Friday, December 15, 2017
Politics

Jeb Bush, Rick Santorum to speak at GOP convention

TAMPA — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will be among the headliners speaking at the Republican National Convention, GOP chairman Reince Priebus said Tuesday.

Bush, currently chairman of the Foundation for Florida's Future, was included in a second list of speakers announced for the Aug. 27-30 convention.

"This election comes down to a fundamental choice — between Mitt Romney's commitment to business innovation and job growth and the president's record of government taxation and takeovers," Bush said in a statement released through the RNC.

Other speakers announced Tuesday include:

• Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who ended a presidential bid in April after pushing birth control, abortion and other social issues to the forefront of the GOP primary.

• U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, junior senator from Kentucky, founder of the U.S. Senate Tea Party Caucus and the son of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul. (The elder Paul will hold his own free public rally at the University of South Florida Sun Dome on Aug. 26, the day before the convention begins.)

• Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, the first woman to serve as both Oklahoma lieutenant governor and governor, and the first woman elected to Congress from Oklahoma since the 1920s.

• Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who survived a recall election earlier this year after tangling with Democrats.

Willie Nelson out; Randy Travis in

Willie Nelson and Jerry Jeff Walker had been scheduled to play a convention-week benefit concert Aug. 29 at the Dallas Bull, but they have a scheduling conflict, organizers said Tuesday night.

So instead, Randy Travis will play the private concert on behalf of Got Your 6, a nonprofit group that raises funds and awareness for military veterans.

Hotel bookings exceed convention projection

As of Tuesday, more than 90,000 hotel room nights had been booked for the convention — more than the 75,000 that organizers originally projected.

"I think there's some come-early, stay-late traffic," Tampa Bay Host Committee president Ken Jones said. Other factors could include the Labor Day holiday weekend immediately following the RNC, the fact that the Republican Party will hold some meetings the week before the convention and Florida's reputation as a tourist destination.

Courts gearing up for protest arrests

Authorities hope there won't be a lot of protesters arrested during the RNC, but if there are, the court system is gearing up to handle them.

For the convention, Hillsborough County officials are preparing to have three hearings — at 8 a.m., 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. — for people arrested making their first appearances in court, assistant public defender Rocky Brancato said Tuesday night during a forum hosted by the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida. "It appears that people coming through (the) Orient Road (jail) will be processed in a matter of a couple of hours," he said. And because of the extra hearings, "if you get arrested that day, there's a good chance that you're going to be in court that same day on one of those dockets."

Lawmakers to play ball during RNC

Maverick PAC, the group founded by George P. Bush, son of Jeb Bush, to target conservative young professionals across the country, will hold a Mav Bash and a Mav baseball game during the Republican National Convention.

At 10:30 a.m. Aug. 29, assorted members of Congress will play a six-inning baseball game at Tampa's Steinbrenner Field.

At 10 that night is the party featuring George P. Bush, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, and U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts in Tampa. Party sponsorships start at $5,000.

RNC by the numbers

4,567

Total number of volunteers who have signed up with the Tampa Bay Host Committee to help during the convention. Volunteer registration is closed.

Times political editor Adam C. Smith contributed to this report.

Comments
House Speaker Paul Ryan says he’s not leaving Congress soon

House Speaker Paul Ryan says he’s not leaving Congress soon

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday he’s not leaving Congress anytime soon, trying to squelch rumors that he will walk away in triumph after the Republicans’ treasured tax bill is approved. Politico and the Huffington Post published re...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Pence to delay Mideast trip as tax deal nears vote

Pence to delay Mideast trip as tax deal nears vote

WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence is delaying his weekend departure for the Middle East as Congress nears completion of a tax overhaul, his office announced Thursday. White House officials said Pence now plans to leave for Egypt on Tuesday so he...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Senator: Comey’s remarks on Clinton probe heavily edited

Senator: Comey’s remarks on Clinton probe heavily edited

WASHINGTON — A draft statement former FBI director James Comey prepared in anticipation of concluding the Hillary Clinton email case without criminal charges was heavily edited to change the "tone and substance" of the remarks, a Republican senator s...
Updated: 7 hours ago
William March: AG candidate Ashley Moody called ‘liberal;’ bill takes Orlando money for Tampa transit

William March: AG candidate Ashley Moody called ‘liberal;’ bill takes Orlando money for Tampa transit

Ideological divides in Florida’s Republican attorney general primary race are producing some early negative campaigning, with a strong Tampa Bay area flavor.State Rep. Jay Fant, R-Jacksonville, one of four candidates, has attacked the early frontrunn...
Published: 12/14/17
Florida lawmakers want stronger college free speech rules amid First Amendment flareups

Florida lawmakers want stronger college free speech rules amid First Amendment flareups

Rising up in defiance to Richard Spencer, hundreds of University of Florida students sounded off in a deafening chant."Go home, Spencer!" they shouted, as the exasperated white nationalist paced the stage, pleading to be heard.Were the students exerc...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Senate race motivated Alabama’s white, black evangelical voters in different ways

Senate race motivated Alabama’s white, black evangelical voters in different ways

Nationally, the word "evangelical" has become in recent years nearly synonymous with "conservative Republican" and Alabama is one of the most evangelical states in the country. But in Alabama, there is a difference: black Christians.While in many par...
Published: 12/13/17
Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith named to fill Franken seat

Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith named to fill Franken seat

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton appointed Lt. Gov. Tina Smith on Wednesday to fill fellow Democrat Al Franken’s Senate seat until a special election in November, setting up his longtime and trusted adviser for a potentially bruising 2018...
Published: 12/13/17
Elections chief: Automatic recount unlikely in Alabama race

Elections chief: Automatic recount unlikely in Alabama race

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Still-uncounted ballots are unlikely to change the outcome of the U.S. Senate race in Alabama enough to spur an automatic recount, the state’s election chief said Wednesday as Democratic victor Doug Jones urged Republican Roy Moore...
Published: 12/13/17
Democrats jubilant, and newly confident about 2018, as Alabama delivers win on Trump’s turf

Democrats jubilant, and newly confident about 2018, as Alabama delivers win on Trump’s turf

The Democrats’ seismic victory Tuesday in the unlikely political battleground of Alabama brought jubilation — and a sudden a rush of confidence — to a party that has been struggling to gain its footing since Donald Trump won the presidency 13 months ...
Published: 12/13/17
Tax package would lower top tax rate for wealthy Americans

Tax package would lower top tax rate for wealthy Americans

WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans on Tuesday rushed toward a deal on a massive tax package that would reduce the top tax rate for wealthy Americans to 37 percent and slash the corporate rate to a level slightly higher than what businesses and co...
Published: 12/12/17