The Buzz on Florida politics

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Latest Buzz on Florida politics

President Donald Trump played golf Sunday with Sen. Lindsey Graham at Trump International Golf Club.

They discussed "the tax cuts and reform legislation and the importance of fully funding our national security needs in upcoming government spending negotiations," a White House spokesman said.

Last month, Trump golfed with Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson in Jupiter.

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Winner of the week

Philip Levine. Money matters immensely in statewide Florida campaigns, and little-known Miami Beach businessman Levine is blowing out his Democratic rivals with nearly $7 million raised to date compared to roughly $4 million by nominal front-runner Gwen Graham of Tallahassee, $2.7 million by Chris King, and $1.5 million by Andrew Gillum.

Loser of the week

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The Florida Democratic Party elected a new chair Saturday. Here's how the candidates vying for the party's 2018 nomination for governor reacted:

Andrew Gillum:

"Congratulations to Terrie Rizzo on her victory as the new Chair of the Florida Democratic Party! I am thrilled that she will lead us in moving forward and rebuilding the culture at FDP into one that creates an inclusive and safe work environment for all staff members, activists and volunteers. Florida Democrats have a big task ahead of us in 2018: re-electing Senator Nelson, putting Democrats in the Governor's Mansion and the Cabinet, and fighting for seats up and down the ballot. I know that Chairwoman Rizzo will bring the energy and excitement we need, and I'm excited to work with her."

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ORLANDO, Fla. — The head of the Palm Beach Democratic Party has been elected as leader of the state party, less than a month after the former chairman resigned.

Terrie Rizzo was elected as the new chair of the party during the group's state conference on Saturday in Orlando.

She received 830 votes, while Brevard County Democratic Chairwoman Stacey Patel received 291 votes.

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Conservative Congressman Ron DeSantis issued a news release Saturday that had a campaign flavor as he touted his appearance with President Donald Trump in Pensacola.

DeSantis, widely considered to be exploring a run for governor, flew on Air Force One with Trump and introduced him at the rally.

He noted both events in a news release topped with a campaign style logo.

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From Roll Call:

The Treasury Department paid $220,000 in a previously undisclosed agreement to settle a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment that involved Florida Democrat Alcee L. Hastings, according to documents obtained by Roll Call.

Winsome Packer, a former staff member of a congressional commission that promotes international human rights, said in documents that the congressman touched her, made unwanted sexual advances, and threatened her job. At the time, Hastings was the chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, where Packer worked.

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Donald Trump waited nearly an hour before talking about Roy Moore last night in Pensacola and at first he responded to a man in the crowd.

Later, he expanded:

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From Gary Fineout and the Associated Press:

Dozens of employees with the Florida Legislature, including the spokesman for House Speaker Richard Corcoran, have been working at jobs outside their taxpayer-paid positions.

While some employees have worked afterhours and weekends as waitresses, tutors, photographers and flight instructors, other have taken the jobs that could raise questions about potential conflicts, according to a review of outside employment permission forms filed since November 2016.

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Beyond the Buzz

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James O’Keefe, the conservative founder of a charity that specializes in undercover videos targeting journalists and liberals, has been personally barred from seeking donations in Florida due to his criminal record, officials said.

The ban is part of a wave of scrutiny by regulators in several states after New York officials threatened last week to prohibit Project Veritas from raising money in that state. The charity did not disclose O’Keefe’s 2010 conviction for entering a federal building under false pretenses, as required, New York officials said.

While Project Veritas’s deceptive techniques and splashy videos have attracted attention and acclaim from far-right activists, as well as criticism from others, its past problems with regulators have gained little notice. The charity has previously been denied a license to seek donations in Utah, Mississippi, Wisconsin and Maine, records show, due partly to misstatements and failures to disclose O’Keefe’s conviction for entering a U.S. senator’s office with two men who were posing as telephone repairmen to make a secret recording.

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WASHINGTON – Florida Reps. Matt Gaetz and Ron DeSantis hitched a ride on Air Force One with President Trump to Pensacola, according to the White House.

Trump's rally is set to begin at 7 p.m. local time.

The New York Times reported that President Donald Trump neglected to invite congressional Democrats to the White House Hanukkah celebration.

Citing "congressional aides tracking the invites," Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Katie Rogers wrote that the invite list was mostly limited to Jewish political figures who share Trump's politics.

One notable exception? The reported attendance of liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, a Bill Clinton appointee.

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Remember what Ivanka Trump said about Roy Moore? Thousands of people attending the President Trump rally tonight in Pensacola will get a vivid reminder.

"There's a special place in hell for people who prey on children," the president's daughter said in an interview with The Associated Press last month. "I've yet to see a valid explanation, and I have no reason to doubt the victims' accounts."

That quote will be put on a mobile billboard trolling the Trump rally — replete with audio of news reports on the remarks. It's all courtesy of the liberal group American Bridge.

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After being found guilty this year on charges related to the improper use of campaign funds, former state Rep. Dwayne Taylor was sentenced Friday to 13 months in federal prison, The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported on its website.

Taylor, D-Daytona Beach, was convicted Aug. 31 on nine counts of wire fraud. U.S. District Judge Carlos E. Mendoza, who issued the sentence, refused in September to acquit or order a new trial for Taylor.

Mendoza wrote that prosecutors used ATM video recordings of Taylor moving money from a campaign bank account to a personal account.

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