05/06/16 State Roundup
Political campaigns tend to be about hope, fear, self-interest, frustration and, occasionally, inspiration. Ultimately, though, campaigns are about math, and the presidential electoral math has been consistent for decades: If the Republican nominee loses Florida, he loses the election.
So the bottom-line question of this extraordinary presidential campaign may turn out to be: Can Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in Florida?...
Here at The Buzz, it's never too early to start looking ahead to future marquee Florida races. With likely 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine already spending money on political ads and likely Republican candidate Adam Putnam already positioning himself as the leader of the Florida GOP, we surveyed more than 100 of Florida's smartest politicos about what they expect in that race. ...
You've heard the talk of Floridians Rick Scott, Marco Rubio, and Bill Nelson being picked as Donald Trump's running mate. On Fox News, Republican media consultant Adam Goodman of Tampa tossed out another suggestion: his client, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi:
"Pam Bondi was an early endorser of Trump. She's the attorney general in her second term, an 18-year prosecutor. She's an outsider who became an insider, and she has a good, strong relationship already with the candidate.... I think he's looking for someone that brings something to his ticket that does not go against the narrative he's been selling for the last six months, and I think people like Pam would fit the bill."...
Smart guy Democratic strategist Steve Schale wrote a column this week warning Florida Democrats not to get complacent about Donald Trump. Dismissing Trump's Florida prospects is understandable when you see evidence like a recent poll for Associated Industries that found Hillary Clinton leading him by 13 percentage points in Florida, where nearly nine in 10 Hispanic voters have a negative view of the presumptive Republican nominee. But if you doubt that Schale is right, consider recent polls of two of Florida's swingiest legislative swing districts:...
05/03/16 State Roundup
Eric Lynn is dropping his bid to succeed U.S. Rep. David Jolly and instead will run for state House in the Democratic-leaning district to be vacated by Dwight Dudley, D-St. Petersburg.
The sudden shakeup in Tampa Bay politics is good news for Charlie Crist, who now appears likely to win a congressional seat with only token opposition, but not so good news for Democrats who will see a potentially expensive and bruising primary for state House. St. Petersburg attorney Ben Diamond, 37, had already announced his candidacy to succeed Dudley and received a string of high-profile Democratic endorsements....
UPDATE: Eric Lynn is dropping out of his congressional race to succeed David Jolly and instead will run for state House, in the Democratic-leaning district to be vacated by Dwight Dudley, D-St. Petersburg. He faces a primary challenge from St. Petersburg attorney Ben Diamond.
“After Rep. Dwight Dudley’s surprise decision not to seek reelection in my home district, many community members asked me to run for State House District 68 to carry on the legacy of great Pinellas leaders like Speaker Peter Wallace, Commissioner Charlie Justice and Rep. Dudley," Lynn said in a statement. "We know that the Republicans will run a candidate that does not share our St. Petersburg values, so we need a strong candidate who can keep this seat Democratic. I look forward to building my campaign from the bottom up and advancing policies that are important to this community. In the State House, I will work hard to improve education - by making it equal for all children; to improve healthcare - by expanding Medicaid in Florida; and to honor and protect our veterans. " ...
Even though a whopping 42 percent of Florida voters have a "very unfavorable" view of Hillary Clinton and more see her image negatively than positively, the likely Democratic presidential nominee today easily beats either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz in Florida, according to the latest tracking poll by the Republican-leaning Associated Industries of Florida. Get this: Among Hispanics (about 14 percent of the electorate and this polling sample), Trump is viewed negatively by 87!!!! percent....
Winner of the week
Florida utility companies. The champagne corks had to be popping at the Duke Energy headquarters last week, with the announcement from one of the most vocal consumer advocates and critics of Florida's utilities: Democratic state Rep. Dwight Dudley of St. Petersburg won't run for reelection in November.
Loser of the week
Carlos Lopez-Cantera. Anyone seen a pulse in the U.S. Senate campaign of Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera lately? He lags in money-raising, is generating little grass roots buzz, and even his boss, Gov. Rick Scott, often sounds more enthusiastic about businessman Carlos Beruff....
Simone Ward, former national political director of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, will be the new Florida state director of Hillary Clinton's campaign, overseeing efforts to deliver the state's 27 electoral votes to the former first lady. She is a well-regarded veteran of Democratic campaigns, having worked previously as campaign manager for Natalie Tennant's Senate campaign in West Virginia and at several positions at the Democratic National Committee, including director of African-American outreach and then national constituency director. She was campaign manager for Sen. Barbara Mikulski in Maryland in 2010 and before that worked for Planned Parenthood and EMILY's List....
Simone Ward, former national political director of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, will be the Hillary Clinton campaign's new Florida State Director, overseeing efforts to deliver the state's 27 electoral votes to the former first lady. She is a well-regarded veteran of Democratic campaigns, having worked worked previously as campaign manager for Natalie Tennant's Senate campaign in West Virginia and everal positions at the Democratic National Committee, including Director of African American Outreach and then National Constituency Director. She was campaign manager for Sen. Barbara Mikulski in Maryland in 2010, and before that worked for Planned Parenthood and EMILY's List....
From William March on state Sen. Tom Lee mulling whether to run for reelection or for the Hillsborough County Commission:
...If Lee doesn't seek re-election, time is short for a potential replacement to mount a Senate campaign. Monday starts a new monthly campaign finance reporting period — a good time to open a campaign — and the qualifying period is rapidly approaching, starting at noon on June 20. Some expect Lee's decision by Monday or soon after....
"I think when Donald Trump debates Hillary Clinton she's going to go down like Monica Lewinsky," Broward County Republican Chairman Bob Sutton told the Washington Post.
It did not go over well.
"Mr. Sutton owes an apology to Hillary Clinton and the women of Broward County. He needs to resign. This is indicative of the open and blatant misogyny of the Republican Party in the era of Trump. There is no excuse for his behavior, and the outright contempt his comments have shown for women."---- Broward County Democratic Party Chair Cynthia Busch
“Without question, Mr. Sutton must apologize and resign immediately. Furthermore, Florida GOP Chairman Blaise Ingoglia must end his stunning silence and condemn this obscene rhetoric. To say that these vile, sexist comments have no place in our politics would be a profound understatement.” --- Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant
“While Republican Party leaders have long pushed policies that deny women their rights, Donald Trump’s ugly, misogynistic and divisive rhetoric is now giving the GOP permission to be derogatory and hateful. The comments today from this local Republican county chairman reveal how deeply sexism and chauvinism is embedded in the Republican Party. Comments like these are insulting to all women regardless of political party and have no place in our nation’s discourse. I call on my counterpart at the RNC to join me in condemning the use of any language that seeks to belittle and degrade women. Hopefully we can at least agree on that.” ---- Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz...
It didn't surprise us to see in the Club for Growth's latest Congressional "scorecard" that U.S. Senate candidate and U.S. Rep. Ron Desantis, R-Ponte Vedra Beach, came out on top among Florida's U.S. House members. He's one of the House's most hardline conservatives, a government shutdown Republican, endorsed by the Club for Growth.
The Club ranked DeSantis fourth among members members, as he voted as the Club for Growth wanted 99 percent of the time in 2015 and 96 percent of the time over his tenure in the U.S. House -- compared to fellow Senate candidate David Jolly, R-Indian Shores, who ranked 207th, voting with the Club for Growth on key issues 46 percent of the time last year, and 40 percent over his career. ...
The tip sounded interesting enough: Wealthy Republican businessman, former CIA officer and U.S. Senate candidate Todd Wilcox had a direct connection to the folks promoting the controversial "ground zero mosque" proposed a few years back in lower Manhattan. In a Republican primary, noted the tipster, a candidate connected to a Islamic cultural center near the old World Trade Center would be toast....
It took us nearly a week and multiple requests for David Jolly to clarify whether or not he would rule out running for reelection instead of for the U.S. Senate, but finally tonight we received this official comment from David Jolly's campaign spokeswoman, Sarah Bascom:
"Jolly is focused on passing the Stop Act, doing his day job, and winning the U.S. Senate race."
Jolly has received encouragement for running for reelection since Republican forrmer Mayor Rick Baker ruled it out earlier this months, and I wrote a column about the chatter yesterday....