Drew Wilson – Page 2 – Florida Politics

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for SaintPetersBlog and FloridaPolitics.com. While at the University of Florida, Wilson was an editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and after graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to cover business deals for The Hollywood Reporter. Before joining Extensive Enterprises, Wilson covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools.

Scott Israel facing no-confidence vote by Broward deputies

The union representing Broward County sheriff’s deputies announced Friday that it will hold a no-confidence vote on Sheriff Scott Israel.

Jeff Bell, a deputy sheriff and president of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputy Association, said in a press release that the vote “follows many instances of suspected malfeasance, misfeasance, failure to maintain fiduciary responsibility by the sheriff, failure to properly investigate possible criminal conduct by members of his senior command staff and the lack of leadership that has crushed morale throughout the agency.”

“There is a complete failure at the sheriff’s office and he doesn’t recognize it,” Bell said.

Israel has been under fire in the weeks since the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, but Bell told CNN Friday that Israel’s response in the wake of the shooting – specifically, his handling of resource officer Scot Petersen – was merely the tipping point.

Israel “didn’t say it’s an open investigation. He blamed it all on Peterson,” Bell said. “You don’t do that to one of your deputies.”

“My members are not poster children. They are not squeaky clean. They make mistakes. What we are saying is, they should be punished fairly,” he added.

Bell also pointed to what he says is mixed messaging from Israel and others in leadership positions in the Broward Sheriff’s Office, such as how their active shooter policy doesn’t square away with the training officers receive.

According to the policy, officers “may” enter a building to confront a shooter, but in training deputies are taught to enter.

The no-confidence vote comes after many Republican elected officials – including House Speaker Richard Corcoran, Jacksonville Rep. Jay Fant and Boca Raton Rep. Bill Hager – called for Israel to resign or for Gov. Rick Scott to suspend him.

The union’s no-confidence vote will begin electronically this evening and conclude on April 26.

The announcement is below.

no confidence vote 2

Email insights: Rick Scott’s FRS actions ‘unethical and outright illegal’

Former Democratic state Senator and CFO candidate Jeremy Ring said in a Friday email that Gov. Rick Scott hasn’t been playing by the rules when it comes to managing the Florida Retirement System.

As Governor, Scott is one of three FRS trustees alongside the state CFO and Attorney General, and Ring blasted Scott in the wake of new reports alleging Scott used that position to bring in checks for the super PAC supporting his U.S. Senate bid.

“Federal law and the roles of the Trustees are pretty cut and dry, politics don’t belong in public retirement systems,” Ring said in the email. “Despite all of this, a review of government documents by several news outlets have uncovered that a campaign committee led by Governor Scott raked in donations from two private equity executives after he and the other Trustees directed state pension investments to their firms.”

Those donations to Scott’s “New Republican PAC” came from New Mountain Capital CEO Steve Klinsky, who gave $5,000, and Energy Capital Partners founder Douglas Kimmelman, who gave $50,000.

New Mountain Capital and Energy Capital Partners received a combined $250 million worth of new investment commitments from FRS in 2014 and 2015, and those investments generated a combined $3 million in fees payments to the firms in the most recent fiscal year.

“Governor Scott’s actions are not only unethical and outright ILLEGAL — but they also compromise the integrity of the FRS,” Ring said in the email.

“As I have said since day one of this campaign, nothing the CFO does is more important than its role as Trustee to FRS, and Governor Scott has shown through his actions that he doesn’t share that same sentiment.”

Ring, a former Yahoo! executive, then called on Scott to return the questionable contributions and step down as an FRS trustee. The Margate Democrat also said FRS must “clawback the money it has invested” in New Mountain Capital and Energy Capital Partners.

“Rest assured, as your next CFO not only will I follow the law and not accept any contributions from investment firms who do business with the State, I will serve as an independent voice and ensure that the actions the Trustees take are for the betterment of the retirement system beneficiaries, not politics,” Ring said.

Ring is currently the only Democrat running for CFO. He is likely to face Republican CFO Jimmy Patronis in the November election. Thonotosassa Sen. Tom Lee was thought to be challenging Patronis in the fall, though he recently announced he would not run for the Cabinet post.

Nick Duran

Nick Duran holding fundraiser in Miami on Sunday

Miami Democratic Rep. Nick Duran will hold a fundraiser for his re-election campaign to House District 112 on Sunday.

The event will be held at Berries in the Grove in Miami, 2884 SW 27th Ave., and will run from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm. Those interested in attending the event can RSVP by sending an email to Renzo Werner at RWerner@Cornerstone-Strategic.com or by calling 305-308-8878.

The fundraiser invite lists several high-profile Democrats on the host committee. At the top of the invite are Senate Minority Leader Oscar Braynon, House Minority Leader Janet Cruz, Senate Leader Designate Audrey Gibson and House Leader Designate Kionne McGhee.

Duran was elected to the competitive Miami-Dade House seat in 2016, replacing now-Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez after dispatching Republican challenger Rosa Maria Palomino by 7 points on Election Day

The freshman lawmaker will likely face Palamino again in the fall.

Through the end of March, Duran led the field with $77,500 raised and about $64,000 banked. Palomino has raised about $4,400 and has about $3,100 in the bank.

Democrat Nancy Lee, known to some as the “GENIUS OF DESPAIR,” has also filed for the seat, though she hasn’t reported any contributions through four months in the race.

The invite is below.

Nick Duran - 4.22.2018 fundraiser invite

Philip Levine

Philip Levine speaking to Manatee Democrats tonight

Former Miami Beach mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine will be in Lakewood Ranch Friday evening for the Manatee County Democratic Club’s annual dinner gala.

The event will be held in the Fete Ballroom at the Polo Grill and Bar, 10670 Boardwalk Loop, from 6 pm to 9 pm. Levine is scheduled to speak to attendees at 7:15 pm.

A press release from the Levine campaign said his talk will focus on “sharing his bold progressive vision for Florida with area Democrats and having a conversation about their concerns and priorities.”

The annual dinner is the main fundraising event of the year for the Manatee County Democratic Party, and tickets to attend run $90 a person.

Levine is one of four Democrats running to replace Gov. Rick Scott, who is termed out and running for U.S. Senate in 2018.

Levine faces Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former Congresswoman Gwen Graham and Orlando-area businessman Chris King in the primary race. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Northeast Florida U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis are competing for the Republican nomination.

Recent polls commissioned by a senior adviser to the Levine campaign show the South Florida Democrat in the No. 1 spot in the primary and holding his own against Putnam and DeSantis if he were to face either on the general election ballot.

Tim Scott

Tim Scott to headline Miami-Dade Republican Party fundraiser

South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott is in South Florida today for the Republican Party of Miami-Dade County’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner.

Scott, the first black U.S Senator from the South since Reconstruction, will be the keynote speaker at the Lincoln Day Dinner, which is among the largest annual fundraising drives for local Republican parties.

The event begins at 6 p.m. at The Doubletree hotel at 711 NW 72nd Ave. in Miami. The bottom-level admission price clocks in at $150 and includes access to a cocktail reception and dinner. Tickets at the $300-and-up level grant admission to a VIP reception with Scott.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit the Miami-Dade Republican Party’s website or call 305-591-3840.

Scott was recently profiled by POLITICO, which named him not just the most influential black Republican in America, but the most prominent and influential black elected official overall.

“He is not just a generic black Republican in a generic period of history; he is the most powerful and prominent black elected official in America, serving at a time of heightened racial tension and widespread accusations of xenophobia against his own party and the president who leads it,” Tim Alberta wrote in the profile. “This ensures that Scott wears a target on his back regardless of the issue or crisis at hand.”

Scott was appointed to the U.S. Senate by then-South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley in 2013 to fill the seat of former Sen. Jim DeMint. He was elected to serve out the remainder of DeMint’s term in 2014 and went on to win re-election to a full term in 2016, garnering more than 60 percent of the vote.

The event invite is below.

Tim Scott - Miami-Dade Lincoln Day Dinner invite - 4.20.2018

Philip Levine

Philip Levine tops polls in Tampa Bay, South Florida

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine leads the four-way Democratic Primary for Governor in the state’s two largest media markets, according to a pair of new polls.

The Public Policy Polling surveys, commissioned by Levine senior adviser Christian Ulvert, show Levine with 32 percent support among Tampa Bay-area Democrats and 42 percent support among party faithful in South Florida.

Former Congresswoman Gwen Graham took the No. 2 spot in both regions, scoring 18 percent support among Tampa Bay voters and 15 percent in South Florida, while Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and Orlando-area businessman Chris King scored in the single digits.

The polls also include a hypothetical head-to-head between Graham and Levine, which Levine wins 36-23 in the Tampa Bay poll and 47-21 in the South Florida poll.

Both polls were conducted before the hour-long televised primary debate aired on Tampa Bay’s Fox 13 news station Wednesday. An April 12 statewide poll of the primary race, also commissioned by Ulvert, found Levine with 29 percent support followed by Graham at 23 percent and Gillum and King still in the single digits.

“For the first time in four cycles, although Tampa Bay doesn’t have a local candidate, new polling shows a new favorite has emerged. Voters there give Philip Levine a 14-point advantage over Gwen Graham,” the Levine campaign said in a statement accompanying the polls.

“The latest polling not only reflects Philip’s message and media campaign, but also his decision to invest heavily and early in a regional field and outreach program. With Levine for Governor being the only campaign with regional offices in the Tampa Bay area, we remain best positioned to reach voters through every medium.”

Levine’s early media buys – more than $6 million so far – are certainly being noticed in Tampa Bay, where 46 percent of Democrats said they’ve seen one of Levine’s many ads over the last several months.

To that end, the South Florida Democrat has the strongest name ID in the region at 48 percent, followed by Graham at 35 percent, Gillum at 27 percent and King at 15 percent.

Among the voters who offered their opinions on the candidates, Levine’s favorability was plus-32, Graham’s was plus-13, Gillum’s was plus-7 and King’s was minus-3.

In the South Florida poll, where 59 percent said they’d seen some Levine’s ads, his name ID score shoots up to 57, Graham’s fell to 33, Gillum’s to 20, and King’s edged up slightly to 17.

Levine scored a plus-47 in favorability on his home turf, which put Graham at plus-21, Gillum at plus-8 and King at plus-3.

After the polls were released, the Gillum campaign’s communications director, Geoff Burgan, sent out an email deriding it and Levine for being “out of touch.”

“Mayor Levine can buy all the robo-polls he wants, but nothing changes the fact that he’s out of touch with Floridians. During Wednesday’s debate, he didn’t know our House Democratic Leader or the size of our state education budget, and most glaringly said he was running for Governor because he ‘ran out of things to do,’” Burgan said.

”He’s out of touch with everyday Floridians’ reality: nearly half our households struggle to make ends meet, and they need a Governor who shares their life experiences and is prepared to tackle their challenges.”

The PPP polls also included questions on Florida Democrats views on President Donald Trump and the investigation being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Among Bay-area voters, Trump had a minus-83 favorability rating though nearly two-thirds said they Mueller to complete his investigation before Congress takes any steps toward impeaching the president. South Florida voters rate Trump at minus-80, with 56 percent saying they want the Mueller probe in the can before any talk of impeachment.

In both polls, 90 percent of respondents said they were certain to vote and 10 percent said they would probably vote.

The Tampa Bay poll was conducted by phone April 15-16 and took responses from 520 Democratic voters, two-thirds within Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, and the rest split between Manatee, Sarasota and Pasco.

Nearly half of respondents were over 65 years old, while 38 percent were in the 45-65 bracket and 14 percent were aged 18 to 45. Women made up 57 percent of those polled; the sample was 68 percent white, 16 percent black and 10 percent Hispanic.

The South Florida poll was conducted by phone April 6-7 and took responses from 641 Democratic voters. The gender split matched the Tampa Bay poll, while the race breakdown was 48 percent white, 32 percent black and 15 percent Hispanic. Voters over 65 made up 45 percent of those polled, followed by 45-65 at 38 percent and 18-45 at 17 percent.

Adam Putnam to keynote Osceola Lincoln Day Dinner

Agriculture Commissioner and Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam will be in Kissimmee Friday evening to speak to Osceola County Republicans.

The keynote is part of the Republican Party of Osceola County’s Lincoln Day Dinner at the Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee, 6000 W Osceola Parkway.

It’ll take a ticket to hear Putnam’s keynote – Lincoln Day Dinners are one of the top fundraising days of the year for local Republican parties, and Osceola’s is no different.

A seat at the event will run $125. The event begins at 6:00 pm with a cocktail hour, and the doors to the main ballroom open at 7 pm.

Entertainment includes music from the Cornerstone Family Baptist Church band. State Rep. Mike La Rosa will give the invocation and County Commissioner Fred Hawkins Jr. will lead the pledge before Putnam’s keynote begins.

The full agenda and registration information is available on the Republican Party of Osceola County website.

The second-term Agriculture Commissioner was the first-in gubernatorial candidate on the Republican side, and he’s far in front of the crowded field when it comes to fundraising.

He currently faces Northeast Florida U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis in the Republican Primary, with House Speaker Richard Corcoran expected to join in the coming weeks.

Marriott EDITION Hotel coming to Water Street Tampa

The development company behind Water Street Tampa announced Thursday that Downtown Tampa will get its first full-service, five-star hotel in early 2021.

Strategic Property Partners said the new Marriott EDITION-branded 173-room hotel will rise as part of a 26-story tower in the heart of their Water Street Tampa development.

“We are constantly seeking collaborators that will build upon, enhance and exceed our original vision for Water Street Tampa, and we found that with Marriott International and Ian Schrager Company. We knew EDITION was the right brand that would create a truly unique hospitality experience in Tampa, which further elevates the neighborhood and community for visitors and city residents,” said SPP CEO James Nozar.

“Water Street Tampa exists in immediate proximity to the best that Tampa has to offer in terms of cultural institutions, entertainment, recreational, dining and shopping options, and the Tampa EDITION will only enrich these offerings through its innovative programming, features and amenities.”

The hotel announced Thursday is separate from the previously announced JW Marriott hotel slated to open in 2020 and the full renovation of the existing Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina.

When all three projects are complete, they will combine to 1,246 rooms with 150,000 square feet of meeting and event space.

There are currently EDITION-branded hotels in New York, Miami, London and Sanya, China, and seven more across the world are scheduled to open their doors in 2018.

Tampa’s EDITION is being designed by New York architect Morris Adjmi in collaboration with Nichols Brosch Wurst Wolfe & Associates, a Florida-based architecture and planning firm. The interior design will be handled by Roman and Williams.

Amenities revealed in the Thursday announcement include a rooftop pool with adjacent bar and restaurant as well as an expansive spa and fitness center. The ground floor will include restaurants and retail spaces.

“We are thrilled that our EDITION brand, in addition to our JW Marriott brand, will become part of SPP’s exciting vision for downtown Tampa,” said Kevin Montano, a senior vice president at Marriott International.

“The EDITION brand is known for timeless design, uncompromising quality and impeccable modern service, and the property is sure to become a significant cultural and hospitality hub in Water Street Tampa.”

A rendering of the Tampa EDITION is below.


Design revealed for new Downtown Tampa tower

The first renderings and architectural plans for Riverwalk Place, the first high-rise coming to Downtown Tampa in decades, were released Thursday.

“We are thrilled to show these designs to the Tampa community, and we are excited for Riverwalk Place to become an icon that Tampa will present to the world,” said Gensler architect Shamim Ahmadzadegan. “From the outset, our goal was to do more than just design another tall building. We wanted the project to activate the Riverwalk, and contribute to the urban landscape of downtown Tampa.”

Ahmadzadegan said the unique location called for a unique design embracing the river and adjacent park.

The entire ground floor will be merged with the park and boardwalk to create a 150-yard-long promenade of up to five restaurants and shops. A focus on pedestrian connectivity and engagement at the ground floor were driving factors behind the design, with both the developers and architects seeing the project as an extension of MacDill Park and the Riverwalk.

Project partners Feldman Equities and Two Roads Development said once the Gensler-designed building is complete it will become the tallest tower on the west coast of Florida.

The 50-plus story project will cost an estimated $350 million to build and will feature five floors of “live-work” units and ten stories of office space, followed by at least thirty-three levels of luxury condominiums. Residences in the tower will range in price from $600,000 to more than $2 million.

“This will be the first new office skyscraper built in downtown Tampa in 30 years, and the first ever mixed-use tower,” said Feldman Equities president and CEO Larry Feldman. “Riverwalk Place is a site like no other and will become the social hub of downtown.”

Activity has already started around the project site. The existing CapTrust building on Ashley Drive has been vacated and will be demolished, making way for the main Riverwalk Place tower at the southeast corner of E. Whiting Street and Ashley Drive South.

“Creating a tower that changes a skyline is a truly special opportunity, and we are proud to be embarking on this endeavor,” said Taylor Collins, managing partner of Two Roads Development. “Riverwalk Place will be the first luxury residential condominium in downtown Tampa and will be comparable to the best of New York or London. Our sales gallery is under construction next door, and we look forward to welcoming buyers there this summer.”

The rendering is below.

Gus Bilirakis raising money in Palm Harbor April 23

A fundraiser benefitting U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis’ re-election bid will be held Monday evening in Palm Harbor.

The April 23 event will run from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the home of Ann Ferrentino. Donors giving $1,000 or more can mingle in a cocktail reception during the 6 o’clock hour, while those donating $125 or more can join the event’s general reception starting at 7:00 pm.

Would-be attendees can RSVP by calling Erika Grace at 727-410-4077, or by sending a note to Erika@BilirakisforCongress.com.

Bilirakis is running for his seventh term representing Florida’s 12th Congressional District, which covers Pasco County and parts of Pinellas and Hillsborough.

Through the end of the first quarter the Tarpon Springs Republican has raised more than $1 million, putting him far ahead of his leading challenger, former federal prosecutor and FBI agent Chris Hunter.

Bilirakis also announced last week that his campaign had gathered enough petition signatures to qualify for the ballot.

CD 12 carries a heavy advantage for Republicans – it voted plus-19 for Donald Trump in the 2016 cycle and is currently listed as “safely Republican” by University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato‘s “Crystal Ball.”

The fundraiser invitation is below.

Bilirakis Invite 4.23.2018

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