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August 31, 2016

DCCC praises Scott Fuhrman, who'll challenge Ros-Lehtinen in November


Political newcomer Scott Fuhrman easily won the Democratic primary Tuesday in Florida's 27th congressional district, winning him the chance to challenge longtime Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who also cruised to victory.

Fuhrman received 59 percent of the vote over Frank Perez's 24 percent and Adam Sackrin's 17 percent. Neither Perez nor Sackrin campaigned much, while Fuhrman, who is personally wealthy, mailed plenty of fliers to reliable primary voters.

"The results from yesterday's primary victory made clear that Democrats are united in taking back the House seat by seat," Fuhrman said in a statement Wednesday. "I am dedicated to standing up to special interests like the NRA on behalf of the families torn by gun violence in our district and around the country. I'm the only candidate to sign Bullsugar's pledge to protect the environment from the dumping by Big Sugar, and I stood for Miami families terrified by Zika after Congress failed to ask."

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which didn't recruit Fuhrman or anyone else to go up against the popular Ros-Lehtinen, praised his win.

"Fuhrman's efforts to hold Republicans accountable for their failure to provide funding to combat the growing Zika epidemic is a clear example that he is willing to fight for South Florida's priorities," DCCC spokesman Jermaine House said in a statement.

Republicans debut website highlighting Murphy's resume embellishments



National Republicans don't want general election voters to forget that Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy was caught embellishing his resume.

To highlight the gaffes, the National Republican Senatorial Committee today launched a website -- -- to detail instances where Murphy either exaggerated his credentials or didn't provide a complete explanation of his experience.

The subject has been and will continue to be a prime line of attack against Murphy, a 33-year-old, two-term congressman from Jupiter who became the official Democratic nominee in Florida's U.S. Senate race after Tuesday's decisive primary.

The NRSC's website mocks Murphy by referencing his wealthy South Florida family and their yacht, "Cocktails," and including a "personal statement" that reads: "Never Worked A Day In My Life As A CPA. Never A Small Business Owner. Never Going To Be A United States Senator."

Much of the website isn't fact so much as partisan spin based on some truth.

Media reports documenting the inaccuracies and discrepancies in Murphy's resume began a few months ago, after the Herald/Times discovered Murphy inflated his academic resume by claiming to have had two degrees from the University of Miami when he only earned one.

Murphy's experiences as a CPA and business owner are more nuanced. Murphy's explanation of that work has evolved with more detail in recent months as several media outlets probed what he actually did during those years. Politifact sifted through the facts and found "that Murphy’s description of his past employment is based on actual circumstances, but at times he omits a full explanation."

Murphy faces Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio in November.

We have asked Murphy's campaign for comment and will update this post when they respond.

Image credit:

Murphy says Rubio doesn't do enough to help constituents in Florida

Murphy riney


A day after winning the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, Patrick Murphy unveiled a new line of attack that sets the tone for his general election fight ahead: Marco Rubio doesn't serve his constituents in Florida.

Tim Riney, a Florida resident and the father of a solider severely injured in a military training exercise, appeared at a Wednesday morning press conference alongside Murphy to criticize Rubio's response to his son's needs and recent TV ads highlighting the Republican's support from veterans. 

Riney's son Timothy Riney Jr. went to a private hospital to recover and his family dealt with Warrior Transition Unit, a military body set up to provide support for injured and wounded soldiers and their families. 

When Riney had issues with the WTU, he called Rubio. He wasn't satisfied with the response. 

"It took Senator Rubio four to five months to get back to me," Riney said. "In that time, we were put through hell." 

Riney, who criticized Rubio for running for president instead of helping constituents like him, said he communicated with Rubio's Orlando office.

He also called Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, but didn't hear back from his office either.  

Murphy said his work with the United Solutions caucus in Congress showed that "we need to reduce the backlog at the VA [Veterans Administration]. It is shameful that the folks who are putting their life on the life for this country are coming home waiting in line to get service." 

"Our VA can and should be doing a lot more and a lot of that comes down to funding," Murphy said. "This shouldn't be a partisan issue."

Rubio used recent TV ads to tout his record on veterans' issues with his campaign saying "Marco Rubio wrote and passed bipartisan legislation allowing the VA to fire negligent workers."

Politifact rated that statement as mostly true and Murphy voted in favor of a larger bill that included Rubio's legislation to make it easier to fire incompetent VA workers.  

Murphy also committed to one debate with Rubio, and said he will accept Rubio's challenge of six debates, including hosted by a Spanish-language outlet, when Rubio commits to a full six-year term in the Senate. 

"I'm going to take his challenge seriously," Murphy said. "We've already agreed to one debate, I'm looking forward to that and our teams are going to continue, you know, talking to hash out the details there. There are going to be multiple debates." 

Murphy also said he trusts Hillary Clinton saying "I believe that herself and the campaign and the Clinton Foundation made the necessary reforms to help instill more trust in the voters." 

Hillary Clinton campaign to open office in Miami's Little Haiti


Hillary Clinton's campaign will open an office in Miami's Little Haiti Saturday.

The office will be at 5905 NE Second Ave. Clinton will not attend the event which is scheduled for 2-5 p.m.

The Clinton campaign has opened multiple offices in South Florida including Wynwood and Fort Lauderdale. South Florida's large contingent of Democratic voters is a crucial campaign battleground for Clinton.



Scott praises Beruff after loss then (13 hours later) Rubio on victory

Beruff rubio

@JeremySWallace & @ByKristenMClark

Carlos Beruff may have lost badly in his race against U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, but his effort is still winning praise from Gov. Rick Scott who helped encourage Beruff to run and heaped praise on him during joint speaking events with Beruff. Within minutes of Rubio salting away the win, Scott took to Twitter and Facebook to congratulate Beruff -- not Rubio.

Beruff wasn't the only one to get praise from Scott. The governor also celebrated Republicans Matt Gaetz and Francis Rooney for winning GOP primaries for Congress.

But Scott conspicuously waited almost 13 hours to congratulate Rubio -- the Republican incumbent who trounced Beruff 72 percent to 18 percent in unofficial results from Tuesday's primary.

The Facebook post this morning praising Rubio came shortly after a Herald/Times reporter asked Scott's spokeswoman why the governor had congratulated Beruff but not Rubio.

Gov. Scott declares emergency in 42 counties as Gulf storm expected to make landfall Thursday

Scott at eoc 083116


Almost two-thirds of Florida's counties are now under a state of emergency because of a tropical depression that's intensifying in the Gulf of Mexico and expected to make landfall Thursday afternoon as either a tropical storm or a Category 1 hurricane.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott issued the state of emergency for 42 counties on Wednesday morning, while he attended a morning briefing at the state Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee. Metro areas covered by the emergency declaration include Tallahassee, Tampa Bay, Orlando, Gainesville, Jacksonville and the Space Coast. South Florida is "in the clear," one state official said.

(See Scott's emergency declaration here for the full list of affected counties.)

Tropical Depression 9 is still moving slowly in the Gulf at about 2 miles per hour but it's starting to take shape. The storm is expected to pick up steam and veer northeast toward Florida's Big Bend over the next 24-36 hours, said Bryan Koon, director of Florida's Division of Emergency Management.

Coastal areas from Walton and Bay counties to the Anclote River are under a tropical storm warning, and much of that same area is under a hurricane watch.

MORE: "Swath of Florida Gulf Coast under tropical storm warning"

State officials expect landfall in Florida's Big Bend by late afternoon or evening Thursday, with the worst of the impacts overnight on Thursday.

Affected areas could see 5-10 inches of rain, with up to 15 inches in some areas. Three- to six-foot storm surges along the coast are expected from Indian Pass to Bonita Beach; they could be as high as 7-9 feet, depending on the intensity of the storm, officials said.

Any school closures necessary because of the storm are expected to be announced later today.

Speaking with reporters after the morning briefing, Scott urged preparation and vigilance.

"You've got to take care of yourself and be prepared," Scott said.

He advised Floridians to make sure they have battery-powered radios so they can monitor the weather and be alert of storm or tornado warnings. He also cautioned residents against driving in flooded waters and approaching downed power lines.

Photo credit: Florida Gov. Rick Scott addresses the media after a storm briefing at the state Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016. Kristen M. Clark / Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau

As recount looms, Tampa Bay Senate race could tighten

As Pinellas and Hillsborough counties await a state order to begin machine recounts in a close state Senate race, more than 140 still-uncounted provisional ballots also still must be reviewed, adding more drama in Florida's closest race on Tuesday's ballot.

On Wednesday, Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, held a lead of 61 votes over Rep. Ed Narain, D-Tampa, in a Democratic primary for Tampa Bay's Senate District 19. Rouson had 10,776 votes and Narain 10,715, for a difference of 61 votes, or less than two-tenths of 1 percent. Secretary of State Ken Detzner must order a machine recount in a multi-county race where unofficial results show two candidates within half of a percentage point.

Rouson ran much stronger in Pinellas and Narain ran stronger in Hillsborough, where Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer's office said Wednesday that about 100 provisional ballots still must be reviewed by a three-member canvassing board at a meeting set for 11 a.m. Thursday.

Hillsborough's web site includes a detailed explanation of provisional ballots. Counties must report their first set of unofficial returns to the state by noon Friday.

Latimer's spokeswoman, Gerri Kramer, said it was not clear how many of Hillsborough's provisionals were cast by Democrats in the Senate race. Pinellas, meanwhile, said it has 43 provisionals, and spokesman Jason Latimer said seven were cast by Democrats in Senate District 19.

The Pinellas canvassing board, chaired by County Judge John Carassas, will meet at 3 p.m. Thursday at the elections center in Largo to review those provisional ballots.

Both counties' canvassing boards have already rejected an unknown number of mail ballots for a variety of defects. By law, Narain and Rouson can examine those ballot envelopes and review the boards' decisions.

Narain has retained Tallahassee election law expert Mark Herron to represent him, and Rouson said he's also planning to lawyer up. "We're going to be seeking counsel," Rouson said. "We're working on it."

A morning-after glimpse at an all-new Florida Senate

Florida's primary election was a mixed bag for Gov. Rick Scott in the Florida Senate, as two candidates he favored won their elections but two others lost in costly and hotly-contested Republican skirmishes across the state.

Scott, with a push from his allies at the Florida Chamber of Commerce, pulled out the stops for Rep. Doug Broxson, R-Gulf Breeze, who cruised to victory in Senate District 1 over Rep. Mike Hill, R-Pensacola Beach. Scott also triumphed in his backyard of Naples where Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, defeated Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples. Hill and Hudson both opposed Scott's priority of a framework for Enterprise Florida to spend $250 million for job incentives.

But two other candidates who opposed that proposal (HB 1325) were victorious Tuesday. Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, won a crowded race for an open Senate seat, and Rep. Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach, defeated Rep. Ritch Workman in a vitriolic race for a Space Coast district. (Scott favored Workman and ex-Rep. Doug Holder of Sarasota over Steube).

In a three-way GOP race that was nip-and-tuck all night, Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, needed a late push from Lake County voters and narrowly defeated Rep. Marlene O'Toole, R-Lady Lake, and businessman David Gee, based on unofficial returns on the state Division of Elections web site. O'Toole and Gee split the GOP vote in The Villages, a pillar of the redrawn Senate District 12 where both are residents.

Broxson, Passidomo, Steube and Mayfield are expected to join a new-look Senate that will have at least 18 new members out of 40 when it reorganizes in November in Tallahassee as it experiences the greatest one-year turnover since term limits took effect in 2000. Steube faces Democrat Frank Alcock in November in an area that has consistently favored Republican candidates.

The other new Senate candidates who won primaries Tuesday and are heavily favored in November or who face only write-in opposition are Democrats Randolph Bracy, Linda Stewart and Victor Torres in Orlando, Kevin Rader and Bobby Powell in Palm Beach, Gary Farmer in Fort Lauderdale and Daphne Campbell in Miami. Two others, both incumbents, also were assured of new terms Tuesday because they face only write-in opposition: Republican Lizbeth Benacquisto of Fort Myers and Democrat Jeff Clemens of Lake Worth.

Despite all those new faces, the partisan composition of the Senate remains 26 Republicans and 14 Democrats -- but that could change on Nov. 8.


Rubio challenges Murphy to six debates

Game on.

Wasting no time after their primary night victories, Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio challenged Democrat Patrick Murphy this morning to six live, televised debates before the November election.

Rubio said this is what the 2010 candidates agreed to. He wants the media to sponsor the debates, including one by a Spanish-language outlet.

Asked last week about debating Rubio, Murphy said "yes, absolutely" but he didn't commit to any specifics at the time. Murphy said their campaigns would negotiate the details.

Minutes after Murphy's primary race was called last night, his campaign announced a 10 a.m. press conference in West Palm Beach, signaling his own official start to the general election campaign.

Here's Rubio's letter to Murphy today: 


August 31, 2016

Patrick Murphy

4521 PGA Blvd #412

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418

Dear Patrick,

Congratulations on your primary victory.

This election comes at a pivotal time for our state and our nation. From domestic issues here at home, to foreign policy and national security, I believe the challenges we face today are as important as they are complex.

Despite our differences, I hope we can both agree that voters deserve to know where we stand on the important issues of our time.

In 2010, all three candidates for the U.S. Senate – Kendrick Meek, Charlie Crist and myself – agreed that Floridians deserved a discussion and debate about the future of our state and nation that went beyond 30-second ads and TV news soundbites. To that end, we all agreed to a series of live televised debates – six in all – hosted by various media outlets.

I am writing because when it comes to a debate about our future, I believe Floridians today deserve no less than what they received in 2010. Therefore, I am asking you to join me in committing to six media-sponsored live debates between now and Election Day. Just as we did in 2010, at least one of these debates should be sponsored by a Spanish language media outlet.

I hope you accept this offer and I look forward to your response.


Marco Rubio
United States Senator

$170 per vote and still not a winner: Self-funded primary candidates didn't fare well


Tuesday night's primary election was not kind to candidates who pumped hundreds of thousands of their own money into their races.

The 10 state legislative candidates with the most personal cash on the line Tuesday together spent $4.36 million on primary races -- and just two look like they're going to win.

State Rep. Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach, won her state Senate primary against Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne. Workman had many Tallahassee special intersts behind him, while Mayfield cashed out assets to fund a bid for higher office.

In a three-way Republican primary for a Central Florida Senate seat, Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, held a 700-vote lead at midnight against Rep. Marlene O'Toole, R-Lady Lake, and another self-funder from The Villages, David Gee. That's a 1-point margin, just enough to be outside the bounds of a recount.

This result was expected. The Times/Herald reported last week that it's becoming increasingly common for candidates to spend more and more personal money on their races, even though they rarely win. In 2008, just three of nine candidates who gave their campaigns $100,000 or more were elected to office.

And the rest? Well, Rep. Irv Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, spent more than $170 on each of 11,000 votes and still failed to unseat Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth. Asked before the election if his investment would be worth it even if he lost, Slosberg, all confidence, insisted, "I'm going to win."

Here's how these self-financers did and how much they spent on each vote. (Note: We've excluded George Gainer, who will take a Senate seat in the Panhandle unopposed after loaning his campaign $500,000 and scaring off any competition.)

1. Slosberg, SD 31 in Palm Beach County: Lost, $1.88 million ($170.15 per vote).

2. Jason Pizzo, D-Miami, SD 38 in Miami-Dade County: Lost, $770,000 ($111.98 per vote).

3. Michael Steinger, D-West Palm Beach, SD 30 in Palm Beach County: Lost, $665,170 ($64.60 per vote).

4. Augie Ribeiro, D-St. Petersburg, SD 19 in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties: Lost, $514,000 ($65.31 per vote).

5. Mayfield, SD 17 in Brevard and Indian River counties: Won, $501,050 ($21.36 per vote).

6. Baxley, SD 12 in Lake, Sumter and Marion counties: Apparent winner, $360,000 ($15.03 per vote).

7. Gee, SD 12: Lost, $310,000 ($18.24 per vote).

8. Brian Hodgers, R-Melbourne, HD 52 in Brevard County: Lost, $240,400 ($50.75 per vote).

9. Wenda Lewis, R-Alachua, HD 21 in Alachua, Gilchrist and Dixie counties: Lost, $205,392 ($49.08 per vote).

10. Jim Waldman, D-Coconut Creek, SD 34 in Broward County: Lost, $202,500 ($25.01 per vote).

August 30, 2016

Easy primary wins set stage for Senate showdown between Rubio and Murphy

Rubio Murphy

@JeremySWallace and @ByKristenMClark

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy easily won their primaries Tuesday, setting up a battle over the next 70 days that promises to play a critical role in determining which political party controls the U.S. Senate for the next two years.

Rubio, who insisted four months ago that he didn’t want his Senate job anymore, won 72 percent of the vote in the Republican primary against the brash, self-funding millionaire Carlos Beruff and two lesser known candidates.

Murphy won 59 percent of the vote in a Democratic primary that included liberal firebrand U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, political novice Pam Keith, a Miami labor attorney and Navy veteran, and two lesser established opponents.

Tuesday’s outcome was what Democratic leaders have wanted for nearly 18 months. Shortly after the 33-year-old, two-term congressman declared his bid for U.S. Senate in March 2015, the party’s establishment showered him with high-profile endorsements — including one from President Barack Obama — and lucrative financial support.

“I will be the hardest-working senator this state has ever had,” Murphy told supporters at his victory party in Palm Beach Gardens. “I will listen to you, I will meet with you and I will bring your voice to the United States Senate.”

Both Rubio and Murphy have been girding for this showdown. During their recent campaign stops, Murphy and Rubio have rarely mentioned their primary opponents. Instead, Murphy has aimed attacks on Rubio, reminding voters that the incumbent vowed earlier this year he would not seek reelection. He continued that line of attack on Tuesday.

“Senator Marco Rubio is the embodiment of the worst of Washington,” Murphy said. “I promise I will serve a full six-year term for the people of Florida.”

Winners of Florida's spirited congressional primaries

via @learyreports

Florida had a number of other spirited primaries that were settled tonight.

District 2: Neal Dunn narrowly defeated Mary Thomas in what was a nasty GOP primary for the seat currently held by Democrat Gwen Graham, who chose not to run because the district became more solidly Republican.

District 9: Darren Soto beat Dena Grayson, wife of Alan Grayson, as well as Susannah Randolph for the Democratic nomination.

District 10: Val Demings easily won, dispatching Geraldine Thompson and Bob Poe for the Democratic nomination.

District 18: Brian Mast beat Rebecca Negron, wife of incoming Florida Senate president Joe Negron, in the GOP primary.

District 19: Francis Rooney scored a big win over Chauncey Goss and Dan Bongino for the GOP nomination and an all-but-certain trip to Congress.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

The race David Rivera lost

RKK31 Rivera News rk


Embattled former U.S. Rep. David Rivera won the Republican primary for Florida House District 118 in a squeaker on Tuesday. But he lost his other race on the ballot.

Rivera was running for state committeeman in the Miami-Dade County Republican Party. He came in second to County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro. State Rep. Manny Diaz of Hialeah came in third.

Barreiro got 25 percent of the vote, compared to Rivera's 18 percent. Only 207 votes separated Rivera and Diaz.

That's a bigger margin than what won Rivera the House primary. He defeated political rookie Anthony Rodriguez by a mere 174 votes.

Longtime Miami-Dade GOP state committeewoman Liliana Ros easily won reelection.

Wasserman Schultz beats Canova in South Florida


U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz staved off her first primary challenge in 24 years, defeating first-time candidate Tim Canova on Tuesday to position herself to hang on to her South Florida seat despite a crush of national opposition to her candidacy.

Wasserman Schultz harnessed the backing of the biggest names in Democratic politics to help her win — President Barack Obama praised her while in Miami, and Vice President Joe Biden and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton campaigned for her in the district. Despite the fact that Canova raised millions of dollars and had an army of progressive volunteers, Wasserman Schultz convinced voters in her district to focus on her advocacy for local causes and her liberal views for decades, and to ignore the Democratic scandal that cost her the post of national party chair.

“This is a community with an incredibly progressive heart that has lifted me up and helped me to be able to shout from the rooftops the idea that you can in America use government as a catalyst to improve people's lives,” she told her supporters at Scuotto’s Pizza & Pasta in Sunrise Tuesday night.

Wasserman Schultz made no mention of Canova and instead bashed Republicans for trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act and urged the crowd to support Clinton.

“We commit right here and now Broward County will carry Hillary Clinton to the White House,” she said.

Wasserman Schultz choked up as she thanked her parents who teaching her the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam, the concept of repairing the world and making it a better place.

She led Canova by about 14 percentage points in a district that stretches from Weston to northern Miami-Dade County.

Keep reading here.

Garcia wins squeaker over Taddeo, setting rematch against Curbelo

001 Joe Garcia DS

Former U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia held off a political surge Tuesday by former friend and political ally Annette Taddeo to win the Democratic primary for Florida’s 26th congressional district, setting up a rancorous rematch against Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo, who ousted Garcia from office two years ago.

“The campaign starts here,” Garcia said as he celebrated at a La Carreta Cuban restaurant in West Kendall. “Talking about the issues that matter to the people of Florida, clean water, the Zika virus, guns, and most of all, better jobs for our families.”

Garcia eked out a victory against Taddeo by 51-49 percent, according to unofficial Florida election results — even though he was outspent by about 4-to-1 by Taddeo, who raised more than twice as much as Garcia and had the political and financial support of the national Democratic Party.

Photo credit: David Santiago, el Nuevo Herald

GOP source: Trump will travel Wednesday to meet Mexican president


Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump will travel to Mexico on Wednesday to meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, a Republican Party source confirmed late Tuesday to the Miami Herald.

Trump will return to the U.S. in time for his planned immigration policy speech at 6 p.m. in Phoenix.

Under pressure to appeal to a broader electorate in November, Trump has appeared to waver on his hardline immigration position.

Meanwhile, top Mexican government officials have toured U.S. cities -- including Miami -- to push back against Trump's "bad ideas" on immigration and trade.

UPDATE: Trump announced his trip on Twitter:

Photo credit: Patrick Farrell, Miami Herald staff

Carlos Beruff goes out swinging, blasts Marco Rubio for running for re-election


Instead of congratulating Marco Rubio on his victory, defeated Republican primary opponent Carlos Beruff ripped into Rubio for failing to keep his word and stay out of the U.S. Senate race in the first place.

“I made the miscalculation of taking Mr. Rubio at his word that he wouldn’t seek re-election if he lost the Presidential Primary,” Beruff said in a 14-paragraph statement after results showed he won just 19 percent of the vote after spending more than $8 million trying to unseat Rubio. “ Even in March he re-iterated that he has told people “10,000” times that he is not running for re-election.  I guess I was silly to believe the words of a Washington politician.”

He didn’t stop there.

“With regard to young Mr. Rubio, in my judgement he made a life mistake.  A man’s word is the most important thing he has.  Mr. Rubio must live with that decision.  Sadly, he could have learned a lot about America and about himself by leaving politics and spending some time in the real world.”

But despite all of that, Beruff declared he would vote for Rubio in November.

“Nonetheless, he is the best of the remaining options,” Beruff said.

Here’s his full statement:

I’m going to say a few things in here that folks in the political arena know to be true, but that they refuse to say publicly.

 Our country is miserably off track; this is something that all but the far left agree on.  I personally came to the point where I felt a responsibility to try to do something about it, and I’ve been blessed enough in business to be able to take a shot at running for office.

 Here’s the American situation – we have moved from a culture of independence to a culture of dependence.  We have moved from capitalism into the direction of socialism.  We have moved from being a beacon of strength internationally to a position of weakness.  And we have moved from a strong financial base to an unprecedented level of debt beyond description or compare.

 Of one thing I am certain – we are foolish if we think we will achieve change by sending the same crowd of people back to run our government again and again.  This is the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results.

 I got into this race because the Senate seat was open and was underwhelmed by our potential choices to represent the Republican Party.  In fact, prior to Marco Rubio going back on his word, our campaign had moved into first place in the Republican primary.

 But sometimes life throws you a curveball.  I made the miscalculation of taking Mr. Rubio at his word that he wouldn’t seek re-election if he lost the Presidential Primary.  Even in March he re-iterated that he has told people “10,000” times that he is not running for re-election.  I guess I was silly to believe the words of a Washington politician.

 Once Mr. Rubio went back on his word, all the other candidates (being the politicians that they are) ran scurrying for the exits.  David Jolly went back to running for Congress, Ron DeSantis went back to running for Congress, and Carlos Lopez-Cantera went back to doing whatever it is that he does, which is basically nothing except collect a check from the Florida taxpayers.

 The directive out of Washington was for everyone to kiss the Senator’s ring and bow out of the race.  We did not yield to the Washington political establishment, and even though we did not win, I make no apologies.

 Herein lies the big problem in America today – the folks in Washington, in both parties, think they can give orders to us.   It is supposed to be just the opposite.  They are supposed to take orders from us.  I do not take orders from Washington, and I suggest that no one else should either.

 Critics will say it was a fool’s errand to stay in the Senate race.  They will say we had no chance of beating Rubio, and they will say I wasted money.   But of course, critics are most often those people who lack the courage and commitment to enter the arena.

 I care deeply about the direction of our country.  I wanted to go to Washington to say enough is enough and to fight for the American Dream that has been so good to my family, and is clearly slipping through our fingers today with the mindless and naïve liberalism of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

 We came up short, but I make no apologies for fighting for what is right.
 One last thing – I will vote for both Trump and Rubio in November.  With all of his sins, and we all have them, Trump’s primary message is one of change, and of America embracing those values that made us the greatest country in the world.

 With regard to young Mr. Rubio, in my judgement he made a life mistake.  A man’s word is the most important thing he has.  Mr. Rubio must live with that decision.  Sadly, he could have learned a lot about America and about himself by leaving politics and spending some time in the real world.  Nonetheless, he is the best of the remaining options.

 We as a campaign, and I personally, am appreciative of the support of those who sought change for this country.  I will never have the right words to show my sincere appreciation to all those friends who gave of their time and resources.  Thank you for your efforts and most importantly, your votes of confidence.

Broward election supervisor referred to state attorney for publishing results early


Secretary of State Ken Detzner has referred Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes to the state attorney and sheriff after election results in the county were released online about 20 minutes prior to the primary election ending Tuesday night.

"It's unacceptable for voting results to be reported prior to polls closing," said Detzner, the state's top election official.

Early results were released on the Broward supervisor's website at around 6:40 p.m. Tuesday. The polls closed in the statewide primary election at 7 p.m.

State law requires election supervisors to wait until the polls close in their county to publish results. It is a third-degree felony to release election results before the polls close.

Asked if Snipes could be fined by following action by the state attorney, Detzner said, "It's a little more serious than that."

Detzner has not been in touch with Snipes. However, he did inform Gov. Rick Scott of the breach.

"His reaction was to follow the law and do the right thing," Detzner said.

Marco Rubio, Patrick Murphy cruise to Senate matchup


U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio cruised to victory in the Republican primary on Tuesday, easily brushing aside multi-millionaire Carlos Beruff who spent $8 million of his own money trying to knock him out office.

With his party’s nomination secure, Rubio is now on path to defend the Senate seat he’s held since 2010 and potentially help the GOP retain the majority in the U.S. Senate in November.

He'll face U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphywho defeated liberal firebrand Alan Grayson and three others to secure the Democratic nomination.

In Murphy, Democrats have a candidate with little statewide name recognition, but one that was thought to be battled tested in having won two difficult campaigns for Congress in a Republican-leaning district. Democrats are banking on Murphy being able to appeal to moderate Republicans and independents — essential to winning a statewide election in Florida.