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126 posts from August 2018

August 29, 2018

Gillum, blasted by President Trump on Twitter, says @ me next time

Gillum-DeSantis (1)

In politics, there is no rest for the weary.

Less than 12 hours after the general election ballot was set in the race for Florida governor, President Donald Trump began the general election right where he left off in the primary – campaigning for Republican Congressman and gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis.

In an early morning tweet, POTUS launched a bomb at Democratic nominee Andrew Gillum, calling the Tallahassee mayor a “failed socialist.”

“Not only did Congressman Ron DeSantis easily win the Republican Primary, but his opponent in November is his biggest dream… a failed Socialist Mayor named Andrew Gillum who has allowed crime & many other problems to flourish in his city. This is not what Florida wants or needs”.

Gillum quickly shot back, needling the president for not directly mentioning his Twitter handle in his tweet so that he could immediately see it.

“What our state and country needs is decency, hope, and leadership. If you agree, join us at http://AndrewGillum.com. Also, @ me next time, @realDonaldTrump

‘My life is threatened.’ Listen to Sen. Daphne Campbell call 911 on a Herald reporter



Via @DavidOvalle305

When a Miami Herald reporter questioned state lawmaker Daphne Campbell after a candidates event, she called 911 to ask for police protection.

“Can you please send a police for me, please, right now,” Campbell told the Miami-Dade police dispatcher. “My life is threatened.”

Miami-Dade police this week released audio of the call made by Campbell, the Democratic state senator who lost reelection Tuesday. In the call, Campbell never specified that the woman “in the colorful dress” was Miami Herald reporter Sarah Blaskey — or the exact nature of her supposed threats.

“I have a lady who threatened me a lot,” Campbell said. “I’m not going to argue with no one. She threatened me right now. I need protection.”

Campbell, a politician beset by scandals over the years, made the call on Aug. 9 after Blaskey tried questioning her following an appearance at a public candidates’ forum at a Duffy’s, a popular sports bar. A North Miami Beach police officer responded, briefly questioned Blaskey and left without arresting anyone.

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Mom of slain Parkland student wins a seat on the Broward School Board


Via @colleen_wright

The mother of a student murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High on Feb. 14 has been elected to the Broward County School Board in a landslide.

But the momentum brought by Lori Alhadeff and other candidates who announced their campaigns after the deadliest school shooting in the state did not translate to votes cast Tuesday.

Early results from the primary election to weed out 15 candidates vying for five out of nine board seats show that voters decided four of the five races and forced a runoff for one seat.

Alhadeff, a former teacher and mother of 14-year-old Alyssa, who was among those killed Feb. 14, ran in District 4, which encompasses the Parkland and Coral Springs area currently represented by Abby Freedman, who decided not to seek reelection. Alhadeff won about 65 percent of the vote, easily defeating opponents Tennille Erica Decoste and Michael Kottler.

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In Miami, sole incumbent judge keeps seat, six first-timers elected to the bench


Via @DavidOvalle305

The only incumbent Miami-Dade judge facing opposition appeared poised to retain his seat Tuesday while voters ushered in six new judges for seats that opened up because of retirements. Another open race appeared likely to go to a run-off election in November because no candidate garnered more than 50 percent of the vote.

The only contested race had plenty of intrigue for Miami-Dade’s legal community.

Circuit Judge David Miller, who was first elected to the bench in 2000, had a solid five-percentage point lead over challenger Elisabeth Espinosa as of 9 p.m. with almost all of the votes counted.

Espinosa, a former Tampa prosecutor, works for Florida’s largest insurance-defense firm, Cole, Scott & Kissane. After she entered the race, the firm asked Miller to recuse himself from a slew of cases involving Cole, Scott & Kissane, saying it was a conflict of interest.

Miami-Dade voters give a thumbs-up to the County Commission. Five incumbents win.


Via @Doug_Hanks

The five Miami-Dade commissioners seeking another four-year term were reelected Tuesday night, reasserting the power of incumbency in a summer that began with an upset win by a political newcomer.

Incumbents looked more vulnerable in June after first-time candidate Eileen Higgins beat establishment favorites for an open seat on the 13-member commission, but Tuesday’s results showed sitting commissioners cruising to victory in their bids to hold office for another four years. With close to 85 percent of the county’s precincts reporting results, commissioners Daniella Levine Cava, Jose “Pepe” Diaz, Jean Monestime, Rebeca Sosa and Javier Souto each beat their nearest competitors by a spread of somewhere between 30 and 55 percentage points.

Each ran separately in their districts for a 13-seat board that staggers its nonpartisan August primaries every two years. Each incumbent won more than the 50 percent share of the vote needed to end the election after the primary, rather than face a November runoff. Along with dispatching challengers, some of the wins marked defeats for some significant players in local politics.

American Dream Miami, the mega-mall planned for Northwest Miami-Dade, bankrolled the campaign by Gus Barreiro, a former Republican state lawmaker, against Levine Cava. Levine Cava was the lone commissioner to vote against the $4 billion project in May. Donors tied to American Dream, a top donor in other county elections, gave Barreiro about $109,000 of the $133,000 he raised for the race.

The well-funded challenge wasn’t enough to threaten Levine Cava, who took about 62 percent of the vote to win her second term representing South Dade’s District 8. Barreiro took just under 22 percent of the vote, and the third candidate, Johnathan Burke, won roughly 17 percent.

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Michael Grieco wins Democratic primary for state House; Hardemon loses reelection bid


Via @NickNehamas

Voters in a South Florida Democratic primary looked into Michael Grieco’s soul — and decided they wanted to send him to Tallahassee as a state representative.

Grieco, a former Miami Beach commissioner who resigned over a campaign-finance scandal last year, won the Democratic primary Tuesday for state House District 113. His opponents were Deede Weithorn, also a former Beach commissioner, and Kubs Lalchandani, an attorney.

With nearly all precincts reporting, Grieco held 41 percent of the vote. Weithorn had 35 percent and Lalchandani 23 percent. More than 8,300 people had voted in the district, which covers Miami Beach, parts of downtown Miami and Little Havana and North Bay Village.

It was a remarkable comeback for Grieco, who last October stood before a judge as a criminal defendant.

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Scandal-plagued Daphne Campbell loses state senate seat to Jason Pizzo


Via @HarrisAlexC

Daphne Campbell, Miami’s scandal-plagued and sole Haitian-American state legislator, is out in District 38 — and wealthy former prosecutor Jason Pizzo is in — after a tough primary battle open to all voters no matter the political affiliation. 

Campbell was outflanked on the left in a district that leans so Democratic that Republicans didn’t bother putting up a challenger. Eight years of conservative-leaning votes on abortion, gay rights, school prayer and charter schools left her on the outs with Democrats. The Miami-Dade party recently sent her a letter highlighting her “questionable ethics” and asking that she answer for an illegal mailer sent to Republicans that urged a vote for Campbell in District 38.

The diverse northeast Miami-Dade district, which includes the largest Haitian population in the country, is now headed by Pizzo, who spent more than a million dollars of his own money on a campaign emphasizing public safety, climate change and a living wage for workers. Last election he came in second in a crowded six-way primary that Campbell narrowly won.

This time, with all the votes tallied late Tuesday, Pizzo walked away easily with nearly a 9-percent victory margin.

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Salazar beats Barreiro in GOP primary in Florida’s 27th congressional district


Via @MartinDVassolo

After spending the better part of 35 years speaking directly with Miami voters as a TV journalist — which inadvertently amounted to a free advertisement for an eventual foray into politics — freshman candidate Maria Elvira Salazar on Tuesday won the Republican nomination to replace retiring Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in a Miami-area seat Democrats are hoping to flip come November.

“Those viewers turned out to be voters tonight,” Salazar said.

Salazar, who held a wide lead Tuesday night with most of the vote counted for Florida’s 27th Congressional District, beat out a crowded GOP field that included former Miami-Dade County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro — who resigned from his commission seat after 20 years in office to run for Ros-Lehtinen’s seat — and Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera, who made national headlines for a supposed encounter with extraterrestrials she had as a child.

Salazar trounced Barreiro by about 15 percentage points. No other candidate earned more than 10 percent of the vote.

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Donna Shalala wins Democratic primary for Ros-Lehtinen’s seat

Shalala Wins

Via @AlexTDaugherty and @ChuckRabin

Donna Shalala fended off a well-funded challenge from her left to emerge victorious in the Democratic primary for retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s seat, setting the stage for a Democrat to represent Little Havana in Washington. 

The 77-year-old Shalala bested state Rep. David Richardson, her closest competition for the Democratic nomination, who argued that Shalala wasn’t liberal enough for a Democratic electorate angry with Donald Trump’s presidency. Shalala’s long career included stints as the president of the University of Miami and the Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton in the 1990s.

“Ready or not, here I come,” Shalala told the crowd of about 100 people gathered at Little Havana’s Ball and Chain. “November 6th is the day, it’s judgment day in Miami.”

Shalala won close to 32 percent of the vote compared to Richardson’s 27.5 percent.

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Florida braces for a clash of ideologies as conservative DeSantis faces liberal Gillum

Gillum-DeSantis (1)

Florida voters on Tuesday propelled a Trump-endorsed congressman and the African-American mayor of Tallahassee on toward November’s general election in the race to replace Rick Scott as governor, setting up a clash of ideologies in the nation’s largest swing state.

On the right: U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, a 39-year-old conservative, Harvard-educated Iraq War veteran who rode presidential tweets and FOX News interviews to a resounding primary win over Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam.

And on the left: Andrew Gillum, a 39-year-old liberal who with the help of progressive political organizations surged in the last weeks of his campaign to upset a better-funded field.

The surprise matchup figures to be a pure test of partisan strength between a member of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus and a Democrat who scored his party’s nomination with the help of Democratic-Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders. Voters will choose between a candidate in DeSantis who wants to build Trump’s border wall and believes “people should have a right to pursue the healthcare that they want,” and one in Gillum who wants to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement and create a Medicare-for-All system.

“In a lot of ways it’s the perfect matchup,” said Democratic political consultant Ben Pollara. “My big fear about DeSantis has been that he’s this avatar of the Trump wing of the party. Is being that person enough to beat a center-of-the-road Democratic candidate? This is a base-versus-base year and I like the way that Andrew fires up the base.”

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