September 13, 2016

Florida members of Congress to Gov. Rick Scott: Ask for clean Zika bill

@PatriciaMazzei

Nine Florida members of Congress asked Gov. Rick Scott to use his Tuesday visit to Washington to advocate for a "clean" Zika funding bill, free of any politically charged amendments that would make it more difficult for the legislation to win bipartisan approval.

"The stakes are too high to allow partisan riders to hold up this critical support, and existing funding is set to run out by the end of this month," the lawmakers wrote in a letter. "There are over 300 cases of Zika in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties, 84 of which involve pregnant women. For pregnant mothers in areas with Zika, not knowing whether one mosquito bite will dramatically alter their unborn child’s life is a daily fear, especially in South Florida, where mosquitos are year-round inhabitants."

The letter, led by Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, was signed by Democratic Reps. Ted Deutch of Boca Raton, Gwen Graham of Tallahassee, Alcee Hastings of Delray Beach, Lois Frankel of West Palm Beach, Patrick Murphy of Jupiter, Kathy Castor of Tampa and Frederica Wilson of Miami Gardens. They were joined by two Miami Republicans, Reps. Carlos Curbelo and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

Scott will be on Capitol Hill lobbying for Zika money through Wednesday.

September 09, 2016

Tim Canova to run against Debbie Wasserman Schultz in 2018

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@amysherman1

Tim Canova may be headed for a rematch against U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in South Florida.

Canova filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission Thursday so he can start fundraising to run in the Broward/Miami-Dade district in 2018. The Nova Southeastern University law professor backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders raised about $3.8 million in his first campaign.

But despite his warchest he couldn't compete with the name recognition and long roots of Wasserman Schultz who won her first elected office -- for the state Legislature -- in 1992 and was elected to Congress in 2004.

Wasserman Schultz beat Canova by about 14 percentage points in the Aug. 30 Democratic primary. She will face Republican Joe Kaufman Nov. 8th in the left-leaning district. In 2014, Wasserman Schultz beat Kaufman 63 percent to 37 percent.

Jon Reinish, a spokesman on behalf of Wasserman Schultz, provided a statement that didn't mention Canova and said she is focused on passing a Zika bill and Hillary Clinton's race.

"Debbie knows that we need to focus our energy and effort on helping Democrats win in 2016," he said. 

 

 

 

September 01, 2016

Broward had lowest primary turnout in the state

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Broward County had the lowest voter turnout in Florida Tuesday, cementing it's reputation as a county that virtually ignores primaries.

In Broward, turnout was 16.52 percent while turnout in Miami-Dade was 20.47 percent and in Palm Beach 19.25 percent. The second lowest county was Pasco with 18.63 percent followed by Hillsborough with 18.89 percent. 

The numbers are based on state data so far -- some counties are still counting provisional ballots but overall numbers won't budge by much. The average statewide turnout was 23.86 percent.

Broward's pathetic turnout was an improvement over the past five primaries in which turnout ranged from 10.7 percent to 14.93 percent. Parts of the county had competitive Democratic primaries including U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz's race against Tim Canova which she won. Now Wasserman Schultz is tasked with driving up turnout in Democratic-rich South Florida Nov. 8th for Hillary Clinton.

One reason why turnout was low: the major statewide Democratic primary -- the U.S. Senate race -- appeared to be a foregone conclusion before election day. U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy easily beat U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson and Pam Keith.

The statewide Democrats didn't emphasize voter turnout in Broward.

"Murphy didn't really need to run an aggressive field program to win his Senate nomination," said Cynthia Busch, first vice chair of the Broward Democratic party.

There are twice as many registered Democrats as Republicans in Broward so it's the Democratic primaries that drive turnout in the county.

 

 

August 31, 2016

Our Revolution: We lost a big one in Florida

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Tim Canova's biggest backer who propelled him to a $3 million warchest -- U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders -- never showed up to campaign for Canova. And in the end, Canova lost to U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Sanders' newly formed group that works to help progressive candidates -- Our Revolution -- put out a statement about races won and lost including Canova's. Here is part of the statement:

"Sisters and Brothers -

Last night was a tremendous night for our political revolution. Out of the five progressive primary campaigns we supported, three were victorious. But we did lose one, a big one, in Florida: Tim Canova against Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

As we move forward into the next chapter of our political revolution, we are going to win some elections, and we are going to lose some elections. But through it all, as Bernie said, our job is to transform the Democratic Party and this country. And it's our job to hold elected officials accountable when they work against the progressive values we all share.

During this race, Debbie Wasserman Schultz changed her position on a number of important issues, including fracking. And because of the challenge we gave her, you can expect a more fair and impartial Democratic National Committee in the next presidential primary."

Here is what Wasserman Schultz said about fracking during a debate and later in a statement to the Miami Herald.

The statement did mention that one other candidate it backed in South Florida won: Dwight Bullard who won a state Senate race.

- Photo by Sun Sentinel

Tim Canova: I will concede Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a corporate stooge

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Tim Canova refused to go quietly into the night as he sat by the bar of Kasa Champet in Pembroke Pines after all precincts finally reported around 11:30 p.m.

"I will concede Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a corporate stooge,"' Canova said.

As for working with Wasserman Schultz in the future, well, don't bet on it.

"She's never asked for my help," Canova said. "She's never given me the time of day. She's never given the time of day to her constituents as far as I'm concerned."

Democratic voters in the Broward/Miami-Dade district didn't share Canova's view: the Weston Democrat won 57 to 43 percent.

- by Amy Sherman and George Richards and photo by Sun Sentinel

 

 

 

August 30, 2016

Wasserman Schultz beats Canova in South Florida

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U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz staved off her first primary challenge in 24 years, defeating first-time candidate Tim Canova on Tuesday to position herself to hang on to her South Florida seat despite a crush of national opposition to her candidacy.

Wasserman Schultz harnessed the backing of the biggest names in Democratic politics to help her win — President Barack Obama praised her while in Miami, and Vice President Joe Biden and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton campaigned for her in the district. Despite the fact that Canova raised millions of dollars and had an army of progressive volunteers, Wasserman Schultz convinced voters in her district to focus on her advocacy for local causes and her liberal views for decades, and to ignore the Democratic scandal that cost her the post of national party chair.

“This is a community with an incredibly progressive heart that has lifted me up and helped me to be able to shout from the rooftops the idea that you can in America use government as a catalyst to improve people's lives,” she told her supporters at Scuotto’s Pizza & Pasta in Sunrise Tuesday night.

Wasserman Schultz made no mention of Canova and instead bashed Republicans for trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act and urged the crowd to support Clinton.

“We commit right here and now Broward County will carry Hillary Clinton to the White House,” she said.

Wasserman Schultz choked up as she thanked her parents who teaching her the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam, the concept of repairing the world and making it a better place.

She led Canova by about 14 percentage points in a district that stretches from Weston to northern Miami-Dade County.

Keep reading here.

Florida lawmakers urge tough steps against Venezuela

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@jamesmartinrose

Florida's congressional delegation has the biggest presence in a bipartisan letter urging Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew to extend sanctions and take other tough steps against the Venezuelan government.

Nine of the 30 lawmakers who signed the letter to Kerry and Lew are from the Sunshine State, among them South Florida Republican Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Carlos Curbelo, plus Democratic Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Lois Frankel and Frederica Wilson.

Also on the letter are Republican Reps. Ron DeSantis of Ponte Vedra Beach and John Mica of Winter Park, plus Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch of West Boca Raton.

"People are literally starving, suicide rates are rising and the government continues to repress its people," the lawmakers wrote.

Congress in July passed legislation sponsored by Ros-Lehtinen and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Miami, which President Barack Obama signed into law, extending sanctions on human rights abusers in Venezuela.

"However, the are scores of other Venezuelan officials, including within the Supreme Court, federal judiciary, judges in various states, national and state prosecutors, and police and security officers who have reportedly directly engaged in human rights abuses, efforts to undermine democracy and public corruption," the lawmakers wrote to Kerry and Lew.

The 30 House members called on Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro to hold a recall referendum this year, release all political prisoners, follow democratic principles, permit the delivery of emergency food and medicine, and stop government support for drug trafficking.

To read the letter:

August 29, 2016

What you need to know for Tuesday’s primary election

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@alextdaugherty and @doug_hanks

Planning to vote in Tuesday’s primary election? We’ve provided answers to a list of frequently asked questions.

Numerous races are on the ballot, notably the election for Miami-Dade County mayor, along with Republican and Democratic primaries for U.S. Senate. Various state legislative, school board, county commission and judicial seats are also up for grabs in Miami-Dade and Broward.

I’m not a registered Republican or Democrat. Should I bother to vote?

For some offices, like U.S. Senate and Congress, only registered members of a specific party may vote. But in Miami-Dade County, all registered voters can cast a ballot for mayor, school board, county commissioner and judge. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff election will be held in November for the top two finishers.

In Broward, independents can vote in non-partisan races, including contests for judge, state attorney and school board. Voters in both counties are also voting on a constitutional amendment about solar energy.

So is the mayor’s race in Miami-Dade ending Tuesday or not?

That depends. If one candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the race ends. If not, the race heads for a November run-off on Election Day between the top two finishers.

That’s just for the mayor’s race?

No, that’s the rule for all non-partisan primaries, which is how most county-level and city-level races are decided. So school board races, judge races and other local posts could wind up on the November ballot if no winner is declared Tuesday.

What about the races for Miami-Dade County Commission?

Those three races would be eligible for a run-off, except each contest only has two candidates. A run-off is only a possibility with more than two candidates.

August 25, 2016

Tim Canova ad says Debbie Wasserman Schultz flip flopped on fracking, medical marijuana

 

Tim Canova's new TV ad attacking U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz accuses her of flip flopping on a few issues including fracking.

In an Aug. 14th debate on CBS4, Wasserman Schultz sounded open to fracking in Florida.

Host Jim DeFede asked: "So you are open to fracking as a possibility in Florida?"

She replied: "As long as we have significant regulations."

When the Miami Herald sent her spokesman a list of questions asking what type of regulations she wants, the campaign sent a statement saying she supports a state ban.

"Let me be clear, I am against fracking, especially in Florida," she said in a statement.

The ad also accuses Wasserman Schultz of flip flopping on medical marijuana, payday lending and Trans Pacific Partnership. Here is some background:

Medical marijuana: Wasserman Schultz opposed the 2014 state constitutional amendment but in this race says she is undecided about the similar amendment on Nov. 8th ballot. In May, she voted in favor of a measure to give veterans access to medical marijuana after opposing a similar measure in 2014.

Payday lending: Wasserman Schultz defended Florida's payday law which has been bashed by consumer groups and she pushed back against proposed rules by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In June, she backed away from opposition to the new rules.

Trans Pacific Partnership: She voted to fast track TPP in 2015 but recently told the Sun Sentinel that she is still evaluating it.

Canova and Wasserman Schultz are competing in the Aug. 30th Democratic primary in a district that stretches from Weston to northern Miami-Dade County. The ad is running on cable and broadcast.

 

 

August 24, 2016

Bernie Sanders a no-show for Tim Canova

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@amysherman1

Bernie Sanders, the politician who elevated first-time candidate Tim Canova to national attention and a rich campaign warchest, doesn’t appear to be coming to South Florida to help out his protégé in his battle against U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

At a press conference Wednesday -- a week before the Aug. 30 primary -- at his Hollywood campaign office, Canova pushed back against reporters’ questions about why Sanders hasn’t appeared in the Broward/Miami-Dade district.

“You tell me why he isn’t coming,” said Canova defensively. “I don’t have an answer to that. I am very proud to have his support. Quite frankly we don’t need him here to win this election. Our field operation is growing by the day. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is the one who needs to run out and get folks to come in from out of town to help protect her -- to shield her from the voters. I am out there talking to voters every day.”

Wasserman Schultz has recruited many of the party’s top names to campaign for her in the district, including Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, civil rights icon and Georgia Rep. John Lewis and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot at a congressional event in Arizona in 2011. President Barack Obama also praised Wasserman Schultz when he was in South Florida. Obama had tapped her as his Democratic National Committee chair -- a role she stepped down from in July following the WikiLeaks publication of thousands of DNC emails.

For Canova, he has only one big backer: Sanders. In May, Sanders announced on CNN that he was backing Canova and has since sent fundraising emails on his behalf.

The political novice has echoed many of Sanders’ campaign themes, such as demanding campaign-finance reform. Like Sanders, Canova’s fundraising strategy has relied on small-donor donations online while eschewing lavish fundraisers and corporate support. The two men know each other: In 2011 Sanders appointed Canova, a law professor who is an expert on finance, to an advisory committee about Federal Reserve reform.

In July, Sanders told USA Today he would support at least 100 candidates across the country in 2016 -- including Canova -- and possibly campaign for them in person.

But it appears Sanders has blown Canova off -- perhaps because Canova still appears to be a longshot.

“We need all the help we can get,” Canova told the YouTube show Young Turks, according to a clip played Tuesday night on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show. “Look, when Bernie endorsed me, he called me and gave me his number and said, ‘Stay in touch and please call.’ And I have, and I`m waiting for Bernie to return my call. .... So we are hoping that the Sanders campaign does still come through, that Bernie comes through and makes an appearance for us, or at the very least, helps us raise some more money during such a critical period down the home stretch. And that is our hope.”

Spokespersons for Sanders did not reply to emailed questions from the Miami Herald Wednesday.

At his Hollywood press conference, Canova said he had invited Sanders to come and that they had “some general conversations.” But when asked if Sanders ever told him whether he would show up, Canova bristled.

“No comment,” Canova said, referring reporters back to Sanders comments that he would probably campaign for Canova.

Canova’s campaign hired Sanders’ media consultants -- Devine, Mulvey and Longabaugh -- in late July only to see them quit about two weeks later. Canova said Wednesday his campaign rejected the consultants’ strategy of focusing money on TV ads rather than on field operations. Canova also said an attack ad the consultants pitched was  “over the top.”

“Bernie Sanders’ media consultants left the campaign because we weren’t taking their advice,” Canova said. “I rejected their advice and put more money in the field than TV. I said from the beginning the campaign was not relying on Beltway consultants.”

Mark Longabaugh declined to provide specifics about what happened between his firm and Canova.

“l think it's unfortunate Tim Canova decided to characterize it that way,” he said. “We left campaign because of disagreement over strategy, the message and the professionalism of the campaign.”

Canova tried to make the case that it doesn’t matter if Sanders stumps for him in person. But a recent poll by the Sun Sentinel and Florida Atlantic University showed Canova has a wide lead among young voters and Sanders voters -- a sign that a visit by Sanders to the district could boost his campaign. However, it would be tough for Canova to win on Sanders’ supporters alone because Clinton got twice as many votes in the district than Sanders during the presidential primary.

“The voters of this district don’t much care if Bernie comes here or not,” Canova said. “They care about issues about putting food on the table -- real issues of concern to them whether social security will keep up with inflation, how a child is going to pay for higher education, whether the drinking water going be drinkable. That’s what I am talking about in this campaign and that’s why I called his press conference. Bernie Sanders is not on the ballot, Hillary Clinton is not on ballot. You might all find it very interesting to talk about -- it's not of importance to me.”