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August 25, 2016

Rubio raps FEMA over algae blooms

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@jamesmartinrose

Sen. Marco Rubio criticized the Obama administration for again declining to issue a federal disaster declaration in response to toxic algae in Florida's waterways.

"Even though the end to this disaster is not in sight, the President is telling our state we are on our own," the Miami Republican said Thursday in a statement.

Barack Obama did not appear to be involved in the decision. In a brief letter earlier Thursday, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate rejected Gov. Rick Scott's appeal of his agency's earlier denial of extra money to help fight the algae blooms from Lake Okeechobee discharges intended to protect its aging dike.

"After a thorough review of all information contained in your initial request and appeal, we reaffirm our original findings that supplemental federal assistance under the Stafford Act is not appropriate for this event," Fugate wrote to Scott. "Therefore, I must inform you that your appeal for an emergency declaration is denied."

The thick algae blooms look like guacamole and smell bad. The algae has fouled Treasure Coast waterways fed by Lake Okeechobee.

"The Administration has chosen yet again to turn a blind eye to the livelihoods of Floridians who are affected by this toxic algae," Rubio said.

For more on Rubio's response:

Photo credit: Wilfredo Lee, Associated Press

 


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/environment/article86989367.html#storylink=cpy

 

GOP primary between Marco Rubio and Carlos Beruff already looks over

@JeremySWallace

Tuesday is Florida's primary elections, but you wouldn't know it by watching either of the two top Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate over the past week.

Carlos Beruff, the brash, self funding Republican hoping to take out Sen. Marco Rubio, has had just one campaign appearance over the last six days and reduced his television advertising spending.

Rubio has given three public campaign speeches totaling about one hour over three days and mentioned the looming primary race for all of 30 seconds. And in that short mention to campaign volunteers in Tallahassee, Rubio characterized Tuesday's get-out-the-vote effort as "practice" for what his campaign will need in November.

Officially both campaigns say they are still working hard and taking nothing for granted. But the actions of both show that reality is setting in with each new poll. On Thursday, Mason-Dixon Polling & Research released new polling data from 400 likely Republican voters that showed 61 percent back Rubio, compared to just 22 percent for Beruff.

Rubio has this lead even though Beruff has poured more than $8 million of his own money into the campaign and pounded Rubio in a barrage of negative television ads over a six-week period.

Beruff's campaign is bypassing smaller events that campaigns traditionally do in the days before an election, and is focusing instead on TV interviews in key markets to reach a bigger audience. On Wednesday, for instance, Beruff did a pair of interviews in Spanish in Miami. On Miami's Colombian-American radio station, Caracol, Beruff insisted he had no regrets about the campaign and was not giving up.

"I don't know how to quit," he said.

Full Story Here

 

Message from South Florida water managers: Don't make us mad

SFWMD InterlandiIf you want to keep a low profile, don't disagree with the South Florida Water Management District, or ask for its email list.

That's what Lisa Interlandi, a lawyer with the nonprofit Everglades Law Center, and other environmental advocates have learned in the last few months as they have become the target of email blasts by the state agency.

The latest email was issued Monday to the more than 5,000 addresses on the district's email list. With a subject head labeled "Your privacy," the agency gave out Interlandi's email address and then announced she had done what anyone in Florida is entitled to do: submit a records request seeking SFWMD's email distribution list.

"As you may know, such email lists and addresses are commercial commodities that are often bought and sold,'' the agency wrote. It cited no examples. "The law prohibits SFWMD from asking about the intended use for the information. Any concern you may have about a potential invasion of privacy is understandable."

Interlandi said the suggestion that she wanted to sell the list was “absurd.”

“It's a public record. It has no value. Anyone who asks for it can get it for free,’’ she said. Instead, she said she wanted the list after watching the water management district increasingly use hostile news releases to target critics of the agency and she thought having the list could be helpful if anyone wanted to "counter the attacks."

Randy Smith, spokesman for the SFWMD, said Thursday the agency never before had “received a mass public records demand for an email address list” and called the request “completely out of the ordinary.”

“Persons having entrusted their email addresses to the state have every right to know that their information has been obtained by a third party without their consent,’’ he said.

Most other state agencies include a standard disclosure on the bottom of agency emails remainding people that Florida has a broad public records law and most written communication to or from state officials regarding state business -- including all emails -- is considered a public record.

The SFWMD, which is funded by state and local tax dollars and is considered a state agency, does not include such a disclosure when it sends out blast emails to its more than 5,000 recipients. Smith did not answer why. Story here. 

Above: Excerpt from SFWMD Aug. 22 blast email

 

We asked the district to explain the policy and decisions surrounding it. Here are our questions and its answers:

Continue reading "Message from South Florida water managers: Don't make us mad" »

Florida to voters: Vote early in case storm hits

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@PatriciaMazzei

It's too early to say if a tropical wave rumbling in the Caribbean will hit Florida early next week. But if it does, there's a chance the storm could drench Election Day.

On Thursday, the state's chief elections officer called on voters to cast their ballots early.

"While it is too premature to determine if voters will be impacted by adverse weather conditions, I encourage all Florida voters who have not voted by mail to get ahead of any possible weather disturbances by voting early," Secretary of State Ken Detzner said in a statement disseminated by Gov. Rick Scott's office.

Election Day is Tuesday. Early polls will be open through Sunday in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

Photo credit: National Hurricane Center

Florida Gov. Rick Scott plans another DC trip to ask for Zika money

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@PatriciaMazzei

Florida Gov. Rick Scott plans to return to Washington when Congress convenes after Labor Day to again press lawmakers for emergency funds to combat the Zika virus.

"I will travel to Washington D.C. to meet with members of Congress on the day they return to work to make sure they immediately get something done on this urgent issue," Scott said in a statement Thursday. "During Congress's vacation, we have identified 43 cases of locally acquired Zika in four Florida counties. The Zika virus demands immediate federal action and I will impress upon our congressional members the urgency to protect our residents and visitors."

The Republican governor has already lobbied the GOP-controlled Congress for help, to no avail. Federal Zika dollars are scheduled to start drying up at the end of September.

Scott has blamed Democratic President Barack Obama for also failing to find money to deal with the virus outbreak. The president has requested a $1.9 billion allocation from Congress. Scott hasn't committed to any number.

Locally transmitted Zika has been identified in Wynwood and Miami Beach, and there are two cases under investigation in Pinellas and Palm Beach counties.

Photo credit: Patrick Farrell, Miami Herald staff

Patrick Murphy on debating Marco Rubio: "Yes, absolutely"

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@alextdaugherty

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy is in general election mode. 

With five days to go until the Aug. 30 primary, Murphy continues to look ahead to November, where he will likely face Republican Marco Rubio

"We're about 75 days out, things are getting heated now," he said in Miami Beach Thursday. 

Murphy, who recently is polling within the margin of error against Rubio, did not hesitate when asked if he'll debate Rubio.

"Yes, absolutely," Murphy said. "I've always debated my opponents. I had a great debate with Congressman Allen West, Carl Domino my last opponent...I look forward to debating Senator Rubio because there is going to be a very sharp contrast." 

Murphy did not offer set terms for a potential debate, saying "Our teams will, I'm sure, be in touch with those terms but any forum where we can exchange ideas I look forward to." 

However, Murphy made similar comments earlier in the primary phase of this campaign but ultimately didn't follow through on his pledge.

Murphy generally avoided public forums where he would have shared the stage with his Democratic rivals, U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson and Miami attorney Pam Keith. This summer, Murphy dropped out of a planned debate against Grayson and he has ignored offers by Keith to debate her. Neither opponent was mentioned during his remarks on Thursday.

"We agreed to debate Alan Grayson...but the only thing that changed from when I agreed to debate Congressman Grayson and now is his former wife coming out with 20 years of reports of domestic violence," Murphy said at a campaign stop in South Miami last week.  "I cannot in good conscience continue to give him this platform."

The U.S. Rep. from Jupiter was in Miami Beach on Thursday to receive the endorsement of mayor Philip Levine, who repeatedly attacked Rubio for failing to address climate change. 

"I've never even seen him show up here and talk about sea level rise," Levine said. "We need pumps, we need to raise our roads."

Levine's dog briefly walked through the press conference, stopping to stare at the politicians before continuing down the hallway.

Mystery flier tries to link Miami-Dade mayoral challenger to Trump

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@PatriciaMazzei

Donald Trump's name won't be on the Miami-Dade County ballot Tuesday. But he's popping up in the county mayor's race anyway -- this time, in an attack flier against challenger Raquel Regalado.

"Miami doesn't need its own Donald Trump!" says the piece, which pictures Regalado's face on one end of the flier and Trump's on the other.

In the middle, it cites the Miami Herald editorial board's endorsement of Regalado's opponent, Mayor Carlos Gimenez. The editorial characterized Regalado as making "over the top" charges against Gimenez "much like Donald Trump's."

Regalado has no known ties to Trump. She has said that, even though she's a Republican, she won't vote for him. It's Gimenez -- who also won't vote for Trump -- who has met Trump, golfed with him and tried to work out a deal for Trump to run a county-owned golf course. Gimenez's son Carlos J. Gimenez also lobbies on behalf of Trump National Doral.

Regalado's political committee has highlighted Gimenez's Trump connection in a flier of its own. Both sides appear certain Trump's name is so unpopular in liberal, Hispanic Miami-Dade -- the only county Trump lost in the March 15 presidential primary -- that they are trying to use him to drag each other down.

The group behind the anti-Regalado mailer, however, is a mystery.

A disclaimer on the piece says it was paid for by Committee for Integrity, Inc., a corporation registered in Tampa. But corporate records don't reveal who's behind it; the entity, created in June, is listed to a Daniel Silverman of Tampa. The organization isn't registered as a state or county political committee.

Committee for Integrity has also put out a robocall against Regalado.

Regalado characterized the flier attack as a sign Gimenez's allies fear she has gained ground on him and could force him into a November run-off.

"Despite the rhetoric desperation is clearly setting it at [the] Gimenez campaign as they focus on Stopping Raquel Regalado," she said in a text message.

--with Douglas Hanks

PolitiFact: Donald Trump's misleading claim about Hispanics and poverty

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Furthering his efforts to reach out to minorities, Donald Trump at a rally in Tampa decried how Hispanics have fared economically under President Barack Obama.

"Hispanic citizens have been suffering under this president," Trump said Aug. 24, 2016. "Since President Obama came into office, another 2 million Hispanics have joined the ranks of those in poverty. Two million have joined the ranks of poverty, not of wealth. I want you to join the ranks of people that are making phenomenal livings. ... The number of Hispanic children living in poverty increased by 15 percent in that short period of time."

To test the accuracy of Trump’s comment, we turned to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which tracks poverty by age and race, among other characteristics. The most recent full year for which data has been published is 2014.

Keep reading Louis Jacobson's fact-check from PolitiFact.

Hollywood lawyer Alan Koslow pleads guilty

Koslow

Hollywood lawyer Alan Koslow pleaded guilty this morning to one count related to money laundering in an FBI sting that took down the politically influential lobbyist.

Koslow entered the plea before U.S. District Court Judge William Dimitrouleas in Fort Lauderdale, according to court records. He faces a maximum of five years in prison when he is sentenced Nov. 10.

Koslow was once known as the "King of Hollywood" for the power he held at City Hall. He was the city's attorney between 1990-93 until he had to resign after it came to light that he had a relationship with a city secretary with whom he helped negotiate a settlement. He later became a lawyer and lobbyist at Becker and Poliakoff and represented developers before the city.

According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's office, here is what led to the criminal charges:

Beginning in November 2012, Koslow met with two undercover agents from the FBI. During the course of several meetings that followed, the undercover agents explained to Koslow, and later to business owner Susan Mohr, their need to launder cash that was being generated from an illegal gambling business and from the unlawful sale of narcotics and counterfeit Viagra.

Koslow and Mohr agreed to accept the cash and then provide checks to the agents, for the amount of the cash minus a five percent fee, drawn on the business bank account of “Mohr2GoGifts,” a business owned by Mohr and located in Fort Lauderdale. The FBI sting ended in 2013 but Koslow wasn't charged until this year leading to speculation that federal authorities used him to help nab others.

Koslow entered drug treatment this summer after testing positive for cocaine multiple times. He now attends outpatient treatment in Boca Ration, court records show. Mohr also pleaded guilty to one count this week.

Tim Canova ad says Debbie Wasserman Schultz flip flopped on fracking, medical marijuana

 

Tim Canova's new TV ad attacking U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz accuses her of flip flopping on a few issues including fracking.

In an Aug. 14th debate on CBS4, Wasserman Schultz sounded open to fracking in Florida.

Host Jim DeFede asked: "So you are open to fracking as a possibility in Florida?"

She replied: "As long as we have significant regulations."

When the Miami Herald sent her spokesman a list of questions asking what type of regulations she wants, the campaign sent a statement saying she supports a state ban.

"Let me be clear, I am against fracking, especially in Florida," she said in a statement.

The ad also accuses Wasserman Schultz of flip flopping on medical marijuana, payday lending and Trans Pacific Partnership. Here is some background:

Medical marijuana: Wasserman Schultz opposed the 2014 state constitutional amendment but in this race says she is undecided about the similar amendment on Nov. 8th ballot. In May, she voted in favor of a measure to give veterans access to medical marijuana after opposing a similar measure in 2014.

Payday lending: Wasserman Schultz defended Florida's payday law which has been bashed by consumer groups and she pushed back against proposed rules by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In June, she backed away from opposition to the new rules.

Trans Pacific Partnership: She voted to fast track TPP in 2015 but recently told the Sun Sentinel that she is still evaluating it.

Canova and Wasserman Schultz are competing in the Aug. 30th Democratic primary in a district that stretches from Weston to northern Miami-Dade County. The ad is running on cable and broadcast.

 

 

Mason-Dixon poll: Rubio 46%, Murphy 43%

@PatriciaMazzei

Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Patrick Murphy might cruise to primary victories in Florida's U.S. Senate race Tuesday, a new poll suggests, but they will be locked in a much tighter contest for the November general election.

The Mason-Dixon Polling & Research survey shows Rubio, the incumbent senator, romping primary challenger Carlos Beruff by 61-22 percent. Murphy, a Jupiter congressman, leads Orlando Rep. Alan Grayson by a commanding 55-22 percent.

But in a general-election match-up, Rubio is ahead of Murphy by 46-43 percent -- a virtual tie, given the poll's error margin of 4 percentage points. Rubio leads among Republicans, independents, men, whites and Hispanics. Murphy is ahead among Democrats, women and African-Americans.

Mason-Dixon polled 625 registered voters by phone from Aug. 22-24. The error margin for the primary numbers -- obtained by oversampling 400 likely Democratic voters and 400 likely Republican voters -- is 5 percentage points.

PolitiFact: Donald Trump distorts facts about immigrants and social security

Trumpfirstad

Donald Trump's first ad of the general election campaign focuses on immigration, predicting what will happen if Hillary Clinton is elected.

"In Hillary Clinton's America," it warns, "illegal immigrants convicted of committing crimes get to stay, collecting Social Security benefits, skipping the line. Our border open, it's more of the same, but worse."

We've previously looked at whether illegal immigrants convicted of crimes get to stay in the United States, a statement that rates Half True. But what about his other claim about immigrants getting Social Security?

If you take the Trump ad literally, it is accusing Clinton of wanting illegal immigrants convicted of crimes to stay in the United States and collect Social Security benefits — an easily disprovable assertion.

Instead, for this fact-check, we’ll examine another interpretation: whether a Clinton administration would have Social Security benefit checks going to the 11 million people currently in the United States illegally. This reading dovetails with information cited by the ad, an article by the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors strict immigration policies.

There's some truth to that argument that immigrants would be getting Social Security benefits under policies favored by Clinton. But, like all things related to immigration, it can get complicated.

Let's take this a step at a time.

Keep reading C. Eugene Emery' Jr.'s fact-check from PolitiFact.

PolitiFact: Patrick Murphy says Marco Rubio voted against Violence Against Women Act

Murphyatpodium

Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy is attacking Marco Rubio, his presumptive general election opponent in the race for Senate, for allegedly voting against domestic violence measures.

Murphy lambasted Rubio for having a "terrible record on women’s health" in anAug. 19 post on his website. Murphy’s post said Rubio opposed the right to choose an abortion, Obamacare and Planned Parenthood.

"He even voted against the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act," Murphy’s campaign wrote.

That sounded like a ready-made attack for election season, so we checked the voting record. Sure enough, Rubio voted against the legislation. But he had his reasons.

Keep reading Joshua Gillin's fact-check from PolitiFact Florida.

Report: Murphy campaign blocks 'tracker' at public library photo op

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@ByKristenMClark

When Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy cast his ballot Wednesday at an early voting site in a branch of the Palm Beach County public library, he reportedly had an invited guest tag along: An opposition "tracker" whose job it is to tail the candidate and film his every move.

According to The Palm Beach Posta tracker for the America Rising conservative super PAC attempted to record Murphy while the Jupiter congressman took questions from reporters after his trip to the voting booth in Palm Beach Gardens.

But campaign aides barred the tracker from entering the press conference and then prevented him from filming anything worthwhile from outside by blocking his camera lens with a sign, the newspaper reported.

Read The Post's full story here.

Trackers are typical in competitive campaigns, like Florida's nationally watched U.S. Senate race. And it's not unusual for Murphy's campaign to fend off unfriendly trackers when it can.

Last month when Murphy held a similar photo op/campaign event at the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee, a senior aide briefly tried to block the camera of a tracker filming Murphy at a press conference in the Capitol rotunda -- a space open to the public.

Photo credit: Eliot Kleinberg / The Palm Beach Post

August 24, 2016

Enter the mosquito: Miami candidates debut fliers on Zika

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@PatriciaMazzei

Miami voters have seen an uptick of mosquitoes over the past few days -- in their mailboxes.

Candidates on Tuesday's primary election ballot have raced to campaign on the local outbreak of the Zika virus. 

In one flier, Democrat Scott Fuhrman, who's hoping to challenge Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, shows off photos of his wife and infant daughter. "My wife is pregnant and we live just a few miles of south of Wynwood, where the first cases of Zika were reported," the mailer says. "Like so many families, we're terrified, but Congress refuses to act."

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Another flier, for Democrat Jason Pizzo, an attorney running for state Senate, screams, "Fight the bite!"

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And then there's a mystery flier, shown atop this post, from a group named Stay Safe Coalition, apparently working on behalf of Republican state Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla. "Zika awareness tips from Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla," the piece says. "Hang this letter on your fridge to make sure your family stays safe!"

Stay Safe Coalition isn't registered as a political organization with either the state or the county, or in state corporate records. It lists an office building on Miami's Coral Way as its address.

Balance of Supreme Court is big reason why Rubio says he's running again

RubioFtMyers

@JeremySWallace

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio told supporters in Fort Myers on Wednesday that one of the main reasons he got back into the race for the Senate was out of his concern that Democrats would control who would next be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Rubio, at the Republican Party of Florida's new victory office in Lee County, said he had a lot of reasons to rejoin the race in June, but focused on the eventual replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia who died earlier this year.

"And now the balance of power in the U.S. Supreme Court is going to be determined by the next Senate and the next president who will appoint but the next senate must confirm," Rubio said.

Rubio went further, warning that if Democrat Patrick Murphy wins in November, he would be a "rubber stamp for Hillary's agenda, if God forbid she were elected." And like he did earlier in the week, warned supporters that if Democrats win the majority in November, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is in line to become the Senate Majority Leader.

Though Rubio faces a Republican Primary on Tuesday against Manatee County homebuilder Carlos Beruff, he said nothing during his nearly 7 minute speech played live on Facebook of the contest, instead focusing on the general election regardless of which Democrat wins the primary on Aug. 30.

If his remarks in Fort Myers showed anything, it was that Rubio expects Murphy to be his opponent. He repeated past criticisms of Murphy, saying he has never had to struggle a day in his life and has been "highly unaccomplished" as a member of Congress since he was first elected in 2012.

Murphy's campaign responded by reminding reporters that Rubio missed numerous votes in the Senate while running for president.

"He cares more about his own political ambition than showing up to work and fighting for Floridians," Murphy spokeswoman Galia Slayen said. "Missing Marco's only accomplishment is leaving Floridians without a voice in Washington and there's no doubt he will be a rubber stamp for Donald Trump's dangerous agenda."

Trump asked Scott to appoint Broward attorney as judge

Campaign 2016 Trump Judge
From the Associated Press:

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who has bragged about his influence with politicians, urged Gov. Rick Scott to give a judgeship to a Florida attorney whose work appears at odds with Trump's hard-line stance on immigration, newly released emails show.

The emails posted online late last week by the Scott administration show Trump recommended that the governor appoint Jose Izquierdo, a well-regarded attorney who had backing from several other South Florida Republicans.

"Dear Rick: A friend of mine recommended this gentleman for a judgeship in Broward County. From what I understand, he is very well-respected in the legal community. Thank you. Sincerely, Donald," read the May 10 email, to which a two-page biography of Izquierdo was attached.

Thirteen days after Trump's recommendation, Scott appointed the attorney as a Broward County circuit judge.

Izquierdo, a Cuban-American born in Florida, has represented criminal immigrants, spoken on immigration issues and once represented the consulates of Mexico and Honduras. Izquierdo highlighted on his application that he once tried to suppress a warrant used in a drug possession case. Scott has taken a harsh line against drug use and wanted at one time to require welfare recipients and state workers be tested for drugs. He also worked to protect from deportation an immigrant who had been convicted of aggravated battery in Florida in 2005.

Trump has said criminal immigrants should be deported. He has harshly criticized Mexico in particular and Latin American immigrants in general.

It's not clear whether Trump knew that Izquierdo had done work at odds with many of Trump's policy positions.

More here.

Photo credit: Gerald Herbert, Associated Press

Miami's Zika politics: Lots of talk, little action

ZIKA_SCOTT b epf (1)

@PatriciaMazzei

One by one, the politicians sat before a flock of TV cameras and went around the table, commending each other for their arduous work to fend off the Zika virus.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott lauded the state’s “very good coordination” with the Miami-Dade County health department. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam praised the “extraordinary job” of local mosquito control. “Thank you on behalf of the citizens of the state of Florida,” Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera told Miami-Dade health administrator Lillian Rivera.

It all sounded very Kumbaya. But to some people waiting for their turn to speak Monday, the words seemed to ring a bit hollow.

“This roundtable that we’re sitting at now is really what we would’ve liked to have seen several weeks ago,” said Joseph Furst, chairman of the business improvement district in Wynwood, the Miami neighborhood hardest-hit by the mosquito-borne virus.

Politicians have seized on Miami’s Zika outbreak this election year to get their faces on TV camera and show hands-on involvement in a crisis. It’s a role public-health experts say elected leaders need to play, keeping the virus in the news and helping educate constituents on what to do about it.

Yet the talk has done little to help municipal leaders tasked with battling Zika day to day. And it’s led to zero action in Congress to fund a long-term Zika response — suggesting Florida, the nation’s largest swing state, may not wield any serious legislative clout.

More here.

Photo credit: Patrick Farrell, Miami Herald staff

Bernie Sanders a no-show for Tim Canova

Canova (1)

@amysherman1

Bernie Sanders, the politician who elevated first-time candidate Tim Canova to national attention and a rich campaign warchest, doesn’t appear to be coming to South Florida to help out his protégé in his battle against U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

At a press conference Wednesday -- a week before the Aug. 30 primary -- at his Hollywood campaign office, Canova pushed back against reporters’ questions about why Sanders hasn’t appeared in the Broward/Miami-Dade district.

“You tell me why he isn’t coming,” said Canova defensively. “I don’t have an answer to that. I am very proud to have his support. Quite frankly we don’t need him here to win this election. Our field operation is growing by the day. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is the one who needs to run out and get folks to come in from out of town to help protect her -- to shield her from the voters. I am out there talking to voters every day.”

Wasserman Schultz has recruited many of the party’s top names to campaign for her in the district, including Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, civil rights icon and Georgia Rep. John Lewis and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot at a congressional event in Arizona in 2011. President Barack Obama also praised Wasserman Schultz when he was in South Florida. Obama had tapped her as his Democratic National Committee chair -- a role she stepped down from in July following the WikiLeaks publication of thousands of DNC emails.

For Canova, he has only one big backer: Sanders. In May, Sanders announced on CNN that he was backing Canova and has since sent fundraising emails on his behalf.

The political novice has echoed many of Sanders’ campaign themes, such as demanding campaign-finance reform. Like Sanders, Canova’s fundraising strategy has relied on small-donor donations online while eschewing lavish fundraisers and corporate support. The two men know each other: In 2011 Sanders appointed Canova, a law professor who is an expert on finance, to an advisory committee about Federal Reserve reform.

In July, Sanders told USA Today he would support at least 100 candidates across the country in 2016 -- including Canova -- and possibly campaign for them in person.

But it appears Sanders has blown Canova off -- perhaps because Canova still appears to be a longshot.

“We need all the help we can get,” Canova told the YouTube show Young Turks, according to a clip played Tuesday night on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show. “Look, when Bernie endorsed me, he called me and gave me his number and said, ‘Stay in touch and please call.’ And I have, and I`m waiting for Bernie to return my call. .... So we are hoping that the Sanders campaign does still come through, that Bernie comes through and makes an appearance for us, or at the very least, helps us raise some more money during such a critical period down the home stretch. And that is our hope.”

Spokespersons for Sanders did not reply to emailed questions from the Miami Herald Wednesday.

At his Hollywood press conference, Canova said he had invited Sanders to come and that they had “some general conversations.” But when asked if Sanders ever told him whether he would show up, Canova bristled.

“No comment,” Canova said, referring reporters back to Sanders comments that he would probably campaign for Canova.

Canova’s campaign hired Sanders’ media consultants -- Devine, Mulvey and Longabaugh -- in late July only to see them quit about two weeks later. Canova said Wednesday his campaign rejected the consultants’ strategy of focusing money on TV ads rather than on field operations. Canova also said an attack ad the consultants pitched was  “over the top.”

“Bernie Sanders’ media consultants left the campaign because we weren’t taking their advice,” Canova said. “I rejected their advice and put more money in the field than TV. I said from the beginning the campaign was not relying on Beltway consultants.”

Mark Longabaugh declined to provide specifics about what happened between his firm and Canova.

“l think it's unfortunate Tim Canova decided to characterize it that way,” he said. “We left campaign because of disagreement over strategy, the message and the professionalism of the campaign.”

Canova tried to make the case that it doesn’t matter if Sanders stumps for him in person. But a recent poll by the Sun Sentinel and Florida Atlantic University showed Canova has a wide lead among young voters and Sanders voters -- a sign that a visit by Sanders to the district could boost his campaign. However, it would be tough for Canova to win on Sanders’ supporters alone because Clinton got twice as many votes in the district than Sanders during the presidential primary.

“The voters of this district don’t much care if Bernie comes here or not,” Canova said. “They care about issues about putting food on the table -- real issues of concern to them whether social security will keep up with inflation, how a child is going to pay for higher education, whether the drinking water going be drinkable. That’s what I am talking about in this campaign and that’s why I called his press conference. Bernie Sanders is not on the ballot, Hillary Clinton is not on ballot. You might all find it very interesting to talk about -- it's not of importance to me.”