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June 20, 2016

Donald Trump fires Corey Lewandowski

Donald Trump fired campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, the New York Times reports:

“The Donald J. Trump Campaign for President, which has set a historic record in the Republican primary having received almost 14 million votes, has today announced that Corey Lewandowski will no longer be working with the campaign,” the campaign spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, said in a statement. “The campaign is grateful to Corey for his hard work and dedication and we wish him the best in the future.”

Lewandowski was charged with misdemeanor battery for the March 8 incident at Trump National Golf Club in which he yanked on the arm of former Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields. Palm Beach State Attorney Dave Aronberg declined to prosecute because he said the evidence wasn't strong enough. Although Lewandowski drew negative publicity for the skirmish in Florida, Trump won all but one Florida county -- Miami-Dade -- in the March 15 primary.

In late March, the Trump campaign hired strategist Paul Manafort and Lewandowski's role in the campaign appeared to diminish. 

See Lewandowski's Truth-O-Meter record from PolitiFact including his False claim that "The chairman of the party of Florida, who is an avid and outward supporter of Marco Rubio, gets to appoint 30 of those delegates."  


Annette Taddeo endorsed by AFL-CIO in Miami Congressional race

Miami Congressional candidate Annette Taddeo has been endorsed by the AFL-CIO.

Taddeo is running in a Democratic primary against former U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia in a Miami-Dade/Monroe district currently represented by Republican U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo.

“Fighting for working families in Florida is at the heart of my campaign,” said Annette Taddeo in a press release. “It’s an honor to have the backing of the AFL-CIO and its members in South Florida, and I look forward to working with them to fight for South Florida working families.”

Andy Madtes, president of the South Florida AFL-CIO, said in a statement: “No one will fight harder for South Florida than Annette Taddeo. Annette understands our struggle, she knows that raising incomes is good for working families and it’s good for South Florida. We’re proud to endorse Annette, and look forward to knocking on every single door, and making every last phone call to help send Annette to Congress.”


President Obama helps Patrick Murphy in new radio ad


Signaling a new stage in the Democratic primary for Florida's U.S. Senate race, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy unveiled a new radio ad on Monday that features a heavyweight narrator: President Barack Obama.

"In Congress, I could always count on Patrick to have my back. He’s been there for me when I needed him," Obama says, asking listeners to support Murphy in the Aug. 30 primary.

In the ad -- titled "For What's Right -- Obama also hails Murphy as a "strong progressive," while praising several of his policy positions, such as on Social Security and Medicare, health care and criminal justice reform.

The 60-second spot is paid for by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which endorsed Murphy more than a year ago and is prepared to spend millions on his behalf in the campaign ahead. Florida's seat, currently held by Republican Marco Rubio, could determine which party controls the U.S. Senate next year.

Obama and Vice President Joe Biden endorsed Murphy in March. They've also already joined the Jupiter congressman on the campaign trail three times this spring -- Obama and Biden with separate trips to Miami and Biden once by himself in Orlando.

Murphy is competing against fellow U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, and Miami labor attorney and former naval officer Pam Keith in the U.S. Senate primary.

Listen to the radio ad here:

Continue reading "President Obama helps Patrick Murphy in new radio ad" »

In response to Orlando Senate votes on gun bills today

The U.S. Senate, divided and bewildered over how to respond to America’s latest mass shooting, will vote Monday on four measures touted as keeping guns out of the hands of terrorists.

All of them have failed in political show votes after previous massacres. All need 60 votes to pass, an enormous hurdle – especially in an overheated election season on a topic on which compromise is hard to find.

What exactly are the proposals up for a vote? And is there any chance that this time around might be different? Here’s a summary.

1) Democrats are lining up behind a measure by Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California that would give the government broad authority to block gun sales to people who’ve been subject of a terrorism investigation in the past five years.

Such people would be flagged during the gun background check. The government could then veto the sale if the Justice Department decides there is a “reasonable suspicion” the buyer has become involved in terrorism or is preparing to do so. Anyone who gets denied could appeal.

Such a law might have prevented Orlando shooter Omar Mateen from buying the two weapons he used in the attack. Mateen was investigated in 2013 and 2014 for possible terrorism links, but had been cleared by the FBI and was not on any lists when he purchased a Sig Sauer MCX semi-automatic assault rifle and a Glock handgun.

Feinstein’s proposal was soundly defeated in December following the terror attack in San Bernardino, Calif. It only received 45 of the needed 60 votes, with just a single Republican, Mark Kirk of Illinois, crossing over to vote in support. The White House is now on board but Republican minds aren’t changing.

Keep reading from Sean Cockerham and David Lightman of McClatchy.

Florida City politicians switch endorsement to Joe Garcia


Florida City mayor Otis Wallace, vice mayor Sharon Butler and the Florida City Commission endorsed District 26 Congressional candidate Joe Garcia on Monday morning, according to Garcia’s campaign.

The endorsements are notable because Butler, along with city commissioners Avis Brown and Roy Shiver, previously endorsed Garcia’s primary opponent Annette Taddeo according to a January 29th press release by her campaign.

Their endorsements came before Garcia announced he would run for his old Congressional seat in February. Garcia represented the 26th District from 2013 to 2015 before being defeated by Republican Carlos Curbelo.

“It’s an honor to have the support of Mayor Wallace and so many dedicated Florida City leaders,” Garcia said in a press release issued by his campaign.

Wallace, the mayor of Florida City for over 30 years, has faced questions about his use of power in the past.

Garcia and Taddeo, both Democrats, are seeking to challenge Curbelo in the November general election.

June 19, 2016

Fact-checking Super PAC ad that says Trump loves war

Donald Trump would be "too dangerous for America," says a new ad from Priorities USA Action, a political action committee supporting Hillary Clinton.

The 30-second ad, which will air in eight battleground states, features several of Trump’s own comments about foreign policy. Meet the Press host Chuck Todd played a portion of the ad on the June 19 show as an example of the kind of ads Trump can expect to face in the general election.

It starts with MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski asking Trump, "Who are you consulting with consistently so that you are ready on day one?"

"I’m speaking with myself, number one," he responds.

Then the ad cuts to four more of Trump’s comments:

"This is the Trump theory on war… I’m really good at war.  I love war in a certain way."

"Including with nukes, yes, including with nukes."

"I want to be unpredictable, I’m not going to tell you right now what I’m gonna do."

"I know more about ISIS than the generals. Believe me."

The "nukes" comment in particular caught our attention. It’s clear that it’s separate from the preceding comment — "I love war in a certain way" — but the implication seems to be that Trump is a warmonger who isn’t afraid to use nuclear weapons.

We decided to check out the context of both of those comments and see if the ad is fairly representing Trump's position. We also looked at Trump’s overall views on nuclear policy.

See what Lauren Carroll of PolitiFact found.

Taddeo touts her grassroots support


Progressive Democrats were noticeably more active at yesterday's Leadership Blue Gala, and District 26 candidate Annette Taddeo was eager to attach herself to the party activists in attendance. 

"I've always been one of the grassroots," Taddeo said. "What you are seeing is what you should see at the party meeting." 

While the Democratic primary between Tim Canova and Debbie Wasserman Schultz presents a clear clash of establishment and progressive interests, both Taddeo and Joe Garcia, her Democratic primary opponent, have deep ties to party elites.

Taddeo served as chair of the Miami-Dade Democratic party, ran for lieutenant governor with Charlie Crist in 2014 and has the blessing of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which irked Garcia's allies in Congress. Garcia previously represented the 26th District in Congress and has the support of multiple sitting representatives.  

"It's grassroots activism that got the establishment behind me," Taddeo said. "We have thousands and thousands of donors who have given to our campaign and our average contribution is $90 or less." 

Taddeo believes the newly redrawn 26th District, currently represented by Republican Carlos Curbelo, is ripe for the taking due to changing attitudes among young Cuban voters. 

"Charlie and I were the first ones in the history of Florida to come out and say, 'You know what, the embargo hasn’t worked,'" Taddeo said. "We won the Cuban-American vote. More people than not agree with our point of view and the changes the president made after our election." 

Taddeo emphasized the after in her remarks, hinting that if Barack Obama chose to lift the embargo sooner it could have played a role in the Florida gubernatorial race, which she and Crist ultimately lost.

National Democrats have identified Curbelo's seat as a prime opportunity for a pickup, and the race will be one of the most expensive in the country. 

Pro-Clinton super PAC attacks Donald Trump over foreign policy statements

Priorities USA, a pro Hillary Clinton super PAC, unveiled a new TV ad today attacking Donald Trump for statements he has made about foreign policy and security.

The ad includes clips of Trump saying he "I love war," consults with himself and knows "more about ISIS than the generals do."

The ad is running in Florida as well as multiple other states.




Wasserman Schultz and Canova spar over labor endorsements


U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz broke down in tears Saturday with almost three dozen union members flanking her at a press conference, attempting to highlight her support among organized labor groups after the Florida AFL-CIO declined to endorse her last week.

“When I could choose to work in Florida, unfortunately a right-to-work state, I chose to join a labor union and I was very proud to do that,” Wasserman Schultz said.

The Democratic National Committee chairwoman’s opponent as she seeks re-election, Nova Southeastern law professor Tim Canova, was quick to label the non-endorsement a “rejection” of Wasserman Schultz and her labor policies.

But Canova did not get an endorsement either, and Florida AFL-CIO President Mike Williams referred to Canova’s position as a “little bit of a reach.”

“If that’s the case, then every candidate who got a no endorsement has been rejected by the AFL-CIO, and I certainly don’t see it that way,” Williams said.

Read more here: Wasserman Schultz and Canova spar over labor endorsements

June 18, 2016

Progressive and black caucuses back Bullard at Leadership Blue Gala


State Senator Dwight Bullard (D-Cutler Bay) was feeling the love at the Leadership Blue Gala on Saturday, as progressives applauded his decision to stay in the District 40 senate race and not run for Gwen Margolis’ now vacated seat in District 38.

“I shun identity politics,” Bullard said in response to calls that his new district is too Hispanic for him to win. “It’s embarrassing when Democrats stab each other in the back.”

The Democrat faces a primary challenge from former Miami-Dade school board member Ana Rivas Logan, who is backed by state party establishment supporters, after Bullard struggled to fundraise.

“Fundraising is always important but as Democrats we talk about the nature of money in politics so if zeroes in a bank account is going to be a litmus test for who’s a good candidate and who’s not then we’re heading down a very, very unfortunate path,” Bullard said in response to his fundraising numbers.

Multiple black caucus leaders, including chair Henry Crespo Sr., were fiercely critical of Democrats who ignore black voters because they are seen as reliable votes that don’t need to be won.

“In our [majority-minority] districts you got one person and we don’t vote because there’s not an option,” Crespo said.

Crespo pointed out that it’s never an issue when a white or Hispanic politician represents a heavily black district but that black politicians like Bullard are seen as liabilities in districts without a large African-American voter base.

Bullard was warmly received at the black and progressive caucus meetings and Rivas Logan did not make an appearance at either meeting. The Leadership Blue Gala is an annual event for South Florida Democrats and was held at the Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood on Saturday.

“Only the wealthy, only folks of means, or folks who have connections to means become the standard-bearers for the party,” Bullard said. “The notion of that is troubling.”

Bullard said his support comes from voters that can’t give large donations but instead use grassroots efforts to get out the vote.