Wednesday afternoon, former U.S. Senate candidate Todd Wilcox flew into Jacksonville, stopped off at the local Republican headquarters and met with GOP congressional nominee John Rutherford as well as John Falconetti. Wilcox also offered his support and encouragement to Duval Republican Executive Committee Chair Cindy Graves, along with a contribution to Rutherford for his campaign.
This is the first of several such contributions,The Capitolist has learned, that Wilcox plans to make to Republican candidates on the ballot in November.
So far, there have been no reporters and no TV cameras at these meetings, so they don’t follow the model of a typical endorsement. And the first indication that Wilcox was making moves wasn’t by press release, either. It was through Graves’ Facebook post and Rutherford’s Twitter feed.
Some might argue that Todd Wilcox isn’t a big enough name in Florida for anyone to care about his endorsement anyway. But among Republicans who are politically active, people definitely know who he is. Prior to the Jacksonville trip, Wilcox appeared on stage with Senator Marco Rubio on primary night, celebrating the incumbent senator’s win over Carlos Beruff, and he’s also been spotted on the campaign trail with Rubio.
So what, exactly, is he up to?
Most likely, Wilcox has learned an important lesson that other first-time candidates are slow to grasp: high-quality political networks are extremely important if you want to win on a large scale. And by the time the next campaign cycle rolls around, rookie candidates waste time and resources trying build support, while experienced candidates have already activated their networks to help with raising money and building a ground game.
When Wilcox announced his run for Senate in July of 2015, he said he was doing so in part to hold the Republican majority. Just over a year later, when Senator Marco Rubio decided to run for re-election, Wilcox saw the writing on the wall, dropped out, and endorsed Rubio. Unlike Carlos Beruff’s bitter, post-election tirade, it appears Wilcox’s commitment to the conservative cause and GOP victories hasn’t wavered.
Where will the Wilcox “Money Train” stop next? We’ll have to wait and see. But rumors abound that he plans to show some love to Brian Mast, Carlos Curbelo and a few others.