Ryan Nicol, Author at Florida Politics - Page 7 of 46

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to ryan.t.nicol@gmail.com.

David Shapiro bashes Vern Buchanan over red tide crisis

David Shapiro is turning the tables on his Republican opponent in Florida’s 16th Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, blaming Buchanan’s policies for exacerbating the red tide crisis.

Buchanan released a new ad just yesterday recounting his past efforts to combat red tide. But Shapiro, who earned the Democratic nomination last month, argues Buchanan is actually part of the problem in a new ad called “Clean.”

“When you see these signs, it means more than a lost day at the beach,” Shapiro begins as the video shows various red tide warnings.

“It’s costing us jobs. Vern Buchanan took over $100,000 from big sugar special interests and voted to weaken regulations that fight the pollution that make red tide worse. I’ll protect local jobs that depend on clean water and beaches, not the special interests that are ruining our economy and costing us jobs.”

Sara Chieffo, the vice president of government affairs for the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Action Fund, pushed those criticisms of Buchanan’s environmental record even further.

“While Vern Buchanan may try to portray himself as an election year environmentalist, his abysmal 9% score on LCV’s 2017 ‘National Environmental Scorecard‘ speaks for itself,” Chieffo said.

“At a time when their environment is more at risk than ever, Floridians in the 16th District deserve a representative who will consistently stand up to corporate polluters and Vern Buchanan has proven time and again that when it matters most, he won’t.”

This isn’t the first time Shapiro has tried to tie Buchanan’s receipt of sugar money to the red tide crisis affecting Southwest Florida. And once again, the Buchanan campaign accused Shapiro of hypocrisy for lobbing these attacks.

“Shapiro lost all credibility on red tide and the environment the moment he purchased stock in nine of the top 100 companies most responsible for global warming,” said Max Goodman, Buchanan’s campaign manager.

“He says one thing publicly yet privately does another. We just can’t trust the guy.”

Goodman is referencing a study which pegged nine companies that Shapiro owned stock in as among the top 100 greenhouse gas emitters on the planet. Shapiro has pushed back by saying those stocks were purchased as part of a retirement fund, and were not selected by Shapiro individually.

Vern Buchanan touts fight against red tide in new ad

Republican U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan is out with a new ad touching on the red tide outbreak affecting Southwest Florida.

Titled, “Red Tide,” the 30-second spot touts Buchanan as the ideal candidate to tackle the red tide issue as he attempts to defend his seat in Florida’s 16th Congressional District.

“A pristine ocean is one of our region’s greatest treasures,” the ad’s narrator begins.

“But red tide is wreaking havoc on our community, threatening our health, marine wildlife and local economy. That’s why Congressman Vern Buchanan is leading the fight against red tide and toxic algae.

“Endorsed by Oceans Champions and the Humane Society, Vern understands that red tide is not a partisan issue, and we need all hands on deck to protect our quality of life.”

Back in 2007, Buchanan called for more federal funds to research algal blooms, such as the red tide. Earlier this year, Congress put forward $8 million as part of a bipartisan bill sponsored by Buchanan.

“People visit and move to Florida to enjoy our precious natural resources, especially a clean ocean,” Buchanan said.

“I will continue to fight for every last resource to combat red tide that has wreaked havoc on our economy, marine life, and environment.”

David Wilmot, president and co-founder of Oceans Champions, added a statement explaining why his group decided to back Buchanan over Democratic nominee David Shapiro.

“Congressman Buchanan has been leading the bipartisan fight against red tide and toxic algae,” Wilmot said.

“He understands what a clean ocean means to our economy, environment, and quality of life. We are proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the congressman and give him our full endorsement.”

Javier Enriquez stays near-even in HD 114 fundraising

Republican challenger Javier Enriquez remains close behind incumbent Democratic state Rep. Javier Fernandez in the contest for cash in House District 114.

Enriquez earned $13,550 in outside donations during Sept. 1-14, the latest period available for viewing on the Florida Division of Elections website.

The Republican Party of Florida threw $4,000 into the race.

They were aided by six conservative PACs, including future House Speaker Paul Renner‘s Florida Foundation of Liberty and state Rep. Travis Cummings‘ First Coast Conservatives, all of which pitched in another $1,000.

Several individuals also made donations ranging from $50 to $1,000. Enriquez also spent $3,148 during the same period.

Fernandez led Enriquez in fundraising, hauling in $19,290. That was thanks to a series of contributions from different unions such as the Teamsters and United Teachers of Dade. Fernandez also outspent Enriquez, burning through $7,647.

That leaves Fernandez with a lead of just over $3,000 in cash-on-hand, with $26,776 to Enriquez’ $23,605.

Fernandez is a newly-installed incumbent, winning the HD 114 seat in a special election back in May. He’ll attempt to earn his first full term when he and Enriquez face off on Nov. 6.

Michael Grieco more than triples Jonathan Parker’s money haul

Michael Grieco, the Democratic candidate in House District 113, has ground to make up in the cash-on-hand race. He’s well on his way to doing so if the latest fundraising reports are any indication.

The Republican nominee, Jonathan Parker, entered September with a large cash-on-hand lead over Grieco. However, that was due in large part to Parker going through the Republican primary uncontested.

Meanwhile, Grieco had to get through a three-way primary. He defeated Kubs Lalchandani and Deede Weithorn in that contest.

The most recent fundraising data from the Florida Division of Elections show Grieco earned $18,969 for Sept. 1-14 while spending just $4,341.

Parker was just barely in the black during that same time period. He raised $4,953 and spent $4,840.

Parker still holds a large cash-on-hand lead, besting Grieco $78,109 to $22,949. But that gap will shrink if Grieco continues to outpace Parker in future fundraising periods.

This isn’t Parker’s first run for the HD 113 seat. He was defeated easily in 2016 by current state Rep. David Richardson 65 percent-35 percent.

Richardson attempted a run for Congress but was defeated in the primary for Florida’s 27th Congressional District by Donna Shalala. He was unopposed in both 2014 and 2012.

Richardson’s past success should signal a strong advantage for the Democrat in this race, but Grieco lacks the advantage of incumbency and has some baggage to overcome. He was punished following finance and ethics violations during his previous time as a Miami Beach City Commissioner.

HD 103: Frank Mingo overcomes Cindy Polo in latest fundraising

Miami Lakes Vice Mayor Frank Mingo, the Republican candidate in House District 103, has shot far ahead in the fundraising contest against Democratic candidate Cindy Polo, according to the latest reports filed with the Florida Division of Elections.

Mingo earned a whopping $73,500 for Sept. 1-14.

In contrast, Polo pulled in just $3,030.

The Republican’s financial reports are littered with $1,000 donations from various conservative PACs, from state Rep. Halsey BeshearsFlorida Patriot Fund to future House Speaker Paul Renner‘s Conservatives for Principled Leadership.

That’s a trend among races across South Florida, which have recently seen those groups come to the aid of Republicans in competitive races.

Mingo also spent $13,308 during the recent fundraising him period, leaving him with a net of more than $60,000 for that time frame.

Most of Polo’s donations were in the form of individual contributions between $25 and $50. There were a pair of $1,000 donations thrown in as well. Polo spent less than $400 during the period, netting her just over $2,900.

Mingo’s campaign now also holds a large cash-on-hand lead thanks to the recent fundraising bonanza. He holds $98,884, while the Polo campaign retains just $5,520.

The race for HD 103 is open, as current state Rep. Manny Diaz is running for state Senate.

HD 103 extends into Miramar in Broward County and also covers parts of Miami Lakes and Doral in Miami-Dade County.

Mike Caruso reduces cash-on-hand gap with Jim Bonfiglio

Mike Caruso, an accountant and Republican candidate in House District 89, put a small dent in a large cash-on-hand deficit between he and Democratic nominee Jim Bonfiglio.

That’s according to the latest fundraising data filed with the Florida Division of Elections.

Overall, Bonfiglio’s campaign remains far ahead of Caruso’s in terms of cash-on-hand, leading him $75,779 to $14,585.

But that gap was reduced despite Caruso spending more than he took in during the latest reporting period of Sept. 1 to 14. Caruso earned $13,600 in outside donations while spending $13,977.

Several outside conservative groups added $1,000 donations to Caruso’s campaign. They were joined by a few individual donors as well.

Bonfiglio, the current Mayor of Ocean Ridge, ran an even bigger deficit during the most recent period, spending $11,328 while bringing in just $2,130 in contributions. The law firm Silber & Davis put in $1,000. A pair of political committees added another $500 each.

Both candidates came out on top of contested primaries last month. Bonfiglio and Caruso are now competing to replace outgoing GOP state Rep. Bill Hager, who is term-limited.

The contest is expected to be close, with Hager, a Republican, showing some vulnerability in previous elections. If 2018 turns out to be a Democratic wave, that could be enough to push Bonfiglio into office.

HD 89 runs up the coast of Palm Beach County.

Doubled up: Toby Overdorf still leads Matt Theobald in fundraising

Toby Overdorf, a Treasure Coast Republican, remains ahead in the fundraising contest against his Democratic opponent in House District 83, Matt Theobald.

According to the latest reports filed with the Florida Division of Elections, Overdorf pulled in $12,500 Sept. 1-14. He listed only $770 in expenditures during that period.

Much of Overdorf’s fundraising came from outside conservative groups such as “First Coast Conservatives,” “Floridians for Economic Freedom,” and “Florida Patriot Fund.”

Those groups, and other similar organizations, pitched in eight separate donations of $1,000. The Republican Party of Florida added $3,000. Most of the remainder was made up of housing and construction organizations.

Theobald hauled in just $3,300 during the same period, spending $2,630 of that. Theobald’s earnings during this period all appear to come from individual donors, ranging from $25 to one donation of $1,000.

Overall, Overdorf has brought in nearly 10 times as much as Theobald in outside donations, leading him $154,493 to $15,625.

But Overdorf has also racked up far more in expenditures thanks to a primary contest against Sasha Dadan. He’s burned through $134,627 while Theobald, who was unchallenged in the Democratic side, has spent just $6,203.

That leaves Overdorf with more than double Theobald’s cash-on-hand. Overdorf retains $22,715, while Theobald has $9,422 remaining.

HD 83 covers parts of Martin and St. Lucie counties and leans Republican. The race is open as incumbent state Rep. Gayle Harrell is pursuing a run for the state Senate.

Chip LaMarca

Outpaced: Chip LaMarca has 6-to-1 money lead over Emma Collum

Republican Chip LaMarca outraised his Democratic opponent in House District 93, Emma Collum, by a more than 6-to-1 margin in the latest fundraising period.

That’s according to the newest totals filed with the Florida Division of Elections.

LaMarca earned $28,425 from the period of Sept. 1 to 14, while spending $8,982.

Overall, he’s brought in $364,901. LaMarca has spent $66,189 of that for a remaining cash total of $298,711.

Meanwhile, Collum spent more than she took in through monetary donations last period. She spent $5,948 but earned just $4,386. She did add $35,663 through in-kind contributions, however.

In total, Collum has raised $128,670.09 but has spent $80,985 of that, leaving her with $47,685 on-hand. That’s more than $250,000 short of LaMarca’s total.

However, Collum also earned an ‘angel donation‘ of $200,000 back in June, which erases much of that deficit.

She also recently received support from a PAC created by former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro.

Outgoing state Rep. George Moraitis, who now has the seat, is term-limited.

Though Broward County typically leans Democratic, HD 93 has been an exception. That could change in a wave election year, however. Moraitis, a Republican, won his 2016 race by fewer than 8 percentage points.

Million dollar man: Matt Caldwell banks $1M for general election

Matt Caldwell, the Republican candidate for Agriculture Commissioner, has now raised more than $1 million since securing his party’s nomination last month.

Caldwell’s campaign says it has pulled in nearly $310,000 on its own.

That’s topped by contributions to his political committee, Friends of Matt Caldwell, which has earned nearly $725,000 during the general election alone.

“It is proof that Floridians are placing their trust in me,” Caldwell said of the financial support he’s received.

“This enthusiastic show of support statewide only reaffirms my conviction that Floridians want proven, principled leadership in the Department. I aim to give it to them.”

Including the primary, Caldwell has raised more than $3.5 million, according to campaign numbers. Caldwell has served in the state House since 2010.

He’s now competing with Democrat Nikki Fried for the position.

Caldwell also issued a statement regarding his vision for that role, and included a jab at Fried in the process.

“The Commissioner’s role is often misunderstood, even by people running for this very office,” Caldwell said.

“This race is not about a single issue. Floridians have more diverse needs that we must meet: Growing jobs, protecting our state’s precious resources, promoting Florida businesses, and shielding consumers from fraud.

“It is important that Florida’s next Commissioner come prepared with a profound understanding of these complex issues.”

Former Secretary of State John Kerry endorses Lauren Baer in CD 18

Former Secretary of State John Kerry is stepping into the race for Florida’s 18th Congressional District, backing Democratic candidate Lauren Baer.

Baer had previously worked as an adviser in the Barack Obama State Department.

In his endorsement, Kerry said the qualities he saw in Baer make her the right choice for CD 18 as she tries to oust Republican U.S. Rep. Brian Mast.

“Lauren provided trusted counsel on a range of critical national security issues,” Kerry said, “and I witnessed first-hand her fierce advocacy for our values on the world stage

“She speaks out and fights for what’s right. I know that Lauren is a woman of principle who will do exactly the same in Washington.”

Joining Kerry in throwing support behind Baer were two other former Obama administration officials: Former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power and former State Department Deputy Chief of Staff Jake Sullivan.

“I watched her every day fight for what was right, promoting the kind of U.S. leadership abroad that our children can be proud of,” Powers said.

“She has the knowledge, experience, and grit to take on our country’s biggest challenges. She has the strong moral compass and the resolve to cut through Washington’s red tape and improve the lives of her constituents. When I worked with Lauren, she didn’t rest until she got the job done, and as a member of Congress, I know she won’t rest until Washington is working for all of us again.”

“As a trusted senior advisor to the Secretary, [Baer] provided guidance that helped to keep our country safe and advance American values around the world,” Sullivan added.

“At a time when the threats to our national security are grave, and the need for U.S. leadership is great, her knowledge, experience, and judgment will be an asset to the people of Florida’s 18th District and the country as a whole.”

A recent survey from Public Policy Polling showed Baer within just three points of Mast. However, election analysts still see Mast as the favorite in November, rating the seat as “likely Republican.”

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