Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Politics

Secret Service visit, GOP push don't deter Black

Say you're a rookie political candidate eager to raise your profile. Here's one sure way to do that you DO NOT want to try: publicly call for the president of the United States to be hanged.

That's what Republican state House candidate Joshua Black did on Twitter Monday. It generated a widely read article in the Tampa Bay Times, a call from Anderson Cooper's guest booker, an interview for Political Connections on Bay News 9 and, naturally, a visit from the Secret Service.

Black, a taxi driver, said that Secret Service representatives were waiting for him at his house while he taped the Political Connections interview.

"It was not a threat," said Black, insisting that his tweet — "I'm past impeachment. It's time to arrest and hang him high" — was merely expressing outrage over the president killing U.S. citizens with drone attacks and without due process.

Black said he resigned from the Pinellas County Republican Executive Committee at the request of county chairman Michael Guju. But he dismissed a tweet from Gov. Rick Scott Tuesday that Black "immediately withdraw his candidacy to represent families of Pinellas County."

"I do not take orders from the governor, I'm staying in the race," said Black, a candidate for Florida House District 68.

Jolly's poll says he's ahead

An internal poll from Republican David Jolly's campaign shows Jolly leading Democrat Alex Sink by 5 percentage points, 43 percent to 38 percent.

The Jolly campaign released the memo to supporters in an attempt to raise money, warning that Sink and Democrats would pour "millions upon millions" into the contest for Florida's 13th Congressional District.

Hoyer to raise funds for Sink

U.S. House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer is scheduled to headline a fundraiser for Alex Sink Jan. 29 at the St. Petersburg home of Bloomin' Brands CEO Liz Smith and her husband, Chip Newton. Others on the host committee include Home Shopping Network CEO Mindy Grossman, Bill and Jeanne Heller, Lindsey Jarrell, Craig Sher, Lorna Taylor, Scott Wagman and Beth Houghton.

Scott lines up press team

Changes are under way in Gov. Rick Scott's communications shop.

With communications director Melissa Sellers leaving to manage Scott's re-election campaign, Frank Collins III has been named Scott's official spokesman.

Collins, like Sellers, was part of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's press operation before coming to Florida.

Also joining Scott's revamped election-year press shop as deputy communications director is Monica Russell. Russell, a University of Florida graduate, had been director of communications at the Department of Economic Opportunity.

Springs protection bubbling up

Gov. Rick Scott called on the Legislature Tuesday to spend $55 million in next year's budget for the restoration and protection of springs in Florida. He made the announcement in Tallahassee at an event honoring the work of 125 employees in the Department of Environmental Protection.

"We need to continue to protect our springs. They're part of our state parks. They're part of our heritage," Scott told reporters afterward.

That $55 million may sound like a lot of money, but the Senate is talking about appropriating nearly $380 for springs protection — seven times as much as Scott's proposal.

Times staff writers Alex Leary and Steve Bousquet contributed to this week's Buzz.

   
Comments
St. Petersburg regatta to Havana again buffeted by politics

St. Petersburg regatta to Havana again buffeted by politics

The 2017 St. Petersburg-Habana Yacht Race was celebrated as more than a competitive regatta to Cuba’s capital city of Havana.The relaunch of the maritime competition canceled since 1959 was hailed as a reflection of the detente started under former P...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Spring Hill candidate for Congress: ‘I care about this community — I will scream that from the rafters’

Spring Hill candidate for Congress: ‘I care about this community — I will scream that from the rafters’

SPRING HILL — A Hernando County woman new to the political arena has filed as the fifth Democrat to run against longtime Florida lawmaker U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster for his spot in the U.S. House of Representatives.Dana Cottrell, 49, has lived in Sprin...
Published: 02/20/18
Special counsel files new charge in Russia probe

Special counsel files new charge in Russia probe

WASHINGTON — The special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election charged an attorney Tuesday with lying to federal investigators about his interactions with a former Trump campaign official. A charging document filed in federa...
Published: 02/20/18
Man featured on ‘Trump Dating’ site has child sex conviction

Man featured on ‘Trump Dating’ site has child sex conviction

GREENSBORO, N.C. — A North Carolina man with a felony conviction for indecent liberties with a child was one-half of the poster couple for a new "Trump Dating" website.News outlets reported Monday that visitors to the dating site geared toward suppor...
Published: 02/20/18
Ex-workers at Russian ‘troll factory’ trust U.S. indictment

Ex-workers at Russian ‘troll factory’ trust U.S. indictment

Associated PressST. PETERSBURG, Russia — While Russian officials scoff at a U.S. indictment charging 13 Russians with meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, several people who worked at the same St. Petersburg, Russia, "troll factory" say t...
Published: 02/19/18
Trump offers support for limited effort on background checks

Trump offers support for limited effort on background checks

Associated PressWEST PALM BEACH — From the confines of his Mar-a-Lago golf club, President Donald Trump offered support Monday for a limited strengthening of federal background checks on gun purchases while staying largely mum in the past few days ab...
Published: 02/19/18
For the weary White House, Florida shooting offered a ‘reprieve’ from scandals

For the weary White House, Florida shooting offered a ‘reprieve’ from scandals

The White House was under siege.Domestic abuse allegations against a senior aide were ignored, pointing to a potential high-level coverup. Two Cabinet secretaries were caught chargin taxpayers for luxury travel. A Playboy centerfold alleged an extram...
Published: 02/19/18
President Trump expresses support for senators’ gun bill

President Trump expresses support for senators’ gun bill

President Donald Trump signaled support for one piece of gun control legislation on Monday, five days after a mass shooting at a Florida high school left 17 people dead and scores injured."The president is supportive of efforts to improve the federal...
Published: 02/19/18
Do Trump’s alleged affairs even matter?

Do Trump’s alleged affairs even matter?

One of the quotes from the 2016 presidential campaign that has stuck with me came from an unidentified Donald Trump supporter who shared his appraisal of the "Access Hollywood" tape on an episode of Showtime’s "The Circus."Having heard Trump boast on...
Published: 02/18/18
Survivors of deadly school shooting lash out at Trump

Survivors of deadly school shooting lash out at Trump

PARKLAND, Fla. — Students who escaped the deadly school shooting in Florida focused their anger Sunday at President Donald Trump, contending that his response to the attack has been needlessly divisive. "You're the president. You're supposed t...
Published: 02/18/18