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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Fla Insider voices: Was Sen. Frank Artiles wearing his NextEra/Florida Power jacket while hurling racial slurs?



The lobbyists, campaign professionals, activists and other political elites participating in this month's Florida Insider Poll had little sympathy for embattled state Sen. Frank Artiles, R-Miami. Tomorrow, we'll bring you their views on the 2018 field of gubernatorial candidates, Trump's first 100 days and more, but here are their unfiltered comments. (We allow them to weigh in anonymously in these surveys to encourage honest assessments.)

From a Republican: Senator Artiles wiped away the good will the House has built after passing numerous resolutions including the Dozier School for Boys apology and other legislative work with one night of drinking. He single handily set the stage for Republicans in Tallahassee to be called  racist and out of touch."

Democrat: Artilles finished himself forever. dead man walking

R: I honestly do not believe any of the democratic nominees have a real chance to win in November 2018. It is laughable to think anyone believes they do have a chance. 

R: All jerks are eventually exposed. This was Frank Artiles' moment and now it's time for him to go.

D: I think we got a "look behind the curtain" at the real Artilles.  The level of tolerance for that type of vitriol will be a direct reflection on not only the senate but all of us. 

R: Adam Putnam should be our next Governor as long as he runs a quality campaign, and he's certainly capable of doing so. However, if Morgan decides to run all bets are off - he could be the Democrats' Trump card in Florida.

D: Speaker Corcoran has improved his stock this session, appearing (fairly or unfairly) as principled. I still think Commissioner Putnam has massive institutional advantages he should be able to leverage to win a primary. Despite Trump's likely drag on the GOP,  Putnam remains strong enough to beat any Democrat. Morgan likely the strongest potential nominee for the Democrats but seems increasingly unlikely to run. 

D: While Trump's first 100 days have been a disaster to insiders (or historians) he has "fed the beast" with his daily tweets, delusional fake news attacks and unbelievable bravado - which is exactly what his base wants to hear.  What is unclear at this point is whether those casual voters who actually elected him (WI, PA, MI and to some extent FL) are tiring of these antics and beginning to realize he really is the PT Barnum of the 21st century willing to tell people what they want to hear, knowing full well he cannot deliver on those commitments.  My guess is they will give him some time before drawing conclusions about his effectiveness (or lack thereof) and how long they give him will directly impact the outcome of the '18 election cycle.

D: Andrew Gillum has maximized his early start to gain momentum. He will be hard to beat with some steam behind him. 

R: No way the Republican race for governor is a two person race. It'll never come down to Putnam and Corcoran. Getting a group of your cigar-smoking buddies to elect you speaker is one thing, getting a plurality of statewide Republicans to like you is another story. 

R: Trump's first 100 days: Started out maniacally but seems to be stabilizing. 

D: Trump is exactly what I expected:  An incompetent buffoon. 

R: I think leaving Jack Latvala out of the conversation diminishes the results.

NPA/Other: well deserved awful 100 days  

D: Trump needed some legislative accomplishments to get to "neutral" and balance out the missteps and tweets.  The Syrian strike keeps it from being "very bad."

R: Artiles ain't helping the perception of Republicans.  He needs to lay off the sauce.   Governors race still too early, but Gillum has put together good staff and had an empty lane so far.  Gillum is interesting at this point.    But as a whole, waaaaaaay to early to predict anything for 2018 - the political environment has the potential to shift in the next 6 hours.  

D: Was Frank Artiles wearing a NextEra/FPL jacket while he was casting racial slurs?  Will NextEra/FPL demand it's contributions back?

D: Artiles should resign or be removed; he's a disgrace. the Democratic nomination would be John Morgan's if he wants it, but why would he give-up his successful law practice. if its not Morgan, I think it will be Andrew Gillum. A Morgan-Gillum ticket would be wonderful!

NPA/Other: Florida will have a Democrat as governor if they finally involve all the multicultural groups that exist in Florida.  Bittel has made some interesting steps, but new blood must definitely be part of the leadership.  Graham has the name recognition and the reputation of her father.  Some beautiful ads could be done.  In reference to Artiles, regardless of party, decency should never be forgotten, it seems that after the 2016 presidential campaign politicians believe it is okay not to have a filter.  It isin't okay, and it should never be okay to speak words that have hurt societies for centuries.

R: The Artilles fiasco could shift the balance of power in the Fl Senate. 

D: Questions concerning Artiles' atrocious behavior are in poor taste

R: Artiles is a racist bigot in a suit. Having him represent our State is embarrassing.

R: Sen. Artiles has had several run-ins with individuals, including (allegedly) punching a college student in the face.  Most of the incidents were associated with alcohol.Sen. Artiles needs to get his life in order.  As usual, there is plenty of political hypocracy at play.  How many Dems called for Robert Byrd, Dem Majority Leader and longtime KKK member, to resign from the US Senate?

D: No reprimand-No apology good enough. Artilles and his hate filled self should be ousted, immediately. 

R: Through years and multi-millions of advertising Morgan has built a formidable brand. He'll set a very high bar for his opponents.

D: Republicans likely wont move to expel Artiles because they worry about his seat going blue.  However, Artiles running for re-election make it more likely the seat will flip in 2018.  Artiles only managed to win thanks to the poor campaign of Dwight Bullard.  Against any other Democrat, Artiles is likely to lose his Senate seat, which voted 56-40 for Hillary Clinton.

R: Artiles should resign immediately, but he will not. The Senate should move to expel, but they will not. The only way to get him out of office at this point will be for the Senate Leadership to primary him themselves in 2018, but they will not....Normally one would think Artiles had your Loser of the Week locked up, but not this week. Until I see differently, that is Joe Negron.

R: The Republican Party has always believed in the importance of character. Holding Artiles accountable for his disgusting and inexcusable behavior is an opportunity to show that we still do.

R: The optics will refect poorly on the Speaker if session doesn't end on time.  Fighting both the Governor and Senate over budget to the point of impasse weakens the Speaker's chances for statewide office.  

D: Sen. Artiles dropped the "MOAB" a few nights ago, and in this case, "It crossed a lot of lines". Leadership stripping a chairmanship is a respectable 1st step. Step 2 should be removing his ability to make any further assaults (Verbal or Physical) on Florida's constituencies as a public official. 

D: The Senate Republicans, in self interest, should toss him now. Will be a lot cheaper to try to win special/keep seat than to try to carry Artiles across the line.

D: Trump and florida leaders are horrible on ACA and Medicaid expansion even tho millions of Floridians are in desperate need of healthcare. 

R: Despite all the chaos in Trump's first 100 days, Gorsuch on the Supreme Court makes it a good period for conservatives.

D: Frank Artiles makes Donald Trump look like the poster child for rectitude.

D: Unfortunately for Frank, this latest incident further demonstrates a pattern of inappropriate behavior from him that is unbecoming of a Florida Senator. He should be an embarrassment to the entire chamber and any respectable public servant--including his Republican colleagues. ...Run, John, Run! When talking with FL democratic leaders, he is the one potential candidate that excites everyone. Unfortunately for Democrats, I don't think he will ultimately run.

D: Senator Artiles, while not a drunkard, should not drink... confused on the future of the Speakers political desires

D: The standing of President Trump, which is likely to continue to degrade, will be a major advantage to the Dem nominee for Gov. 

NPA/Other: It would be much better if people were just as offended by the things people do as they are by the things people say.  

R: The Artiles thing is a non-starter.  Gone are the days that Republicans care about policing our own and demanding resignations.  The left made peaceful revolution impossible, so society is going to get a whole lot coarser.

Trump is doing just fine with his voters.  Wish he wouldn't pick every fight under the sun, but he's showing signs of calming down on twitter. 

D: Artiles doesn't need to resign for his outrageous comments. Let the voters be the judge of his comments next time he seeks political office. A special election is costly, besides.

R: If the Republican-run senate fails to expel Artiles, it will give Democrats fodder to advance the false narrative that Republicans are racist.

R: Trump's base may not like it, but Trump is starting to become a decent president....Artiles was drinking in a  bar with people I assume he thought friends and called some white Republicans the “n” word. Big deal. It’s not like he called any black people the “n” word. Drunk people say stupid stuff they don’t mean all the time. An apology is in order, not a resignation. ...But hey, Negron. Hahaha 

R: Artiles - While his statements were gross, being an asshole doesn't disqualify from being a member of the Florida Senate

R: Artiles - While his statements were gross, being an asshole doesn't disqualify from being a member of the Florida Senate.

John Morgan - Morgan has massive name ID and it's branded "for the people", which will be difficult for other Democrats to overcome.  The problem with Morgan is that he has way too much baggage and several gaffs that he will be lampooned over in a general election setting.  I'm also not sure what Morgan has to gain by running for Governor other than to stroke his bloated ego. 

Corcoran - I think that running for Governor is his fallback.  His attacks on Rick Scott only point towards a Primary in the US Senate race.  Rick Scotts approval numbers have been trending up since the battle with Corcoran, so it may be that Corcoran falls back in to the Governors race, even though he doesn't have a realistic path to victory in a 2, 3, or 4 way race.

2018 Gubernatorial - Way too early to tell.  One itsy bitsy issue still needs to be resolved - Who are the actual candidates going to be...  The state could easily go either direction.

Trump - Trump has pushed hard to fulfill several campaign promises, and among the Republican base, (the actual base, not the political echo chamber or the facebook warriors) he has done well.  The Republicans upset about the initial failure of the repeal of Obamacare aren't mad at Trump, they are, however, livid with Congress.  Trumps biggest downfall are the shear volume of unforced errors.  Small gaffs and medium gaffs that distract the national media and public from the numerous successes of the administration.

D: Its ironic that on the same day the Senate and House are passing Resolutions apologizing for brutal racial behavior committed against the Groveland 4 and the Dozier White House boys (many of whom were minorities), this obnoxious blowhard insults two of his minority colleagues. If Artiles doesn't resign God help the Senate Democrats if they can't beat him in 2018. 

D: The last thing Florida Republicans need is a high-profile scandal which calls into question their commitment to diversity and ability to govern. For the Senate GOP Caucus, forcing Frank Artiles to resign is both the right thing to do and a political imperative. 

R: Without question,  Artiles is loser of the week and session. 

D: This wasn't Sen. Artiles first time using offensive languange. And let's be honest, if we purged every member that used offensive and hateful language from the legislature most of the male Republicans would be sent packing. Nothing new here, except this time it was in mixed company and not on the golf course. 

D: John Morgan's first love is family and firm; he knows, as the marketing wizard he is, that if Phil Levine runs 20 million dollars of ads of his Polk Co drunken video, it will damage the Morgan Brand and that is why he will not run. ---- The turnout in Florida this past election was 1 percent more Republican- that should terrify the democrats going into a midterm when they don't perform as well as in Presidential cycles.

R: Is Corcoran stronger politically after this session? - definitely.  Everyone will tow the line because he's also speaker for the NEXT session.  Is it enough for him to become Governor?  Probably not.  But Putnam isn't doing much better - he seems to running the reincarnation of the Jeb! For President primary effort ... namely just doing high dollar functions and eschewing retail politics.  Of course it is still very early.  Democrats will probably do what they usually do and select the most moderate candidate who they think will appeal across the board.  Unfortunately for them this strategy doesn't seem to work unless your name is Bill Nelson and you have lame opponents.  Though Graham is probably the best "normal" Democratic candidate ... if Morgan runs then John Morgan would likely be the best to inspire turnout on the Democratic side.  As far as Trump goes ... love the guy, but it's time to get more done than just appointing a Supreme Court justice.

D: How low can Frank Artiles go???

R: The Tallahassee establishment on both sides loves Gwen Graham as one of their own. No one ever seems to consider that she's a one-term former member of Congress with a geographic disadvantage. 

D: Seriously ... Sen. Artiles ... what is wrong with that guy?

D: It is essential for the Tallahassee power structure to take a strong stand against the sort of bigotry that Artiles has demonstrated. As a state, we cannot and must not tolerate this sort of expressed disrespect in our elected officials.

R: The Senator's actions are a disgrace to female and African American members of the legislature, to females and AA in his district and all Floridians. He shamed the institution of the Senate as well as the United State Marine Corps.  

R: We teach our children to stand up to bullies and to not tolerate their behavior.  It will be interesting to see if the Florida Senate has the moral courage to stand up to one of its own and say, "enough is enough".

D: Frank Artiles has no business representing SD40, let alone the Florida Senate. He has shown that he is reckless in his actions and his words. He must be removed to have any integrity and honor in the upper chamber.

D: Sen. Artiles has had a pattern of boorish and offensive conduct.  The GOP can either exorcise the problem now, or it will certainly re-emerge later in an even more malignant form.  

R: His remarks were unforgivable but uttered outside of an official meeting should not result in his removal by the body. He has lost credibility among all colleagues. ...

I see no plus in a Governor Corcoran. It is a power play without professional substance or ability. ...Trump has done a great job being president and less than a stellar job in combatting the unprecedented and mostly unfounded attacks by the media and his detractors. He needs to stick with the job he was elected to do and most definitely get rid of Spicer.

R: No doubt, Sen. Artiles' words were wrong -- offensive and reprehensible to his Senate colleagues. But his bigger problem is likely his choice words for the Senate President. He likely won't survive this one.

D: Morgan is the strongest Democratic candidate based on very string name recognition already, but only if he's willing to commit a minimum of $40 million of his own money.  He's smart, funny; who cares if he drinks to excess.  If Morgan doesn't run, I think Putnam wins.  ... Corcoran is marginally better off after Session, but he's also made a lot of enemies.  Putnam should win.

D: Too many Democrats continue to be too so focused on being anti-Trump that they limit their ability to build a broader coalition.  

R: Unsure really really needs to be a choice   So many variables involved ...A sure answer is yes on resignation of Sen Artiles.  This would hopefully set the tone that insensitive hate remarks are not acceptable What comes from the mouth resides in the soul 

R: Apparently Frank Artilles does not remember Ralph Arza. 

R: So, you use racial slurs against a sitting member of the Senate, and all you get is a pulled chairmanship after an insincere apology? Wow. That'll teach him. Artiles needs to resign immediately, and those who empower him to continue serving are just as guilty. Man up. Although, how nice it is to see other legislators, whose call against intolerance, are the same members who won't hear the Competitive Workforce Act. Unbelievable.  

D: I don't know why everyone is so stunned about Artiles racist-sexist rant.  He's only repeating what he says in private. The Florida Republicans will do nothing.  If the Congress has allowed Trump to stay in power with all his racist-sexist behavior, lawsuits, conflicts of interest and various in sundry scams , to finalize bad laws--- why should morality or civility get in the way now? 

R: Trump's major Home Run was Justice Gorsuch. The President should have started with a SCOTUS victory first and then lowering taxes for all Americans before getting into  Obamacare. ... It is not a surprise that Speaker Ryan could not rally the votes for his horrible version of Obamacare  lite.  I hope Trump learned a hard lesson about letting Paul Ryan quarterback his agenda. ... On the governor's  race, the general (political) consensus is that Adam Putnam should win the Republican gubernatorial primary, but name ID and donors alone will not seal the deal for Putnam if he has a strong credentialed conservative challenger with a proven record, whether that be Speaker Corcoran or someone else.

D: Torn about saying Artiles should not resign, as I in no way defend his actions. Think the Senate should deliberate and apply their rules as appropriate. The result would be a better test (and reflection) of their values and leadership.

NPA: No debate -- Sen. Artiles should immediately resign. 

R: no reason to limit the Rep Gov. field to two at this point...inappropriate, ergo, answers inherently flawed

R: On a personal level, the Artiles rant is so profoundly wrong and hurtful, it defies a suitable categorization. On the political side, which is what we do, it furthers the myth of Republicans = racists. As for Morgan, Gwen would be a strong candidate, but the time is ripe for the Ds to dip outside the establishment. Nearly 2 decades without a Graham on statewide ballot. Ds look at Scott and Trump and say "why won't it work for us?" Morgan would hammer Corcoran. The genial Putnam? Not so much.

R: R: Trump's first 100 days will be OUTSTANDING!!!

[Last modified: Thursday, April 20, 2017 8:36am]


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