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6 posts from October 21, 2012

October 21, 2012

Sign of confidence? Mitt Romney's positive spot looks like a closer

There are so many ads being announced by the presidential campaigns and their surrogates that it's tough to tell what's really running these days. Most are pretty negative.

Not so Mitt Romney's latest spot, "Bringing People Together," which excerpts snippets his first debate.  What makes the spot stand out was the pivot toward bipartisanship and the fact that it's a positive spot. It ran during 60 Minutes in the Miami media market -- Florida's most expensive.

Liberals will complain that this isn't the real Romney, the guy who trashed the so-called 47 percent. And it's not like Romney or his surrogates (or Obama or his surrogates) have run a positive campaign. Indeed, Karl Rove's American Crossroads latest Obama-basher ran a few moments after Romney's spot.

But Romney's looking all sunny these days. An unwritten rule of thumb in politics is that, if you're ahead, you stay positive. And by that standard (and the polls) Romney looks like he's ahead and that this is part of his closing argument.


Mitt Romney blimp makes emergency landing near Fort Lauderdale

Blimp3A blimp-like aircraft emblazoned with an "America Needs Romney" message made an emergency landing near a Davie park this evening, much to the joy of many voters in Broward County, one of the most-liberal places in Florida.

There were no injuries, Davie police said. Except, perhaps, for Republican pride.

As the blimp went down, Twitter lit up.

"Just saw a blimp falling out of the sky. It says America needs Romney... Yeah right! You can't even keep your blimp in the sky," @swadedarling tweeted an hour ago.

"A blimp with a pic of Mitty that says 'America needs Romney' just went down in Davie, Fl. Could that be a predicament of what's to come?" resident Carime Hernandez tweeted.

It's unclear if the blimp was chartered by the Romney campaign or one of the groups that support him. Davie police confirmed the aircraft, which is technically not a true blimp, was advertising on Romney's behalf and did make an emergency landing.

Earlier, WPLG Channel 10 News (which displayed the picture above) reported about how the blimp was "turning heads" in Miami-Dade and Broward. "Flying high in the polls," the story said, "Mitt Romney was also flying high over the streets of South Florida Friday morning."

By Sunday, it was grounded.

-- with Diana Moskovitz

Nelson sweeps newpaper endorsements over Mack

Democrat Bill Nelson has swept the endorsements of the top five major daily newspapers in Florida in the U.S. Senate race against Republican challenger Connie Mack IV. Nelson today picked up the backing of the Orlando Sentinel, Miami Herald, Tampa Tribune and Palm Beach Post. The Tampa Bay Times endorsed Nelson last week.
Here are the excerpts, as compiled by the Florida Democratic Party: 

Continue reading "Nelson sweeps newpaper endorsements over Mack " »

Joe Garcia, David Rivera spar on Cuba, immigration in nationally televised Univision appearance

U.S. Rep. David Rivera and challenger Joe Garcia engaged in a nationally televised, informal debate on Spanish-language television Sunday — the rivals’ most high-profile appearance in the closely watched congressional race.

Rivera, a Republican, and Garcia, a Democrat, touched on Cuba, immigration and Rivera’s ongoing federal investigation woes on Univision’s Al Punto (To the Point) with Jorge Ramos, who was accompanied by local WLTV-Univision 23 affiliate reporter Mario Andrés Moreno.

The debate, which lasted less than 20 minutes, was hardly long enough for the two rivals — who also ran against each other in 2010 — to delve into issues important to Congressional District 26, which extends from Kendall to Key West.

They got into the most detail on Cuba, an issue Rivera has pushed on the campaign trail to rally his base of hard-line, older Cuban-American voters. Rivera decried Cuban Americans who benefit from U.S. social programs and then return to the island to spend that money.

“I think that is in abuse, that these people are receiving these benefits and are traveling subsidizing a terrorist country with those benefits,” he said.

Earlier this year, Rivera filed legislation in Congress that would amend the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act to sanction Cuban Americans who return to the island before they obtain their U.S. citizenship, which generally takes up to five years. The decades old law allows Cubans to obtain U.S. residency a year and a day after they arrive in the U.S. — a benefit offered to citizens of no other country.

Garcia said he and Rivera both oppose the Castro regime in Cuba and support the U.S. trade embargo toward the island — a key question not only for Cuban-American voters in the Southwest Miami-Dade portion of the district but also for more moderate voters in the Florida Keys, many of whom favor lifting the embargo.

More here. Watch the debate, in Spanish, after the jump.

Continue reading "Joe Garcia, David Rivera spar on Cuba, immigration in nationally televised Univision appearance" »

More than 750,000 Floridians have already voted by absentee ballot. GOP still holds 6-point edge

The daily update in the absentee-ballot voting war is like the others: Bigger than the day before; and Republicans leading in ballots already cast, but not like they used to. Republicans are ahead by 5.3 percentage points (note: it looks like 6% in the numbers below due to rounding). But that's down compared to this point in 2008, when their cast ballots were 17 points higher than Democratic absentee ballots cast, according to Democrats.**

Still, it's a GOP lead. Expect that to change when in-person early voting, which Democrats dominate, begins Saturday Oct. 27.

The current totals; voted ballots:
PARTY       Voted        %
REP      335,056 45%
DEM      295,322 39%
IND      117,474 16%
TOTAL      747,852

Outstanding requests:

PARTY  Requested        %
REP      677,394 40%
DEM      679,756 40%
IND      334,644 20%
TOTAL   1,691,794

Top 15 AB-voting hotspots, which account for 68 percent of the ballots cast (R/D=Republican-Democrat):

County     Total       REP       DEM       R/D
 PIN         78,413     32,294     31,274        1,020
 DAD         59,881     26,883     22,786        4,097
 HIL         55,260     22,088     23,704       (1,616)
 ORA         40,320     15,693     18,195       (2,502)
 BRO         36,341     10,763     20,012       (9,249)
 SAR         34,455     15,401     13,606        1,795
 BRE         29,535     14,507     10,664        3,843
 POL         26,701     11,271     11,601          (330)
 LEE         23,980     12,437      7,129        5,308
 VOL         23,714     10,936      8,711        2,225
 PAS         21,619      9,244      8,487           757
 CLL         21,596     13,103      4,777        8,326
 DUV         21,234     10,649      7,881        2,768
 MRN         18,149      8,571      7,143        1,428
 SEM         17,281      8,952      5,548        3,404

 **One of the reasons Democrats are doing better with absentee ballots is that they have to because the GOP-controlled Legislature cut back on in-person early voting hours relative to 2008, when Democrats swamped the polls during a cumulative 120 hours of early voting over 14 days. Now, the days are limited to eight and the hours to 96 (note: the hours were always capped at 96 total, but then Gov. Charlie Crist issued an executive order that kept the early voting polls open longer).

We last explored this in an article when the vote hit the half-million mark

Term limits for county commissioners, and 9 other questions on the Miami-Dade ballot

President Bill Clinton had just taken office, Nirvana blasted on the radio and gas cost $1.11 a gallon in April 1993, when Miami-Dade County’s two longest-serving commissioners were first elected.

Dennis Moss and Javier Souto, the commission’s elder statesmen, have been on the 13-member board for 19 years. Five other commissioners have served for at least a decade.

They keep getting reelected, their supporters say, because they’re good at what they do. But to critics, the long tenures are a sign that defeating incumbents is nearly impossible.

That could change on Nov. 6, when the public gets a chance to impose two four-year terms on commissioners.

The issue has been on the ballot before — most recently in January, when it was rejected by percent of voters. There was a catch, however: The term limits were tied to hefty salary increases for commissioners.

That’s not the case this time.

“I was listening to radio and reading opinions, and people always asked me, ‘Why do you have to bring that issue with the raises?’” said Commissioner Rebeca Sosa, who, along with Commissioner Lynda Bell, pushed to put term limits on the upcoming ballot.

If the charter amendment is approved, long-serving commissioners don’t have much to fear. The term limits would not apply retroactively; instead, they would be added to time commissioners have spent in office.

Current commissioners could stay until 2020. Souto and Moss could represent their districts for as many as 27 years.

Bell and Sosa made the proposal as Miami auto magnate Norman Braman and activist Vanessa Brito were making noise about collecting petition signatures to put term limits on the ballot themselves. They ultimately backed off, though they have lamented the Sosa-Bell proposal does not apply retroactively — a move that would have essentially booted seven commissioners off the dais.

Separately, a commission-created charter-review task force was expected to recommend a term limits amendment as well — a move preempted by the measure on the ballot.

The term-limit proposal is just one of 10 county ballot questions. More here.