Jacob Ogles, Author at Florida Politics - Page 7 of 22

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

Poll shows voters favor Amendment 3 casino limits

A Florida Chamber of Commerce poll obtained by Florida Politics shows a solid majority of voters favor a constitutional amendment aimed at limiting gambling by leaving decisions on casinos to voters.

Some 54 percent of voters surveyed plan to vote “yes” on Amendment 3, which would allow for voters in the future exclusively to authorize new casino gambling through citizen-initiated ballot measures.

The poll shows another 28 percent plan to vote “no” while 18 percent of voters remain undecided.

Supporters of the measure promote it would put “Voters in Charge” instead of the Florida Legislature and “gambling lobbyists.” The measure already boasts endorsements from the Florida Chamber and the League of Women Voters of Florida.

The pro-3 Voters in Charge organization also enjoyed a heavy infusion of cash this month from Disney and from the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which owns the Hard Rock chain. Both donated $5 million a piece to Voters in Charge in September, according to ClickOrlando.com.

While the Chamber poll shows a majority favor the ballot measure, constitutional amendments must be supported by 60 percent of voters in order to pass.

Based on the poll results, if only those voters with an opinion on the measure already weigh in on passage, the amendment would pass with 66 percent of the vote. But if undecided voters break against the measure, passage could prove dicey.

The Florida Chamber Poll was conducted Sept. 19-24 and received responses from 622 voters, 41.5 percent of whom were registered Democrats, 40.5 percent were Republicans and 18 percent did not belong to one of the major parties. The poll has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.

A poll taken by Hill Research Consultants two months ago showed 71 percent of voters planning to vote “Yes” of Amendment 3, with 18 percent planning to vote “No” and the remainder undecided.

Chamber poll: Amendments 1, 2 on track to pass; 5 coming up short

A new Florida Chamber of Commerce poll obtained by Florida Politics shows voters favor three constitutional amendments that reduce taxes or make it harder to increase them. But only one of those amendments, Amendment 1, polls at the required level for passage.

A majority of voters favor passage of Amendment 1, a near-majority support Amendment 2, and a solid plurality support Amendment 5, according to the poll. All three of those amendments, which appear on ballots statewide on Nov. 6, relate to taxation.

About 60 percent of voters polled plan to vote ‘Yes’ and support Amendment 1, which if passed will bring the maximum homestead exemption in the state from $50,000 to $75,000 on homes assessed at more than $100,000. The poll shows 27 percent will vote ‘No’ and 12 percent remain unsure.

But even if all undecided voters end up voting against the amendment, it still would meet the 60-percent threshold required for passage.

Amendment 2, which would make permanent a tax cap on annual assessments for non-homesteaded properties (excluding school taxes), has the support of 50 percent of voters surveyed, while another 25 percent plan to vote against the measure and 24 percent remain unsure.

That likely puts the measure on the road to passage—winning 2-to-1 passes the 60-percent mark easily.

But the measure will need 60 percent of voters who weigh in on the question to support the measure, so if voters break against the amendment, passage could turn dicey.

A plurality of voters also supports Amendment 5, which would require a two-thirds vote of the Florida Legislature to enact or increase taxes and fees. The poll shows 45 percent of voters will vote “Yes,” with 36 percent voting “No.” Another 18 percent remain undecided.

That means of those who have an opinion on the measure, just 56 percent favor the amendment, short of the amount of votes required to make it part of the Florida Constitution.

In order for the measure to pass, that means undecided voters need to break decidedly in favor of the change.

The Florida Chamber Poll was conducted Sept. 19-24 and received responses from 622 voters, 41.5 percent of whom were registered Democrats, 40.5 percent were Republicans and 18 percent did not belong to one of the major parties. The poll has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.

Rick Scott ad showcases Hispanic (and Democratic) supporters

A new Spanish-language ad from Republican Rick Scott’s Senate campaign showcases Democrats in the Hispanic community who support the GOP candidate.

The spot shows Orlando business owner Paulo Disdier, Colombian activist Margarita Parra and Orlando talk show host William Diaz offering testimony in Spanish about they back Scott over Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson.

The testimony gets inter-spliced with footage of Scott mingling with Latino constituents in a variety of settings.

Disdier, an Orlando area hair stylist, stresses the support Scott offered to Puerto Rico as governor of Florida.

“Not just Puerto Rico but also because I have seen throughout the years, his work as Governor has been diligent,” reads a translation of Disdier’s remarks provided by the campaign.

“He is impartial when it comes to helping whoever he needs to help regardless of race or color and I like that a lot about a politician. I’m a Democrat but I’m supporting him for the Senate.”

Parra also stresses she’s a Democrat. She said Scott, as governor, always prioritized the needs of the Colombian community.

“I’m here supporting Governor Rick Scott because he is a person who has worked for our community and for all who have needed the help of a Governor like him,” reads her translated remarks. “I hope he continues his professional career. I believe that we should not close ourselves to only one political party or another. One should look at the record of the person and the work that they are doing and who they are doing it for, in order to make the best decision.”

Diaz, who endorsed Scott in June, also said the governor had long been an ally to the community.

“After eight years, not only have we found that Florida has a brilliant Governor, we have a Governor who understands the need of the melting pot, and the need to live and share with citizens from other nationalities that are carrying on decent lives in the United States,” Diaz said according to his translated remarks.

“That’s why after reflecting and seeing the team and the work, I did not hesitate to make the decision to support Governor Scott for the Senate.”

Diaz has an Orlando area radio show and leads an international Venezuelan exile network.

None of the testimony attacks Nelson, a Democrat seeking his fourth term in the U.S. Senate.

But the ad shows the open fight between the candidates for support within the Hispanic community, where despite Republican President Donald Trump’s decided unpopularity, Scott has shown uncharacteristic strength as a Republican seeking federal office.

A recent poll commissioned by several Democratic-leaning Latino organizations, for example, recently found Nelson with just a 44-41 lead over Scott among Latino voters, according to The Hill.

PPP poll shows Jeremy Ring with 6-point lead on Jimmy Patronis

A new poll shows Democrat Chief Financial Officer candidate Jeremy Ring holding a 6-percent lead over Republican incumbent Jimmy Patronis.

The survey by Democrat-leaning Public Policy Polling finds 40 percent of voters supporting Ring, compared to 34 backing Patronis, with 26 percent of voters still undecided.

More striking, the polling sample included a plurality of voters who supported Republican Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. Of those surveyed, 46 percent voted for Trump compared to 45 percent who voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton. The remaining 9 percent voted for another candidate in the race or did not vote.

While PPP advertises itself as a Democratic polling outfit, FiveThirtyEight gives the outlet decent marks. The poll aggregating site issued PPP a grade of “B” and says the pollsters historically call races correctly 80 percent of the time.

Patronis, appointed to his position by Gov. Rick Scott, stands as the only incumbent running for a Cabinet post this year. He’s raised $1.9 million in contributions to his campaign, compared to less than $400,000 raised by Ring.

In recent days, the candidates largely attacked one another.

Patronis last week launched a website attacking the criminal history of many Ring donors and highlighting a recent incident of a Ring consultant allegedly impersonating Patronis to access personal records.

Ring returned volley days later with a website attacking Patronis donors and alleging favoritism on the part of the CFO.

The new PPP survey included an equal number of Republicans and Democrats, with each party’s voters making up 41 percent of those surveyed.

As far as gender, women make up 53 percent of the sample, men the other 47 percent. In terms of race, 68 percent identified as white, 15 percent as African-American and 13 percent Hispanic or Latino. About 45 percent of voters fell between age 45 and 65, with 35 percent older than that and 20 percent between age 18 and 45.

The poll found a high level of energy among voters. A full 68 percent of voters said they were very excited to cast ballots and another 15 percent were somewhat excited, with another 15 percent not excited and 2 percent unsure.

Andrew Gillum packs house in, um, Palatka?

Andrew Gillum says he continues to find love in the strangest of places.

On Sunday, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate packed an auditorium in Palataka, a town of 10,000 in a county where Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump won by 36 percentage points.

“This enthusiasm and energy for Mayor Gillum and his message of fighting for all Floridians is historic,” said Gillum communications director Johanna Cervone.

“Today’s event in Palatka is another example of this campaign’s momentum and a reminder that Floridians are ready to elect a leader who will put Florida first. We’ll continue to bring this message to every corner of the state for the next 38 days because the only poll that matters is on Election Day.”

Of course, Gillum in his kickoff speech in Orlando earlier this month shared a story of going to The Villages and finding a larger-than-expected crowd of 500 supporters showed up. That event, he said, turned from a small meet-and-greet to a small-donation fundraiser raking in more than $6,000 in an afternoon—all in one of the strongest GOP strongholds in Florida.

The Democrat also found polling accolades from odd parties as well. The Florida Chamber of Commerce, which this week endorsed Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis, just made public a poll showing Gillum with a 6-point lead in the contest.

That’s consistent with other polling. RealClearPolitics’ composite index on the race shows the Democrat with a 4.5-point lead in the race, and every poll released since the Aug. 28 primary shows Gill ahead by 2 to 9 points.

The Gillum campaign today quickly sent out a release touting the size of Palatka crowd for the Democrat.

That stands in rather stark contrast to a Florida Democratic Party press release taunting DeSantis for drawing only a small crowd to church in Kissimmee in advance of the Republican Party of Florida’s 2018 Victory Dinner.

And the crowds continue to reinforce the message Gillum has unified the base around his organized campaign while DeSantis struggled to build momentum leading to the Nov. 6 general election.

South Florida newspapers back Andrew Gillum, Sean Shaw

The Sun-Sentinel endorsed Democrat Andrew Gillum for Governor, while the Palm Beach Post threw its support behind Democrat Sean Shaw for Attorney General.

The South Florida newspapers issued endorsements early in the general election cycle.

The Sun-Sentinel made special note of Gillum’s education and environmental record, while taking Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis to task in both areas.

“Gillum wants the state to spend more on traditional public schools, especially on teacher salaries. That would help Florida,” the newspaper wrote. “DeSantis wants to continue favoring charter schools, which educate just 10 percent of public school students.”

The newspaper praised the Democrat’s health care platform and plans to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, something not done by Republican Gov. Rick Scott or the Republican-led Florida Legislature over the past eight years.

And while DeSantis has promised to hold polluters accountable for issues like red tide, Sun-Sentinel editorial writers noted DeSantis still proclaims he’s “not a global warming person.”

“That would hurt Florida,” the paper writes.

As for the Palm Beach Post’s support of Shaw, the newspaper labeled the Democrat “the clear choice for Florida attorney general.”

“He would be, in short, a counterforce to the Republicans’ long control of the Legislature,” reads the newspaper’s endorsement of Shaw.

The editorial board outlines his promise to be an activist attorney general, fighting for gun laws and the repeal of Stand Your Ground while demanding the Legislature fund public schools and Amendment 1-required conservation land acquisition.

Of Republican Attorney General candidate Ashley Moody, the newspaper suggests she would be an unfortunate extension of policies by current Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Moody thinks it’s just swell that Bondi joined a Texas lawsuit that seeks to have Obamacare declared unconstitutional,” the newspaper writes. “She backs Bondi’s defense of abortion restrictions passed by the Legislature, some of which have been rejected by the state Supreme Court.”

Pam Bondi slams Andrew Gillum for celebrating Aramis Ayala

Attorney General Pam Bondi called out Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum for appearing at an event Saturday honoring controversial State Attorney Aramis Ayala.

“Andrew Gillum is demonstrating that he will not stand up for our brave law enforcement officers who risk their lives each day to keep us safe,” Bondi said in a statement. “I know [Republican gubernatorial candidate] Ron DeSantis will stand shoulder to shoulder with all our brave first responders.”

Gillum tonight attended the Miami Dade Blue Gala in Coral Gables, where the Miami-Dade Democratic Party honored four individuals including Ayala, the State Attorney for the 9th Judicial Circuit in Central Florida.

But Ayala, Florida’s first black state attorney, proved herself controversial since her surprise election, particularly following her decision last year not to pursue the death penalty in any cases. She announced the decision as the office prepared its case against accused cop-killer Markeith Lloyd.

“It is unfathomable to me that Andrew Gillum would participate in honoring State Attorney Aramis Ayala, who refused to even consider the death penalty for the man who brutally murdered a true hero — Lieutenant Debra Clayton,” Bondi said.

Lloyd also faces charges for killing girlfriend Sade Dixon and her unborn child.

Gov. Rick Scott reassigned the Lloyd case to State Attorney Brad King in the neighboring 5th Judicial Circuit.

Ayala fought that move, but the Florida Supreme Court ultimately ruled Scott had the right to reassign the case. Ayala afterward lifted her blanket ban on pursuing the death penalty and set up a panel in her office to consider the appropriateness of capital punishment case by case.

Ayala in July endorsed Gillum, who joined her for a press event in Orlando. Gillum praised Ayala then. “She is a deeply dedicated public servant and a strong advocate for justice and fairness, and the personification of leadership in her community and across the state,” he said then.

Will Shelli Freeland Eddie’s anti-LGBT history reflect on Andrew Gillum?

When the Florida Democratic Party turned to Sarasota City Commissioner Shelli Freeland Eddie as a surrogate, it left some activists on the Gulf Coast angry based a years-long strain with the city official over gay rights.

On Sept. 20, Eddie led a protest outside a Ron DeSantis rally, where the Florida Democratic Party billed her as the top speaker. She welcomed the role as a chance to chastise DeSantis for gutting health care protections to those with pre-existing conditions.

“I care about working families having access to affordable health care,” Eddie told Florida Politics, “as a business owner, an attorney who represents low to moderate income clients with families, and as a working class individual.”

But area activists say the city official does not stand for one Democratic constituency: LGBT Americans.

Strained relationship

Eddie’s tension with the community began in 2015, shortly after her successful run for Sarasota City Commission. At the time of her campaign, she’d won the endorsement of the pro-LGBT Equality Florida, as well as Ruth’s List, which helps elect pro-choice Democratic women, based on candidate questionnaires.

But after defeating a Republican incumbent, Stan Zimmerman, she emailed the two left-leaning organizations asking to be taken off their lists of supported candidates.

“I’m writing to inform you of my continued personal struggles and spiritual conviction with continuing to be listed as a supporter of the primary legislative goals of Equality Florida, which advocate for marriage equality among same-sex couples and abortion rights for women,” she wrote in an email to that organization.

“As an attorney, I fully support equal protection under the laws of our land, and disapprove of governmental interference with a woman’s decisions concerning her body. However, as a Christian and a child of God, I believe in God’s definition of marriage, as a holy covenant ordained by God between a man and a woman, and that life begins at conception. Accordingly, I personally disapprove of women making the decision to terminate their own pregnancy.”

The missive immediately thrust the elected official into scandal.

“You don’t have an epiphany about your public views after you win an election,” said Gabriel Hament, a Democratic consultant involved in a separate city election at the time. “She had no intention, from my point of view, of informing the public to the fact she had not been forthright in her responses to the questionnaires.”

He noted her email to the organizations — she sent a similar request to Ruth’s List — specifically asking that her answers to questions be expunged.

Now, Hament says, he’s frustrated the Democratic Party, or Gillum’s campaign would turn to Eddie to represent the party at a public event.

Ken Shelin, a former Sarasota commissioner and co-chair of Equality Florida at the time of the questionnaire kerfuffle, remains frustrated Eddie used the group to get elected, then distanced herself from its message.

“I was calling for her resignation at the time,” Shelin said. He also tried to get the Florida Bar after she publicly misrepresented a political view.

Karma’s long wrath

Republicans never forgot the incident either. When DeSantis held his rally in Sarasota last week, Republican Party of Sarasota Chair Joe Gruters called out Democrats for poor judgment in inviting Shelli to speak.

With Gillum and Democrats calling for inclusiveness and criticizing DeSantis for “dog-whistle politics,” Gruters said the party should be careful who speaks for its own platform.

“Here you have one person who has not been inclusive, and who has been called out by the LGBT community as not inclusive,” Gruters said. “I think it’s interesting they would lead with her, based on her background. They are trying to make Republicans look racist and sexist, but the one leading the protest here locally is the one who has gotten in trouble.”

Of course, Eddie’s election also helped install the first all-Democrat city commission in years. She’s also the first black candidate ever elected to a city position outside of a district drawn specifically to produce minority representation.

She dismissed criticism from Gruters. “I have no comment,” she said. “If he has concerns, questions or specific inquiries, he is free to contact me personally.”

She’s tried in intervening years to make a delineation clear between her religious beliefs and views on public policy. When Hament led an ultimately unsuccessful effort to prevent her selection as mayor in 2017, she stressed to ABC-7 WWSB that she’s always supported equal protection under the law for LGBT people.

“There’s no intention on my part to do anything that would remove rights, reduce rights or do anything that would make it more difficult for any individual, including members of the LGBT community to exercise their rights,” she told the news station.

Tensions between Shelin and Eddie remain years later. He most recently has pushed for Sarasota City Commissioners to impose a local ban on conversion therapy for youth similar to that proposed by Equality Florida at the state level.

Eddie voted against the measure in February. At the time, she said her concerns stemmed from conversations with parents who “question whether the government can say it knows better than an individual parent regarding the relationship between them and their child.”

Shelin said it’s a mistake for Democrats to continue to embrace anti-LGBT politicians at a time when activists become increasingly activated. He noted many fundraisers and canvassing events in the Sarasota area organized by gay activists, and said Democrats couldn’t risk potentials gains this year by upsetting a significant voting bloc.

As for Eddie?

“I don’t have much confidence in her,” Shelin said.

Florida Democrats taunt Ron DeSantis for “DeSastre” turnout

Does crowd size matter?

Florida Democratic Party officials taunted GOP counterparts Saturday by contrasting pictures of Andrew Gillum greeting large crowd with those at a poorly attended Ron DeSantis event.

“Today’s abysmal turnout for the DeSantis Campaign is par for the course for a floundering campaign that has endured setback after setback,” said Kevin Donohoe, FDP spokesman.

“It’s telling when a candidate for Governor can barely rustle up a dozen supporters for a campaign ‘rally.’ Ron DeSantis is panicked, running a low-energy campaign, and can’t find a message that resonates with voters. After a rough couple of weeks, things are getting worse—not better for Ron DeSastre.”

FDP Executive Director Juan Peñalosa sent out a link to a video of a Kissimmee rally posted today by Reuters reporter Joey Roulette. Accompanying a notice DeSantis actually ran late to the event, the video panned to a largely empty auditorium.

Meanwhile, the party sent out links to canvassing and campaign office opening events around the state.

Terrie Rizzo, FDP chair, tweeted pictures of a major crowd in Palm Beach County, where actress-activist Alyssa Milano campaigned for Gillum today.

FDP released footage of Gillum giving a “Bring It Home” stump speech to an outdoor crowd.

Agriculture Commissioner candidate Nikki Fried also addressed the major gathering.

But beyond that, regional candidates also drew attendance to events.

Congressional candidate David Shapiro held a joint canvassing event with Democratic state House candidates Tracy Pratt and Liv Coleman in decidedly Republican Manatee County, but pulled in a sizable crowd.

In Orlando, state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith dispatched a door-knocking team for his re-election campaign and for the Democratic ticket.

Peñalosa picked on the fact the Republican Party of Florida’s Twitter feed Saturday, meanwhile, pushed National Coffee Day.

Of course, that all preceded the 2018 Victory Dinner for Republicans in Lake Buena Vista. Where DeSantis and Senate candidate Rick Scott faced a more sizable crowd.


Alyssa Milano campaigning for Andrew Gillum

Actress and activist Alyssa Milano, a day after capturing press attention at Brett Kananaugh‘s confirmation hearings, will campaign for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum in Florida.

The “Charmed” star will speak at a grassroots rally in Hollywood (the one in Florida), where she plans to discuss women’s healthcare and highlight Gillum’s plans to expand healthcare access in the Sunshine State. She will speak at Hollywood Vine at 4 p.m.

On Twitter, Milano said she’d spend the day volunteering for Gillum’s campaign.

The actress in recent years embraced a political role in feminist politics, particularly as part of the #MeToo movement.

While Milano didn’t coin the phrase, the moniker of the movement largely got popularized thanks to Milano tweeting the two words in October 2017, just as the Harvey Weinstein scandal consumed the film industry.

More recently, Milano could be seen in attendance at the Supreme Court confirmation proceedings in Washington, D.C.

She attended testimony by associate justice nominee Kavanaugh and by Palo Alto University professor Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of assaulting her at a party while both were in high school.

“I wasn’t there with any political agenda,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “I was there to support a survivor of sexual assault.”

Milano attended the hearings as a guest of California Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

The Gillum campaign says Milano will also touch on the make-up of the Florida Supreme Court today. Three state justices must retire in January, and outgoing Gov. Rick Scott remains engaged in ongoing litigation with the League of Women Voters and Common Cause over who should appoint replacements.

The actress currently stars in Insatiable, a new comedy on Netflix.

But she’s also increasingly active in Democratic politics. According to Open Secrets, the actress this election cycle donated money to Democrats around the country running for Congress, including Harley Rouda, Brianna Westbrook, Conor Lamb and Jon Ossoff, who ran unsuccessfully last year in a Georgia special election.

She’s also supported Ayanna Pressley, who this month upset incumbent Massachusetts congressman Michael Capuano in a Democratic primary.

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