August 15, 2016

Taddeo releases 2nd TV ad in Miami congressional race



Joe Garcia, who?

Annette Taddeo released her second TV ad Monday -- and, like her first spot, it ignores her Democratic rival for Congress and takes aim at the Republican presidential nominee instead.

"Our kids are counting on us to ensure working families can thrive, to protect healthcare for moms and daughters," Taddeo says in the ad, "and to take a stand against the offensive rhetoric from Donald Trump that hurts so many of us."

Trump won't be on the Aug. 30 ballot when Taddeo and Garcia face off in the Democratic primary for Florida's 26th congressional district. They're vying to challenge Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo -- a Trump opponent -- on Nov. 8.


August 11, 2016

No suspense here: Rubio sweeps Miami-Dade GOP straw poll


Not even the chairman of the Miami-Dade County Republican Party pretended the results of Thursday night's U.S. Senate straw poll would be a surprise.

"The very difficult tally," Nelson Diaz joked when executive committee members returned from counting the votes.

Hometown Sen. Marco Rubio won 58 votes. Rival Carlos Beruff won three. Four people left their ballots blank.

None of the candidates were present, though Rubio sent Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera in his stead. But Rubio called in to say thank you once the vote was in. 

"I don't even think I can get 95 percent in my own house, so I'm very grateful for that," he said.

He explained his absence by saying he was campaigning in Naples and taking one of his daughters to an event.

Photo credit: Lynne Sladky, Associated Press

August 10, 2016

Once friends, Garcia and Taddeo become foes in tense Miami congressional primary

Florida_Candidates 03 EKM


Not long ago, when Miami Democrat Joe Garcia was trying to get elected to one of the most volatile congressional seats in the country, he asked a stalwart friend if she could house a campaign worker who needed a place to stay.

That friend, Annette Taddeo, said yes.

Now Garcia is running again, this time as a former congressman two years out of office. His Democratic primary opponent is none other than his old friend: Taddeo.

And the motivation for her candidacy, as she explains it, is personal disappointment with Garcia, whose campaign got tied up in two separate criminal investigations connected to past elections shenanigans.

“That was just, to me, the ultimate kick in the gut,” she told the Miami Herald editorial board this week. “I don’t care that you’re a Democrat or a Republican — it’s just not right to play with the voters’ intent and to try to rig elections.”

Garcia, whose name is so well known in the district that he hasn’t spent serious money on the primary, maintains voters will see beyond his past legal troubles because they liked his work while in Congress.

“What you haven’t seen from me are false attacks,” he told the editorial board.

How Garcia and Taddeo went from chummy allies to tense rivals is a story about the extraordinary, often scandal-plagued politics of Florida’s 26th congressional district, a coveted prize among national Republicans and Democrats wrestling for control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

More here.

Photo credit: Emily Michot, Miami Herald staff

Wasserman Schultz says she'll debate Canova on TV this Sunday


The campaign of U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston said Wednesday it will debate Democratic primary opponent Tim Canova on Sunday, on Miami Herald news partner WFOR-CBS 4's "Facing South Florida with Jim DeFede."

DeFede said on Twitter that Canova has yet to confirm his attendance. Canova's campaign was told of Wasserman Schultz's willingness to debate only Wednessay afternoon.

Canova has clamored for a debate for weeks. Wasserman Schultz told the Herald editorial board last week that she would face off against the Nova Southeastern University law professor, her first challenger in 24 years.

"I look forward to a thoughtful conversation and robust debate that addresses the issues important to the people of Florida’s 23rd Congressional district," Wasserman Schultz said in a statement.

Photo credit: Shannon Kaestle, Miami Herald staff

Rubio names South Florida backers, and the list is long


Marco Rubio might be comfortably running in the Republican U.S. Senate primary, but he's still doing things like lining up names of GOP supporters across Florida, in a show of force against rival Carlos Beruff.

Rubio's South Florida "grassroots leadership team" completes his region-by-region effort to bring together the party's establishment and activists behind his re-election. Beruff has repeatedly scoffed at the tactic, saying he's running an insurgent, outsider campaign. Polls show him trailing ahead of the Aug. 30 primary.

Here's Rubio's South Florida list:

Continue reading "Rubio names South Florida backers, and the list is long" »

August 08, 2016

Libertarian VP nominee courts Miami anti-Trump Republican congressman

Campaign 2016 Libertarian

Miami Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo got a phone call Monday from a vice-presidential nominee looking to win his support.

It wasn't Republican Mike Pence. It wasn't Democrat Tim Kaine.

No, Curbelo spoke instead to Bill Weld, the VP nominee for the Libertarian Party. Weld, a former Republican Massachusetts governor, is running with former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson (pictured above).

"It was a very pleasant conversation," said Curbelo, who said the call lasted about 10 minutes.

Johnson and Weld have been trying to pick off support on Capitol Hill -- particularly from dissatisfied Republicans such as Curbelo, who refuses to vote for his party's presidential nominee, Donald Trump, or for Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Last week, Curbelo praised the Libertarian ticket on Twitter while Johnson and Weld were answering questions in a CNN town hall.

Curbelo won't say if he'll back the Libertarian ticket. But Johnson won his first congressional endorsement Saturday from U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell, a Virginia Republican.

Johnson would need to average 15 percent support in certain national polls to qualify for a presidential debate. The same is true for the other major third-party candidate, the Green Party's Jill Stein. Johnson is averaging about 8 percent, and Stein about 4 percent, according to RealClear Politics.

Photo credit: John Raoux, Associated Press

August 07, 2016

Rubio opposes abortion for women with Zika

From Politico:

Sen. Marco Rubio said Saturday that he doesn’t believe a pregnant woman infected with the Zika virus should have the right to an abortion — even if she had reason to believe the child would be born with severe microcephaly.

"I understand a lot of people disagree with my view – but I believe that all human life is worthy of protection of our laws. And when you present it in the context of Zika or any prenatal condition, it’s a difficult question and a hard one," Rubio told POLITICO.

"But if I’m going to err, I’m going to err on the side of life."

More here.

UPDATE: Here's U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, the Jupiter Democrat hoping to challenge Rubio in the Nov. 8 general election, weighing in with a statement:

Zika is most dangerous for women who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant, yet Marco Rubio still opposes a woman's right to make her own health decisions. Florida women need a fighter who will stand up for their right to choose and who is committed to getting our state the critical funding needed to fight this virus. It's clear that Marco Rubio will always put his ideology above women’s health care — and our families deserve better.

Miami's first political campaign ad about Zika?



Miami Democrat Scott Fuhrman has seized on Zika as a political campaign issue as he tries to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

Fuhrman debuted a 15-second video -- and a separate, non-video web ad -- blaming Ros-Lehtinen for Congress' inaction on the mosquito-borne virus. Lawmakers went on recess for seven weeks without passing legislation funding anti-Zika measures.

"Pregnant women told to stay out of our neighborhoods?" the video asks. "Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen goes on recess?"

A first-time candidate, Fuhrman is running a long-shot campaign against the popular congresswoman. Zika gave him an opening to draw at least a little bit of media attention; he showed up at a news conference last week held by Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio on the virus. Fuhrman's wife, who is pregnant, gave an interview to NBC News sharing her concerns about contracting the virus.

Late Friday, Ros-Lehtinen sent Republican leaders in Congress a letter asking them to convene an emergency session to approve a Zika bill. She also wrote President Barack Obama, urging him to use existing funds to combat Ebola for Zika instead. And she led an effort by the Florida congressional delegation to request more money from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Zika has become a hot campaign issue in Miami, with politicians ranging from the governor to city mayors touring Ground Zero in Wynwood -- and nabbing air time -- as they try to raise awareness about the virus. 


August 05, 2016

Biden says Wasserman Schultz didn't ask him for bat mitzvah video


Vice President Joe Biden campaigned Friday in South Miami with U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston -- and brought up, unprompted, the video he filmed to congratulate one of Wasserman Schultz's daughters on her bat mitzvah.

"Admittedly, I’m in love with her daughter," he told reporters outside the Whip 'N Dip Ice Cream Shoppe, as Wasserman Schultz chuckled. "I wanted to go to her bat mitzvah. Couldn’t go so I sent a film. I probably ruined everything."

"No, no, not at all," DWS said, laughing.

The video was reported by Politico after Wasserman Schultz stepped down from her role as Democratic National Committee chairwoman -- as a sign that some Democrats thought the congresswoman was more interested in her own political ambitions than the DNC's.

The Miami Herald asked Wasserman Schultz about the video at an editorial board interview Thursday, without going into specifics about whether she asked for it.

"There was a lot that came out anonymously after you stepped out of the DNC role," a Herald reporter asked. "That suggested that maybe your political ambitions had been put before the party, and that maybe that was a reason -- one of the reasons -- people really wanted you out at that point, and no one came to your defense. I was wondering if you could talk about that -- I mean, the vice president's video for your daughter's bat mitzvah --"

"Which was not true," Wasserman Schultz said.

Pressed by the Herald on Friday to clarify after Biden's comments about the video, Wasserman Schultz said she specifically meant she hadn't asked Biden for the video -- not that the video itself didn't exist.

Biden said Wasserman Schultz didn't request the film.

"She didn't. I give you my word," Biden said. "I was invited -- of course why wouldn’t I? I'm her close friend and I had planned on coming. The president gave me another assignment, so I asked -- which is the reason I asked about the video"

"This is family, guys," he added. "For me, this is family."

Joe Biden, Florida Democrats' validator-in-chief

DWS Biden

@PatriciaMazzei @ByKristenMClark

Vice President Joe Biden swung through Florida on Friday to do one of the things he does best: give a boost to Democrats in need of a a little validation from perhaps the most people-friendly Democrat in the country.

But he couldn’t pass up a chance to also tweak Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

“I can’t figure out Mr. Trump,” said Biden, who made a forceful case against the New York celebrity developer at last week’s Democratic National Convention. “It’s true that when you’ve never run for public office before, going out there and, you know, getting on the biggest stage in the world, you’re bound to make mistakes. But … some of the things that he does and says sort of defy logic for me.”

The vice president was speaking to reporters outside the South Miami Whip ’N Dip, where he’d stopped for a scoop of white chocolate chip ice cream along with U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston. They were on their way to a Coconut Grove fundraiser to benefit her re-election campaign. (Wasserman Schultz ordered a Snickers scoop.)

Earlier Friday, Biden had collected checks — and enjoyed a helping of Southern food — with U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy in Tallahassee, as part of the Jupiter congressman’s U.S. Senate campaign.

More here.