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The Donald Trump campaign’s ground game gets going in Hillsborough County

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Though it’s been criticized for a lack of an organization in the Sunshine State, the Donald Trump campaign isn’t in terrible shape, if you go by the most recent public opinion polls.

Post-Labor Day, the campaign seems to be getting more focused in Hillsborough County, with a slate of events designed to knock on doors of registered Republicans and sign up new voters before the Oct. 11 registration deadline for the Nov. 8 election.

The Trump campaign will host a training session for canvassing this Friday at the Hillsborough County Republican Party headquarters in northeast Tampa (5118 N. 56 St.), going from 11 a.m to 3 p.m.

There will then be eight separate door-to-door canvassing events being held this Saturday (the campaign is dubbing it “Super Saturday,”), scheduled to take place in Tampa, Brandon, Riverview and Sun City Center. There will be similar events held on Friday and Sunday as well.

There will also be two separate watch parties held Wednesday night to view the “Commander-in-Chief Forum” that will be broadcast on NBC and MSNBC at 8 p.m. One takes place at O’Briens Irish Pub of Brandon, the other at Mojitos Restaurant and Lounge on West Kennedy Boulevard in Tampa. That event will feature both Trump and Hillary Clinton speaking on national security issues in the same place, though not at the same time.

Currently, the Trump campaign has only one field office in Florida, though adviser Karen Giorno has said as many as 25 are scheduled to open up this week.

The Clinton campaign now has more than 50 such offices in the state.

Since 2012, Republicans in Florida have registered some 300,000 more voters than Democrats. Giorno told the PBS NewsHour last week that the Trump campaign has set a goal of registering 100,000 more Republicans in the next few weeks in Florida.

Hillsborough County is considered crucial in winning the I-4 corridor, also considered critical to winning the entire state. With the exception of 1992, Hillsborough County has voted for the winning presidential candidate in every election since 1960.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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