TALLAHASSEE – Jeb Bush’s top adviser, Sally Bradshaw, one of the most respected political advisors not only in Florida but in the country has left the Republican party and is now an Independent. She told CNN if the presidential race in Florida is close, she’ll vote for Hillary Clinton.
Bradshaw, who’s been close to the former Florida governor for decades and was senior adviser to his 2016 campaign as he ran in the Republican Presidential Primaries, leaving the race after South Carolina.
She told CNN’s Jamie Gangel in an email interview that the GOP is “at a crossroads and have nominated a total narcissist — a misogynist — a bigot.”
“This is a time when country has to take priority over political parties. Donald Trump cannot be elected president,” Bradshaw said.
The departure from the Republican Party of a Bush loyalist — Bradshaw began her career working for George H.W. Bush’s 1988 campaign — is the latest sign of an influential and respected member of the GOP establishment turning against Trump.
Did Trump go too far?
“This election cycle is a test,” Bradshaw said. “As much as I don’t want another four years of (President Barack) 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.”
Her decision comes amid controversy over Trump’s criticism of the family of an Muslim-American soldier killed in action in Iraq in 2004. Bradshaw called that remark “despicable,” saying it “made me sick to my stomach.”
“Donald Trump belittled a woman who gave birth to a son who died fighting for the United States. If anything, that reinforced my decision to become an independent voter,” she said. “Every family who loses a loved one in service to our country or who has a family member who serves in the military should be honored, regardless of their political views. Vets and their family have more than earned the right to those views. Someone with the temperament to be president would understand and respect that.”
Bradshaw said the latest incident reinforced how she was feeling about the decision she’s long weighed.
Her move goes beyond what other Republicans have said or done, although many top leaders in the GOP — including Sen. John McCain, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Sen. Mitch McConnell, among others — have made it clear that they have a big problem with Trump’s comments about a Gold Star family. But none have, as of yet, withdrawn their endorsements or support.
According to Ballotpedia Bradshaw worked as the political director of the Republican Party of Florida. In 1994, she managed Jeb Bush’s first—and ultimately unsuccessful—bid for Governor of Florida, billing himself as a “head-banging conservative.” The duo tried again in 1998, with Bradshaw once again serving as campaign manager. This time, Bush won by a margin of 55 to 45 percent. Bradshaw helped with the transition and then became his chief of staff from 1999 through the end of 2000.
In between elections, she served as the executive director of the Foundation for Florida’s Future, a “nonprofit grassroots public policy institute.” When Bush ran for re-election in 2002, Bradshaw was once again by his side, serving as the senior campaign advisor.
More recently, she worked as a transition director and senior advisor for former Florida Speaker of the House Will Weatherford (R)
The quotes used in this article came from CNN and for more on the story go to CNN POLITICS.