Sally Bradshaw, a longtime adviser and confidante of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, has changed her voter registration from Republican to Independent over frustration with the Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump.
Bradshaw served as Bush’s campaign manager for his gubernatorial races and was a senior adviser to his presidential campaign. She started her career working on George H.W. Bush‘s 1988 race and is the latest Bush family loyalist to publicly denounce Trump, although she is the first one known to have left the party as a result.
Bradshaw made the announcement via an email interview with CNN. “We are at a crossroads and have nominated a total narcissist — a misogynist — a bigot,” wrote Bradshaw. “This is a time when country has to take priority over political parties. Donald Trump cannot be elected president.”
“This election cycle is a test,” she continued, “As much as I don’t want another four years of Obama’s policies, I can’t look my children in the eye and tell them I voted for Donald Trump. I can’t tell them to love their neighbor and treat others the way they wanted to be treated, and then vote for Donald Trump. I won’t do it.”
Bradshaw told CNN that Trump’s escalating public spat with the Khan family, Muslim-Americans whose son was a soldier killed in Iraq, helped reinforce her decision to leave the GOP.
“I’ve been considering the switch for months. Ultimately, I could not abide the hateful rhetoric of Donald Trump and his complete lack of principles and conservative philosophy,” she said. “I didn’t make this decision lightly — I have worked hard to make our party a place where all would feel welcome. But Trump has taken the GOP in another direction, and too many Republicans are standing by and looking the other way.”
Trump’s comments about the Khans were “despicable” and made her “sick to my stomach,” Bradshaw added.
Monday, August 1, was the deadline to change party registration in advance of Florida’s August 30 primary election. Bradshaw will now not be able to participate in the Republican primary election, but will still be able to cast her ballot in the general election in November.
She has not yet decided who will get her vote, only that it won’t be Trump. She’s considering voting for former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, the LIbertarian candidate, or a write-in candidate, but her distaste for Trump is so strong that this lifelong Republican is even willing to consider voting for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee.
“If the race in Florida is close, I will vote for Hillary Clinton,” she said. “That is a very difficult statement for me to make. I disagree with her on several important issues. I have worked to elect Republicans to national and statewide offices for the last 30 years. I have never voted for a Democrat for president, and I consider myself a conservative, a supporter of limited government, gun rights, free enterprise, equality of opportunity. I am pro-life. There are no other candidates who were serious contenders for the nomination that I would not have supported.”
Bradshaw said that she is willing to return to the GOP “if and when the party regains its sanity.”
Photo credit: Screenshot of CNN video.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker.