Sunburn for 7/17: A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

By on July 17, 2012

A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.

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Big HAPPY BIRTHDAY wishes to Speaker Designate Chris Dorworth!

MITT ROMNEY HAS DECIDED ON RUNNING MATE

Romney has reached a decision on his running mate, his friends believe, and he may disclose it as soon as this week, the New York Times reports.

>>>National Journal ranks Marco Rubio as #5 on its Veepstakes Power Rankings.

NEW POLL OF FLORIDA: ROMNEY 48%, OBAMA 45%

Mitt Romney leads Barack Obama in Florida 48 to 45 percent, according to Purple Strategies’ latest poll of a dozen swings states.

Romney is seen favorably by 47 percent of Florida voters compared to a 46 percent unfavorable, while only 43 percent approve of Obama’s job performance, and 54 percent disapprove.

Romney enjoys a 10-point lead among independents, which is actually down from the 20-point lead he enjoyed among the increasingly critical bloc in last month’s Purple Strategies’ poll.

Also, in last month’s poll, Romney was leading Obama among women– 48 to 46 percent. In the latest poll, Obama leads among women in the Sunshine State, 51 to 44 percent.

Fifty percent said Obama has been a failure as president, while 41 percent said Romney is too out of touch to be president.

VP BIDEN BACK IN FLORIDA NEXT WEEK

Vice President Joe Biden will address the National Association of Police Organizations 34th Annual Convention in Palm Beach County on July 23, the Obama campaign said on Monday.

The news of Biden’s visit comes three days after the campaign announced that President Obama will make a two-day swing through Florida this week. Obama’s itinerary includes stops in Jacksonville and West Palm Beach on Thursday, and appearances in Fort Myers and Orlando on Friday.

U.S. REP. BILL POSEY ENDORSES DAVE WELDON IN GOP SENATE PRIMARY

Congressman Bill Posey endorsed U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Dave Weldon.

“I normally remain quiet on primary races,” said Posey, “But I believe that electing Dave Weldon to the U.S. Senate is only the 2nd most important thing Florida voters can do; the first electing a new President. Actually, the two are very closely tied together.”

Posey succeeded Weldon in his current Congressional District.

CONNIE MACK CAMPAIGN GOES OFF ON TAMPA BAY TIMES

Connie Mack’s Campaign has responded to a newspaper’s endorsement of his opponent in the GOP primary by blasting the newspaper and a reporter, as he’s done before.

As in the previous instance, the campaign again drew into the argument the name of Mack’s father, former Sen. Connie Mack III.

“Adam Smith and the Tampa Bay Times should have the decency to admit they are Left Wing Democrats,” said Jeff Cohen, Mack’s campaign manager, in a letter to the Times that was also distributed as a news release.

TWEET: @AbelHarding: The Mack campaign has ready-made issues to hit Nelson on, but voters have to wonder why the continued immaturity? Not befitting Senate cand.

MACK ANNOUNCES SW FLA. “VICTORY” TEAM

The Mack Campaign announced the members of its “Southwest Florida Victory Team.” These individuals will help organize voter turnout efforts and the campaign’s grassroots and organizational efforts in Collier and Lee.

The members of Mack’s Southwest Florida “victory” team are: Sheriff Mike Scott, Ft. Myers; Mayor John Sorey, Naples; Adele Amico, Lee County; Councilman Bill Barnett, Collier County; Ashley Coone, Lee County; Jim & Carla Dean, Collier County; Michel Doherty, Lee County; Louise Dowd, Collier County; Beverly Fedje, Lee County; Jan Face Glassman, Collier County; Dudley Goodlette, Collier County; Alfredo Gude, Lee County; Don and Jan Held, Lee County; Sally Jackson, Lee County; Jackie Krupp, Lee County; Scott Lepore, Collier County; Cindy Lignelli, Lee County; Mike Lyster, Collier County; Chuck Marshall, Collier County; Tina Matte, Lee County; Kathy McMichael, Lee County; George Miller Lee County;  Shari Monetta, Collier County; Jeanette Morreal, Lee County; Yvonne Phillips Lee County; Vice-Mayor Gary Price, Collier County; Richard and Pamela Ripp, Lee County; Sam Saad Sr., Collier County; Frank Schwerin, Collier County; Brenda Skupny, Lee County; Trudi Williams, Lee County.

HOW THE CASE AGAINST U.S. REP. DAVID RIVERA FELL APART

In the summer of 2011, the arrest of U.S. Rep. David Rivera seemed all but certain,” Scott Hiaasen and Patricia Mazzei write in the Miami Herald. “Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement had waded through piles of credit-card receipts and banking records, tracing thousands of dollars from Rivera’s political campaigns to his personal accounts. Miami-Dade prosecutors were preparing a ‘draft’ complaint charging the Republican congressman with 52 counts of theft, money laundering and racketeering….But in the ensuing months – after Rivera’s lawyer poked holes in the case – the investigators’ confidence gave way to prosecutors’ increasing skepticism about the potential charges. The 52-count complaint accusing Rivera of systematic misspending of campaign funds was never filed; instead, prosecutors would write a 16-page memo explaining why they believed they could not arrest Rivera for anything. Newly released e-mails and other records from the Rivera investigation show the increasing tension between the FDLE and the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office as the case dragged on through this past April, when prosecutors – under pressure from the FDLE to make a decision – finally dropped the high-profile case.”

LG CARROLL: WOMEN LIKE HER DON’T ENGAGE IN RELATIONSHIPS ‘LIKE THAT’

Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll over the weekend dismissed claims that she and a female travel aide were involved in an improper relationship. A former staffer made the claim after being fired and then charged criminally with disseminating illegal audio tapes of conversations in the office. Carroll was on WTSP Channel 10 News in Tampa, and said the charges she was caught by the now-fired staffer in a “compromising position” with another aide were false, and affected her family. “My husband doesn’t want to hear that. He knows the type of woman I am, and my kids know the type of woman I am,” Carroll said.  “For 29 years?  I’m the one that’s married for 29 years. The accuser is the one that’s single for a long time, so…  Usually black women that look like me don’t engage in relationships like that.”  The accusation was made by Carletha Cole, who is facing criminal charges that she distributed recordings of staff conversations that she wasn’t authorized to distribute. The Scott administration has suggested that Cole’s allegations ought to be considered in light of the felony charges she’s facing.

‘STAND YOUR GROUND LAW’ ENJOYS WIDESPREAD SUPPORT

Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law continues to enjoy widespread support among likely voters, even as a state task force considers rewriting the law, according to a Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald/Bay News 9 poll.

Nearly 65 percent say the 2005 law — which allows people who believe they are in grave danger to use deadly force to defend themselves — does not need to be changed. There’s less consensus when it comes to voters’ thoughts on the Trayvon Martin shooting, which thrust the law into the national spotlight this year.

Voters are essentially split about whether George Zimmerman — who faces second-degree murder charges for shooting Martin on Feb. 26 — was acting in self-defense when he pulled the trigger. Forty-four percent believe he was and 40 percent say he wasn’t, while 16 percent are not sure. Major differences emerge when voters are separated by geography and race.

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JOHN MICA BESTS SANDY ADAMS IN FUNDRAISING AHEAD OF PRIMARY

New fundraising figures from this weekend confirm what many Central Florida Republicans already expected — that veteran U.S. Rep. John Mica of Winter Park will hold a major fundraising edge over freshman U.S. Rep. Sandy Adams of Orlando going into their Aug. 14 primary, reports Aaron DeSlatte of the Orlando Sentinel.

According to election documents due Sunday, Mica raised about $400,000 in April, May and June to give him about $1.3 million going into the homestretch. Adams meanwhile netted about $129,000 to give her about $500,000 cash-on-hand.

DEMOCRAT VAL DEMINGS OUTRAISES REPUBLICAN DAN WEBSTER IN RACE FOR CD 10

Orlando’s former Police Chief, Val Demings, had another strong fundraising quarter in her bid for Congressional District 10. Demings has now outraised Congressman Webster in the last four consecutive quarters. Raising just under $300,000 in the finance period that ran from April 1 – June 30, Demings has continued to show growing support in the hotly contested race against Republican incumbent Dan Webster.

Demings raised $292,504 in the 2nd quarter, leaving the campaign with $587,136 on hand. Congressman Webster raised just $202,974 and has $538,175 on hand.
PATRICK MURPHY, CHALLENGER TO ALLEN WEST, BEGINS AIRING TV COMMERCIALS IN CD 18
Patrick Murphy, the leading Democratic challenger to Tea Party leader Allen West in the race for Florida’s newly-drawn 18th Congressional district, announced a significant network and cable TV ad buy this afternoon.  The campaign will air two 30-second spots – entitled “Builder” and “Playground” – beginning today.
LOIS FRANKEL UP WITH HER FIRST AD – “ALWAYS”
Lois Frankel’s campaign released its first TV ad, a 30-second spot titled “Always.” The ad, in which Frankel explains her record as a former legislator and mayor, begins running in both the Palm Beach and Miami media markets today.
SUPREME COURT JUSTICES RAISED APPX. $150K EACH DURING SECOND QUARTER FOR RETENTION FIGHT
Florida Supreme Court Justice Peggy Quince collected $149,981 in contributions during the past three months, giving her a total of $306,499 for her merit-retention campaign, according to state records. Quince’s totals are similar to Justices R. Fred Lewis and Barbara Pariente, who are also up for merit retention this year. Lewis raised $141,372 during the year’s second quarter, while Pariente raised $157,957. Merit-retention votes usually draw little attention, but some conservatives are targeting the justices this year, asserting that they are too liberal.
DISNEY TAKING SIDES IN CONTESTED SENATE PRIMARIES

Walt Disney World is taking sides in two of the most closely watched Republican state Senate primaries in Florida, according to updated election records, backing Reps. Jeff Brandes and Rachel Burgin, reports Jason Garcia of the Orlando Sentinel.

Brandes is facing fellow St. Petersburg Republican Rep. Jim Frishe and Burgin is squaring off against former Senate President Tom Lee for a pair of open Senate seats in the Tampa Bay area.

Through a variety of businesses ranging from its gift-card seller to its cruise line, Disney in June donated $4,000 to Brandes’ Senate campaign, election records show. That’s on top of $3,000 the resort gave to Brandes earlier, when he was still running for re-election to the state House.

Disney has also bundled $4,000 to Burgin’s campaign. It hasn’t given a dime to either Frishe or Lee.

>>>More on the race for State Senate District 22 – Steve Bousquet: Brandes, Frishe hunting for votes in St. Petersburg; Daniel Ruth: Political alphabet soup is a sleazy stew.

PAM BONDI ENDORSES MIKE WEINSTEIN IN SD 4

In a departure from what has been the norm this election cycle, Republican Mike Weinstein’s state Senate campaign has been endorsed by Attorney General Pam Bondi, reports Matt Dixon of the Florida Times-Union.

Thus far, statewide figures and GOP leadership, including Bondi’s fellow Cabinet members CFO Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, have supported former state Rep. Aaron Bean.

“If I were to get the endorsement of one member of the Cabinet, I wanted Pam Bondi’s,” said Weinstein, a prosecutor and current member of the Florida House.

>>>Anyone else think my man Brett Doster called in a favor from Bondi for Weinstein?

NRA GETS BEHIND AARON BEAN AND JOHN LEGG IN COMPETITIVE SENATE RACES

The National Rifle Association and the Unified Sportsmen of Florida waded into two of the more competitive Republican legislative primaries in Florida when the groups backed House Speaker Pro Tempore John Legg and former Rep. Aaron Bean for Senate seats. (H/t to Kevin Derby.)

IN SD 12, THOMPSON OUTRAISES SIPLIN

Rep. Geraldine Thompson raised more money than her Senate primary opponent, Victoria Siplin, during the past three months and took a slight edge in overall fund-raising, according to state records. Thompson collected $43,375 during the year’s second quarter, giving her a total of $98,257. Siplin, who is seeking to replace her husband, Gary, in the Senate, raised $16,891 during the quarter and has a total of $93,074. The Democrats are competing in newly drawn Senate District 12.

IN SD 27, DEMOCRATS IN MONEY BATTLE IN SD 27

In a Senate race that pits two Democratic House members, Mack Bernard raised more money during the year’s second quarter than Jeff Clemens, according to state records. Bernard collected $85,730 during the past three months, while Clemens collected $71,548. But Clemens also raised money before the second quarter and has a total of $106,568 in contributions. The Palm Beach County Democrats are running in the newly drawn District 27.

IN SD 34, BOGDANOFF HAS BIG MONEY LEAD OVER SACHS

Though their fund-raising totals were relatively close during the past three months, Republican Ellyn Bogdanoff has a large overall financial advantage in the Senate District 34 fight with Democrat Maria Sachs. Bogdanoff, of Fort Lauderdale, raised $106,196 during the year’s second quarter and has a total of $366,767, according to state records. Sachs, of Boca Raton, raised $88,940 during the quarter and has a total of $173,915. The incumbent senators are in a closely watched race after reapportionment led to them running in the same district.

IN HD 34, SMITH TRUMPS ARGENZIANO IN RAISING MONEY

While he collected a modest $18,972 during the past three months, Rep. Jimmie Smith, R-Inverness, has a commanding financial edge over independent Nancy Argenziano in the House District 34 race. Smith has raised a total of $66,472, while Argenziano — a former House and Senate member — has collected $3,845 since entering the race in April. District 34 includes all of Citrus and part of Hernando counties.

IN HD 47, STEWART TRAILS BROOKS IN HD 47 MONEY CHASE

Former Rep. Bob Brooks holds a huge lead over former Orange County Commissioner Linda Stewart in campaign contributions in the House District 47 race, according to state records. Brooks, a Winter Park Republican, raised $28,525 during the past three months and has a total of $110,100. Stewart, a Democrat, raised $8,099 during the quarter and has a total of $21,561

CAMPAIGN MISCELLANY

>>>Jeb Bush endorses Janet Adkins in House District 11.

>>>The Nassau County Fraternal Order of Police endorses Representative Mike Weinstein for State Senate District 4.

STAT OF THE DAY: A tiny number of Americans — .26 percent — give more than $200 to a congressional campaign. .05 percent give the maximum amount to any congressional candidate. .01 percent give more than $10,000 in any election cycle. And .000063 percent — 196 Americans — have given more than 80 percent of the super-PAC money spent in the presidential elections so far. - via Lawrence Lessig.

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