ORLANDO, FL â€“ August 7, 2015 â€“ (HISPANICIZE WIRE) – The former CIA and Special Forces soldier, now an Orlando businessman, sees his opponents (Carlos Lopez-Cantera, David Jolly, and Ron DeSantis) as â€œthree career politicians,â€ all of whom are running campaigns â€œon the taxpayerâ€™s dime.â€
Wilcox sees that as a â€œlittle bit shady.â€
â€œLopez Cantera should resign his position,â€ Wilcox said flatly during a Wednesday phone interview, pointing out that previously the law said that one couldnâ€™t hold an office and run for office.
Resigning, Wilcox adds, would â€œbe the right thing to do,â€ but itâ€™s not â€œwhat theyâ€™re going to do,â€ referring to the Lieutenant Governor and the two United States representatives.
Expanding further, Wilcox says that DeSantis is â€œ36 years old; what has he done in life?â€ Jolly, meanwhile, is a lobbyist who moved into government; Lopez-Cantera, meanwhile, had stints â€œin the Florida House and as Miami-Dade Property Appraiser.â€
â€œWhat life experiences do they have?â€
They are, he reiterates, â€œcareer politicians.â€ Whereas Wilcoxâ€™s run is an â€œextension of service to [his] country.â€
Wilcox was in Jacksonville talking to stakeholders, including the JAX Chamber, where he made his case based on his understanding of how business works, especially relative to the port and shipping concerns. I asked him if he was getting resistance given the local ties of Representative DeSantis.
â€œEveryone Iâ€™m talking to says by no meansâ€ is DeSantis the chosen favorite son candidate, â€œespecially with his voting recordâ€ and his â€œhistory of obstructionâ€ in the manner of the Tea Party.
Wilcox is not taking any region of the state as a sure win for more local candidates. One of his goals, in Northeast Florida and elsewhere, is â€œmarket penetration,â€ and that will be one of the metrics by which he gauges his success.
Wilcox, who is slowly moving up in the polls, believes the field is wide open. The various Chamber groups, he asserts, are not going to endorse early on. Thereâ€™s no incumbent, and â€œnobody has statewide name recognition.â€
This leaves the Orlando Republican an opportunity to say â€œhereâ€™s who I am, and hereâ€™s what Iâ€™m aboutâ€ to the many undecided voters, organizations, and the donor class.
â€œEverybodyâ€™s fed up with career politicians,â€ Wilcox adds.
And the former Green Beretâ€™s not a career politician.
What he is: a man who sees an opportunity to deviate from business as usual politics.
And he brings a unique value add as well, as he will demonstrate at a National Security symposium at an upcoming RPOF meeting, in which he will â€œbreak down the Iran deal,â€ which he terms as a â€œhuge mistake [that] hearkens back to the North Korea deal.â€
Wilcox says of President Barack Obama that he â€œcanâ€™t negotiate his way out of a wet paper back,â€ specifically citing the 60-day review policy as an example of that failure of negotiation.
â€œI donâ€™t think there is a strategy there,â€ Wilcox says. â€œThe President is just biding time, hoping that nothing bad will happen.â€
In terms of statecraft, he says our adversaries are playing chess while the Obama administration is playing checkers.
â€œHeâ€™s on par with Jimmy Carter,â€ Wilcox said of â€œone of the worst foreign policy presidentsâ€ in recent American history.
ISIS, meanwhile, is a â€œresult of the precipitous pullout from Iraq.â€
Regarding his opponents, at least two of whom are messaging as foreign policy hawks, Wilcox is skeptical as to the depth of their thoughts.
â€œWhat experience do they draw on when they speak authoritatively?â€ Though DeSantis has a â€œlittle bit of background,â€ Wilcox is skeptical as to â€œwhere they draw that credibility.â€
We also discussed the battle royale that is the Republican presidential field.
There are, thus far, â€œnot a lot of differencesâ€ among the candidates, â€œlike minded Republicansâ€ distinguished more by their different â€œapproach to campaigningâ€ than real policy divergence.
Inevitably, the conversation turned to current frontrunner Donald Trump, whom Wilcox described as â€œbrash and boldâ€¦ a masterful entertainerâ€ who is â€œnon-PCâ€ and who keys in to a vein in the party grassroots that Wilcox hopes to tap.
From voters to RECs and Chambers, Wilcox says, â€œeverybodyâ€™s fed up with career politiciansâ€ and he applauds Trump for talking about these things.
One advantage of not being a career politician is, Wilcox says, â€œthe opposition research is pretty light on me.â€
The disadvantages, of course, are that politicians in office can combine campaign and policy trips. And they have campaign apparatuses built.
Of course, recent history in Jacksonville shows that a first-time candidate can run and win. Regarding Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, Wilcox â€œapplaud[s] his recent successâ€ and is â€œvery interested in soliciting his input.â€
One thing he has in common with Curry: a lean initial operation, with just four or five people on staff. Once fundraising numbers are announced in the fall, however, an â€œA-team list will be announced,â€ which â€œwill draw a lot of attention from the media.â€
Finally, with current Senator Marco Rubio hovering around 5% in national Presidential polls, the question had to be asked: does Wilcox worry about Rubio reversing course and running for re-election?
Wilcox is not worried.
â€œHe probably wants to make money if he doesnâ€™t get the nomination,â€ he said.
â€œYou donâ€™t make much money in the Senate.â€