June 23, 2016

Jeb Bush backs Marco Rubio for Senate. But Bush's ex-Miami-Dade campaign chief doesn't

@PatriciaMazzei

Hard feelings toward Marco Rubio remain from one of Jeb Bush's highest profile Miami supporters.

Jorge Arrizurieta, who chaired Bush's presidential campaign in Miami-Dade County, told a local radio station Thursday he won't vote for Rubio's re-election to the Senate -- even though Bush will.

"I don't think I'm the only one," Arrizurieta told hosts Roberto Rodríguez Tejera and Juan Camilo Gómez on the Spanish-language Actualidad Radio. "I feel incredibly disappointed."

Arrizurieta characterized Rubio as disloyal and ungrateful to Bush, his one-time political mentor, and said "no one will be able to convince me" that Bush's odds at winning the White House wouldn't have been greatly improved without Rubio in the presidential race. He said Bush's endorsements speaks to the former Florida governor's integrity.

Nevertheless, Arrizurieta opined Rubio has the best shot as winning the seat, given that he's the incumbent. He also said he doesn't plan on backing anyone else in the Senate contest, though he said Sarasota developer Carlos Beruff has been in touch.

A dejected-sounding Arrizurieta said he was "very saddened" by the Republican Party under presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump.

"The new political order that no one understands," he said.

June 22, 2016

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Carlos Curbelo back Marco Rubio

@PatriciaMazzei

Marco Rubio picks up the backing of two fellow Miami Republicans who areprobably relieved at the prospect of having Rubio on the November ballot:

Jeb Bush would back Marco Rubio if asked

via @learyreports

Jeb Bush memorably criticized Marco Rubio on the presidential campaign trail of abandoning his Senate duties to jump for higher office. But Bush harbors no hard feelings toward Rubio.

Asked by email this afternoon if he'd back Rubio's Senate campaign, Bush replied quickly.

"If he asks, I would be happy to back him."

 

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

Andrew Korge switches Florida Senate races in Miami-Dade

@ByKristenMClark & @MaryEllenKlas

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In a major shake-up for two of Miami-Dade’s closely watched state Senate races, Democrat Andrew Korge is once again switching which public office he wants voters to elect him to in November.

Instead of challenging Republican state Sen. Anitere Flores in District 39, Korge will now run for the District 40 seat, he told the Herald/Times, confirming rumors that have swirled in South Florida political circles for the past couple weeks.

His decision sets up a three-way Democratic primary in District 40 against former state representative Ana Rivas Logan and current state Sen. Dwight Bullard and all-but-hands Flores her re-election unless Democrats can produce a viable replacement to challenge her with two days left in the qualifying period.

Korge planned to announce his decision Wednesday afternoon, when he filed his qualifying papers in Tallahassee. Candidates have until noon Friday to qualify and thereby secure their places on the August primary or November general election ballots.

“As a third-generation Miamian, it has long been a dream of mine to serve my community as a member of the Florida Senate, to create a better future for our children, to improve public schools and protect college students, and create high-wage jobs for hard-working, middle-class families,” Korge said in a statement. “District 40, where I grew up and spent half of my life, offers the best opportunity to do that.”

More here.

Annette Taddeo wins Miami-Dade teachers union endorsement

@PatriciaMazzei

Another labor union endorsed Miami Democrat Annette Taddeo for Congress on Wednesday, continuing her effort to coalesce establishment support in her primary contest against former Rep. Joe Garcia.

The United Teachers of Dade backed Taddeo over the ex-congressman, whom the teachers endorsed in 2014. In that race, Garcia ran against Republican Carlos Curbelo, who ultimately won that race. This time, Taddeo has the support of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee over Garcia.

"Educators in Florida need leaders that will stand strong for our public schools," UTD President Karla Hernandez-Mats said in a statement provided by Taddeo's campaign. "We're proud to stand with Annette, because we believe she will be that leader in Congress, and that she'll fight for the future of our children." 

Taddeo noted her 10-year-old daughter, Sofia, attends a Miami-Dade County public school.

"I know the importance of the role that educators play in our children's growth," she said in a statement.

Taddeo already counts on the support from key unions such as the AFL-CIO and SEIU. Garcia, however, led Taddeo in the latest internal polls made public last month.

June 21, 2016

Miami Rep. Carlos Curbelo files new DREAM Act

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@PatriciaMazzei

Miami Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo on Tuesday filed legislation that would allow people brought into the U.S. illegally as children before 2010 to remain in the country -- a new version of the so-called DREAM Act.

Under the proposed law, immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally before Jan. 1, 2010, and were 16 years old or younger, could follow a path to U.S. citizenship.

The "Recognizing American Children Act" would offer high school graduates without a serious criminal record or dependence on public assistance conditional immigration status for five years. During that time, they could follow one of three ways to remain in the country permanently. If they receive a higher-education degree, serve in the military or remain employed, they could apply for permanent residency -- and, later, citizenship. Those enlisted in the military would get an immediate chance at naturalization.

"There are many young immigrants in our country who came involuntarily with their families as minors. They have grown up with our own kids and attended American schools -- many speaking only English," Curbelo said in a statement. "Today they are trying to make a contribution to our great nation through the economy or the military. These are undoubtedly America's children."

Curbelo filed the legislation with a fellow Republican, Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado. Both represent two of the most competitive swing districts in the country, in states with a significant proportion of Hispanic voters. Coffman has received money from Curbelo's political committee, What a Country PAC, intended to support Republican members of Congress who like Curbelo back immigration reform. Curbelo's Westchester-to-Key West district leans in Democrats' favor.

Continue reading "Miami Rep. Carlos Curbelo files new DREAM Act" »

As Rubio Watch continues, Carlos Beruff makes play for Miami Spanish-language radio

@PatriciaMazzei

In case there was any doubt that Republican Carlos Beruff plans to fight hard against Marco Rubio if the U.S. senator makes a last-minute decision to seek re-election, Beruff's campaign unveiled a new ad this week targeting Rubio's most loyal base: Cuban Americans in Miami.

The 60-second radio spot, which the campaign says is airing on local Spanish-language radio, highlights Beruff's Cuban bona fides. The ad is set up as a phone call, in which Beruff calls a female supporter.

"I like it when you talk about how your family came from Cuba, but why don't you tell about how they fought in the counter-revolution?" she says. Later, she adds: "And your uncle. Poor guy. What a man. He died in the Bay of Pigs along with so many others."

"If anyone understands the importance of a free Cuba, it's me," Beruff responds.

"But Carlos Beruff -- don't forget how politicians are here. They're already making atrocious insults," the woman warns. "I don't believe everything they say. But look, you have to talk more about the successful company you built yourself. You've built more than 2,000 houses here in Florida. And you're completely right about Washington. Those politicians forget who they're working for."

Concludes Beruff: "I think I'm going to let you record my next commercial."

 

June 20, 2016

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen gets AFL-CIO endorsement

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, has been endorsed by the South Florida AFL-CIO and the United Teachers of Dade.

Ros-Lehtinen's district was redrawn and is now slightly Democratic but she is still considered a safe incumbent as a social liberal who has been in Congress since 1989. She is expected to draw a Democratic challenger: Scott Furhman, a political newcomer who has national Democratic backing.

Ros-Lehtinen represents District 27 which stretches from North Bay Village to Cutler Bay.

 

Annette Taddeo endorsed by AFL-CIO in Miami Congressional race

Miami Congressional candidate Annette Taddeo has been endorsed by the AFL-CIO.

Taddeo is running in a Democratic primary against former U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia in a Miami-Dade/Monroe district currently represented by Republican U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo.

“Fighting for working families in Florida is at the heart of my campaign,” said Annette Taddeo in a press release. “It’s an honor to have the backing of the AFL-CIO and its members in South Florida, and I look forward to working with them to fight for South Florida working families.”

Andy Madtes, president of the South Florida AFL-CIO, said in a statement: “No one will fight harder for South Florida than Annette Taddeo. Annette understands our struggle, she knows that raising incomes is good for working families and it’s good for South Florida. We’re proud to endorse Annette, and look forward to knocking on every single door, and making every last phone call to help send Annette to Congress.”

 

June 17, 2016

Sen. Dwight Bullard not switching to Gwen Margolis seat

State Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Cutler Bay, says he is staying put to run in District 40 and won't switch to run for the district where Sen. Gwen Margolis recently dropped out.

Margolis dropped out last week after she dismissed some of her Democratic opponents as "Haitians." That set off a flurry of speculation about who else would jump in to the race although there were already five other Democratic candidates competing when Margolis was in the race.

Former North Miami Mayor Kevin Burns announced Wednesday that he is running for the District 38 seat. The other candidates are small business owner Anis Blemur, former state Rep. Philip Brutus, teacher Don Festge, lawyer Jason Pizzo and state Rep. Daphne Campbell.

From Bullard's press release:

“While there has been much speculation about my future Senate seat plans, I wanted to take this opportunity to reiterate my commitment to the South Dade community (in the newly drawn District 40). I have had the pleasure of serving as both Representative and Senator in this District for many years and could not think of a more rewarding area to have the privilege of continuing to serve. While I greatly appreciate those who have reached out to encourage me to move to a different District, the people here know that I have always been and will continue to be a fighter who has always stood up and stood for them." 

"Unlike other candidates and/or potential candidates, my level of commitment to District 40 spans more than 30 years. I've gone to elementary school in this District, graduated high school in this District, and I continue to work in this District. The people of District 40 have a clear choice in August and November as to who they choose to represent District 40. It is my hope they would choose someone who has always been here and not someone who merely shows up tomorrow. Home is where my heart is and home is where my heart has always been."