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373 posts from July 2016

July 31, 2016

Canova's poll shows he is eight points behind Wasserman Schultz

A poll done for Tim Canova shows he is eight points behind longtime incumbent U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

The poll showed that Wasserman Schultz leads 46-38 percent with 16 percent undecided. Her lead narrows after the pollster provided positive and negative information about the candidates, but the press release from Canova's campaign didn't reveal the information provided to voters.

Canova and Wasserman Schultz are competing in a Democratic primary in the Broward/Miami-Dade Congressional District 23. The primary is Aug. 30th but voters are already casting ballots by mail. 

The poll showed that 52 percent of respondents view Wasserman Schultz favorably and 35 percent unfavorably while 13 percent have no opinion of her or never heard of her. For Canova, his favorable-unfavorable split is 32-8 percent.

But the poll shows Canova's biggest weakness: 60 percent of voters have no opinion/never heard of him. Despite his national media exposure due to Bernie Sanders endorsing him and his prolific fundraising, he is a first-time candidate who isn't well known in the district. Wasserman Schultz has been an elected official for more than two decades -- first in the state Legislature and elected to Congress in 2004.

The summary of the poll provided by Canova's campaign also shows that voters disagree with her stances on Big Sugar and payday lending.

The poll of 400 voters was done July 27-28, a few days after Wasserman Schultz announced she would step down as Democratic National Committee chair. Her decision came after WikiLeaks published thousands of DNC emails which showed the party favored Hillary Clinton over Sanders, a charge Wasserman Schultz had previously denied for months. It also showed that party staff were tracking Canova's campaign events and media coverage.

This was the first poll released in the race so far. There have been no public polls and Wasserman Schultz's campaign hasn't commented about polling.

The poll for Canova was done by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates.

Trump heads to Daytona Beach and Jacksonville


Donald Trump will be back in Florida on Wednesday, campaigning again in one of the top swing states of the presidential race.

Trump will hold a "town hall" In Daytona Beach at 3 p.m., followed by a rally in Jacksonville at 7 p.m., according to a schedule released Saturday. His campaign has not provided any further details.

Tim Kaine, the running mate of Trump's rival, Hillary Clinton, will campaign in Daytona Beach a day earlier. He's scheduled a "jobs tour" at 3 p.m. Tuesday at the Mori Hosseini College of Hospitality Management at Daytona State College.

Rubio could get campaign help from Koch brothers

via @learyreports

The Koch brothers are looking to get involved in Florida’s Senate race to help Marco Rubio, a top Koch official told reporters at a gathering Saturday in Colorado Springs.

Effectively, they already are, with a dark money group tied to the billionaires funding an ad against Democrat Patrick Murphy. But a more direct role could be a boost for Rubio and Republicans trying to hold the Senate.

The Kochs are focusing on Senate races rather than Donald Trump. Their network has already spent $21 million on five Senate race, the Wall Street Journal reports: Nevada, Indiana, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Now comes Florida.

Rubio is favored by the Kochs and a top political advisor, Marc Short, headlines in February by joining Rubio’s presidential campaign.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

Rubio wins straw poll in rival Beruff's home county

via @learyreports

Marco Rubio beat Carlos Beruff in Saturday's straw poll conducted by the Sarasota GOP.

Rubio: 247 (57.4%)

Beruff: 183 (42.6%)

Beruff is from Manatee County and Rubio's strong showing is another indication of the odds Beruff faces.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

July 29, 2016

District 40 state Senate primary is an unfriendly affair


Dwight Bullard and Andrew Korge are both Democrats, but their primary election has the elements of a bitter partisan fight.

Bullard, an incumbent state senator running in a new district,accused Korge of offering him $25,000 to switch to a different Senate race. The state attorney’s office opened an investigationinto the allegations. Former Republican state representative and school board member Ana Rivas Logan entered the race as a Democrat in May and dropped out about a month later, citing a need to take care of her parents and a disdain for “in-the-gutter” campaign tactics.

Bullard recently met with the state attorney’s office regarding the alleged offer of payment and said the exchange was “very candid and very open.”

“I know that Mr. Korge’s reactions have been that I’m making this stuff up and keeping it in the media to stir the pot,” Bullard said. “I’m not stupid in the sense of wanting to endanger my livelihood and reputation to disparage another person for political gain.”

In a statement to the Miami Herald, Korge said: “I unequivocally deny the accusation that I offered Dwight Bullard $25,000 cash.”

In a subsequent interview, Korge added: “Dwight solicited me, it is very clear, there is clear record of that. It’s a sophisticated political attack he's employing because he thinks it’s the only way he can win.”

Bullard denies asking Korge for money to switch districts.

Korge is raising serious money in the race, nearly $350,000 raised since the beginning of 2015, while Bullard has raised just over $85,000 in the same period.

“One of the interesting things is that he's always framed himself as a true progressive,” Bullard said of Korge. “If our ideologies shape up similarly than what context do you have for running?”

Korge didn’t attack Bullard on ideology but said that the incumbent “technically hasn’t gotten anything done in eight years.”

“If I haven’t done anything in eight years I’ll retire,” Korge said.

Read more here.

Aspiring politician once punched a woman, has long history of arrests


State House candidate Roy Hardemon refers to himself as a “model citizen.”

“I’m always helping and putting people first,” Hardemon said. “Every project that I’ve done I’m a model for the community. Follow my Facebook page and you’ll see the things I’ve already done and continue to do.”

Hardemon’s Facebook page shows the Democrat standing next to basketball hoops at Bannerman Park and houses on Northwest 58th street that he “made happen.”

What it doesn’t make any mention of Hardemon’s lengthy criminal history.

For the past 30 years, Hardemon’s life has been a revolving door with the criminal justice system. He was unable to recall how many times he has been arrested when asked by a Miami Herald reporter.

Hardemon, 54, has been arrested 19 times since 1987 and charged with 35 different crimes, 12 of them felonies. The charges range from felony battery and kidnapping to municipal violations for trespassing.

Read more here.

Marco Rubio and Carlos Curbelo lament lack of federal Zika funding


U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio stressed that federal funds must be made available after four locally-transmitted cases of Zika were announced in Miami-Dade and Broward on Friday. 

“Zika doesn't just bite Republicans or Democrats or independents. It bites everyone,” Rubio said, adding that earlier this week he wrote to the president and asked him to spend about $300 million in federal funds available now.

Speaking at the Venezuelan restaurant, Arepazo #2, in Doral, Rubio was joined by fellow Republicans, including U.S. Reps. Carlos Curbelo and Illeana Ros-Lehtinen, state Rep. Carlos Trujillo and state Sen. Rene Garcia.

“Don't hold it back to play political games,” Rubio said he wrote to the president. “Zika is not a partisan issue, it is not a political issue.”

Curbelo also blamed Democrats for refusing to support a House Republican proposal that would have designated $1.1 billion for Zika but also reduced funding for Planned Parenthood, defunded parts of the Affordable Care Act and reversed a ban on flying Confederate flags in military cemeteries.

“I've been very fair in terms of criticizing both parties for failing to act,” Curbelo said. “Now, it's Senate Democrats who are regrettably blocking this funding from moving forward. It's not the $1.9 billion that we would have all wanted, but $1.1 billion dollars is still significant funding to fight this disease."

Read more here.

Florida delegate remains unpersuaded by Clinton: 'Hell no'


via @learyreports

PHILADELPHIA -- Dawn Abate was willing to give Hillary Clinton a chance.

"Hillary has to figure out how she can make us believe she’s going to do any of the things she says she will do," the Florida delegate said Thursday afternoon, hours before Clinton gave her speech.

Abate, 39, of Stuart, is a hardcore Bernie Sanders supporter and had a neon yellow Sanders shirt draped across her shoulders. “It’s been a very emotional week. We’re all in mourning,” she said. “The energy here has been so unfriendly." 

But she said she would hear out Clinton, who did acknowledge what Sanders had done and addressed some of his core issues, including campaign finance and income inequality. "You've put economic and social justice issues front and center, where they belong," Clinton said. "And to all of your supporters here and around the country: I want you to know, I've heard you. Your cause is our cause."

Was Abate moved?

"Hell no," she said Friday by text message. "But I will not let Donald Trump be president either, so sadly, I have to bubble in her name."

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

Florida U.S. Senate candidate is still running for president

UPDATED: Aug. 1, 10:45 a.m. -- De La Fuente said in an interview with the Herald/Times on Aug. 1: "My primary objective is to serve the American people and I will serve where they want me to serve."

He acknowledged he's simultaneously pursuing both his U.S. Senate campaign in Florida and his ongoing presidential campaign elsewhere in the country. He said he wants to help "prepare the American people to have a third party candidate" in the presidential race and hopes to be on the November ballot in 40 states.

However, he added that getting elected to the U.S. Senate from Florida "is what I'm working on 99 percent of the time."


De la fuente@ByKristenMClark

A late entry in Florida's U.S. Senate race last month is apparently not giving up on his primary ambition: to become president of the United States.

Florida newcomer and Democrat "Rocky" Roque De La Fuente entered the state's U.S. Senate race in late June, after moving to Orlando in March from his home state of California.

But even as he filed his Senate candidacy in Florida on June 20, De La Fuente continued to loan and spend money for his presidential campaign based in San Diego, Federal Election Commission records show.

And despite landing a spot on the Aug. 30 primary ballot here, he's still working to get on other states' ballots for the November general election as an independent presidential candidate.

According to his most recent FEC report, De La Fuente gave his presidential campaign another $389,500 on June 30, making for a total of $6.4 million that De La Fuente has personally loaned that campaign. Last month, he also continued to spend tens of thousands of dollars on consultant fees, transportation and other bills, spending $362,000 in all in June.

Included in the expenses: a $250 filing fee to the "State of New Hampshire." The Secretary of State's office there said De La Fuente filed a "declaration of intent" in early June to run as an independent presidential candidate in the general election. He has until Sept. 7 to submit petition papers to qualify for the New Hampshire ballot.

This month, he also reportedly sought to get on the November ballot in Georgia, too, according to Ballot Access News.

De La Fuente's U.S. Senate campaign hasn't returned an email seeking comment Friday. The July FEC report for his presidential campaign is due Aug. 20.

Meanwhile, De La Fuente is self-funding his Florida U.S. Senate bid, as he is his presidential one. He loaned his Senate campaign $71,000 on June 30 and reported no contributions in the first couple weeks of his campaign, according to his first campaign finance report to the FEC in mid-July.

De La Fuente has marketed his U.S. Senate campaign largely toward Hispanic voters. His campaign website has a lengthy "national issues" section, while his "Florida issues" page has only this generic pledge: "Rocky aims to put his ideals into practice by solving the most common issues that our fellow citizens in Florida face today."

Before moving to Florida this spring, De La Fuente's only connection to the Sunshine State was business deals he said he had here over the past couple decades, including owning property in some areas of the state. De La Fuente, a 61-year-old businessman and entrepreneur, had previously lived in California his whole life.

De La Fuente notably botched his voter registration when he moved to Florida in late March by accidentally registering as "no party affiliation." He fixed it and registered as a Democrat after the Herald/Times made inquiries last month.

De La Fuente is emphatic the mistake was on the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles -- because he registered when getting his driver's license -- but state officials said De La Fuente checked the wrong box, possibly due to confusion with Florida's registration process. (They said he checked "no party change," rather than "Democrat," but that designation is specifically for use by Florida residents who move in-state, not newcomers coming from out of state.)

CDC: There may be additional locally spread Zika infections


First, the good news: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it and the state have planned ahead and prepared for Zika to reach Florida's shores.

But there remains uncertainty as the first cases of Zika likely spread by mosquitoes in the United States were confirmed Friday.

"As we have anticpated, Zika is now here," CDC Director Tom Frieden said on a call with reporters and scientists. "There may well be more cases that we are not aware of right now because most people infected with Zika do not show symptoms."

The four cases confirmed by the Florida Department of Health on Friday involve three men and one woman who live in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

Health officials believe the infection was spread within a one-mile radius around Wynwood, north of downtown Miami, where all four patients work. They were infected in early July.

But the CDC is not encouraging people to steer clear of Wynwood.

"We currently do not see a situation where people should cease travel into the area," Frieden said. "If, however, cases were to continue in the area, even after the mosquito control efforts were undertaken, that would be a very different situation."

Gov. Rick Scott and Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam announced earlier in the day plans to ramp up mosquito control in South Florida, provide Zika testing at county health departments and fund testing of blood donations.

Frieden said additional resources are needed to better combat the virus, which has been linked to a birth defect called microcephaly, where a newborn's head is smaller than normal. He issued a plea for Congress to enact a rapid response fund for infectious diseases.

"We are doing the best we can with the resources we have available to us and the authorities we have available to us," Frieden said. "If we had more resources we would be able to mount a more roubust response."

Still, he said, the CDC does not inspect a massive outbreak of the disease.

Indeed, the CDC anticipated pockets of infection such as the four cases in South Florida, based on its experience fighting Dengue and Chikungunya.

"We dont expect widespread transmission in the continental U.S.," Frieden said. "If however we were to see continuing spread in this area or somewhere else or explosive spread then we would absolutely issue travel guidance. That's not the situation we’re in today."