Scott Powers, Author at Florida Politics

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at

Sanjay Patel launches digital ad in CD 8 race

Democratic congressional candidate Sanjay Patel has launched his first video commercial, a digital ad that talks about how his brother’s death from cancer has inspired him to seek better, and how for him that includes affordable health care, a fairer economy, environmental protection and investments in schools and infrastructure.

The two-minute, 17-second video, released on the internet Friday, offers a montage of images of Florida’s Space Coast and Treasure Coast from Kennedy Space Center rocket launches to beaches;  of struggles, of someone suffering health problems in a bed, dead fish, and toxic algae; and also of Patel himself, in contemplation, and meeting with voters.

The video has a distinctive progressive Democratic theme of the powerless against the powerful, summed up with his observation, “It’s time to prove that the power of the people is stronger than the people in power.”

A grassroots organizer and business consultant with an economics degree from UCLA, Patel is facing five-term Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Posey in the Nov. 6 election. Patel has managed to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars and still has most of that left to spend. In addition to the digital ad, his campaign intends to begin television advertising next week, and to run it through the Nov. 6 election.

The district covers Brevard County and parts of east Orange County and north Indian River County.

The digital ad covers a lot of ground, starting with Patel recalling how his brother spent most of his last days at the beach. “After my brother died, I knew how fleeting our lives were,” he says. “We can all change in the blink of one diagnosis. Health care should be a human right. Folks who are struggling shouldn’t have to worry about how they are going to pay those bills while they’re going through some of the hardest ordeals of their lives.”

From there he introduces himself, and then goes on to talk about those left out of the economy, declaring, “Money in politics has poisoned our political system. The people in power aren’t listening to or representing us. They’re representing the big businesses and billionaires who donate to their campaigns, to big banks who led us to the brink of economic collapse.”

The video then moves on to his views on the environment, public education, infrastructure, sustainable energy, and struggles of the middle class.

“I’m doing this for my brother. For my family,” he says. “If we can reach the stars, I know that we can deliver hope, freedom and opportunity for all of them.”

Stockton Reeves’ new TV ad paints Anna Eskamani as radical

Republican Florida House candidate Stockton Reeves has launched another TV commercial attacking his Democratic opponent, this time painting Anna Eskamani as a radical, complete with stock footage of rioting somewhere, as he offers himself as an independent leader.

The new commercial, running on Orlando cable, draws stark contrast, depicting Eskamani with chaotic shots of her speaking at a rally, and of other people rioting; and then of himself with shots of him with his wife and two young children, and calm pictures of happy people.

Reeves and Eskamani are battling for Florida House District 47, covering north and central Orange County, from Winter Park through downtown and into the south-side suburbs.

“This district isn’t home to extremists. But it is home to independent leader Stockton Reeves,” the commercial states.

Eskamani dismissed the commercial as “laced with lies and dog whistling.”

The contest has been sometimes brutal, as Reeves and the Republican Party of Florida have been trying to stop the progressive Eskamani, who has rolled up a huge campaign fund and national attention, and who has been campaigning relentlessly for 16 months, seeking to flip the district now held by Republican state Rep. Mike Miller.

The commercial begins with grainy, purple-tinted shots of Eskamani. As a narrator says, “Anna Eskamani thinks she can fool you,” those shots change to footage of a riot, and then back to Eskamani wearing sunglasses at a podium, with her arm raised in what looks like a gesture of protest. “She can’t hide the truth.”

The commercial then turns to specific issues, declaring that “Eskamani and her radical donors” opposed school choice for bullied kids, law enforcement in schools, “and shut down businesses if you don’t agree with them,” the latter a refernce to Eskamani’s participation in a statewide protest at Publix stores last year after reports of how much the company was donating to Republican Adam Putnam‘s gubernatorial campaign.

Then comes the switch to full-color, pictures of Reeves, children, and others in the district.

“Reeves will invest in our children and education, restore civility in politics, and reject radicalism,” the narrator says.

Eskamani responded by charging that Reeves’ “entire campaign has been a prolonged distortion of my record of standing up for this community whether it be women’s rights, gun safety, public education, the environment, or health care. Stockton is everything wrong with politics today.

“All of this is not only insulting to me, but it’s also insulting to the voters of House District 47,” she added. “There is too much at stake on November 6th for this race to come down to such lame, tired, and untrue attacks.”

Steve Scalise pitches economy to help Mike Miller’s congressional run

It’s all about the booming economy, low unemployment, and cutting taxes, and keeping it rolling, Louisiana’s Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise told a rally Friday campaigning for Republican state Rep. Mike Miller‘s attempt to oust Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy in Florida’s 7th Congressional District.

Well, maybe a little about baseball too.

Scalise, a candidate for the U.S. Speaker of the House position when Speaker Paul Ryan leaves at the end of this year – and also the victim of an assassination attempt last year as Republicans were wrapping up a baseball practice for an annual charity game – pushed hard Friday for the Republicans’ economic policies, including last year’s tax cuts, arguing that the country’s booming economy now is the critical reason Republicans like Miller need to be elected and Democrats like Murphy need to be ousted.

Scalise is criss-crossing the country now campaigning for Republicans with the recognition that polls show Democrats could take the U.S. House of Representatives. Miller already has pledged bhis own support for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy as the next speaker. But Scalise told a rally at an airport hangar at Orlando Executive Airport Friday that the issue of concern is Republicans desire to make sure House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi doesn’t become the next speaker.

“What’s at stake is a whole lot about how we are going to keep our country moving forward, or are we going to go back to the days of when Nancy Pelosi was speaker,” Scalise declared. “Go back especially to the period of 2008-2010, in that two year period they wrecked our economy with higher taxes, higher regulation, things like Dodd-Frank.”

Scalise also pushed Miller’s commitment to the military and veterans, and tore at Murphy for opposing the Right to Try Act, which Congress passed last year making it easier for patients with life-or-death diseases to get experimental drugs, and said Miller would have supported it.

Miller stressed the economy.

“He told me, you’ve got to remind voters, Stephanie Murphy voted against that stuff,” Miller told the gathering of about 100 people. “She voted against the tax cuts that led to this economic recovery. She wants to bring us back to where we were eight years ago, when we had 1 percent growth. Now there are literally hundreds of thousands of jobs that can’t be filled. Think about that, we have full employment.”

Yet in Florida’s 7th Congressional District, Miller is running from behind against Murphy, who has far more campaign money, and a record of centrist politics. The district covers Seminole County and north and central Orange County and once was reliably Republican, but that has changed, as Murphy demonstrated when she upset 12-term Republican U.S. Rep. John Mica two years ago. This year, little outside money has come into the contest, signaling perhaps that national partisan groups don’t think it’s worth investing in.

But Miller said that is about to change, and Scalise said he wouldn’t have come if there were not indications that the race was tightening up.

“I love this guy. I want to serve in Congress with this guy, but this is a winnable race. You all know this. That’s why you’re out,” Scalise said told the rally. “This race is tightening up to where we can win this race, Mike can win this race and serve in Congress.”

Scalise had been the starting second baseman for the Republicans for their annual charity Congressional baseball game against Democrats, wrapping up a practice in Virginia on June 14, 2017, when James Thomas Hodgkinson, who had expressed rage against Republicans, opened fire on people there, wounding him and three others. Scalise was shot in the hip, lost a lot of blood, suffered organ failures, and nearly died. He has since had nine surgeries. And though he now walks with a cane, took the field for the Republican’s first practice scrimmage this year.

“I’m doing really well,” Scalise told Orlando media Friday. “I’m getting better every day. I still do about two days a week of rehab to build strength back up in the left leg. Otherwise I’m going full bore. This is the ninth district I’ve been in in four days.”

Miller is a former left-handed pitcher for the University of Florida, a motif he uses in numerous ways in his campaign, including campaign baseball cards that declare he throws left and votes right. He thanked Scalise for campaigning for him by presenting him with a bat inscribed with “Team Scalise Mike Miller U.S. Congress Play Ball!”

The Republicans could use some more pitching. Everyone knows that: the Democrats scored 21 runs off them this year, and 11 last year.

“I tell you what, this guy, when I heard he was a pitcher at the University of Florida, I’m an LSU guy, but I said, ‘We’ll take the Florida Gator!'” Scalise said.

New Bill Nelson ad labels Rick Scott as ‘Red Tide Rick’

Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is going into the swamp for his new television commercial attacking Republican Gov. Rick Scott over his past problems in the private sector, his finances and environmental record, labeling him, “Red Tide Rick.”

The 30-second commercial, “Swamp”, features talking cartoon frogs that keep croaking, “Rick” and “Scott” each time a narrator rolls out an allegation about Nelson’s opponent in the Nov. 6 election.

The commercial covers a lot of old ground, reminding viewers that, back when he was president of the big, private, hospital company Columbia/HCA in the 1990s he was forced out during an FBI Medicare and Medicaid fraud investigation that ultimately led to $1.7 billion in fines and penalties against his  former company, while Scott received millions of dollars. And then the ad make assorted charges on Scott’s personal financial gains during his eight years as governor.

But the crescendo comes when the commercial turns to the frogs looking at dead fish on a beach, seeking to burdon Scott with responsibility for the red tides ravaging Florida’s coastlines this fall.

“Now our Florida is poisoned with toxic algae,” the narrator declares. “He’s so slimy. Let’s leave him in Tallahassee. We can’t trust Red Tide Rick.”

“Nope,” croaks one of the frogs.

Scott’s campaign has vigorously pushed back against the charges as they’ve been leveled in various previous ads and statements from Nelson. On Thursday, for example, Scott’s campaign that under Scott’s leadership leadership, Florida passed major legislation to ensure the public is made aware within 24 hours of the release of any harmful substance; that he declared a state of emergency due to the impacts of red tide in August – and since has secured millions of dollars to help impacted communities. It also noted that scientists remind that red tide is naturally occuring, not Scott’s fault.

Stephanie Murphy goes after Mike Miller on climate change

Two days after she and her Republican election opponent drew a clear distinction on climate change, Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy ridiculed him Thursday for dismissing that humans might have a role.

“My opponent, state Rep. Mike Miller, he refuses to recognize that humans contribute to climate change. And making matters worse, he dismissed concerns about climate change stating recently that, ‘Unfortunately, none of us is going to live 10,000 years to see what it’s like in 10,000 years,'” Murphy told a small gathering of environmental protection leaders gathered for a roundtable discussion in Orlando Thursday.

“For Mike Miller to dismiss the families, the businesses, that are, right now, today, being adversely affected by rising sea levels, stronger hurricanes, and red tide and toxic algae, it’s not only irresponsible, it’s morally reprehensible, and it threatens our way of life. Florida deserves better, our economy deserves better, and our children deserve better,” she continued. “And my record on combatting climate change is clear and my commitment to a clean future is firm.”

Miller is challenging the freshman congresswoman from Winter Park in Florida’s 7th Congressional District, covering Seminole County and north and central Orange County, in the Nov. 6 election.

In her remarks, and in much of the question and answer that followed, Murphy discussed environmental matters ranging from environmental justice issues that most affect poor communities, particularly minority comunities, to the red tides ravaging Florida this summer and fall.

But for re-election purposes, she focused squarely on climate change, and her commitment that human activity is at least accelerating it, and that Florida is at great risk if something is not done soon.

“We can’t begin to earnestly address all of these challenges without first recognizing the human contributions to our changing climate and identify common sense solutions,” she said, referring to Miller.

Miller, who has a strong Republican record in the Florida Legislature on environmental protection issues such as water, responded by agreeing that something could and should be done, and then challenged Murphy’s opportunity to do so.

“There are bipartisan solutions we can consider to reduce our carbon footprint and do our part to preserve our valuable resources and protect our environment. It’s unfortunate Congresswoman Murphy is unlikely to be a part of these bipartisan solutions because she votes with Nancy Pelosi 90 percent of the time,” he responded.

Murphy is a member of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus in Congress, cofounded and cochaired by her Florida colleagues, Republican U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo and Democratic U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch. On Thursday she also called for bipartisan efforts to address climate change.

She also touted her endorsements by the League of Conservation Voters of Florida and the Sierra Club, which both had representatives at her roundtable.

In a moment of mild awkwardness, Murphy even politely changed the subject after one of the activists at her roundtable suggested she join the Democrats’ Congressional Progressive Caucus. Murphy has joined several centrist caucuses and generally has sought to avoid being associated with her party’s progressive wing.

At the discussion Thursday, Murphy also called for building the reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee, restoring the Everglades, putting more money into studying the issues of South Florida, increasing standards on water pollution, and promotion of sustainable energy. She also said the United States needs to beome a world leader in addressing climate change.

She recalled with a mixture of grief and frustration that she recently took her children to a Gulf coast beach to hunt for shark’s teeth, “and my kids started coughing, and having a hard time breathing. And we realized it was the red tide, so we got off the beach.

“And now it’s a part of their vocabulary. It breaks my heart that my kids are 4 and 7, growing up in the most beautiful state in the country, and can’t enjoy the beaches.” Murphy said. “And all these other families in Florida can’t enjoy the beaches because what’s happening to our environment.”

She also contended that no state has more on the line than Florida, with its vulnerability to rising sea levels, stronger hurricanes, natural resources destruction, and because of its tourism industry, saying that Florida leaders need to take leadership toward immediate action.

“This year alone Florida faced, red tide, toxic algea, one of the most powerful hurricanes to ever to hit our state; we’ve dealt with extreme heat, damaged citrus crops, and king tides, and other problems resulting from rising sea levels, not to mention sunny-day flooding in South Florida,” she said.

“You know, climate change isn’t a theory. You can look around the state of Florida alone and put that false idea to bed,” she said. “Disingenuous attempts to deny the very real threat from climate change is an affront to families and small businesses all across our state that are dealing with these kinds of changes first hand.”

Beyond Ron DeSantis: Everglades Trust releases full list of endorsements

The Everglades Trust released its full list of election endorsements Thursday containing a broad mix of Democrats and Republicans that had begun Tuesday when the organization surprised many by announcing its backing of Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis.

In addition to DeSantis, the Everglades Trust is endorsing Republican Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, Democratic Attorney General nominee Sean Shaw, and Democratic Agriculture Commissioner nominee Nikki Fried.

Fried’s nomination was singled out by the trust because of the important role the commissioner plays in dealing with issues relating to the health of the Everglades.

The trust did not endorse in Florida’s U.S. Senate race, and took positions in just two congressional races, picking Republicans in both, U.S. Rep. Brian Mast for re-election in Florida’s 18th Congressional District; and Republican U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney in Florida’s 19th Congressional District.

Throughout various state Senate and House races, the trust backed Democrats by a ratio of nearly three-to-one over Republicans.

“The destructive influence of Big Sugar is deeply embedded in both political parties in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C. For us to merely vote along party lines will not break their stranglehold on Florida’s government. Voting for candidates with the political will to stand up to and push past the status quo is what it will take,” the trust announced in a news release.

“In the race for Commissioner of Agriculture, the Everglades candidate is Nikki Fried,” the release continued. “Nikki has spent a great deal of time learning the specific challenges the Everglades and coastal estuaries are facing and understands the issues that have prevented the real progress we need to restore these waterways. She understands the impact of this position and as Commissioner she will ensure that the Everglades are prioritized and protected for future generations.

“Florida’s wildlife, fisheries, beaches, rivers, and lakes are being devastated by toxic algae and pollution-fueled red tide that is now affecting human health and risking water supplies. Our next Governor, Cabinet, and Legislature must be dedicated to Everglades restoration – and have the backbone to stand up to special corporate interests that have hampered progress for decades,” the group concluded.

For the state Senate, the trust announced its support for Democrat Kayser Enneking in Senate District 8; Democratic state Rep. Janet Cruz in Senate District 18; Republican state Rep. Gayle Harrell in Senate District 25; and the re-election of Democratic state Sen. Annette Taddeo in Senate District 40.

In the Florida House races, the trust announced its endorsements of Democrat Adam Morley in House District 24; Republican David Smith in House District 28; Barbara Cady in House District 42; Democrat Anna Eskamani in House District 47; the re-election of Democratic state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith in House District 49; the re-election of Republican state Rep. Thad Altman in House District 52; and Democrat Phil Hornback in House District 58.

In other House races, the trust picked Republican Joe Wicker in House District 59; Democrat Fentrice Driskell in House District 63; Republican state Rep. Chris Sprowls in House District 65; Republican state Rep. Chris Latvala in House District 67; Democrat Jennifer Webb in House District 69; Democratic state Rep. Margaret Good in House District 72; and Republican state Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen in House District 78;

Also: Democrat Edward O’Connor in House District 82; Democrat Matt Theobald in House District 83; Democrat Delores Hogan Johnson in House District 84; Democrat Jim Bonfiglio in House District 89; Republican Chip Lamarca in House District 93; Democrat Michael Gottleib in House District 98; Republican Anna Maria Rodriguez in House District 105; Democrat state Rep. Javier Fernandez in House District 114; and Democrat Steve Friedman in House District 120.

Bill Nelson rips Rick Scott on health care, red tides

Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson ripped his Republican challenger Gov. Rick Scott Thursday for not supporting the Affordable Care Act or Medicaid expansion and then blamed Scott’s environmental policies for exacerbating red tides to the point they now menace as far north as Brevard County.

Nelson made the attacks during a roundtable discussion in Orlando with Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings and three area residents who suffer from pre-existing medical conditions, notably diabetes, Crohn’s disease, bipolar syndrome, and arthritis. They told about how expensive their medical treatments are, and how they would be lost without insurance coverage.

“That’s what I don’t understand about Rick Scott and [U.S. Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell. They are hell-bent in taking it away from people like this who desperately need health care,” Nelson said.

Nelson didn’t stop there. He ripped into Scott’s record on the environment and development control, charging that the governor’s policies and decisions have created dramatic increases in the pollutants in Florida’s waterways, which in turn are expanding the occasional natural problem of red tide into a nearly-statewide disaster along the coasts.

Scott’s campaign responded by pointing out that Scott has said repeatedly he wants pre-existing conditions covered in any health care plan, and that Nelson was making misleading statements about Scott’s environmental record, the nature of red tides, and Scott’s response to them. Scott’s campaign also called him out for not spending more time dealing with Hurricane Michael recovery, as Scott is doing.

But Nelson laid out harsh attacks, with some detail, to back up his assertions.

“I was in Vero Beach yesterday. Dead fish. People with surgical masks on the beach. People hacking and wheezing on the beach. And businesses are getting hurt. Today, that red tide is off of Melbourne. And the same thing has happened,” Nelson said.

“Why? For eight years, Rick Scott has systematically dismantled the environmental regulatory agencies. He has passed the law that eliminates the periodic inspections of leaking septic tanks. He has starved the water management disticts of money. And he has abolished the growth management agency, the Department of Community Affairs. When you do all those things, you see the results,” Nelson charged.

“When you add pollution to the fresh waterways of Florida, you’re going to get algae. … And that is the legacy of Rick Scott,” he concluded.

Yet he and Demings mainly pounded Scott over his and the Republican Party’s opposition to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare; Scott’s refusal to accept the Medicaid expansion included in that act that would have provided federal money to cover an estimated 800,000; and Scott’s support for a federal lawsuit that would eliminate the mandate that states require insurance plans to not discriminate against clients with pre-existing health problems.

“Yesterday Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, said, in the new Congress, he said ‘We’re gong to go back and we’re going to try to repeal the Affordable Care Act. For people this is a matter of life or death. For other people this is a matter of whether they have health care or not. And we have three of those people right here.”

Added Demings, “When people do not have access to health care, they get sicker, or they die.”

“Gov. Scott has made it crystal clear that protecting people with pre-existing conditions is a crucial and necessary part of any healthcare reform,” said Scott’s campaign spokesman Chris Hartline. “Maybe if Sen. Nelson spent more time working to fix our broken healthcare system than he does spreading misleading information, this conversation wouldn’t even be happening. It’s sad that instead of helping Florida’s Panhandle recover from Hurricane Michael, Senator Nelson has chosen to spread falsehoods about Gov. Scott’s record.

As for the red tide criticism, Hartline responded, “These are more misleading and desperate claims from Bill Nelson. Under the Governor’s leadership, Florida passed major legislation to ensure the public is made aware within 24 hours of the release of any harmful substance. Not exactly what I would call “relaxed environmental regulations.”

“Gov. Scott declared a state of emergency due to the impacts of red tide in August – and since then he has continued to take real action, like securing millions of dollars to help impacted communities,” Hartline added. “Additionally, red tide is naturally occurring – and even scientists at Mote Marine Lab have called out the absurdity of blaming Gov. Scott for this natural phenomenon.”

Bob Cortes shares son’s story, his commitment to free-market health care, in Spanish radio ad

Republican state Rep. Bob Cortes is sharing his painful struggle for his son’s health and life and vowing it has made him a health care advocate, in a new Spanish-language radio ad being launched in the Orlando market.

In the 60-second radio ad, Cortes, a New York native, speaks in Spanish about how he and his wife Virginia were living in Puerto Rico when they realized their son needed more medical help than he could receive on the island. So they moved to Central Florida where he received such care, although he eventually succumbed. The story is of the Cortes’s first son, Bob Jr., who was born with cerebral palsy and died in 1990.

Through the struggle, Cortes became appreciative of the free-market health care system and quality of care his son received, and the struggle has led to his commitment to it, he says in the commercial. The ad also is an homage to family.

In his re-election bid in Florida House District 30, Cortes, of Altamonte Springs, faces Democratic Maitland City Councilwoman Joy Goff-Marcil in the Nov. 6 election.

You can hear the ad below:

Nancy Pelosi Orlando visit brings charge from Mike Miller, denial from Stephanie Murphy

U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is expanding her South Florida trip on Wednesday to include a stop in Orlando Thursday; and since little is being disclosed about it, Republican congressional candidate Mike Miller charged that Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy is doing something with her. But Murphy’s campaign said, Nope, not us.

The issue is a little raw in the congressional race for Flordia House District 7 covering Seminole County and north and central Orange.  Republicans particularly Miller, a Republican state representative from Winter Park trying to take her seat, have been trying to paint Pelosi as the ultimate liberal, out of touch with Central Florida values, particularly on the Seminole County portion, and trying to tie her to Murphy.

Pelosi did campaign for Murphy in 2016, and even helped get her selected to run for the CD 7 seat in the first place. But since getting into Congress, Murphy has carefully sought to set a course away from the liberal wing of the Democratic Party.

In a Tiger Bay debate on Tuesday Murphy went so far as to say she could not, as of now, support Pelosi for House Speaker if the Democrats win control of the U.S. House of Representatives, not unless Pelosi agrees to demands that a bipartisan congressional group called the Problem Solvers Caucus, which Murphy joined, has set forth.

Yet here comes Pelosi on a still publicly-unidentified mission to Orlando Thursday, after a roundtable meeting with Parkland students and a couple of private events Wednesday.

“Leader Nancy Pelosi is not scheduled to participate in any public events during her limited time in Orlando,” was all her spokesman Jorge Aguilar said in a brief inquiry from Florida Politics about why she was coming to Orlando.

Miller’s campaign fired a charge that Pelosi was coming to raise money for Murphy, and that the Democrats were keeping the visit secret.

“Why would Stephanie Murphy hide the fact her party’s leader will be in town raising money that will benefit her campaign?”  Miller inquired in a news release issued by her campaign.

Because it’s not true, Murphy’s campaign responded. Murphy has a couple of events set for Thursday, including a public roundtable discussion in Orlando on environmental issues in the afternoon, and a keynote address to the Seminole County School Administrators Legislative Dinner in the evening. Neither of them involve Pelosi.

Even if Pelosi is just generically raising money for the party or one of its principal political action committees, so far in this election Murphy hasn’t received much support from any of those entities for her re-election effort.

“This is another swing and a miss from Mike Miller,” responded Murphy’s campaign spokeswoman Christie Stephenson.

Jeanette Nunez, Chris King attack roles expand after Hurricane Michael

As Democratic lieutenant governor nominee Chris King pushes Andrew Gillum‘s health care proposals while attacking Ron DeSantis for not having one, Republican lieutenant governor nominee Jeanette Núñez is pushing DeSantis’ economics plan while blasting Gillum’s in a DeLand gathering.

Hurricane Michael has brought out the running mates working double-time in attack mode, as Democratic gubernatorial nominee Gillum took off more than a week to focus on hurricane recovery efforts, and Republican gubernatorial nominee DeSantis turned much of his focus into relief supply drive efforts.

If the running mates traditionally play the campaign pitbulls, then King and Núñez are running loose, doing four, five, six or more events a day, mostly in front of relatively small crowds, now and probably through Nov. 5.

“Never in the history in the state of Florida has a candidate for governor run on a platform to increase taxes 40 percent. It is mind-blowing that we could even consider giving Andrew Gillum our vote when all he wants to do is overburden us with more taxes,” Núñez said at a small Spanish-language church, Iglesia Puertas Del Cielo, full of energized Republicans in DeLand Wednesday.

Núñez has sharpened her slicing and dicing skills through eight years in the Florida House.

“His plan would be a disaster for the state of Florida!” she declared.

King sharpened his plan in 18 months in a sometimes nasty Democratic gubernatorial primary.

“Ron DeSantis has been running for governor for 261 days. We’re 20 days from the election, and he still doesn’t have a plan for health care! Can you imagine that?” King charged during his talk to about 100 riled-up people at an Orlando picnic for the District 1199 Service Employees International Union. “Two-and-a half-million people without health care and we have a Republican nominee for governor who doesn’t have a plan. Ron DeSantis has no vision for health care for the state of Florida!”

King’s role for the moment may be larger than Nunez’s in the sense that as Gillum has turned full-time to his day job as Tallahassee mayor since Michael devastated the central Panhandle and caused significant damages in the Capital city. That starts changing soon: he has a TV appearance set in Jacksonville Thursday, and then a town hall event in Tampa Friday.

“Right now the priority for Mayor Gillum is to rebuild the city after a catastrophic storm. That’s where he’s been. He’s doing a fabulous job. But we’ve got 20 days left. This is a historic election. And I’m focused on casting his vision across Florida,” King said.

DeSantis has been more active in the days after Michael, appearing at hybrid campaign/hurricane relief drive events; but even in his primary campaign, he has never been as publicly active as other candidates.

“Obviously over the next three weeks he’s going to be relying on me heavily to obviously be in every corner of the state that he’s not,” Núñez said. “His wife Casey has also has been very active on the trail as late. I think we’re going to hit as many communities and talk to as many voters as possible.”

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