July 19, 2010

Jeff Kottkamp visits Herald editorial board

Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, a Republican running for Attorney General, stopped by the Herald today to speak with the editorial board. Here are some of the primary issues he said he would tackle if elected:

  • Challenging "Obamacare."
  • Dealing with the aftermath of the oil spill.
  • Fighting the EPA's water-quality standards.
  • Cracking down on "pill mills" and pain clinics that can over-prescribe narcotics, leading to deaths.
  • Using software to help law enforcement with online crimes like identity theft.

Here are some of the other highlights:

  • On oil drilling and the spill in the Gulf -- "Let's take a deep breath, make sure this is stopped, make sure we clean it up, but I don't think you can let this crisis diminish our resolve to be energy independent. I don't want us to overreact and condemn our children to five-dollar-a-gallon gas... Why is drilling for natural gas even a debate? Natural gas, so what if it leaks?"
  • On the Arizona immigration law -- "People that are critical of Arizona, they don't understand what they're going through. They have a violent drug war spilling across their borders and the federal government isn't doing anything about it... We're fortunate in that we don't have that drug war spilling across our borders. What I've talked about is the cost to taxpayers. If you visit the local jail sometimes up to 30 percent of people are illegal immigrants that broke the law again. I think if the [federal government] isn't going to do their job they should pay for it. I would pursue legal action against the federal government to at least reimburse the taxpayers of Florida, because I don't think it's fair. They're not doing their job and they're costing our taxpayers millions of dollars every year. The cost of law enforcement, health care, you can quantify that pretty well."
  • If the Florida Supreme Court overturns the ban on gay adoption, whether or not he would seek to reinstate the ban -- "We'll see what happens. I support the ban, but we'll see what happens."
  • On Amendments 5 and 6 -- "I think it's naive to think you can take the politics out of this process.What you are doing is taking away the accountability of an elected person doing it. We already have federal law on these things requiring them to be compact, continuous communities of interest. Our maps have to go through pre-clearance with the Justice Department still, so the issues of minority representation are covered by the federal government."
  • On his strained relationship with Gov. Charlie Crist -- "They really cut off access, to be honest with you. We don't get invited to briefings, scheduled meetings. He didn't even call me and tell me we weren't running for reelection."

July 15, 2010

Scott hits McCollum on state plane use

Rick Scott's 527, "Lets Get to Work," is up with a new ad, criticizing Bill McCollum for using state aircraft to the tune of $280,000. A commercial cites a Times/Herald report from last summer showing McCollum, CFO Alex Sink and Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp's apparent misuse of state planes. The report lead the Cabinet members to curtail their use of official travel.

The 527's latest media buy figures show he bought time from Wednesday through July 20, for a total of $1.6 million. The buy includes saturation in the Orlando, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Panama City and Tallahassee markets.

July 06, 2010

June 12, 2010

Candidates shake hands for votes

A six-county Whistle Stop tour through the Panhandle on Saturday showcased a number of lesser know Republican candidates fighting for attention amid the Marco Rubio-Charlie Crist showdown and gubernatorial hopeful Rick Scott's big-money campaign.

With sweat soaking through shirts and campaign fliers doubling as hand fans, U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam, an agriculture commissioner candidate, and Holly Benson, a former state lawmaker running for attorney general, showed that retail politicking still holds a place in a state known for its media-market campaigns.

Observations from the campaign trail:

--The details: The tour began at 9 a.m. central time in Chipley before stopping in Bonifay, DeFuniak Springs, Ft. Walton Beach, Gulf Breeze and finally ending in Pensacola at 6 p.m. The crowds varied from the 25 people under a park pavilion in Gulf Breeze to the 200 awaiting the statewide and local candidates in Ft. Walton. The oppressive heat, with temperatures topping 100 degrees, kept enthusiasm to a minimum. In fact, in DeFuniak Springs, a tense auction for a two-layer patriotic cake drew more participant attention than most candidates.

Continue reading "Candidates shake hands for votes" »

May 05, 2010

FL GOP sent Lt. Gov. to Disney World

The Florida Republican Party spent more than $9,500 on special Disney World tours for  Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp and others in the summer of 2008, according to credit card bills obtained by The Miami Herald and The St. Petersburg Times.

The outings were part of roughly $47,000 in expenses charged that year to the American Express card held by the former executive director of the state party, Jim Rimes, and tied to Kottkamp. Handwritten notes on the bills describe the amusement park costs as "Lt. Gov. Disney trip.''

Kottkamp said he went to Disney with donors and their families. But party spokeswoman Katie Betta said Tuesday that the Disney charges were not associated with a fundraiser nor other official party business.

The party is undergoing an audit to uncover any wrongdoing by high-ranking legislators and staff who used the credit cards under former chairman Jim Greer.

"This is an example of the type of expense our forensic investigators are looking into to determine if additional documentation does exist that would confirm that the Disney expenses were in fact related to RPOF business,'' Betta said in an e-mail.

April 29, 2010

Kottkamp: I'll support Republican nominee

The governor's office is now a house divided as Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp today says he hopes the governor's decision doesn't interfere with their relationship, but he won't give the gov his support.

"I hope the Governor's decision today to run for the United States Senate as an independent candidate, rather than as a Republican, will have no impact on our personal relationship,'' he says in a statement. "However, as a lifelong Republican I am committed to supporting my party and the principles I have fought for my entire life.  I will support the Republican nominee for United States Senate.'' 

April 13, 2010

First quarter fundraising roundup

Here are the highlights of the official first quarter fundraising numbers that came out last night. (With a helpful assist from Christina Johnson over at On3PR)

Toplines in the governor's race: Republican Bill McCollum raised just less than 1.4 million in the first three months of 2010, compared with Democrat Alex Sink's 1.1 million. Sink still holds the overall edge in campaign cash, though, with $5 million on hand compared to $3.8 million for McCollum. GOP challenger Paula Dockery has $410,000 on hand. That figure includes $280,000 in personal cash she has put into her campaign.

An interesting note in the AG race. Days before the official numbers came out, Democratic Sen. Dan Gelber announced an impressive haul of $330,000. Turns out that number was pumped up with about $100,000 worth of in-kind contributions. His actual cash haul was $218,000.

Other AG candidates: Sen. Dave Aronberg took in $259,000 to use in the primary against Gelber. On the Republican side: Lt. Gov Jeff Kottkamp raised $232k, Pam Bondi raised $222k and Holly Benson raised $198k.

Senate President Jeff Atwater and Congressman Adam Putnam both opened up wider leads in their races for CFO and Agriculture Commissioner. Atwater took in $446,000 and has almost $2 million on hand. His Democratic challenger, Loranne Ausley has $346,000 on hand. Putnam had about $1.2 million on hand, while Democrat Scott Maddox has $314,000.

April 09, 2010

Benson, Bondi post eerily similar 1Q numbers

Two rivals for the GOP nomination for attorney general -- Pam Bondi and Holly Benson -- posted nearly the same fundraising totals for the first three months of 2010. Bondi, a former Hillsborough County prosecutor, says she raised almost $240,000 this quarter. Benson, who ran the state's Medicaid agency under Gov. Charlie Crist, says she pulled in $241,000.

The totals come about a week after their third rival, Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, announced he raised $270,000 during the same time period.

Democratic candidates Dan Gelber and Dave Aronberg raised $325,000 and $260,000, respectively. Both of those totals do not include March, when the two state senators were banned from fundraising.

April 07, 2010

Kottkamp, lawmakers speak at Capitol tea party rally

Lake ray Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp and a number of lawmakers (including Jacksonville Republican Rep. Lake Ray at left) stood behind the tea party's lectern on the Historic Capitol steps and blasted all things federal government.

Kottkamp, a Republican candidate for attorney general, endorsed AG Bill McCollum's lawsuit against the health care legislation supported by President Barack Obama.

Ray, who took a break from the Florida House debate about class size, told the crowd of 50 that "euthanasia is what they have in mind" under the new health care system. "I share your vision for the future," he said.

The rally's speakers called the day the legislation passed "one of the darkest days since 9/11."

The crowd carried signs supporting Sen. Carey Baker and Rep. Scott Plakon's effort to add language to the state's constitution forbidding the implementation of the health care bill.

April 01, 2010

All the people that supported Jim Greer

In the political fallout from the criminal investigation of Jim Greer, one question remaining is who it will hurt. Gov. Charlie Crist was the obvious target when the initial news broke, given that he handpicked Greer for the GOP helm. But this flier for Greer's re-election -- slogan, "The service we trust. The leadership we need -- as chairman includes many more bold-faced names: including Attorney General Bill McCollum, Senate President Jeff Atwater and disgraced Speaker Ray Sansom and former Speaker Marco Rubio.

See the invite here.