble parking lot to start the event with one goal in mind – initiate a sweep across Florida’s Friendliest Hometown with a “Blue Wave” that signifies change is coming in the upcoming Nov. 6 general election.

“This is awesome,” said Michelle Boshears, a Village of Caroline resident who attended the rally with her husband, Steve, and their dog, Elphie. “It’s great energy and we’re happy to be a part of it.”

Mary and Henry Goldberg, of the Village of Summerhill

Charles Wright, a member of The Villages Democrats Club and a past vice president, said Monday’s rally proves one thing.

“All winning candidates come through The Villages,” the Village of Hemingway resident said. “And The Villages will keep its reputation as being the place where winning candidates come.”

For Cindy Grossman, a Villages Democrats Club board member, the event was a dream come true. Grossman organized the get-together, much like she did with the “Yes We Care” immigration rally that was held at Lake Sumter Landing this past June.

“This has been really a powerful experience,” she said. “I love to show that we have many more Democrats here than people suspect. They’re very spirited people who are usually working in the back rooms on the campaigns, getting our candidates well known.”

Democrats display a variety of signs on their golf carts to show support for different candidates as a Sumter County sheriff’s deputy stands by in case he’s needed.

Grossman said she believes The Villages is one of the few places in the world where such a golf cart rally could take place and be so successful.

“It’s so wonderful to see this support right here in our own home community,” she said. “Democrats may not be the majority now but we’re on our way to getting our people elected. That’s what this is all about.”

Marsha Shearer, of the Village of Belle Aire, shows her support for Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Andrew Gillum.
Linda Spada, of the Village of Amelia

Marsha Shearer, a well-known Democratic supporter who lives in the Village of Belle Aire, called the event both phenomenal and amazing.

“This means that we’re involved and we care,” Shearer said. “This is going to be just the beginning of the ‘Blue Wave.’ You’re seeing it now.”

Villager Linda Spada, who was standing in front of Johnny Rockets holding a sign supporting Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum for governor, agreed.

“There’s a lot of Democrats here – more than a lot of people think,” the Village of Amelia resident said, adding that she’s a registered Independent and she’s looking forward to Gillum’s visit to the Savannah Center on Oct. 13.

More than 500 area Democrats in close to 250 golf carts took part in a rally through Lake Sumter Landing on Monday night to garner support for their candidates in the upcoming Nov. 6 general election.
Cris Andersen, state committeewoman for the Sumter County Democratic Party

Cris Andersen, who serves as the State Committeewoman for the Sumter County Democratic Party, said the rally was extremely important because it proves that Democrats in the tri-county area are taking the midterm election seriously.

“It shows that our voters and the people that feel the way we do want to come out and vote and express their opinion about what’s going on in our country,” the Village of Pennecamp resident said.

Andersen added that she believes the Democratic Party has a strong slate of candidates on the ballot for the upcoming election: Dana Cottrell for Congress; Gary McKechnie for State Senate and Villager Oren Miller for the Florida House. And she offered strong praise for Sen. Bill Nelson in his re-election bid against GOP challenger Gov. Rick Scott and Gillum in his gubernatorial race against former Rep. Ron DeSantis.

Louise Redding, of the Village of Largo, and Bonnie Gore, of the Village of Virginia Trace

“I have been a supporter of Andrew Gillum from the very beginning,” she said. “He inspires me. He understands what it’s like for average people that live in Florida. He’s got great ideas for education, for our economy and jobs. So I’m very proud to support him.”

Grossman agreed, adding that every time she mentions Gillum’s name while working the phones at the Democratic Campaign Headquarters in Wildwood, people get energized.

“He’s done wonderful things in Tallahassee and I think he’s going to be one of the best governors we’ve ever had in Florida,” she said. “We’re working very hard to make sure that he’s elected.”

Golf carts participating in Monday night’s rally sported signs backing a number of different Democrats in the upcoming general election.

Most of those participating in Monday’s rally wanted to concentrate on supporting local and didn’t have much to say about the controversial hearings on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. But Grossman said she thinks those hearings and other things people see on television are what motivates them to get involved.

“They see people who are not necessarily qualified getting positions because of who they know and not what they do for people,” she said.

As for the Kavanaugh hearings, Grossman called them a real disappointment.

“I was so disappointed that people don’t understand how important it is to believe women,” she said. “When a woman comes out and says what happened to her – there’s a trauma that was evident there – we need to believe her.”

Village of Caroline residents Michelle and Steve Boshears and their dog, Elphie.

She said it was obvious that some of the men on the Senate Judiciary Committee didn’t believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony regarding sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh.

“Maybe that will change in the next few days as evidence comes out,” she said. “I’m glad they’re doing the FBI investigation, but we need to start believing women and having candidates in Congress – and particularly in that Senate Judiciary Committee – who understand that it’s not cool in 2018 to have all men judging what happened to a woman.”
Grossman added that she saw the hearings as a glimpse into Kavanaugh’s character, as well as a job interview.

“He definitely failed,” she said. “He does not have the temperament be a Supreme Court justice. He lost it in front of the committee and yet they still acted like this is perfectly OK. It’s not OK with many women and we’re electing local candidates now to change what Congress and what all of our elected offices look like.”

Democrats from throughout Florida’s Friendliest Hometown gather in the Barnes & Noble parking lot to learn which route they’ll take through Lake Sumter Landing during Monday night’s rally.
Ann and Steve Koziel, of the Village of Duval
Members of The Villages Democrats Club roll through Lake Sumter Landing as part of a ‘Blue Wave’ golf cart rally Monday night.

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