It was pretty cool to host this guy,” said Gulfport Mayor Sam Henderson on Tuesday, June 5.
On Saturday, June 2, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson visited Gulfport to solicit support for his 2018 re-election campaign. Nelson, a Democrat, is seeking re-election for his fourth term and is running against Florida’s Republican Gov. Rick Scott who entered the race on April 9. Senators serve for six-year terms.
“He was down here canvassing and needed some place out of the sun to get organized and to talk to the people working for him,” said Henderson.
On Saturday, for about 40 minutes, about 65 people packed themselves into Henderson’s 917 square foot Gulfport home.
“I was happy to host him,” said Henderson. “He took time and spent one of his weekends campaigning in Gulfport for a statewide US senate seat. It’s nice to know that we’re on his political radar.”
Nelson spoke to his supporters and said on Saturday, “I’m going to do my part to get a good head of steam. As you know, I’m going to be well out-spent because my opponent does not have to have one fundraiser. He just writes the check.”
As a canvassing theme, Nelson said, “Look at the energy that is out there. The energy of women; the energy of students; the energy of the Hispanic community; the energy of folks that have been disrespected; the energy of people that are sick and tired of having a role model for our children as this president of our United States.”
Florida Democratic Senator Darryl Rouson, District 19, added on Saturday, “And the energy of the disenfranchised.” Rouson was first elected as a state senator in 2016 and his term ends in 2020.
Also on Saturday, Jennifer Webb of Gulfport, a Democrat running for the Florida House, said, “And, the energy of District 69.”
The election will be Tuesday, November 6.
“I’ve always respected Nelson,” Henderson told the Gabber. “I teach Earth science and he’s a former astronaut.”
For six days, Nelson was a payload specialist on NASA’s Space Shuttle Columbia from January 12 to January 18, 1986. At the time, he was a U.S. representative.
One of Nelson’s ties to Gulfport has involved working with local officials to help a woman from the Netherlands get her visa reinstated so she could live in town on property she bought with her husband who is a US citizen, said Henderson on Saturday.
“We went to bat for her and with your help with words that swayed their opinion, her visa was restored,” Henderson told the crowd. “You had far more to do with getting this changed than my little voice down here in Gulfport. I really appreciated that. That’s one of the little things that nobody else will ever hear about, but it’s one of the reasons I’ve been supporting you since we moved into Florida.”
The crowd applauded and cheered.