Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, a Republican running for Attorney General, stopped by the Herald today to speak with the editorial board. Here are some of the primary issues he said he would tackle if elected:
- Challenging "Obamacare."
- Dealing with the aftermath of the oil spill.
- Fighting the EPA's water-quality standards.
- Cracking down on "pill mills" and pain clinics that can over-prescribe narcotics, leading to deaths.
- Using software to help law enforcement with online crimes like identity theft.
Here are some of the other highlights:
- On oil drilling and the spill in the Gulf -- "Let's take a deep breath, make sure this is stopped, make sure we clean it up, but I don't think you can let this crisis diminish our resolve to be energy independent. I don't want us to overreact and condemn our children to five-dollar-a-gallon gas... Why is drilling for natural gas even a debate? Natural gas, so what if it leaks?"
- On the Arizona immigration law -- "People that are critical of Arizona, they don't understand what they're going through. They have a violent drug war spilling across their borders and the federal government isn't doing anything about it... We're fortunate in that we don't have that drug war spilling across our borders. What I've talked about is the cost to taxpayers. If you visit the local jail sometimes up to 30 percent of people are illegal immigrants that broke the law again. I think if the [federal government] isn't going to do their job they should pay for it. I would pursue legal action against the federal government to at least reimburse the taxpayers of Florida, because I don't think it's fair. They're not doing their job and they're costing our taxpayers millions of dollars every year. The cost of law enforcement, health care, you can quantify that pretty well."
- If the Florida Supreme Court overturns the ban on gay adoption, whether or not he would seek to reinstate the ban -- "We'll see what happens. I support the ban, but we'll see what happens."
- On Amendments 5 and 6 -- "I think it's naive to think you can take the politics out of this process.What you are doing is taking away the accountability of an elected person doing it. We already have federal law on these things requiring them to be compact, continuous communities of interest. Our maps have to go through pre-clearance with the Justice Department still, so the issues of minority representation are covered by the federal government."
- On his strained relationship with Gov. Charlie Crist -- "They really cut off access, to be honest with you. We don't get invited to briefings, scheduled meetings. He didn't even call me and tell me we weren't running for reelection."
State Sen. Dan Gelber doesn't pull any punches in an e-mail to supporters about his Democratic rival for attorney general, state Sen. Dave Aronberg, who made a stink over his law firm representing BP -- after Gelber says he had already quit.
People are tired of politics as usual and as much as I have tried to keep our campaign for Attorney General on the high road, my opponent has now decided the low road is where he stands his best chance. So now, he has decided the best argument he can make about his own qualifications, is to dishonestly attack mine. He has been behind in every poll taken in this race -- which is why candidates go negative. I intend to win the right way...
Several people, including some of my closest advisers told me to call a press conference last week and pat myself on the back for taking a principled stand. But I didn't because doing the right thing is never a cause for celebration. But unfortunately, last night, my opponent in the primary, in what could only be considered a rank political stunt, decided to politicize the tragic oil spill calling on me to resign even after I had already done so. Sadly, while I continue to offer real solutions to hold BP accountable and help victims impacted by the spill, my opponent is focused on scoring political points. The stakes in this race are too important for politics as usual and I really hoped this campaign, unlike so many others, would remain on the high road...
Dan Gelber quit his law firm, Akerman Senterfitt, on Thursday after BP hired the firm to represent it in the oil claims process.
BP hired Akerman Senterfitt to handle civil litigation weeks ago. Gelber, a Democratic state senator running for attorney general, submitted his letter of resignation last week, according to campaign manager Christian Ulvert.
In an interview with the Times/Herald on Monday evening, Ulvert disclosed Gelber's resignation after challenger Dave Aronberg called on Gelber to resign. "As a candidate for attorney general, it is an inherent problem when your own law firm is on other side of one of the most important pending lawsuits in Florida's history," Aronberg said in a statement. "Working for the law firm that is defending British Petroleum for damage done to Florida beaches is disqualifying. You don't have to be a lawyer to know that you can't profit from the polluter and then represent those who have been injured by that same polluter."
UPDATED: Attorney General Bill McCollum is using his name to solicit contributions for the Florida First Initiative, which is airing attack ads against rival Rick Scott (see below),despite his campaign's suggestion that they are not affiliated.
New documents obtained by the Times/Herald show that McCollum's name is being used in the political group's fundraising pitch and his campaign finance director, Carrie O'Rourke, is involved in the solicitation. "Bill McCollum asked that I forward this information to you," the email solicitation reads, followed by the group's M&S Bank in Gainesville account number.
McCollum, who prides himself on his public disclosure record, could not be reached for comment because he is fundraising in South Florida. His campaign spokeswoman Kristy Campbell wouldn't answer questions other than to say Florida First Initiative "is not run by our campaign."
As it appears now, the political group -- called a federal 527 under IRS tax code -- is unregistered in Florida, which flies in the face of the new campaign finance law, but does not violate it.
When a Cabinet official who solicits directly (or indirectly) on behalf of a 527, he or she must file a disclosure with the Department of State. McCollum has filed no such disclosure.
See the attack ad, "Refused," here.
When President Barack Obama on Sunday called for BP to establish an escrow account to cover damage claims from the gulf oil spill, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum took credit.
"The media has reported today that the President plans to ask BP to establish an escrow account for Deepwater Horizon claims, an action I called for last week ..." McCollum said in the statement. "If the report is true, the President's echoing of my call for an escrow account is welcome."
The press release from his office said "Obama has followed McCollum’s lead."
But really, McCollum followed the lead of state Sen. Dave Aronberg, a Democrat running for attorney general. In a May 5 letter to Gov. Charlie Crist, Aronberg wrote that "Florida should be insisting that an interest-bearing escrow account be established, under the control of the Cabinet or CFO, with each responsible party in this disaster committing a share to total $1 billion." (The total is smaller than the one McCollum proposed, but it was also much earlier in the crisis.)
In his first Panhandle campaign swing, Rick Scott, the balding former health care executive, sought to capitalize on his ubiquitous TV ads and lead in the polls.
But his stump speech on a six-county Whistle Stop tour lacked some oomph. Those watching said it’s not the message, it’s the messenger. Compared to agriculture commissioner hopeful Adam Putnam, a skilled talker on the trail, Scott looked, well, like Bill McCollum, his GOP rival: monotone and unexciting. “He’s McCollum without the career politician baggage,” a disappointed local GOP official said. The one consistent applause line in Scott's speech is his support for an Arizona-styled immigration law, which is political gold in the conservative Panhandle.
Before he begins to fret, Scott should take heart in what voters are saying. More than a half-dozen GOP voters who expressed support for Scott said his TV ad taking responsibility for the $1.7 billion fraud settlement from his time at the helm of Columbia/HCA settled the issue in their minds. “He stood up and addressed it head on,” said Aubrey Herndon, a teacher. This is bad news for McCollum who is repeatedly attacking Scott on the topic as he seeks to erode his rival’s 10 point lead.
A six-county Whistle Stop tour through the Panhandle on Saturday showcased a number of lesser know Republican candidates fighting for attention amid the Marco Rubio-Charlie Crist showdown and gubernatorial hopeful Rick Scott's big-money campaign.
With sweat soaking through shirts and campaign fliers doubling as hand fans, U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam, an agriculture commissioner candidate, and Holly Benson, a former state lawmaker running for attorney general, showed that retail politicking still holds a place in a state known for its media-market campaigns.
Observations from the campaign trail:
--The details: The tour began at 9 a.m. central time in Chipley before stopping in Bonifay, DeFuniak Springs, Ft. Walton Beach, Gulf Breeze and finally ending in Pensacola at 6 p.m. The crowds varied from the 25 people under a park pavilion in Gulf Breeze to the 200 awaiting the statewide and local candidates in Ft. Walton. The oppressive heat, with temperatures topping 100 degrees, kept enthusiasm to a minimum. In fact, in DeFuniak Springs, a tense auction for a two-layer patriotic cake drew more participant attention than most candidates.
June 12, 2010 in Adam Putnam, Barack Obama, Bill McCollum, Charlie Crist, Election 2010, Florida, Florida Agriculture Commissioner, Florida Attorney General, Florida Governor's Race, Florida Politics, Florida Voters, Jeff Kottkamp, Marco Rubio, Republican Party of Florida, Rick Scott | Permalink | Comments (1)
A new shadowy political group will debut this weekend, debuting attack ads titled "Fraud" that take aim at GOP candidate Rick Scott.
The group, Florida First Initiative, purchased $616,282 in television ads that will air Saturday through Wednesday, June 16 -- two days before the state election filing deadline.
The group -- which has connections to GOP rival Bill McCollum's campaign -- is a 527 that registered in Florida in March and lists a registered agent at Ken Cleary and the email address of Alachua County GOP Chairman Stafford Jones.
Jones hung up on a reporter who contacted him Friday and McCollum's campaign said they aren't affiliated with the group. McCollum's TV buyer purchased the TV time for Florida First and did the same for a different political group, Alliance for America's Future, which previously spent $1.9 million to air attack ads against Scott.
The latest figures also show Scott spent $14 million from his own pocket on his campaign's ads.