September 06, 2016

After failed Senate vote, Rubio cautiously optimistic Congress can pass clean Zika bill

From McClatchy Washington correspondent Lindsay Wise's story about the failed Zika-funding vote in the U.S. Senate Tuesday night:

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who is running for re-election in Florida, sent a letter Tuesday to House of Representatives and Senate Republicans and Democrats on the appropriations committees, as well as members of the House and Senate leadership, urging them to include Zika funding in any government funding bill they put together.

He made the same plea in a speech on the Senate floor after the vote Tuesday.

“Congress needs to act and it needs to act now,” he said.

Rubio said in an interview that he’d had conversations with Republican leaders in the House, explaining to them that he thought a clean bill without the controversial language restricting the use of grant money for Planned Parenthood probably was the only way forward.

He said a number of his GOP House colleagues had been echoing the same message to their leadership.

“I think that’s pretty clear that the Senate Democrats are not going to go for it with that language (affecting Planned Parenthood) in it,” Rubio said. “We just need to get this funded, at this point. . . . Hopefully we can prevail on our House colleagues.”

He said he was cautiously optimistic that a deal could be reached.

More here.

Democratic poll shows virtual tie between Rubio, Murphy in Florida Senate race

via @learyreports

Democrats today released a poll showing Marco Rubio and Patrick Murphy in a virtual tie and argue that Murphy has room to become better known to voters across Florida.

The poll conducted for Senate Majority PAC, which is supporting Murphy, shows Murphy with 45 percent of the vote to Rubio’s 44 percent and 9 percent of voters undecided.

The Real Clear Politics average, which does not include this poll, has Rubio leading by 5.7 percentage points.

Civis surveyed 1,463 people by landline and cell phone from Aug. 9-15. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percent.

“There is substantial opportunity to grow Murphy’s vote share with groups where we expect support to coalesce after the primary and as voters become more familiar with the candidates nearing Election Day. We suspect that there is not yet Democratic consolidation due to this survey being conducted before the primary,” reads a polling memo prepared by Civis Analytics.

It said Rubio’s favorability had declined 9 points since he announced he would run for re-election.

“Rubio is already a well-known candidate in the state and is likely at his ceiling. In contrast, Murphy has room to grow among several Democratic leaning groups that should be responsive to communications. He is well positioned to win this seat in the fall.”

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

September 05, 2016

Curbelo reveals 2 new TV ads, centered on the environment and immigration


In one TV ad, U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo is boating with one of his young daughters and talking in English about how nature is a key part of life -- and the economy -- in the Florida Keys. In the other, he's sitting around the kitchen table with his own mom and dad, who retell the story in Spanish about how they left Cuba for the U.S.

The message from the first ad: Curbelo is a Republican who cares about the environment and climate change (though he never utters the words "climate change"). The message from the second ad: Curbelo is a Cuban American willing to curtail "abuse" from some Cuban immigrants who receive U.S. government benefits.

Curbelo's two ads will start airing Tuesday, his campaign said: one in Monroe County and the other on Spanish-language networks across Florida's 26th congressional district, which extends from Westchester to Key West.

The Miami congressman is making an aggressive media push to kick of his Nov. 8 reelection campaign. His first TV ad came out last week, timed with the start of the college football season. He also put out his first Spanish-language radio ad last week, before Labor Day, the traditional start of general-election campaigns.

Curbelo has plenty of money in the bank for his tough race in a Democratic-leaning district against former U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia.



September 01, 2016

Murphy, Rubio to debate Oct. 26 in Broward College


Marco Rubio and Patrick Murphy have agreed to a single debate -- for now -- in Florida's U.S. Senate race. It will take place Oct. 26 at Broward College in Davie.

The debate between Rubio, the incumbent Republican, and Murphy, the Democratic challenger, will be sponsored by Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association. The hour-long debate will be produced by WPBF 25, a Hearst-owned ABC affiliate in West Palm Beach, and be broadcast live from 7-8 p.m. through a network of stations in all of Florida's media markets. It will be moderated by WPBF news anchor Todd McDermott and a media panel still in the works.

"The outcome of Florida's Senate race literally could affect the future direction of the country, and 13 days before Election Day we know the eyes of the state and the nation will be on this debate," Leadership Florida President Wendy Walker said in a statement. "We are pleased that both major parties' nominees have committed so quickly to participate."

"The free exchange of ideas is at the heart of our system of democracy because it creates and informed electorate," said Dean Ridings, president and chief executive of the Florida Press Association. "This debate will provide an outstanding opportunity for Florida voters to see the candidates and understand their positions and their differences."

Rubio has challenged Murphy to five more debates, but Murphy has refused to accept, saying he wants Rubio to commit to serving a full, six-year Senate term instead. Rubio has already accepted other debate invitations, including one from the Tampa Bay Times.

August 31, 2016

Curbelo touts bipartisanship in first TV ad


U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo will kick off TV advertising for his tough reelection campaign Thursday by comparing elusive bipartisanship in Congress with the upcoming college football season.

The Miami Republican's first TV spot shows him and his wife, Cecilia, in their kitchen -- she sporting University of Florida colors, he in a University of Miami polo.

"You can't let rivalry turn to bitterness," Curbelo says into the camera, alluding to fights among Republicans and Democrats. "For Washington politicians, party always comes first and solutions last. That's not me."

The kicker: "I don't care who scores, as long as it's a win for our community."

The ad is set to begin airing with the start of college football games -- and just two days after Democratic primary voters chose former U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia to challenge Curbelo. Garcia, who lost to Curbelo two years ago, has long cast the Republican as a hardline conservative. Curbelo has worked assiduously to avoid that label and is running as an unabashed moderate in the newly redrawn, Democratic-leaning 26th congressional district.


DCCC praises Scott Fuhrman, who'll challenge Ros-Lehtinen in November


Political newcomer Scott Fuhrman easily won the Democratic primary Tuesday in Florida's 27th congressional district, winning him the chance to challenge longtime Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who also cruised to victory.

Fuhrman received 59 percent of the vote over Frank Perez's 24 percent and Adam Sackrin's 17 percent. Neither Perez nor Sackrin campaigned much, while Fuhrman, who is personally wealthy, mailed plenty of fliers to reliable primary voters.

"The results from yesterday's primary victory made clear that Democrats are united in taking back the House seat by seat," Fuhrman said in a statement Wednesday. "I am dedicated to standing up to special interests like the NRA on behalf of the families torn by gun violence in our district and around the country. I'm the only candidate to sign Bullsugar's pledge to protect the environment from the dumping by Big Sugar, and I stood for Miami families terrified by Zika after Congress failed to act."

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which didn't actively recruit Fuhrman or anyone else to go up against the popular Ros-Lehtinen, praised his win.

"Fuhrman's efforts to hold Republicans accountable for their failure to provide funding to combat the growing Zika epidemic is a clear example that he is willing to fight for South Florida's priorities," DCCC spokesman Jermaine House said in a statement.

August 30, 2016

Winners of Florida's spirited congressional primaries

via @learyreports

Florida had a number of other spirited primaries that were settled tonight.

District 2: Neal Dunn narrowly defeated Mary Thomas in what was a nasty GOP primary for the seat currently held by Democrat Gwen Graham, who chose not to run because the district became more solidly Republican.

District 9: Darren Soto beat Dena Grayson, wife of Alan Grayson, as well as Susannah Randolph for the Democratic nomination.

District 10: Val Demings easily won, dispatching Geraldine Thompson and Bob Poe for the Democratic nomination.

District 18: Brian Mast beat Rebecca Negron, wife of incoming Florida Senate president Joe Negron, in the GOP primary.

District 19: Francis Rooney scored a big win over Chauncey Goss and Dan Bongino for the GOP nomination and an all-but-certain trip to Congress.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

Garcia wins squeaker over Taddeo, setting rematch against Curbelo

001 Joe Garcia DS

Former U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia held off a political surge Tuesday by former friend and political ally Annette Taddeo to win the Democratic primary for Florida’s 26th congressional district, setting up a rancorous rematch against Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo, who ousted Garcia from office two years ago.

“The campaign starts here,” Garcia said as he celebrated at a La Carreta Cuban restaurant in West Kendall. “Talking about the issues that matter to the people of Florida, clean water, the Zika virus, guns, and most of all, better jobs for our families.”

Garcia eked out a victory against Taddeo by 51-49 percent, according to unofficial Florida election results — even though he was outspent by about 4-to-1 by Taddeo, who raised more than twice as much as Garcia and had the political and financial support of the national Democratic Party.

Photo credit: David Santiago, el Nuevo Herald

Ros-Lehtinen claims victory in GOP congressional primary


U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Miami claimed an early victory Tuesday in her Republican primary.

Early results in her Miami-Dade County district showed her trouncing her two little-known rivals, David "Tubbs" Adams and Maria Peiro.

"I work diligently for our community both at home and in Congress and that message came through loud and clear during this Republican primary election," Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement. "From supporting small businesses and our economy to helping ensure our national security, I know that South Florida needs an advocate in Congress. I've been proud to stand up for our community on bipartisan issues like climate change to ensure our children and grandchildren have economic as well as environmental futures here.

"I invite Democrats, Independents, and all South Floridians to join my campaign so that we will continue to have a strong voice in Congress," she continued. "I'm grateful for the trust South Florida's Republican primary voters have put in me and am ready to again make my case for why I'm the best qualified candidate to represent our community."

She will face a general-election race in November.