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485 posts from January 2012

January 30, 2012

Doral mayor bows out of Miami-Dade race

The Miami-Dade mayor's race has lost a contender.

Doral Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez, who declared his candidacy on Jan. 31, 2011, posted a statement on his Facebook page Monday telling supporters that he has decided not to run in the August election.

"After more than ten years of public service and with a growing family, the time has come to make sure that I can spend quality time with my children and wife," Bermudez said in the statement.

Bermudez's exit leaves Mayor Carlos Gimenez running against County Commission Chairman Joe Martinez and 11 lesser-known candidates. Martinez officially declared his candidacy last week.

Bermudez had raised nearly $50,000 for his individual campaign account in the last year. While more than any of the other challengers, it was still a far cry from Gimenez, who has raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars for his re-election campaign.

Read Bermudez's full statement after the jump.

Continue reading "Doral mayor bows out of Miami-Dade race" »

Think tank: 1 of 3 Hispanic voters in Florida are registered GOP

The liberal-leaning think tank, Center for American Progress, released this list of data about Florida's Hispanic vote as the nation watches that crucial constituency on the eve of the state's presidential primary. Among the highlights:

  • Of the state’s 19 million residents, 18.7 percent of them are foreign born, and 22.5 percent are Latino, making Florida home to the third-largest Latino population in the United States.
  • Sixteen percent of all eligible voters in the state are Latino, up from 15 percent, or 1.8 million, in 2010.

Continue reading "Think tank: 1 of 3 Hispanic voters in Florida are registered GOP" »

Debbie Wasserman Schultz asks Reince Priebus to take back his "abandoning ship" remarks


Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, and head of the Democratic National Committee, called on her counterpart over at the Republican National Committee to apologize for likening President Barack Obama to the captian of the Italian cruiseliner who's accused of abandoning ship while his boat was sinking. 

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus told CBS's Bob Schieffer that the comparison was inspired by the cruise ships he saw behind the host during the Sunday show's live broadcast in South Florida. 

"We're going to talk about our own little Captain Schettino, which is President Obama who’s abandoning the ship here in the United States and is more interested in campaigning than doing his job as president," Priebus said Sunday on CBS's Face the Nation. (See video above.)

Wasserman Schultz accused Priebus of "exploiting and making light of a tragedy for political purposes." 

"That he would compare the President of the United States with a man now charged with manslaughter for his actions shows a lack of respect for the President that is beyond the bounds of appropriate political discourse," she said. "More importantly, it shows a galling lack of sensitivity for the victims of this tragedy and their families, as well as those still living in anguish because their loved-ones are still missing." 

Though down in GOP polls, Gingrich wins tea-party straw poll

Daily Caller:

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich won a straw poll of Florida Tea Party Patriots members held on a conference call Sunday evening, with former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum a close second....At the end of the call, participants were asked who they would vote for if the election were held today. Thirty-five percent said they would vote for Gingrich, 31 percent for Santorum, 18 percent for Romney, and 11 percent for Paul. Five percent selected none of the above.

Craig Miller leaves FL GOP Senate race, runs for Congress

From a press release:

Ormond Beach-   The Craig Miller for U.S. Senate Campaign announced today that he has suspended his campaign for the U.S. Senate to focus on representing the new Coastal District, including parts of Volusia, Flagler, St. Johns and Putnam Counties in the U.S. Congress.  In making his announcement, Craig made the following statement:

“I want to thank the thousands of Floridians that I have met and encouraged me over the past seven months.  There are several very qualified candidates in the U.S. Senate race to represent our party, some with more name recognition and resources than our campaign. Therefore, I have chosen to shift my focus to serving the people of the new Coastal District.

Ash Williams names his new inspector general

Well, it's two or three months later than Jeff Atwater would have liked, but pension chief Ash Williams has fulfilled the CFO's fervent request that he hire an inspector general.

Williams, State Board of Administration executive director and chief investment officer, announced Monday the hiring of Ken Chambers, a Tallahassee native who's worked as a state auditor or investigator for 32 years, most recently as the Florida Supreme Court's inspector general. He will make $96,000 annually.

Atwater made the SBA's unfilled position an issue last fall amid controversy surrounding Sen. Mike Fasano's $10,750 estimate from Williams for fulfilling a public records request. The inspector general is supposed to serve as an independent watchdog of agency functions and conduct.

Atwater said in October he wanted the new inspector general  presented at a November Cabinet meeting. The position had been vacant for months, with no search initiated to fulfill it, since Melinda Miguel left for Gov. Rick Scott's office in January 2011.

Williams told Scott, Atwater and Attorney General Pam Bondi in the Jan. 18 Cabinet meeting that he was days away from filling the position.

"I am eager to lend my experience in ensuring SBA stakeholders and the citizens of Florida that the SBA meets the highest ethical standards," Chambers said in a statement.

He starts Feb. 13.

Continue reading "Ash Williams names his new inspector general" »

South Beach's club crowd stumbles into politics at "Morning Joe" broadcast.

I headed off to Jerry's Famous Deli in South Beach this morning to catch the live "Morning Joe" broadcast. There have been long lines to these things when the popular MSNBC politics show set up shop at coffee ships in primary states, so I was bracing for a hectic pre-dawn assignment. And the crowd was pretty loud when I walked in around 5:30 a.m.

But once I settled in, I noticed the roudiest audience members didn't seem to be too partisan. Politico star Mike Allen was on the story, too. Click here for the report.


Miami-Dade schools chief Alberto Carvalho says he was offered D.C. job but turned it down

Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, speaking on Spanish-language radio Monday morning, said he turned down a job offer from U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

Carvalho did not say which position Duncan offered him. A district spokesman later told The Miami Herald that Carvalho was offered an assistant secretary of education post last November.

"The truth is that he offered me a position and I did not accept it," Carvalho told WQBA-AM (710 1140) host Bernadette Pardo in Spanish. "I agree with him that there's a need at the local level for leadership to continue improving the quality of education in our community. It's very important. I love this community."

The issue came up when Pardo mentioned Duncan's Florida visit last week. "I asked him if he was going to take you to Washington," Pardo said. "He said he thought we needed you a lot more at home."

Carvalho has been on the job a little more than three years.

"He felt that the work here in Miami-Dade was not finished," spokesman John Schuster said.

Romney continues attacks on Gingrich in Jacksonville on eve of Florida primary

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, kept up his aggressive rhetorical attack against former House Speaker Newt Gingrich Monday, the last full day of campaigning before Florida’s Republican presidential primary.

            Speaking at a morning rally at a Jacksonville forklift supply company, Romney jumped straight into attacking Gingrich.

            “Speaker Gingrich wasn’t very happy with the debates,” Romney said. “He said in the first debate he didn’t do well because the crowd was too quiet. He said he didn’t do well because the crowd was too loud.”

            Romney continued: “I think the real reason he hasn’t done so well in connecting with the people of Florida is the people actually saw him in those debates, listened to his background and experience and they learned, for instance, that he was paid $1.6 million to be a lobbyist for Freddie Mac and they said ‘That’s not what we want in the White House.’”

            Romney told the crowd that Gingrich received money from Freddie Mac at the time the housing foreclosure crisis was in full swing.

            “The idea that someone running for president at the time that was going on…that’s the real reason why Speaker Gingrich has had such a hard time,” Romney said. “If (people) want to see change Washington, you can’t just select the same people to take different chairs.”

            Romney mocked a campaign promise Gingrich made on Florida’s Space Coast that, as president, he would return to manned space flight and establish a permanent U.S. colony on the moon.

            “The idea of the moon as the 51st state is not what would come to my mind as a campaign basis for here in Florida,” Romney said.

            As Romney spoke, Rick Tyler, a former Gingrich aide and top adviser of the pro-Gingrich Super PAC Winning Our Future stood in the audience inside the massive garage where the event was held and listened. Tyler said he intended to bird-dog Romney’s campaign stops.

 After the first event, Tyler told a scrum of reporters that Romney was “a liar.”

“He said Newt Gingrich resigned in disgrace (from Congress), there’s no evidence of it. Newt Gingrich resigned honorably,” Tyler said. “Romney has said Newt Gingrich was fined $300,000 - $100,000 ethics. That’s not true. (Conservative columnist) Byron York did a good piece the other day that explained the whole story. It’s a long story but I encourage people to look at the truth and not believe the lie.”

            Tyler’s Winning Our Future bankrolled the 28-minute anti-Romney documentary “King of Bain” which media and non-partisan fact-checking groups along with some conservative organizations and Republicans say contained several inaccuracies and overstatements about Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital.

- McClatchy Washington Bureau Reporter William Douglas

Updated Pre-Election Day total: nearly 603,000 early votes cast by FL GOP (more than SC total)

Before the polls officially open statewide on Election Day, 603,000 Republicans have already cast ballots either by mail or at early-voting precincts, according to Republican Party of Florida spokesman Brian Hughes.

Compare that to the total votes cast Election Day in South Carolina: about 601,000

Here's a data picture he tweeted from hims @GoMeteoric account when the number was a little lower: