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Eric Trump visits boat show, Springs campaign office

Eric Trump talks to boat companies at Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show

Eric Trump popped up in South Florida on Sunday to invigorate supporters and reassure them that the state will swing his father's way Tuesday.

"You saw all the excitement in there, and those were volunteers, not the general public," said Trump, the son of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

He spent about 20 minutes shaking hands and taking pictures with phone bank volunteers at the Trump/Pence Headquarters in Coral Springs.

"I went to two churches this morning and received a standing ovation from five or six thousand people. They want their country back and are tired of career politicians in Washington D.C., people lining their pockets ... we're gonna win," he said.

After his stops at the churches in Miami, Trump stopped by the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show on Sunday afternoon, but he wasn't shopping for a boat.

"I don't have a boat now. I used to have a boat," Trump said. "I had a [Boston] Whaler forever."

As Trump walked the aisles of the Broward County Convention Center, he attracted a crowd of supportive onlookers, many of whom posed for photos with him and asked for his autograph.

Trump was at the show to ask boat company executives about their concerns. At the Dusky Marine booth, Trump talked with Pat Brown, one of the owners of the Dania Beach boat-building company that is celebrating its 50th year in business.

Brown told him that because of the penalties and restrictions of Obamacare, she can't afford to hire more than 49 employees even though the company could use the extra help to build more boats.

"I'm extremely glad he stopped by," Brown said. "I hope that they can help us."

Trump also spoke with Stacey Sabia of Top Notch Marine, which has boat dealerships in Pompano Beach, Fort Pierce and Melbourne. She said he asked her "what specifically was going on in the industry."

"I talked to him about how Joe the Plumber is missing from our industry," Sabia said, adding that the cost of health insurance and a lack of jobs have too many average Americans unable to own boats. "It's heart-breaking. People can't afford a boat or an RV or a motorcycle."

Sabia said Donald Trump's plan to cut taxes and create jobs would be "more of a trickle up than a trickle down" because more people would be able to buy boats.

Trump ate lunch with more supporters at Wings Stop in Coral Springs and then popped in on volunteers at the Trump/Pence headquarters on University Drive and in Boca Raton.

At 6-foot-5, Trump towered over the supporters who packed the third-floor headquarters in Coral Springs, and several people remarked at how much he resembled his father as they held their cameras high to take pictures of their famous visitor.

Most people wore Trump T-shirts with buttons and shiny red, white and blue hats.

"I did get a chance to see Donald in his rally in Boca several months ago, and after all the work that we have put in on the phones since then, to have a visit from one of his family members made my day and certainly has pushed me me to go the next 48 hours," said Nancy Usyk, a retired schoolteacher from Parkland.

Michael Coker, a 56-year-old political blogger from Coconut Creek, waited for several minutes to take a picture with Trump. He said he is confident that Donald Trump will win.

"Not just the state but the country," Coker said.

"It was good to see Eric come in, we are solid supporters of his father's campaign and whatever the party asks for, I will do it."

swaters@sun-sentinel.com, bballou@sun-sentinel.com, 954-356-4188

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