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Todd Wilcox Following a Strategy That's Paid Off for Florida Republicans

September 7, 2015 - 12:30pm
Todd Wilcox
Todd Wilcox

Hoping to replace Marco Rubio in the Senate, businessman, veteran and former CIA agent Todd Wilcox is taking a page from a very familiar political playbook: hitting his opponents as “career politicians.” 

After the successes of Rick Scott, Ted Yoho, Curt Clawson and others in Republican primaries across the Sunshine State, Wilcox is trying to distance himself from his primary rivals: Ron DeSantis, David Jolly and Carlos Lopez-Cantera.

Weighing in after speaking at the RPOF event at the end of last month, Wilcox played up his outsider credentials. 

“On Saturday all four of the U.S. Senate candidates spoke to the more than 500 RPOF attendees,” Wilcox noted. “The consistent feedback I received after my speech echoes the sentiment being reported on in the press; 'We the People' are fed up with the professional political class. Despite their best efforts to the contrary, my Republican primary opponents cannot dodge the fact that they are career politicians. This was an introduction of my candidacy to the RPOF delegates throughout the state and they now know who I am.”

Wilcox also claimed to be “gaining momentum” at the end of August since “America is fed up with the professional political class and we all want a return to citizen government.”

Right now, Wilcox is pretty invisible in the polls but the same can be said of his three rivals for the Republican nomination. Wilcox could soon face another elected official in the Republican primary in Bill McCollum who, from his previous Senate and gubernatorial campaigns, is far better known than any of the others. 

Wilcox has the right message to appeal to conservative primary voters and he can be a wild card in the primary. DeSantis is hoping to appeal to voters with his military background and focus on national security but Wilcox could hurt him there. With his Central Florida base, Wilcox could  wind up taking votes from DeSantis -- who represents parts of Volusia County -- and Jolly who is based in Tampa Bay. 

With Bill McCollum still thinking about getting in the race, Wilcox could be facing four officeholders. While Jolly and DeSantis haven’t held elected office long, Wilcox will try to pin Beltway politics on them. The more elected officials, the better for Wilcox. Yoho certainly benefited when he took on Cliff Stearns and two other elected officials in the Republican primary.

Wilcox has to raise money, of course, to compete in Florida’s many media markets but he’s following a game plan that has led to victory for other Republicans in the Sunshine State. He’s not at the head of the pack by any means but Wilcox could end up as a contender if he plays his cards right in the year until the primary. 

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN

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