December 31, 2010

AG-elect Pam Bondi taps Dave Aronberg to newly created position of special counsel for her pill mill initiative

Republican Attorney General-elect Pam Bondi today named former state Sen. Dave Aronberg, a Democrat from Green Acres, to a newly created post in her office focusing on prescription pill abuse. "He’s very familiar with this issue. He cares very deeply about this issue," Bondi, a Republican, said of Aronberg, who made a failed bid to become attorney general, losing the Democratic primary.The fact that he’s a Democrat, she said, doesn’t matter."What I want to do is bring people together on all sides who all care about the issue," she said.

Aronberg will be based in south Florida and earn $92,000 a year as special counsel for the pill mill initiative. Shortly after her election, Bondi signalled she planned to make pain clinics that excessively dole out prescription drugs — so-called pill mills — a focus of her office. She set up a transition team that included Aronberg to examine the problem. "We’re at a critical point in our state regarding the number of pill mills. The numbers are staggering. We’ve got to do something to stop it," Bondi said. "Just the other day I had someone say that a friend’s child overdosed. I said, ‘It was Oxycontin, wasn’t it?’ They said, ‘How did you know?’ It’s so widespread in our state. That’s something we don’t want to be known for."

Bondi’s move is likely to come as good news to people concerned that Gov.-elect Rick Scott opted to cut the Office of Drug Control from his administration. Bondi said she will likely push for legislation to tighten Florida’s rules regulating pain clinics.

Aronberg served in the Florida Senate from 2002 until 2010 where he was advocated for legislation to establish a prescription drug database and to more strictly regulate the ownership and operation of pain clinics.

"After getting to know Dave last year, I quickly learned that we share a strong commitment to shutting down pill mills. I have complete trust in Dave's ability to take on this very important fight with me," Bondi said in a prepared statement, "It is unacceptable that Florida has become the nation's pill mill capital and that multiple Floridians are dying every day from illegal prescription drug abuse. In cooperation with federal, state and local law enforcement, we will use all the powers and resources of the Attorney General's Office in a comprehensive effort to eradicate pill mills from our state."

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 17, 2010

Aronberg finishes with positive ad

UPDATED: In his final TV spot, Democrat Dave Aronberg closes his argument for attorney general with a positive advertisement that touts the endorsement of 18 local sheriffs and kind words from former office holder Bob Butterworth. (He didn't make an endorsement in the race, though.)

Campaign spokeswoman Allison Jones said the ad is slated to air starting today but offered no details as confirmation.

Continue reading "Aronberg finishes with positive ad" »

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" »

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.