September 22, 2010

Democrats play the culture of corruption card

Florida Democrats are planning nearly 100 events across the state on Sunday to warn voters of what Democrat Alex Sink’s gubernatorial campaign manager Jim Cassady said in an e-mail to supporters were "bold face lies" coming from Republican Rick Scott. (Sounds like the "lies" refer to Scott's latest ad.)


The door knocking and phone calling will be made on behalf of the Democrat’s slate of statewide candidates as part of a day-long effort Democrats are calling “Knock Out Republican Corruption Day.” The slick campaign literature offers head shots of the Democratic candidates while referencing the arrest of former Florida Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer, the indictment of former House Speaker Ray Sansom, the credit card questions facing GOP U.S. Senate nominee Marco Rubio and the Medicare fraud that took place at Scott’s former hospital company.

Democrats hope they can avoid the wave of conservatism in nearly every state in the country by turning the Republicans' troubles into a motivation tool for their grassroots base. Of course, Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bill McCollum wrongly thought his grassroots effort would make him the outlier in the trend of establishment candidates losing to political outsiders.

Says the Scott campaign: “Of course the Sink campaign is downplaying her role in the SBA debacle and how much was lost; this is a typical insider who knows she has failed but refuses to accept the her failure. As a former banker and current Chief Financial Officer, Alex Sink’s oversight of the SBA raises serious questions on integrity and competence.”

September 10, 2010

Gelber calls for a team of public corruption lawyers

Pointing to the dozens of indictments of public officials, Democratic attorney general candidate Dan Gelber on Friday called for a new unit dedicated to investigating public corruption in state government.

“Floridians are really tired of the overwhelming influence of special interests, the overwhelming influence of money,” said Gelber, of Miami Beach. “They read about back-room deals that stink to high heaven, and they wonder why nothing ever happens to them.”

Gelber said the unit would consist of a mix of U.S. Department of Justice lawyers as well as a few attorneys from the state attorney general’s office. Gelber has written U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder about the proposal, but has not yet received a response.

Several high profile cases – such as a fancy new courthouse and the indictment of Ray Sansom – were sparked by newspaper reports. Gelber did not discuss other potential  cases, but said the team “would have plenty of work to do. And it would result in a change in the behavior of state government.”

September 09, 2010

Gelber asks Bondi for more debates

A week ago, Repbulican Pam Bondi agreed to participate in two debates in the attorney general's race. But her Democratic rival Dan Gelber says two isn't enough.

Gelber is proposing seven or more debates. In a letter sent Thursday to the Bondi campaign, Gelber said "your proposal of two public debates will make it very difficult for many of the voters to learn where each of us stands on the issues." The one point of agreement is the Oct. 16 debate hosted by Bay News 9/Central Florida News 13.

"It is imperative that the people of our state have the opportunity to hear directly from my opponent and me on these important issues and be aware of the very different choices in leadership we will offer," Bondi said in a statement.

August 30, 2010

August 24, 2010

A insider's guide to the primary election

Will Rick's voters show up?: Turnout could be a major factor in the GOP primary for governor. Rick Scott is hoping thousands of casual voters flock to the polls to oust career politicians. A lower turnout could benefit Bill McCollum, who has the party infrastructure and a stronger base of supporters. A win by Scott tomorrow would set the GOP establishment on fire -- it would likely end McCollum’s political career and put his supporters on the spot over who they will back in November. Or how many people sick with the fight will pick third-wheel Mike McCalister?

Will Haridopolos get his candidates? A handful of key state Senate primaries could test the power of incoming President Mike Haridopolos. The Merritt Island Republican has weighed in on several races: Jim Norman over Kevin Ambler in Hillsborough’s District 12; Miguel Diaz de la Portilla over Julio Robaina in Miami’s District 36; Ellyn Bogdanoff over Carl Domino in District 25 in Palm Beach; and Lizbeth Benacquisto over Sharon Merchant in the sprawling Fort Myers-to-Palm Beach District 27. The winners in the two Palm Beach seats face tougher races in November, while the other two primary winners will likely capture a Senate seat tomorrow evening.

Will the Greer/GOP-spending scandal hurt candidates? Former GOP Chairman Jim Greer is gone but his connections to candidates and the party’s legacy of spending on credit cards remains. In Pasco County, former Marco Rubio aide Richard Corcoran is getting reminded of his party credit card spending in his state House race (HD45). And in Seminole County, House candidate Jason Brodeur still thinks Jim Greer is the “bees knees.” Will it hurt him?

Continue reading "A insider's guide to the primary election" »

August 19, 2010

Bondi already running against Gelber for AG

Republican Pam Bondi did a meet-and-greet event on  Thursday at the Florida Chamber of Commerce offices in Tallahassee. She didn't mention either of her GOP rivals (Holly Benson and Jeff Kottkamp), by name, but she did talk about facing Democrat Dan Gelber in November.

Sounding confident of capturing the Republican Party nomination next Tuesday, Bondi said: "People came to me and people felt that I was most qualified to beat Gelber, and it's probably going to be Dan Gelber in a general election, and I'll tell you what -- the more I hear about Dan Gelber, the more I learn, the last thing we need is an Eliot Spitzer-type attorney general."

She also noted that she'd continue the lawsuit against Obama-Care, while Gelber wouldn't.

Lobbyist Erik Kirk asked Bondi if she found health care is the top issue among voters. "No. Arizona," Bondi replied, referring to the state's tough crackdown on illegal immigrants. "Everywhere I go, the first question is Arizona."

Bondi has the Chamber's backing. She boarded a 40-foot motor coach for additional campaign stops in Lake City and Jacksonville before heading down the east coast on Friday morning.

-- Steve Bousquet

August 11, 2010

Jeff Greene's ticket in Palm Beach includes Aronberg

Greene palm card U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Greene is telling fellow Democrats to support Dave Aronberg in the tight primary for state attorney general.

Greene is distributing this voting guide in the Democratic central Century Village of Palm Beach County, a key battleground in Aronberg's race against Miami Beach state Sen. Dan Gelber.

Greene hasn't made an official endorsement of Aronberg, a state senator whose district includes parts of Palm Beach County. But this palm card is close enough.

Continue reading "Jeff Greene's ticket in Palm Beach includes Aronberg" »

August 05, 2010

Gasp! Aronberg rips Gelber as 'Miami lawyer'

State Sen. Dave Aronberg of Boca Raton slings the epithet "Miami lawyer" at his rival for state attorney general, Dan Gelber, as if hanging a shingle in the 305 is something to be ashamed of. What's next, Miami-as-banana-republic jokes? (Not to mention that Aronberg has some 'Miami lawyer' buried deep in his own past. His first job was at Steel Hector and Davis in Miami.)

TV war in Dems AG race starts negative

State Sen. Dave Aronberg is first to the punch in the television war in the Democratic primary for attorney general. His campaign debuted an attack advertisement this week that links rival Dan Gelber to BP. (Aronberg's claims about Gelber's former law firm's connection to BP are a matter of dispute. Find a PolitiFact ruling on the subject here.)

The advertisement focuses on the offshore oil drilling issue, showing Aronberg as the antithesis to Sarah Palin's drill-baby-drill mantra. (The ad even features a picture of her.) And the second half hits Gelber. See for yourself below.

No details from Aronberg's campaign on the ad or the TV buy. This is recorded from TV. (Apologies for the quality.)

Continue reading "TV war in Dems AG race starts negative" »