November 01, 2014

The Money Race: Gov. Rick Scott gave his campaign $12.8 million

Reports filed late Friday show that Gov. Rick Scott and his wife, Ann, used their family fortunes to help finance his campaign by writing a series of checks for $12.8 million in the last month of the bitterly fought race for his re-election. 

The money comes a year after the governor, a multi-millionaire former hospital executive, promised he would not have to tap into this fortunes to win a second term. Scott's campaign for governor four years ago was his first attempt at elected office and he self-financed the $85 million campaign with $75 million of his own money.

This time, the race against Democrat Charlie Crist has been more negative and even more expensive as the governor has nearly matched his spending of four years ago and is expected to top $100 million in expenses. 

According to fourth quarter reports filed with the Florida Division of Elections, the Republican Party of Florida raised a whopping $55 million in the last quarter while the Florida Democratic Party raised $31 million. 

The largest contributor to Scott's campaign has been the Republican Governor's Association, whose contributors include many of the corporate and millionaire donors who have also written lucrative checks to Scott's political comGambling money feuds: Disney dropped $350k to Dems, an offset to the Seminole Tribe $350kmittee or the Republican Party. The organization sent Scott $18.5 million in contributions. 

Continue reading "The Money Race: Gov. Rick Scott gave his campaign $12.8 million " »

October 31, 2014

Inmate sentenced to life disappears at Dade Correctional; DOC remains silent

@JKnipeBrown

A prisoner with a long history of violent crime turned up missing Friday after a 3:30 p.m. headcount at Dade Correctional Institution, a state prison that has been plagued by mismanagement and allegations of corruption and the abuse of mentally ill inmates by corrections officers.

It's not clear when or how Ronald McCoy, who was serving life, slipped away, two sources at the prison told the Herald. The prison is located South of Homestead.

Local police and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement were called to help with a search, taking place on a Halloween night filled with young trick-or-treaters. Police canines also were brought in.

There is a residential subdivision within a mile of the prison.

“The theory is he just walked out the back gate,” one source said.

McCoy, a 39-year-old who is serving life, has a lengthy record of robberies and assaults, frequently involving deadly weapons. The DOC website lists him as 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes, although his prison mugshot shows him with a shaven head.

He has a tattoo on his left arm that says bicep pysco, possibly a misspelling.

Sources said he was seen at the prison barber at 10:30 a.m. Friday, but had not been seen since roughly an hour after that.

The apparent escape was not immediately announced either by the prison or the Department of Corrections. Story here.

 

 

Outside money fuels Miami congressional race

@PatriciaMazzei

One of the most expensive congressional contests in Florida — with a price tag of nearly $14 million as of Friday — is being waged in Miami between U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia and opponent Carlos Curbelo. But neither candidate can claim to have spent the majority of that money.

That’s because the biggest spender has been a force outside their control: third-party political groups, which have poured about $8.5 million into the campaign.

Forget all politics being local. All politics have become national.

That momentous shift can benefit challengers like Curbelo, a Republican who has raised less money on his own than Garcia, the incumbent Democrat. Outside dollars have helped Curbelo keep up — yet he says that doesn’t make him entirely comfortable.

“On balance, I think that it’s unfortunate because you don’t control the message,” he said. “While I think people running for office appreciate any support they get, there must be a better way. The candidates are — and should be — the protagonists.”

More money has been spent in the 26th congressional district race this year than in 2012 and 2010 combined. Two years ago, the campaign between Garcia and then-Rep. David Rivera cost about $2.3 million, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Four years ago, when Republicans and Democrats battled for a rare open seat, the race cost about $5.8 million, at the time an eye-popping figure.

More here.

1,800-sample poll: Rick Scott 47 percent; Charlie Crist 44 percent. RX pot in trouble

@MarcACaputo

Gov. Rick Scott is leading Democrat Charlie Crist 47-44 percent in a new poll from Democratic leaning SEA Strategic Polling & Design exclusively obtained by The Miami Herald.

Scott’s 3 percentage-point lead is still no statistically significant because it’s within the 1,800-respondent poll’s error margin. The poll has been conducted in three waves, each of which is larger than many standalone polls (background here and here).

Still, the race is likely still a tie, though this poll indicates it's leaning Scott. Quinnipiac University's poll yesterday found it more Crist-leaning.

Meantime, the Florida medical marijuana initiative appears in trouble. Support is at 55 percent, with 39 percent opposed. It takes 60 percent approval to pass a proposed constitutional amendment such as this.

Scott’s job approval is at 52-44 percent. The poll shows that 50 percent have a favorable impression of him compared to 46 percent who have an unfavorable impression. In comparison, Crist’s fav-unfav: 44-53 percent. President Obama’s: 48-51 percent.

The poll of likely Florida voters screened from a voter list has more Republican respondents than Democrats, 43-41 percent. No-party-affiliation and third-party voters are 16 percent of the poll.

The survey’s screen reflects a relatively typical mid-term election in Florida, where Democrats typically stay home in greater numbers than Republicans. So far, in pre-Election Day voting, Republicans have stayed ahead of Democrats in casting ballots, about 135,000 more as of this morning.

Once change in this final pool compared to the prior two waves: Crist’s lead among independents has almost evaporated. It’s now just 1 percentage point (39-38 percent) over Scott.

Crist also faring more poorly among Democrats (82 percent of whom support him) than Scott is among Republicans (87 percent of whom support the Republican). Scott gets 9 percent Democratic support and Crist 8 percent Republican support.

Obviously, this isn’t good news for Democrats who must now content themselves with the hope that 1) they have a big turnout for early voting on the weekend to cut more deeply into the GOP-ballot margin 2) have a bigger Election Day turnout 3) the poll’s screen of likely voters who have voted in two of the three previous major elections hasn’t picked up a significant number of so-called “sporadic voters” who don’t get through tight likely voter screens.

Jeb Bush in Hialeah Sunday with Rick Scott

From a press release

Governor Rick Scott and Governor Jeb Bush to Get Out the Vote in South Florida on Sunday

TALLAHASSEE – Governor Rick Scott will be joined by Governor Jeb Bush on Sunday as the two-week Get Out the Early Vote bus tour stops in South Florida.

WHO: Governor Rick Scott and Governor Jeb Bush

WHAT: Get Out the Early Vote bus tour

WHEN: Sunday, November 2, 2:00 p.m.

WHERE: Milander Park

4700 Palm Avenue,
Hialeah, FL

Joe Biden is Miami bound for Charlie Crist, Joe Garcia

From two press releases:

Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. – Vice President Joe Biden will join Charlie Crist at a "Souls to the Polls" event in Miami on Sunday, November 2 at 2:00 PM. Doors will open to the public at 12:00PM.

This event is OPEN PRESS.

Who: Vice President Biden, Governor Charlie Crist

What: “Souls to the Polls” Rally Event

When: Sunday, November 2, 2:00PM

Where: Mt. Hermon AME Church, 401 NW 7th Terrace, Ft. Lauderdale

RSVP: Press wishing to attend the event must RSVP to press@charliecrist.com by Saturday, November 1 at 12:00 PM ET. Additional press details forthcoming, including pre-set and sweep times.

Tallahassee, FL — On Sunday, November 2 at 10:00 AM, Vice President Joe Biden, Gov. Charlie Crist, nominee for Lt. Governor Annette Taddeo, and Congressman Joe Garcia, and the Latino Victory Project will rally with supporters in Miami.

The candidates will be joined by actor William Levy, Univision host Enrique Santos and Henry Muñoz.

This event will be open to pre-credentialed media only. Reporters who wish to be credentialed must email press@fladems.com with the subject line “Vice President BidenEvent Credentials.” Members of the media who have not been pre-credentialed by 3:00 PM on Saturday will not be admitted into the event. 

The rally will take place at the Wertheim Performing Arts Center on Florida International University’s campus. Doors open at 10:00 AM.

DATE: Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014

LOCATION: Wertheim Performing Arts Center at FIU, 10910 SW 17th Street, Miami

Nearly 2.6m Floridians have voted; GOP ahead of Dems by 135k ballots, but lead still slipping

@MarcACaputo

With four days until Election Day, nearly 2.6 million people have cast in-person early votes and absentee ballots. As in past days, the GOP is holding on to its lead in ballots cast over Democrats, who are nibbling away at the margins.

GOP lead this morning over Democrats: 134,910 or 5.3 percentage points.

Yesterday's GOP lead: 140,123, or 5.9 percentage points.

Prior posts can be found through the Florida Voters link here.

PARTY          EV           %
REP         384,159 41.1%
DEM         390,025 41.7%
IND         161,591 17.3%
TOTAL         935,775  
     
     
PARTY          AB's            %
REP         740,128 45.6%
DEM         599,352 36.9%
IND         283,804 17.5%
TOTAL       1,623,284  
     
     
PARTY       EVAB            %
REP       1,124,287 43.9%
DEM         989,377 38.7%
IND         445,395 17.4%
TOTAL       2,559,059  

 

Boo! PolitiFact debunks 10 scary claims

Haunted houses can be pretty scary! Ghost stories give us the chills, too. Sometimes, though, the things politicians say can be particularly frightening.

In fact, we’ve noticed several claims recently that hype the fear factor, telling us to be afraid of terrorists or deadly disease or the end of freedom.

The problem is, not all of these claims are accurate. So in the spirit of Halloween, PolitiFact put together a list of debunked scary claims for you to give out on Halloween. Trick or treat!

PolitiFact Florida's greatest hits of the governor's race

Through all the debates, TV ads, emails to supporters and appearances on the campaign trail, PolitiFact Florida has been fact-checking the race for Florida governor. We’ve published more than 80 fact-checks over the past year on everything from abortion to immigration to university tuition.

Overall, the race between incumbent Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist has been chock full of attacks, with each side sending out a barrage of negative commentary on the other guy.

Here, then, is PolitiFact Florida's rundown of our most significant fact-checks in the campaign for Florida’s governor. Since 2010, we have fact-checked Scott 125 times and Crist 77 times (the difference is due to the fact that Scott has been in office nearly all of that time unlike Crist who left the governor's job in January 2011).

Scary thought for candidates: Fundraising gates shut at midnight. Here's what we know

Gates AP photoBoom, clang, lock.

If there had been a sound associated with the end of the campaign finance season it would be that. At midnight Thursday, the gates closed on what has been the most expensive political season in Florida history.

Have citizens united to rejoice yet? 

They should. Donors can't be haunted by fundraising calls from the candidates and their surrogates any more and, in four days, the public will see the end to the incessant bloodletting of the television ad war. 

What have we learned so far? 

Through Monday, $206 million had been raised in state campaigns this election cycle, more than half of it on the race for governor.

If that fact is not enough to scare you about the fate of union, consider this: the poor accountants at the Republican Party of Florida and Florida Democratic Party have until midnight tonight, yes Halloween, to compile their reports detailing how much they raised and spent in the last three months. Talk about turning into a zombie. 

We also know that Scott’s political committee, Let’s Get to Work, raised a whopping $45.7 million while Crist’s raised a stunning $30 million through Wednesday.

Think about it. We thought it was a big deal when Crist raised $24.6 million to get elected in 2006 -- as a Republican. Now, as a Democrat, his political committee has topped that. He is expected to top the $43 million raised by the Democrats four years ago for Alex Sink, who lost to Scott by 62,000 votes -- and Scott's $85 million.

As expected, the fundraising continued into the final week. Crist’s political committee raised $624,000 through Monday, most of it from lawyers going back to the well.

Scott’s Let’s Get to Work committee would have been dry this week if it hadn’t been for the Republican Governor’s Association stoking another check for $500,000 into the campaign. The RGA total: $18.3 million.

Both candidates have steered much of their money to the political parties, which gets better rates on the massive television ads the candidates have financed. Those numbers are due at midnight. 

Another take-away: the Senate race for president in 2016 has bitterly divided the GOP. We're even watching traditional GOP backers like Disney steering money to the Democratic Party in the hopes of perhaps defeating some of the pro-casino advocates, like former Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, and protecting incumbent Democratic Sen. Maria Sachs who faces Bogdanoff in Broward. 

More to come. We'll be digging into the crypt for more details. 

Photo: Courtesy of the Associated Press

October 30, 2014

With little success, Cuban dissident tries to address controversial ad in Miami congressional race

@PatriciaMazzei

Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas tried -- rather unsuccessfully -- to address Thursday the controversy over the political commercial he taped for U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia.

In repeated interviews, he refused to offer a play-by-play of how he ended up in Garcia's ad. He said only that it was an "error" to get in the middle of a rancorous campaign between the Democratic incumbent and Republican challenger Carlos Curbelo.

But Fariñas, who lives in Cuba, stood by his praise for Garcia, and seemed to add to it. He said in a Pinecrest fundraiser last year for President Barack Obama, Garcia tried to recruit Fariñas to support an effort to bring a Havana research institute's diabetes treatment to the U.S. Fariñas said no, he said, because he felt that would undermine the U.S. trade embargo toward the island, which the dissident supports.

A few days later, Fariñas said, Garcia telephoned him to tell him he had thought about their conversation and agreed with him -- an apparent indication that the congressman had a change of heart about the drug trial. It's unclear if Garcia really did stop pushing for the treatment in the U.S. He hasn't campaigned on the issue this year.

According to Fariñas, Garcia called him in the past two days to "apologize" over any trouble the campaign ad could bring the dissident. The Cuban government likes to find new excuses to crack down on its opponents, Fariñas acknowledged, without expressing regret over praising Garcia.

Beginning in an interview with el Nuevo Herald, Fariñas also said wealthy businessmen contacted him and other dissidents last year. "They tried to buy us off with several million dollars, and we refused," he said.

Sunshine advocates: Scott won't commit to operating more in the open in second term

Declaring that Florida's open government laws have been "under attack in recent years," the First Amendment Foundation asked the two candidates for governor to answer three questions pledging to reverse recent trends and operate with more transparent practices if they are elected.

Gov. Rick Scott and challenger Charlie Crist were asked if they would agree to conduct all public business on public computer networks and devices, release a detailed schedule of appointments and travel, and pledge that he and staff will not use private email accounts when conducting business.

Crist, a Democrat, responded that he would. Scott, a Republican, did not respond.

The First Amendment Foundation is a non-profit open government watchdog that receives its support from voluntary contributions and many of the state's news organizations.

The governor's failure to respond comes against a backdrop of increasing questions about his commitment to Florida's open government laws.

During his term, Scott has blocked data about his private air travels from public flight tracking records. He has released only superficial details about his daily schedules. He has used, and allows his staff to use, private email accounts when corresponding on public business, creating additional barriers to public access. And his staff has been encouraged to use private cell phone accounts when sending text messages about politically sensitive issues.

In each case, the governor has said he has followed the law but his actions have drawn lawsuits.

He is is being sued by Tallahassee attorney Steven R. Andrews, a Republican, for allowing his staff to alter calendar entries, for withholding documents from public records requests and for failing to say who opened his private gmail account and the gmail accounts of his staff. He faces another lawsuit, from attorney general candidate George Sheldon, a Democrat, alleging that his financial disclosure forms fail to reflect more than $200 million of his wealth because it excludes assets his wife owns but which Scott remains as the beneficiary.

Here are the responses from Crist:

Continue reading "Sunshine advocates: Scott won't commit to operating more in the open in second term" »

Polling shows Fla governor's race could be closer than 2000

@MarcACaputo

Gov. Rick Scott is winning reelection by about 2 percentage points in a major new poll exclusively shared with The Miami Herald.

Democrat Charlie Crist is winning by 3 percentage points in Quinnipiac University’s new poll.

Which survey is right?

Both are.

The results rest within each poll’s margin of error, meaning the race is essentially a tie – regardless of the poll. Every other major survey shows that. And it looks like it will stay a squeaker through Election Day, Nov. 4.

“This race is closer than we thought George Bush vs. Al Gore was before the 2000 elections,” SEA pollster Tom Eldon said, referring to the 537-vote margin that made Bush president after 37 days of disputed results, court challenges and ballot reviews.

So Tuesday is going to be a long night?

“You’re potentially talking about a long month,” Eldon said.

More here

SEA (Dem) poll: Rick Scott 46 percent, Charlie Crist 44 percent

@MarcACaputo

Gov. Rick Scott is holding on to a 46-44 percent lead over Charlie Crist, according to a new likely voter poll exlusively shared with The Miami Herald.

Scott’s 2 percentage-point lead is well within survey’s 2.7 percentage-point margin of error – like every other recent major poll in this race – making the contest a tie. The 1,300-respondent poll was conducted by Democratic-leaning polling firm SEA Polling & Strategic Design.

A Quinnipiac University poll this morning found Crist led Scott 43-40 percent, a lead that was also within the margin of error.

The SEA poll, chartered by a coalition of businesses and exclusively shared with The Miami Herald, has been conducted in two waves over the past three days. The first results, of 800 likely voters, were reported yesterday.

While Scott’s margin has held at 2 percentage points, Florida's medical-marijuana constitutional amendment has slightly slipped by 2 points, with 57 percent supporting it and 37 percent opposing.

The amendment needs 60 percent support to pass. It still could pass if the undecideds stay home.

What makes the survey from pollster Tom Eldon stand out is that he’s one of the best in Florida, he’s a Democrat and he doesn’t sugarcoat his numbers. It’s also proof that good pollsters produce good numbers, regardless of party affiliation.

Eldon produced the poll showing Crist running strong in a bellwether seat in Pasco County.

This poll shows Scott is viewed more favorably by the electorate, relatively speaking, than President Obama or Crist.

Scott’s fav-unfav rating: 49-47 percent
Crist’s fav-unfav: 45-51
Obama’s fav-unfav: 48-50 percent.

Basically, no one is liked very much. And, as noted earlier today, all the polling and ballot numbers make this look like a squeaker of a race.

Crist used to be viewed much more favorably. But then Scott in March embarked on a mammoth $70 million TV ad campaign. Much of Scott’s ads have been devoted to trashing Crist, though the Republican has called the Democrat a “mudslinger.”

And, indeed, Crist has thrown mud. But he and his allies have less money for slinging; they’ve spent about $35 million on ads, much of savaging Scott.

Also aiding Scott somewhat is the condition of the state’s economy: 40 percent say it’s heading in the right direction; 31 percent in the wrong direction and 20 percent say it’s mixed. As for Scott’s job performance, 51 percent approve and 44 percent disapprove.

Libertarian Adrian Wyllie is not a factor, getting 4 percent of the vote.

Scott and Crist get about equal amounts of their base voters; with the Republican drawing 86 percent support from Republicans and the Democrat 83 percent from Democrats. Scott and Crist each get 9 percent support from voters of the other party.

Crist is leading Scott 38-33 percent among no-party-affiliation and third-party voters.

Crist’s lead among independents could prove crucial. Quinnipiac, which identifies party ID differently, found Crist leading by an astonishing 18 percentage points – an outlier compared to other polls. Both surveys have different methodologies.

More on polling can be found in the polling tab here.

False claim about 'stand your ground' law and Trayvon

The shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida, which sparked a national discussion about "stand your ground" laws, has become ammunition in the North Carolina U.S. Senate race.

The Senate Majority PAC, which aims to elect Democrats, ran a radio ad urging higher turnout among black voters. The ad attacks Thom Tillis, the Republican speaker of the North Carolina House, challenging Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan. The ad makes a series of claims about Tillis including this one:

"Tillis even led the effort to pass the type of ‘stand your ground’ laws that caused the shooting death of Trayvon Martin."

PolitiFact has fact-checked numerous claims related to the Trayvon Martin case. Did Florida’s "stand your ground" law cause his death?

The radio ad was captured by the conservative blogger SisterToldjah and sparked considerable media attention. It prompted a conservative group tocounterattack with a radio ad accusing the Democrats of "race baiting." While we are focused on the claim about whether Florida’s "stand your ground" law killed Trayvon, other media reports dissected Tillis’ role in the North Carolina law, which Tillis voted in favor of.

Turn to PolitiFact Florida to read more.

Fact-checking claims about environment in Florida's race for governor

When billionaire activist Tom Steyer declared that he would use his fortune to attack candidates who didn’t believe in man-made climate change, that set the stage for the environment to play a prominent role in this year’s race for governor in Florida.

Steyer formed a political action committee, NextGen Climate Action Committee, and set his sights on Republican Gov. Rick Scott, in addition to candidates in other states.

Environmental issues have arisen in past campaigns, but what was unique about Florida this year was that a pro-environmental entity had millions to spend on TV ads.

Scott’s rival Democrat Charlie Crist weighed in with his own statements about the environment, including our state’s record on solar energy.

Scott and the Republicans countered with attacks on Crist about Duke Energy and about riding in a private jet. Turn to PolitiFact Florida for a summary of our environmental fact-checks.

Cuba politics maze traps Joe Garcia, Carlos Curbelo

@PatriciaMazzei

They vowed to be different. They'd sound like a new generation of Miami politicians. They'd shift their focus away from foreign policy. They'd care more about the family down the street than the brothers in power 90 miles across the Florida Straits.

Yet the Cuba politics maze trapped them anyway.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia and Republican challenger Carlos Curbelo have spent the precious last few days of their congressional campaigns dissecting an unusual Spanish-language television advertisement by Garcia that stars a prominent Cuban dissident.

Curbelo and other Miami Cuban Americans have accused Garcia of using Guillermo Fariñas for personal political gain and violating an unwritten rule that shields opponents of the island's Communist regime from internal U.S. politics.

That rule is hardly hard-and-fast. As Florida governor, Republican Jeb Bush once sent a recording of support to a dissident in a Cuban political prison. President Barack Obama met with Fariñas and another opposition leader last year at a Democratic fundraiser in Pinecrest.

Garcia, though, appears to be the first politician to feature a dissident, speaking straight into the camera, in an ad.

More here.

Almost 2.4m in FL have voted, GOP lead and margin-rate slightly sliding to Democrats

@MarcACaputo

About 2.4 million Floridians have cast in-person early and absentee ballots as of Thursday morning and, as in the past week, Republicans still hold an advantage over Democrats in ballots cast but the GOP's margins are still slipping a bit, in terms of percentage.

GOP lead over Democrats: 140,123, or 5.9 percent. Yesterday, the spread was 141,363, or 6.4 percent. 

Since in-person early voting began, Republicans have alternately (but barely) increased their overall vote lead but seen their advantage in terms of rate slip. That's in part because Democrats and independents (a shorthand for no-party-affiliation and third-party voters) have begun casting ballots at higher rates.

As noted in prior posts (you can find them here), independents are looming larger and larger in the race. Just this morning, Quinnipiac University released a poll showing Charlie Crist led Gov. Rick Scott by an 18 percentage point margin among independents. That's probably an outlier result. And it needs to be pointed out that Quinnipiac uses self-identification polls in which respondents tell the pollster what their party is; so some of these independents are Democrats and Republicans.

However, another poll released yesterday by SEA Polling and Strategic Design showed Crist winning independents 37-33 percent. And that poll was conducted off a voter list, so those margins can theoretically be compared to the independents who have voted so far. 

Here's what happens if you apply those independent results to the pre-Election Day ballots: Scott's potential 140,000 lead gets cut by by about 12,000 to almost 128,000, an 8.7 percent reduction.

Apply the entire SEA poll's partisan crosstabs to the early ballots, and Scott theoretically leads Crist 47-42 percent (a 133,000 margin).

A word of caution: the above calculations are just a math exercise to give one glimpse into how the race is playing out. We still don't know how people actually voted. This is also based on one poll. All polls have error margins. And all major polls recently find the race basically tied. Unlike Quinnipiac, SEA finds Scott doing slightly better with his own base (Republicans) than Crist is with his (Democrats) and it finds Scott doing slightly better than Crist among crossover voters from his opponent's party. Also, the poll has 6 percent undecided.

Here are the early and absentee ballot numbers as of this morning:

PARTY         EV          %
REP             330,497 41.3%
DEM             333,711 41.7%
IND             136,340 17.0%
TOTAL             800,548  
     
     
PARTY         AB's           %
REP             714,315 46.0%
DEM             569,327 36.6%
IND             269,937 17.4%
TOTAL          1,553,579  
     
     
PARTY      EVAB           %
REP          1,044,812 44.4%
DEM             903,038 38.4%
IND             406,277 17.3%
TOTAL          2,354,127  

NOTE POST HAS BEEN UPDATED (Some prior numbers were wrong at the margins).

Amid bad press, RAGA gets behind Bondi

Sure, recent stories about how the Republican Attorneys General Association has influenced Florida's Pam Bondi haven't been the most flattering.

On Sunday, the Times/Herald wrote about how the group has raised $750,000 for Bondi, who has adopted much of that group's corporate-backed agenda. Then there was Wednesday's story in the New York Times about how groups like RAGA nurtured close ties between attorneys general, including Bondi, and corporate lobbyists trying to get deals for clients.

But RAGA apparently isn't backing away from its association with Bondi heading into the Nov. 4 election, at least not on Twitter, which is posting this ad sponsored by the group.RAGAbondi

The ad was paid by a political committee called RAGA Florida, which spent $25,000 on digital ads on Oct. 28, just before the New York Times piece was published.

Q Poll: Charlie Crist, fueled by independents, leads Rick Scott 43-40 percent overall

@MarcACaputo

Charlie Crist has slightly nudged ahead of Gov. Rick Scott in Quinnipiac University's latest poll that shows the Democrat picks up 43 percent support from likely voters to the incumbent's 40 percent.

That apparent 3 percentage point lead for Crist is essentially a tie because it's within the poll's margin of error, however the poll of 800 likely voters indicates Crist has some momentum on his side.

Last week, Quinnipiac surveyed the governor's race and found it dead even between Crist and Scott, with each getting 42 percent. So the contested has shifted a net 3 percentage points in Crist's favor or a net 5 points compared to Quinnipiac's September survey that showed Scott with a negligible lead.

Boosting Crist: the strong support of self-identified independents, who favor the Democrat over Scott by a spread of 47-29 percent.

“Independent voters are often the difference in swing states like Florida, but the size of former Gov. Charlie Crist’s lead among them is truly remarkable,” Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in a written statement.

Continue reading "Q Poll: Charlie Crist, fueled by independents, leads Rick Scott 43-40 percent overall" »