Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Politics

Connie Mack IV, Bill Nelson ready for only U.S. Senate debate

TALLAHASSEE — Florida voters get their only chance to see Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson and Republican Rep. Connie Mack IV square off against each other in a debate tonight at Nova Southeastern University in Davie.

The matchup follows a low-key campaign for the U.S. Senate in which Nelson, the 12-year incumbent from Orlando, has held a steady lead in the polls against Mack, the six-year congressman from Fort Myers.

Nelson's campaign has relied on television to convey his message in a barrage of negative ads attacking Mack for his personal financial woes, his divorce, his hard-partying youth and attendance record in Congress.

Mack is expected to come out swinging and continue the attacks being used by third-party groups who have been airing television ads on his behalf that attack Nelson's vote for the federal Affordable Care Act, his support of aid to Libya and his tax credits for farmland owned by his family.

The outcome of the Senate contest could determine the balance of power in the U.S. Senate and each candidate expects the debate to offer viewers a clear choice on the future of health care, entitlement reform, taxes and deficit reduction. The latest polls show Nelson ahead of Mack by an average of 6.7 percentage points, according to the RealClearPolitics.com. But recent polls have shown the gap tightening.

"The debate will be an opportunity for the voters of Florida to see a definitely different path for our country,'' said Mack spokesman David James.

Nelson spokesman Paul Kincaid said viewers "will see a contrast between a senator who has been fighting for the state and who works as a moderate and a candidate who newspapers have said is unqualified to be senator."

Mack has pushed back against Nelson's attacks, raising questions about the campaign's negative tone and launching a $1 million ad campaign this week featuring his mother, Priscilla Mack, who declares her 45-year-old son "a good kid, a bit of a handful." She adds, "We mothers understand.''

James said Nelson's attacks raise question about his campaign. "Is the best Bill Nelson can do after 40 years in government is run a smear campaign against Connie Mack?" he asked. "Where are the legislative accomplishments of Bill Nelson?"

The debate will be the only showdown between the two candidates. The campaigns had previously agreed to two debates but Mack, who has pursued a long-standing feud with a political reporter for the Tampa Bay Times, refused to take part in a debate hosted by both the Times and CNN.

When the Times agreed to pull out of the sponsorship of the debate and CNN offered to host a debate after early voting had begun, the Nelson campaign said the timing was too late.

Mack has since chided Nelson for dodging voters. Nelson's campaign counters that Mack agreed to no debates in the Republican primary against former U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon. "This is one more debate than he was willing to give voters in his primary,'' Kincaid said.

Comments
Christie leaves as unpopular N.J. governor, but with no broken legs

Christie leaves as unpopular N.J. governor, but with no broken legs

TRENTON, N.J. — Republican Chris Christie left the New Jersey governor’s office with his popularity in tatters, but at least he didn’t break a leg. Christie is the first elected New Jersey governor in more than two decades not to suffer a broken leg ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Ernest Hooper: Restoring rights after prison is about redemption, not politics

Ernest Hooper: Restoring rights after prison is about redemption, not politics

Desmond Meade says everywhere he goes in Florida, he hears the stories.From whites and blacks, conservatives and liberals, blue collar laborers and white collar wage earners. People from all walks have walked up to him with a common request.They’re c...
Updated: 4 hours ago
23 seek vacant PSC post

23 seek vacant PSC post

There is another Mariano seeking a job in Tallahassee.Pasco County Commissioner Jack Mariano, the father of state Rep. Amber Mariano, R-Hudson, is seeking an appointment to the Florida Public Service Commission, the powerful board regulating Florida ...
Published: 01/16/18
Trump administration to take DACA repeal directly to the Supreme Court

Trump administration to take DACA repeal directly to the Supreme Court

SAN FRANCISCO — The Trump administration on Tuesday appealed a judge’s ruling temporarily blocking its decision to end protections for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants and announced plans to seek a U.S. Supreme Court review even before an ap...
Published: 01/16/18
North Korea calls Trump a ‘lunatic’ and a ‘loser’ in response to nuclear button tweet

North Korea calls Trump a ‘lunatic’ and a ‘loser’ in response to nuclear button tweet

North Korea’s official news agency responded Tuesday to President Donald Trump’s controversial "nuclear button tweet," describing it as the "the spasm of a lunatic," according to AP."The spasm of Trump in the new year reflects the desperate mental st...
Published: 01/16/18
‘What do we want? Apology!’ Hundreds of Haiti supporters protest near Mar-a-Lago

‘What do we want? Apology!’ Hundreds of Haiti supporters protest near Mar-a-Lago

Sun Sentinel (TNS)PALM BEACH — About 500 Haitian-Americans and their supporters used the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday to protest derogatory comments President Donald Trump reportedly made about immigrants from majority-black countries."What do we w...
Published: 01/15/18

U.S. forced to renew DACA permits as furor over Trump’s immigration slur persists

Los Angeles Times (TNS)WASHINGTON — The Trump administration, under court order, said it would resume taking applications to renew temporary protections from deportation for hundreds of thousands of immigrants who were brought to the country illegall...
Published: 01/14/18
GOP senator: Reports of Trump’s ‘s---hole’ comments a ‘gross misrepresentation’

GOP senator: Reports of Trump’s ‘s---hole’ comments a ‘gross misrepresentation’

A Republican senator is insisting that President Donald Trump did not use a vulgar term in referring to African countries during a closed-door meeting on immigration that he and five other senators attended last week.Georgia Sen. David Perdue called ...
Published: 01/14/18
The Trump-O-Meter: PolitiFact rates Donald Trump's first year

The Trump-O-Meter: PolitiFact rates Donald Trump's first year

By Angie Drobnic Holan PolitiFact Editor Much of Donald Trump’s presidency has been defined by provocative tweets and gloves-off fights. But Trump has used the power of the presidency to move the country toward the overarching vision he ran o...
Published: 01/12/18
Updated: 01/16/18
Ethics panel advised to deny legal fees in unfounded Ken Hagan complaint

Ethics panel advised to deny legal fees in unfounded Ken Hagan complaint

A Florida Ethics Commission staff attorney has drafted an order denying Hillsborough County’s request for reimbursement for attorney fees from one of four citizens who filed unsustained ethics complaints against Commissioner Ken Hagan.The commission ...
Published: 01/12/18