Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Politics

Rich's mailer touts record as progressive

With early voting already under way in several counties, Democratic candidate for governor Nan Rich has a new mailer out.

One side includes an endorsement from former Democratic Gov. Buddy MacKay.

The other highlights Rich's experience in the Florida Senate, where she served for eight years, and stresses her progressive credentials.

"Nan has always been a leading progressive advocate for children, women, seniors and social justice issues," the mailer reads. "Her successful efforts to expand support for home and community-based care programs for seniors has allowed thousands of Florida's frail elderly to remain in their own homes instead of moving into nursing homes."

Rich is the underdog in the Aug. 26 primary. Her opponent, former Gov. Charlie Crist, is better known and better financed.

Rich's latest mailer went out to Democratic primary voters across the state last week, campaign spokesman Sterling Clifford said.

The ad was paid for by the Florida Democratic Party. But it was neither an endorsement nor a gift, FDP spokesman Max Steele said.

Steele said the party often helps candidates get lower rates on mailers and TV ads.

"It's something we offer to both candidates," he said.

To get the lower rates, the ad must be endorsed by three elected officials. In this case, the elected officials were: state Sen. Oscar Braynon, D-Miami Gardens; state Sen. Darren Soto, D-Orlando; and state Rep. Amanda Murphy, D-New Port Richey.

Decrying PACs

It's not often that Democrats and Republicans can agree to much of anything.

Which is why what happened Friday at a news conference in Okaloosa County is sort of noteworthy.

Prompted by a Northwest Florida Daily News article about state Rep. Matt Gaetz's use of political action committees to influence local races, John Whitley, a state committeeman of Okaloosa County for the Florida Democratic Party, and Gaye Ellis, the chairwoman of the Okaloosa County Republican Executive Committee, agreed that there's too much outside money in local races.

"The Northwest Florida Daily News has focused on a Tallahassee PAC which has local ties, but there are other PACs influencing our local election with no local ties at all," Ellis said. "This outside influence puts a damper on the phrase: 'We the people.' The people of Okaloosa County have the ability to govern themselves."

"It appears our state legislators are bringing the nasty, deceitful, and misrepresented, misleading and false statements of the federal and state level politics to our home front," Whitley said.

Although no names were mentioned at the news conference, Whitley was asked who he was talking about and said it was Gaetz, who is the focus of the Daily News article.

Whitley said outside money from PACs like Gaetz's are worse than ever and heavily influencing the outcome of local races like school board, county commission and county clerk.

"We're tired of having our elections decided for us by people who couldn't locate Okaloosa County on a map," Whitley said.

Why didn't he mention Gaetz during the news conference?

"I'm not naming names because it's so obvious," he said.

Bush to visit Punta Gorda

Jeb Bush will mark the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Charley today by visiting Punta Gorda with Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

Then-Gov. Bush and then-U.S. Rep. Putnam "toured the devastation of Hurricane Charley together with President George W. Bush in the days following the storm's landfall in 2004," according to a news release.

Alex Leary contributed.

   
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