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June 28, 2016

Legislator visits prison, finds kids forced to dump food trays in the trash -- for talking

Richardson and ReidIt was lunch time and the newly arrived teenage inmates had just filed into the mess hall at Sumter Correctional Institution, sat down with their lunch trays and began eating. Some of them started talking — just like the inmates who’d been there longer were doing at nearby tables.

But their supervising officer considered the newbies disruptive. He warned them. They continued. Within minutes, Officer Alexander was ordering the nearly 15 inmates to stand up and dump their lunch trays in the trash. He then ordered them back into their dorm.

That’s where state Rep. David Richardson, a Democrat from Miami Beach, found them. 

Richardson was at the Central Florida prison in Bushnell on one of his routine visits to the state’s largest male youthful offender programs. Richardson randomly selected six of the 14- to 17-year-olds to speak with him and, one-by-one, started asking questions.

“How’s your day going?” Richardson said he asked.

“Not very good,” was the reply. “We were just at the lunch room and a couple of people were talking and the guard told us to go and dump all our food in the trash.” All six inmates identified Alexander as responsible. The agency, citing the ongoing investigation, would not reveal Alexander’s first name or any other information about him.

Depriving inmates of food is against the law in Florida’s prisons but when it happens, it rarely gets reported. Richardson complained and FDC responded immediately. They removed Alexander from contact with the inmates who had been in prison less than three weeks. The inmates were supplied with another tray of food, and FDC opened an investigation to determine what discipline to take against Alexander. Story here. 

Photo: Rep. David Richardson visiting Suwannee Correctional Institution earlier this year. 

Panel rips prison agency for retaliating against whistleblower but says violations aren't criminal

DOC compliance reviewThe Department of Corrections wrongly turned its investigative might against one of its own — violating its own policies, stacking up allegations against a whistleblower, and spending more time focused on investigating him than they spent on probing a claim of inmate abuse, a law enforcement panel ruled late Tuesday
 
The three-member Compliance Review Panel was charged with deciding if the department was guilty of criminal misconduct for intentionally retaliating against Doug Glisson, a senior investigator at the Department of Corrections who since 2014 has accused his bosses of covering up inmate abuse and agency corruption.
 
Their ruling was that the agency had violated Glisson’s rights, breached its own protocol, allowed for harassing behavior, and failed to follow the law when his bosses subjected him to six internal affairs investigations. But, they said, the conduct was not criminal. 
 
“The panel does not believe there was overwhelming intent” that the investigator who conducted the investigation against Glisson, Brian Falstrom, intentionally violated Glisson’s rights, the panel wrote in a two-page ruling. Falstrom “did not receive adequate training or had the prior experience to conduct the internal affairs investigations into the allegations.”
 
The panel, instead, directed its blame on the department, particularly former Chief Inspector General Jeffery Beasley, Glisson’s boss who was reassigned earlier this year. 
 
Glisson and three fellow investigators claim that Beasley had dismissed their call to investigate the gassing death of inmate Randall Jordan-Aparo at Franklin Correctional Institution in 2010. They told a state Senate committee in February 2015 that Beasley had directed them to back off investigating that case and others and, a day after the committee grilled Beasley, Glisson was hit with the six internal investigations. 
 
The panel raised several concerns about the agency’s treatment of Glisson, saying it had “great concern” regarding the six internal investigations launched between August 2014 and February 2015 without notifying Glisson, then dumping them all on him on the day after the Senate hearing. Story here. 

Photo: Department of Corrections Compliance Review Hearing, Tuesday, June 28. Seated at the table from left: Attorney Steve Andrews, Marty Snow, inspector general FHSMV, David Odom, Tallahassee Police Department, David Clark, FDC inspector, David Falstrom, FDC inspector. Credit: Mary Ellen Klas

Continue reading "Panel rips prison agency for retaliating against whistleblower but says violations aren't criminal" »

PolitiFact: Sen. Bill Nelson's Half True claim about Zika bill, birth control and Puerto Rico

Emergency money to block the spread of the Zika virus won’t be coming any time real soon. A $1.1 billion funding measure failed to win enough support for an up or down vote in the Senate.

The major stumbling point wasn’t the money (though Democrats wanted additional funding). Rather, it was the strings that were attached to the measure as it relates to combatting the virus in Puerto Rico.

After the House passed the bill on a largely party line vote, Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., berated it.

""The House Zika bill is a disaster," Nelson said June 24, 2016. "Not only does it take $500 million in health care funding away from Puerto Rico, it limits access to birth control services needed to help curb the spread of the virus and prevent terrible birth defects. This is not a serious solution."

We wondered about Nelson’s claim that the House Zika bill "limits access to birth control services needed to help curb the spread of the virus," in Puerto Rico.

Keep reading Jon Greenberg's fact-check from PolitiFact Florida.

Hillary Clinton has spent more ad money in Florida than anywhere else

@PatriciaMazzei

Hillary Clinton and her allies have spent more money on ads in Florida than in any other swing state so far, according to an NBC News analysis of campaign ad spending.

The pro-Clinton forces, including her campaign, have spent $7.3 million so far -- which is $7.3 million more than Donald Trump, who has spent $0 in the state. The ad-spending data came from the SMG Delta firm.

Trump hasn't invested in advertising in any state, though a pro-Trump group, Rebuilding America Now, has commercials on national cable TV -- to the tune of just $1.2 million.

Here's the NBC breakdown:

·                  Colorado: Team Clinton $2.9 million, Team Trump $0

·                  Florida: Team Clinton $7.3 million, Team Trump $0

·                  Iowa: Team Clinton $1.6 million, Team Trump $0

·                  North Carolina: Team Clinton $2.3 million, Team Trump $0

·                  New Hampshire: Team Clinton $1.2 million, Team Trump $0

·                  Nevada: Team Clinton $2.5 million, Team Trump $0

·                  Ohio: Team Clinton $5.6 million, Team Trump $0

·                  Virginia: Team Clinton $2.4 million, Team Trump $0

·                  Total: Team Clinton $25.8 million, Team Trump $0 

Battleground State Ad Spending (To Date + Reserved Time)

·                  Total Team Clinton: $140 million

·                  Total Team Trump: $0

Miami-Dade commission chair fundraising for Annette Taddeo

@PatriciaMazzei

The featured guest at a Wednesday fundraiser for Democrat Annette Taddeo will be Jean Monestime, the Miami-Dade County Commission chairman.

The 6 p.m. reception will take place at the Coral Gables home of Ralph Patino, Taddeo's campaign treasurer. Another county commissioner, Daniella Levine Cava, recently fundraised for Taddeo as well.

Taddeo faces a tough rival in former Rep. Joe Garcia. Thursday marks the end of the quarterly fundraising period. Both are vying to challenge Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo -- who's also planning a Wednesday fundraiser.

South Dade fundraiser planned for Carlos Curbelo

Curbelo fundraiser@PatriciaMazzei

Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo will get to pick up a few more re-election checks Wednesday at a South Miami-Dade County fundraiser.

The reception is planned for 5:30 p.m. at Schnebly's Winery in Homestead. Hosting the event are Peter Schnebly, Mike Carricarte, Tom Reider, Pedro Sifuentes and Victor Sifuentes, according to an invitation obtained by the Miami Herald.

Suggested donations begin at $250 per person, with a $2,000 contribution requested to "chair" the event.

The quarterly fundraising deadline is June 30.

White House gives rare shout-out to Rick Scott, on Zika

@PatriciaMazzei

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has made no bones about criticizing the federal government over its plans to prevent the Zika virus.

But he and President Barack Obama have a common foe on the matter: Congress, which on Tuesday morning failed to pass a Zika-funding bill in the Senate.

That prompted White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest to give Scott a rare shout out in his Tuesday briefing with reporters.

"Gov. Rick Scott from Florida, no friend of the Obama administration but is making the same case that the Obama administration is, that Congress needs to step up to the plate and provide additional resources that can be used to try to fight the mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus," Earnest said.

Here's the full question and answer, from a transcript:

Continue reading "White House gives rare shout-out to Rick Scott, on Zika" »

Conservative American Civil Rights Union sues Broward County Board of Elections

@alextdaugherty

The American Civil Rights Union, a conservative version of the American Civil Liberties Union, filed a lawsuit on Monday accusing the elections board of Broward County of failing to ensure that only eligible voters are on the rolls.

Broward, where Democrats typically win presidential elections by landslides, is one of many municipalities the ACRU has targeted over the years for potential election fraud. The group alleges that Brenda Snipes, the supervisor of elections for Broward County, violated Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act.

“At the time of the 2014 general election, approximately 103% of the citizens of voting age were registered to vote and could cast a ballot in Broward County,” the suit alleges.

The ACRU has filed similar lawsuits alleging that the National Voter Registration Act was violated in Texas and Mississippi. Both of those lawsuits occurred in counties that Democrats won by large margins in recent presidential elections.

Broward County has more registered Democrats than any other county in Florida. Removing registered voters from the rolls can take time, and individuals who have left the county could still be counted as registered voters if they did not register elsewhere.

“No lawsuit has been served on the Broward Supervisor of Elections Office as required,” Broward elections attorney Burnadette Norris-Weeks said. “A response will be filed after that time. Please note, however, that the Broward SOE wholly rejects the allegations.”

The ACRU did not return a request for comment but did have a statement listed on its website.

Broward’s Supervisor of Elections, Dr. Brenda Snipes, is not using all of the tools available to keep Florida elections clean,” ACRU Chairman/CEO Susan A. Carleson said in a statement. “Broward was one of four Florida counties that was asked to do a recount in the 2000 presidential election. We think it’s time they cleaned up their rolls before the next one.”

Amy Sherman contributed to this report.

Senate Democrats block Zika funding in Congress

via @learyreports

WASHINGTON -- Senate Democrats blocked a $1.1 billion Zika funding bill, complaining it was packed with partisan provisions.

Reaction from Florida politicians:

Sen. Bill Nelson (voted against): “Four months after the request for emergency funding, the House in the dark of the middle of the night, with no opportunity for debate, puts on an otherwise uncontroversial bill, a bill to deal with the virus. It's not serious. Instead, it's another attempt to use an emergency must-pass bill to try to further extremist political agendas. Why can't we grow up and get to the point that we don't want to play partisan politics? We need to stop playing these political games. It's time to treat this as a real emergency and it's time to pass the appropriations bill without all of this political agenda added to it.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (voted for): “Shame on Washington for failing to pass Zika funding. We’ve been on top of this issue for five months, and it’s a failure of both parties in this town, including the President of the United States, that it’s taken this long to even get to this point. This total Washington leadership failure will have devastating consequences on those Americans already infected with Zika and many more who will become infected in the coming months. I realize this was not a perfect Zika bill, but getting this plan approved now is absolutely better than nothing. We need to get something done here, and we need to do it quickly." Rubio's office did not respond to a question about the issues Democrats raised.

GOP Senate candidate Carlos Beruff (campaign statement): "It’s been four months since a federal funding request to help fight Zika was sent to Congress. Marco’s had a lot to say on the subject – giving floor speeches and reiterating talking points during interviews – and yet Floridians still haven’t seen a dime from the federal government to help combat this threat. In the five years Marco Rubio has been in Washington he’s often found speaking eloquently on various issues in interviews and, when he’s not running for President, on the Senate floor. But Marco’s Washington talking points rarely translate into action."

Continue reading "Senate Democrats block Zika funding in Congress" »

Jeff Atwater, Adam Putnam, Steve Crisafulli endorse Marco Rubio

@PatriciaMazzei

Marco Rubio rolled out Senate re-election endorsements Tuesday from top Florida Republicans: CFO Jeff Atwater, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli.

Here are their statements of support:

From Atwater: "Marco's ability to communicate the conservative principles that we so desperately need is second to none. His vision for our country, and his work in the U.S. Senate on behalf of Floridians is something I am proud of, and why we need Marco to continue his service."

From Putnam: "Now, more than ever, we need Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate. The control of the Senate is going to come down to Florida, and without a Republican majority, we would be giving a green light to the disastrous policies of the last eight years. With Marco, we have the power to determine a Supreme Court nominee, the future of the disastrous Iran deal, and the future of our country, based on conservative policies and ideals. I wholeheartedly endorse Marco in his re-election bid, and I encourage all Floridians to unite in support."

From Crisafulli: "This will be a pivotal election in our nation's history. I commend Senator Rubio on his decision to run for re-election and will do everything in my power to ensure that he wins in November.  Marco has a proven conservative record of leadership for Floridians, whether that be in the state legislature or the U.S. Senate. We must unite our party, and I ask all Floridians to join me in supporting Marco Rubio in his re-election bid."

 

Rep. Corcoran slams 'irrational' House Democrats on guns

As Florida House Democrats delivered petitions Tuesday signed by 46 members seeking to poll all 160 lawmakers on the need for a special session on guns, House Speaker-Designate Richard Corcoran called them "irrational, irresponsible and unstatesmanlike."

Democrats needed 32 signatures on a petition to press Secretary of State Ken Detzner to poll members on whether a special session should be held to consider new gun restrictions in the wake of the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12.

Detzner's polling of members may start later Tuesday. Support from three-fifths of the members of both chambers (72 House members and 24 senators) is needed for a session to be held. The Democrats' chances of reaching that goal is very remote (Republicans hold majorities of 81-39 in the House and 26-14 in the Senate). A leader of the petition effort, Sen. Darren Soto of Orlando, is running for Congress.

Corcoran, a Land O'Lakes Republican, issued a statement to the Times/Herald that said: "I'm very disappointed in my Democratic colleagues. It was and is my hope to work in an honest and professional bipartisan spirit for the next two years. Unfortunately, the irrational, irresponsible and unstatesmanlike actions of some place that expectation in jeopardy. This is especially true because this is being done solely for political purposes. Whenever politics is your sole purpose, the people lose. I do have complete faith in my Republican colleagues to be statesmen and to use common sense and to govern properly."

Told of Corcoran's remarks, House Democratic Leader Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach, said: "The last time I checked, Democrats have every right that Republicans have for the triggering of a survey among legislators. This is an opportunity for a bipartisan moment. Legislators have an opportunity to do things all through the year, not just 60 days out of the year."

Lopez-Cantera out of U.S. Senate race, but still jabbing at Beruff

@JeremySWallace

Carlos Lopez-Cantera is no longer running for the U.S. Senate, but that is not stopping him from continuing to attack one of his former GOP rivals who remains in the race.

At a meeting of Seminole County Republicans, the lieutenant governor and former Senate candidate ripped wealthy real estate developer Carlos Beruff for not being conservative enough and backing former Gov. Charlie Crist for the U.S. Senate in 2010 after Crist left the Republican Party, a charge Beruff denies.

“This man is no conservative, this man is no Republican,” Lopez-Cantera said according to the Orlando Political Observer. “He is man driven by ego and self ambition and not by the principles we work hard for.”

Lopez-Cantera is good friends with Sen. Marco Rubio and dropped out of the Senate race last week to make way for Rubio, who changed his mind to seek re-election after saying for most of the last year that he would not run for re-election.

“Carlos Beruff supported Charlie Crist after he left the Republican party,” Lopez-Cantera told about 300 people, according to the Orlando Political Observer.

But in an interview last week about Crist, Beruff said he never supported Crist after he left the Republican Party in 2010 to instead run as an independent in the 2010 race. Campaign finance records show Beruff donated $4,800 to Crist in the U.S. Senate race in 2009, when Crist was still a Republican. When Crist dropped out of the Republican Primary and ran as an independent, Beruff never sent any other donations to Crist, Federal Election Commission records show.

“When Charlie Crist turned, I said ‘I’m outta here,'" Beruff said adding that Crist “got stupid” when he decided to go independent.

However, in 2010, Beruff was one of dozens of prominent donors who attended a fundraising event with Crist (when he was an independent) at the home of Siesta Key resident Gary Kompothecras. Beruff said while he was there, he never financially supported Crist after he turned.

Beruff’s campaign on Tuesday fired back at Lopez-Cantera for his comments and insisted Beruff is more conservative than Rubio.

“Just more lies from Marco Rubio and his team of political hacks,” said Chris Hartline, communications director for Beruff’s campaign. “It’s what career politicians do. Carlos is the most conservative candidate in this race. And if you want to talk about someone driven by ego and self ambition, look no further than Marco Rubio, who wants the people of Florida to pay him for his next run for President.”

Lopez-Cantera is not the only former Beruff rival weighing in on the race. Orlando-area businessman Todd Wilcox, who also dropped out of the race last week, issued a statement accusing Beruff of "stalling" in reporting his personal finances. Beruff has requested and received an extension for filing his financial disclosure reports. That report was originally due in May, but Beruff has twice received extensions to push his filing to July 31. Beruff's campaign noted he entered the race in February and needed more time to perpare the documents. 

National Organization of Women picks side in Miami Democratic primary for Congress

@PatriciaMazzei

The National Organization of Women endorsed Miami Democrat Annette Taddeo on Tuesday, stepping into a congressional primary that the group appears to have sat out in recent election cycles.

"I'm so proud to have the backing of the National Organization for Women," Taddeo said in a statement. "Even in 2016, women don't get equal pay for equal work, they don't have adequate access to affordable health care. I'm running for Congress to fight for South Florida women and working families."

Taddeo was recruited by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and has gotten the backing of other large, national organizations like Emily's List. But she faces a challenge from former Rep. Joe Garcia, who was elected in 2012 despite not being the Democratic establishment's primary favorite.

Clinton super PAC targets Florida women with latest web ads

@PatriciaMazzei

Priorities USA has already bought TV time and web space in Florida to hit Donald Trump over his remarks about the disabled, his foreign-policy statements, what he's said about women, and the U.S. Supreme Court's recent immigration decision.

The pro-Hillary Clinton outfit isn't letting up. On Tuesday, it unveiled more web spots, again targeting female voters. They're running on Instagram, Facebook and web videos in Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada.

The barrage has begun as Clinton herself has begun airing ads in Florida and other swing states. Trump, however, has yet to produce a single one.

 

 

 

Florida police union endorses Patrick Murphy

@ByKristenMClark

The Florida Police Benevolent Association has endorsed Democrat Patrick Murphy in Florida's U.S. Senate race this year, Murphy's campaign said today.

It adds to a growing list of endorsements from unions and other party establishment organizations who have rallied behind Murphy ahead of the August Democratic primary.

"The Florida PBA is proud to endorse Patrick Murphy because we know that he will stand with our police officers and first-responders in the U.S. Senate," PBA President John Rivera said in a statement provided by Murphy's campaign. "Patrick is the leader that our officers need to ensure that they can continue keeping our communities safe. As the organization that advocates for Florida’s police officers, we trust Patrick Murphy to advocate for us.”

In the Aug. 30 party primary, Murphy, a congressman from Jupiter, faces fellow U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando; Miami labor attorney and former naval officer Pam Keith; former assistant U.S. attorney Reginald Luster of Jacksonville; and California businessman "Rocky" Roque De La Fuente, of Orlando.

Twitter photo with Darryl Rouson irks Kathy Castor

@MichaelAuslen

CastorRousonpic
The photo looked harmless enough: U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor and state Rep. Darryl Rouson, both Democrats, standing side-by-side at St. Pete Pride. But with a hotly contested primary for a Tampa Bay Senate seat that's solidly Democrat-leaning, nothing is innocent.

Rouson tweeted the photo of him and Castor on Tuesday. Less than an hour later, Castor replied:

Rouson, who lives in St. Petersburg, is one of three candidates seeking the District 19 seat in the Florida Senate. The others are Rep. Ed Narain and former Rep. Betty Reed, both of Tampa. The race has divided local Democrats, though Narain has garnered high-profile endorsements in Castor and Senate Democratic Leader Arthenia Joyner.

The photo has since been taken down.

Gov. Scott confirms first case of Zika-related microcephaly

Gov. Rick Scott sought intervention from the Centers for Disease Control Tuesday after the Department of Health confirmed the first case of a Florida infant with Zika-related microcephaly.

Scott, who scheduled Zika roundtable sessions in West Palm Beach and Jacksonville, issued a statement calling on the CDC to convene a call with Florida medical professionals.

"It is heartbreaking to learn that a baby has been born with Zika-related microcephaly in our state and my thoughts and prayers are with the mother and child," Scott said.

The governor's statement said the mother contracted Zika while she was in Haiti. Scott said the Department of Health is working family to provide services through a program known as Early Steps.

Joe Garcia and Annette Taddeo deride Carlos Curbelo's use of WACPAC (updated with Curbelo response)

@alextdaugherty 

Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo says he is using his political action committee, dubbed What a Country, to help fellow House Republicans who favor immigration reform. 

Immigration reform has many definitions, but Curbelo previously stated that WACPAC funds would likely go to Republicans who support President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) plan. A Miami Herald analysis of WACPAC's 47 recipients shows that some who received money have consistently voted against Curbelo on immigration issues. 

Curbelo's Democratic opponents, former Rep. Joe Garcia and former Miami-Dade Democratic Party chair Annette Taddeo, were quick to deride Curbelo's use of WACPAC. 

"Curbelo's donations to the campaigns of the most extreme anti-immigration members of the Republican party is upsetting but not surprising," Garcia said in a statement. "As a Congressman he has always said one thing in South Florida and done the opposite in Washington. I'm running because South Florida needs a representative who will actually take a stand for South Florida families, not play politics with people's lives."

"This report shows Carlos Curbelo’s true colors," Taddeo said in a statement. "It’s disgraceful that he’s been supporting anti-immigrant, Donald Trump supporters in Congress. Immigration reform is nowhere because of politicians like Carlos Curbelo, who says one thing and does another. South Floridians deserve a leader who’ll fight for them every step of the way, not some chameleon who’ll say, and do whatever it takes to get re-elected.”

UPDATE: ""It is no surprise that a corrupt ex-congressman is using the issue of immigration reform for his political gain," Curbelo spokesperson Nicole Rapanos said. "Here are the facts: Carlos Curbelo has been an ardent supporter of immigration reform in Congress. Just a few weeks ago, Carlos was rallying votes to stop an anti-DACA Amendment in Congress. In a historic win for pro immigration reform supporters the amendment was defeated by one vote.  Carlos is committed to working with anyone to solve this important issue. He will not use the issue of immigration reform to divide our community like his opponents.”

PORK PAC and other D.C. interests to fundraise for Marco Rubio

Rubio invitevia @learyreports

Marco Rubio may talk down Washington, but establishment Washington's big money will play a key role in his re-election campaign beginning Wednesday.

A fundraiser that evening features a long list of special interests (PORK PAC!) plus Mitch McConnell and more than two dozen other senators. Cost is $500 to $5,000.

It displays the advantage the incumbent has and how eager colleagues are to retain him.

The newly formed Rubio super PAC, Florida First Project, is also focused on an aggressive fundraising schedule in the early stages of the campaign. We're told there are no plans (at this point) for a dark money group, one of which spent millions in support of Rubio during the presidential campaign.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

Annette Taddeo planned to qualify for the ballot with petition signatures -- but she didn't

@PatriciaMazzei

Democrat Annette Taddeo was supposed to qualify as a candidate for Congress the populist way, by collecting some 3,000 petition signatures to show her candidacy had grassroots support. Her campaign even hired a Republican consultant -- raising eyebrows among some Democrats -- to organize the signature-gathering.

Instead, Taddeo ended up handing over a check two weeks ago for $10,440 to get on the ballot.

What happened?

The petition effort appears to have gotten caught in the tumult of Taddeo's campaign shake-up. Her former campaign manager, Shaun Harris, hired consultant Emiliano Antunez, known for running local GOP races, to amass the petitions. But the hiring happened late, Antunez said, giving him only about 30 days to get the job done.

"It's not that she wasn't getting the support -- the signatures were coming in at the usual clip," Antunez said. "It's that by the time they decided to pull the trigger, there was just no way to do it with that time."

The belated hiring probably took place because national Democrats concerned about Taddeo's campaign spending -- and her lagging behind rival Joe Garcia -- didn't OK the expenditure earlier. Taddeo eventually fired Harris and his team.

Her new crew came in just a couple of weeks before the June 24 qualifying deadline and chose to pay the fee instead. But it made the mistake of saying in a news release that she had filed "qualifying petitions." Campaign spokesman Omer Farooque declined to comment about the error.

What the incident underscores, however, is that campaigns in upheaval make mistakes -- or spend money on things they later don't end up needing. And a trailing candidate who's got about a month before the first mail-in ballots go out probably can't afford more of them.

Garcia also paid a qualifying fee. Republican incumbent Carlos Curbelo collected enough petitions to qualify.

Back when Curbelo first ran, in 2014, he took heat from Democrats (then-incumbent Garcia and Taddeo herself, as chairwoman of the Miami-Dade County Democratic Party) for trying to qualify by petition and then resorting to paying the fee.

This post has been updated.