Drew Wilson, Author at Florida Politics - Page 5 of 192

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.
Gillum AFP-Action ad 10.2.18

Americans for Prosperity Action hits ‘extreme’ Andrew Gillum in new ad buy

The Koch-backed political committee Americans for Prosperity Action, or AFP-Action, announced Wednesday that it was launching a digital and direct-mail campaign attacking Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum over his “record and extreme agenda.”

“Andrew Gillum’s agenda is too extreme for Florida,” said AFP-Action senior adviser Chris Hudson. “His plan for the economy? Raise taxes that hurt Florida businesses and families. His plan for health care? Take away your health insurance and cut access to Floridians on Medicaid by expanding a broken system. His plan for education? Destroy successful programs that give students a hand up in achieving their goals. We can’t afford Andrew Gillum.”

AFP-Action did not include any of the direct mailers in its announcement, though it did link to the digital ad. The 30-second spot, titled “Andrew Gillum is too Extreme for Florida,” starts by saying “Florida is on the right track, good jobs and a strong economy,” before pivoting to hammer Gillum.

“Andrew Gillum’s extreme agenda could put it all at risk. Gillum supports government-run, single-payer healthcare that could prevent access to quality, affordable care,” the ad narrator says. “He’d end successful education programs for one-size-fits-all mandates that hold our students back.

“His plan to pay for all these promises? More taxes on hard-working families and local businesses. Andrew Gillum is too extreme for Florida,” the ad concludes.

The ad buy comes after AFP-Action has attacked Gillum in press releases for his health care positions and for a statement he made during an appearance on Facing South Florida that said the state’s low unemployment level was due to individuals being forced to work “two to three jobs to make ends meet.”

The new ad buy comes a day after AFP-Action announced it was launching a “significant direct-mail push” to oppose U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in his re-election bid against Gov. Rick Scott.

Gillum, currently the mayor of Tallahassee, has indicated that he would raise taxes on businesses. His plan would increase Florida’s corporate income tax rate from 5.5 percent to 7.75 percent in order to pay for his proposed $1 billion increase in the education budget.

Republican nominee Ron DeSantis has dogged Gillum for that position on the campaign trail, most recently when he was accepting the “firm endorsement” of the Florida Chamber of Commerce last week.

AFP-Action’s ad is below.

Dana Young hosting Tally fundraiser tonight for SD 18 re-election

Tampa Republican Sen. Dana Young is holding a fundraiser for her Senate District 18 re-election campaign Tuesday, Oct. 2 in Tallahassee.

The event will run from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the BC Room of the Governors Club, 202 South Adams St. Those looking for more information or to RSVP can contact Kristin Lamb via Kristin@FLFStrategies.com or 850-339-5354.

Young was elected to Senate District 18 in 2016, but due to the shakeup caused by redistricting she and other state Senators in even-numbered districts must run for re-election after only two years.

She is facing a tough challenge from House Minority Leader Janet Cruz, who entered the race in mid-April. The most recent poll of the race shows Cruz with a slim advantage in the northwestern Hillsborough district, which covers much of Tampa.

SD 18 sits atop the Florida Democratic Party’s wish list this fall. Other than South Florida’s SD 36, where David Perez won the Democratic primary to challenge Republican Rep. Manny Diaz on Tuesday night, SD 18 is the only district Democrats are after that voted for Hillary Clinton two years ago.

Young has landed several endorsements, most recently from the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and she’s already started revving up her ground game with canvassing drives. But her biggest advantage this cycle is in the money race.

As of Aug. 23, Young had more than $455,000 banked in her campaign account at the last reporting checkpoint. Her political committee, Friends of Dana Young, has about $1.27 million at the ready.

By comparison, Cruz had $189,000 in hard money and another $330,000 in her political committee, Building the Bay PC, through the same date.

Late last month, Young challenged Cruz to two debates ahead of their general election showdown. After poking Young for being down in the polls, spokesperson Kevin Cate said the Cruz campaign would reach out to the debate organizers and that the campaign was “eager to debate expanding access to affordable care, more funding for schools, and common-sense gun reform.”

Election Day is Nov. 6. Young’s fundraiser invitation is below.

Young Fundraiser 10.2.2018

Vern Buchanan and David Shapiro - CD 16

Vern Buchanan leads David Shapiro by 7 points in new CD 16 poll

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan holds an outside-the-margin lead over challenger David Shapiro in his re-election bid for Florida’s 16th Congressional District.

The St. Pete Polls survey found Buchanan, a Longboat Key Republican, was the pick for just over 50 percent of likely voters in CD 16 while Shapiro, a Siesta Key Democrat, earned a hair over 43 percent support. The remaining 6 percent said they were undecided, giving each candidate room to grow in the five weeks between now and Election Day.

The new poll shows Buchanan much further ahead than internal numbers circulated by Team Shapiro a month ago that put the attorney within striking distance of flipping the Manatee and Sarasota-based seat. Still, the new measure shows the race is slightly tighter than it was in the summer, when St. Pete Polls found Buchanan with a 10-point edge, 44-34 percent.

The new survey shows both men with strong support from their respective bases, with Shapiro holding a slight lead among unaffiliated and third-party voters, 46.2 percent to 45.5 percent. Demographically, Buchanan holds a 54-41 percent lead among white voters while Shapiro pulls about two-thirds of black voters to Buchanan’s 21 percent. Hispanic voters prefer Shapiro by double digits, 49-39 percent.

Buchanan’s lead with white voters is significant as they made up nearly 80 percent of the district’s electorate according to data from when the seat was redrawn ahead of the 2016 election.

By gender, Buchanan holds a 9-point edge among male voters, while that lead shrinks to 4 points among women. Buchanan also holds a 10-point lead among Gen Xers, a 3-point lead among younger Baby Boomers and a 13-point lead among voters over 70. Shapiro’s only edge is among Millennials, where tops Buchanan 48-45 percent.

St. Pete Polls also measured the favorability rating of both candidates and found some good news for the incumbent: 46 percent of likely voters have a positive view of the sixth-term congressman compared to 38 percent who view him negatively, leading to a plus-8 in favorability. The remaining sixth said they were unsure.

Shapiro, by comparison, is underwater. About 38 percent of CD 16 voters said they had a favorable opinion of the trial lawyer while 42 percent said they had an unfavorable view, giving him a negative-4 on the fave/unfave measure. The remaining fifth of voters were unsure about the Democratic nominee.

Those favorability scores come after months of negative campaigning from both sides.

Buchanan has slammed Shapiro for his investments in gun companies, opioid drug companies, and companies tied to the Deepwater Horizon off-shore oil disaster, though for the most part those investments are part of index funds where the owner doesn’t have direct control of the exchange traded fund’s contents.

Shapiro has hammered Buchanan over the timing of a multimillion-dollar yacht purchase, which came on the same day he voted for the for the first draft of the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” That story, first reported by Florida Politics, got another twist in late August, when it was discovered that a foreign bank that lobbied the U.S. House — but not Buchanan directly — financed the yacht purchase.

Buchanan won re-election to the House with nearly 60 percent of the vote two years ago. The same cycle, President Donald Trump carried the Congressional district over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton 54-43 percent.

In 2018, most forecasters predict that Buchanan will hold on to his seat for another term. Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight currently pegs his chances at 7 in 8, while the Cook Political Report lists and Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball each rate CD 16 as “lean Republican.”

The St. Pete Polls survey, commissioned by Florida Politics, was conducted via an automated polling system on Oct. 1. It received responses from 1,248 registered voters who said they planned to vote in the upcoming election. Republicans made up 45 percent of the sample while Democrats made up a third.

The top-line results have a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

St. Pete Polls: Ron DeSantis within 2 points of Andrew Gillum

Republican opponent Ron DeSantis is behind Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum by just two percentage points in a new statewide poll of likely voters.

The St. Pete Polls survey, commissioned by Florida Politics, found Gillum leading DeSantis 47 percent-45 percent with Reform Party nominee Darcy Richardson pulling 2 percent support and the remaining 6 percent of voters undecided.

DeSantis and Gillum are supported by about 75 percent of registered Republicans and Democrats, respectively, with about a sixth of those voters saying they would cross party lines on Election Day.

Gillum, however, holds a strong lead among independent voters, who prefer the Tallahassee Mayor over the former Congressman by a 52-36 percent margin.

By age, Gillum has a 10-point lead among Gen Xers while DeSantis leads by 3 percentage points among Millennials. The two candidates, both 39 years old, are virtually tied among voters aged 50 to 69 years old and those over the age of 70. Gillum leads by a hair among men, 47-45 percent, while women prefer him by three points, 47-44 percent.

DeSantis holds a 10-point lead among white voters, who made up about two-thirds of the sample, and the pair were tied among Hispanic voters. Every other demographic preferred Gillum by a wide margin. Among black voters, Gillum — the state’s first black gubernatorial nominee for a major party — holds an 80-15 percent lead.

Regionally, Gillum holds a strong lead in the Tallahassee, Gainesville, West Palm Beach and Miami media markets. DeSantis takes Pensacola, Panama City, Jacksonville and Fort Myers while he and Gillum are statistically tied in the Orlando and Tampa markets.

The automated phone poll was conducted Sept. 29 through Sept. 30 and received responses from 2,313 registered voters who said they planned to vote in the November election. The topline result of the St. Pete Polls survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

An early September survey from the same pollster showed Gillum and DeSantis tied, with Gillum holding a statistically insignificant lead of three-tenths of a percentage point. Other recent polls, however, have shown Gillum leading the race.

A poll released Friday by the Florida Chamber of Commerce, which recently gave DeSantis their “firm endorsement,” showed Gillum leading by 6 percentage points. The lead in that poll fell outside the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

Two weeks prior, the Chamber pegged the race at 47-43 percent in favor of Gillum.

Thanks to the support of President Donald Trump, DeSantis steamrolled Putnam in last month’s primary election by more than 20 points. On the Democratic side, Gillum defied most polling to defeat former Congressman Gwen Graham and three other major contenders by a slim margin.

Election Day is Nov. 6.

Direct mail roundup: Ray Pilon targets Margaret Good as ‘hyperpartisan’ in new ads

Former Republican Rep. Ray Pilon is taking aim at Democratic Rep. Margaret Good with a new round of direct mail ads hitting House District 72 mailboxes.

“Margaret Good: Putting her political party above our safety,” the front side of one of the mailers reads. “Proving she’s hyperpartisan, Margaret Good towed [sic] the party line instead of keeping our kids safe.”

On the reverse, the ad railed against Good’s no vote on the school safety package passed by lawmakers in the 2018 Legislative Session after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas massacre. The law raised the minimum age to buy long guns from 18 to 21 alongside several mental health and school safety provisions.

Good was one of 50 House lawmakers to vote no on the bill. Some of the nays came from Republican lawmakers who thought the bill went too far, while Democratic lawmakers asserted that the law did not go far enough.

Members of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus also expressed concerns about black and brown children being targeted if school staff are allowed to carry guns in schools. The final bill language allows school personnel to carry guns, but excludes those “who are individuals who exclusively perform classroom duties as classroom teachers.”

Pilon’s hyperpartisan accusations come after Good teamed up with fellow Sarasota-area lawmaker, Republican Rep. Joe Gruters, to hold a bipartisan town hall on red tide.

A second mailer sent out by the Pilon campaign asserted the former lawmaker, who exited the Legislature two years ago after losing a Republican primary for the state Senate, “will put a stop to career politicians” and “introduce new leaders and fresh ideas to meet the ever-changing problems facing our community.”

Pilon has held elected office for a decade, first as a Sarasota County Commissioner from 1996 through 2000, then as a state representative from 2010 through 2016.

In a Monday news release, the Florida Democrat’s House Victory effort said characterized the mailers as misleading.

“Pilon has sent out a slew of mailers promising to fight career politicians, to fund public schools, to fight sexual misconduct, to increase transparency, and to fight corruption. But his record tells another story,” the news release said.

Good won a special election for HD 72 earlier this year, defeating Republican nominee James Buchanan by 7 points in what had been a Republican-leaning district in prior years.

In November, Pilon and Good will be the only two names on the ballot. Good currently holds a major cash advantage with $327,000 in hard money fundraising and $124,000 banked. She has another $100,000-plus in her affiliated political committee, New Day Florida.

Pilon, meanwhile has raised $93,000 in hard money and had a little over $66,000 in the bank on Sept. 14.

The mailers are below.

Rick Scott and Bill Nelson

Bill Nelson, Rick Scott tied in battleground U.S. Senate contest

Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson are statistically tied in a new poll of November’s U.S. Senate race, though Scott holds a razor-thin edge.

The St. Pete Polls survey, commissioned by Florida Politics, found Nelson, Florida’s only statewide elected Democrat, and Scott, who is term-limited after eight years in the Governor’s Mansion, each receiving about 47 percent support from likely general election voters.

Without rounding, Scott slightly edges out Nelson, 47.4 percent to 46.7 percent. The remaining 6.1 percent of voters are undecided.

Both Nelson and Scott have similarly strong support among their bases, with each breaching the 75 percent threshold among the party faithful, though independent voters prefer Nelson by a 51-40 margin.

By age, Scott holds a 49-55 percent lead among voters under 30, while Nelson takes the 30- to 49-year-old bracket by 6 points, 50-44 percent. The 70-and-up crowd leans slightly toward Scott, 47-46 percent, while the pair tie among 50- to -69-year-olds with 47 percent support apiece.

The high-ranking politicians are also tied among men, 47-47 percent, with Nelson leading by a basket among women, 48-46 percent. Demographically, Scott leads by 13 points among white voters, while black voters are plus-61 for Nelson and Hispanic voters also lean toward the incumbent by a margin of 48-45 percent.

The poll also measured each candidate’s support regionally, with Scott holding firm leads in the state’s Republican bastions of Pensacola, Panama City and Southwest Florida. The exiting Governor also holds a 56-39 percent lead in the Jacksonville media market.

Nelson, meanwhile, ran up the score in Tallahassee, Gainesville, and South Florida. He also holds a slim lead in the Orlando market, while the pair split Tampa with 46 percent support apiece.

Scott led in most early polls of the race, thanks in part to outspending Nelson with major media buys that started shortly after announcing his candidacy in April. Recent polls, however, have shown Nelson chipping away at Scott’s edge.

A Florida Chamber of Commerce poll released Friday found Nelson with a 2-point lead, which fell within the poll’s 4.4 percent margin of error.

Still, a recent analysis by Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight labeled Nelson as the “most vulnerable” of the two dozen Dems seeking another term in November, 10 of whom, including Nelson, are seeking re-election in states that Donald Trump carried in the 2016 presidential election.

 “It might seem surprising that the fundamentals calculation regards Florida’s Bill Nelson as the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent since Florida is quite purple and there are Democrats up for re-election in some genuinely red states” … “Nelson has a very good challenger in Florida Gov. Rick Scott; one way our model accounts for candidate quality is by looking at the highest elected office the opponent has held, with races against current or former governors or senators falling into the top category.”

Florida’s U.S. Senate election is seen as a “must-win” by national Democrats, who are holding out hope they can flip both chambers of Congress in the fall. Republicans currently hold a 51-49 advantage in the Senate.

The automated phone poll was conducted Sept. 29 through Sept. 30 and received responses from 2,313 registered voters who said they planned to vote in the November election. The top-line result of the St. Pete Polls survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

Group backing Hillsborough transit tax holding Oct. 9 fundraiser

The committee backing a penny sales tax referendum to fund Hillsborough transportation projects announced Monday that it will hold a fundraiser to support its general election push.

The All For Transportation fundraiser will be held Oct. 9 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Coppertail Brewing Co. in Tampa, 2601 E. 2nd Ave. On tap to attend are Christina Barker, Rena Frazier, Tyler Hudson, Jim O’Connell, Janet Scherberger, Bemetra Simmons, Kevin Thurman and Brian Willis.

The fundraiser invitation lists several donation tiers ranging from $100 for “guests” up to $2,500 for “champions.” Donors can make their pledge online or at the event by downloading and filling out the proper contribution form.

Those looking to attend the fundraiser can send an RSVP to Eva Gavrish at eva@allfortransportation.com.

The sales tax referendum made the ballot in late July by taking advantage of the seldom-used citizen’s charter amendment process, which required All For Transportation to collect 49,000 petition signatures. It hit that goal and delivered the stack of petitions to the Supervisor of Elections office just ahead of the deadline.

In the weeks since, the transit tax push has earned the support of many influential groups. In the past week, the measure has earned the support of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, tourism marketing group Visit Tampa Bay and the editorial board of the Tampa Bay Times.

If passed,  it has been estimated that the penny tax would bring in $280 million per year to fund transportation initiatives in the county.

The money raised by the sales tax would be split between Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART), which would get 45 percent of the funds, and local governments in the county, which would divvy up the other 55 percent for road maintenance and projects tackling traffic congestion.

The transit tax is one of two sales tax referendums that will go before Hillsborough voters in November, the other being a half-cent increase that would fund facility maintenance, technology and career readiness and other priorities for Hillsborough Schools.

If voters approve both, Hillsborough County’s sales tax would be 8.5 percent.

The fundraiser invitation is below.

All for Transportation fundraiser - 10.9.2018

Ross Spano

Ross Spano holds slim lead over Kristen Carlson in new CD 15 poll

Republican state Rep. Ross Spano and Democratic attorney Kristen Carlson are in a tight race in Florida’s 15th Congressional District, according to a new poll from Bold Blue Campaigns.

The poll, conducted Sept. 22 through Sep. 27, found Spano ahead by 3 percentage points over Carlson, 49-46 percent, with 5 percent of voters saying they were undecided. Spano’s lead falls well within the poll’s margin of error and continues to show strong Democratic support in the heretofore safe Republican seat.

CD 15 covers parts of Hillsborough, Lake and Polk counties. It voted plus-10 for President Donald Trump two years ago while current U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross scored a 15-point victory over Democratic nominee Jim Lange. The seat is open this year due to Ross’ decision to not seek re-election.

Bold Blue Campaigns claims Spano is “underperforming” but is still the favored candidate to win the seat come November. However, the pollster found some positive news for Carlson as well.

“The 5 percent of undecided voters are primarily younger voters, independents and voters of color, meaning that the Democrat Carlson likely still has some room to grow, while Spano will have to rely on motivating the GOP base to turn out to fend off a potential wave result,” the polling memo said.

The new poll is one of the first public measures of the CD 15 contest since the Aug. 28 primary election, where both Spano and Carlson scored double-digit wins to secure the major-party nominations.

A mid-September poll conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and released by the Carlson campaign found her with a 1-point lead over Spano. Respondents favored a “generic Republican” over a “generic Democrat” by a margin of 42-36 percent, but when Carlson and Spano were named, they shift to 48-47 percent in her favor.

According to the new poll, Spano holds an edge when it comes to name ID, as he was viewed favorably by a 47-37 percent margin with 16 percent saying they didn’t know enough about him to have an opinion. Carlson was above water by a 43-38 percent margin with 20 percent answering “do not know.”

Another metric measured in the Republican-leaning seat were voters’ thoughts on President Donald Trump, who came in underwater 40-49 percent. Asked about the proposed border wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, 40 percent said they supported it while 45 percent were opposed.

Broken down by age, Carlson carries Millennials by a 37-point margin and Gen Xers by a touchdown, while Spano holds a 20-point lead among the 50- to 64-year-old demographic and a 13-point lead among those older than 65. By gender, Carlson leads women 57-39 percent while Spano leads men 63-31 percent.

Bold Blue Campaigns said Trump’s numbers, and the wall’s, sank below that level among Independents, Democrats and women, while registered Republicans and men buoyed the score.

The CD 15 race was also recently called out by prominent political forecasting website FiveThirtyEight, which gave Carlson a solid chance to flip the seat.

“It’s an R+13 district, but Republican incumbent Dennis Ross is retiring, and Democratic candidate Kristen Carlson has raised almost double the individual contributions that Republican Ross Spano has,” FiveThirtyEight analyst Nathaniel Rakish noted. “Carlson likewise has a 1 in 4 chance of winning.”

Other forecasters, including the Cook Report and Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, have also moved the seat out of the “safe Republican” column. Sabato’s “Crystal Ball” website rates CD 15 as a “leans Republican” while Cook has done the same.

When it comes to the top of the ticket, the CD 15 electorate prefers Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis over Democratic nominee Andrew Gillum by a single point, 42-41, while current Gov. Rick Scott leads incumbent Bill Nelson 44-42 percent in the U.S. Senate race.

Additionally, Republican nominee Ashley Moody held a 6-point lead over Democratic state Rep. Sean Shaw in the Attorney General race, while it was Democrat Nikki Fried who was on top in the Agriculture Commissioner showdown. He held a 47-43 percent lead over state Rep. Matt Caldwell.

The latter result shows a similar margin to a recently released poll from the Florida Chamber of Commerce, where Fried led Caldwell by 42-37 percent statewide. The same poll found Shaw up by a basket in the Attorney General race; sitting CFO Jimmy Patronis and former Democratic Sen. Jeremy Ring tied in the Chief Financial Officer race; and Gillum with a 6-point lead over DeSantis.

Bold Blue Campaigns’ public poll included responses from 500 likely voters living within the boundaries of CD 15 and was conducted via live phone interviews on both landlines and cellphones. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

blue wave

Blue wave? Democratic Cabinet nominees up in new Florida Chamber poll

A new poll from the Florida Chamber of Commerce brought good news for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, but the three other statewide candidates joining them on the November ballot are also in prime position to topple GOP hegemony.

In addition to the U.S. Senate Race and Governor’s, Floridians will be replacing term-limited Attorney General Pam Bondi and term-limited Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in the fall. Also on the ballot is sitting CFO Jimmy Patronis, who is running for a full term after being appointed to the seat by Gov. Rick Scott last year.

In the AG race Tampa Democratic Rep. Sean Shaw, also the state’s former insurance consumer advocate, leads Republican nominee Ashley Moody, a former prosecutor and circuit court judge, by 2 percentage points, 35-33 percent. Another 20 percent of voters said they were undecided, while 9 percent favor unaffiliated candidate Jeffrey Siskind of Wellington.

The Florida Chamber measure is one of the first post-primary polls of the AG race to show Shaw with a lead. Moody scored a double-digit win over Pensacola state Rep. Frank White and Shaw trounced Odessa attorney Ryan Torrens. A prior poll of the race, conducted by Public Policy Polling showed Moody with a 3-point edge, 44-41 percent, while a St. Pete Polls survey showed her up 46-44 percent.

Though Moody has raked in loads more money than Shaw, her expensive primary battle left her trailing Shaw in cash on hand, with about $600,000 on hand for Moody and $810,000 on hand for Shaw as of Sept. 21.

In the Ag Commissioner race, medical marijuana lobbyist Nikki Fried leads Lehigh Acres state Rep. Matt Caldwell by 5 percentage points, 42-37 percent. Fried easily won the three-way Democratic primary to succeed term-limited Republican Adam Putnam with 59 percent of the vote while Caldwell took a plurality of the vote in the four-way Republican contest.

Fried had about $175,000 on hand between her campaign and committee accounts on Sept. 21, putting her well behind Caldwell’s combined war chest of $920,000.

CFO Jimmy Patronis, the only incumbent Cabinet member on the ballot, fared better than his fellow Republican. The Chamber found him tied with former Margate state Sen. Jeremy Ring at 38 percent each with 20 percent of voters undecided. Write-in candidate Richard Dembinsky is also vying for the seat and could partially account for why the Chamber’s measure does not add up to 100.

The tie game in the CFO race comes despite Patronis having raised being one of the best-funded non-gubernatorial candidates on the ballot. His $5.4 million in overall fundraising and $3.3 million in on-hand cash trounces Ring’s numbers, which stood at $1.33 million raised and $473,000 banked as of Sept. 21.

Ring has been adamant that neither fundraising nor endorsements will decide the contest. The last Democrat to hold a spot on the Cabinet was Alex Sink, who served one term as CFO before vacating the seat for her unsuccessful bid to be Florida’s Governor in 2010.

The Chamber poll is the first measure of the Cabinet race in some time. A Chamber poll from June showed Patronis with a 9-point lead, 40-31 percent, while a slightly more recent measure from Public Policy Polling showed Ring with a 40-39 percent edge.

The Florida Chamber Poll was conducted Sept. 19 through Sept. 24 and received responses from 622 voters, 41.5 percent of whom were registered Democrats, while 40.5 percent were Republicans and 18 percent not belonging to one of the major parties.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

Andrew Gillum

Chamber poll: Andrew Gillum holds 6-point lead over Ron DeSantis

A new poll conducted last week by the Florida Chamber of Commerce shows Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum has increased his lead over Republican opponent Ron DeSantis to 6-points

The poll, conducted Sept. 19 through Sept. 24, found the Tallahassee Mayor and his Lieutenant Governor pick, Orlando-area businessman Chris King, with a 48-42 percent lead over the former Congressman, who is running alongside state Rep. Jeannette Nuñez.

The lead represents a 2-percentage-point increase for Gillum, who led 47-43 percent in the Chamber’s prior measure, which was conducted Sept. 6 through Sept. 9. Unlike the last poll, the new results fall outside the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

The late-September poll was conducted prior to the Chamber offering DeSantis it’s “firm endorsement” Thursday in Orlando. During the Republican primary for Governor, the Chamber was an unwavering supporter of Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, and their 2018 Future of Florida Forum opened with a video celebrating the two-term cabinet member’s career.

Of the remaining 10 percent of respondents, 6 percent said they were still undecided, while 2 percent said they were backing Reform Party gubernatorial nominee Darcy Richardson and Nancy Argenziano.

Thanks to the support of President Donald Trump, DeSantis steamrolled Putnam in last month’s primary election by more than 20 points. On the Democratic side, Gillum defied most polling to defeat former Congressman Gwen Graham and several other contenders by a slim margin.

Gillum has led in most polls since the title card was set, though most of his polling leads have fallen within the margin of error. The RealClearPolitics average of all public polling for the general election matchup shows Gillum with a 4.5 percentage point lead over DeSantis.

One of the policy proposals DeSantis has hammered Gillum on – the latter’s plan to raise the corporate income tax from 5.5 percent to 7.75 percent to raised $1 billion in funding for public education – was supported by a supermajority of Florida voters.

Overall, two-thirds of voters approved of the plan and 28 percent were opposed. It was most popular among registered Democrats, who favored it by an 85-11 percent margin, while NPA’s were in favor 71-27 percent and a plurality of Republicans also gave it the green light, 48-44 percent.

The new results were in spite of Floridians believing the state was on headed in the “right direction” by a margin of 47-37 percent. Other measures of note: Trump’s job approval rating was underwater by 5 points, while U.S. Senate contenders Bill Nelson, the Democratic incumbent, and Gov. Rick Scott were plus-5 and plus-4 respectively.

The poll also found other statewide Democrats in the lead, with Democratic Ag Commissioner nominee Nikki Fried leading Lehigh Acres state Rep. Matt Calwell 42-37 percent; Democratic Attorney General nominee Sean Shaw leading Republican nominee Ashley Moody 35-33 percent; and sitting CFO Jimmy Patronis tied with former Democratic Sen. Jeremy Ring 38-38 percent.

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