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308 posts from October 2010

October 30, 2010

Meek jokes that Rubio should drop out

It was billed as a rally, but Meek's appearance Saturday at a Broward County early voting site was more of a parking lot press conference, ringed by a bunch of volunteers for other campaigns. Only a handful of people appeared to be there solely to support Meek, though a few people joined the fray after voting at Wilton Manors City Hall.

Saturday was the last day to vote early in Broward, the state's Democratic stronghold. "We want to make sure everyone lives, sleeps and breathes turning out the vote,'' said U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston.

Hoarse but upbeat, Meek described a series of phone calls he received from Gov. Charlie Crist earlier this week,  including one before 5 in the morning. "I lost count....The congresswoman said he called her too. Anyone else get a call?'' he asked, turning to the crowd. "There's a level of desperation there. I think it's wrong to try to paint me into a corner and say I'm the reason why he's not winning...There are no guarantees whatsoever, if the governor was to get out of this race or I got out of this race or Marco Rubio got out of the race -- which would be a great idea,'' Meek joked. 

He added: "If anything came out of this whole experience, people know that I with them in the final analysis. I am the Dem. I will  never sell out on them. I will never leave them behind."

Meek is scheduled to visit three three South Florida churches Sunday morning before flying to Tampa to begin a 24-hour, stopping-only-for-gas campaign spree.

Clinton spends eve of election in FL with Meek, Sink

Just when you thought the 2010 election couldn't bring any more surprises comes this: Amid all of the hullabaloo over whether former President Bill Clinton did or did not urge Democratic Senate candidate Kendrick Meek to bow out, he's meeting him and gubernatorial nominee Alex Sink in Orlando for a rally Monday night.

Expects lots and lots of backtracking on the reports -- confirmed by Clinton's spokesman -- that he urged Meek to step aside to try to pave the way for Gov. Charlie Crist to beat Republican Marco Rubio. Now that the whole thing blew up in the Democratic party's face, perhaps Clinton's appearance can prevent any more collateral damage and actually push some more Democrats to the polls.

Clinton's appearance also puts Crist in an awkward spot since the governor was stoking the idea that the Democratic icon wanted Meek out of the way.

MD Poll: Cabinet Dems doomed. So are Amends 4,5,6,8.

Every major constitutional amendment on the ballot looks doomed and so do each of the three Democrats running for Florida’s Cabinet, according to a new poll of likely Florida voters.

In another sign of the rightward shift of the electorate, this Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Survey shows independents are throwing crucial support behind the GOP candidates.

So Pam Bondi will likely be the next attorney general, Jeff Atwater will likely be the next chief financial officer and Adam Putnam will win the race for agriculture commissioner.

Continue reading "MD Poll: Cabinet Dems doomed. So are Amends 4,5,6,8." »

Alex Sink isn't saying what she knew about Meek-Clinton-Crist talks

Democrat Alex Sink made four stops in Miami-Dade and two more in Broward yesterday, giving brief interviews to reporters who invariably asked  about the talks former President Bill Clinton had with and Kendrick Meek over the U.S. Senate race.

“Clearly, it’s been a distraction,” Sink acknowledged at one point. Will it have an effect on the governor's race? We explore that here.

As the de facto head of the Florida Democratic Party, what did Sink know about the discussions? She wouldn’t tell, other than to say that she heard discussions and “rumors” for weeks.

 “I didn’t want to be involved,” she said, noting she’s focusing on her own campaign.

 But was she included in any of the discussions or negotiations? 

“I didn’t want to be involved,” Sink said again.

Asked if her response was “no,” Sink repeated her line: “I didn’t want to be involved.”

“I’m going to be very forthright. And tell you that I have been really focused on my race for governor… particularly in the last three or four days. I am a strong supporter for Kendrick Meek. I’ve endorsed him. I’m getting ready to vote for him on Tuesday.”

“I’ve been really focused on convincing Floridians to get out and vote and vote for Alex Sink for governor," she said. "I am focused on things that I have control over. And one of the thing that I have control over is shaking hands and meeting with all Floridians from all walks of life and representing the fact that this is a critical historic election for Florida.”

Sink, who met with black leaders and community activists at a fried catfish lunch served at Jackson’s Soul Food in Overtown, said she’s not worry about a depressed African-American turnout. She said she met Thursday night with black pastors and none brought up the Meek matter.

“It really didn’t come up. What I heard last night in my multiple stops was an enormous amount of enthusiasm...The African American community understands and Floridians understand that the person who is elected as governor to lead our state out of this economic crisis that we’re in is critically important to our future,” she said. “I am seeing lots of momentum, lots of enthusiasm.”

But in the background, Rick Scott loomed. While the Jackson waitresses served up soul food, a giant plasma screen over the bar flashed Rick Scott’s latest commercial that brands Sink as a failure and ends with this message: “Alex Sink can’t run this state.”


Scott writes his campaign a final $11.6 million check, bringing total to $73 million

Republican Rick Scott gave his campaign for governor another $11.6 million in the final 12 days, breaking $73 million for his entire race.

For some perspective, $11.6 million is more than Democrat Alex Sink raised in her entire campaign. And that's almost $4 million more than Democrat Jim Davis collected four years ago...

For those of you counting at home, those are checks of:

*$3.814 million on Oct. 18. 
*$5.6 million on Monday. 
*$1.6 million on Thursday, the last day of fundraising. 
*$600,000 a bit later on Thursday.

Granted, Sink and her allies funneled quite a bit through the Florida Democratic Party, but its taken the FDP five years to raise $73 million.

This just seems like one of the rare times in journalism that an exclamation point is necessary: $73 million!

-- Michael C. Bender

October 29, 2010

Bob Butterworth: I'm with Charlie

Former Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth and current Department of Children and Families Secretary George Sheldon are the latest Democrats to back Charlie Crist.

Crist said he's honored by their support -- in a press release that doesn't include any quotes from the Democrats.


Kendrick Meek: I dedicate this day

Kendrick Meek said he scrapped most of his plans today to "dedicate this day to clear the record" -- that Bill Clinton never tried to push him out of the race.

Meek told a gaggle of reporters late Friday afternoon in Miami -- between TV interviews -- that he and Clinton chatted about "these rumors" that he'd quit the race. "I told him, 'Mr. President, I'm not dropping out of this race.'  I told him I have faith in the people of Florida."

"We talked about the politics of winning...I told him the decision is already made, this is what I'm doing."

Meek also told reporters that he fielded an unusual call the other day -- a 5 a.m. wakeup from Gov. Charlie Crist -- who he's blaming for the Clinton call confusion.

Sink finishes up with $11.2M in hard money

The last campaign finance reports before Election Day are trickling in. Here are the highlights:

Alex Sink ends the campaign having raised $11.2 million in hard cash and almost $6.1 million worth of in-kinds. On top of that is $6 million from the Democratic Governors Association and another bundle of cash donated through the party. (Reports from the two parties are due today but aren't out yet.) Rick Scott's report, which would show how much of his own wealth he's committed, is also not yet out. So far, he and his wife have put in $61 million.

For the Cabinet races, Republican CFO candidate Jeff Atwater has the biggest haul, $3.9 million. Adam Putnam, the GOP nominee for Agriculture Commissioner, has the next biggest with almost $3.1 million. Democratic AG candidate Dan Gelber is next with $2.5 million.  Loranne Ausley raised $1.7 million and Scott Maddox raised $864,000. Pam Bondi's last report is not yet out, but she has pulled in $1.5 million so far.

Gelber's wife: He's a mensch

Democratic AG candidate Dan Gelber's wife, Joan, is coming to his defense in an e-mail that criticizes attack ads that are criticizing Gelber as "toxic to Jewish education." The Herald and other papers today detailed ties between the group sending the flyers and Gelber's Republican opponent, Pam Bondi.

"Over the last week my young children have come home from school each afternoon worried that another mailer arrived with a picture of their father in a 'Wanted' poster," Gelber writes. "Our 6 year old asks why people are saying such bad things about his Daddy. I recognize politics is a contact sport, but frankly I’m tired with the utter lack of decency.  Now that it’s been confirmed that Ms. Bondi is connected with these vile mailers I’m asking you to let her know that truth matters and that wanting something badly doesn’t mean you can do anything to get it. These are lessons my husband and I proudly teach our children – and lessons we need to teach Ms. Bondi." 

Democratic donor files another -- yes, another -- lawsuit against David Rivera

A Democratic donor filed a new lawsuit Friday against Republican congressional candidate David Rivera and the Florida Commission on Ethics in an effort to force Rivera to reveal more information about his finances. In the suit, attorney William Barzee -- a donor to Joe Garcia, Rivera's opponent in the race for Congressional District 25 -- is asking a judge to order the Ethics Commission to make Rivera clarify the financial disclosure forms Rivera filed as a state representative. Barzee, who had previously made a complaint about Rivera to the Ethics Commission, wants the inquiry completed before election day on Tuesday.

From 2003 to 2009, Rivera said in his disclosure forms that he worked as a consultant for the U.S. Agency for International Development. But USAID told The Miami Herald that it had no record of Rivera or his consulting company. Rivera then amended his disclosure forms, omitting any reference to USAID or other consulting work over seven years. His current financial forms list only Rivera's $30,000 salary as a state representative.

Rivera's attorney, Stephen Cody, said the suit "has no legal merit," and said any decision to investigate Rivera's finances falls only within the discretion of the Ethics Commission -- not the court.

Barzee's suit will be heard by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jerald Bagley, who last week threw out another lawsuit by Barzee seeking to have Rivera disqualified as a candidate over the disclosure forms.