Former Senator and lobbyist Connie Mack III is complaining in a fundraising-pitch letter about the way we cover his son, Connie Mack IV, in the U.S. Senate race. He complains about a recent story about Mack's struggles (no mention of Jeff Atwater) and falsely accuses us of unspecified "unprofessional behavior."
Freedom PAC, a new shadow political committee has announced it will be the second of its to play in Florida's nationally watched U.S. Senate race by supporting Congressman Connie Mack.
Mack, a target of the Super Pac called Saving Florida's Future in February, could use the help. He's losing straw polls these days and his performance has underwhelmed enough fellow Republicans that Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater is considering hoping in the race to unseat Democrat Bill Nelson.
While a recent endorsement by the American Conservative Union is some help to Mack, the Super Pac is worth so much more. If anything will keep Atwater from entering the race, it's the prospect of facing a political committee that can raise and spend unlimited sums from corporations to help an opponent.
The SuperPac is also a perfect antidote to the cash-gap between Nelson and Mack, who has $1.3 million in the bank. Nelson's campaign has $9.5 million. Nelson will also be a likely recipient of Saving Florida's Future help.
What does Gov. Rick Scott think about CFO Jeff Atwater's possible Senate run?
An Orlando radio host posed the question Wednesday, but Scott didn't bite.
“He left a message night before last that he was thinking about running for Senate," Scott said. "There’s a lot of people who’ve gotten in and out of that race."
Scott immediately switched to a rant about what's wrong with Washington, i.e. taxes. Maybe he'll have more to say when he returns Atwater's call.
Here's the full interview with Jim Turner on wdbo.com. It was one of seven interviews Scott gave Wednesday, including a meeting with the Orlando Sentinel editorial board, to talk about the $70 billion budget he signed Tuesday. Scott is scheduled to attend two ceremonial budget signings at schools in Tampa and Orlando later Wednesday.
In a series of one-two-three blows, George LeMieux's Senate campaign has been staggered by anemic fundraising, the specter of a big-name Republican jumping into the race and new court documents that make him a witness in the criminal case against the former governor’s hand-picked Republican Party of Florida chairman.
Now some are wondering how long LeMieux’s campaign will last.
LeMieux knows he's struggling against fellow Congressman Connie Mack of Fort Myers.
“Do I have an uphill climb? Sure I do,” LeMieux said. “I’m not the frontrunner in this race. I’m the underdog. Connie Mack the Fourth is the establishment candidate.”
LeMieux’s campaign got even tougher this week when Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater said he was considering entering the Republican race to unseat Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.
As a statewide office-holder and solid-fundraiser, Atwater would pose an immediate threat to Mack’s top-dog status and would further threaten the viability of LeMieux’s candidacy.
Mack, the namesake of a former Senator and baseball player, raised nearly three-times the money last quarter as LeMieux, who reported Friday taking in just $305,000.
The day he reported his fundraising numbers, LeMieux was dealt another setback when he was mentioned in connection with the fraud case against former RPOF Chairman Jim Greer. Greer is accused of defrauding the party for allegedly setting up a dummy company and funneling some of the party’s fundraising proceeds to himself.
Greer says he’s innocent, and that the fundraising work he did saved the party money and was legitimate.
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/04/17/2754273/george-lemieuxs-senate-campaign.html#storylink=cpy
It started as a few shaking heads, some whispers, a sense of disappointment in the Republican U.S. Senate race. Now the feeling that Congressman Connie Mack might not be what Republicans need is leading to a draft-CFO-Jeff-Atwater campaign.
The Shark Tank reports that Sen. Marco Rubio's former finance chair, Nancy McGowan, and Indian River Tea Party Chairman Toby Hill want Atwater to run for the seat.
"I think I have a responsibility to sit back, to these people that I respect greatly, who are serious-minded conservatives of this great state, to take a hard look at it..I think I have to," Atwater told The Shark Tank.
It's no easy task running for a federal seat if you've been a statewide candidate (it's harder to raise non-corporate dollars). But unlike Mack or Republican George LeMieux, Atwater has actually been on a statewide ballot.
In fact, he received more votes than any Republican in 2010 (more than Rubio, Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi or Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam.
Atwater, a former Florida Senate President as well, hails from one of the hotbeds for Republican political finance, Palm Beach County. And unlike Mack, the current frontrunner, Atwater has a more experienced Florida team that's better plugged into the state Republican Party.
Still, Atwater has a major weakness: His 2009 vote in the state Legislature to take Obama stimulus money and raise $2.2 billion worth of taxes and fees. Tax-raising is a killer in a GOP primary, let alone a general election. Also, Atwater's a banker. He's cautious by trade, if not by nature. Chances are, and this is a guess on my part, he doesn't do it.
Regardless, it's a warning shot to Mack and LeMieux.
**Update, Mack's campaign comments on Atwater and the "left-wing media:"
"Connie Mack has sent Bill Nelson and his liberal allies, including those in the press, into panic mode and it won't work. Republicans know that conservative Connie Mack will defeat liberal Bill Nelson and Mitt Romney will defeat Nelson's chief ally Barack Obama, regardless of what the left wing media wants."
From left, Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, Florida CFO Jeff Atwater, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott address the PIP insurance bill, Thursday, being debated in the Florida Legislature. Scott said he is confident the Senate will strengthen its PIP reform legislation by adding new restrictions on service providers and attorney fees, but time is winding down. [Scott Keeler, Times]
Gov. Rick Scott said he is confident the Senate will strengthen its PIP reform legislation by adding new restrictions on service providers and attorney fees, but time is winding down.
The Senate sent its proposal for reforming the no-fault car insurance system over to the House on Wednesday, but it is much different than the one the House approved. Now Scott, Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater say the House should kick the issue back over to the Senate so it can continue working on its plan.
Without any changes, they said, Senate's version of HB 119 won't lower insurance rates and could make the problem worse.
“It’s clear that the House has a bill that’s going to make more sense,” Scott said.
The governor used even stronger language in a web video released by the Florida Chamber of Commerce Thursday morning.
Count Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater among those who never bought the argument that adding three destination casinos to Florida could somehow be leveraged into containing gambling.
The former Republican Senate President recounted to the Tampa Bay Times editorial board Friday that same argument was used two years ago when the Legislature weighed the Seminole Indian gaming compact. No matter what anyone says, Atwater said, whenever gambling comes up in the Legislature, "it's never really about containment. They said that two years ago, just do this and that will contain it."
Atwater is on record with the two other Cabinet members, Republicans Attorney General Pam Bondi and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, in opposing the casino bill, saying gambling is an industry Florida doesn't need more of.
-- Joni James, Tampa Bay Times
Ash Williams' bosses were poised to discuss his annual reappointment as executive director of the State Board of Administration during this morning's Cabinet meeting. But Williams asked them to push it back to the next SBA quarterly meeting in December, and SBA trustees Gov. Rick Scott, CFO Jeff Atwater and Attorney General Pam Bondi agreed.
That way, Williams said, they could examine reports of recent meetings of the SBA audit committee and investment advisory council, which are reviewing the agency's investment policies and procedures for public records requests at the request of Atwater. Members of the council agreed in a joint Monday meeting that Williams did not act inappropriately in the agency's $125 million investment in a hedge fund.
"I think the trustees should have the benefit of getting the final minutes and motions and a report directly from those advisory bodies before acting upon this reappointment," Williams said after his Cabinet update.
Florida's securities regulators announced a settlement agreement with Goldman, Sach & Co. that has required the investment firm to back back an estimate $20 million in so-called "auction rate securities" because the company claimed they were liquid and secure when they were not.
From the OFR press release:
Jeff Atwater, Florida's chief financial officer, issued a statement Monday regarding a story last week noting that his office was not paying for the funeral of 18-year-old Eric Perez, who died in a West Palm Beach detention center on July 10.
Atwater's office says it is working directly with Perez's family attorney to cover the funeral expenses within 48 hours through the state's Division of Risk Management -- instead of through the Department of Juvenile Justice, which did not have the authority to make the payment.
Here is the statement:
TALLAHASSEE—Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, who oversees the Department of Financial Services, released the following statement today following news reports last Friday regarding the payment of funeral expenses for Eric Perez, who died on July 10, 2011, while in the care of the Department of Juvenile Justice at a state detention facility in West Palm Beach.
“My office is now working directly with the family’s attorney through our Division of Risk Management, and my commitment is to have a check covering funeral expenses for this young man in the hands of the family within 48 hours.
“Regrettably, this tragic delay would not have occurred if the Department of Juvenile Justice had not blatantly ignored guidance from my office.
“In the future, I would hope that DJJ would be more transparent in its dealings with the public and with taxpayer monies.”