More than 200 patriotically decorated golf carts made their way from Lake Sumter Landing to Brownwood Paddock Square on Sunday afternoon in a parade organized by Villagers for Trump.
The “Be Sure to Vote” rally was held the day before Sumter County’s deadline to register to vote or update your registration to take part in the Aug. 23 Republican primary. Carts started lining up in the parking lot across from Barnes & Noble more than an hour before the parade started, giving candidates for local offices the opportunity to mingle with voters and lobby for votes.
Laura Loomer, the conservative firebrand seeking to unseat Republican Congressman Daniel Webster, was on hand along with a throng of vocal, sign-waving supporters. Webster, who skipped a Villagers for Trump Congressional forum earlier this month, was once again a no-show.
Rock Daze, running for the District 52 seat in the Florida House of Representatives, was also well-represented in the crowd. He’s running in the primary against John Temple, who has been seen as the candidate most closely allied with the Developer of The Villages. The other GOP candidate in the race, Andy Curtis, died of a heart attack on July 3.
Another candidate with a large presence at the rally/parade was Sharyl Anderson, who is running in the District 4 race for the Sumter County Commission against Jeff Bogue and James Morris.
Villagers for Trump president Tommy Jamieson said the organization has not made any primary endorsements in the local races because former President Donald Trump hasn’t endorsed anyone.
“We’re staying neutral at this point,” Jamieson said. “Our purpose here today was to get together, have some fun and encourage everyone to register to vote in the primary. All elections are important – even local primaries.”
While support for the local candidates was spread among the attendees, it was unanimous for both Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is unopposed in the GOP primary and polling well ahead of potential Democratic challengers Charlie Crist and Nikki Fried. Nearly every cart had signs supporting both the former president and current governor.
That brings up the question of what happens in 2024 if DeSantis, whose national star is on the rise, decides to take on Trump for the presidential nomination. Trump hasn’t announced he is running but has sent signals that he will. Who would Villagers for Trump support?
“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” Jamieson said. “We’ve got the best governor in the country and we need him to be re-elected. We’re not thinking past this election cycle.”