- Polk County business alliance launches “No Tax No Way” online campaign
- Tampa Bay Rays pitch $25,000 into Greenlight Pinellas campaign
- Rick Scott campaign approaches $8M in fundraising
- Carlos Curbelo calls Medicare and Social Security “Ponzi schemes” in DC talk
- Florida Supreme Court holds testy hearing on secret evidence
- Florida Democrats pounce as 6,000 Florida jobs disappear
Sunburn for 8/3: A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics
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IN ORLANDO, OBAMA SAYS ROMNEY IS PUSHING “TAX CUT FAIRY DUST”
President Obama continued to hammer home the differences between his tax policies and those of his opponent, again citing a report from the Tax Policy Center as proof Mitt Romney’s plan would hurt the middle class, reports Nora McAlvanah of FLDemocracy2012.com.
Speaking to a crowd of a few thousand supporters at Rollins College, Obama accused Romney of promoting “trickle-down tax cut fairy dust.”
Obama seized on a report from the Tax Policy Center, which concluded that Romney’s proposed tax cuts would provide “large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle and/or lower income taxpayers.”
>>>After the crowd at Rollins College sang him Happy Birthday, Obama said that “winning Florida wouldn’t be a bad birthday present.”
>>>According to the pool report, Obama made a pit stop at the Cuban cafe Lechonera El Barrio on the way to his rally in Orlando. There, he met with campers, counselors and some parents from a summer day-camp program run in the church next door.
STUMPING FOR ROMNEY, RUBIO IMPLIES OBAMA DOESN’T BELIEVE IN FREE ENTERPRISE
Trying to counter the message of the president, Marco Rubio campaigned for GOP candidate Mitt Romney in the Orlando area on Thursday. President Obama campaigned at Rollins College in Winter Park. Rubio, who has been doing surrogate campaigning duty for Romney for a couple weeks, stopped at a general contracting company in Orlando. Rubio told a couple hundred people at the event that Romney believes in the “miracle of free enterprise,” and implied Obama does not.
PEW: OBAMA WITH BIG LEAD OVER ROMNEY, 51% TO 41%
A new Pew Research survey shows President Obama opening up a wide lead over Mitt Romney in the presidential race, 51% to 41%.
By a 52% to 37% margin, more voters say they have an unfavorable than favorable view of Romney… Obama’s image remains, by comparison, more positive — 50% offer a favorable assessment of the president, 45% an unfavorable one.
>>>A 10-point lead for Obama in a Pew Research poll is impressive on the surface, but in context, it doesn’t tell us anything all that different.
OBAMA CAMPAIGN BOOKS $13 MILLION MORE IN TV AIR TIME IN FLORIDA
The Obama campaign has taken the extraordinary step of booking $77 million in additional ad time — including over $13 million in Florida — starting Friday and running through Election Day, reports CNN. The new buy is for thirty second broadcast TV spots that will run in eight battleground states.
IN JACKSONVILLE, GOP STAR TED CRUZ WILL OPEN REDSTATE GATHERING
Fresh from his remarkable victory in the Texas Senate runoff, Ted Cruz will kick off the RedState Gathering in Jacksonville, Fla. with a speech on Friday, Aug. 3. Events continue through Saturday evening at the Omni Jacksonville Hotel.
Other speakers scheduled for the Gathering include Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, Gov. Rick Scott of Florida, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, and author David Limbaugh.
TV POLITICAL FILES TO POST UNDER FCC RULES
Brooks Boliek of POLITICO has the story: “The unveiling of the FCC’s new public file website Thursday is likely to underwhelm people looking for the big spenders for political ad buys on TV. While commission officials are confident that they can handle the influx of electronic documents, the way the new rules are written makes it more likely that the filings will be more of a trickle than a flood. Under the rule that goes into effect Thursday, broadcasters in the top four stations in the biggest markets are required to upload their public files – but the stations are only required to upload ‘new’ political ad buys.”
MACK’S MISSED VOTES TURN INTO ATTACK AD
American Bridge 21st Century, a Democratic super PAC, has a new video calling attention to votes Rep. Connie Mack has missed — none bigger than the Ryan budget — while campaigning for U.S. Senate. Watch here.
DOJ WANTS PURGE INFO FROM HILLSBOROUGH SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS
The U.S. Justice Department wants records from Hillsborough elections officials on how many people the state has flagged as possible non-citizens for removal from the voter rolls. A document filed in an ongoing case in federal court gives the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections office until Aug. 15 to produce the information. A spokesman for the elections office told the Tampa Bay Times that it will comply.
THE RNC IS COMING TO TOWN
>>>House Republicans are officially worried that lawmakers and staffers will stray off the straight-and-narrow path at the GOP convention.
>>>Jeb will be raising money for the Foundation for Florida’s Future on Tuesday of RNC week.
>>>The opening day of the 2012 Republican National Convention probably will have both day and night sessions, while the remaining three days likely won’t begin until 8 p.m., organizers said Wednesday.
>>>The St. Petersburg City Council will hold a public hearing about the proposed RNC “Event Zone” that will be in place from Aug. 26-30. On Aug. 26 the RNC will host its official kick-off party at Tropicana Field. The city created the zone in an attempt to protect city assets and businesses. Inside the zone, which is more than 7-square miles, residents would be restricted on what they can carry, what they can wear and in some cases where they can go.
>>>Tampa will compensate the Hillsborough Expressway Authority for lost revenue during the Republican National Convention.
PAM STEWART NAMED INTERIM COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION
Public Schools Chancellor Pam Stewart will take over as interim education commissioner while the State Board of Education looks for a permanent leader for the department, reports the News Service of Florida.
Board members agreed to tap Stewart for the position during a Thursday morning conference call. On Tuesday, Commissioner Gerard Robinson announced his resignation, effective Aug. 31, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family. Robinson had also come under fire in recent months for his agency’s handling of the rollout of some FCAT scores and school grades. Board Chairwoman Kathleen Shanahan said Stewart is only interested in being interim commissioner. “Right now, she is not interested in the job on a permanent basis. … That is her position today,” Shanahan said.
PERSONNEL NOTE: KEVIN DERBY LEAVES SUNSHINE STATE NEWS FOR FLORIDA CHAMBER
The Florida Chamber of Commerce announced that Kevin Derby will be joining the Florida Chamber’s communications and public affairs team as Communications Coordinator on August 13. Derby has resigned his associate editor position with Sunshine State News to accept the Florida Chamber position.
NEW ON THE TWITTERS: Val Demings, candidate for CD 10, is now on Twitter! Follow her @ValDemings
ALLEN WEST HITS $10 MILLION MARK FOR HIS RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN
U.S. Rep. Allen West has topped the $10 million mark for his re-election campaign after raking in another $660,000 from July 1 to July 25.
JOHN MICA SAYS HE HAS $1 MILLION CASH-ON-HAND
John Mica’s campaign said he raised more than $65,000 between July 1 and 25 and now has $960,395 in cash on hand.
The campaign said his money has come from “a record” 2,335 individual donors with 173 new ones added during this reporting period. Most are from Orange, Seminole and Volusia counties.
IN INCREASINGLY BITTER RACE FOR SD 4, MIKE WEINSTEIN WINS KEY STRAW POLL
Mike Weinstein won the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce’s Impact Jax / WOKV Straw Poll in his race for the State Senate, District 4 taking well over 50 percent of the votes cast for Republican candidates in the race. The annual Hob Nob Straw Poll is one of largest political events and straw polls in Jacksonville.
IN SD 17, ROB WALLACE FILES ETHICS COMPLAINT AGAINST JOHN LEGG OVER RESIDENCY by Brittany Davis of the Tampa Bay Times
Wallace filed a complaint with Florida’s ethics commission July 25, alleging that Legg moved out of House District 46 to run for Senate. Legislators are legally required to live in the district they represent.
The move follows a July 20 press release in which Wallace demanded Legg resign over the alleged breach. It’s not unusual for politicians to file ethics complaints during campaigns to psych out opponents and draw attention to a negative issue.
Legg, who has the support of Senate leadership, maintains that he and his wife have two houses, one in his House district and the other in the Senate district for which he’s running. He said he’s preparing to move to the house in the Senate district, and the House General Counsel told him the preparations are fine.
SEVEN DEMOCRATIC STATE HOUSE PRIMARIES TO WATCH
House District 7
Leonard Bembry’s decision to run for Congress opened up this seat which was highly altered by reapportionment. AJ Smith Thomas Dickens, Robert Hill all have competing bases in this sprawling district. Each of the three has done a decent job of raising money to this point making this races a battle between interest groups and different parts of the district. Each of the three candidates has different support from “official” Tallahassee, with lobbying groups playing a big role competing in this seat. The winner will face a strong Republican likely Halsey Beshears in November.
House District 21
Conservative Republican Keith Perry has been thrown into a district that should elect a Democrat. The Florida Democratic Party has made clear their support in this primary for Aaron Bosshardt, but my Gainesville contacts continue to tell me that Andrew Morey is the real deal: a prosecutor who is good on the stump and has real depth of knowledge about environmental and education issues. Bosshardt, with the party backing has a big advantage in fundraising. The winner of this primary will be favored to defeat Perry in the fall.
House District 49
This is the much talked about Joe Saunders versus Shayan Elahi primary. Elahi is an Alan Grayson type liberal who has lots of activist support. Saunders is the state party backed candidate who has also received the endorsement of this website’s editorial board. Saunders is also a progressive and is the likely nominee in this open, heavily Democratic East Orange County district which bears little resemblance to any 2002-2012 district.
House District 63
Republican incumbent Shawn Harrison has compiled a conservative voting record in a district that leans Democratic. Two Democrats, Z.J. Hafeez and Mark Danish are vying for the nomination, but neither has shown a great deal of fundraising potential. Danish has received the endorsement of both the Tampa Bay Times and the Hurricane’s website’s editorial board. The winner of this primary needs to enhance their fundraising scope for any chance of knocking off Harrison.
House District 81
Former Rep. Kevin Rader is looking to regain his old seat against Current Rep. Steve Perman. This is a race between annoying perennial candidates. Rader has been in and out of three races this year, first challenging Maria Sachs in a Senate Democratic Primary before shifting to the District 27 Senate race where TPH has endorsed Rep. Jeff Clemens. Perman has run in four consecutive elections in this seat, losing the first two and finally winning in 2010.
House District 98
The open State House District 98 features a straight two-way Democratic primary, with the winner almost certain of victory in November. Katie Edwards, an experienced Tallahassee insider who worked for many years with the Florida Farm Bureau, was the early frontrunner. Edwards, who was the 2010 Democratic nominee in the West Kendall based 119th district, is now running in Central Broward County where she grew up. Edwards is a moderate who boasts support from politicians throughout the state, Agriculture interests as well as the NRA. Her opponent Louis Reinstein is a liberal Democrat who has been endorsed by our editorial board. Both candidates have done a credible job of raising money.
House District 100
State Rep. Joe Gibbons of Hallandale who previously represented a district entirely within Broward County has been thrown into a seat where the majority of voters are in Miami-Dade. Gibbons opponent, Surfside Commissioner Shelly Lisbon played the religion/race card (Gibbons is African-American, Lisbon Jewish) which drew a strong rebuke from the Anti Defamation League. This seat did not draw a Republican candidate.
>>>The Pinellas Realtor Organization endorsed Jim Frishe in State Senate District 22.
>>>St. Augustine Record endorses Mike Davis over incumbent “Doc” Renuart
Creative Loafing on SD 22 and SD 24: Consider the intense GOP battle in Senate District 22. Democrats can’t vote in this one, but they should certainly care about who wins; the results could determine the future direction of Tallahassee for many years to come.
Tampa Tribune on HD 36: Florida’s House District 36 covers West Pasco from the coast to Little Road, including much of Mike Fasano’s current Senate district. Term-limited in the Senate, Fasano seeks a return to the House, but must get past attorney James Mathieu, who has the support of the county’s Republican Executive Committee.
Yesterday, I noted that Mike Weinstein had been endorsed by the United Christians of Florida. Weinstein’s opponent, Aaron Bean, was co-endorsed.
MUST-READ: GQ’s Wells Tower pens a long, vicious, hysterically funny set of reminiscences from the primary campaign trail of Mitt Romney in a self-appointed search for the candidate’s soul.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY this weekend to lobbyist Lisa Ard (Friday), journ-turned-candidate Mary Ann Lindley (Saturday) and Rep. Ed Hooper (Sunday).