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471 posts from October 2016

October 30, 2016

Three new Florida polls: Trump up 4 in one, dead heat in others

via @adamsmithtimes

An Oct. 25-27 New York Times Upshot/Siena poll shows Donald Trump leading Hillary Clinton 46 percent to 42 percent in a four-way race. The poll shows her winning independent voters, but just 29 percent of all white voters and 81 percent of black voters.

Meanwhile, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll finds Clinton with 45 percent support to 44 percent for Trump, with Gary Johnson at 5 and Jill Stein at 2. Clinton and Trump are tied at 46 percent each in a two-person match up. Among the 36 percent who said they already voted, Clinton leads 54 percent to 37, while Trump leads 51 to 42 among those who have not yet voted.

And finally, a new Emerson College poll has Clinton leading Trump, 46 to 45.

The RealClearPolitics.com average for Florida? 44.4 percent to 44.4 percent. Tie.

TV debates reveal rubber and glue strategies in heated Florida Senate race


Tired of being cast by his opponent as a lobbyist choosing clients over constituents in Tallahassee, Florida Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla flipped the script on State Rep. José Javier Rodríguez during two televised Sunday debates.

“Mr. Rodriguez here is basically a lobbyist,” Diaz de la Portilla said on WPLG’s “This Week in South Florida.” “He’s worked as a lobbyist in Tallahassee. He’s beholden to special interests, particularly insurance.”

Appearing incredulous, Rodríguez said his competitor was “completely making this up” before he realized he’d registered to lobby the state in 2011 with Florida Legal Services, a nonprofit that advocates for the poor.

“It’s fantastic he’s bringing this up. ... There were two topics. One of them had to do with health insurance for extremely disabled people. The other had to do with children’s healthcare,” Rodríguez said, adding he lobbied for one day only. “He’s a for-profit, professional lobbyist.”

Diaz de la Portilla shot back: “No, I’m a practicing attorney. You have a no-show job at a Broward personal injury law firm.”

The testy exchange — part of a contentious Sunday television double-header for the Florida Senate District 37 candidates — illustrated just how nasty the race has become as Rodríguez and the Florida Democratic Party look to unseat Diaz de la Portilla, a six-year senator running in a redrawn district that spans from Key Biscayne to Cutler Bay.

To read more, click here.

Patrick Murphy sold stock in family company to cover last-minute $1M campaign loan


Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy says he sold personal stock in his family's construction company, Miami-based Coastal Construction Group, in order to afford a recent $1 million loan to his campaign.

Murphy's campaign announced the loan last week as something that would give the cash-strapped Jupiter congressman additional resources to run TV ads across the state in the final two weeks of his bid to unseat Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

Rubio, however, has questioned how Murphy could have come by such a hefty loan when Murphy doesn't have the cash assets to cover it, based on his most recent congressional financial disclosure.

"It was basically a stock sale, of stock I had," Murphy explained to reporters during a campaign visit to Tallahassee on Sunday.

When asked whether the stock in question was specifically Murphy's investment in Coastal, Murphy said: "Yes."

Paperwork is not yet available that would show how the loan was reported to the Federal Election Commission and how the stock sale was reported to the U.S. House, as required within 30 days of the sale under the 2012 STOCK Act.

"We are completely compliant with that [and] have attorneys helping out to make sure it's all compliant," Murphy said.

Murphy's campaign later Sunday did not respond to a follow-up inquiry about to whom Murphy sold his investment. Coastal is a private, family-owned company founded and managed by Murphy's father, Tom Murphy Jr. -- who has spent at least $2.8 million this cycle on Democratic efforts supporting his son's Senate run.

Patrick Murphy's financial disclosure from 2015 shows his net worth was between $72,000 and almost $4.8 million -- much of that coming from stock in Coastal worth between $1 million and $5 million. The investment was a "gift" from Murphy's father in 2012 before Murphy took office. 

Continue reading "Patrick Murphy sold stock in family company to cover last-minute $1M campaign loan" »

Bill Clinton to campaign in Miami-Dade Tuesday


Former President Bill Clinton will campaign for Hillary Clinton in Miami-Dade Tuesday.

The Clinton campaign has not released the time and location of the event. The former president campaigned for his wife at two churches and a temple in South Florida Oct. 23.

The Clintons have stepped up South Florida appearances in the homestretch as the race is in a dead heat with Donald Trump in Florida.

Photo of Bill Clinton speaking at the Fountain of New Life Church in Miami Gardens Oct. 23 by Johnny Louis jlnphotography.com


October 29, 2016

Hillary Clinton at J Lo concert in Miami: Let’s Get Loud at voting booth



As she faces a tough campaign in Florida, Hillary Clinton joined Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony on stage to urge the crowd to close the deal for her against GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.

“We just heard Jennifer [Lopez] perform ‘Let’s Get Loud.’ Well, I say, ‘Let’s Get Loud’ at the voting booth. You can vote early. Don’t wait another day to vote, ” Clinton said.

The message at the J-Lo concert was the same as a typical Clinton rally, diversity and feminism (but this event had more butt shaking).

Keep reading here.

Miami Herald photo by Pedro Portal


Hillary Clinton to campaign in Wilton Manors Sunday



Hillary Clinton will campaign at a gay-friendly club in Wilton Manors Sunday.

She will attend a rally at The Manor Complex, 2345 Wilton Drive, at 2 p.m. Doors open at noon. The public can RSVP here.

This will be Clinton's first campaign event in Wilton Manors, a municipality in left-leaning Broward County, has a large openly gay community. Broward has about 600,000 registered Democrats -- the largest in Florida. 

The LGBT community is a reliable Democratic voting bloc. Clinton came out in support of same-sex marriage in 2013 in a video for the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group.

Clinton appears at a Jennifer Lopez concert in downtown Miami tonight.

Hillary Clinton has 13 times more poll watchers than Donald Trump in Miami-Dade



Donald Trump, the candidate who claims that there is "large scale voter fraud" in the United States, has only a small fraction of the poll watchers that will be dispatched by the Hillary Clinton campaign for early voting in Miami-Dade County.

A list of registered poll watchers from the Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections shows that the county has 875 approved poll watchers for election day -- the vast majority, 685, for Hillary Clinton. Trump will have 53.

Poll watchers, who must be registered with the elections office, can stand within voting areas to monitor elections on behalf of campaigns.

Here are the numbers for poll watchers for additional campaigns in Miami-Dade:

Republican Party of Miami-Dade County: 82

Sen. Marco Rubio: 23

U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo: 14

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez: 11

The remainder, which have between one and five poll watchers, are state house candidate John Couriel, the Libertarian Party and People for Stronger Neighborhoods.

Trump claimed that we have "large scale voter fraud" -- a claim that PolitiFact ruled Pants on Fire. Incidents of voter fraud are rare and often not large enough to influence a national election. Voter fraud of a much more localized scale -- such as in Miami-Dade -- does occasionally happen. 

On Friday, two women were arrested in Miami-Dade for voter fraud. Law enforcement officials said that one woman marked ballots for mayoral candidate Raquel Regalado while another woman unlawfully filled out voter registration forms for United for Care, a political committee backing the medical marijuana amendment.

(This post has been updated to reflect that the numbers are for early voting sites.) 

Marco Rubio says Patrick Murphy 'should release his tax returns' after personal loan



Ten days before voters decide Florida's U.S. Senate race, Republican incumbent Marco Rubio is calling on his Democratic challenger to release his tax returns.

Rubio said U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy's announcement this week of a $1 million personal loan to his campaign raises questions about Murphy's finances. Murphy's financial disclosure from 2015 indicated his net worth was between $72,000 and almost $4.8 million -- but most of that is tied up in stock and investments, not cash assets.

"Where did he get the money from?" Rubio said, when speaking to reporters in Palm Beach County on Friday. (His campaign widely distributed the comments Saturday.) "I mean, it certainly doesn’t reflect what you see in his financial disclosures. It sounds like his wealth is largely tied up in stock in his family’s business."

Murphy's investments include $1 million and $5 million of stock in his family's Coastal Construction Group, a "gift" from his father in 2012 before Murphy took office.

“Now more than ever, I think Floridians deserve to know how he makes his money and where his money comes from," Rubio said of Murphy. "He certainly doesn’t make that a year as a congressman."

The release of tax returns is common for presidential candidates. Rubio did so when he was one recently, although Rubio's current pick for president, Republican Donald Trump, has bucked years of precedent in refusing to disclose any pages from his.

U.S. senators are not required to release their tax returns, either, but there is precedent from Rubio's first U.S. Senate race six years ago. Notably, though, Rubio's release of his tax returns has been only summaries, not the whole document.

"In 2010, when I ran for Senate, I released 10 years, and Kendrick Meek, the Democratic nominee did as well, and Charlie Crist did as well," Rubio said. "But, he [Murphy] refuses to release not even one page of one tax return.”

When asked for comment Saturday morning, Murphy's campaign reiterated a statement it released a week ago, in which they disclosed Murphy's tax rate but no other details from his tax return. The campaign said Murphy had been "transparent with the voters, disclosing his income, assets, and liabilities every year in his congressional financial disclosures."

Congressional financial disclosures offer a broad look at members' financial situations, because they're allowed to report assets and liabilities through wide ranges. That's why, for example, we don't know how much exactly Murphy's stock in his family's company is worth.

Nationally, the argument for Trump to release his tax returns has been that those documents would reveal more specific details about the candidate's financial situation than provided in federally required financial disclosures. Murphy co-sponsored legislation in June mandating major-party presidential candidates to release their tax returns.

Photo credit: AP

Doral College, Flores accuse her challenger of 'untrue, malicious statements'



Miami Republican incumbent state Sen. Anitere Flores and her previous employer, Doral College, allege that Flores' opponent has made "untrue and malicious" statements that are "damaging" the college's reputation.

Doral College sent a letter to the Florida Democratic Party recently demanding that the party stop publishing and correct TV ads and direct-mail pieces that the college says contain "false" statements.

The state party is supporting Democrat and political newcomer Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, of Pinecrest, who's aiming to unseat Flores for Miami-Dade's District 39 Senate seat. The newly redrawn district is heavily Hispanic and leans Democratic.

Doral College in its letter -- which Flores' campaign provided to the Herald/Times -- accused the Democratic Party of repeating two falsehoods: "that Doral College is a for-profit college and the degrees obtained by its students are worthless."

"These claims are objectively false and warrant immediate correction," wrote Ryan Kairalla, the college's general counsel. Here's an example of a direct-mail piece containing the claims Flores and Doral College took issue with.

Kairalla is correct that the Democratic Party erred in referring to Doral College as a "for-profit" college. It is a not-for-profit institution -- although the company that it's associated with is for-profit -- but whether the college's degrees are "worthless" is a matter of continued dispute in the political battle between supporters of charter school programs and those who favor more traditional educational options.

Mucarsel-Powell said Flores' and Doral College's complaints were "yet another desperate attempt by Anitere Flores to distract from her shameful 12-year record in Tallahassee."

Continue reading "Doral College, Flores accuse her challenger of 'untrue, malicious statements'" »

October 28, 2016

Patrick Murphy on new FBI review of Clinton emails: 'I expect we'll all be learning more soon'



Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy has been all-in on Hillary Clinton since she first launched her presidential campaign, and he has loyally stuck by her during congressional and federal investigations over the private email server she kept as Secretary of State.

With news Friday afternoon that the FBI was potentially re-opening its probe into Clinton after finding new emails "pertinent to the investigation," Murphy's campaign re-affirmed the Jupiter congressman's trust in Clinton -- but wouldn't initially address the fresh controversy facing her 11 days before Election Day.

Murphy's campaign spokeswoman Galia Slayen did not directly answer questions from the Herald/Times on Friday afternoon as to whether Murphy had a response to the FBI's new review of Clinton's emails, whether he found the matter at all concerning and whether it, in any way, changed his level of support for Clinton.

Slayen said only: "Patrick trusts Hillary Clinton with the nuclear codes, which is more than Marco Rubio can say about his preferred candidate for president, Donald Trump."

Pivoting to attack Rubio, Florida's Republican incumbent U.S. senator, about his support for Trump has been a common response from Murphy's campaign this month, including in the two debates Murphy and Rubio have had.

Ninety minutes after Slayen provided the campaign's statement (and after the Herald/Times noted the campaign's lack of comment), Murphy's campaign followed up with this additional statement from Murphy himself:

"Secretary Clinton has said her use of personal email was a mistake and has apologized for it. This just became public, and I expect we'll all be learning more soon."

Murphy has spoken at Clinton rallies in Florida four times this month: twice with Clinton herself first in Miami and then Coconut Creek and twice with President Barack Obama first in Miami Gardens and then this evening in Orlando.

Photo credit: Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald

*This post was updated at 6:15 p.m. with additional comment from Murphy's campaign.