Scott Powers, Author at Florida Politics - Page 3 of 256

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 Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused.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 scott@floridapolitics.com.

Poll: Darren Soto leads Alan Grayson 45%-38% in CD 9 race

U.S. Rep. Darren Soto leads former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, his predecessor and challenger in the Democratic primary for Florida’s 9th Congressional District, according to a poll announced Wednesday night by Spectrum 13 News in Orlando.

The poll was announced at the start of a debate Wednesday night in Kissimmee by Spectrum 13 News anchors Eric Levy and Ybeth Bruzual, who said the station commissioned the poll.

Its results: Soto drew 45 percent and Grayson 38 percent, with 17 percent undecided heading toward the Aug. 28 primary, the station announced. The poll surveyed 875 registered Democrats and showed a margin of error of 4.4 percent.

Grayson immediately took issue with the poll, declaring, “We’ve polled people who have already voted. Among people who have already voted I have an eight-point lead. So that shows voters prefer me, and non-voters favor my opponent.”

The two are battling in one of the most hostile primary fights in the state, and the debate Thursday night began with them immediately going after each other.

The poll also cited the economy [20 percent,] education [19,] and immigration [16,] topping the list of concerns among Democrats polled in CD 9, followed by national security [11.] Grayson complained that interest in impeaching President Donald Trump was not on the list.

Orange Co. mayoral debate more about style than substance

With only a few moments of minor disagreements about how to address broad issues such as affordable housing or transportation, Orange County mayoral candidates Rob Panepinto, Jerry Demings, and Pete Clarke instead clashed Thursday evening over styles: Clarke with heart, Demings with trust, and Panepinto with innovation.

Throughout the mayoral debate hosted by WOFL Fox 35 TV at the Orlando Repertory Theatre Thursday, both Orange County Sheriff Demings and Orange County Commissioner Clarke defended their experience in public service, stressing the need for experience in dealing with people and in responding to crises, while Panepinto, the outsider who started and built businesses in Orange County and led various civic organizations, stressed the need for new ideas to tackle big problems.

The three of them face off in the Aug. 28 election, and if no one gets more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two go on to a Nov. 6 showdown. At times it appeared that Clarke and Panepinto were targeting each other, assuming that Demings, the clear frontrunner by most accounts, would finish first on Aug. 28 and they needed to climb over one another to get that second spot.

Demings, meanwhile, time and again sought to characterize himself as the one, with 37 years experience in law enforcement, that Orange County voters already trusted, and needed in the trusted position of County Mayor.

“I really have the full package in terms of the level of experience. There is no substitute for experience. I want you to understand that. There’s no substitute for experience,” Demings insisted. “It’s easy to lead during times when everything is going well. It takes true leadership when things are going poorly. And you’ve seen me on a number of occasions lead during crisis.”

“The Mayor’s job is to run a $4.2 billion operation with 7,500 employees. I have six years as a County Commissioner, I know the budget inside and out. I have 17 years as a senior-level executive I know every nook and cranny of Orange County government,” Clarke responded. “When you’re talking mosquito control, animal control, the medical examiner’s office fire and rescue, the jail, corrections, medical. There is no private entity you can lean to, to say, ‘Where did I get this experience to run this?'”

That last comment was directed at Panepinto, who time and again pushed his experience in the private sector and the need to bring fresh ideas to a community on the cusp of world-class greatness.

“I’ve been pretty involved in government,” he insisted. “All of the initiatives that I’ve been involved in, the chair of the chamber [of commerce,] executive director of the Orlando Partnership, my time on the [Central Florida] Expressway Authority, work at the Central Florida Foundation, some of the nonprofits, all interact with county and state government.

“But I’ve done it from the outside, so I have seen the impact of government policy on problems that we face and our ability to move them forward,” Panepinto continued. “So actually I think I have the perfect experience, because I know enough about how government operates, but also can look at from a broader perspective but also can see what happens to people on the other side of the table, who are out there creating jobs, building businesses, and serving this community on a daily basis.”

That led to the biggest tussle of the night, after Panepinto charged that neither Demings nor Clarke have that perspective.

Demings essentially counter-punched by implying that Panepinto was not being truthful.

“Can I have a shot at this one?” Clark asked, seeking his own rebuttal to Panepinto.

“I just got whacked!” Panepinto declared, trying to repond to Demings.

“He deserved it!” Demings retorted.

“I think I need a shot because I got criticized as well!” Clarke interceded.

“Look I am not minimizing anyone’s experience… but with all due respect, there is a difference between being an accountant before you were a law enforcement official, and building a business to almost 5,000 people,” Panepinto pushed through.

“Do you still have that business today?” Demings demanded.

“No, I sold it,” Panepinto replied.

“You sold it because you were trying to get wealthy off of it,” Demings declared.

“Oh my goodness!” Panepinto exclaimed.

“Those of us who stayed in the public sector, we’re going to work, I’m going to work, I wasn’t trying to get wealthy!” Demings got out over a growing chorus of audience groans and boos.

“I don’t think I need to respond to that,” Panepinto concluded.

If there were a winner to be declared Thursday, it was incumbent and outgoing mayor Teresa Jacobs, who’s now running for the countywide school board chair’s position. All three, particularly Clarke, to a lesser extent Panepinto, praised many of the ongoing programs at the Orange County Administration Building, the budgeting process over the past several years, and initiatives from her administration, from SunRail expansion plans to partnership programs.

On some hot-button issues, there was little disagreement.

No one wanted to commit to any county-imposed mandates to address minimum wage or other employee issues such as a paid sick leave plan that had been proposed as a citizens’ initiative five years ago and then uncerimoneously shot down in what easily was Jacobs’ most controversial moment.

There was general agreement to let existing programs to serve the homeless be the basis for future policies that address issues of mental health, substance abuse and other commonly concurrent problems, though Clarke was the only one expressing support for a downtown drop-in center for the homeless.

No one had any problem with pledging full commitments to public safety, especially for the schools. This was the topic, though, at which Demings, who could point to significant drops in crime rates, increases in both staffing and salaries for the sheriff’s office, and specific plans for policing, shined.

No one could point to any specific program budgets they would cut.

The closest they came to disagreement on public safety or budgeting was when both Panepinto and Clarke criticized Demings’ habit of almost annually returning unused money that had been requested and budgeted for the sheriff’s department but never spent. Clarke charged that Demings was “budget banking:” asking for more money than he needed each year, money that could have gone into other county services. But Clarke also said he voted for every increase the sheriff ever requested.

“I think I’m the only public safety expert that’s up here,” Demings responded. “What these gentlemen have just said is a bunch of gobbledy goop.”

There were only a few moments of discussion of new ideas about which the candidates didn’t agree.

Panepinto tried, briefly, to talk about his detailed plan, unveiled last week, to address improvements in affordable housing, but had no time to offer any detail, and complained in his closing statement about how that issue really wasn’t explored in the debate. He also talked about his intention to streamline building and business permit programs to save the county money and give the private sector swifter government responses.

Demings talked vaguely about his interest in coordinating Central Florida’s transportation agencies, but Clarke took it a step further, advocating combining them in some way, to use the Expressway Authority’s wealth from toll roads to help pay for train and bus transit expansions and improvements.

Chris King turns ‘Stand Your Ground’ shooting speech into ad

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King‘s offering the emotional speech he gave in a Clearwater Baptist Church Sunday morning to be a new digital internet ad for his campaign, presenting his call to change Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law and to change hearts.

The 1-minute, 13-second video  “Change Hearts” presents the conclusion of the talk King gave in remembrance of Markeis McGlockton, the 47-year-old black man who was shot and killed in a confrontation over a parking space in Clearwater, in a case Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri decided to not pursue as a crime because the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law covered it.

“We have to change a law that is wrong and immoral and indecent,” King, himself an Evangelical Christian, says in the talk. “But the second is the harder truth because it’s easy to change laws; it’s harder to change hearts.

King’s remarks were made at the St. John Primitive Baptist Church on Sunday after he met with McGlockton’s family.

The ad will be targeted at Democratic voters on Facebook statewide as part of the King campaign’s ongoing six-figure paid online media campaign.

All five of the Democrats running for governor in the Aug. 28 Democratic primary, King, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Palm Beach businessman Jeff Greene, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, have called for repeal of Stand Your Ground, and denounced the Clearwater shooting, and several have made visits to Clearwater.

Gillum, the first to call for the law’s suspension or repeal following the shooting, took part in a sit-in Wednesday with faith leaders at the office of Republican Gov. Rick Scott, seeking to demand that he suspend the law.

Republican primary frontrunner U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis said he does not see the Clearwater case as an appropriate Stand Your Ground case, a position for which he was slammed by his Republican rival Florida Agriculture Adam Putnam,

Scott stands by the law and its use in Clearwater.

King’s ad seeks to place him there, before voters. He talked about how different it would be if he  – a white man – and his family members had been there instead of McGlockton and his girlfriend.

“And if someone had come up to my wife and said what they said and I had defended her and I had been shot and killed, this state would be on fire!” King declares.

Orange Co. Republicans seeking replacement to run against Amy Mercado

The Orange County Republican Executive Committee has opened up for potential candidates to come forward to replace Scotland Calhoun, who withdrew late Friday from her challenge of state Rep. Amy Mercado for the Florida House District 51 seat.

Orange REC Chair Charles Hart said Wednesday he has circulated notices Wednesday to county Republicans and REC members asking anyone interested in running to send in resumes and letters and prepare to meet with him and State Committeewoman Kathy Gibson on Thursday.

“We’re keeping an open mind; we don’t have a front-runner,” Hart said Wednesday.

Calhoun withdrew after party officials concluded she wasn’t eligible, since she would not turn 21 until the spring.

The challenge is to take on Democratic incumbent Mercado in the November election, seeking to be the first Republican to represent the district since redistricting redefined it following the 2010 election.

A candidate who enters the race as Calhoun’s replacement can still appear by name on the November ballot. Last year the Democrats had to replace their candidate in a special election to fill House District 44, but the replacement, Eddy Dominguez was named after the ballots were printed, so the ballot had the name of his predecessor instead of his.

Still, the challenge for a new HD 48 candidate in the solidly-blue and heavily-Hispanic district would be daunting.

The Republican Party hasn’t fielded a candidate in the southeast Orange County district in any of the past three elections. Mercado won victory in 2016 against an independent candidate. Her father, state Sen. Victor Torres, was the District 48 representative before her, winning unopposed in the 2012 and 2014 elections.

Calhoun entered the race in June and was rewarded by the Republican Party of Florida with a $50,000 state party donation to start her campaign. But no such seed money is expected this time, so the next candidate likely would have to start fundraising from scratch, one potential candidate said.

Gwen Graham sees film biz woes as symptom of ideology malaise

After hearing out leaders of Florida’s struggling film industry, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham pledged to help as governor and said she blames ideological thinking in Tallahassee for driving away much of Florida’s former movie business.

“It’s a philosophical problem. That’s what it is. That’s what it is!” Graham said. “That’s what it is in all these areas when you talk about health care, the education system. These have become ideological tools for state government. And that’s not your job

“Your job when you’re provided the opportunity to do what’s right, and to help the state, is to not be influenced by ideology. And it makes me so angry,” she continued.

The matter came up as Graham pressed a table full of Florida film and TV entertainment production business representatives on why the state’s ability to attract TV and movie production has suddenly dried up and blown away to Georgia and other states in the past three to five years.

John Lux, executive director of Film Florida, a statewide industry organizaiton, and other film representatives told Graham the same thing they told her Democratic primary rival Philip Levine two weeks ago: that they perceive a rigid opposition in state leadership to providing any more business incentives, while states like Georgia and Texas have waved checks and called out, “over here!”

Levine, who’s been making a commitment to turn around Florida’s declining film industry a plank in his platform almost from the start of his campaign, pledged full support to the industry two weeks ago. Graham offered the same.

Lux said he also has spoken by phone with two other Democratic candidates, Jeff Greene and Andrew Gillum, and with the staff of the fifth, Chris King, receiving support.

Lux said he and others in the industry also have reached out to the leading Republican candidates, Ron DeSantis and Adam Putnam, but have gotten no responses.

At a meeting at Adrenaline Films of Edgwood on Wednesday, Lux, University of Central Florida film professor Lisa Mills, Michael Jordan of MJJ Entertainment and Filmotechnic USA, actor Tom Nowicki, and others argued that the costs to Florida include the losses of high-paying jobs associated with each production, the potential to develop permanent film production businesses in Florida, the tourism boost a movie or TV show can provide, and a source for careers for actors and college graduates coming out of Florida’s film schools.

The talk from Tallahassee leaders in recent years, the film representatives said, has focused exclusively on returns on investment for state money. But they charged that the formulas the state is citing do not take into account the Florida product placement in popular movies and TV shows to promote Florida tourism, or the potential for Florida to feed development of a critical mass to grow its own film industry. And they argued that Florida doesn’t need to be nearly as generous with incentives as states like Georgia and North Carolina, it just needs to look interested.

“They want to come here,” Lux said.

They focused on “Bloodline,” the Netflix Florida Keys-based TV series that ran for three seasons, before shutting down in 2017 with complaints that Florida was no longer a welcoming place for its production. Nowicki played an evil developer in that seires.

“In addition to the $30 million that was spent just on production, they found another $65 million in incremental tourism in people that decided to go there,” Lux said.

Then there was “Dolphin Tale,” the 2011 movie in which Nowicki also had a role.

“Before Dolphin Tale 1, the [Clearwater Marine] Aquarium was averaging 75,000, 80,000 visitors a year. The year after Dolphin Tale was released, that number went up to nearly 1 million,” Nowicki said.

The film representatives said most of the lawmakers they lobbyed offered support for the film industry but that “the leadership” would not budge. Graham would not press them to name names, except for Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

raham sought to explore why, at one point concluding that it might just be a distaste for what she called, mockingly, “liberal Hollywood elites.”

“The film industry, I’m passionate about this. And I want to bring this industry, and all different components of it, back to Florida,” Graham said. “And I know what’s going on, and it has been political.”

Gwen Graham applauds as ‘Sisterhood of Gubernatorial Nominees’ grows

With another win, the Sisterhood of Gubernatorial Nominees has grown again.

Tuesday night’s primary victory in Michigan by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer has Gwen Graham smiling broadly in Florida on Wednesday.

Graham and her gubernatorial campaign are making no secret that they are counting on this being a year in which women, particularly on the Democratic side, rise up everywhere. She hailed Whitmer’s win as another signal of that prospect.

“Gretchen Whitmer ran on a positive message and a clear vision for her state’s future. Her victory tonight is another win for women, families and every Democrat who cares about protecting education, expanding health care and creating jobs,” Graham stated in a news release.

In Florida of course, Graham must get past four men in the Aug. 28 primary — which she famously declared to be “Gwen and the men,” — Philip Levine, Jeff Greene, Andrew Gillum, and Chris King. And then there’s the challenge of winning over the Republican in November, either Ron DeSantis or Adam Putnam.

Tuesday night in Michigan, Whitmer defeated two men in the Democratic primary, including progressives’ darling, Abdul El-Sayed.

“With Gretchen as the Democratic nominee,” Graham declared, “Michigan Democrats are going to send another strong woman to the Governor’s office.”

The Center for American Women in Politics, a Rutgers University program, declared in a tweet Wednesday, “Another new record. 2018 has the most women gubernatorial nominees in history. The previous record, first set in 1994, was 10. Gretchen Whitmer and (newly nominated Kansas gubernatorial nominee) Laura Kelly make 11.”

Graham pointed out that she and Whitmer share EMILY’S List backing, and Graham sent out a picture reminding that they are part of a sisterhood of candidates, showing Graham, Whitmer and Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams.

They’re not alone. EMILY’s List also is backing candidates in Oregon, New Hampshire, Kansas, New Mexico, Maine, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. And there are additional women candidates on ballots in other states.

“There are only two Democratic women governors in our country right now. Through the work that EMILY’s List candidates have done and the energy they have garnered from supporters in their states, we are going to increase that number significantly,” EMILY’s List senior director of campaign communications Julie McClain Downey stated. “These women, including Gwen Graham, are the strongest candidates in their fields. Voters are going to connect with their leadership styles and as a result, we will elect more women governors and end up with better policy outcomes for women and families across this country.”

Democratic PACs hitting Rick Scott on Medicaid, pre-existing conditions

Senate Majority PAC and Priorities USA Action PAC are launching a new $1.1 million digital ad campaign to blanket the internet with a new advertisement hitting Republican U.S. Senate candidate Gov. Rick Scott for refusing to expand Medicaid in Florida and charging that he opposes mandatory insurance coverage of people with pre-existing conditions.

The first point, Medicaid expansion, comes from a well-documented debate that has lasted seven years over Florida’s refusal to enroll in the optional federal Medicaid expansion program, a decision Democrats say leaves at least 750,000 Floridians without access to any standard health care coverage.

The second point, the pre-existing conditions, comes in part from Florida’s participation in a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn a mandate in the Affordable Care Act that insurance companies must not deny coverage to new enrollees with ongoing conditions that can include things such as cancer or diabetes. That suit would not necessarily roll back such coverage but could make it a state option on whether to require it. Republicans in Congress last year also introduced a bill that would have eliminated the federal mandate, and Scott voiced support for it.

However, Scott has said he would be in favor of keeping pre-existing coverage requirements as a state rule in Florida.

The 15-second ad, “Worry,” is running statewide in both English and Spanish versions. The ads will run across a broad range of platforms including Facebook, Google, YouTube and Pandora, as well as on online news platforms such as CNN, The New York Times, Univision and Telemundo.

“I worry about how to pay for health care,” a woman says, as the video shows a worried woman talking with a doctor. “But Rick Scott rejected funds to expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of people, and wants to let insurance companies deny health care to people with pre-existing conditions.”

Senate Majority PAC and Priorities USA Action both are independent political organizations supporting Democrats. The ad criticizes Scott but does not mention his opponent, Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Bill Nelson.

Nor does a news release the groups put out Thursday announcing the campaign.

“Throughout his time as governor, former health care profiteer Rick Scott has drastically increased his wealth while at the same time turning away funds that would greatly improve the lives of his constituents — including Medicaid funding that would have covered 750,000 Floridians and over $1 million that would have helped to fight substance abuse,” the release states.

“Meanwhile, Scott has given billions of dollars in tax relief to the rich like himself and big corporations and supported a health care plan that could eliminate coverage for the 8 million Floridians with pre-existing conditions.”

Sean Shaw sews up more endorsements in Democratic AG primary

Attorney General candidate Sean Shaw shored up his support among mainline Democratic allies and progressive organizations Tuesday with the announcements of 10 new endorsements including the Democratic Party Environmental and LGBTA caucuses.

The endorsements continue the Tampa state representative’s effort to grab the advantage going into the Aug. 28 Democratic primary against rival Ryan Torrens, a Tampa lawyer.

Also among Shaw’s newly announced endorsements are the blessings of MoveOn.org; the National Association of Social Workers; the Broward County Democratic Black Caucus; the Broward Teachers Union; the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 177; Invisible Broward #Resist Group; and the Professional Firefighters/Paramedics of Palm Beach County, Local 2928 of the International Association of Firefighters.

“As a proud progressive Democrat, I am humbled and honored to have received the endorsement of all of these organizations,” Shaw stated in a news release issued by his campaign. “Democratic attorneys general are the best line of defense against a White House determined to turn back the clock on our nation. As attorney general, I will spend every day fighting to move the state of Florida forward and I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with the members of each of these organizations.

“I thank them for sharing my passion for protecting Floridian’s.”

Rick Scott ad accuses Bill Nelson of cutting Medicare when he voted for Obamacare

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Gov. Rick Scott is launching a new television commercial accusing his opponent, Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, of voting to cut Medicare when he voted for the Affordable Care Act.

The 30-second spot, “Unfair,” will be playing on television and in digital internet advertising. It charges Nelson with supporting Medicare cuts and helping put Medicare in financial straits because he voted yes on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, in 2009.

The commercial doesn’t actually mention the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, only citing the bill number and vote number. The commercial contends the vote led to a cut of $716 billion from Medicare. It is an allegation that Republicans have been charging, and Democrats refuting, since the Affordable Care Act was first approved in December 2009, though the exact number of the alleged cuts has varied. By 2012 Republicans were consistently citing $716 billion.

That year PolitiFact sought to check the claim and rated it “Mostly False.” PolitiFact, a project operated by the Tampa Bay Times (then the St. Petersburg Times) wrote, “While the health care law reduces the amount of future spending growth in Medicare, the law doesn’t actually cut Medicare. Savings come from reducing money that goes to private insurers who provide Medicare Advantage programs, among other things.”

The new Scott campaign commercial contends the cuts are unfair, and Nelson is to blame.

“You pay for Medicare your entire career,” the commercial’s narrator begins. “Your parents pay into Medicare their entire lives. But Washington is letting Medicare crumble.”

The commercial then uses text to cite news reports that predicted that Medicare could face insolvency in 2026.

“Bill Nelson voted to cut $716 billion from Medicare. No wonder it’s going bankrupt,” the narrator continues. “Nelson and the politicians from Washington are stealing from Medicare to pay for other government programs. Stealing from Medicare is unfair.”

Gwen Graham ad decries ‘billionaire opponent’ attacking her and her father

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham is responding to an attack ad from her Aug. 28 primary opponent Jeff Greene by launching a new television commercial touting her environmental record and decrying “false negative advertising.”

Her 30-second spot, “Trust,” launched Tuesday morning, featuring footage of Graham and her father, former U.S. Sen. and former Gov. Bob Graham, kayaking together. It also touts endorsements from “respected environmentalists.”

The ad is a rebuttal to one Greene launched last week after the statewide Democratic debate. That ad sought to paint Graham and her family’s business, the Graham Companies, as threats to the environment, particularly to the Everglades, because the company is providing some of the land needed for the new mega-mall being developed in Miami. Greene’s commercial notes that environmental groups have roundly opposed the mall for its potential impact on traffic and the Everglades watershed.

Greene’s campaign responded to Graham’s latest commercial by calling on her to oppose the American Dream Mall, as does the Everglades Trust, which endorsed her.

Graham’s campaign first criticized Greene’s commercial ad last week by saying that she long ago withdrew from any involvement in the company, that the mall’s environmental impact may be far less than critics charge, and that her and her father’s environmental protection records are among the strongest of anyone in the state.

It’s the latter point that plays out in the new commercial, which includes a citation to an endorsement she received just Monday from the Everglades Trust.

“A billionaire opponent is attacking me personally – even falsely attacking my dad, Bob Graham,” Graham opens the commercial, referring to Greene, a Palm Beach developer. “It’s disappointing. Because the truth is I’ve been endorsed by respected environmentalists, including the Everglades Trust. And after twenty years of Republican rule, false negative ads won’t do anything to repair our environment, health care or public schools”

Graham, the former congresswoman from Tallahassee, and Greene are battling each other along with former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, and Winter Park businessman Chris King in the Aug. 28 Democratic primary.

A news release issued by her campaign goes even further, seeking to compare her record on the environment and the transparency of her business dealings with that of Greene, charging that he owns stock in oil companies seeking to drill off Florida’s beaches or gas companies involved in the controversial extraction method known as “fracking,” and that his financial disclosures do not give enough detail to disclose how much he owns in them.

Just as Graham’s campaign didn’t limit criticism to the topic of the two advertisements, neither did Greene’s on Tuesday, which contended that her environmental record is nothing like that of her father’s, because when she was in Congress she voted to support the Keystone Pipeline, opposed by then-President Barack Obama, most environmental activists, and most Democrats.

Graham has defended those votes by saying she concluded that over-land or sea shipments of oil would be far more potentially hazardous than pipeline shipments, and certainly would create more pollution through the trucks, trains, and ships carrying the oil, rather than a pipeline.

But Greene’s campaign countered that Gwen Graham is no Bob Graham, whom Greene’s campaign praised as the architect of policies to protect “millions of acres of pristine Florida beauty”:

“During his tenure as Governor and Senator, Bob Graham did great things for the state of Florida and for our environment. Ironically, he was the architect of our growth management policy that today protects millions of acres of pristine Florida beauty. He headed President Obama’s commission to investigate the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill and offshore drilling.”

“Graham calls Greene’s attacks personal. That’s patently false and she knows it,” Greene’s campaign charged. “But her votes to gut Obamacare and her profiting from a paving over of the Everglades ARE personal to the millions of Floridians that they impact.”

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