The Buzz on Florida politics

Bernie and andrew

Latest Buzz on Florida politics

Probably it’s only natural that in today’s reality TV political culture, a media-savvy porn star lawyer and cable news fixture could be a plausible presidential candidate.

And so it is that Stormy Daniels lawyer Michael Avenatti on Saturday made a last-minute trip to the biggest battleground region of the biggest battleground state to address the Hillsborough Democrats’ King-Kennedy gala dinner Saturday night. Avenatti, 47, is exploring a run for Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, and Saturday’s Florida trip was followed Sunday with a New Hampshire appearance. Wednesday he will make his second Iowa appearance in recent weeks.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result,” the California trial lawyer, said in an interview before the dinner in Tampa. “I think it’s going to take a very unique individual to beat (Trump) in the 2020 election. I don’t know yet if I’m that person or not but what I do know is that I think there’s going to a very small subset of individuals who can actually beat him. And even saying that I think it’s going to be very, very difficult.”

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As support mounted over the weekend for Sen. Bill Nelson's recent claims that Russian operatives have "penetrated" some county voter registration databases in Florida ahead of the 2018 elections, Florida elections officials said they are seeking more information to combat any possibility of ongoing hacking efforts on county voting systems.

A U.S. government official familiar with the matter confirmed to McClatchy on Saturday an NBC news report that Nelson was right when he said Russian hackers had "penetrated" some of Florida's county voting systems. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee told Nelson recently that operatives working for Russia penetrated some county voter registration databases in Florida. That appears to represent new information about fallout from a Russian hacking operation nearly two years ago and not evidence of a fresh attack, the government official familiar with the matter said.

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Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson is denying that he gave away classified information when he told reporters last week that Russians have "penetrated" Florida's election records.

"That's ridiculous," Nelson said, pointing to an NBC story that cited three unnamed intelligence sources who corroborated Nelson's claim about Russian interference.

"It says that three classified sources confirmed. That's not saying anything about me using classified information, which I obviously didn't," Nelson said Saturday. "I did exactly what the leadership of the Senate Intelligence Committee — both the Republican chairman and the vice-Chairman — asked Marco Rubio and I to give that warning."

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Democrats did Republicans a "great service" by calling for a special legislative session on stand your ground.

That's according to National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer, who sent out a press release Saturday saying that lawmakers who voted against the session will see their grades boosted by the national gun rights group.

"As voters are heading to the polls in the Primary, they can be confident in the knowledge that they know exactly where their elected officials stand on the important constitutional right of self-defense," Hammer wrote in the release.

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WASHINGTON – Sen. Bill Nelson declared vindication Friday over his still unsubstantiated claim that Russians hacked into some county election systems in Florida, pointing to a news report that stated there is a "classified basis for Nelson's assertion."

The Florida Democrat tweeted a breaking news alert from NBC News. "Bill Nelson wasn't making things up when he said Russians hacked Florida election systems," it read.

The report was based on "three people familiar with the intelligence." There's no official confirmation of Nelson's claim.

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