Rick Scott's 527, "Lets Get to Work," is up with a new ad, criticizing Bill McCollum for using state aircraft to the tune of $280,000. A commercial cites a Times/Herald report from last summer showing McCollum, CFO Alex Sink and Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp's apparent misuse of state planes. The report lead the Cabinet members to curtail their use of official travel.The 527's latest media buy figures show he bought time from Wednesday through July 20, for a total of $1.6 million. The buy includes saturation in the Orlando, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Panama City and Tallahassee markets.
A six-county Whistle Stop tour through the Panhandle on Saturday showcased a number of lesser know Republican candidates fighting for attention amid the Marco Rubio-Charlie Crist showdown and gubernatorial hopeful Rick Scott's big-money campaign.
With sweat soaking through shirts and campaign fliers doubling as hand fans, U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam, an agriculture commissioner candidate, and Holly Benson, a former state lawmaker running for attorney general, showed that retail politicking still holds a place in a state known for its media-market campaigns.
Observations from the campaign trail:
--The details: The tour began at 9 a.m. central time in Chipley before stopping in Bonifay, DeFuniak Springs, Ft. Walton Beach, Gulf Breeze and finally ending in Pensacola at 6 p.m. The crowds varied from the 25 people under a park pavilion in Gulf Breeze to the 200 awaiting the statewide and local candidates in Ft. Walton. The oppressive heat, with temperatures topping 100 degrees, kept enthusiasm to a minimum. In fact, in DeFuniak Springs, a tense auction for a two-layer patriotic cake drew more participant attention than most candidates.
June 12, 2010 in Adam Putnam, Barack Obama, Bill McCollum, Charlie Crist, Election 2010, Florida, Florida Agriculture Commissioner, Florida Attorney General, Florida Governor's Race, Florida Politics, Florida Voters, Jeff Kottkamp, Marco Rubio, Republican Party of Florida, Rick Scott | Permalink | Comments (1)
The Florida Republican Party spent more than $9,500 on special Disney World tours for Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp and others in the summer of 2008, according to credit card bills obtained by The Miami Herald and The St. Petersburg Times.
The outings were part of roughly $47,000 in expenses charged that year to the American Express card held by the former executive director of the state party, Jim Rimes, and tied to Kottkamp. Handwritten notes on the bills describe the amusement park costs as "Lt. Gov. Disney trip.''
Kottkamp said he went to Disney with donors and their families. But party spokeswoman Katie Betta said Tuesday that the Disney charges were not associated with a fundraiser nor other official party business.
The party is undergoing an audit to uncover any wrongdoing by high-ranking legislators and staff who used the credit cards under former chairman Jim Greer.
"This is an example of the type of expense our forensic investigators are looking into to determine if additional documentation does exist that would confirm that the Disney expenses were in fact related to RPOF business,'' Betta said in an e-mail.
The governor's office is now a house divided as Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp today says he hopes the governor's decision doesn't interfere with their relationship, but he won't give the gov his support.
"I hope the Governor's decision today to run for the United States Senate as an independent candidate, rather than as a Republican, will have no impact on our personal relationship,'' he says in a statement. "However, as a lifelong Republican I am committed to supporting my party and the principles I have fought for my entire life. I will support the Republican nominee for United States Senate.''
Here are the highlights of the official first quarter fundraising
numbers that came out last night. (With a helpful
assist from Christina Johnson over at On3PR)
Toplines in the governor's race: Republican Bill McCollum raised just less than 1.4 million in the first three months of 2010, compared with Democrat Alex Sink's 1.1 million. Sink still holds the overall edge in campaign cash, though, with $5 million on hand compared to $3.8 million for McCollum. GOP challenger Paula Dockery has $410,000 on hand. That figure includes $280,000 in personal cash she has put into her campaign.
An interesting note in the AG race. Days before the official numbers came out, Democratic Sen. Dan Gelber announced an impressive haul of $330,000. Turns out that number was pumped up with about $100,000 worth of in-kind contributions. His actual cash haul was $218,000.
Other AG candidates: Sen. Dave Aronberg took in $259,000 to use in the primary against Gelber. On the Republican side: Lt. Gov Jeff Kottkamp raised $232k, Pam Bondi raised $222k and Holly Benson raised $198k.
Senate President Jeff Atwater and Congressman Adam Putnam
both opened up wider leads in their races for CFO and Agriculture
Commissioner. Atwater took in $446,000 and has almost $2 million on
hand. His Democratic challenger, Loranne Ausley has $346,000 on hand.
Putnam had about $1.2 million on hand, while Democrat Scott Maddox has
April 13, 2010 in Adam Putnam, Alex Sink, Bill McCollum, Campaign Finance, Dan Gelber, Dave Aronberg, Election 2010, Florida Agriculture Commissioner, Florida Attorney General, Florida Chief Financial Officer, Florida Governor's Race, Jeff Atwater, Jeff Kottkamp, Loranne Ausley, Paula Dockery | Permalink | Comments (1)
Two rivals for the GOP nomination for attorney general -- Pam Bondi and Holly Benson -- posted nearly the same fundraising totals for the first three months of 2010. Bondi, a former Hillsborough County prosecutor, says she raised almost $240,000 this quarter. Benson, who ran the state's Medicaid agency under Gov. Charlie Crist, says she pulled in $241,000.
The totals come about a week after their third rival, Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, announced he raised $270,000 during the same time period.
Democratic candidates Dan Gelber and Dave Aronberg raised $325,000 and $260,000, respectively. Both of those totals do not include March, when the two state senators were banned from fundraising.
Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp and a number of lawmakers (including Jacksonville Republican Rep. Lake Ray at left) stood behind the tea party's lectern on the Historic Capitol steps and blasted all things federal government.
Kottkamp, a Republican candidate for attorney general, endorsed AG Bill McCollum's lawsuit against the health care legislation supported by President Barack Obama.
Ray, who took a break from the Florida House debate about class size, told the crowd of 50 that "euthanasia is what they have in mind" under the new health care system. "I share your vision for the future," he said.
The rally's speakers called the day the legislation passed "one of the darkest days since 9/11."
The crowd carried signs supporting Sen. Carey Baker and Rep. Scott Plakon's effort to add language to the state's constitution forbidding the implementation of the health care bill.
In the political fallout from the criminal investigation of Jim
Greer, one question remaining is who it will hurt. Gov. Charlie
Crist was the obvious target when the initial news broke, given that
he handpicked Greer for the GOP helm. But this flier for Greer's
re-election -- slogan, "The service we trust. The leadership we need --
as chairman includes many more bold-faced names: including Attorney
General Bill McCollum,
Senate President Jeff Atwater and disgraced Speaker Ray
Sansom and former Speaker Marco Rubio.
See the invite here.
April 01, 2010 in Bill McCollum, Campaign Finance, Charlie Crist, Dean Cannon, Florida, Florida Agriculture Commissioner, Florida Attorney General, Florida Governor, Florida Governor's Race, Florida Legislature, Florida Politics, Florida State House, Florida State Senate , Jeff Atwater, Jeff Kottkamp, John Thrasher, Marco Rubio, Mike Haridopolos, Political Parties, Ray Sansom, Republican Party of Florida | Permalink | Comments (0)
Meeting in closed-door session, the state Commission on Ethics Friday dismissed a citizen's complaint that Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp violated ethics laws by misusing state aircraft for personal travel.
The commission's action -- officially known as a finding of no probable cause -- was confirmed by Dave Plyer, a citizen activist from Clearwater who lodged the complaint against Kottkamp based on news accounts. As the complainant, Plyer was allowed to attend the executive session.
Plyer said the commission, in its report on the case, would make a recommendation that the Legislature change state law "to make a much clearer distinction about what constitutes business travel and political travel." Kottkamp on a number of occasions called for a pilot to fly a state plane to Fort Myers, where he has a home, to pick him up and take him to the Capitol, and he has noted that the state initially refused to allow him to reimburse the state for trips taken by his wife and son.
Plyer said he was satisfied that the ethics panel made the right decision based on what he called the "ambiguity" in state law over the use of state planes for personal use. Kottkamp, a Republican candidate for attorney general, could not immediately be reached for comment, but he had predicted that the complaint would be dismissed.
"I'm satisfied. I thought it was done right," Plyer said. "The statutes are not clear, particularly in the Kottkamp case."
-- Steve Bousquet