Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) is being accused by extremely angry members of the Florida Republican Party of rigging the National Committeewoman race to keep the establishment in place and sabotage popular pro-Trump candidate Karen Giorno.
— Jimmy Patronis (@JimmyPatronis) January 6, 2018
Giorno was Trump’s Florida director during the primaries as well as a senior adviser working in Trump Tower during the general election. She has also previously worked in the Bush White House and as Governor Rick Scott’s director of external affairs.
According to Maryann Pistilli, a grassroots activist who got her start with the Tea Party and went on to become a co-chair for the Trump campaign in Florida as well and a regional director for the RPOF, the treatment Giorno was subjected to by the state party was like nothing she had ever seen before.
“We were treated so rudely up there, I was employee of theirs — so were these other women,” Pistilli, audibly upset, said of the treatment of herself, Giorno and the other women who were stumping for her by her former employers. “These women that were with me worked their butts off during the election to help our party win and they were treated with such disrespect!”
She described the RPOF as “infested” with Never-Trumpers and recalled an incident where one of the women she was with handed an invitation to Giorno’s reception to a party chairwoman and she crumpled it up in a ball and threw it at them. “That’s the RPOF,” Pistilli said, dismayed.
Speaking to the Gateway Pundit on the condition of anonymity due to their role within the party, someone heavily involved in the election detailed how Rubio made an unannounced visit to the party’s quarterly meeting in Orlando on Saturday to personally lobby against Giorno after realizing that she was going to win.
“He rigged it,” they stated.
“Giorno was responsible for the Florida primary, she cleared the field for Trump,” the source told the Gateway Pundit. “When you clear the field for the anti-establishment candidate, you don’t make a lot of friends.”
On Friday evening, Giorno and her opponent Kathleen King held dueling receptions to garner support ahead of Saturday’s vote. Giorno, who was endorsed by Citizens for Trump, Bikers for Trump, the MAGA Coalition, Sebastian Gorka, and many others within the MAGA movement, had roughly 150-175 lively people in attendance. King only had a small fraction of supporters attend her own.
According to a count by those close to her campaign, Giorno was in the lead by approximately 20 votes going into Saturday’s election.
Chris Cox, the founder of Bikers for Trump, who was in Florida campaigning for Giorno confirmed to the Gateway Pundit that their informal whip polling had her with approximately 90 votes on Friday, yet on Saturday she only received 48.
Multiple sources within the party told the Gateway Pundit that RPOF chairman Blaise Ingoglia had sent trackers to the receptions to determine which voting members were stopping by Giorno’s event.
The visible contrast in support, they said, appeared to spook the establishment members of the party who did not want to see a close ally of our president take the reigns. Panicked, Ingoglia suddenly added Rubio to the agenda ahead of the morning’s vote. It is highly unusual for a sitting senator to attend one of these meetings and the party itself is not supposed to have a dog in the fight.
“I thought we had about 90 in the bag, when they came out and said 48 to King’s 128 I was flabbergasted,” Cox said. “I was beside myself and couldn’t believe it. The math didn’t add up. Later it came out that Rubio had come in at the last second and was using the power of his office to influence these county chairmen.”
Sources close to the election told GWP that the senator personally met with several people who had previously committed to vote for Giorno and that they inexplicably flipped the other way after discussions with him.
“The establishment went into preservation mode. Marco shows up and pulled aside Giorno’s supporters, including one who is running for State Representative. If you’re running for State Rep and a sitting senator pulls you aside — you’re going to do whatever he says,” the source said. “These are the types of things that were happening.”
One anonymous source repeatedly referred to Rubio’s interference as “collusion” and compared it to the Democratic National Committee and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz rigging the 2016 primary race against Bernie Sanders.
The sentiment was echoed by Cox and Pistilli.
“It’s a good old boys system,” Cox said. “King, this woman who won, the whole premise was that she was entitled to it. She was next in line — it was her turn. It was similar to the Hillary Clinton narrative.”
Pistilli added that, “it was her turn, if you know what I mean. I was saying to myself, am I with a bunch of Democrats right now? This is what Democrats do — they eat their own. They’re obstructionists and they don’t like Trump.”
“The way that Karen was treated, I can’t find the words. It was so disheartening for me. Here is a woman that they should respect immensely for everything she has done for the Republican Party. She was the head of the Trump campaign in Florida! She brought our party the victory!” Pistilli said. “Instead of praising her, they demeaned her.”
Pistilli explained that aside from the spying and disrespect, the Never-Trump members of the RPOF were spreading fake news to smear her.
“Karen clearly should have won and was the most qualified for the job. She’s a phone call away from the president and is close to the governor. Instead we put a woman who is a lifer within the RPOF without any big accomplishments into the job because ‘it’s her turn,’” Pistilli said. “They didn’t want a MAGA coalition leader because they are Never-Trumpers.”
I find it both embarrassing and telling that Karen Giorno did not win her election for Florida State Committeewoman. GOP here in South Florida has less than no pull or ability to get things done!!! Such a shame!!!!
— EdwardLynch (@EdwardLynch) January 6, 2018
King will now be replacing Sharon Day, who was recently appointed by Trump as the US ambassador to Costa Rica.
“The RPOF doesn’t stand for the Republican Party of Florida, it stands for the Rubio Party of Florida,” Cox told the Gateway Pundit.
Cox asserted that Rubio is a chameleon who actively undermined the President of the United States with his actions.
“We were just trying to ensure that at least one of the three votes at the RNC — which would be the chairman, the national committeewoman and the national committeeman — would represent the president and the MAGA movement,” the source said.
Pistilli, for her part, will not be giving up despite the horrible mistreatment of Trump supporters.
“All aboard the Trump Train because we are now going into the RPOF! That’s my new mission,” Pistilli said.
She explained that the only way you can vote is to become a member of a Republican Executive Committee or join the RPOF — and that she will now be working to flood their ranks with Trump supporters to vote the Never-Trumpers out and take the party back.
“It’s very scary, but I have never stopped and will never stop fighting. Blaise [Ingoglia] needs to understand that right now these cards are stacked against him because we aren’t going away,” Pistilli said, noting that the people who volunteered for Trump and Giorno were also paying attention to what happened with the votes. “Those people sitting in that room and voting — they don’t go out and knock doors, they don’t make phone calls — all they are is a bunch of people with titles. They’re a bunch of opportunists.”