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October 18, 2016

Coming to Curbelo's aid on Spanish-language radio: $400K in ads from GOP gay rights super PAC


Miami's Spanish-language radio airwaves are about to get filled with ads for Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo and against Democrat Joe Garcia, courtesy of a GOP gay rights super PAC.

American Unity PAC, which last month unveiled a $150,000 digital ad campaign on Curbelo's behalf, says it has bought $400,000 in Spanish-language radio ads between Wednesday and Election Day to help the endangered Curbelo try to hold on to Democratic-leaning 26th congressional district.

"He's such a bold voice for us, and he's a young member of Congress," Tyler Deaton, senior adviser to American Unity, said about the group's sizable investment in Curbelo. He estimated the super PAC will spend about $750,000 on the race, between the radio ads and an expansion of its digital ads, which focus on equal pay for women and are out in Spanish and English.

American Unity will air a positive, pro-Curbelo ad and a negative, anti-Garcia ad, both of which will also be available online.

"Curbelo is a different kind of Republican," the pro-Curbelo spot says, casting the congressman as a maverick and a champion of immigration reform the environment and equal pay for women. "He opposes the dangerous deal with Iran which rewards a regime that persecutes women, Christians and gay people and threatens to wipe Israel off the map."

Listen to the ad

As for the anti-Garcia spot?

"Joe Garcia is back again," it begins. "We fired Garcia from Congress just two years ago after a sleazy corruption scandal."

Listen to the ad 2

Group concedes Amendment 1 was 'political jiu-jitsu' designed to convince voters it's pro-solar

Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 4.41.16 PMThe policy director of a think tank hired by Florida’s largest electric utilities admitted at a conference this month what opponents have claimed for months: The industry attempted to deceive voters into supporting restrictions on the expansion of solar by shrouding Amendment 1 as a pro-solar amendment.

Sal Nuzzo, a vice president at the James Madison Institute in Tallahassee, detailed the strategy used by the state’s largest utilities to create and finance Amendment 1 at the State Energy/Environment Leadership Summit in Nashville on Oct. 2.

Nuzzo called the amendment, which has received more than $21 million in utility industry financing, “an incredibly savvy maneuver” that “would completely negate anything they [pro-solar interests] would try to do either legislatively or constitutionally down the road,”according to an audio recording of the event supplied to the Herald/Times.

He offered others a recommendation: “As you guys look at policy in your state, or constitutional ballot initiatives in your state, remember this: solar polls very well,” he said.

“To the degree that we can use a little bit of political jiu-jitsu and take what they’re kind of pinning us on and use it to our benefit either in policy, in legislation or in constitutional referendums — if that’s the direction you want to take — use the language of promoting solar, and kind of, kind of put in these protections for consumers that choose not to install rooftop.”

The comments underscore the claims made by opponents to Amendment 1 on the November ballot that the utility-backed political committee, Consumers for Smart Solar, was formed to undercut attempts to allow third-party sales of rooftop solar by leaving voters with the impression that their alternative will expand solar generation in Florida. More here. 


Obama discredits Trump's charges of 'rigged' election citing Florida

via @learyreports

WASHINGTON - Blasting Donald Trump's complaints about a "rigged" election, President Obama today invoked the state of Florida and Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

"I have never seen in my lifetime or in modern political history any presidential candidate trying to discredit the elections and the election process before votes have even taken place.  It's unprecedented.  It happens to be based on no facts. Every expert, regardless of political party, regardless of ideology -- conservative or liberal -- who has ever examined these issues in a serious way will tell you that instances of significant voter fraud are not to be found; that, keep in mind, elections are run by state and local officials, which means that there are places like Florida, for example, where you've got a Republican governor whose Republican appointees are going to be running and monitoring a whole bunch of these election sites.  The notion that somehow if Mr. Trump loses Florida it's because of those people that you have to watch out for -- that is both irresponsible, and, by the way, it doesn't really show the kind of leadership and toughness that you'd want out of a President.

Continue reading "Obama discredits Trump's charges of 'rigged' election citing Florida" »

Emails show Clinton team considered Tallahassee mayor for VP

via @adamsmithtimes

Among the illegally hacked emails of Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta was a list of potential running meets he put together in March. Only one Floridian made the list: Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, 37, a rising star in Florida politics who apparently had risen considerably higher than we realized. 

Gillum does have a national network of influential friends and allies, including major donors and fundraisers, though his work with People for the American Way. Initially he was the only Floridian selected to speak at the Democratic National Convention this year.

--ADAM C. SMITH, Tampa Bay Times

Clinton plans Florida swing early voting starts next week


The start of early voting will bring Hillary Clinton to Florida for two days next week, her campaign announced Tuesday.

Clinton will be in town next Tuesday and Wednesday. In-person early voting begins in several big counties, including Miami-Dade and Broward, on Monday.

As part of her trip, Clinton is scheduled to attend her "final" Florida fundraiser Tuesday night at the Pinecrest home of donor Chris Korge. No public Clinton events have been announced yet.

Democratic poll suggests Trump fallout might be hurting at least one Miami Republican


Donald Trump’s rough weeks on the campaign trail might have hurt at least one down-ballot Miami Republican, according to a new poll that shows U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s advantage has shrunk over her Democratic challenger, Scott Fuhrman.

Ros-Lehtinen, a veteran congresswoman, still tops Fuhrman, a first-time candidate, by 9 percentage points in the Frederick Polls survey commissioned by Fuhrman’s campaign. But her 41-32 percent lead is smaller than the 57-38 percent margin she held in September, when Frederick also polled the race — showing some voters have shifted from backing Ros-Lehtinen to feeling undecided.

When pollsters tested negative messages against Ros-Lehtinen, the contest flipped to 40-31 percent in Fuhrman’s favor.

Fuhrman’s campaign shared much of the poll and details about its demographics with the Miami Herald, but wouldn’t publicize the messages tested against Ros-Lehtinen. Fuhrmanhas aired a TV ad attacking the congresswoman as out of touch because of her hardline position on U.S. policy toward Cuba.

But a bigger reason behind the drop in Ros-Lehtinen’s support could be Trump. In the poll, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s popularity among voters in Ros-Lehtinen’s Democratic-leaning district also fell.

More here.

Ryan: We're going to keep U.S. embargo against Cuba

Cuba- paul ryan
via @FrancoOrdonez

WASHINGTON -- House Speaker Paul D. Ryan left little doubt about his current stance on the Obama administration’s warming ties with the Cuban government. He’s not a fan.

“The Castros continue to jail pro-democracy activists at a rate of hundreds per month, yet it is full steam ahead for the Obama administration’s efforts to appease this oppressive regime,” Ryan said in a statement Tuesday morning.

It’s a bold statement by the speaker and indicating a leadership strong position against President Barack Obama’s rapprochement with Cuban and public campaign to lift the embargo. Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, blasted the Obama administration’s latest round of regulatory changes meant to chip away at the U.S. embargo against Cuba and ease trade and travel with the island nation.

The strong rhetoric by Ryan on Cuba appears to be increasing. Ryan has spoken out more in recent years against what he’s called “appeasement” by the Obama administration. It’s a shift after being criticized for his earlier support for lifting the embargo.

More here.

Photo credit: John Hart, Associated Press

Murphy elaborates on old Facebook photo Rubio brought up in debate

Campaign 2016 Florida (3)

via @TMarreroTimes

TAMPA -- The Facebook photo has been circulating for weeks among GOP circles: a fresh-faced Patrick Murphy sitting at a table with one arm around a woman and a few fingers of his other hand apparently on her breast.

During Monday night's debate, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio tried to use the photo as a weapon against Murphy, a Democratic U.S. House member running to unseat the West Miami Republican.

Murphy has criticized Rubio for his support for Donald Trump, especially after allegations about Trump's treatment of women. In the latter half of the debate, Rubio turned the tables and referenced Murphy's photo, calling it "inappropriate behavior." Murphy appeared flustered.

On Tuesday, Murphy, 33, dismissed the photo as an artifact from his early 20s and said Rubio's attempts to use it against him were "low" and "desperate."

"Look, when Donald Trump goes low, Marco Rubio goes lower," Murphy told reporters after a campaign event in West Tampa. "This is a picture with my girlfriend from my 20s, a college girlfriend. I dated her for four years, and we were at dinner."

Murphy graduated from the University of Miami in 2006. He first ran for the U.S. House in 2011, winning his Palm Beach County-Treasure Coast seat in the 2012 election.

"Look, Marco Rubio showed just how desperate he was last night by trying to wiggle, and got himself in this knot about Donald Trump," Murphy said. "He's trying to pivot and change the subject. It was very clear to me how uncomfortable Marco Rubio was when talking about Donald Trump and someone who's bragging about sexually assaulting women. It's unbelievable to me."

Asked later to elaborate on the date and circumstances of the photo, a Murphy spokesman said the campaign would let the congressman's words stand on their own.

Continue reading "Murphy elaborates on old Facebook photo Rubio brought up in debate" »

DSCC pulls last remaining ad support for Patrick Murphy

Murphy primary nite 1 - richard graulich pbp


It's official: The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee won't be helping Democrat Patrick Murphy at all with TV ads during the general election campaign this fall.

The committee this week started cutting the remainder of its reserved ad time -- worth about $2 million -- which had been planned for the final week of the election.

The decision was not unexpected, because the DSCC has been gradually withdrawing its money from Florida since early September when the committee had initially claimed it would shift its resources to closer to Election Day. (It didn't.)

The group had, this spring, reserved $10 million in total ad time to support Murphy, a two-term congressman from Jupiter who the DSCC was quick to endorse after Murphy declared his candidacy in spring 2015.

However, this fall, the DSCC's dollars were re-directed to other states with competitive Senate races, as Murphy struggled to gain ground on Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

While Republicans were quick to link the DSCC's decision with Murphy and Rubio's first debate on Monday, DSCC spokeswoman Sadie Weiner said in an email the decision to cut the remaining dollars was made before the event.

She said it was "absolutely not a reaction to the debate. Patrick did incredibly well."

The DSCC's decision comes as a new poll was released Tuesday that showed Murphy within 2 percentage points of Rubio. It was conducted in the week prior to the debate.

Earlier this month, a Democratic super PAC, the Senate Majority PAC, also pulled about $6 million of its planned $10.5 million ad support for Murphy.

Photo credit: Richard Graulich / Palm Beach Post

Ben Carson gives wrong early voting start date in Florida



Former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson's group is publicizing the wrong date for the starting of early voting.

A press release today from My Faith Votes, Carson's group which aims to get Christians to vote, says "early voting starts tomorrow in Florida."

No, it doesn't.

And ironically, Carson's press release links to the state Division of Elections website which shows that the early voting schedule can vary depending upon the county but it must begin at a minimum on the 10th day before the election which means Oct. 29th. The earliest date that counties can begin early voting is Oct. 24th -- both Broward and Miami-Dade counties will start that day and offer the maximum number of early voting hours.

From Carson's press release:

"As hard as is it to believe, the election is just around the corner. Finding time on Election Day (November 8th) can be difficult and sometimes impossible.  But with early voting, you can skip the lines and pick a date and time that works best for you.
I noticed you live in Florida, so for you, it literally is around the corner. Starting tomorrow, you can vote early and in person."
Carson, who lives part time in West Palm Beach, has endorsed Donald Trump.
We aren't certain what deadline Carson had in mind for Oct. 19th. Today is the last day to register to vote. 
A spokesperson for My Faith Votes told the Miami Herald in an email this evening that the email about early voting was sent in error and it sent a new email correcting the information:

"You may have recently received an email from My Faith Votes reminding you that early voting was about to begin in your home state of Florida. The email incorrectly stated that Florida early voting begins on October 19th. Early voting in Florida actually begins the week of October 24, with the specific date depending on the county in which you live."

Photo by the Associated Press