TAMPA — Calling Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump “a guy who criticizes everybody but himself” and doesn’t pay taxes to support a military he denigrates, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton on Wednesday urged supporters in Tampa to turn out and vote in force over the next 13 days.
“What a great way to celebrate my birthday, being here in Tampa,” said the former secretary of state, who turned 69 on Wednesday.
But instead of gifts, she asked supporters to vote for her as soon as they can in the biggest battleground region of the biggest battleground state.
“With 13 days left in this election, we cannot stop for a minute,” she said. “No complacency. Nobody flagging. We’ve got to get everybody out to vote.”
Without Florida’s 29 electoral votes, it is virtually impossible for Donald Trump to win the White House, and a rule of thumb in Florida politics is that whoever wins Tampa Bay area wins the state.
Early, in-person voting began Monday, and mail voting has been going on for weeks. By the end of her rally, more than 319,000 people in Pinellas and Hillsborough county had cast ballots, with votes from Democrats topping Republicans 42 percent to 38 percent.
With the bay area in play, Clinton and Trump are both focusing on the western end of the Interstate 4 corridor. On Monday night, Trump drew about 15,000 people to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre.
On Wednesday, the Tampa Fire Marshal estimated Clinton’s crowd at 4,000 to 5,000, not including a long line of people who could not get inside Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.
While Trump took time from his campaign to open his new Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., Clinton criticized him, saying he used undocumented workers — “the same people he has been insulting and demonizing” — to get the project built, stocked the building with products made outside the United States and sued the District of Columbia to pay lower taxes.
“That is the way that he does business,” Clinton said, going into a list of workers or contractors Trump had not paid for work done or goods provided to his projects. “Donald Trump is the poster boy for everything wrong with our economy.”