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November 10, 2016

In the end, Mike Fernandez didn't vote for Clinton or Trump

Bizmon 18 Two PAB

After declaring he'd cross party lines and endorsing Hillary Clinton, Miami healthcare executive and Republican donor Mike Fernandez said Thursday he ultimately didn't vote for her -- or for Donald Trump, whom he'd campaigned against and called "abysmally unfit."

Trump "has a stink of a dictator," Fernandez told the Miami Herald in an email Thursday, citing the president-elect's past contention that only he can fix the country's problems.

"But at the end, I wrote in JEB BUSH!"

Fernandez emailed Republican friends Thursday morning to mention an anecdote about George Washington making way for newly sworn-in successor, John Adams.

"The people have spoken; the politics of the election are over," he wrote, without saying he'd written-in Bush. "Donald Trump is now our elected President. In our system of a Constitutional Republic, regardless of what the different choices might be, the nation goes on functioning. That is the beauty of our democracy."

Among the reply-all responses came one from Bush, who has declined to disclose how he voted after saying he wouldn't support Clinton or Trump, either.

"Well said," he wrote. "Very well said."

Photo credit: Peter Andrew Bosch, Miami Herald file

Rubio was formidable -- but Murphy wasn't helped by his own weaknesses

2016 Election Senate Murphy


A defeat for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy was foreseeable for weeks, with his lingering chance for victory hinging primarily on one main factor: Hillary Clinton.

Had she won Florida by a wide margin, the Democratic presidential nominee’s wave of support would have likely carried Murphy into higher office, too.

But that didn’t happen. Not even close.

Donald Trump won Florida, and ultimately the presidency. And Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio effortlessly beat Murphy, even outperforming Trump’s margin of victory over Clinton.

MORE: Rubio returns to U.S. Senate

Although Murphy would become one among a wave of devastating losses for Democrats nationwide on Tuesday, the signs for Murphy, in particular, were long there.

And by Tuesday evening — before the final outcome was known — even Murphy, his dedicated campaign team and his passionate supporters gathered in Palm Beach Gardens understood the reality he faced.

Full story here.

Photo credit: Jim Rassol / Sun Sentinel

November 09, 2016

Third candidate enters race for Miami Mayor


A third candidate has filed to run for mayor of Miami in 2017.

Christian Canache, a 40-year-old businessman, opened a campaign account Wednesday morning with the city clerk's office. He didn't respond immediately to a reporter's phone call to a number listed on the documents he submitted.

Florida corporate records show Canache is registered as a manager for Andros Consulting International, VIP Miami Services, and Paradise Airlines Holdings. He is listed as president of Fundacion Americana Internacional.

Canache is entering a race that already features Robert Ingram Burke and Commissioner Francis Suarez. The election will be held November 2017, when current Mayor Tomas Regalado must step down due to term limits.


Photo credit Facebook

The Florida Hispanic surge that wasn't enough for Clinton


Cubans 4 trump

@PatriciaMazzei @NickNehamas

South Florida, that blue electoral island separating the rest of the state from the Caribbean, was supposed to hand the nation’s biggest political prize — and therefore the presidency — to Hillary Clinton.

The votes poured in on Election Night Tuesday: about 575,000 more for Clinton than Donald Trump in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties. That was more than 100,000 votes better than President Barack Obama, who defeated Mitt Romney by about 472,000 votes in the same media market four years ago.

It was not enough.

Trump took Florida, in spite of record Miami-Dade and Broward turnout and a Hispanic voter surge across the state. The two developments, revealed in demographics of voters casting early ballots, had suggested an insurmountable Clinton advantage in a state Trump simply could not lose.

Both trends were real. But after all the stories about the dying Cuban-American Republican vote in Miami and the rising Puerto Rican Democratic vote in Orlando, other Florida factors proved to be more important.

“It’s a math equation,” Susie Wiles, Trump’s Florida campaign chief, said Wednesday. “If you’re a Republican and you want to win, you have to figure out a way to have an urban and suburban strategy. But that only works if you can run up the score.”

More here.

Photo credit: Pedro Portal, Miami Herald

Trump's election poses biggest threat yet to Obamacare

via @dchangmiami

On the first day of the new administration, President-elect Donald Trump has vowed, he will ask Congress to immediately begin work on a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

The current president’s signature domestic policy, credited with helping about 20 million Americans gain health insurance coverage, including an estimated 1.6 million people in Florida, already has survived two Supreme Court cases and dozens of repeal votes by Congress.

With a Republican-controlled Congress and Trump’s promise to “repeal and replace,” the ACA may face its greatest threat yet. And though Republicans still lack the 60 votes needed in the Senate for a full repeal, Congress can use the budget reconciliation process to send a bill rescinding parts of the ACA to the president, as happened last year.

No matter the method, though, healthcare experts and economists say the effect of a repeal would depend largely on any new reforms and legislation adopted to replace the ACA.

“That’s kind of the great unknown,” said Mark Rouck, a senior director with Fitch Ratings, a credit rating agency.

More here.

Photo credit: Patrick Farrell, Miami Herald

Miami-Dade's GOP mayor who voted Clinton: "We work in a very non-partisan way with whoever is in power"


Carlos Gimenez, the Republican mayor of Miami-Dade who announced his Hillary Clinton vote  during a heated reelection fight, said Wednesday that Miami-Dade plans to work "in a very non-partisan way" with President-Elect Donald Trump

"He is our president-elect," Gimenez said. "As president-elect, we will try to work with him, and hopefully work with him the best that we can, and move not only Miami-Dade forward, but the country... He's President-Elect Trump. We work in a very non-partisan way with whoever is in power...I look forward to working with him over the next four years." 

Trump became fodder for Gimenez challenger Raquel Regalado in the mayor's successful reelection bid. Before the real estate mogul ran for president, he and Gimenez played golf as Trump began his pursuit of a management deal at Miami-Dade's Crandon golf course. The deal fizzled once it became public about year after talks began, One of Gimenez's sons worked for the Trump organization  as a local lobbyist -- the president-elect owns a golf resort in Doral -- but said he did not get involved in pursuing the Crandon deal.

Regalado, a school-board member, was the first of the two to say she wouldn't vote for Trump. But Gimenez followed suit, and then went a step further, saying he would vote for Clinton.  Regalado declined to say who she voted for, and people in both campaigns said they thought Gimenez's backing of Clinton cost him in Cuban-heavy precincts on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Gimenez said he was up until 4 a.m. watching the presidential returns after his race became a clear win shortly after polls closed at 7 p.m. the night before. On Trump's win, he said: "Obviously, it was the probably one of the greatest political upsets in American history."  

Will Donald Trump appoint a Floridian to the U.S. Supreme Court?


With the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court at the top of the agenda when Donald Trump assumes office, Florida has a chance to place someone on the High Court for the first time in history.

In September Trump released a list of 21 candidates that he would pick. The list included Florida Supreme Court Justice Charles Canady as well as Federico Moreno, a judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

“This list is definitive and I will choose only from it in picking future Justices of the United States Supreme Court,” Trump said in a statement in September when he unveiled the list.

Canady, 62, has been on the Florida Supreme Court since 2008 when then Gov. Charlie Crist appointed him. Canady, a Lakeland native, is a former Florida House member and served in Congress from 1992 to 2000. He later served as then-Gov. Jeb Bush’s General Counsel.

Moreno, 64, has been on United States District Court in Miami since 1990 when he was appointed by President George H.W. Bush. Moreno, a University of Miami law school graduate, previously served on the 11th Judicial Circuit Court and was a Dade County Court Judge in the mid-1980s.

High court seems open to Miami's plea for millions from banks for discriminatory housing loans



WASHINGTON Supreme Court justices appear receptive to Miami’s argument that it’s entitled to sue banks under federal discrimination law for the impact from racially discriminatory loans.

The case hinges on whether the 1968 Fair Housing Act, the last of the landmark civil rights laws, covers only the direct effects of discrimination or also covers indirect consequences, such as property tax losses and increased policing costs.

With a vacancy still unfilled from the death of Antonin Scalia last winter and with Justice Clarence Thomas maintaining his customary silence, the seven other justices grilled lawyers in a lively Election Day session Tuesday in which several also wondered whether the law’s protections might extend to anyone who suffers an indirect financial loss because of discriminatory mortgages.

During oral arguments, justices asked more questions of Neal Katyal, a former U.S. solicitor general who is representing the Bank of America and Wells Fargo in the case, than of Robert Peck, a Washington attorney for the city of Miami.

Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. appeared most skeptical of Miami’s claims, while Justice Elena Kagan targeted the banks’ arguments.

For more.

Read more here:

Richard Corcoran names House leadership team


Speaker-designate Richard Corcoran on Wednesday released the Florida House leadership team for the 2016-2018 term.

Of note: Corcoran has handed powerful posts to his likely successors as speaker: Jose Oliva of Miami Lakes will chair the powerful Rules and Policy Committee. And Chris Sprowls of Palm Harbor will chair the Judiciary Committee, which often handles controversial social and criminal justice issues.

The team is heavy on Miami lawmakers with five members of the Dade delegation. As well, it includes just one woman: Speaker Pro Tempore Jeanette Nunez of Miami.

A list of subcommittee chairmen has not yet been published.

Here's the full commitee list from Corcoran:

Speaker Pro Tempore: Jeanette Nunez, R-Miami

Majority Leader: Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero

Rules and Policy Committee: Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes

Appropriations Committee: Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami

Commerce Committee: Jose Felix Diaz, R-Miami

Education Committee: Michael Bileca, R-Miami

Government Accountability Committee: Matt Caldwell, R-North Fort Myers

Health and Human Services Committee: Travis Cummings, R-Orange Park

Judiciary Committee: Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor

Public Integrity and Ethics Committee: Larry Metz, R-Yalaha

Ways and Means Committee: Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton

Artiles' military approach wins over Florida Senate GOP leaders



Frank Artiles wasn’t on the radar.

When Republicans in the Florida Senate mapped out a plan of attack in a bid to maintain their majority, Artiles, a 3-term House member taking on a Democratic incumbent in a tough district didn’t look like a good bet.

Incoming Senate president Joe Negron said he had his eye on two other Miami-based Senate districts that needed attention, a seat based in Gainesville and another in Tampa.

“I was only going to participate in those four races,” Negron said.

But Negron said that started to change as Artiles, a Marine Corps veteran, started showing him what he was doing on the ground. He was campaigning hard, had broken his district up in quadrants to attack every day, was raising money and routinely sharing a “Daily Operations Report From the Field” document with him.

“He ran his campaign like it was a military operation,” Negron said. “From the moment you walked into his campaign office there was a military feel.”

That’s not a surprise given that Artiles, 43, was in the Marines from 1998 to 2006 and was part of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.

Negron admits he didn’t always understand the military jargon, but he saw the structure of a candidate who could win. That prompted Negron and other state Senators to start pouring money into Artiles’s campaign. With major backing from the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee Artiles’ main campaign account collected $1.2 million compared to Democrat Dwight Bullard who raised just $240,000 for his campaign committee.

“He won us over by earning it on the ground,” Negron said.

The final result? Artiles beat Bullard by 10 percentage points.

Negron said Clinton carried the area Artiles was running in, yet Artiles still prevailed just like Republicans did in four other seats where they were thought to be in trouble of losing.

"We shouldn't have been competitive in many of those seats," Negron said.