October 14, 2014

Wasserman Schultz's False claim about Wisconsin voter ID law

From our friends @PolitiFactWisc:

Separate judicial rulings in Wisconsin and Texas on Oct. 9, 2014 gave cheer to opponents of state laws requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls.

Here’s part of what the Democratic National Committee chairwoman, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, had to say in a statement:

"With less than ten days before early voting starts in Texas and Wisconsin, I am pleased with the judicial decisions yesterday striking down burdensome photo ID laws in those states."

Did the brief Supreme Court order "strike down" the Wisconsin statute?

The DNC leader was in a minority in using that terminology, we found in reviewing media reports and reactions from legal and political observers.

But the New York Times’ headline on its story may have influenced some -- and in fact a DNC spokesman pointed it out to us in providing backup for Wasserman Schultz’s  claim.

"Courts Strike Down Voter ID laws in  Wisconsin and Texas,"  the  paper’s online headline declared Oct. 9, 2014.

The story beneath that headline, though, used "struck down" only when referring to the Texas ruling. Here’s what it said about Wisconsin: "TheSupreme Court on Thursday evening stopped officials in Wisconsin from requiring voters there to provide photo identification before casting their ballots in the coming election."

There’s a significant difference between the rulings in the two states. Turn to PolitiFact Wisconsin's full report

0ptimus FL poll: Charlie Crist tops Rick Scott 41-39%; Wyllie at 13%


The new Republican-leaning data-analytics firm, 0ptimus, has released its latest survey in the Florida governor's race, and it looks a lot like the last survey: a basic tie between Democrat Charlie Crist and Gov. Rick Scott.

Crist gets about 41 percent of the vote to Scott's 39 percent (it's 40.5 to 39.4 percent to be exact). Libertarian Adrian Wyllie is still pulling an impressive 13 percent in the poll. The margin of error is 1.3 percentage points.

So the race is basically frozen.

Two ways to look at the poll (and the other recent ones all showing a basically tied race:

Good news for Scott: Democrats, despite their numerical advantage on the voter rolls, tend to underperform in mid-term elections, when Republicans overperform. If the race remains essentially tied, there's probably a better chance that the Republican will win. Also, unlike in other races where undecideds break slightly more for the challenger, this race basically has two incumbents because Crist is seeking reelection to the post he left in 2010.

Good news for Crist: Crist is winning. And this poll has a Republican turnout advantage of 3% points -- that's lower than 2010 but higher than 2006. If Crist can get Democratic turnout to at least equal Republican turnout, almost every poll shows he wins. Most polls show he wins with a Republican turnout advantage of 1% point. Also, it's important to note that this and many other recent surveys is a robo-poll, which can lean more conservative. To compensate for that, 0ptimus surveys thousands more voters than most (this poll is 6,384) and adjusts the responses to give younger and minority voters (i.e., those who are more cellphone-oriented and more likely to vote Democrat) more representation.

So my forecast is the same: Flip a coin, if it lands on its edge, it'll be the best predictor of who wins the race right now.

Here are the crosstabs:

Candidate REP DEM IND
Scott 64.2% 14.9% 33.5%
Crist 16.7% 67.0% 38.6%
Wyllie 13.0% 10.6% 16.0%
Unsure 6.2% 7.5% 11.8%


Another former GOP foe declines to endorse Republican in Miami congressional race


Carlos Curbelo is not very popular among his former Republican primary rivals.

The GOP nominee for Florida's 26th congressional district, who is campaigning to unseat Democratic Rep. Joe Garcia, tried a few weeks ago to win the endorsement of opponent Joe Martinez -- who turned him down.

"I told him we differed on a lot of things," Martinez said Tuesday.

That news comes on the heels of primary runner-up Ed MacDougall telling acquaintances they shouldn't vote for Curbelo because he won't disclose his government and public relations firm's clients.

Curbelo didn't seek MacDougall's endorsement, not after a bruising primary in which MacDougall, the Cutler Bay mayor, repeatedly attacked Curbelo, who ended up winning the five-way race by 22 points. 

But Curbelo, a Miami-Dade school board member, did meet with Martinez, a former county commissioner, after the Aug. 26 primary. Martinez placed third, though he received the second-highest number of votes in the Miami-Dade County portion of the district, which spans Westchester to Key West.

"They've been friends, and they talked about many things," Curbelo's communications director, Wadi Gaitan, said Tuesday.

According to Martinez, the two men didn't part on bad terms, but he couldn't back a candidate who had been supported by the GOP establishment to the dismay of other Republican hopefuls.

"We're talking about the Republican Party getting behind him and intervening in the primary, which they never should have done," Martinez said. "I was upset about that."

He blamed not only the National Republican Congressional Committee but also former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Miami Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, all of whom flaunted their Curbelo endorsements before the primary election.

Martinez said he disagrees with Curbelo on policy matters, including Curbelo's support of the Common Core educational standards, immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship, and gay marriage.

And he predicted that some longtime constituents would list "Joe Martinez" a write-in candidate on the ballot before voting for Curbelo or Garcia, "as a sign of protest to the Republican Party."

Republicans use Miami Rep. Joe Garcia's own words against him in new 'scandal' ad


Joe Garcia won his South Florida congressional seat two years ago in part by attacking then-Rep. David Rivera, who was plagued by state and federal investigations, on his integrity.

Now Carlos Curbelo is trying to the same thing against Garcia -- and his supporters have the congressman's own words to use against him.

Republicans on Tuesday revealed a television advertisement that extensively quotes a 2012 spot by Garcia. It's the second 2014 campaign spot in which conservatives accuse Garcia of hypocrisy by attacking him with his own promises. One was launched last week by the American Action Network.

The latest piece, by the National Republican Congressional Committee, cites Garcia decrying "Scandals. Corruption. Partisan infighting."

"I say enough is enough," Garcia says.

Then comes the voice-over: "Joe Garcia's only added to the lies and scandals."

That refers to a state investigation that led Garcia's former chief of staff to plead guilty to attempted absentee-ballot manipulation, and to an ongoing federal investigation into Garcia's 2010 campaign over a suspected straw candidate.

"Corrupt Congressman Joe Garcia ran on a promise that he would end corruption in South Florida," NRCC spokeswoman Katie Prill said in a statement. "Seems laughable now knowing Garcia has two criminal investigations into his 2010 and 2012 campaigns."

The ad also refers to Garcia's "misleading ads" rated False by PolitiFact Florida. Unmentioned is that the fact-checkers have made the same ruling against Curbelo.


Charlie Crist uses Rick Scott's job-creation flip flop, false denial in new attack ad


There are two major ways to attack a foe: at his weak point and at his strength.

Charlie Crist has chosen the latter route in his new attack ad targeting Gov. Rick Scott over his flip-flopping on his job-creation promise. PolitiFact rated the reversal a "full flop." Scott would have been looking at a "Pants on Fire" rating had PolitFact examined his clearly false denial that he ever said the new jobs created would be on top of forecast employment gains.

Scott's campaign is sure to shoot back with its standard campaign line about the rampant job loss under Crist. So not only is Crist attack Scott at his strength (jobs), he's doing it from a pretty weak position. But then, Scott's former hospital company was engaged in historic fraud and he attacks Crist as a fraud. 

One note: the ad features the voice of an unknown "reporter" -- that's Michael C. Bender, former Tampa Bay Times reporter from the combined state capital bureau with the Miami Herald. Mike broke the story in 2011....


Another shady FL candidate gets busted

Oops. Steve Bousquet posted this yesterday. So since I posted something else on this topic, here's his original post, as updated:

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."

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October 13, 2014

Michelle Obama to campaign for Crist on Friday


First Lady Michelle Obama is attending a Friday rally in Orlando to campaign alongside Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist.

Tickets for this free "grassroots event" will be available Tuesday through Thursday, but the Crist campaign is requiring people to pick up paper tickets -- no more than two in total -- by visiting one of Crist's three Orlando field offices.

The event will be held at the Barnett Park gymnasium, and doors open at 11:30 a.m. Friday.

Ever the data-miner, the Crist campaign wants people to RSVP here if they want more information.

Bondi reverses course, now asks Florida Supreme Court to rule on gay marriage

Bondi supreme court@SteveRothaus

In a startling move Monday night, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said she wants the Florida Supreme Court to decide once-and-for-all whether same-sex couples can marry in the Sunshine State.

“That is unquestionably an important issue, and the Plaintiffs, the State, and all citizens deserve a definitive answer,” Bondi’s office wrote in a 6 p.m. filing to the state’s Third District Court of Appeal. “Until recently, the issue was squarely before the United States Supreme Court, and it appeared that a definitive answer was coming. ... Unfortunately, the United States Supreme Court decided not to answer the question.”  Download Attorney general's motion to send marriage case to Florida Supreme Court

Last Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court settled the gay marriage issue in Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia, along with Wisconsin and Indiana, when it announced justices would not hear appeals in federal court decisions allowing same-sex marriages in those states. Since then, same-sex couples have also been allowed to wed in North Carolina, Idaho and Alaska. Now, 59 percent of Americans live in at least 30 states were same-sex marriage is legal, according to Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT activist group.

On July 17, Monroe County Chief Circuit Judge Luis Garcia declared Florida’s 2008 gay-marriage ban unconstitutional, ruling against Bondi, whose office defended the ban. He ordered that a Key West couple, Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones, had the right to marry, but an automatic stay in the case prevented the nuptials. On July 25, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel also declared Florida’s ban unconstitutional, finding in favor of six same-sex couples who want to marry. Her ruling also was stayed pending appeal.

The attorney general took both losses to the Miami-based Third District Court of Appeal, where the cases were consolidated. Lawyers for the plaintiffs asked the Florida Supreme Court to take the cases immediately, but Bondi asked to wait until the U.S. Supreme Court decided the issue.

Bondi, who is up for reelection in November, also said subsequent similar losses in Broward and Palm Beach counties, as well as federal court in Tallahassee, should be decided in Washington.

Since it is unlikely the U.S. Supreme Court will decide same-sex marriage anytime soon, Bondi has relented. Story here. 



Gov. Scott's lawyers ask California judge to rule on docs, but it'll be after the election

Google letterGov. Rick Scott's lawyers have asked a judge in California to wait until after the election to decide whether Google can release details about the Gmail accounts used by the governor and two former members of his staff.

Lawyers for the governor filed notice for a Nov. 7 hearing, three days after the election, in which they are asking a judge to quash a subpoena sought by Tallahassee lawyer Steven R. Andrews.

Andrews is suing the governor to get access to emails in Scott’s private account, alleging that he and his staff created the accounts to circumvent Florida’s open records law when conducting sensitive public business. The hearing date was set without his input.

Last month, a Florida judge ordered the governor to stop fighting the subpoena, but the governor took the battle across the country and hired a California lawyer to fight it in Google’s hometown. On Monday, the governor's office announced that he will no longer have taxpayers pay for the legal expenses to fight this in California but would not say who is paying the bill.

"Andrews’ tactics in the Florida action are a ploy to force the revelation of irrelevant private material so that it can be introduced into a public court file, and later, widely disseminated,’’ wrote Daniel J. Leahy, attorney for Scott, in a memo to the court.  Download 2014.10.03 MEMO OF POINTS & AUTH IN SUPP OF PET-r (2) (1)

Andrews is pushing back. On Monday, he served the governor with notice to appear in a Santa Clara County courtroom for the Nov. 7 hearing and called for a the governor to appear in a videotape deposition in Tallahassee on Oct. 28 about his gov.rls@gmail.com account.  Download 2014.10.13 NOT OF VIDEODEPO OF RICK SCOTT

Scott spokesman John Tupps called it a “fishing expedition” for information “that is not a public record” and he accused Andrews of “seeking out revenge for his personal grudge against the Cabinet and state government.” Story here. 

Continue reading "Gov. Scott's lawyers ask California judge to rule on docs, but it'll be after the election" »

Insults fly between Miami GOP congressional candidate and former Republican foe


Ed MacDougall, the Cutler Bay mayor who came a distant second to Carlos Curbelo in the Republican primary for Florida's 26th congressional district, has told acquaintances not to vote for Curbelo in the Nov. 4 general election.

In an email to Larry Hawkins, a former Miami-Dade County commissioner and state lawmaker, MacDougall said he couldn't endorse his former opponent because Curbelo refuses to disclose the clients of his government and public relations firm.

"It's not sour grapes, I can tell you that," Hawkins said of MacDougall, whom he has known for more than three decades.

Curbelo acknowledged Friday that among his former clients are Ecuadorean bankers Roberto and William Isaías.

"The people have no stomach for another scandal in this district," MacDougall wrote. "Carlos Curbelo refuses to release his lobbyist clients while serving on the Miami Dade School board. If he had done so and it proved honorable, I would support him. But he refuses, so this is the reason I ask all good republicans not vote for Carlos Curbelo.

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