Drew Wilson – Page 6 – 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.

Jason Brodeur endorses David Smith as HD 28 successor

Term-limited state Rep. Jason Brodeur has endorsed fellow Republican David Smith to succeed him in Seminole County based House District 28.

“I’m proud to endorse David Smith in his campaign to serve the community I’ve been blessed to represent for the past 8 years,” Brodeur said in a press release. “David is a natural born leader and a true patriot who I know will be a great Representative for our community.”

Brodeur joins a long list of Republican pols backing Smith’s campaign, including Reps. Bob Cortes and Scott Plakon who also represent parts of Seminole County in the House.

 “I’m honored to have the support of Representative Brodeur,” Smith said. “His hard work and commitment to our community has left it a better place for many families and businesses. I look forward to advancing the service and leadership he has provided our community.”

Smith, a retired U.S. Marine Corps colonel, is currently the only Republican running in the GOP-leaning district. Assuming no other candidates file before the end of the qualifying period on June 22, the Nov. 6 general election see Smith face off against Democrat Lee Mangold.

Smith holds a massive lead in the money race. He started May with about $146,000 banked compared to $14,417 on hand for Mangold.

HD 28 covers part of northeastern Seminole County, including Sanford, Winter Springs, Casselberry and Oviedo. Republican voters make up nearly 40 percent of the electorate in the Central Florida district, compared to a 33 percent share for Democrats.

Brodeur was elected to the old HD 33 in 2010. He has only faced third-party candidates in his three re-election campaigns since redistricting placed him in HD 28, winning each with around two-thirds of the vote. The seat voted plus-4 for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

Former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham

Gwen Graham raises more than $1M in May

Gwen Graham’s gubernatorial campaign said over the weekend that new campaign finance reports will show another banner month for the former congresswoman’s fundraising efforts.

The Graham team said it added more than $300,000 in contributions for the campaign and tacked on another $730,000-plus via Gwen Graham for Florida, an affiliated political committee.

The seven-figure haul, her second in a row, brings the North Florida Democrat’s total fundraising to nearly $8.5 million. The campaign said it started June with more than $5.5 million of that cash in the bank.

“This announcement is the icing on the cake of an extraordinary week for our campaign. We are on the air sharing our positive, progressive message, we gained national attention in Glamour magazine, we earned endorsements from Congressman Patrick Murphy and the Florida Education Association, the state’s largest union — and now we’re announcing another $1 million raised,” campaign manager Julia Woodward said.

“While another $1 million is huge, the number we’re most proud of is the 20,000 individual supporters who have given to our campaign. Gwen is building a real grassroots movement to end 20 years of one-party Republican rule and set our state straight.”

The campaign said those 20,000 individual donors, including 1,500 added last month, are the most of among the five major candidates vying for the Democratic nomination to replace Gov. Rick Scott in the fall.

Graham was the final Democratic candidate to announce May fundraising numbers.

Earlier this week, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine said he brought in $1.3 million via contributions and added another $1.3 million of his own money for a combined haul of $2.6 million. He’s brought in $15 million to date.

Winter Park businessman Chris King said Thursday that his reports will show $78,661 raised and $400,000 in self-funding for a to-date total of $5.1 million, while Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum announced $361,750 in May receipts. He’s raised $3.4 million so far.

Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene joined the Democratic primary on June 1 but has kept quiet so far. His first finance report is due June 29.

The primary election is Aug. 28.

Tina Polsky adds five backers in HD 81 bid

Boca Raton Democrat Tina Polsky rolled out five more endorsements Monday in her bid to replace retiring state Rep. Joe Abruzzo in House District 81.

Topping the announcement was a nod from incoming House Democratic Leader Kionne McGhee, followed by Palm Beach County Commissioners Mary Lou Berger and Melissa McKinlay, Royal Palm Beach Rep. Matt Willhite, and former Palm Beach County Commissioner Burt Aaronson.

“I’m excited by the prospect of Tina joining the Democratic Caucus in Tallahassee as we continue our fight to implement an agenda benefiting the people — not the special interests. I look forward to working with her to fight for world-class healthcare, excellent public schools and universities, and high-paying jobs for all Floridians,” McGhee said.

McKinlay added: “Palm Beach County needs Tina’s leadership in order to ensure our many diverse communities remain exceptional places to live, work, raise children, and retire.  I’m endorsing her candidacy because I know she has what it takes to deliver substantive results.”

The new backers join U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch and Alcee Hastings, several western Palm Beach County elected officials and Abruzzo, who offered his support to Polsky a month ago.

“This is my first run for office and I consider myself truly blessed to have earned the backing of such a wide-ranging and well-respected group of public servants. I’ll be fortunate to have them not only as colleagues, but also as mentors and partners in the mission to improve life for everyone in our state.”

Polsky faces Mindy Koch in the Democratic primary for the solid-blue seat.

HD 81 covers a portion of Palm Beach County including the communities of Belle Glade, Pahokee and Parkland.

The primary election is Aug. 28.

Julián Castro

2020 watch: Julián Castro headlining fundraiser today at Alex Sink’s home

Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro will be the guest of honor at a New Leaders Council fundraiser former CFO Alex Sink is hosting Saturday afternoon.

“I am so thrilled to host former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro at my home on June 9! New Leaders Council is an organization dedicated to training the next generation of progressive leaders and we have our very own chapter here in Tampa Bay,” Sink said in an email.

“I am delighted to be hosting their 2018 fundraiser at my home and Secretary Castro will be the keynote speaker! I hope you’ll be able to join us on June 9 to support our young progressive leaders.”

Castro, also the former mayor of San Antonio, is one of many Democratic politicians eying a 2020 presidential run. The 43-year-old Texan has stated that he will announce whether he’ll take the plunge or not by the end of this year.

It’ll take a ticket to see the presidential aspirant speak at the fundraiser, which run from 2 pm to 4 pm at Sink’s Thonotosassa home.

General admission runs $75, though $35 tickets are available for young professionals. Those springing for a $150 ticket will get access to an hourlong “VIP Reception” starting at 1 pm. Those wishing to send a bit more cash to New Leaders Council can join the host committee for $250.

The invitation is below.

Julián Castro & Alex Sink - New Leaders Council fundraiser 6.9.2018

Fresh poll: Rick Scott maintains edge over Bill Nelson

A new poll commissioned by the Florida Chamber of Commerce shows Republican Gov. Rick Scott with a 3-point lead in his bid to knock incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson out of office.

The poll, conducted by Cherry Communications, put Scott ahead 48-45 with 5 percent undecided (Florida Politics has asked the poll’s sponsors why these numbers do not add up to 100).

That margin tracks with a May poll out of Florida Atlantic University that found Scott up 4 points, however undecided voters made up a much higher share in that poll. Those results put the race at 44-40 with 16 percent unsure.

The Florida Chamber, which has both endorsed Scott and put some cash behind ads bashing Nelson, attributed the lead to the second-term governor’s strong support among likely Republican voters and an even split among third- and no-party voters.

The party breakdown showed 86 percent of likely Republican voters would vote for Scott in the fall while 9 percent said Nelson was their pick. Likely Democratic voters were only slightly less unified, picking Nelson 80-13. The pair both had 44 percent support among NPA and third-party voters.

That performance among independent voters was attributable to their feelings on the state economy and the Republican Party platform, the group asserted.

“The problem Democrats will have is that NPAs agree with Republicans that the economy and Florida is on the right track, AND they believe Republicans are more aligned with their views,” said Florida Chamber President and CEO Mark Wilson in a memo (obtained by Florida Politics) which shares the poll’s findings with Chamber members. “There’s really no other credible way to view this than to give credit to Governor Scott for his relentless focus on jobs and economic opportunity.”

The live interview phone poll was conducted May 25 through June 4. It took responses from 249 Democrats, 237 Republicans and 119 other party or NPA voters and has a margin of error of +/-4 percent.

The poll assumed half of the state’s 12.9 million registered voters to show up at the polls Nov. 6. That would be similar to 2014, the last midterm election, when 51 percent of voters cast a general election ballot.

Charlie Crist

Charlie Crist joins effort to block newspaper tariffs

Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist has signed on to bipartisan bill that would send the Trump Administration’s new tariffs on newsprint into the shredder.

In a Friday statement Crist made clear that he wasn’t lining up behind the PRINT Act simply to take a jab at the White House, but because the tariff is already costing jobs within his Pinellas County district.

“An unnecessary trade war with some of our closest partners is already having real, negative consequences for our economy and the newspaper industry in particular. The Tampa Bay Times recently announced 50 employees would be laid off due to new tariffs — shrinking newsrooms at a time when thoughtful, credible reporting is needed most,” said Crist. “Newspapers are an integral part of our communities, employing our neighbors and keeping us informed. It’s encouraging to see bipartisan and bicameral support for protecting local news.”

The Tampa Bay Times said the tariff would cause the price they pay for Canadian sourced newsprint to jump by a third. That would cost the paper, and by extension their readers, more than $3 million a year.

That bipartisan support includes the bill’s principal sponsor, South Dakota Republican U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem, and another 10 Republican representatives.

Jimmy Patronis leads Jeremy Ring in Florida Chamber poll

If today were Election Day, CFO Jimmy Patronis would defeat former Democratic state Sen. Jeremy Ring to win a full term on the job.

According to a new poll commissioned by the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Patronis leads Ring 40-31 among likely voters and newly registered voters statewide. The Florida Chamber endorsed Patronis last month.

Like the recent polls in Tampa Bay’s three battleground Senate districts, much of the gap between the two pols is attributable to Patronis’ strong support among GOP voters and Ring’s middling support among his base.

Patronis, who was appointed to the Cabinet post by Gov. Rick Scott last year, was the pick for three-quarters of likely Republican voters while only 5 percent said they would cross the aisle and vote for Ring. Conversely, the Margate Democrat received just 57 percent support from his base, while 28 percent said they were undecided and eight said they planned to vote for Patronis.

Ring held a slight lead among unaffiliated and third-party voters, 27-26, with the remainder undecided.

Eric Johnson, an adviser to the Ring campaign, isn’t buying the lack of party loyalty on the Democratic side.

“This an embarrassing poll from an organization that has endorsed Jimmy Patronis. Any democratic candidate will get more of their party vote than that in today’s partisan environment. If they are counting on Ring to get only 57 percent of Democrats on Election Day then Patronis is going to lose in a landslide,” he said.

If that lack of enthusiasm among Democratic voters does exist, it certainly isn’t unique to Ring.

Another of the poll’s questions measured voters feelings on the state of the state, and while half of Democrats said Florida was on the “wrong track,” 29 percent said it was headed in the “right direction.” Republican voters were overwhelmingly in the “right direction” camp, 77-11.

The live interview telephone poll was conducted by Cherry Communications May 25 to June 4. It took responses from 605 Floridians — 249 Democrats, 237 Republicans and 119 other party or NPA voters — and has a margin of error of +/-4 percent.

The Florida Chamber said it expects half of the state’s 12.9 million registered voters to show up at the polls Nov. 6. That would be similar to 2014, the last midterm election, when 51 percent of voters cast a general election ballot.

Adam Putnam

Adam Putnam holding Sun City Center rally Saturday

Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam is heading to Hillsborough tomorrow for a campaign rally in Sun City Center.

The event, hosted by the Sun City Republican Club, will be held at the Sun City Center Chamber of Commerce, 1651 Sun City Center Plaza. Doors open at 2:00 pm and the rally is scheduled to get underway at 2:30 pm.

Putnam’s campaign said supporters who make their way to the south Hillsborough town can expect to meet Putnam and hear about his “Florida First vision for our state.”

The event is free to attend, though registration is required. Those looking to attend can take care of that ahead of time by heading to the rally’s Eventbrite page, though registration will also be available on site.

Putnam, currently in his second term as Agriculture Commissioner, was the first major Republican to enter the race to replace term limited Gov. Rick Scott. He faces U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, who is holding a pair of rallies in Northwest Florida Saturday, in the primary race.

At the end of April, Putnam held a fourfold lead in total fundraising and had about $19 million banked compared to $7 million on hand for DeSantis, who has since reported $3 million raised in May including $1.1 million in transfers from his now defunct re-election bid in Florida’s 6th Congressional District.

The primary election is Aug. 28.

Carlos Guillermo Smith

Carlos Guillermo Smith draws challenger in HD 49

Orlando Democratic Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith is no longer unopposed in his House District 49 re-election bid.

Ben Griffin, a Republican who works as a learning assistant at Valencia College, opened a campaign account Thursday to challenge the freshman lawmaker in the Orange County based seat according to Florida Division of Elections records.

In a Friday press release Griffin outlined his campaign platform, which includes “limited government, stronger education, and Christian values.”

“Our area needs a strong and steady leader that reflects our values in Tallahassee,” Griffin said. “As a lifelong resident of this district, I’m very familiar with both our challenges and our opportunities, and I will work hard every day to represent the best interests of the hardworking taxpayers who call District 49 home.”

“I strongly believe that government that grows too large becomes a threat to our freedom. I will work diligently to make sure our focus remains on the Constitution and the principles of low taxes and limited regulation that keep our economy strong and growing. It’s also imperative that every Florida student has the opportunity to get the very best education possible.”

He has two weeks to make the ballot, either by collecting 1,065 petition signatures or, more likely, paying the $1,782 qualifying fee.

Smith has raised nearly $58,000 for his re-election effort and had more than $37,000 banked. That total includes $10,525 raised by the Progressive Legislative Caucus chair last month, including seven $1,000 checks and a slew of small-dollar donations.

HD 49 covers part of northern Orange County including the main campus of the University of Central Florida — the alma mater of both Smith and Griffin — as well as the communities of Union Park and Rio Pinar.

On paper, the seat is a Democratic stronghold. As of the last book closing report, Democrats made up 41 percent of the electorate compared to a 26 percent share for Republicans.

It voted along those lines in 2016, when Smith was elected in a 70-30 landslide over unaffiliated opponent Shea Silverman. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton also carried the seat with 60 percent of the vote.

The 2014 cycle, however, saw Republican Rep. Rene Plasencia knock out former Democratic Rep. Joe Saunders in a low turnout cycle that went down as a Republican wave. Plasencia has since shifted over to House District 50.

Bob Cortes

Bob Cortes campaign has ‘eye on November’

Republican Rep. Bob Cortes faces two opponents in his House District 30 re-election bid, but he isn’t taking the challenge sitting down.

The second-term lawmaker’s campaign is touting their recent success in gathering petitions to make the 2018 ballot but said their work “is just beginning.”

“We have begun the next phase by focusing our Eye On November, when we will need your help to get Bob re-elected,” the campaign said in an email. “I would like to ask you to save the date SATURDAY JUNE 23, from 1-4PM, when we will be hosting a #TeamCortes Mega Walk.”

Cortes’ Altamonte Springs home will serve as the launch point for the event where after a briefing, supporters will fan out across the district to help the GOP lawmaker take the temperature of his Orange and Seminole County constituency.

The campaign encouraged prospective attendees to enlist as many of their friends as they’d like to help pitch in on the canvassing effort.

“The Democrats will be targeting this race as a priority district, and we cannot let that happen. We need your help, and look forward to seeing you soon,” the email said.

The campaign is certainly correct that Democrats have eyes Cortes’ set, as they have ever since he knocked former Democratic Rep. Karen Castor Dentel out of office with a surprising 3-point victory in 2014.

This go around Cortes faces Democrats Joy Goff-Marcil and Daniel Anderson in his re-election bid.

Two weeks out from the qualifying deadline only Goff-Marcil has gathered enough petitions to qualify for the ballot, however Anderson has enough cash in his campaign account to cover the qualifying fee should he fall short of collecting the required signatures.

As of April 30, Cortes had a massive lead in the money race with $105,325 raised and more than $85,000 banked. Goff-Marcil has raised $18,638 and has $14,256 at the ready.

Anderson, the first-in Democrat, was the only candidate to have filed his May finance report as of Friday. He’s raised $18,925, including $15,000 in loans, and has $12825 on hand.

HD 30 straddles the border of Seminole and Orange counties and includes the communities of Altamonte Springs, Casselberry, Eatonville, Fern Park, Forest City, Goldenrod, Lockhart and Maitland. About two-thirds of HD 30 voters live on the Seminole side.

Registered Democrats slightly outnumber Republicans within the district, and it voted plus-8 in favor of Hillary Clinton two years ago. Cortes ran far ahead of the top-of-ticket Republican, securing a second term with a 7-point victory over Democrat Ryan Neal Yadav.

The event flyer is below. It is also listed on Facebook.

Bob Cortes June 23 'Mega Walk' Flyer

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