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2 posts from October 7, 2012

October 07, 2012

Florida justices learn the art of fighting back as retention race heats up

The host committee for the campaign fundraiser at the DoubleTree Hotel here in June included former Gov. Reubin Askew, five former Supreme Court justices and some of Florida’s most prominent lawyers and lobbyists.

But unlike most Tallahassee political gatherings, the beneficiaries were not politicians. They were three justices of the Florida Supreme Court: R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente, and Peggy Quince, who each face yes or no votes in next month’s statewide merit retention election.

The justices have now rid their robes to play politics in response to what has become the most politically-charged merit retention election in state history. They are fighting for their judicial lives as they fend off attacks from several conservative groups who want them booted from the high court’s bench.

In Florida, tea party groups and the Republican Party of Florida are targeting justices, with one conservative group even financing television ads.

To combat the attacks, the justices have hired political consultants, created web sites and established political committees to raise money. Their supporters have raised at least $330,000 for each justice — more than most candidates running for the state House.

The once sleepy, non-partisan, merit retention campaigns are now expensive political battles.

“We had to speak out and educate, otherwise the attacks would go unanswered,’’ Quince explained to voters at a forum at Florida State University College of Law on Friday. More here.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/10/06/v-fullstory/3037663/fla-supreme-court-justices-fight.html#storylink=cpy

Norman Braman's political committee jumps into Miami-Dade commission race

Photo (3)After two of four Miami-Dade commissioners auto magnate Norman Braman had targeted for ouster won their Aug. 14 primary races outright, political insiders wondered: Would Braman be back for the Nov. 6 general election?


A flier from Change Miami-Dade Now, a Braman-backed electioneering communications organization, hit mailboxes Friday -- the day county absentee ballots dropped in the mail. The mailer's target: Commissioner Bruno Barreiro.

"We can't afford Bruno Barreiro," the glossy piece says, calling the 14-year incumbent the "right hand man" of former Mayor Carlos Alvarez, who was ousted last year in a recall. 

Braman has targeted Barreiro and Commissioner Audrey Edmonson. But while the challenger Braman endorsed in Barreiro's race, state Rep. Luis Garcia, made it into the runoff (by nine votes), the candidate Braman backed against Edmonson, Alison Austin, did not. Instead, Edmonson will face newcomer Keon Hardemon.

Incumbents Barbara Jordan and Dennis Moss won their races in August and avoided runoffs, despite Braman's deep-pocketed opposition.

The sitting commissioners have had powerful backers of their own, including labor unions, the Miami Marlins and the Miami Dolphins.