Sunday, September 23, 2018
Politics

Allies of Speaker Corcoran fund Lawrence McClure in Hillsborough House race

New campaign finance reports in an East Hillsborough state House race show indications of a concerted effort by the Republican House leadership team of Speaker Richard Corcoran to boost candidate Lawrence McClure.

Those records show maximum $1,000 contributions from political allies, clients, employees and committees associated with Corcoran's brother, lobbyist Mike Corcoran, as well as Reps. Carlos Trujillo of Miami and Jamie Grant of Tampa; former Rep. Jose Felix Diaz; and other politically connected lobbying firms.

Trujillo and Grant hold committee chairmanships as part of Speaker Corcoran's leadership team and Diaz did until he left the House to run for the state Senate.

In addition, a second outside committee headed by a Gainesville-based GOP operative active in Tallahassee politics is now sending mailers helping McClure.

KNOW YOUR CANDIDATES: Profiles of Yvonne Fry, Lawrence McClure

FRY'S GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS: Partner's office gave work to candidate's company

McClure and Yvonne Fry will face off in a Republican primary Tuesday. The winner will be the favorite in a special election Dec. 19 to replace former Rep. Dan Raulerson in the Plant City-based district, who retired after conflicts with Speaker Corcoran and who backs Fry.

Asked about the involvement of House leaders in his campaign, McClure said Saturday he was unaware of any such move, but added, "I'm the most conservative candidate in the race. It's not a surprise that conservatives would be backing the conservative candidate."

Richard and Mike Corcoran couldn't be reached for comment.

Grant said he backs McClure not because of any preference by House leadership, but because the two are long-time friends.

"I think he'll make a great representative," Grant said. "If House leaders were united behind someone else, I'd still be all in with Lawrence."

In campaign finance reports filed Friday, McClure reported raising $28,280 in the last month, for a total so far of $135,485.

Fry reported raising $44,025, for a total of $112,790 in her campaign, and a total of $46,500 in her independent committee, Florida Leadership Fund.

Fry got a larger share of her money from within the district, but her committee has been funded almost entirely by two individuals — $25,000 from Plant City Mayor Rick Lott and $21,000 from retired businessman William Carr.

Among contributions shown on McClure's report:

• $1,000 from Mike Corcoran's PAC, Building a Better Florida, and $6,000 from PACs representing industry groups or clients he lobbies for — optometrists, beer wholesalers and the Hospital Corporation of America.

• $3,000 from employees or their family members in Corcoran's lobbying firm, Corcoran & Johnson.

• $2,000 from committees linked to Rep. Trujillo.

• $500 from Diaz's committee, Rebuild Florida, and $2,000 from South Florida lobbyist and political consultant Steven J. Marin, a long-time Diaz ally.

• $1,000 from Grant's committee, Floridians for Liberty and Innovation.

• Other maximum contributions from politically involved interests including the GrayRobinson and Southern Strategy Group law and lobbying firms.

Besides Fry's independent committee, which is reporting its contributions, there are now three outside committees at work in the campaign keeping their funding sources secret. They won't have to report them until after the primary.

One, Hillsborough County Conservatism Counts, run by state Christian Coalition Chairman Ash Mason, has been blasting Fry with one or more attack mailers a day.

A second, Nature Coast Conservatives, is helping Fry, and has sent out a mailer comparing the two candidates, to McClure's detriment. Fry campaign manager Brock Mikosky said he arranged that effort.

A third, called Conservatism Counts, has existed for some time but appeared to become inactive last year. After reporting no donations from October 2016 to Sept. 30, 2017, it's now sending out mail on behalf of McClure, mostly positive messages, apparently using money raised since the Sept. 30 reporting date.

It's run by Stafford Jones, former Alachua County GOP chairman and a long-time player in Tallahassee circles. He made news three years ago when he was involved with a group of political consultants who secretly designed and submitted new legislative district maps intended to help maintain the Republican advantage in legislative races.

"I don't talk about my business," Jones said Saturday when asked about his committee's sources of funding and motivation for getting involved in the race.

Contact William March at [email protected]

 
Comments
US considers limit on green cards for immigrants on benefits

US considers limit on green cards for immigrants on benefits

SAN DIEGO — The Trump administration has proposed rules that could deny green cards to immigrants if they use Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers and other forms of public assistance.Federal law already requires those seeking green cards t...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Christine Blasey Ford reaches deal to  testify at Kavanaugh hearing

Christine Blasey Ford reaches deal to testify at Kavanaugh hearing

The woman who has accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers has committed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday, her lawyers said Sunday. The lawyers said some details — including whe...
Updated: 10 hours ago

AP source: Kavanaugh, Ford agree to testify on Thursday

WASHINGTON ó Negotiators reached a tentative agreement Saturday for the Senate Judiciary Committee to hear testimony Thursday from Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault from decades ago, two...
Published: 09/22/18

Trump administration aims to sharply restrict new green cards for those on public aid

WASHINGTON ó Trump administration officials announced Saturday that immigrants who legally use public benefits like food assistance and Section 8 housing vouchers could be denied green cards under new rules aimed at keeping out people the administrat...
Published: 09/22/18
Dana Young, Janet Cruz spar over guns, schools, environment in crucial Senate race

Dana Young, Janet Cruz spar over guns, schools, environment in crucial Senate race

TAMPA ó During a showdown Friday in Floridaís most hotly contested state Senate race, Democratic challenger Janet Cruz launched fireworks at Dana Young over education funding, the environment and guns.Young, the Republican incumbent in District 18, r...
Published: 09/21/18
Drug bill canít undo damage

Drug bill canít undo damage

On Sept. 5, two months before Election Day where heís running for a seventh term, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis filed a bill to clarify a 2016 law he co-sponsored that made it nearly impossible for the Drug Enforcement Administration to intercept suspiciou...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Confederate group banned from Temple Terrace country club, may take legal action

Confederate group banned from Temple Terrace country club, may take legal action

TEMPLE TERRACE — After complaints from city residents, the Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club has notified the City Council that it will not rent space again to the Sons of Confederate Veterans for its annual banquet.The country clubȁ...
Published: 09/20/18
Carlton: Should felons who have done their time get to vote? Citizens of Florida, itís in your hands

Carlton: Should felons who have done their time get to vote? Citizens of Florida, itís in your hands

Itís not often that we citizens ó busy with work, paying the bills, living our lives ó find ourselves with the power to right a fundamental wrong.But here in Florida, weíre about to get that chance.On the November ballot ó among all those candidates ...
Published: 09/20/18
Daniel Ruth: City owes Gonzmart and Princess Ulele more than a notice of code violation

Daniel Ruth: City owes Gonzmart and Princess Ulele more than a notice of code violation

This has to be height of bureaucratic pettiness, especially for a city whose track record in promoting quality public art falls somewhere between stick figures and finger puppets.Richard Gonzmart is a community treasure. As the force behind a number ...
Published: 09/19/18
Romano: Floridaís dangerous prisons costing us more than money

Romano: Floridaís dangerous prisons costing us more than money

Two things you need to know about Floridaís prison budget:1. It was $2.3 billion this year.2. It was still not enough.Kind of staggering when you think of it that way, huh?We keep spending more and more on housing prisoners, and itís like throwing mo...
Published: 09/18/18