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October 26, 2016

Tonight is the second -- and final -- debate night for Rubio and Murphy



Florida’s U.S. Senate race has, at last, shifted into a position long predicted by political observers and even the candidates themselves: A neck-and-neck contest that will go down to the wire between Marco Rubio, the Republican incumbent, and Patrick Murphy, the Democratic challenger.

The candidates’ second and final debate Wednesday night is among their last chances to gain an edge in the competitive contest and to draw the support of undecided voters who’ve yet to cast their ballots.

The debate begins at 7 p.m. at Broward College in Davie.

More details here on what to expect and how to watch.

October 25, 2016

In Broward, Hillary Clinton stumps for Patrick Murphy


@newsbysmiley @amysherman1

With polls suggesting she’s pulling ahead of Donald Trump in Florida, Hillary Clinton traveled to South Florida Tuesday and delivered her strongest pitch yet for for U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy while urging voters not to grow over-confident.

“It’s going to be a close election,” she said at Broward College’s Coconut Creek campus. “Don’t get complacent, because we've got to turn people out.”

Appearing a little more relaxed and perhaps even a tad sarcastic, Clinton blasted U.S. Senator Marco Rubio for his deflections on climate change, and Donald Trump for not coming out strongly enough in support of Israel. She spoke to a crowd of about 1,750, which delighted the Democratic nominee by singing happy birthday to her, one day before she turns 69.

Keep reading here.
Miami Herald photo by Patrick Farrell

More Broward ballots missing marijuana question, lawsuit alleges

Norm Kent


Hours after a Broward judge said she was ready to rule quickly on a case about ballots missing the medical marijuana amendment, a new wrinkle appeared Tuesday evening: Two more voters found Amendment 2 missing on their ballots.

NORML of Florida, a group that supports reforming marijuana laws, filed a new emergency motion Tuesday night asking the court to hold a rehearing in its lawsuit against Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes.

The voters “are victims of the respondent’s failure to carry out her constitutional duties and face the prospect of being deprived of the right to vote on matters of great public concern,” attorney Russell Cormican wrote in a new motion.

Cormican works with Norm Kent, the attorney for NORML of Florida. They filed suit last week after elections officials verified that two Oakland Park voters received mail-in ballots that omitted Amendment 2, a statewide question about allowing the use of marijuana for medical reasons.

Cormican wrote in an emergency motion filed Tuesday evening that he had heard from two additional voters — Johnny Alexander and Cary Gandolfi, both from Plantation — who had received absentee ballots that lacked the amendment. He heard from those voters after his emergency hearing earlier in the day.

He wrote that Alexander contacted Snipes’ office about his ballot and was “treated in a dismissive manner and was told that he must be mistaken.”

Keep reading here.
Miami Herald photo by Carl Juste

Rubio: 'We're not going to be held hostage to whatever Patrick Murphy's mood is' on debates


Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has ruled out the potential for any additional debates after Wednesday night's showdown with Democrat Patrick Murphy at Broward College -- what will be their second of two scheduled debates this fall.

"It's going to be the final one, because we're not going to keep playing this game," Rubio told Adrian Whitsett of WESH 2 News in Orlando over the weekend.

Rubio's comments came a day after Rubio and Murphy quarreled over who was to blame for the cancellation of what could have been their third debate, organized by Univision.

MORE: "No Univision debate for Rubio, Murphy"

The Spanish-language network took the event off the table after Murphy's campaign objected to the station's proposal -- which Rubio supported -- of having the debate in Spanish with a translator for Murphy. Murphy wanted the debate in English and then dubbed for the Hispanic-viewing audience. (His campaign accused Rubio of seeking unprecedented rules.)

In writing off any possible future debates, Rubio essentially told WESH that the clock had run out with two weeks left until Election Day.

"We have things to schedule, places to be and things to do," Rubio said. "We're not going to be held hostage to whatever Patrick Murphy's mood is in the morning when they call him about debates."

Continue reading "Rubio: 'We're not going to be held hostage to whatever Patrick Murphy's mood is' on debates" »

Murphy denies Trump connections, but unearths photo of Murphy's dad with The Donald



After Patrick Murphy relentlessly criticized U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio for weeks for standing by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, Rubio tried to shift the spotlight on to his Democratic challenger during last week's first Senate debate by alleging Murphy's family has made "millions" off doing business with Trump.

Murphy quickly called it "another lie" and, in the days since, has repeatedly denied any direct business connections between Trump and his family’s Coastal Construction Group. "We've never had a contract with Donald Trump," Murphy told the Tampa Bay Times and other Florida news media last week.

But on Tuesday unearthed old photos that put Murphy in the position of having to further explain himself.

The images show Murphy’s father -- Coastal founder and CEO Tom Murphy Jr. (shown above at far left) -- a few feet away from Trump in a group photo-op at the ground-breaking for Trump Hollywood in 2007. Everyone in the photo, including the elder Murphy, is wearing a Trump-branded hard-hat.

Republicans quickly blasted out's story, saying the images were "damaging" to the Jupiter congressman and "prove Murphy lied in the last debate."

But Murphy's campaign says the images show nothing of the sort and shed no new light on Coastal's business history with Trump.

The campaign acknowledges Coastal and Trump were "associated" with the same two South Florida projects -- Trump Hollywood and Trump Royale in Sunny Isles. But the campaign maintains, as Murphy has also said: It was the developer's responsibility in each project for separately hiring Coastal as its builder and Trump to market the properties.

Nonetheless, expect this topic to come up during Wednesday night's second and final U.S. Senate debate.

Photo credit: In this Getty image from 2007, Tom Murphy Jr. (pictured far left) appears in a group photo with Donald Trump (center) during the ground-breaking for Trump Hollywood.

Tampa Rep.: 'There was no fraud' in lawsuit over qualifying papers


A case that could disqualify state Rep. Dan Raulerson, R-Plant City, from re-election due to an error on a form he filed with the state was postponed Tuesday — by more problems with paperwork.

Circuit Judge Charles Dodson in Tallahassee said Tuesday that Jose Vazquez Figueroa, a Democrat facing Raulerson in his northeast Hillsborough district, didn’t properly notify Raulerson’s lawyers and those for state officials also listed in the lawsuit he filed about a hearing scheduled for Tuesday.

Vazquez alleges that Raulerson’s personal financial disclosure was tampered with. It appears that Wite-Out was used to change the date on a notary’s signature. Notaries are not allowed too use correction fluid to make changes. They are supposed to make changes to forms by striking items out with a pen.

The office of Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner showed the Times/Herald an original copy of Raulerson’s filing, which appears to have been changed to show a different date.

That’s technically not allowed by notary rules, Raulerson said. But that’s also not the point.

He says this is an overly technical lawsuit and that the law surrounding how notaries change paperwork is intended to prevent fraud.

“There was no fraud,” Raulerson said. “It’s an illustration of how pinheaded our society has become.”

But Vazquez, who ran against Raulerson in 2012 and lost with just 43 percent of the vote, says rules are rules, and Raulerson or his notary broke them on a qualifying filing — and that fact won’t change.

“That document is not going to change, any argument the parties can bring,” he said.

With Election Day two weeks away, it’s not clear whether the case would be settled before voting ends.

Vazquez, who has been representing himself in court and took a bus to Tallahassee to appear before Dodson, said he plans to raise money so he can afford legal help and avoid process errors like the one that delayed the case Tuesday.

And after the election, he has no plans of backing down. Whatever the results, he said he plans to follow through with the lawsuit.

As for Raulerson, he hopes the courts won’t intervene in the race.

“We’ll see if the judiciary wants to insert themselves between the relationship of a state representative and their constituents,” he said.

DCCC compares Curbelo to Trump in new TV ad


The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee keeps trying to link Miami Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo to Donald Trump, even if Curbelo isn't backing him for president.

In a new TV ad, the DCCC compares Curbelo to Trump on offshore oil drilling, immigration and Social Security. Curbelo is being challenged by Democrat Joe Garcia.

"Curbelo supports drilling offshore -- just like Trump," the ad says. "Curbelo's been sending campaign cash to help anti-immigrant politicians.... Carlos Curbelo calls Social Security a 'Ponzi scheme.' You know who else says that? Donald Trump."

The ad is a mash-up of past DCCC Curbelo ads, including one PolitiFact Florida found misleading on the oil-drilling claim. Curbelo asked TV stations to yank the ad as a result.

As for funding other politicians, Curbelo created a committee he said would support other Republicans who back immigration reform. Some of the committee's beneficiaries, however, have sounded less than eager to adopt reforms, though Curbelo insists they're privately open to at least talking about it.

Curbelo and Trump have both called Social Security a Ponzi scheme.

Mysterious Democratic slate card says vote yes on Amendment 1 and for Regalado

Slate p2 Slate p1Another round of October trickery emerged Tuesday as a mysterious slate card was being handed out in Miami Dade early voting sites in North Dade and North Miami.

The card, deceptively titled the “Miami Dade County official 2016 Election Guide,” appeared to be pro-Democrat with two odd exceptions: it urged people to vote yes on Amendment 1, the utility-backed proposal aimed at stifling solar competition in Florida, and it urged people to vote for school board member Raquel Regalado, one of two Republican candidates in the run-off for Miami-Dade mayor.

A person wearing a Regalado t-shirt was photographed by Miami lawyer J.C. Planas handing out the slate card at the North Miami Library early voting site on Tuesday. Planas is a former state legislator and supporter of Carlos Gimenez, Regalado's opponent.   Regalado poll worker

Regalado, an opponent of Amendment 1, denied any connection to the slate cards.

"I have not authorized a slate card. I have not printed a slate card and I have no idea about this,'' she told the Miami Herald. "I have taken a position against Amendment 1. It's so crazy."

The Miami-Dade Democratic Party, which is also opposing Amendment 1 and has taken no position on the mayor's race, said it has nothing to do with the slate card.

"This is not our slate card. Our slate card is posted on our website. and includes our disclaimer,'' said Juan Cuba, executive director of the Miami Dade Democratic Executive Committee. "Whoever did this is attempting to trick voters into voting for their preferred candidates. I have no idea who is printing or distributing these. Our slate card is NO on Amendment 1."

Cuba said the party’s lawyer is considering their legal options and has notified the Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections.

Sarah Bascom, spokesperson for the Amendment 1 political committee, also distanced her campaign.

"We have never seen this.  This is not something from our campaign,'' she said. 

The slate card first appeared on Monday, according to Vimari Roman, a candidate for the Village of El Portal Council Seat 2. She wrote to opponents of Amendment 1, Floridians for Solar Choice, saying the flier "is made to confuse voters and to sway their vote." 

Whoever is behind it has probably broken the law. State law requires that any campaign matter distributed in Florida include prominent placement of a disclaimer indicating who paid for or is behind the material.

Planas, who teaches election law at St. Thomas University Law School, says he has drafted a cease and desist letter on behalf of himself, an interested voter, and will distribute it to poll workers tomorrow. 

Donald Trump in Tallahassee tonight, but Gov. Rick Scott not going


Donald Trump will be in Tallahassee tonight, just 8 miles from the Florida Capitol Building. But don't expect to see Gov. Rick Scott, who is the chairman of a super PAC supporting Trump, among the crowd.

Scott told reporters in Tallahassee that he has a scheduling conflict due to a dinner he is hosting at the Governor's Mansion in which people are having to fly in from out of town to attend. He had no other plans to see Trump on Tuesday and said he didn't get a chance to see him over the weekend either when both were in Naples, where Scott lives.

But Scott left no doubt that his support for Trump is unwavering, even in spite of video comments about him grabbing women inappropriately.

"I still support Donald Trump," Scott said. "The revelations are disturbing and disgusting, but lets put it in perspective. The revelations about Hillary Clinton lying about her emails, about getting rich off a phony foundation based on selling access, that’s disgusting. I want someone in the White House who will finally focus on jobs. I’ve been governor for six years. I haven’t had anyone in the White House that is focused on jobs. There’s no support out of Washington with regard to jobs."

Scott said he has already voted. He voted by mail he said. 

Scott may not attend, but Attorney General Pam Bondi confirmed that she will be at the Trump rally in Tallahassee. On Monday night she appeared at Trump's rally in Tampa. Florida's chief financial officer Jeff Atwater was a firm "I don't know." Atwater said he had another commitment he had to check on and was not sure if he'd be able to get to the rally.

Trump is speaking at Automobile Museum in Tallahassee. The event begins at 6 p.m. 




Trump tries to win over Miami Cubans once again

Trump cubans

@PatriciaMazzei @doug_hanks

With Florida slipping away from his electoral grasp, Donald Trump devoted much of Tuesday to Miami’s Cuban Americans, the reliably Republican voters who have stubbornly resisted this year to lean decisively toward the GOP nominee.

Trump paid tribute to Bay of Pigs veterans who had honored him with a historic endorsement.

He listened to the mother of Brothers to the Rescue pilot shot down by the Cuban government over the Florida Straits.

“Very sad story,” Trump told Miriam de la Pena.

And he eagerly repeated criticism of rival Hillary Clinton when longtime Miami Republican donor and activist Remedios Diaz-Oliver declared, “She has never done anything right.”

“It’s just about true,” Trump said. “She’s never done a thing right. Bad judgment.”

Trump’s overtures reflected his broader problem two weeks from Election Day: He has yet to consolidate the conservative vote. The more time he spends trying to do so, the less time he’s got to try to persuade independents and moderates who decide general elections.

More here.

Photo credit: Evan Vucci, Associated Press

Patrick Murphy will speak at Hillary Clinton rally today in Broward

Murphy primary nite 5 - richard graulich pbp


Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy will be among the opening speakers before Hillary Clinton takes the stage at a campaign rally today in Coconut Creek, Murphy's campaign said.

The rally is set to begin around 2:15 p.m.

This is the third major Clinton rally Murphy has spoken at in as many weeks, all in the strongly Democratic terrain of South Florida. It will be his second with Clinton directly; the other rally featured President Barack Obama stumping on Clinton's behalf.

When Obama spoke in Miami Gardens on Thursday, he devoted a significant portion of his speech to criticizing Republican incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio and urging Democratic voters to support Murphy so the Jupiter congressman could unseat him.

In Murphy's first two rally speeches, he got about 5-8 minutes on stage -- in which he delivered part of his routine stump speech to the friendly audience, while also laying into his opponent for continuing to support Donald Trump for president.

In contrast to Murphy, Rubio has not -- and, the senator's campaign says, will not -- campaign alongside Trump in Florida.

Photo credit: Richard Graulich / Palm Beach Post

Secretive Democratic donors pouring money into South Florida elections


A secretive network of Democratic boosters intent on shifting Florida’s politics from right to left has set its sights this election season on South Florida, where years of groundwork have helped create conditions that left several Republican incumbents vulnerable.

Through affiliated nonprofits and political committees, the Florida Alliance has spent more than $1 million this summer backing liberal causes and blasting Republicans, particularly those in districts painfully redrawn this year to be more competitive. Nowhere have these efforts been more evident than in Miami-Dade County, home to several of the Alliance’s biggest donors and swing races where its actions could sway the vote.

“We want to win. And we want to invest our money in races where we think we can make a difference,” said Terranova Corp. chairman Stephen Bittel, an Alliance member and prominent Democratic donor out of Miami Beach.

To read the rest,  click here.

Drivers and tax collectors 'livid' over crashes in state system

Irate Florida tax collectors say they are being forced to turn away thousands of customers because of repeated breakdowns in the state database that stores records of millions of drivers licenses and car and truck registrations.

"Our customers are livid," Hillsborough Tax Collector Doug Belden wrote in an email on Monday. "There appears to be a major problem."  His chief IT expert, Kirk Sexton, described the breakdowns as "severe" and wrote in a memo that the glitches also affect law enforcement's ability to run checks on motorists.

"Totally unacceptable," Manatee County Tax Collector Ken Burton wrote in an email. He said his front-line staff members who deal with customers report a problem every 3.7 days between April 1 and Sept. 30 of this year.

It's not new. The creaky database has been plagued by problems for years, and the Legislature has appropriated money to modernize it. But the crashes continue and they're driving tax collectors crazy.

Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Fasano holds Saturday office hours, but said he had to turn away more than 1,000 customers because the system was down. "It's just constant," said Fasano, who in a letter to the state cited the "frequency and duration" of system breakdowns. In his frustration, Fasano says he's seriously thinking of telling disgruntled customers to send a note to Governor Rick Scott until the problems are fixed.

Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles executive director Terry Rhodes wrote a letter to House Speaker-Designate Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, explaining all that has gone wrong with the system, including "forced relocation logistics, aging hardware, a constantly growing data set (and) expanding utilization" which together are "compromising system availability."

The department is a Cabinet-level agency, and Rhodes reports to Scott and all three Cabinet members, which is where the buck stops in this case. Rhodes' spokeswoman, Beth Frady, told the Times/Herald: "We understand our customers' frustration. This is not the type of service that we want to offer. The department is working to improve the system." DHSMV's system also plays a critical role in verifying new voter registration forms but Frady said that function has not been impaired by the recent breakdowns.


"We are the wall," says new anti-Trump ad in Spanish


A new TV ad against Donald Trump airing in Florida starts, as so many do, with Trump's own words.

"We are going to build the wall," he says, in English.

Then a man says in Spanish: "No. No, you won't."

And a woman: "Because we are the wall."

The spot, airing on Univision and Telemundo in Florida, was written, directed and produced for SEIU COPE on behalf of iAmerica Action by Colin Rogero, a Hispanic Democrat from Miami. It ends with Hispanics linking arms in wall formation in front of the White House. Other parts of the ad were filmed in Miami, including a prominent shot of a Wynwood wall.

"It was a great privilege to interact with Hispanics of so many different cultures, in the neighborhoods in and around where I grew up to create this spot," Rogero said in a statement. 

After first day of early voting, more than 1.6 million votes cast

The first day of early voting in Florida coupled with steady returns in vote-by-mail ballots has pushed the total ballots cast to 1.6 million, two weeks before election day. More than 300,000 people voted early on Monday, with county-by-county reports still coming in.

True to form, Republicans are holding a lead in mail ballot returns while Democrats have the advantage in early voting. As of early Tuesday morning, Republicans accounted for 42 percent of returned mail ballots and Democrats 39.7 percent.

IMG_6707(1)In early voting, a much smaller total number so far, Democrats are doing better than Republicans. Democrats accounted for nearly 45 percent of early voters on Day 1 and Republicans 39 percent (at left, voters wait in line Monday to vote early at a library in Palm Beach Gardens).

Early voting will continue in some counties through Sunday, Nov. 6. Hillary Clinton will rally early voters on Tuesday at Broward College's Coconut Creek campus while her running mate, Tim Kaine, works Palm Beach County's early voters. Donald Trump campaigns Tuesday in Sanford and Tallahassee.

Two weeks out, more people have already voted by mail or early in Florida than in any other state. The pace will quicken in the coming days as more people vote early and as early voting gets underway (by Saturday) in all 67 counties. There are also still nearly 2 million mail ballots in circulation that have not yet been returned, and many counties have already begun canvassing or counting mail ballots, which means the laborious process of catching mail ballots with no signatures or mismatched signatures is well underway.

'Scandals. Corruption. Convictions': House GOP-backed super PAC debuts anti-Garcia ad


Democrat Joe Garcia gets a dramatic, black-and-white treatment in a new attack ad by a House Republican super PAC.

The ad, to begin airing Tuesday, refers to the convictions of Garcia's former chief of staff in a pair of campaign-related cases.

"Scandals. Corruption. Convictions," the ad says. "We can't let Joe Garcia run his scheme on us again."

Paying for the political commercial is Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC backed by the House GOP caucus. It's spending $1.4 million to try to help Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo hold on to the swing 26th district. The super PAC originally thought its campaign would cost $1.7 million, but the media buy was a bit less costly than expected.)

"Joe Garcia has spent more time answering for scandals, corruption, and convictions than standing up for Floridians," Congressional Leadership Fund spokeswoman Ruth Guerra said in a statement. "Floridians have had enough of Joe Garcia's schemes. That's why they've rejected him once, and they’ll do it again."

Garcia has repeatedly noted that he was never charged with any wrongdoing.

Tampa Democrat's lawsuit could disqualify State Rep. Dan Raulerson over filing error


TP_355437_OROU_PlantCity_2State Rep. Dan Raulerson should have an easy path to victory. The Tampa Republican lives in a heavily red district and his Democrat opponent has raised less than $5,000.

But a state circuit court judge in Tallahassee could upend all of that following a hearing Tuesday afternoon.

Raulerson's opponent, Jose Vazquez Figueroa, filed a lawsuit last month alleging that Raulerson tampered with a notary's signature on an official filing required to run for office. Vazquez says that on Raulerson's personal financial disclosure -- called a Form 6 -- White-Out was used to change the date of the notary's signature.

State law doesn't allow that. It says that if changes have to be made to notarized documents, they must be struck out by drawing a line through them.

It's a technicality, but Vazquez, who does not have a lawyer, argues it makes Raulerson's candidacy illegitimate because all qualifying papers have to be correctly filled out and notarized for a candidate to run. He has asked Circuit Judge Charles Dodson to invalidate Raulerson's candidacy.

If Dodson rules as Vazquez hopes, he could become a state representative by default because there is no other candidate filed in the race for House District 58, which encompasses much of northeastern Hillsborough County, including Plant City and Temple Terrace. State law says that when a candidacy is thrown out by a court, it does not create a vacancy to be filled by the party's executive committee. But some lawyers disagree, saying the Republican Party could replace Raulerson as their nominee in the same way they would if he voluntarily stepped down from the race.

A hearing is at 2 p.m. Tuesday, but it is not certain when Dodson would rule. He's under the gun on time, though, as mail and early voting have both begun in Hillsborough County with the final day of the election on Nov. 8.

As well as Raulerson, the lawsuit names Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer, Secretary of State Ken Detzner and Kristy Reid Bronson, bureau chief of the records for the Florida Division of Elections.

Previously, Vazquez made headlines by filing as a 2008 write-in candidate for the Florida House from a prison cell. In 2012, he ran against Raulerson for the District 58 House seat and lost, 57 percent to 43 percent.

Photo: Skip O'Rourke, Tampa Bay Times

Voters consider write-ins or 'none of the above' on Florida ballot

Disgusted with their choices for President, some Florida voters plan to protest by writing in another candidate (University of North Florida President John Delaney said he'll write in House Speaker Paul Ryan). Really? That's a wasted vote.

The only write-in votes for president that will count in Florida are for any of six qualified write-ins who filed candidacy papers: Andrew Basiago, Richard Duncan, Cherunda Fox, Zoltan Istvan Gyurko, Laurence Kotlikoff and Anthony Valdivia. Writing in anybody else, like Mickey Mouse, Bernie Sanders or Allen West -- is an exercise in futility. Your vote for president won't count. It's a meaningless protest.

Speaking of votes counting or not counting, several election supervisors (Deborah Clark in Pinellas, Brian Corley in Pasco and Susan Gill in Citrus) report getting phone calls from voters asking this question: If I skip the presidential race and leave it blank, will the rest of my ballot still count? The answer, of course, is yes. Any voter has the right to skip any race on the ballot.

Election officials are bracing for an un precedented amount of top-of-the-ticket "drop-off" or "roll-off" in this Florida election in which voters skip the presidential race. That would mean a lot of extra work for county canvassing boards, who are required by law to count every undervote in every race and report it to the state.

Voters consider write-ins or 'none of the above' on Florida ballot

Disgusted with their choices for President, some Florida voters plan to protest by writing in another candidate (University of North Florida President John Delaney said he'll write in House Speaker Paul Ryan). Really? That's a wasted vote.

The only write-in votes for president that will count in Florida are for any of six qualified write-ins who filed candidacy papers: Andrew Basiago, Richard Duncan, Cherunda Fox, Zoltan Istvan Gyurko, Laurence Kotlikoff and Anthony Valdivia. Writing in anybody else, like Mickey Mouse, Bernie Sanders or Allen West -- is an exercise in futility. Your vote for president won't count. It's a meaningless protest.

Speaking of votes counting or not counting, several election supervisors (Deborah Clark in Pinellas, Brian Corley in Pasco and Susan Gill in Citrus) report getting phone calls from voters asking this question: If I skip the presidential race and leave it blank, will the rest of my ballot still count? The answer, of course, is yes. Any voter has the right to skip any race on the ballot.

Election officials are bracing for an unprecedented amount of top-of-the-ticket "drop-off" or "roll-off" in this Florida election in which voters skip the presidential race. That would mean a lot of extra work for county canvassing boards, who are required by law to count every undervote in every race and report it to the state.

October 24, 2016

David Rivera's latest television ad: Blame it all on Joe Garcia

Garcia Rivera adIn his latest ad attempting to discredit his Democratic opponent, David Rivera is now pinning the blame on his longtime foe, former  Democratic Congressman Joe Garcia, accusing him of "obsessive attacks against David Rivera." The ad inexplicably also offers up a subliminal message, showing a logo for Granma, the Cuban government paper.

Garcia defeated Rivera, who was hoping to be re-elected to Congress in 2012. Garcia then lost the seat to Carlos Curbelo, a Republican, in 2014. Curbelo and Garcia are now in a re-match.  

Rivera's ad is being run on Spanish language television and features his discredited claim against Robert Asencio, his Democratic opponent in the House District 118 race. Asencio, an army veteran and 26-year member of the Miami Dade Schools police department, is 'a criminal,'' the ad claims, referring to unsubstantiated and dropped complaint from the parent of a child who was disciplined on a school bus in 2003.

The school district has said Asencio did nothing wrong, and the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police has withdrawn its endorsement of Rivera for "running a false and defamatory campaign against career public servant and distinguished police officer Robert Asencio." 

Here's the script from the misleading Rivera ad:

"Joe Garcia's allies continue their obsessive attacks against David Rivera. Now their pal Robert Asencio wants to imitate Garcia with his lies and false attacks against David Rivera. Maybe he does it because Asencio has a police record for physically abusing a boy and is now under federal investigation of other crimes.
"Go to the website "Asencio is a" and tell Robert Asencio to explain his crimes against children. Say no to Robert Asencio."  Download IMG_2284