Drew Wilson, Author at Florida Politics - Page 5 of 57

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.

Florida Power & Light delivered strong financial growth in Q2

Florida Power & Light’s was a driving force in delivering double-digit income growth to its parent company in the second quarter according to reports released Thursday.

NextEra Energy reported a net income of $793 million for the quarter, compared to $540 million for second quarter 2016. On an adjusted basis, the Juno Beach-based company’s second-quarter 2017 earnings were $881 million, or $1.86 a share, compared to $777 million, or $1.67 a share, during the second quarter of 2016.

“NextEra Energy achieved strong second-quarter results, while continuing to deliver on our overall objectives for 2017,” NextEra Chairman and CEO Jim Robo said. “NextEra Energy’s second-quarter adjusted earnings per share increased more than 11 percent, primarily driven by new investments at both FPL and NextEra Energy Resources.”

Robo cited ongoing FPL infrastructure projects, such as the construction of eight solar facilities and the natural gas powered Okeechobee Clean Energy Center, as well as plans to update FPL’s Dania Beach facility with a highly fuel-efficient energy center.

In addition to those projects, FPL added about 64,000 new customers during the quarter and

“By continuing to execute on major capital initiatives to deliver on our outstanding customer value proposition, FPL grew regulatory capital employed by more than 10 percent versus the comparable period,” Robo said.

The energy CEO had a bright outlook on the future, too, adding that he would be disappointed if the company doesn’t “deliver financial results at or near the top of our 6 to 8 percent adjusted earnings per share growth range through 2020.”

Florida congressmen put ‘on notice’ by EMILY’s List

Three Florida congressmen were put “On Notice” by national women’s candidates support group EMILY’s List.

The group announced its “Republicans On Notice” list this week, which identifies 50 House and Senate Republicans the group says it will target in the 2018 midterm elections “due to their anti-woman and anti-family positions.”

U.S. Reps. Ron DeSantis, Brian Mast and Carlos Curbelo were the only Florida lawmakers on the list.

All three legislators were called out for voting in favor of the House plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and voting to defund Planned Parenthood.

Curbelo and DeSantis were also put on notice for voting against equal pay provisions protecting women, while Mast was hammered because he has come out in support of overturning Roe v. Wade.

All three congressmen had double-digit margins of victory in 2016. DeSantis won his CD 6 race by 17 percent, while Curbelo held former U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia at bay with a 12-point victory in CD 26, and Mast beat out Randy Perkins in CD 18 by 10 percent.

The list covers a lot of the same races being targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, or DCCC, and despite the large margins in favor of Republicans in 2016, all three Florida districts have at least some potential to flip.

Each of the three districts are pretty even in voter registration numbers between the two major parties, and all were carried handily by Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in 2012, according to the redistricting plan approved by Florida courts in late 2015.

Dorothy Hukill, Travis Hutson K-12 funding formula study

A pair of Republican state senators sent a letter to President Joe Negron Tuesday asking for a study of the funding formula for Florida’s K-12 schools.

Dorothy Hukill of Port Orange and Travis Hutson of St. Augustine wrote that they see the District Cost Differential (DCD) as unfair to some school districts. That’s because the formula reduces some district allotments while increasing others, “as opposed to simply adding funds to districts that qualify for more money.”

“Since the DCD is the last component used to compute a district’s base funding, this inequity is imbedded into the very foundation of a district’s budget,” the Northeast Florida senators wrote.

The formula for each district is computed annually based on a 3-year average of the Florida Price Level Index, which compares the cost of purchasing a specific list of 100 goods and services in each county.

The DCD also adjusts funding by an “amenity factor” based on wage data that assumes that the desirability of living in an area makes employees willing to accept lower salaries.

In the 2016-17 budget year, Brevard, Flagler, St. Johns and Volusia counties, which Hukill and Hutson represent, had DCD scores of 0.99, 0.95, 0.98 and 0.96, respectively.

To compare, Lafayette County had the lowest DCD score at 0.92, while Palm Beach County had the highest at 1.03.

In the letter, the two senators asked Negron for a study to determine whether it should be kept, modified or eliminated.

“We need to take a closer look at the DCD and the way our K-12 funding formula is structured to allow more equality in school funding,” Hukill said in a press release. “Our students and our school districts need to be adequately funded so that all of our students are receiving the quality education and services they are entitled to no matter the size or location of their school district.”

Hutson added that he was “especially troubled by the growing disparity in funding between dense urban districts and more sparse suburban and rural districts.”

“The current reality of the DCD is reduced funding for poorer districts while increasing funding for richer districts and that is just not right,” he said.

Marco Rubio to headline Seminole County GOP Lincoln Day Dinner

The Republican Party of Seminole County announced Monday that U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio will attend its Lincoln Day Dinner celebration in Altamonte Springs next month.

The Lincoln Day Dinner will be held at the Hilton Orlando Altamonte Springs on Aug. 22, with doors scheduled to open at 6:30 pm and the dinner set for 7 pm.

Lincoln Day dinners are annual celebrations held by various GOP organizations nationwide. After Ronald Reagan’s death in 2004, some Lincoln Day festivities evolved into a celebration of the former president’s life and achievements, as well as an occasion to honor the party’s successes over the past year.

The Seminole County celebration will be preceded by a VIP Reception and cocktail hour beginning at 6 pm, which Rubio will attend.

Individual tickets to the dinner are listed at $150 a piece, while an individual ticket that includes admission to the VIP Reception with Rubio is listed at $300.

Higher-tier sponsorships for the event, including a reserved table or seats at the head table, are also available.

For more information on the event, contact Kimberly Carroll or visit the event page on the Seminole County GOP website. Tickets may also be reserved through the website.

Deede Weithorn wants to be a ‘Democratic champion’ for House District 113 voters

Former Miami Beach City Commissioner Deede Weithorn announced Monday that she will run for the House District 113 seat being vacated by Democratic Rep. David Richardson, who is running for congress.

“The people of our district need a Democratic champion on the issues most important to our everyday lives,” Weithorn said in a press release. ”Here in South Florida, these issues aren’t just traffic and over-development — they’re also the very real threats of climate change and sea-level rise, as well as confronting the opioid epidemic and improving access to high-quality public education.”

The University of Florida alumna and CPA highlighted Miami Beach’s bond score improving from an ‘A’ to a ‘AA’ during her two terms on the city commission and said she plans to be a “get things done representative in Tallahassee.”

“For me, it’s all about delivering results,” she said.

Weithorn opened her campaign account on July 18 and is the second Democrat to enter the race after Jeff Cynamon, who filed on  June 8. Cynamon, an attorney, did not report any contributions for his campaign in his first month in the race.

Weithorn filed to run for HD 113 in the 2016 election cycle but ultimately withdrew once Richardson decided he would run for re-election rather than run for Florida Senate.

HD 113 covers southeastern Miami-Dade, including Miami Beach and North Bay Village. It is a reliably left-leaning district, with about double the number of registered Democrats as Republicans.

Richardson faced his first GOP challenger in the 2016 election cycle. He easily triumphed over  Republican Jonathan Parker with 65 percent of the vote.

Jack Latvala has added $225,000 of committee cash so far in July

Possible gubernatorial candidate and Clearwater Republican Sen. Jack Latvala has brought in plenty of cash this month, according to a ledger of contributions available on his committee’s website.

The Senate Appropriations Chair has raised $225,000 so far in July through his political committee, “Florida Leadership Committee,” with the single largest contribution clocking in at $50,000 from Destin-based Sterling Diversified, LLC.

Donors at the $25,000 level included The Vestcor Companies and the FTBA Transportation PAC, while another seven groups chipped in $10,000 a piece.

The unofficial tally, which runs through July 20, also shows just shy of $60,000 in expenditures this month.

The top costs for FLC were a $10,000 payment to the Whitson Group for research, $8,300 to Champion Consultants for strategy consulting and $6,400 for event tickets through Orlando Event Center Enterprises.

FLC finished June with about $3.55 million on hand according to its most recent finance report, and through the first three weeks of July that total has grown to about $3.7 million.

The next deadline for finance reports, covering all of July, is Aug. 10.

Latvala said earlier this month that he would formally announce whether he is running for governor on Aug. 16.

If he put his hat in the ring, one of his Republican Primary opponents would be Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who has more than $10 million socked away in his own committee, “Florida Grown.”

HD 47 hopeful Anna Eskamani opens political committee

Democrat Anna Eskamani opened a political committee this month which will allow her to raise funds for her campaign in Orlando-based House District 47.

Eskamani sent in the paperwork to open “People Power for Florida” in June and the Florida Division of Elections acknowledged the committee and added it to its database on July 13. The first campaign finance report for the committee, covering all of July, is due Aug. 10.

News of Eskamani opening a political committee was first reported by Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida.

The Orlando Democrat is currently the only candidate running for HD 47, as current Republican Rep. Mike Miller announced in late June that he will leave the seat to run against Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy in Florida’s 7th Congressional District.

Eskamani filed for the seat a few days after Miller’s June 29 announcement, and is so far the only major party candidate running for the seat, which covers part of Orange County, including Winter Park and Belle Isle.

Though her campaign has not yet released its first campaign finance report, it should see a nice boost in August. The Planned Parenthood director of external affairs announced a fundraiser Thursday with many top Florida Democrats on the guest list, including Alan Grayson, Alex Sink, Bob Poe and Steve Schale.

HD 47 has a Democratic lean, with 45,213 registered Democrats, 43,323 registered Republicans and 30,189 voters not registered with either major party. Democrat Beth Tuura ran against Miller last cycle, but fell to 52-47 on Election Day.

Jose Mallea at $120K raised for Tuesday’s special election in HD 116

Republican Jose Mallea added to his fundraising lead in the special election for House District 116 with more than $120,000 raised between contributions and loans.

Mallea brought in $97,600 in contributions and loaned his campaign $24,000 for a total of $262,256 so far. The Doral Republican also spent nearly $194,000, leaving him with $16,600 in the bank ahead of the Tuesday primary election.

The bulk of the money was spent on media buys and mailers, though Front Line Strategies also picked up $24,443 for consulting work.

Daniel Perez also posted a decent haul during the six-week reporting period, with just shy of $85,000 raised and $117,000 in spending. Like Mallea, most of the money was spent on a flurry of media buys and mailers over the past few weeks.

Thus far, the Miami Republican has raised $168,200 and spent $165,434, leaving him with less than $3,000 four days out from the election.

The two candidates are running to take over for Republican Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, who is the current leader in the money race for the SD 40 seat vacated by Frank Artiles, who resigned in April amid scandal.

HD 116 is reliably Republican. The GOP has a 10,000 voter registration lead over the Democrats in the district and Diaz easily won his 2016 contest with 62 percent of the vote.

The winner of the speciation Republican Primary will face Democrat Gabriela Mayaudon in the special general election on Sept. 26.

Mayaudon’s most recent report covers June 5 through June 8 and shows her with less than $20 on hand. Her lone contribution was from the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, which paid her $1,781 qualifying fee.

Jose Felix Diaz now at $531K raised for SD 40 special election

Republican state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz raised a monstrous $531,000 and spent $703,000 over the past six weeks according to a newly filed campaign finance report for the special election in Senate District 40.

The new report, which covers June 9 through July 20, shows Diaz with about $73,000 on hand after running through hundreds of thousands of dollars on media buys, mailers and consulting in the final sprint before Tuesday’s special primary.

DRC Consulting saw the biggest windfall, with more than $425,000 heading to the Miami-based company for Spanish and English language media buys, production, and phone banking.

The spending was partially offset by his 666 contributions, the vast majority of which came in at the $500 or $1,000 level. Small businesses, alcohol distributors, and political committees were the most common occupations among contributors, though big names such as Disney, the GEO Group and the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association also made the list.

Fellow Republican and former lawmaker Alex Diaz de la Portilla had not posted his campaign finance report as of Friday evening. He had about $23,000 on hand on June 8 after loaning his campaign $50,000 and raising $22,500.

The third Republican in the race, Lorenzo Palomares, added $14,400 and spent $26,893 during the reporting period for an on hand total of $45,000. His figures were boosted by $62,500 in loans he has made to his campaign since filing for the seat in May.

Annette Taddeo also took a firm lead among the Democrats vying for the seat, which was vacated by Republican Frank Artiles in April.

The former lieutenant governor nominee and one-time congressional hopeful brought in $38,339 during the six-week stretch and spent $53,344, leaving her with about $24,000 to work with in the last few days of the primary race.

Ana Rivas Logan, Taddeo’s main competitor, raised just $2,835 and spent $5,900 for an on hand total of about $2,500 on July 20.

The winners of the special primary election will face off in a special general election on Sept. 26. SD 40 will also be on the 2018 ballot, leaving the winner of the special election little time to rest before getting back on the campaign trail.

Gwen Graham vows to help more Floridians receive care after free clinic ‘workday’

Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former Congresswoman Gwen Graham did one of her campaign “work days” at a Seminole County free clinic Wednesday and came away pledging to “help more Floridians receive care” if elected.

Graham volunteered as a health care navigator for at Shepherd’s Hope and spent her shift helping patients determine if they were eligible for clinic services. She also shadowed a patient from through the entire clinic experience, from intake to discharge.

“Working at Shepherd’s Hope was an eye-opening experience. I am heartbroken by how many Floridians depend on the clinic as a safety net for care, but inspired by the doctors and volunteers who give their time to help those in need. They provide care to people from all walks of life, from veterans to working families, and provide an invaluable service to our state,” Graham said in a news release.

After the work day — a campaign staple for both her and her father, Bob Graham — she also condemned Republican Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature for not expanding Medicaid, which she said: “literally cost Floridians their lives.”

“I don’t know how you could visit a clinic like Shepherd’s Hope and not want to expand coverage,” Graham said. “As governor, I will help more Floridians receive care.”

Shepherd’s Hope serves uninsured patients with an income at or below 200% of the poverty level. In 2016, the clinic saw more than 17,000 patients.

After thanking Graham for her visit, Shepherd’s Hope CEO Marni F. Stahlman also blamed Florida’s lack of Medicaid expansion for many “preventable and predictable” deaths and extended an invitation to all Florida elected officials to visit the clinic.

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