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RASMUSSEN: ROMNEY 46%. OBAMA 45%
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely Florida voters finds Romney with 46% support to the president’s 45%.
This is little changed since April after Obama had posted slight leads in surveys earlier in the year. Since early February, the president has picked up 45% to 47% of the vote in the Sunshine State, while Romney has earned 43% to 46% support.
Nationally, the two men also continue to run neck-and-neck with Romney just barely ahead in recent weeks. The closeness of the race is perhaps in explained in part by the finding that few voters nationwide expect the economy to get better no matter which of them wins the White House. The economy remains by far the number one issue in the race.
>>>Fifty-two percent (52%) of Florida voters at least somewhat favor repeal of the president’s national health care law while 36% are opposed.
ROMNEY CAMPAIGN MAKES SECOND MAJOR TV AD BUY IN FLA.; $500K+ IN TAMPA BAY ALONE
The Romney Campaign on Tuesday placed a $470,035 ad buy in the all-important Tampa Bay market. The campaign also purchased ads in the Jacksonville and Fort Myers, although the exact buy in those markets is unknown. The ad, which will start running tomorrow, will air for a week.
This is the second ad buy Romney’s campaign has made in Florida since he became the presumptive Republican nominee for president. In early June, the campaign spent $631,685 on ads that ran in four of the 10 Florida media markets – Fort Myers, Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville. That spot featured a 2008 clip of then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton blasting the Obama campaign for “perpetuating falsehoods.”
HOUSE ETHICS COMMITTEE CLEARS VERN BUCHANAN
The House Ethics Committee reported Tuesday that Rep. Vern Buchanan omitted information on his financial disclosure forms over four years, but the panel took no action because the errors were corrected.
The committee did not announce its vote, but Buchanan’s office said it was 9-0 to end the case.
The committee said less substantial errors and omissions occur in 30 percent to 50 percent of all financial disclosure statements reviewed each year. No action is typically taken unless there is evidence that errors or omissions were knowing or willful, or related to other violations.
In more than 95 percent of the cases, the committee said, the lawmakers appeared to be unaware of the mistakes until they were notified by the ethics committee, watchdog groups or the media.
REPUBLICAN PARTY OF FLORIDA DOESN’T WANT TO SHARE INTERNAL DOCS IN JIM GREER TRIAL
The Republican Party of Florida doesn’t want to share some documents in the upcoming criminal trial of its former chairman.
Party officials asked a judge to nix a request from Jim Greer’s attorney seeking certain documents. Those documents deal with fundraising and consulting agreements for the party, the state House and state Senate from 2003 to 2012.
An attorney for the Republican Party says in a court filing that those documents are confidential and contain proprietary information.
A hearing on the matter is set for next week.
PRO-SCOTT ‘LET’S GET TO WORK’ COMMITTEE RAKES IN CONTRIBUTIONS
Tapping major players in Florida politics, a committee closely aligned with Gov. Rick Scott collected $2.85 million in contributions during the past three months, a new report shows via Jim Saunders of the News Service of Florida.
The Let’s Get to Work Committee has hauled in a total of nearly $3.8 million in 2012 — more than two years before Scott is expected to seek re-election. As a measure of the growing cash stockpile, the political committee has spent a relatively small amount of $74,735 this year, according to the report on the state Division of Elections website.
Between April 4 and July 3, the committee collected nine contributions of $100,000 or more, as money came from companies and people with interests in issues such as energy, health care and gambling. Also, in at least two cases, groups of related companies wrote checks that totaled $100,000.
SCOTT’S WRONGHEADED ATTACK ON THE SUPREME COURT by Dan Gelber for Florida Voices
Gov. Scott engaged in a monumental waste of law enforcement resources to advance his own political goals. These are resources that would have been better spent protecting us from criminals. It is astonishing that a sitting governor would attempt to use state police to intimidate justices of the state’s highest court. That is conduct you expect to see in a totalitarian regime. But in Florida?
Even though by any definition Florida’s high court is centrist with more Republican appointments than Democratic, the governor and some legislators seem to want to rid themselves and our state of a fair and impartial judiciary that acts as a check on their unconstitutional ambitions.
Gov. Scott isn’t the first Tallahassee politician to want to free himself from constitutional constraints. In my decade in the legislature, I fought multiple efforts by my colleagues (and governors) to intimidate, limit and weaken the courts. Each time, however, a coalition of right-thinking legislators – Democrats and Republicans – beat back these wrongheaded measures.
There will be more unseemly efforts to attack the judiciary by Gov. Scott and others this campaign season. It is no coincidence that the three justices singled out are up for merit retention on the November ballot. Floridians can expect well-funded and powerful out-of-state special interests to be on the attack. But this is not Syria or Cuba, a
STATE WILL RELEASE VOTER PURGE LIST
State officials will release a list of 180,000 names at the center of a controversy over attempts to remove non-citizens from the voting rolls after determining that the information is a public record, according to the Department of State, reports Brandon Larrabee of the News Service of Florida.
The collection is essentially the master list that the Secretary of State’s office used to come up with a sampling of names of suspected non-citizens that was then sent to county elections supervisors. Supervisors have since said that many of the names either belong to citizens or to people who can’t be contacted. Some non-citizens have been removed from the rolls as part of the voter purge.
“The set of 180,000 names is a public record,” wrote Chris Cate, a spokesman for Secretary of State Ken Detzner, in an email. “We are in the process of redacting it now so that it can be provided to everyone who has made a public records request.”
The initiative has already caused a legal battle over access to voting rolls. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle rebuffed a request by the U.S. Department of Justice to issue a restraining order blocking the state from continuing its purge efforts, but only after receiving assurance from the state that it was no longer actively pursuing the initiative.
FLORIDA CHAMBER: ECONOMIC UNCERTAINTY NO. 1 CONCERN OF SMALL BUSINESSES
Latest results from the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Council survey ranks economic uncertainty as the leading obstacle preventing small businesses from growing and hiring new employees. Access to capital, Florida’s growth management process, government regulations and taxes round out the top five issues concerning Florida small businesses.
“Small businesses have overwhelmingly identified economic uncertainty and the inability to obtain financing as the top obstacles preventing them from hiring and growing,” said Tim Giuliani, Small Business Council Staff Director for the Florida Chamber. “With four out of five jobs created by small businesses, we must work to stabilize Florida’s economy with lower taxes and less regulation and ensure small businesses have the capital necessary to grow and hire.”
STATE ECONOMISTS REMAIN CAUTIOUS BUT OPTIMISTIC ABOUT GROWTH
Meeting to update their national economic forecast last tweaked in December, state economists from the Legislature and the governor’s office said they will likely be in a much better position to read the tea leaves the next time they meet, as events in the United States and abroad become clearer over the next several months.
Despite recent dips in consumer confidence and sluggish job growth, economists estimate the national economy will grow by 2 percent during the fiscal year that began July 1, a 0.1 percentage point uptick from the forecast late last year.
OBAMA IMMIGRATION ORDER BECOMES ISSUE IN FL BAR ADMISSION
An undocumented immigrant seeking admission to the Florida Bar argues that an order issued last month by President Obama should help clear the way for his approval, according to a filing in the state Supreme Court. The Florida Board of Bar Examiners asked the court late last year for an opinion about whether Jose Godinez-Samperio and other undocumented immigrants should be eligible to practice law in the state. Godinez-Samperio came to the United States at age 9 with his family from Mexico and went on to graduate from the Florida State University College of Law. In a filing last week, Godinez-Samperio’s attorney, former FSU President Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte, pointed to an order issued last month by President Obama that allows undocumented immigrants under 30 to stay in the country if they meet certain criteria. “The significance of this action for the applicant (Godinez-Samperio) and for the issues before this court cannot be overstated,” the filing said. “The order is a statement by the chief executive of the United States that undocumented immigrants situated in the circumstances of the applicant should be allowed to stay in this country and be eligible for a work permit.”
NATIONAL CONSERVATIVE GROUP BACKS RON DESANTIS IN CD 6
Attorney and veteran Ron DeSantis continues to gain the support of conservatives at the national level as he runs in a crowded Republican primary for a new congressional seat ranging from the First Coast to Volusia County. On Tuesday, Citizens United Political Victory Fund (CUPVF) announced they were backing DeSantis and contributing $5,000 to his campaign. H/t to Kevin Derby.
JEB BUSH ENDORSES JOHN LEGG IN STATE SD 17
Republican Candidate John Legg today announced that former Governor Jeb Bush has endorsed him in his bid for the newly-drawn Senate District 17 seat.
“John Legg is the conservative Republican that will put Senate District 17 and Florida back on track,” said former Governor Bush. “John’s backgrounds in education and business have taught him that government should help, not hinder, the creation of jobs and the future success of our children. Having previously worked with him to reform our state’s education system, I know he is dedicated to improving his community and state and will support our Republican principles despite adversity. I endorse John Legg.”
IT’S ELECTION DAY FOR JEFF BRANDES AND JIM FRISHE
We may not know who the winner of the Republican primary between Jeff Brandes and Jim Frishe for State Senate District 22 is until August 14, but, make no mistake, Election Day is today, not in the middle of August.
According to the Pinellas Supervisor of Elections office, 39,082 ballots were mailed today to Republican voters in District 22. Whoever wins the majority of these votes is very likely to win this race, regardless of what happens now and the date formerly known as Election Day.
>>>On Tuesday, Broward County mailed more than 83,000 absentee ballots for the August 14 primary, said Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes. Palm Beach County Election Supervisor Susan Bucher said her office mailed out 32,231 ballots.
DANE EAGLE WINS KEY STRAW POLL IN HD 77
Dane Eagle won the Lee County Republican Executive Committee straw poll in a landslide victory. The final vote was 68% for Eagle to 32% for his competitor – a 2:1 margin. The vote was held last Saturday, July 7, with over 100 members.
“I am excited to have the support. My Republican brethren are clearly responsive to a positive, issue-based campaign,” Eagle said, “I am honored to lend my experience and conservative credentials to the cause.”
The straw ballot poll of Lee County races covered all campaigns in the county. The actual administration of the poll was conducted by the Lee County Supervisor of Elections using official tabulating machines and checking credentials so only Republican members of the committee could cast votes.
>>>Doug Holder has been endorsed by the Florida Medical Association.
>>>The NRA is backing Jeff Brandes in Senate District 22 & Tom Lee in Senate District 24.
>>>Rep. Dana Young endorses Jake Raburn for House District 57.
ACQUISITION: Ron Sachs Communications announced its acquisition of What’s Next Marketing, a highly respected full-service social/digital media/marketing practice, in a move expected to enhance the Sachs firm’s national reach with comprehensive integrated services for a strong stable of clients and projects.
BRING YOUR VAGINAS: Code Pink, a peace and social justice movement started by women 10 years ago, is putting out the call for demonstrators to rally to the Republican National Convention in Tampa. “Together,” Code Pink says on its web site, “we will form a V-team of women (and vagina-friendly men) unafraid to speak up for our rights and our lives. We will bring our resilient, creative, powerful Vagina Warriors to Republican fundraisers and to the convention hall. We’ll take part in the Coalition March on the RNC and in the March for Women’s Rights.”
MEDIA NOTES: Congratulations to the Orlando Sentinel‘s political reporter, Aaron DeSlatte, for winning First Place in the Beat Reporting category and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune‘s Jeremy Wallace for his win in the same category (but different division) for his coverage of Vern Buchanan in the Florida Society of News Editors’ journalism contest.
BIRTHDAY WISHES to Harris Media’s Anthony Bonna and the Tampa Bay Times‘ Aaron Sharockman (may all your cards be live, and your pots be monsters).