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November 17, 2016

Dwight Bullard and Millie Herrera could compete for Miami-Dade Democratic Party chair


Millie Herrera, a former appointee of President Barack Obama to the U.S. Department of Labor, will run for chair of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, a challenge to the current chair Sen. Dwight Bullard of Cutler Bay.

If Bullard wins the chair post Dec. 6th, he may run for chair of the Florida Democratic Party -- one of several candidates who are vying to replace Allison Tant who announced after Hillary Clinton's defeat that she won't run again in January.

"I want to get back to getting out the vote and the grassroots level," said Herrera, who lives in the Kendall area and is president of a marketing and public affairs firm. "I don't want to run for anything else. I'm not using it as a springboard to anything." 

Bullard, a teacher at Coral Reef Senior High School, was first elected to the state house in 2008 and the state senate in 2012 and has also chaired the Florida Legislative Black Caucus. His name is well-known in county politics where both his parents previously served in the state Legislature. On Nov. 8, Bullard lost a race to State Rep. Frank Artiles, a Republican, in a heavily Hispanic district.

Herrera, who was born in Cuba and is a former chair of the Democratic Hispanic Caucus of Florida, says the party needs more outreach to Cuban-American and young voters.





Scott meets president-elect inside Trump Tower


Florida Gov. Rick Scott said once again Thursday that he's not interested in serving in President-elect Donald Trump's administration, after meeting privately with Trump in New York.

"I'm staying in Florida," Scott told Neil Cavuto in a Fox News Channel interview shortly after concluding his Trump meeting. Scott, a former hospital executive, has been rumored as a contender for health and human services secretary.

Scott said he wants to help Trump be successful.

"I always believed he would win," Scott said. Of the so-far rocky transition, the governor added: "It's going to work out."

Trump plans victory tour to included 'flipped' states -- like Florida

via @learyreports

President-elect Donald Trump is planning a victory tour that will likely stop in Florida, a state that twice went for Barack Obama but Trump reclaimed for the GOP.

"We’re working on a victory tour now, it will happen in the next couple of weeks," George Gigicos, the campaign’s advance team director, told reporters in New York today.

It will happen after Thanksgiving. “Obviously to the states that we won and the swing states we flipped over," he said.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

Sarasota Republican challenges RPOF chairman for post


A Sarasota County Republican announced Thursday that he will challenge Blaise Ingoglia to become the next chairman of the Republican Party of Florida. Christian Ziegler, a state committeeman from Sarasota since 2012, announced in an email to GOP party officials he intends to run for the post.

Ziegler, a strong supporter of Gov. Rick Scott over the years, stressed in his email he wants to help re-unify the party. Since Ingoglia won the top post over Scott’s pick for RPOF, Scott and the Florida Senate have pulled their money from the RPOF.

“I believe we must be an independent-yet-unified Republican Party of Florida, with a Chairman whose sole focus is strengthening the Party within the most important political state in the union,” Ziegler said in his email. “I will make this my full-time mission.”

Ziegler, 33, said in an interview that he wants to create an organization that can deliver Republican victories.

Ingoglia, who is on vacation, responded on Facebook by declaring his intention to run for a second term at RPOF chairman.

"I want everyone to know that I will indeed be running for a second term as the Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida," the Hernando County Republican wrote. "In 2014, when I originally announced my candidacy for Chairman, I did so promising much needed reforms and focusing on delivering our 29 ...electoral votes to our Republican nominee. We not only delivered on our promises, we delivered historic wins for Senator Marco Rubio, our Congressional delegation, our Florida legislature, and delivered by winning the State of Florida for the first time since 2004 for now President-elect Donald Trump."

From Ziegler's announcement email:

"As we turn the page from the election, we have a lot of work to do over the next two years to ensure victory in 2018 -- work that takes focus and resources. In addition to supporting the Trump Administration, we will need to strengthen our Republican Party of Florida to send an ally to the U.S. Senate who will work alongside our great Senator, Marco Rubio. We will need to replace our term-limited Governor and the entire Cabinet, in addition to protecting majorities in the State Senate and House of Representatives. And we will need to win the many Congressional and local races across our great state.

To help generate the momentum, unity and resources we need to accomplish this, I am excited to announce my candidacy for Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, and ask for your support."

Fort Lauderdale mayor Jack Seiler said he will decide about state run in 2017



Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler will make a decision next year about whether to run for statewide office.

"I am still considering a run for statewide office in 2018, and I am especially interested in the Attorney General position," he told the Miami Herald in an email. "I will make a decision in 2017."

Attorney General Pam Bondi can't run again due to term limits and she could end up leaving her position early if she gets hired by Donald Trump's administration.

Seiler, a lawyer and Democrat, was re-elected to the mayor position in 2015. He formerly served as a state representative and mayor of Wilton Manors. He has never lost a race.

Seiler has said if he runs statewide he will run as a moderate. But if he faces a contested Democratic primary, he could face criticism for his stance on same sex marriage. Seiler, a married Catholic and father of four children, tried to stay on the sidelines of the same sex marriage debate. In 2014, he voted against a city resolution in support of same sex marriage but when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld it in 2015 Seiler signed a city proclamation celebrating the decision.


Could states do end run around Electoral College system?



After Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but Donald Trump won the electoral college,activists renewed a push to revamp the system by which the presidency is awarded.

An article posted on the progressive website The Daily Kos described the effort this way:

"Eliminating the Electoral College does not even require a constitutional amendment. An effort known as The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is an agreement among several U.S. states and the District of Columbia to award all their respective electoral votes to whichever presidential candidate wins the overall popular vote. Once states totaling 270 electoral votes join the compact -- which only requires passing state laws -- then the next presidential election will be determined the the popular vote, not the Electoral College."

Is it possible to eliminate the Electoral College without amending the Constitution?

We wanted to get to the bottom of that claim. Little did we know we were diving into a legal nerd fest.

We aren’t going to referee all of the arguments about the practical implications and the potential pitfalls of changing how we elect the president. But we will summarize some of the key arguments. Ultimately, we found that the proposal makes sense in concept, but it’s not clear whether courts would allow the plan to go forward.

Keep reading from PolitiFact Florida.

(Photo by Shelby Lum/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)

Jeremy Ring might run for Florida CFO

via @adamsmithtimes

Former state Sen. Jeremy Ring of Broward County is poised to run for chief financial officer in 2018. The investor and former Yahoo executive had been looking at running for governor but told The Buzz that the CFO post became more and more intriguing as he analyzed the job.

"I think I've been groomed for the last eight years for that," said Ring, 46, noting that he has been helping "drive the innovation economy" in .the private sector and led pension reform efforts in the legislature, where he was known as a pragmatic and generally moderate lawmaker.

Ring hasn't committed to running, but sounds pretty close to it. 

Other names floating as potential CFO candidates to succeed term limited Republican Jeff Atwater include Democratic Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler, a former state House member and Republicans including state Sen. Tom Lee of Brandon, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, developer and former legislator Pat Neal of Bradenton.

--ADAM C. SMITH, Tampa Bay Times

Amid buzz over governor's race, John Morgan says he's considering candidacy


Johnmorgan111416_8colThis week, Democrats have been talking about trial lawyer John Morgan launching a run for governor.

Today, the man himself weighed in: Morgan is thinking about it.

"It is either extremely flattering that so many people put such faith in me, or sad that people have so little faith in the typical politicians of both parties who are expected to seek the office," he wrote in a long post on Medium. "Before I go down this road any further I need a lot of time to think about it."

The post outlines a few core ideas of a Morgan candidacy, including promises to "largely self-fund any campaign" and that he would only serve one term as the state's chief executive. And he points out that he enjoys high name recognition as the man behind the "For the People" Morgan & Morgan ads all over the state.

Some controversial policy ideas are in the post, as well. After bankrolling the successful medical marijuana campaign this year, Morgan said he next wanted to decriminalize the drug statewide. A $15 minimum wage is not new to the Morgan political ideology either.

Morgan wants to immediately release from jail and prison anyone convicted of drug possession and automatically restore civil rights to non-violent felons who have finished their sentences. But he says that there are statewide elected positions with "no real need," like lieutenant governor and commissioner of agriculture.

The Medium post represents a change of heart for a man who told the Times/Herald earlier this year that he would not run for office. "I don't think I would even take the job," he said.

Still, it's not entirely surprising. The people who have publicly called on him to run for governor are close Morgan allies. Ben Pollara is the Miami political consultant who ran the medical marijuana campaigns in 2014 and 2016. Morgan hired former Gov. Charlie Crist and contributed to his congressional campaign.

A Morgan candidacy would be the first of many surprises ahead for the 2018 gubernatorial race, which is already picking up steam. Potential Democratic candidates include Congresswoman Gwen Graham, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. Republican Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is likely to run, and House Speaker-designate Richard Corcoran has made known his interest.

Photo: Cherie Diez, Tampa Bay Times

The Florida politicians who might land jobs in Trump's administration

via @learyreports

As Gov. Rick Scott pays a visit to Donald Trump today in New York, let’s review the Florida politicians who could land in a Trump administration.

Pam Bondi, the state attorney general who often appeared at Trump campaign rallies. Bondi has already been named to Trump’s transition team and has been floated as a possible Justice Department official. Bondi visited Trump Tower on Tuesday.

Jeff Miller, the retiring congressman who endorsed Trump in late April, just as Trump as trying to build support on Capitol Hill. Miller is a possible pick to run the Department of Veterans Affairs. He chairs the House VA committee and has expressed an openness to the job with Trump.

John Mica, the congressman who lost his Orlando-area seat to newcomer Stephanie Murphy has been floated as a possible transportation secretary. Mica led the House transportation committee and was not ready to leave Washington. He has a bond with Trump: It was Mica who got the federal government to put up for lease the Old Post Office building that is now Trump International Hotel down the street from the White House. Mica “would be honored if he was named Transportation Secretary,” an aide tells the Tampa Bay Times.

And here's a Florida related name:

Tony Bennett, the former Florida education commissioner, is among the names circulating for Trump’s education secretary. More known for his work in Indiana, Bennett is not considered the top choice, according to reports.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

November 16, 2016

Ahead of Miami visit, Bernie Sanders calls climate change country's biggest challenge

via @OgleConnie

Sen. Bernie Sanders believes all of the challenges facing the country are significant. Election finance reform. Ending what he calls a “rigged” economy. Providing affordable healthcare and education.

But the biggest, most dangerous threat takes aim directly at South Florida, and, he says, President-elect Donald Trump isn’t even concerned about it.

“All of them are important in terms of the future of the United States,” says Sanders, who’s in Miami Saturday to talk about his new book at Miami Book Fair, “but above them all is climate change. We have a president-elect who doesn’t believe in climate change. That’s frightening for this country — and the world. ... If we don’t move boldly to transform our energy system, the planet is in deep danger.”

Also dangerous, he says, is “the bigotry that he espoused during the campaign. It’s tearing the fabric of this country apart.”

In “Our Revolution” (Thomas Dunne Books, $27), the former Democratic presidential candidate looks back on what began as something of a fringe campaign and ended up as a significant political movement.

More here.

Photo credit: Craig Ruttle, Associated Press