December 01, 2011

George LeMieux camp touts Miami-Dade support

Republican U.S. Senate hopeful George LeMieux's campaign put out a list of Miami-Dade supporters, including state Sen. Rene Garcia of Hialeah, County Commissioner Lynda Bell, Miami City Commissioner Francis Suarez and School Board member Carlos Curbelo, who worked for LeMieux in Washington.

Here's the press release:

Continue reading "George LeMieux camp touts Miami-Dade support" »

November 02, 2011

Unlike Rubio, most Republican U.S. Senate candidates skip AP news meeting

UPDATE: Senate President Mike Haridoplos has endorsed Connie Mack in the race. "He is going to elevate the debate in the Republican primary."

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Adam Hasner has patterned much of his campaign on Marco Rubio. Here's one difference: Rubio showed up to the annual Associated Press editors meeting in Tallahassee when he was a candidate.

Rubio faced tough questions about immigration and his personal financial disclosures when put his campaign in front of reporters and editors around the state. Hasner, who has no public events on his schedule today, won't have to do that. Neither will former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux and U.S. Rep. Connie Mack who also are not here.

The Republicans who did come today the only two candidates who have not held elected office: businessman Craig Miller and retired Army Col. Mike McCalister.

A Public Policy Polling survey released Sept. 28 showed McCalister leading the pack with 17 percent while 58 percent of voters were undecided.

Continue reading "Unlike Rubio, most Republican U.S. Senate candidates skip AP news meeting" »

October 27, 2011

PolitiFact Florida puts U.S. Rep. Connie Mack news through the Flip-O-Meter

On whether U.S. Rep. Connie Mack would run for U.S. Senate in 2012:

"The time is not right for me," Mack said. "You have to put family and friends above political ambitions, and that is what I have done."
—March 25, 2011, Fort Myers News-Press

"Connie Mack is running for the U.S. Senate. ...," said David James, a senior adviser.
—Oct. 26, 2011, Miami Herald

Mack has yet to make an official announcement. But an adviser speaking for him says he'll be running for the seat that less than a year ago he declared he wouldn't pursue for the sake of his "two small children." PolitiFact Florida ran his statements through the Flip-O-Meter.

October 26, 2011

PolitiFact Florida checks Sen. Bill Nelson's role wrangling oil spill data from BP

It's been a year and a half since oil suddenly gushed from the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig into the Gulf of Mexico. 

In the early days, rig operator BP estimated about 1,000 barrels a day might be escaping into the gulf. The true number? More like 50,000 to 60,000 barrels — or more than 2 million gallons — every day, for three months.

How did we learn it was so high?

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., says it wasn't until he and a Senate colleague were able to "wrangle the actual streaming video" from BP that scientists were able to calculate the flow.

Nelson spoke about the spill Oct. 11 on the Senate floor, where he urged his colleagues to find a way to fund gulf research. Was the senior senator from Florida responsible for lifting the veil on a disaster unfolding 5,000 feet underwater?

PolitiFact Florida checked it out.

October 11, 2011

Senators also part ways on Chinese currency bill

And the two senators also parted ways Tuesday evening on the Chinese currency bill, which cracks down on China's currency policies. Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson voted for the legislation, which the White House so far hasn't supported, and which the House of Representatives is unlikely to take up. Republican Sen. Marco Rubio voted against it.

It passed 63-35.

August 26, 2011

New poll tests Allen West, Vern Buchanan vs Nelson

A new Sachs/Mason-Dixon poll find that U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan would have a slight lead over the field of prospective Republican U.S. Senate candidates if he jumped in, but he's not especially competetive against Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson.
The poll was conducted before south Florida Congressman Allen West ruled out running for senate, and it included West and Buchanan among the prospective Republicans. Here are the results of the hypothetical primary:

Vern Buchanan  14%
Allen West     11%
Adam Hasner    8%
George LeMieux 7%
Craig Miller   5%
Mike McAlister 2%  
David Gee      1%
Undecided  52%

A recent Quinnipiac poll included only the announced candidates and found McCalister narrowly leading the field with 15 percent support.

The Sachs/Mason-Dixon poll included several matchups against Bill Nelson:
Nelson 49%, LeMieux 34%, Undecided 17%
Nelson 45%, Hasner 34%, Undecided 21%
Nelson 45%, Buchanan 35%, Undecided 18%
Nelson 44%, West 38%m Undecided 18%

August 24, 2011

Did McCalister join reserves to avoid Vietnam?

Despite his denunciations and push-back, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McCalister continues to face veterans questioning his military record. The latest comes in a release by the Stolen Valor Task Force, which says it is not backing any candidate in the race. Today they sent out this:

Former Army Captain Ed Maxwell, who served as an enlisted man prior to being commissioned and serving a 19 month combat tour in Vietnam was emphatic about McCalister’s claim of enlisted active duty service. “All of Mike McCalister’s enlisted service was limited to reserve component Active Duty for training going though his initial basic training, and attending 2 week training periods with his units. Only active duty performed in an active component unit, or as a member of a mobilized Guard or Reserve unit counted for veterans’ status during the Vietnam era. McCalister did not qualify for veterans status until 1992, after serving a 2 years as an ROTC instructor at Florida A&M University as a major.” Maxwell who is also a Vietnam Veterans organization leader, added: “I have had it with McCalister’s charges and innuendos against us. I can not conclusively prove Mike’s actual motives for initially joining the Guard in 1971, but I can offer some strong evidence to base conclusions on. The facts are that in 1971, Guard units were extremely unlikely to be activated and sent to Vietnam. Joining the Guard gained exemption from the draft. After 4 to 6 months of active duty, a Reservist or Guardsman returned to their communities as part-time soldiers and resumed their normal lives. During the draft lottery, Selective Service drafted young men who drew lottery numbers, based on birth dates. Mike McCalister’s number gave him a very high probability of being drafted, at about the same time he joined the Guard.”


We haven't received a response from the McCalister campaign yet, but the Plant City Republican briefly addressed his military experience in an August Political Connections interview on Bay News 9, when he still looked like the longest of long shots. The clip is above.

August 23, 2011

Bense backs Hasner

Former state House Speaker Allan Bense, a respected elder statesman in the Florida GOP who had been recruited to run for U,S. Senate, is throwing his support behind Adam Hasner. The Panama City businessman will be Hasner's statewide chairman.

"I've known both Adam and George throughout the years, and there's no doubt in my mind that Adam is the principled conservative that Florida Republicans should support," said Bense. "Adam has a long record of standing up for mainstream, conservative principles that no other candidate in this race can match. He's earned a reputation as a fighter and a straight-shooter who sticks to what he believes, no matter which way the political winds blow. I know he'll go to Washington and stand up to both parties when they stray from the common sense, limited-government reforms needed to turn our country around." "It's not enough to elect just any Republican next November. Our Party needs to nominate someone who can fight against the Obama-Nelson agenda and stand shoulder to shoulder with Marco Rubio in the United States Senate. Adam Hasner has the best track record of any candidate on cutting taxes, cutting spending, and fighting for the pro-growth economic policies that we need to create jobs and re-ignite the American economy."

Hasner: "I was proud to call Allan Bense Speaker and I have tremendous respect for him and his family. He was a role model to all of us who had the privilege to serve with him and I am honored to have earned his support for our campaign. During our time in the legislature we worked to advance Governor Jeb Bush's conservative reforms to improve education and grow Florida's economy. As a businessman and community leader, Speaker Bense will help spread our positive message of an American resurgence throughout Florida."

August 19, 2011

LeMieux and McCalister tag-teaming Hasner

If you like politics and you like conspiracy theories, you’ll enjoy this: Speculation that the George LeMieux and Mike McCalister campaigns are working hand in hand to take down former state House majority leader Adam Hasner.

Crazy? Or just crazy enough to work!?

Here are the facts: 1. Both the LeMieux campaign and Hasner campaigns see McCalister, a little known former Army Reserve Col. from Plant City, as bad news for Hasner as both Hasner and McCalister are campaigning for tea party votes.

2. McCalister often criticizes Hasner, but rarely LeMieux.

3. When a veterans group last week raised questions about McCalister’s military record, LeMieux leaped to his defense: "I denounce the unfounded attacks on the military service of Colonel Mike McCalister. The Colonel served our nation honorably in the United States military and he as well as all of our men and women in uniform deserve our gratitude and respect. Any campaign engaging in such baseless attacks should immediately apologize to Colonel McCalister and denounce these tactics."

4. The LeMieux campaign and McCalister campaign often sound like they’re reading from the same script when questioning Hasner’s conservative credentials. 5. LeMieux’s chief consultant, Jon Lerner, worked with the Club for Growth to help  Sharron Angle's U.S. senate race in Nevada last year. McCalkister consultant John Yob worked on Angles's campaign.

No, it doesn’t add up to anything solid, but it’s enough to make people suspicious.

"The voters of Florida can draw their own conclusions when campaigns begin to sing off the same hymnal,’’ said Hasner senior adviser Rick Wilson. "Its no surprise that Charlie Crist called George LeMieux "the maestro." As a political operative he was famous for orchestrating smear campaigns against people like Marco Rubio and setting up shady third party groups. It’s no surprise that George LeMieux would attempt to manipulate another campaign to do his dirty work."

The McCalister and LeMieux campaigns scoffed at the suggestion they’re coordinating - in very similar ways.

McCalister adviser Buzz Jacobs: "Adam Hasner is pretending to be a conservative, when in reality he is a self-proclaimed moderate. The only connection between the campaigns is disdain for chameleons."

LeMieux adviser Brian Seitchik: "It seems like the McCalister campaign has sniffed out that Hasner’s a phony conservative just like we have. We’re running our own campaign, they’re running their campaign."

Yob emails:

Although "I have great respect for Jon Lerner by reputation, in my memory I have not met, talked to, nor communicated with him in my life. "

August 08, 2011

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour backs George LeMieux

Mississipppi Governor and former Republican National Committee chairman Haley Barbour is endorsing George LeMieux for U.S. Senate.

Gov. Barbour said, "George is a solid conservative who served the people of Florida well in the U.S. Senate. I am happy to lend my support to his campaign."

LeMieux statement:"I am honored to earn the support of a principled conservative like Haley Barbour. When Governor Barbour was RNC Chairman, he helped orchestrate the Republican Revolution in 1994 that built the type of conservative majorities we need to turn our country around," stated LeMieux. "More importantly, from his leadership during hurricane Katrina to his work passing key pro-life legislation, Governor Barbour is a case study in effective conservative governance."