Danny McAuliffe, Author at Florida Politics - Page 3 of 38

Danny McAuliffe

Latest poll: Rick Scott with a one-point lead on Bill Nelson

The latest poll of the U.S. Senate race isn’t affording confidence to either candidate.

Term-limited Republican Gov. Rick Scott leads 49-48 in his race against Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, according to a poll released Saturday by St. Pete Polls.

The lead is within the survey’s 2 percent margin of error, meaning the two candidates are in dead heat as early voting closes around most of the state on Saturday.

The poll, completed just days away from the Nov. 6 election, surveyed 2,733 likely registered voters or voters who plan to cast a ballot next Tuesday. Interviews were conducted via an automated telephone polling system.

Notably, more respondents (57 percent) indicated they’d already voted than those who said they plan to vote (43 percent). Roughly 40 percent of the sample is registered Republican, 39 percent Democrat and 22 percent non-party affiliates.

Nelson led among those sampled who said they already voted, 51-47. But Scott led by a much-larger margin among those who said they plan to cast a ballot, 52-43.

Scott led among white voters sampled 56-41, while Nelson captured nearly 78 percent of the vote from black voters in the poll.

Among Hispanics, a bloc to which both candidates have fought to appeal, Scott led Nelson by more than a point.

Party faithfuls backed their candidates almost evenly, with Scott leading among Republicans 80-18 and Nelson taking Democrats 78-18.

Across non-party affiliates, the fastest-growing group of voters in the state, Scott picked up more of the slack, leading by about half a point. The poll, which also surveyed the Governor’s race, showed those same NPAs broke for Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum 47-45 over Republican Ron DeSantis.

In that poll, Gillum led by a margin only slightly larger than Scott’s lead, suggesting that a split-ticket scenario could unfold on Election Day.

When Scott entered the Senatorial race in April, it set the stage for what was thought to be the marquee matchup of Florida’s midterm election. But a closely contested Governor’s race that’s drawn to Florida several high-profile politicians from across the country has since arguably overshadowed Scott and Nelson’s bids.

Still, the senatorial hopefuls have deployed extraordinary amounts of capital behind their candidacies.

Scott‘s campaign has spent $66.5 million, $51 million of it from Scott’s personal fortune, seeking to win Florida’s U.S. Senate seat. That’s only through Oct. 17, the latest date for which candidates’ campaigns have reported their expenditures.

Nelson‘s campaign has spent $24.5 million through Oct. 17.

Nationally, the race is viewed by Republicans as a chance to shift the GOP-controlled upper chamber’s leaning more in their favor. For Democrats, Nelson is one of many incumbents facing formidable opposition.

Outside interests have responded accordingly.  

The New Republican Political Action Committee that Scott established to back his campaign with outside money, and the Democrats’ Senate Majority PAC, backing Nelson, have combined to spend more than $86.1 million on Florida’s U.S. Senate contest. Those reports are nearly current, into at least early filings on Friday.

Florida Politics Orlando correspondent Scott Powers contributed reporting.

Millions: Andrew Gillum and Ron DeSantis’ money race for Governor

More than $106 million later, Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum have all but wrapped the books on their eye-popping cash race for Florida Governor.

Each candidate closed their campaign accounts Thursday, recording just shy of $29 million between the two of them.

Florida taxpayers accounted for $4.5 million of that figure, as both DeSantis and Gillum accepted $2.3 million and $2.2 million respectively from the state’s taxpayer-funded match program for their bids.

Each candidate’s political committees are still active. But as of Friday, they combined for a total of more than $77 million raised.

DeSantis, the now-former congressman from Ponte Vedra Beach, raised about $1 million more than Gillum, Tallahassee’s ‘leadership mayor.’ Gillum has currently raised $52.5 million, DeSantis $53.5 million.

In his individual campaign account, where donors are limited to a maximum aggregate contribution of $3,000 for each election, Gillum outraised DeSantis, reporting nearly $16 million to the former congressman’s roughly $13 million haul.

But in their committees, DeSantis collected $40.6 million — about $4 million more than what Gillum’s committee has reported.

DeSantis’ big-money breakdown

DeSantis’ much-expected wade into the gubernatorial race was preceded by news that he had corralled an extraordinarily affluent finance team, consisting of names like Palm Beach billionaire Thomas Peterffy, along with more than two dozen other wealthy individuals, notably topped by Las Vegas casino mogul and conservative political rainmaker Sheldon Adelson.

Before Friday, Petterfy and Adelson, or their close relatives, would combine for $710,000 collected by DeSantis’ committee, Friends of Ron DeSantis.

Meanwhile, $5.75 million — more than 10 percent of DeSantis’ total fundraising — would come from another billionaire, Kenneth C. Griffin.

Griffin is a Chicago-based investor, hedge fund manager and philanthropist who is also serving as the national finance chair for New Republican PAC, the political committee fueling Gov. Rick Scott‘s campaign to unseat U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.

Isaac Perlmutter, the chairman of Marvel Entertainment, and his wife Laura accounted for $2.5 million collected by DeSantis’ committee.

The Republican Governors Association, which as its name suggests supports GOP gubernatorial candidates nationally, chipped in $3 million to Friends of Ron DeSantis.

The RGA, by way of a different PAC, funneled another $7.6 million behind DeSantis, making their grand total investment in the state in excess of $10 million.

Progressives have money, too

Billionaires George Soros and Tom Steyer each combined for a total of $5 million — or about 10 percent — of Gillum’s total fundraising.

Steyer, via his NextGen America PAC, would chip in $2.8 million to the Tallahassee Mayor’s candidacy. Soros followed close behind at $2.2 million given.

The Democratic Governors Association, while still outdone by its GOP counterpart, kicked in $7.4 million to Gillum’s committee.

Steyer’s PAC had also pledged to spend another $5.2 million for Gillum and other “progressive candidates” in the state. If that spending is included, Steyer, of California, has spent $8 million in the Sunshine State this cycle.

Gillum also received $1 million from Slim-Fast founder and philanthropist Daniel Abraham and $1.5 million from financier and philanthropist Donald Sussman.  

Both Gillum and DeSantis demonstrated to Florida in the primaries how far they can stretch a buck.

Exhibit A: Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, DeSantis’ Republican primary opponent, put more than $30 million into his race, but lost to DeSantis, who spent around $16 million.

Exhibit B: Gillum doled out less than $7 million ahead of the Aug. 28 primary and won against the other four Democratic candidates for Governor — all of which had outspent him.

Billionaire Jeff Greene and multimillionaire Philip Levine unloaded $34.8 million and $26.6 million respectively from their own fortunes. Gwen Graham, who finished second behind Gillum, raised and spent more than $16 million.

As of Friday, Gillum had spent almost $47 million collected by his campaign and committee accounts, leaving him with about $5 million in the bank. DeSantis has spent more than $52 million and has about a $1 million on hand.

Election Day is Nov. 6.


Gainesville correspondent Drew Wilson contributed to this post.

Latest poll: Andrew Gillum v. Ron DeSantis going down to the wire

Democrat Andrew Gillum is up two points in the latest poll of the Florida Governor’s race.

A St. Pete Polls survey of the race released Saturday put Republican Ron DeSantis behind Gillum 48-46 percent, a lead just barely outside of the poll’s 1.9 percent margin of error.

Nearly 4 percent of the sample is undecided, while another 2 percent cast their vote for Reform Party candidate Darcy Richardson.

The poll, completed just days away from the Nov. 6 election, surveyed 2,733 likely registered voters or voters who plan to cast a ballot next Tuesday. Interviews were conducted via an automated telephone polling system.

Notably, more respondents (57 percent) indicated they’d already voted than those who said they plan to vote (43 percent). Roughly 40 percent of the sample is registered Republican, 39 percent Democrat and 22 percent non-party affiliate.

Gillum and DeSantis both overwhelmingly captured party faithfuls, with Gillum picking up 80 percent of Democrats’ support and DeSantis capturing 78 percent of Republicans in the sample.

Non-party affiliates, which have in some polls flocked to Gillum, backed the two major-party candidates almost evenly, although Gillum ultimately led among NPAs 47-45.

By race, DeSantis led Gillum among white voters 54-41 percent. Meanwhile, Gillum enjoyed strong a lead among black voters with 81 percent of their support in the poll. Hispanic voters split nearly evenly, backing Gillum and DeSantis 49-47, respectively.

DeSantis picked up more support with men, leading the Tallahassee Mayor 49-45. But Gillum led female voters 51-44.

Nearly every public poll has shown Gillum ahead of DeSantis, although margins have undoubtedly tightened in the days approaching the election. CNN, which polled the gubernatorial race in early October, put Gillum ahead of the former congressman by 12 points. In another survey published this week by CNN, Gillum was up by just one point.

In prior post-primary polling of the Florida Governor’s race, St. Pete Polls had afforded the candidates similar margins. Gillum polled at a one-point lead on Oct. 16, and again on Oct. 22.

FCC lawyer preaches ‘humility’ in regulation

The chief legal adviser to the Federal Communications Commission believes it’s incumbent upon the panel to be humble in its regulatory approach.

During Friday remarks before the Economic Club of Florida, FCC General Counsel Thomas Johnson said “humility” is essential in order to learn from prior failings and adapt to the ever-evolving communications-technology landscape. 

Above all else, Johnson said, the FCC has a duty “to promote innovation, investment and competition” in such technologies.

“Communities and individuals who lack reliable access to computers and the internet are going to be left behind in terms of educational and professional development,” Johnson said.

As general counsel, Johnson reviews rules drafted by the Commission and oversees their effects in court. In that capacity, Johnson said he’s become “keenly aware” of the importance of providing Americans access to communications technology.

Once adopted, “federal rules have this uncanny ability” to stick, Johnson said. Meanwhile, technological development in the private sector is the opposite.

“It’s much more dynamic,” Johnson said, referencing tech companies’ product development. “It responds rapidly to consumer preferences and it benefits from day-to-day trial and error experimentation.”

And, according to Johnson, the FCC doesn’t want to disrupt that.

In the past, some examples of “far-sighted and short-sighted regulations” played out accordingly.

When the concept of cell phones first emerged decades ago, the FCC failed to envision a future in which millions of Americans used the handheld devices. 

The FCC “decided it knew best how important cellular technology was going to be,” Johnson said. Determining that phones were more of a “luxury convenience” rather than an everyday tool led the commission to limit their practicality, he explained.

In contrast, when regulators were later tasked with developing rules navigating the internet, “they had the ability to recognize that perhaps this emerging market did not require heavy-handed government regulation to benefit consumers,” according to Johnson. 

The FCC had adopted for the internet a “light-touch, market-based, regulatory regime,” Johnson said.

In the backdrop of Johnson’s discussion was the FCC’s December 2017 repeal of a 2015 rule that provided for “net neutrality.” In essence, the rule prevented internet companies from charging different prices for, or prioritizing, web usage.

Before it’s repeal, Johnson said, there were fewer internet service providers for smaller, rural areas — inhibiting “free and open internet.”

Johnson later said that FCC Chairman Ajit Pai believed the 2015 rule “chilled” development and investment in internet-based technology.

“By returning to that light-touch, regulatory framework, the (FCC) made a determination that that will spur innovation and investment in these markets,” said Johnson.  

Andrew Gillum volunteer charged with battery after FSU skirmish with Republicans

Call it the Ovaltine Outrage.

A self-described volunteer with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum‘s campaign has been criminally charged after throwing chocolate milk on a Republican campaigning on Florida State University’s campus.

Florida State University police arrested 19-year-old Shelby Shoup on Thursday, according to the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. She is charged with one count of misdemeanor battery, court records show.

Shoup. (Photo: Leon County Booking)

Shoup’s arrest is the only arrest from Florida State University police that is recorded in the Leon County Sheriff’s Office Thursday booking reports. She was released on her own recognizance shortly before noon, according to records.

A viral online video published Thursday shows Shoup arguing with a group of Republicans stationed at FSU’s campus.

An argument broke out between Shoup and the Republicans, leading Shoup at one point to douse one of the campaigners with chocolate milk. Shoup also is seen kicking a sign from the campaign of Ron DeSantis, the Republican candidate for Governor.

A LinkedIn profile associated with Shoup shows that she’s a current volunteer for Gillum, currently Mayor of Tallahassee.

The profile states Shoup has worked on the campaign for nearly two years, conducting “extensive donor research for Tallahassee, Florida, and national supporters,” as well as helping coordinate fundraisers, receptions and formal events.

Shoup also claims to have held informal Twitter question-and-answer sessions.

A spokesperson for the Gillum campaign did not return repeated requests for comment.

In a tweet this morning, FSU confirmed that the aggressor in the video — Shoup — had been arrested and charged with battery.

“FSU is a diverse community that values and respects each person,” the university tweeted. “FSU expects each member of the community to embrace the values of civility and ethical conduct and obey the law. Regarding Tuesday’s incident, the individual was identified, arrested and charged with battery.”

Upon the video’s popularization, top Republican surrogates for DeSantis weighed in: “This video shows the absolute lunacy of the left,” tweeted Panhandle Congressman Matt Gaetz, a 2003 FSU grad.

Hunter Pollack, an FSU student who became a popular Republican political activist after losing sister Meadow Pollack in the Parkland shooting, called Shoup’s actions a “vile attack.”

She was ordered to have “no contact (with anyone) on campus without permission” and specifically to “not return to Landis Green” pending a decision by FSU “about contact.”

Her unredacted arrest report is below. (Caution: Strong language.)

This story is developing; check back later. 


A video of the incident can be viewed online here, or by clicking the image below.

Jimmy Buffett to hold Saturday concert for Andrew Gillum, Bill Nelson

Jimmy Buffett is strumming for free again to help get out the vote for statewide Democratic candidates.

This time, however, Buffett’s melodies will favor Bill Nelson, who’s hoping to keep his U.S. Senate seat, and Andrew Gillum, the Democratic candidate for Governor.

The event, free of charge, is open to the public. Buffett’s “small acoustic set” will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Meyer Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach.

The last politics-focused concert held by the Florida musician, entrepreneur and philanthropist supported former congresswoman Gwen Graham, who ultimately lost to Gillum in the Aug. 28 primary.

But with less than a week away from the election, Buffett is making clear that he’s now firmly behind the Democratic Party and their candidates.

“If you haven’t noticed yet, there is an election next Tuesday, and I am glad to support Mayor Andrew Gillum for Governor, and my longtime friend Sen. Bill Nelson for re-election,” Buffett said.

“Clean water, clean beaches and clean energy are the lifeblood of Florida now and in the future.”

Joining Buffett on stage will be Nelson, Gillum and presumably other statewide Democratic candidates, described by the Florida Democratic Party as the “winning ticket.”

“As a fifth-generation Floridian, who loves our state’s unique environment, I’m proud Jimmy’s out singing for votes,” Nelson said of Buffett.

“As a life-long Floridian and music legend, Jimmy Buffett understands the essence of Florida, and what’s needed to protect our beautiful environment that inspires those ‘Floridays,’ ” added Gillum.

Later on Saturday, Republican statewide candidates are likely to be in Pensacola, where President Donald Trump will host his third 2018 rally in Florida.

Preceding Buffett’s concert is a rally with former President Barack Obama on Friday in Miami at Ice Palace Film Studios.

Felon rights restoration leader sees impending election as countdown to ending ‘Jim Crow’ policy

During a ceremony honoring the newly unveiled Civil Rights Institute at Florida State University, Desmond Meade, activist and spokesperson for the push to restore felon voting rights in Florida, told the audience that the next civil rights milestone is just days away.

“Tick, tock,” refrained Desmond Meade, who also serves as the president of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition. “Tick, tock.” 

To Meade, the days between now and the Nov. 6 election represent the amount of time left until Florida strikes “a fatal blow to Jim Crow laws,” which describe post-Civil War laws passed with the goal of segregation.

A former convicted felon, Meade is now one of the faces, names and stories behind Second Chances, a group involved in the united front to automatically restore some felon’s voting rights in Florida via Amendment 4. 

If it receives 60 percent voter approval on Election Day, Amendment 4 will automatically restore voting rights to felons who’ve completed their sentences, barring those convicted of sexual offenses or murder.

Florida’s constitutional policy of disenfranchising felons dates back more than 150 years.

According to the Brennan Center for Justice, the state is one of just three with a “lifetime voting ban for people with felony convictions.” The Center estimated in 2016 that around 1.6 million ex-cons await restoration of their voting rights.

Currently, a Florida felon who has completed their sentence can restore their voting rights through the state’s clemency process headed by the Governor and three Cabinet members. That process, however, was deemed unconstitutional in February by U.S. District Court Judge Mark Walker. In March, Walker followed up by ordering the Executive Clemency Board to devise a new method for restoring voting rights.

But in April, a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted Scott and the Cabinet a stay for Walker’s mandated deadline, meaning no immediate changes would come to Florida’s clemency system. It was considered a win for the state’s clemency process.

But Amendment 4, which this week polled at 69 percent approval, could render that legal fight moot.

And Meade, who traveled the stretches of the Sunshine State to get voters to sign the petition to put the amendment on the 2018 ballot, thinks it has the steam.

It’s polling well, Meade said. And it’s among the two amendments placed on the ballot “by the people.”

Of 12 amendments voters will face next Tuesday, 10 were sent to the ballot via the Legislature or the Constitution Revision Commission, an appointed panel that meets every 20 years to revise the state’s governing document. Amendment 3, which would give voters the “exclusive right” to determine whether to expand casino gambling in the state, is the only other amendment to have been placed on the November ballot via petition.

“We’re very confident,” Meade said. “This is what the people put on [the ballot].”

As well, Meade says there hasn’t been any formidable opposition to the ballot.

When speaking to the audience at FSU on Thursday evening, he explained why, for the most part, the amendment has picked up widespread appeal.

“How many people in the audience right now can raise their hand and say, ‘I don’t ever want to be forgiven for anything I’ve ever done, ever.'”

After no one in the 100-plus crowd lifted their arm, Meade quipped: “That’s how we’re polling.”

‘REBUILD 850’: Former Speakers Will Weatherford, Allan Bense spearhead North Florida recovery project

Communities affected by Hurricane Michael will in part rely on the goodwill of others to bounce back to normalcy.

And that’s why a coalition of influential names and organizations is making sure that the current and impending issues facing the Big Bend and Panhandle counties affected most by the powerful Category 4 storm remain in the fore.

During a public conference on Thursday at Tallahassee-based Sachs Media Group, members of the newly formed REBUILD 850 Initiative unveiled their plan to enlist private businesses, citizens and philanthropists to the aid of the 12 Florida counties that suffered extensive setbacks when the storm swept through North Florida on Oct. 10.

The cooperative, a brainchild of former Republican Florida House Speakers Will Weatherford and Allan Bense, challenges other entities and people to “donate, volunteer, visit and invest” in the affected region.

“We can’t wait for the politics to work itself out,” Weatherford said. “There is enough need today that people need to act. We can’t wait for the politicians — who we have respect for and I was one of — (but) we can’t wait for the Legislature. I think the business community needs to step up and help out the folks that are suffering.”

In just a short time, Bense and Weatherford with the aid of Sachs Media corralled together a group of organizations each diverse in their own mission, equipping the effort with representatives who will leverage their interests and skills in order to accomplish the multi-pronged goal.

Volunteer Florida, for example, administers the Florida Disaster Fund, to which the proceeds of the Initiative will funnel. Other partners in 850 REBUILD include the Florida Chamber and Florida Chamber Foundation; the Florida League of Cities; the Florida Association of Counties; the Florida Association of District School Superintendents; United Way of Florida; the American Red Cross; Get Ready, Florida! and FAIR Foundation; and the Florida Press Association.

Also on tap is Visit Florida, the state’s tourism-marketing agency, which is undertaking an $8.9 million campaign to combat perceptions that all of Florida has been impacted by Michael and by red-tide outbreaks in Southeast and Southwest Florida. Also expected to play a role is Triumph Gulf Coast, which was set up by the state Legislature to direct settlement money from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster into regional-economic development projects in eight Northwest Florida counties.

The group’s launch comes during the heat of the 2018 midterm election. But that’s intentional.

With people focused on Tuesday’s elections and the hurricane not causing a crisis outside the Panhandle, Weatherford said attention even in Florida has already started to shift away from the impacts of the Oct. 10 storm.

Awareness of Michael’s lasting effects, according to Bense, is dependent on the news cycle. But when “other news dominates the headlines,” things like donations can “ebb.”

“As time ticks away and the election gets closer, I think we might be falling off of people’s radar screen in terms of needs,” Bense, who kicked off the fundraising component of the initiative with a $25,000 contribution, said.

“This effort, REBUILD 850, is about making sure the Panhandle is not forgotten,” added Weatherford, who’s married to Bense’s daughter Courtney.

Weatherford commended Gov. Rick Scott  who had for a period suspended his campaign for the U.S. Senate to focus on relief — for his post-Michael efforts. 

Still, “we can’t just rely on government to solve this problem,” Weatherford said.

Businesses and citizens “have to step up to bring the relief,” added Weatherford, adding that after Election Day, politicians too can and should chip in their leftover campaign funds. 

“We’re encouraging them as an act of leadership to step out, take those leftover campaign funds [and] donate them to this effort,” said Weatherford. 

Both federal and state agencies aren’t going to ease recovery efforts, said Bense, who put up $25,000 to get the project rolling.

“But we need to make sure the leaders, businesses and individuals throughout Florida help us because we’re hurting right now,” he said.

To help get the word out, former Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate will host a televised special encouraging Floridians to contribute the effort.

Ron Sachs, founder and CEO of Sachs Media Group, said he expects to place the half-hour program on a network station in every one of Florida’s 10 media markets between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

With respect to legislative concerns, the consensus among the coalition — which recruited Tallahassee Democratic state lawmakers Sen. Bill Montford and Rep. Loranne Ausley — is that it may be too early to tell what’s needed.

That sentiment is affirmed by others in the Legislature as well. Incoming legislative leaders, Republican Sen. Bill Galvano and Rep. Jose Oliva, have indicated that they’re ready to launch a special session to address the effects of Michael, if needed. But the damage still is unfolding, so bringing lawmakers back to Tallahassee might be premature. 

Bense, whose tenure as Speaker overlapped the famed 2004-2005 hurricane seasons, said he expects similar problems to face the Legislature when it does reconvene in March for the 2019 Session.

Asked whether he thinks lawmakers should fund the Hurricane Housing Recovery Program (HHRP), an optional affordable housing carve out that can be funded when Floridians are displaced by hurricanes, Bense responded affirmatively.

“My instincts tell me leadership will take that up from a funding perspective,” Bense said. “I sure hope so.”

In the 2018 Legislative Session, legislative leaders opted not to fund HHRP citing a budget shortfall created by the $400 million school safety bill passed after the Feb. 14 Parkland school shooting.

Bense also said he hopes the Legislature will continue to fund the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, a “hard decision” that faced lawmakers in the 2006 Legislative Session following the 2005 Hurricane Wilma.


The News Service of Florida contributed to this post.


Here’s a poll that shows Ron DeSantis leading race for Florida governor

A new poll from Alabama-based research firm Cygnal isn’t much of a surprise: Florida’s races for Governor and U.S. Senate are in a statistical dead heat.

But the survey is one of few to suggest Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis has the edge in his race against Democrat Andrew Gillum.

The poll put DeSantis ahead of Gillum 47-46, a lead within the poll’s 4 point margin of error.

Democratic U.S Sen. Bill Nelson, meanwhile, leads his Republican opponent, Gov. Rick Scott, 50-48.

“DeSantis and Nelson are both over-performing the generic ballot,” said Brent Buchanan, Cygnal’s president and founder.

Despite the apparent discrepancy, “Republicans should feel encouraged about where these two key races are headed,” he added.

Two other Republican statewide candidates — Attorney General hopeful Ashley Moody and incumbent appointed Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis — lead their Democratic opponents by nine and 11 points, respectively.

The poll did not survey the Florida race for Agriculture Commissioner, in which Republican Matt Caldwell is facing off against Democrat Nikki Fried.

The live telephone survey, conducted Oct. 27-29, sampled 495 likely Florida voters. Notably, 4 percent of the sample picked a third-party candidate and less than 2 percent remained undecided.

Many polls, including one released Wednesday morning, have suggested DeSantis and Gillum are gearing up for a photo finish. Those, however, typically give an inside-the-margin-of-error lead to Gillum. Others have afforded the Tallahassee Mayor as much as a 12-point lead.

The Cygnal survey, conducted through live landline and cell phone interviews, sampled 209 Republicans, 190 Democrats and 99 non-party affiliates.

Cyngnal asked those sampled if they would vote for Democrats, Republicans or a third-party candidate. Just more than 50 percent of the sample indicated they would vote for Democrats, while 46 percent indicated they would back Republicans on Election Day.

Pollsters in the state have emphasized the need to sample the correct amount of non-party affiliated voters.

Dr. Michael Binder, faculty director of the University of North Florida’s polling branch, said on Tuesday that he expects 19 percent of all ballots to come from non-party affiliates. In the Cygnal survey, 20 percent of the sample is composed of NPAs.

Gillum led by 14 points among the NPAs sampled.

The firm touts that it “nailed both the 2014 and 2016 election cycles, correctly predicting (Donald) Trump‘s margin in Florida and his win in Wisconsin.”

“President Trump’s image is weighing heavily on Florida voters as they pick their next Governor and U.S. Senator,” said Josh Pendergrass, Cygnal’s director of client strategy.

“The key is going to be who shows up to vote and the final partisan composition. If supporters of the president turn out, Republicans will probably win, if not, Democrats have a shot at both the Governor’s mansion and maintaining their U.S. Senate seat.”

Andrew Gillum raises just shy of $3M in a day

Coming off his best weekly haul to date, Democrat Andrew Gillum added nearly $3 million to his gubernatorial bankroll in a single day.

Gillum, the Tallahassee mayor, on Tuesday reported nearly $900,000 in contributions to his campaign account and more than $2 million to his political committee, Forward Florida.

In total, Gillum has raised more than $50 million between the two accounts. Last week, he raked in nearly $8.7 million in total, his best sum to date. Donations this week to Gillum, tracked through Tuesday, so far total $3.2 million.

Gillum’s Republican opponent Ron DeSantis raised a little more than $1.08 million on Tuesday, thanks mostly in part to a $1 million donation from the Republican Governor’s Association.

In total, the RGA has chipped in $3 million to DeSantis’ committee, Friends of Ron DeSantis. The RGA also has funneled more than $7.5 million to DeSantis’ benefit through another committee, Florida Facts.

The Democratic Governor’s Association kicked in $2 million to Gillum last week but has yet to make a dent in this week’s daily fundraising reports.

Gillum’s largest contributions this week have come from legal interests. For example, Morgan & Morgan, the trial law firm headed by attorney John Morgan — who once considered running for Governor in 2018 — chipped in $250,000 to Gillum’s PAC on Tuesday.

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