« July 17, 2012 | Main | July 19, 2012 »

10 posts from July 18, 2012

July 18, 2012

Video: Connie Mack's beat the press campaign

Rep. Connie Mack IV's is continuing to pick a fight with the Tampa Bay Times and political editor Adam C. Smith.

On Monday, Mack's campaign wrote a letter to the editor of the Times saying "Smith’s agenda is Left Wing and Democrat." The letter was penned in response to the editorial board recommending former U.S. Rep. Dave Welson in the U.S. Senate Republican primary (Smith is not a member of the editorial board and does not participate in the discussions about recommending candidates).

On Tuesday, Mack continued to attack Smith in comments to reporters -- in a group that included Smith -- at a meeting of Hillsborough Republicans. POLITICO obtained a video that documented the exchange.

"They're a mouthpiece for the liberals," said Mack, putting his hand on Smith's shoulder. Later, Mack refused to answer a question asked by Smith, saying: "When you decide to be a real journalist, then we'll talk to you."

--- Amy Hollyfied, Tampa Bay Times

The ugly, no-holds-barred race between Miami GOP Reps. Ana Rivas Logan and Jose Felix Diaz

Is there a South Florida primary legislative race nastier than the one between Republican Reps. Jose Felix Diaz and Ana Rivas Logan?

The Republican incumbents, facing off against each other after redistricting drew them into the same Kendall-based district, traded jabs Wednesday at the Miami Herald editorial board. Diaz said Logan campaign workers going door-to-door have incorrectly told voters that he is gay. Logan said she plans to hire a private investigator because her fliers are being removed from voters' doors and mailboxes.

"Because I don't vote party line, because I don't tout the boys' agenda -– the good ol' boys in Tallahassee -- I'm being targeted," Logan said.

Said Diaz: "This is the sad part of campaigning. It becomes so adversarial."

Continue reading "The ugly, no-holds-barred race between Miami GOP Reps. Ana Rivas Logan and Jose Felix Diaz" »

Can Democrats find their footing in their effort to unseat David Rivera?

Democrats have struggled to find their footing in their effort to unseat U.S. Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami, in spite of his legal problems, and now are poised for a tough primary fight in August before taking on the congressman this fall.

But Democrats say they're uniting behind the candidates. Two frontrunners, Joe Garcia and Gloria Romero Roses, face Gustavo Marin and Lamar Sternad.

"The toxic state of the GOP brand is hurting Republican congressional candidates, and Floridians are refusing to support Republican incumbents who have become part of the problem in Washington," said Florida Democratic Party Executive Director Scott Arceneaux. "Our strong Democratic candidates are entering the final campaign months in excellent position, and will have the resources they need to win."

Romero Roses was originally listed on the "Emerging Races" list of candidates eligible for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's "Red to Blue" program. Candidates land on that list by "making themselves competitive by running smart campaigns which are becoming increasingly competitive," the DCCC says.

She's now off that list, but the entire race is part of the DCCC's "Red to Blue" campaign to overturn Republican-held seats. Both Romero Roses and Garcia have done well in their fundraising, even as Rivera's has lagged in the shadow of numerous investigations. Rivera raised just $92,700 last quarter and spent $57,529. He has $213,648 banked -- but is carrying $138,573 in debt.

Garcia raised $250,194. He spent $55,661, leaving him $194,532 in cash on hand. Romera Roses raised $99,397 and she spent $63,980. She loaned herself $150,000, leaving her with $185,416 in her campaign coffers.

Continue reading "Can Democrats find their footing in their effort to unseat David Rivera? " »

David Rivera challengers, 'Enron' Joe and 'lying' Gloria, in Democrat mailer war

The race to topple Miami Republican Rep. David Rivera is getting a little nasty. Here's how Democrats Joe Garcia and Glorida Romero-Roses are filling the mail boxes of the Kendall-Key West district:






Wasserman Schultz: Fla race is close but Obama's edge will be with seniors, Hispanics

The race for president may be close in Florida but President Barack Obama will "not cede any ground to Republicans," said DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz Wednesday in a conference call with reporters.

That may explain why Obama's two-day trip to Florida Thursday and Friday will include trips to Jacksonville, where he lost narrowly in 2008 and to Lee and Collier counties, where he lost badly before winning the state with a 2.5 percentage point margin.

Wasserman Schultz, a Democratic congresswoman from Weston, noted that the president announced the Recovery Act legislation in Fort Myers and "planted the flag in the South" by setting the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC. (History buffs will note, however, that the president also planted a hug on former Gov. Charlie Crist during that same Fort Myers visit, helping usher in Marco Rubio into the U.S. Senate.)

The president will also visit Century Village of West Palm Beach, the senior citizen retirement haven that remains a reliable but shrinking stronghold of Democratic senior citizens.

Continue reading "Wasserman Schultz: Fla race is close but Obama's edge will be with seniors, Hispanics" »

South Florida lawmakers send office mailers to residents outside of their current districts

Two South Florida state representatives running for reelection appear to have used taxpayer money to send office mailers to residents outside of their current districts –- a no-no under House policy.

Rep. Joe Gibbons, a Hallandale Beach Democrat, and Rep. Jeanette Nuñez, a Miami Republican, are both running for new seats after once-a-decade redistricting. House policy allows representatives to send taxpayer-funded mail to constituents in their current districts, but not to those in the newly redrawn districts they are seeking. 

Legislators typically send newsletters to their constituents after the annual legislative session. In advance of those mailings, House Republican leader Carlos Lopez-Cantera sent an email to Republican members in March reminding them of the House policy manual that states, "Generally, a Member may mail or distribute mass communications only to current constituents from that Member's district."

"Please remember to use the House District number that you currently represent in any mass communications," Lopez-Cantera's email said. "Voters in the newly numbered House Districts will only become your constituents upon the November election." 

Continue reading "South Florida lawmakers send office mailers to residents outside of their current districts" »

Joe Garcia's weapon v. David Rivera: Marco Rubio's words

Democratic congressional candidate Joe Garcia is using a most-unexpected narrator in a web ad bashing Republican Rep. David Rivera: The voice of Sen. Marco Rubio, a Rivera pal who has repeatedly said Rivera will have to answer questions about his finances that have made him a target of state and federal investigations.

Rivera narrowly escaped state criminal charges stemming from his use of state House campaign funds and an investigation into a secret dog-track payment (background here). He faces a federal investigation as well.

A right-hand man for Rubio when he was in the House, Rivera is a close family friend of Rubio, who has stood by Rivera's side. He helped Rivera raise money but, in numerous interviews, has said Rivera will have to answer questions about his finances. So the Garcia campaign expertly used Rubio's words against Rivera -- something that could prove devastating in a Miami-based ad.

Rivera, in turn, sent out a public statement through that said Garcia has his own "personal corruption issues."** Garcia's campaign said Rivera is simply lying about Garcia's alleged corruption. Indeed, there's no evidence that Garcia is under investigation, as Rivera claims, but there is ample proof that Rivera is.

Right now, the investigations have tolled on Rivera's fundraising. He raised just $92,700 last quarter, spent $57,529.67 and has cash on hand of $213,648.15 (but he has debts of $138,573).

Garcia raised $250,194.12, spent $55,661.57 and has cash on hand of $194,532.55.

Democrat Gloria Romery Roses raised $99,397 (but loaned herself $150,000 for a total of $249,397.52), spent $63,980.84 and has cash on hand of $185,416.68.

Continue reading "Joe Garcia's weapon v. David Rivera: Marco Rubio's words" »

Federal judge reject states' challenge to 'Obamacare' contraceptive coverage

Even with the Supreme Court ruling last month to uphold the most controversial components of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, many other legal challenges are still pending. A federal judge threw out a lawsuit by Florida and six other states that contested the requirement that insurance plans offered to employees includes coverage for contraceptives, the News Service of Florida reported today.

Religious organization, including group representing Catholic bishops, vocally opposed the mandates and their charge was taken up by the seven states who filed suit in February. The Obama administration defended the contraception coverage requirement, saying the rule assures that women have access to free contraception regardless of where she works or whom she works for.

The court ruling is another loss for Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi and other state officials who are vehemently opposed to the health care law.

From the News Service of Florida:

Continue reading "Federal judge reject states' challenge to 'Obamacare' contraceptive coverage " »

Obama opens up big lead in poll of Latino voters

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama has a 70-22 percent lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney among Latino voters, according to a new poll released Wednesday.

The Latino Decisions national survey comes about a month after both candidates spoke to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, and have made strong pitches for the Hispanic vote.

Romney Wednesday unveiled a new Spanish language ad, and both he and Obama have intense efforts in states with large Latino populations--often swing states where the vote could determine the close outcome.

Obama had failed to stir great enthusiasm among many Latino voters until recently. But his June 15 directive allowing many younger undocumented workers to stay in this country gave him a boost.

The poll found that among foreign-born, naturalized citizens Obama leads 72-19 percent, and among U.S.-born Latinos he leads 69-25 percent.

Also, the poll said, "two concerns for Romney may that 13 percent of self-identified Latino Republicans say they will cross-over and vote for Obama and 60 percent of Independents plan to vote for Obama.  In contrast only 2 percent of Democrats say they plan to vote for Romney."

"The lingering question now, is not whether Obama will win the Latino vote – he is poised to win it big, but rather whether Latino voter turnout matches or exceeds the record levels in 2008, or if Latino enthusiasm will be low and turnout mediocre at best," a poll analysis said. "Even with a big margin among Latinos, if turnout is low Obama could fare poorly in many battleground states where Latinos are a large portion of the electorate."

The poll surveyed 504 people from July 7 to 16. Margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.


Read more here: http://blogs.mcclatchydc.com/washington/2012/07/obama-opens-up-big-lead-in-poll-of-latino-voters.html#storylink=cpy

Connie Mack, the Brooks Brothers Senate candidate

Connie Mack's Senate campaign charged nearly $470 for clothing at a Brooks Brothers in Jacksonville, FEC records show, an apparent violation of law.

Records show identical charges of $234 were made on April 12 and May 16 and the campaign listed it as "clothing." Federal law prohibits the use of campaign funds for personal items including "clothing, other than items of de minimis value that are used in the campaign, such as campaign ‘'T-shirts' or caps with campaign slogans."

Asked today of the charges, Mack spokesman David James told the Buzz: "The Brooks Brothers charges were mistaken, inappropriate charges made by travel staff. All charges have been reversed in the form of a reimbursement by staff which will show up in the next report."

He added: "When the error was discovered the charges were made to the campaign credit card and therefore had to be reported. Nothing more here than a staffer taking a liberty instead of finding a dry cleaner. Aren't you going to ask about taxes, ObamaCare or job creation?"

It's the second issue that has come up with Mack. Earlier this year we reported how he has sent official House mail, paid for by taxpayers, to Florida residents far outside his district. That was a violation of House rules and a vendor, who took the blame, repaid the treasury. Subsequently, the Republican head of the Franking Committee said Mack was in the clear.

Mack's campaign didn't name the staffer who allegedly made the questionable purchases. While the expenditure is small and the apparent violation minimal, the incident speaks to a broader problem with the Mack campaign, which spent more than it took in last quarter. Mack disbursed $867,802, listed receipts of $839,556 and has $1.4 million cash on hand. Bill Nelson's report isn't available online yet but his campaign said it raised $1.8 million and he has nearly $11 million cash on hand.

Roll Call reported about the National Republican Senatorial Committee's jitters regarding Mack and urged him to hire a new fundraising team, Gula Graham. But the problem might not be the fundraising team itself. It could be Mack and his entire campaign, which Florida Republicans have had deep reservations about for months now.

--- with Alex Leary, Tampa Bay Times
** This post has been updated to reflect the Cash Summary totals for Mack on his FEC report and re-charcterizes the Roll Call report. The original report reported Mack's net contributions other than loans and his total operating expenditures listed on his FEC report. It also lacked numbers from Nelson, which are still not available online at the FEC.