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Former county Republican chairwoman registers as Democrat — to cast primary vote for Pete Buttigieg

Sun Sentinel logoSun Sentinel 3 days ago By Anthony Man, South Florida Sun Sentinel
a person holding a microphone: Cindy Guerra, in 2010, when she was an officer of the Broward Republican Party. A staunch opponent of President Donald Trump, she has registered as a Democrat to vote for Pete Buttigieg in the March 17 Florida Democratic presidential primary. © Carline Jean / Sun Sentinel/South Florida Sun Sentinel/TNS Cindy Guerra, in 2010, when she was an officer of the Broward Republican Party. A staunch opponent of President Donald Trump, she has registered as a Democrat to vote for Pete Buttigieg in the March 17 Florida Democratic presidential primary.

Cindy Guerra, a former chairwoman of the Broward Republican Party, changed her party registration this week to become a Democrat.

She said she did it so she could vote for Pete Buttigieg in Florida’s March 17 Democratic presidential primary.

There are two reasons. One, Guerra is impressed with Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., who finished a close second in this week’s New Hampshire primary. “I find him very impressive. I do think he’s qualified.”

The second reason: President Donald Trump.

“Here’s the thing: I am not going to vote for Donald Trump — ever. I think Pete Buttigieg is far more qualified than Donald Trump. I think he’s far more intelligent. I think he is far more human,” Guerra said. “We need a change.”

After three years of the Trump presidency, Guerra said it wasn’t hard to register as a Democrat. “The moment that the party supported Donald Trump, that’s when I knew that I was not part of that party.”

Still, Guerra remained a Republican through the 2016 election, but later switched her registration to no party affiliation.

Even as a Republican, she was an outspoken voice for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who lost to Trump in 2016. Guerra approached the Clinton campaign and appeared in TV and radio ads for her.

“I knew this was not going to work out,” she said. “I supported Hillary Clinton because there was no way I was going to support Donald Trump because I knew that everything that is happening was going to happen. I didn’t really imagine it was going to be quite as bad, but here we are.”

Guerra said she views Trump as divisive, a bigot and misogynistic. “Anyone who thinks he knows more than the generals and mocks people with disabilities and mocks war heroes, I don’t want as a leader of our country.”

The booming stock market isn’t a sufficient reason to support Trump. “It’s bigger than our 401(k)s and it’s bigger than our investments and our stocks. Like everyone else, my stocks are doing better, but sometimes we have to rise up and put our country first.”

Guerra, who lives in Broward and works in Palm Beach County, was an assistant attorney general under former Attorney General Bill McCollum.

She was vice chairwoman of the Broward Republican Party and won a contentious election for the top job in 2010 when the previous chairman, Chip LaMarca, stepped down to run for Broward County Commission.

Guerra was seen as a moderate by many, and was opposed by conservatives and the tea party wing of the party, which was a growing force in Republican politics at the time. Guerra didn’t run for re-election as party chairwoman at the end of 2010.

In 2016, she supported former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for the Republican presidential nomination, but said she could have voted for any of the party’s presidential candidates — except Trump.

Anthony Man can be reached at aman@sunsentinel.com or on Twitter @browardpolitics

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