October 13, 2014

St. Pete Poll: Scott-Crist at 45-44%; medical marijuana support low, at 54%

From Saint Petersblog:

Much as it has been for months, Florida’s gubernatorial race remains locked in a virtual tie, according to a new statewide poll released Monday from StPetePolls.

It’s important to note that this may be one, if not the, most comprehensive polls of the governor’s race. It includes a mix of both robo-calls and email polling. The poll has also been rebalanced to reflect the three percent partisan advantage most forecasters give to the GOP.

Republican Rick Scott holds a one-point lead over Democrat Charlie Crist, 44 to 43 percent. Scott’s slim advantage is still within the poll’s margin of error....

Also losing steam in the minds of voters is the push for Amendment 2, the referendum to allow marijuana for treatment of medical conditions. Polling found that only 52 percent of likely voters said they favor Amendment 2, with just under 39 percent saying “no” and 10 percent undecided. Those numbers are under the 60 percent approval needed for the referendum to pass.

More on the poll here

The post is here 

FDLE accuses ex-candidate for governor of fraud

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Monday that former Republican candidate for governor Yinka Adeshina has been arrested for fraud for submitting false campaign reports to the state Division of Elections.

FDLE said Adeshina was arrested by the Tallahassee police and transported to the Leon County jail by the Leon County sheriff's office. Bond was set at $10,000. In her campaign filings, Adeshina said she raised $182,000 in campaign contributors. However, FDLE said, "donors she listed in the report did not exist and FDLE believes she fabricated donors and addresses to show she had raised more than $150,000."

FDLE noted that under state law, any candidate who raises more than $150,000 is eligible for matching funds from taxpayers. Adeshina never collected matching funds, but she did provide false information in an effort to receive the money, the agency said.

She was arrested as she arrived home Monday afternoon at Tallahassee Regional Airport after a three-week vacation.

Also from FDLE's statement: "Due to the fact that she was returning from the West African nation of Nigeria she had been screened medically in Atlanta and was determined to not have any symptoms or signs of illness. Nigeria is currently not among the nations of high concern and she demonstrated no symptoms of illness. Out of an abundance of caution she was arrested by TPD officers and Leon County Sheriff’s Deputies who donned gloves and masks. There are currently no cases of Ebola in Florida."

McLaughlin poll: Rick Scott over Charlie Crist 43-42 percent, Wyllie at 6


Gov. Rick Scott is slightly leading Democrat Charlie Crist 43-42 percent, according to a new poll from Republican pollster McLaughlin & Associates.

Like other recent polls that show Crist up by a point or two, Scott's lead in the McLaughlin survey is within the margin of error, making the race essentially tied. The Republican Party of Florida paid for the poll of 1,000 likely voters.

Scott's big advantage: independents, leaning 39-32 percent in his favor. Both candidates draw about the same level of support from their respective bases and from voters of the opposite party.

So far, about $72 million has been spent on broadcast and cable TV ads that have run or will run by Election Day. Scott's side has spent more than $51 million, and Crist about $21 million. Most of the ads have been negative, dragging down the candidate's standing in the polls.

There's another reason the race is so close: both candidates are essentially up for re-election -- Scott’s the incumbent, but Crist is his predecessor, pollster Jim McLaughlin said.

“It’s an anti-incumbent year,” McLaughlin said. “What’s different about this race is you have basically two incumbents. The real question is, if you’re undecided on Nov. 3, do you still vote?”

Continue reading "McLaughlin poll: Rick Scott over Charlie Crist 43-42 percent, Wyllie at 6" »

RPOF's ad about Charlie Crist and Digital Domain falsely calls it a 'de-facto Ponzi scheme'

Gov. Rick Scott and his opponent Charlie Crist are having a heyday accusing each other of being corrupt.

Crist and the Democrats have repeatedly attacked Scott for the $1.7 billionMedicare fraud fine against Columbia/HCA, a health care company headed by Scott before he stepped down in 1997 amid the federal investigation.

Scott and the Republicans have attacked Crist for his friendship with a past campaign donor, Fort Lauderdale lawyer Scott Rothstein, who went to prison for a $1.4 billion Ponzi scheme in 2011. Crist was not implicated in the Ponzi scheme.

A new TV ad by the Republican Party of Florida reminds voters about Crist’s Rothstein connection and then makes this claim:

"And now Crist is embroiled in a fraud case for steering taxpayer money to a de facto Ponzi scheme," says the narrator.

The text on the screen then states: "Florida lawsuit calls Digital Domain ‘de facto Ponzi scheme,’" citing a July 2014 article in the South Florida Business Journal.

Digital Domain is a special effects movie company that took $20 million in state money under then-Gov. Crist before it went bankrupt in 2012.

The state did file a lawsuit that called the botched deal a "de facto Ponzi scheme," but the ad omits crucial context about that lawsuit: It was filed recently by attorney William Scherer, a Scott supporter and frequent donor to GOP candidates.

Crist’s campaign lawyer, Mark Herron, sent a letter to TV stations calling the ad "false" and urging them not to air it.

We decided to fact-check Crist’s role in the Digital Domain deal and whether he was "embroiled in a fraud case for steering taxpayer money to a de facto Ponzi scheme." Turn to PolitiFact Florida for the full fact-check.


Scott, Crist campaigns clash over excess donations

Gov. Rick Scott's campaign accused Charlie Crist's campaign Monday of "surreptitiously" refunding $42,500 in campaign contributions that exceeded the $3,000 legal limit on individual donations. The "surreptitious" refunds are listed on the Division of Elections' web site, as are Scott's.

A review of Scott's campaign finances by Times/Herald reporter Marc Caputo shows that Scott has returned slightly more money, $43,095.

Crist's refunds are fewer and in bigger amounts. Scott's refunds are more numerous and in smaller amounts and most of them went to Florida-based hospitals and rehabilitation centers.

Scott's camp said that Crist returned the excess donations after Scott's campaign filed an election law complaint, and that by doing so, "They've admitted they were guilty of the infractions while trying to circumvent the Elections Commission process ... Once again, the Crist campaign has cut corners and tried to bend the rules of the law in their favor. This time, they hoped nobody would see them try to undo their shady tactics."

In response, the Crist campaign said: "There were some minor accounting errors and we fixed them, because that's what you do when errors are made. That is unless you're Rick Scott, in which case you lawyer up, plead the Fifth 75 times and walk away with tens of millions of dollars which you use to buy the governor's office."

Additional debate scheduled in Miami congressional race between Joe Garcia, Carlos Curbelo


Miami Rep. Joe Garcia has agreed to debate opponent Carlos Curbelo one more time, in a Spanish-language debate to be televised Tuesday night.

The debate, at 7 p.m. on WDFL-18, known as MiraTV, will be hosted by Roberto Rodríguez Tejera, who says the format will not be as structured as formal debates in which candidates' answers are timed.

Garcia had initially agreed to five debates, three in the Florida Keys and two in Miami-Dade County. Congressional District 26 covers the southern tip of the state, from Westchester to Key West. Curbelo had called out the Democrat for not accepting more invitations; Garcia had countered that his Republican challenger gives too many "canned" responses to make the events meaningful.

The congressman later said yes to an event hosted by the Key Largo Federation of Homeowners Associations and the Tavernier Community Association Candidate. That forum took place last Wednesday.

Garcia and Curbelo, a Miami-Dade school board member, are also scheduled to appear in televised debates Oct. 19 (in English) and Oct. 21 (in Spanish).

Ana Alliegro: 'calculating, manipulative, treacherous' David Rivera 'will also fall'


If anyone thought former Congressman David Rivera's (now-former?) gal pal Ana Alliegro wouldn't testify against him, check out what she told Diario las Americas:

"David Rivera will also fall,” says Alliegro sweetly, in a reflective tone. “His time is near; I hope that the law will do with him what it did with me.” She says that she “lived my best days while in Granada, Nicaragua,” where she went “to flee from the press, not from justice.”.....

“Obviously, I allowed a man to defraud me — and yes, I was in love with David. He claimed he felt the same about me. But he knows what he’s doing, he’s calculating, manipulative, treacherous. He answered no calls from me, didn’t come out in my defense, neither him nor any other member of the Republican Party.”....

Every day in detention, Ana Sol Alliegro hoped for David Rivera to come to her aid. That was her hope.

“I thought that, at any given moment, he would have some plan, something to do for me,” but that wasn’t so. “He deceived me, I was disillusioned and hurt,” she said, adding that Rivera uses and manipulates women, “as has been demonstrated.”....

More here

Gov. Scott's election night party in Bonita Springs

On Election Night, Nov. 4, Gov. Rick Scott and Charlie Crist and their supporters will be a couple of hours apart on Florida's west coast, close to I-75.

Scott will hold his election night party at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point hotel in Bonita Springs near Fort Myers. Democrat Charlie Crist will return to the Renaissance Vinoy hotel in downtown St. Petersburg, the site of his 2006 victory as a Republican candidate for governor.

Scott's campaign is circulating an email invitation to supporters, inviting them to his Bonta Springs event.

The Money Race: Crist and Scott spending neck-and-neck

As polls show Charlie Crist building a slight lead in the gubernatorial race, his campaign is burning through more cash than ever.

During the latest round of campaign reporting, for the period between Sept. 27 and Oct. 3, Crist’s campaign spent nearly twice as much as it raised, $3.4 million to $1.9 million.

His Republican opponent, Gov. Rick Scott, spent $3.4 million as well, but managed to raise $2.4 million.

That allowed Scott to pad his edge in available cash over Crist: $8.1 million to $6 million.

Crist’s big expenses included $2 million to the Florida Democratic Party, nearly $1 million to the Washington D.C. ad firm GMMB, Inc., and $38,416 for a fundraiser at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables.

The majority of Scott’s expenses was $3 million paid to the Republican Party of Florida, as well as $43,750 to the pollster Tony Fabrizio, whose firm has been paid $420,650 so far.

Once again, Chris Christie and the Republican Governor’s Association showed Scott much love, contributing $1 million. The week before, it kicked in $2.5 million, and overall it has contributed $14.5 million, or more than a quarter of the $55 million Scott has raised for reelection. Other big donors included $15,000 from Pfizer, Inc. in Memphis, TN., and $15,000 from Florida Hospital Healthcare System.

Boosting Crist’s efforts were $50,000 contributions from the labor union United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Pipefitting Industry, the Coconut Grove personal injury attorney Robert Rubenstein, whose TV commericials are ubiquitous in South Florida, Marsha Laufer, a Lantana retiree who is a major Democratic contributor, and Francoise Haasch, a Palm Harbor personal injury attorney.   

Overall, Crist has raised $35 million in cash and in-kind contributions while spending $25 million. 

October 12, 2014

Crist, Scott split on Medicaid expansion

As he gains momentum in the race for governor, Charlie Crist is driving a conversation on Medicaid expansion.

The Republican-turned-Democrat has become such a fervent supporter of the policy that he said he would consider using an executive order to get it done.

"A million Floridians are not getting the healthcare they need because of Rick Scott's lack of effort," Crist told the Herald/Times. "Florida deserves to have a governor who understands that this is affecting people’s lives."

Republican Gov. Rick Scott — who went from opposing Medicaid expansion to supporting it, albeit without ever really lobbying for it — hasn’t talked about the issue on the campaign trail.

But Scott said he was not surprised Crist would consider a using an executive order, drawing a comparison to the president.

"That is what President Obama does — refuses to work with legislators and just goes his own way and issues decrees," he said in a statement.

Observers say the issue may be key in the final weeks of the campaign. Read more here.