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June 17, 2016

Marco Rubio would crush GOP opponents, poll says

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio would crush the rest of the Republican candidates if he decides to run for reelection, according to a new poll.

The Saint Leo University poll shows that 52 percent of likely GOP voters would chose Rubio leaving the rest of the field in single digits and 27 percent in the don't know/unsure category.

The poll was done between June 10-16 -- so that doesn't fully capture what happened when Rubio told Hugh Hewitt on July 13th that the Orlando shooting had given him "pause" to think about his future. The online poll included 500 Floridians and has a margin of error of 4.5 percent but a margin of 7 percent among likely voters of either party due to the smaller sample size.

As Rubio plans to mull his decision about whether to run over the weekend, one candidate already exited the race: U.S. Rep. David Jolly will run for reelection. Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera has said he won't run if his friend Rubio runs.

Carlos Beruff and Todd Wilcox have vowed to remain in the race. U.S. Rep. Ron Desantis doesn't appear to be interested in running against Rubio.

On the Democratic side, the poll showed that don't know/unsure category represents 61.1 percent of the likely Democratic voters. U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy at 15.7 percent slightly ahead of U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson at 13.5 percent.

The primary is Aug. 30th but some voters start casting absentee ballots in July.

Carlos Curbelo and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen oppose anti-DACA amendment

@alextdaugherty 

South Florida reps Carlos Curbelo and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, both Republicans, issued a statement opposing an amendment that would prohibit defense funds for being used on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) individuals in the military. 

The amendment, sponsored by Paul Gosar (R-AZ), would keep undocumented individuals who arrived in the United States during childhood from serving in the military. 

"These DACA individuals often possess critical language, medical, and technical skills needed by our military to accomplish their mission," Curbelo and Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement. "These young men and women are making a sacrifice for our country - the only country many of them have ever known." 

The amendment failed by one vote and 30 Republicans joined the Democrats in voting against it for a 210-211 final tally.

 “It’s time that we stop playing politics with the Defense Authorization and ensure that a provision meant to allow military readiness isn’t hijacked in order to provide backdoor amnesty to DACA aliens," Gosar said in a statement. "Sadly, open border advocates have once again put politics ahead of the needs of our men and women in uniform in attempting to enact President Obama’s lawless immigration agenda." 

The full text of Curbelo's and Ros-Lehtinen's statement is below: 

Dear Colleague:

          Today the House will vote on an amendment offered by Rep. Gosar (AZ) to H.R. 5293, Department of Defense Appropriations Act, FY17. The Gosar Amendment #26 prohibits funds from being used by H.R. 5293 to enlist DACA individuals in the military through the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MANVI) program. We believe that this amendment does nothing to make our country safer.

It’s important to note that the Department of Defense is already allowing a small number of immigrants under the President’s DACA executive orders to serve our country through the MANVI program. The Defense Secretary has the authority to fill critical needs in our military, regardless of how the  individual may have arrived in the U.S. These DACA individuals often possess critical language, medical, and technical skills needed by our military to accomplish their mission. These young men and women are making a sacrifice for our country - the only country many of them have ever known. The FY17 Defense Appropriations bill being debated this week should be used to address the programs supporting the brave men and women who keep our country safe; not to take tools away from the Defense Secretary.

The young men and women targeted by the Gosar Amendment were brought to our great country very early in life, often by no choice of their own. They have grown up in our neighborhoods and attended the same schools as our own children. For most of these young people, the United States is the only country they have ever called home. They love our country and many of them are serving it honorably. We emphatically urge a NO vote on this amendment in order to continue providing the Defense Secretary the authority to make our armed forces as strong as possible.

 

Rep. Carlos Curbelo (FL-26)

 

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27)

 

Clinton campaign ad blitz begins in Florida

@alextdaugherty

Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has started running ads in Florida touting her experience as First Lady, part of an eight-figure buy across the country. 

The ads, titled "Always" and "Quiet Moments," highlight her efforts in the 1990s to give health insurance to low-income children through the State Children's Health Insurance Program. Her campaign says that over 400,000 children in Florida now have health insurance through the Florida KidCare program and over eight million low-income children are now insured across the country. 

"When millions couldn't get healthcare, this First Lady worked with Republicans and Democrats to fix it," a narrator says in "Quiet Moments."

Both ads will run in Florida and seven other battleground states. "Always" is a minute-long ad that uses Clinton's biography to show her platform on working with families while "Quiet Moments" focuses on her work with children. 

"I've known her for 31 years and the people who don't know her personally need to see it," former Florida state senate minority leader Nan Rich said. "They are very emotional and get the message across about what's important for her."

The campaign did not specify which TV markets in Florida would be the targets of the new ads, which began running yesterday

"She believes that no child should be denied access to a doctor when he or she needs one," Rich said. "I really shudder to think what it would be like for the 8 million children, especially since Florida did not expand Medicaid, if it weren't for the efforts of Hillary Clinton." 

Clinton also invested in ads before the primary in March and her super PAC Priorities USA began airing ads in May highlighting Donald Trump's comments about women. 

UPDATE: The ad buy will take place in three Florida TV markets, according to Kantar Media senior director of business development Steven Passwaiter. Tampa/St. Pete, Pensacola and West Palm Beach will be the three markets targeted during the three week ad buy.

"I had to say I was surprised that Orlando wasn't a part of it, but maybe last week changed that," Passwaiter said. "Generally everyone likes the I-4 corridor because those voters can be influenced. It's not a huge buy, but obviously this is just the first drops of what will be a tsunami."

 

 

 

David Jolly to run for re-election, drop out of Senate race

@JeremySWallace and @AdamSmithTimes

U.S. Rep David Jolly will drop out of the U.S. Senate race and run for re-election instead, taking on likely Democratic nominee Charlie Crist, confirmed former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker.

"David Jolly's passion is to serve the people of Pinellas," Baker said. "He learned at the side of Congressman Bill Young and he has effectively served all parts of our county. I strongly endorse his candidacy and his reelection."

Jolly, a Republican from Indian Shores, is scheduled to meet with the media at noon at Clearwater Aviation to talk about his political future.

In July 2015, Jolly jumped into the Senate race after incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio announced he would not seek re-election and instead run for president. Four other Republicans are also running in the race to replace Rubio, but none have surged to the forefront causing national Republicans to become increasingly worried that none can win in November. That has had Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others publicly calling on Rubio to run again for the Senate, even though he has repeatedly shot down rumors he would do so.

But this week, Rubio told reporters he is considering it after telling a national radio talk show host that the tragedy in Orlando had given him pause to think about how he could serve the nation. Rubio has to decide by June 24, the deadline to enter the race, the deadline to qualify to get on the ballot.

Jolly has said for two weeks he expects Rubio to run for re-election now, and he has no interest in running against him.

"I think all signs are pointing to him running," Jolly said in an interview with the Times/Herald two weeks ago.

Jolly has said Rubio would be the best candidate for Republicans to retain the seat in November against either U.S. Reps. Patrick Murphy or Alan Grayson - the two Democrats seeking the post.

Pinellas County Republicans have been pushing Jolly for months to run for re-election to the 13th Congressional District and take on Crist, the former Republican governor who has switched to the Democratic Party.

Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis have both said they do not intend to run against Rubio if he gets back into the Senate race. But real estate developer Carlos Beruff and Orlando businessman Todd Wilcox have both already filed papers to run and have said they are prepared to take on Rubio.

Charlie Crist releases new ad just as David Jolly enters race for Congress

 

@JeremySWallace

Within an hour of Republican David Jolly officially announcing he will drop out of the U.S. Senate race to run for re-election, former Gov. Charlie Crist, a Democrat, was posting a new ad on social media vowing to clean up Washington.

Jolly and Crist are poised to battle over the newly reconfigued 13th Congressional District, which covers all of Pinellas County south of Clearwater.

In the Facebook video, Crist warns that the cost of living continues to increase and Social Security and Medicare are under attack.

Carlos Beruff releases new ad, even with Marco Rubio re-considering Senate race

 

@JeremySWallace

Even with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio weighing getting back into the U.S. Senate campaign, Carlos Beruff continues to press ahead, releasing a new television ad set to air next week.

Beruff's campaign has already said publicly if Rubio gets into the race, Beruff is staying in and prepared to run against him in the Aug. 30 primary contest.

"Carlos Beruff has travelled to all 67 counties in Florida, and the people of Florida have made one thing abundantly clear: they value real world experience more than political experience," said Chris Hartline, a spokesman for Beruff. "They’re sick of career politicians and power-brokers in Washington who care about one thing: holding on to power. But the voters of Florida will not obey them. They don’t get to pick our candidates."

While Marco Rubio mulls future, Democrats attack

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio will be mulling his future this weekend as he decides whether or not to run for reelection. 

While campaigning for president, he repeatedly said he would either be in the White House or a private citizen in January 2017. When he dropped out in March, he initially stuck to his line about becoming a private citizen however there were signs in recent weeks that he was leaving open the possibility of running again.

When the Miami Herald asked Rubio in May if he would run if his friend Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera didn't ultimately run, Rubio dismissed that as a hypothetical and wouldn't elaborate.

Now the Democrats are pouncing with video clips showing multiple times that Rubio said he wouldn't run for reelection.

Here is one from American Bridge:

 

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee released a video attack Rubio for missed votes and claiming he wouldn't run for reelection while running for president:

 

 

 

David Jolly poised to drop out of U.S. Senate race today

@JeremySWallace

After weeks for speculation, U.S. Rep. David Jolly is poised to announce today that he will run for re-election instead of remaining in the race for the U.S. Senate.

Jolly, a Republican from Indian Shores, is scheduled to meet with the media at noon at Clearwater Aviation to talk about his political future.

In July 2015, Jolly jumped into the U.S. Senate race after U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio announced he would not seek re-election and instead run for president. Four other Republicans are also running in the race to replace Rubio, but none have surged to the forefront causing national Republicans to become increasingly worried that none can win in November. That has had Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others publicly calling on Rubio to run again for the Senate, even though he has repeatedly shot down rumors he would do so.

But this week, Rubio told reporters he is considering it after telling a national radio talk show host that the tragedy in Orlando had given him pause to think about how he could serve the nation. Rubio has to decide by June 24, the deadline to enter the race, the deadline to qualify to get on the ballot.

Jolly has said for two weeks he expects Rubio to run for re-election now, and he has no interest in running against him.

“I think all signs are pointing to him running,” Jolly said in an interview with the Times/Herald two weeks ago.

Jolly has said Rubio would be the best candidate for Republicans to retain the seat in November against either U.S. Reps. Patrick Murphy or Alan Grayson - the two Democrats seeking the post.

Pinellas County Republicans have been pushing Jolly for months to run for re-election to the 13th Congressional District, which former Gov. Charlie Crist, a Democrat, is running to represent.

Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis have both said they do not intend to run against Rubio if he gets back into the Senate race. But real estate developer Carlos Beruff and Orlando businessman Todd Wilcox have both already filed papers to run and have said they are prepared to take on Rubio.

U.S. Senate candidate Carlos Beruff draws criticism for earlier Cuba trip

@JeremySWallace

TALLAHASSEE — Just where does U.S. Senate candidate Carlos Beruff stand on relations with Cuba? It's complicated.

Since Beruff, a Republican from Manatee County, announced his campaign in February, he has consistently said he would oppose ending the embargo with Cuba without major democratic reforms. That helps align him with hard-line embargo supporters such as U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who could face Beruff in the primary if he runs for re-election.

But Beruff's campaign position doesn't jibe with his actions less than five years ago, when he boarded a plane in Tampa for the first commercial flight from Tampa Bay to Cuba in nearly 50 years.

Back then, Beruff was one of a select few businessmen invited to go on the historic trip sponsored by the antiembargo advocacy group, the Alliance for Responsible Cuba Policy Foundation. The flight, which cost more than $450 for Beruff, included Ybor City-raised Albert A. Fox Jr., one of the most well-known advocates of re-establishing trade with Cuba. For four days in September 2011, the group met with Cuban business leaders and government officials.

But Beruff, born in Miami to Cuban refugees, says now that when he agreed to go on the trip, he had no idea it was about advocating for ending the embargo. During a campaign stop in Jacksonville last week, Beruff said he was simply "along for the ride" and had no idea who Fox was or why the other people on the flight were going to Cuba.

"It wasn't anything to do with politics," Beruff said about his reasons. "I was just a tourist."

But those on the trip say the mission was about ending the 1962-imposed embargo.

"It was crystal clear why all of us were there," said Victor DiMaio, who was working with the Alliance for Responsible Cuba Policy Foundation to arrange the trip.

Full Story Here

PolitiFact looks at the Anderson Cooper-Pam Bondi faceoff

Politifact%2Fphotos%2FCooper_Bondi_still

An interview in Orlando between CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi on June 14 has gone viral, due to Cooper’s aggressive questioning about her record on gay and lesbian issues.

Many social media users who shared the clip of the interview thought Bondi seemed defensive under Cooper’s pointed questioning. Cooper asked her about her opposition to same-sex marriage and what that meant to the loved ones of the 49 dead after the attack on a gay nightclub.

After the interview went viral, matters between Bondi and Cooper got testy, as both accused each other of mistaken facts and lack of context.

Ultimately, though, it appears that Cooper and Bondi have been talking past each other. We didn’t find any obvious inaccuracies about what either side was saying.

Here’s a recap from PolitiFact Florida.