August 04, 2010

July 31, 2010

Gelber slaps Aronberg with 'politician' label

State Sen. Dan Gelber's first direct mail piece is landing in mailboxes this weekend and confirms the race is getting negative. It calls Sen. Dave Aronberg, his opponent in the Democratic attorney general race, that four-letter word this election year: "a typical politician."

It hits back at Aronberg for sending this recent mail piece attacking Gelber's connection to the Florida law firm representing BP in the oil spill. (See his recent controversial mail piece page 1page 2, page 3, page 4.)

July 29, 2010

July 23, 2010

Public financing winners: McCollum, Atwater, Gelber

The public financing totals are out. Here are the big ones: Bill McCollum got $1.26 million, Jeff Atwater got $492,000 and Dan Gelber got $353,000. There are also some big names with $0 listed, including Alex Sink, who has said she is still deciding whether to accept public funds.

Other candidates with no public money listed who would otherwise be eligible include: Dave Aronberg, Loranne Ausley and Scott Maddox. Common thread? All Democrats. We're on the case to find out why.

Aronberg's Q2 is $264k; Gelber calls for 11 debates

In the Democratic primary for AG, Dave Aronberg just announced his latest fundraising total: $264,000, bringing him up to $1.1 million total raised. His campaign claims he leads all other candidates, Republican or Democrat, in the race. He's got about $650,000 in the bank.

His primary rival and fellow senator, Dan Gelber, has not yet released his fundraising number. His campaign said they are still calculating the final totals. But his campaign has called on Aronberg to participate in 11 debates -- one in every media market in Florida.

"Since both our campaigns will have limited resources and unable to saturate the airwaves like other statewide candidates, I suggest that Sen. Dave Aronberg joins Sen. Dan Gelber in hosting a debate in each of Florida's eleven media markets. This will ensure that Floridians in every part of the state have an opportunity to learn about each of the Democratic AG candidates," writes Gelber's campaign manager Christian Ulvert.

July 02, 2010

Dan Gelber strikes back

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...

June 28, 2010

Gelber quits law firm after BP hires it

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."

Gelber initially resisted suggestions about a conflict of interest, telling the Daily Business Review "I know nothing about the case, nor will I ever." Read more here.

June 22, 2010

Democrats renew call for Crist to summon lawmakers into special session

Three Democratic legislators Tuesday renewed their to Gov. Charlie Crist to call a special legislative session this summer to address the state's response to the oil disaster and other issues.

State Sen. Dan Gelber of Miami Beach and Reps. Keith Fitzgerald of Sarasota and Rick Kriseman of St. Petersburg said a special session should focus on five issues: revising the state law to maximize the amount of money victims can receive; giving the attorney general the authority to prosecute environmental crimes;  creating a state compensation commissioner to help with recovery; provide small businesses with economic relief and put an amendment on the ballot for a drilling ban in state waters.

“The special session must include aggressive measures that protect Floridians by ensuring that the state has the proper laws in place to hold BP and others accountable coupled with a constitutional amendment to ban near-shore drilling,” said Gelber, a candidate for attorney general.

"I applaud Governor Crist for being open-minded and seriously considering our requests, and trust he will continue to put the interests of Florida and its citizens first despite the efforts of some out-of-touch politicians in the Florida Legislature,” Kriseman said.

Crist said Monday that he continue to be willing to bring lawmakers back into special session but House leaders remain the obstacle.

May 21, 2010

Aronberg's campaign faces election law questions

A Democratic candidate for attorney general is facing questions about whether his campaign skirted election laws to pay staffers. A former fundraiser for Dave Aronberg received payments from the campaign and a little-known federal political committee called Citizens for Effective Government, according to campaign finance records.

Ryan Hampton, a South Florida-based money man, made more than $10,000 from Aronberg's campaign and $1,000 from the federal committee. The committee — dubbed a 527 under IRS code — was closely tied to Aronberg, a state senator from Greenacres, before it closed shop in April amid questions.

Aronberg's chief consultant, Screven Watson, is listed as the founder, according to federal IRS documents. And Aronberg helped raise money for the committee, which paid three of his campaign staffers. Florida law puts a bright line between federal 527 groups and a candidate's campaign."Can (federal 527) money flow over to the campaigns? No," said Mark Herron, an election law expert.

(Read more here.)