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189 posts from June 2010

June 26, 2010

Candidates hit the trail in North Florida


At the Brokaw-McDougall House in Tallahassee early this morning, Republican candidates served partisan (red meat) speeches for breakfast at the kick off for the whistle stop tour through North Florida.

Holly Benson, an attorney general candidate (pictured), took on President Barack Obama, calling his pledge for universal health care a "bribe" and pledged to continue the state's lawsuit against the new federal law. Bill Escoffery, a fringe conservative candidate for U.S. Senate, said he couldn't talk about Obama "because if I spoke my heart, it would be bad for the Republican party."

The campaigns travel next to Monticello, Madison, Jasper, Lake City, Lake Butler and finish in Starke this evening. To get a glimpse of what it's like, read this account looking at Adam Putnam and Rick Scott from the recent whistle stop trip through the Panhandle.

Scott fibs in tying McCollum to Planned Parenthood

Rick Scott's new campaign mailer is blasting his Republican primary opponent for governor, Bill Rulings%2Ftom-pantsonfire McCollum, as being in the pocket of the pro-choice group Planned Parenthood. "Bill McCollum has accepted thousands from lobbyists for Planned Parenthood," says the outside of the mailer.

Read Politifact's ruling here.

Condo power in the 2010 election?

Original The road into Century Village in Deerfield Beach is called Amadeo Trinchitella Boulevard, named for the larger-than-life Democratic club leader whom even presidents and governors knew as "Trinchi.''

His death in 2005 marked the end of an era. The bastion of Northeastern transplants who would sooner miss a grandchild's bar-mitzvah than vote for a Republican was no longer a political juggernaut. The march of time had thinned the Democratic ranks throughout South Florida's retirement communities. In Century Village alone, the number of Democrats is half of what it was in 1992, when Broward County was credited with helping to put Bill Clinton in the White House.

But the war over the condos lives on. Column here.

June 25, 2010

McCollum acknowledges raising money for two 527s

Attorney General Bill McCollum filed disclosure forms Friday acknowledging he is raising money for two federal 527 political committees: Florida First Initiative and the newly created Sunshine Freedom Fund.

McCollum campaign spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said he began soliciting contributions only recently and made the filing subject to a state law that requires elected officials and candidates to follow tougher disclosure rules. And Campbell rejected the idea that the filings -- which come after weeks of scrutiny -- reflect an admission that the campaign needed to disclose the information earlier, as rival Rick Scott has argued.

Scott formed his own federal 527 to circumvent the state's spending caps and filed his paperwork Wednesday. McCollum is no where near the $24.9 million ceiling but established the separate political groups in order to raise unlimited contributions to attack Scott.

Rick Scott fact-checks rival McCollum

The debut ad from Rick Scott's federal 527, Let's Get to Work, is called "Fact Checking Bill McCollum." Scott is using the group to help him stay under the campaign finance limits -- $24.9 million -- that would then give rival McCollum a dollar-for-dollar match.

June 24, 2010

Scott's 527 begins advertising blitz

Beginning Friday, expect to see a television commercial attacking Bill McCollum courtesy of Rick Scott's new federal 527 political committee, Let's Get to Work.

The $1.5 million buy is the largest single TV ad blitz (through July 2) from an independent political group to date and brings the total spent in the GOP primary to $23.3 million. It will saturated most markets except Miami and North Florida.

Unlike the 527s linked to McCollum, Scott filed the necessary paperwork with the Division of Elections to disclose his part as a fundraiser. And the committee established the required website, letsgettowork.net, though it doesn't yet list donors and contributors.

Name changing judge back on the ballot

The name-changing judicial candidate in Broward who was booted off the ballot by a district court judge recently won an appeal today.

The candidate is running under the name of Jordan Howard Breslaw although he legally changed his name to Jordan Howard Jordan in 1991. He lost a preview race under the Jordan last name. This time, he is challenging Judge Mary Rudd Robinson who filed the case trying to get her opponent tossed from the ballot.

"The Breslaw family legacy survives!" he wrote in a press release.

The trial court wrote that using the Breslaw name was a "thinly veiled attempt to deceive and confuse the voters of Broward County." But the appeals court wrote that Breslaw has not violated election code.

"Appellant's desire to use his birth name to appeal to appeal to an ethic segment of the voters is not the type of fraudulent, criminal, or wrongful purpose that would invalidate his choice," the appeals court wrote.

Breslaw is Jewish while Robinson is black.

Attorney Sam Lopez represented Breslaw while Bill Scherer represented Robinson.

Has Scott been 'very clear' on stimulus position?

Buried in today's Scott/McCollum stimulus kerfuffle is an interesting nugget from Scott spokesman Jen Baker: "Rick Scott has made it very clear that he opposes the stimulus and would have voted against it if he were in Congress.  As Governor, he has said he would not have used stimulus funds to balance the state budget."

Hmm. Not sure if this qualifies as "very clear" or not: When Scott put in his qualifying papers last week, Scott was asked if he would have accepted the stimulus funds. He said, "As you know, the governor doesn't have the -- doesn't choose with the stimulus money." He then pivoted to talk about how much he dislikes the federal debt.

-- John Frank

527 cash pours into the GOP governor's race

Expect more negative hits on Rick Scott as groups tied to Bill McCollum, his GOP rival in the governor's race, look to spend more big bucks.

The Florida First Initiative bought nearly another million in TV time for a June 24 to July 2 bombardment -- in the political group's largest salvo to date. The $900,000 buy brings the group's total spent on TV advertising to $1.9 million.

This comes as a new 527 backed by McCollum supporters, Citizens Speaking Out Committee, appears poised to launch its own attacks on Scott. One of the group's top benefactors: incoming Senate President Mike Haridopolos, a key McCollum ally. (He follows his House counterpart, future Speaker Dean Cannon, who put money into Florida First.)

Haridopolos' political committee, Freedom First, sent the Citizens Speaking Out $435,000 in the last month after receiving three $500,000 from three Broward County donors who support McCollum, according to the News Service of Florida.

Crist works condos like a Democrat

IMG00046-20100624-1135 Since he left the Republican party to run as an independent for the U.S. Senate, Gov. Charlie Crist has been increasingly -- and successfully -- making overtures to Democrats. Today's official schedule suggests a full-court press. He went to Century Village in Deerfield Beach -- a mother lode of Democratic voters -- for the ceremonial signing of a condo-related bill that he actually signed 23 days ago. He also attended a hurricane preparedness seminar in Kings Point in Delray Beach, another heavily Democratic retirement community. "I'm for all the people,'' Crist said, when asked about his itinerary.

Eileen Berman, pictured left, was among many Century Village Democrats who told the governor he had their support. Asked if he was using his public office to promote his political campaign, Crist said, "I'm using the authority of the governor's office to let people know about good legislation that passed on their behalf.''

Known for always managing to conveniently schedule public and political events in the same location, Crist has a campaign fundraiser tonight in Parkland. That's why he flew commercial to South Florida today from Pensacola and paid for the ticket himself, said spokesman Sterling Ivey. "I understand he is personally paying to ensure there is no conflict between his state and campaign activities.'' Ivey said.