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John Morgan on Richard Corcoran: Don’t go to your own ‘ass kicking’

Orlando attorney John Morgan told reporters Wednesday that he supported the decision of his friend, outgoing House Speaker Richard Corcoran, to end his bid for the Governor’s Office before it even formally started.

Corcoran, a Land O’ Lakes Republican, last week endorsed Republican candidate for governor Adam Putnam, currently term-limited as Commissioner of Agriculture.

Morgan, who aligns with Democrats, said he had told Corcoran several weeks ago he couldn’t catch up in the money game, having been already out-fundraised by Putnam and with GOP Congressman Ron DeSantis putting up a formidable challenge.

“I told him it’s all about money,” Morgan said in Tallahassee, before a trial in his lawsuit over the state’s medical marijuana smoking ban. “The question was answered for Richard Corcoran when the money froze up.

“You know, he was somebody I have helped,” added Morgan, who flirted with his own run for governor. “He’s a friend of mine. He’s someone I would have helped on the Republican side. He made the right decision … I think he knew he was gonna get beat.

“If I knew I was gonna get beat, I wouldn’t like to go to my own ass kicking,” he added.

Morgan also weighed in on Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson‘s re-election chances against Gov. Rick Scott, the Naples Republican challenging him for the seat.

Nelson “is in for a dogfight,” he said. “He’s got to get busy. You cannot underestimate Rick Scott. He’s methodical, ever ready with money. He’s like a bald (Energizer) bunny. He never stops. He’s got the message. If I were Bill Nelson, I’d be worried.”

Smoke ’em? Judge will decide on puffing medical marijuana

It’s now up to a Tallahassee judge whether the Legislature overstepped when it outlawed the smoking of medical marijuana.

Attorneys for the state and patients who want to smoke the drug squared off in a Leon County courtroom Wednesday before Circuit Judge Karen Gievers. She didn’t immediately rule after the close of evidence, but could issue a decision as early as tonight, if previous experience holds.

The highlight was plaintiff Cathy Jordan, a Manatee County woman who has Lou Gehrig’s disease, uses a wheelchair and struggles to speak. She testified she’s been smoking marijuana since the late 1980s: “I figured, ‘what the heck, what’s it gonna do, kill me?’ “

The issue was whether lawmakers’ ban on smoking runs counter to the constitutional amendment on medicinal cannabis, spearheaded by Orlando attorney and entrepreneur John Morgan, that was approved by voters statewide in 2016. 

Morgan, who sat at counsel’s table but did not participate in the one-day trial, placed the blame solely on Gov. Rick Scott. He signed the medical marijuana implementing law that bans smoking.

He’s “the CEO of the state,” Morgan said after the trial. “Look, people are screaming for this, and he does nothing about it. I think there’s a whole story to be told here about (the state) trying to deny the will of the people.”

Plaintiffs’ attorney Jon Mills argued that the amendment’s use of the definition of the drug in a state law is key.

It says “cannabis” means “all parts of any plant of the genus Cannabis, whether growing or not (emphasis added); the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant or its seeds or resin.”

If the state can prohibit smoking, why not vaping, or edibles, or indeed, “why not just outlaw” medical marijuana itself, he asked.

Senior Deputy Solicitor General Rachel Nordby countered that the smoking ban is “entirely consistent” with the state’s role to regulate public health. She said the Department of Health, the named defendant, can address “reasonable health and safety concerns,” including smoking.

The state does allow ‘vaping’ as an alternative, she added, because of scientific evidence advising against smoking as an “inhaled method” of delivery.

But Jordan testified she must smoke marijuana because it helps dry up her saliva, which she otherwise chokes on. (Her husband, standing beside her at the witness stand, helped ‘translate’ some of her answers.) It relaxes her muscles, helps prevent further atrophy, and increases her appetite, she said: “It makes my life a lot more bearable.”

She added: “I was given three to five years to live. I’m still here … I’m amazed at my health.”

But Jordan also raised some eyebrows when co-counsel George Coe asked her if she would smoke marijuana legally. She at first suggested no, saying “I grow it in my yard.” Asked to clarify, she later said she would: “That’s why I joined this case.”

Another plaintiff – Diana Dodson, who has HIV and AIDS – testified she “would not be alive today without cannabis,” adding that “smoked cannabis works best for me.”

Dodson, who’s previously from California, said she could not currently afford to get a state medical marijuana patient ID card, however. Medical marijuana also is not covered by health insurance.

And Ben Pollara, head of the pro-medical marijuana Florida for Care organization, told the court smoking “is how most patients consume the medication.” The group claims 41,000 members.

He also referred to an “intent statement” for the amendment that says it “does not require that the smoking of medical marijuana be allowed in public.” Conversely, that means smoking is allowed in private, such as in one’s home, he said.

In an interview, Morgan also questioned whether the Health Department’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use, which regulates the drug, was “inept” or “malicious.”

Lawmakers have been upset for months, mainly over what they call the department’s slow-going in implementing medical marijuana under the amendment, which passed by 71 percent.

“You can’t be this bad,” Morgan said. “It’s like if you went to get to your driver’s license, and stood there all day, and didn’t get to take the test. ‘Sorry, couldn’t get to you, come back tomorrow’ … It becomes malicious. And the person controlling that is Gov. Scott.

“…You couldn’t f–k up this bad unless it’s intentional,” he added. “Enough is enough. Let’s stop the politics. Let’s let these people live.”

Update: Scott spokesman John Tupps responded later Wednesday to Morgan.

“It was the Legislature’s duty to outline how to implement Amendment 2 and the Department of Health has been working nonstop to implement the law that was passed with an overwhelming bipartisan majority,” he said.

“Currently, there are more than 109,000 patients that have access to medical marijuana in Florida and DOH has certified nearly 1,400 doctors who can prescribe this treatment. Also, in addition to home delivery, there are 35 locations across Florida where patients have access. Implementing Amendment 2 has been delayed by the constant litigation filed by special interests.”

A thread of live tweets from the trial is here.

Rick Scott earmarks federal Hurricane Irma block grant for housing, infrastructure

Florida wants to spend $616 million in post-Irma federal emergency money to repair damaged homes, build new affordable housing, and to help businesses that suffered damage in the storm.

The money would come from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through a disaster-recovery community block grant. Gov. Rick Scott submitted his plan for the money to federal officials on Wednesday.

“Even before Hurricane Irma made landfall, we began working with the federal government to express the diverse needs our state would face following a storm of this magnitude and how best to address those needs,” Scott said in a written statement.

“Since the storm, we have worked tirelessly alongside community and business leaders to build stronger communities that are better prepared for future disasters. I’m glad that DEO submitted this plan to help families in our state,” Scott said.

The Department of Economic Opportunity worked with local officials in the hardest-hit areas to develop the plan, the governor’s office said.

The program is designed to kick in after other federal assistance, including FEMA and Small Business Administration grants, and private insurance are exhausted.

HUD requires the state to direct 80 percent of the money to the areas that suffered the most damage — Brevard, Broward, Collier, Duval, Lee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Orange, Polk and Volusia counties, and ZIP codes 32136, 32091, 32068 and 34266.

“We are thankful to these communities for their commitment and partnership to determine the best way to use this funding to make a difference across the state,” DEO director Cissy Proctor said. “We are committed to helping Floridians recover, particularly families who do not have the resources to rebound as quickly after a disaster.”

HUD has 45 days to evaluate the state’s plan, which includes the purchase of land for affordable housing.

The state hopes to use some of the money for economic and infrastructure projects, especially in the Florida Keys, and to assist people who moved to Florida from Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria.

The feds have allocated $117 million under the CDBG-DR program to help Florida cope with damage from hurricanes Hermine and Matthew.

Rick Scott rolls out new Spanish language campaign ad, spends $3.2M on air this week

Gov. Rick Scott continues his full court press of Florida airwaves in his bid for Senate against Bill Nelson, with a new Spanish language ad released Wednesday.

“Cambiar,” a Spanish language ad running in South Florida, spotlights Scott’s efforts in job creation, with citizens extolling his efforts.

Among the kind words from various speakers: “Rick Scott has created more opportunities in Florida … There are more jobs in Florida thanks to Rick Scott … As a veteran, I’m very grateful to Rick Scott. He has created jobs and he’s put people back into the labor force, and that’s why I support him.”

Scott for Florida has spent $3.2 million on ads this week, and $8 million since the Governor entered the race.

This week, Scott has rolled out an ad per day.

Monday saw the release of another Spanish language spot, touting his efforts on behalf of Puerto Rico and providing praise for him from Puerto Rican Floridians.

That 30-second spot,  “Presente,” is running on Spanish TV stations in Tampa and Orlando.

Tuesday saw the release of an English language ad. “Party Line” features people complaining that incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson is a “party line voter.”

Chris King hits TV with progressive-themed ad

Orlando businessman Chris King, who consistently polls behind at least two of the four other Democratic gubernatorial candidates in the 2018 election, is airing a new 30-second ad Wednesday in television markets peppered across the state.

King is the second Democrat in the Governor’s race to break into TV. The other, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, was also the first gubernatorial candidate to air a TV ad when his affiliated political committee in November dished out $800,000 for a 30-second spot. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, a Republican candidate, hit cable waves for the first time in April.

The ad demonstrates the King campaign’s ability to capitalize on momentum; the spot follows just one day after the candidate unveiled an ambitious, progressive and multi-faceted criminal justice plan — which attracted the attention of some of the state’s largest media outlets.

King’s ad is set to air in Gainesville, Jacksonville, Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, Panama City and West Palm Beach-Fort Pierce television markets.

The ad opens with a waiter asking a politician if he’d like more sugar. The politician responds, “Yes, of course!” And the waiter fills the politician’s cup with an excessive amount of sugar.

Then, in a voiceover, King is heard saying, “It’s the same old politics. Big Sugar buys influence in Tallahassee and pollutes our environment.” When he enters the frame, he says, “I’m Chris King and I won’t take a dime from them.”

The message is intended to highlight King’s sugar-free stance, which he declared almost immediately after entering the race. All of the Democratic candidates have since announced they would not take money affiliated with the sugar industry. Former Congresswoman Gwen Graham, however, received $17,400 for her congressional campaign from what’s been described as ‘big sugar,’ but donated that money to the Indian Riverkeeper and pledged to not take any more money from the sugar industry. 

The rest of the ad is made up of calls for progressive policies, including the expansion of Medicaid, funding for affordable housing and making community college and public trade school free.

“If you want new leadership and fresh ideas,” King says at the end of the commercial. “I’m ready to fight for you.”

Pam Bondi lawsuit accuses opioid industry of racketeering

Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a racketeering lawsuit Tuesday, blaming five major pharmaceutical companies for instigating the opioid drug crisis and alleging “a campaign of misrepresentations and omissions” about the powerful painkillers to doctors and consumers.

Bondi’s office filed the 54-page complaint in Pasco County, which it identified as among the state’s hardest hit areas, with the highest overdose mortality rate between 2004 and 2012.

“We are in the midst of a national opioid crisis claiming 175 lives a day nationally and 15 lives a day in Florida, and I will not tolerate anyone profiting from the pain and suffering of Floridians,” Bondi said in a written statement.

“The complaint I filed today seeks to hold some of the nation’s largest opioid manufacturers and distributors responsible for their role in this crisis and seeks payment for the pain and destruction their actions have caused Florida and its citizens,” she said.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam appeared alongside Bondi at a news conference, held Tuesday afternoon at Riverside Recovery of Tampa, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility.

“This lawsuit will result in the resources for additional treatment, prevention, awareness, additional facilities, like this, additional tools and support for the men and women in law enforcement, so that we can break the hold that this opioid crisis has on our state and on our nation,” Putnam said.

The lawsuit names Purdue Pharma L.P.; Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Cephalon Inc.; and Allergan PLC.

It also names the following drug distributors: AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp.; Cardinal Health Inc.; McKesson Corp.; and Mallinckrodt LLC.

The complaint alleges violations of Florida RICO and unfair trade practices laws, plus negligence.

It seeks unspecified monetary damages — including treble damages, designed to discourage egregious misconduct; restitution on behalf of state agencies and consumers; disgorgement of “ill-gotten proceeds;” divestment of any business or real assets linked to the alleged misconduct; and forfeiture of property used to promote the scheme.

“The state of Florida brings this civil action to hold the defendants accountable for unconscionably creating the state of Florida’s opioid public health and financial crisis,” the complaint says.

“The defendants reaped billions of dollars in revenues while causing immense harm to the state of Florida and its citizens, and now they must pay for their role in the crisis and act to remediate the crisis.”

Pasco and Pinellas counties, comprising FDLE District 6, recorded the highest number of oxycodone deaths in the state during 2016, according to the document. That same year, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office treated nearly 2,00 inmates for opioid addiction. Last year, someone overdosed in Pasco County an average of once every three days.

“The disproportionately high overdose rates were the direct, readily foreseeable result of the shockingly high amounts of opioids which have been funneled into Pasco County throughout the crisis,” the complaint says.

“For example, a single pharmacy in Hudson, Florida — a Pasco County town of 34,000 people — purchased 2.2 million opioid pills in just one year (2011). That same year, another pharmacy dispensed more than 1.4 million opioids in Port Richey, Florida.”

Bondi’s office alleged a “strategic campaign of misrepresentations about the risks and benefits of opioid use to physicians, other prescribers, consumers, pharmacies, and state governmental agencies.”

This, the complaint alleges, included the use of “front organizations” and medical professionals hired to promote opioids without acknowledging that they actually served as the manufacturers’ “mouthpieces.”

“Because they are so dangerous and addictive, Florida imposes obligations on both manufacturers and distributors of opioids aimed at preventing the misuse of these drugs and their diversion into the marketplace for uses other than legitimate medical uses,” the complaint says.

“Because of the actions of the defendants in violating these duties, the closed chain of supply broke down in Florida, leading to a massive public health crisis that continues to ravage the state.”

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis issued a written statement endorsing the lawsuit and calling Bondi “a fearless warrior against the opioid epidemic.”

Update: Putnam said state GOP leaders, including House Speaker Richard Corcoran, Sen. Wilton Simpson, Rep. Jim Boyd, and Bondi, have “led the way” in fighting opiates.

Gwen Graham, seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, disputed that assessment.

“After years of inaction and with just months left in their terms, Pam Bondi, Adam Putnam and Republican leaders stood at a news conference today to take credit for a lawsuit that should have been filed years ago,” Graham said in a written statement.

“I’m glad they are finally taking this long overdue step but remain disappointed it took them so long to do so,” Graham said. “Under Lawton Chiles, Florida led the nation in suing big tobacco. Under Pam Bondi and Adam Putnam, we’re following behind other states — and Florida families have paid the price.”

Sean Shaw, a Democrat running for attorney general, issued the following statement:

“Unfortunately, today’s action is too little too late for the families in our state who have been devastated by a preventable epidemic had action been taken years ago before we reached this tipping point. It is disheartening that it took eight years of warnings, thousands of unnecessary deaths, and for her time in office to be coming to an end for Attorney General Bondi to finally acknowledge that Floridians have been facing an overwhelming opioid crisis.

“As attorney general, I won’t wait until others have acted to be an advocate for Floridians who are suffering. Our state deserves a top legal officer who will lead in the face of a crisis, not one who will have to be pressured into acting in the best interests of our citizens.”

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Chris King: Ban death penalty, legalize pot, restore rights, close private prisons

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King laid claim Tuesday to the the Democrats’ most far-ranging criminal justice reform platform by vowing to seek to end the death penalty, legalize marijuana, restore felons’ voter rights, and close Florida’s private prisons.

The six-point plan, which also called for reducing incarceration rates and investing in schools to close what King termed the “school to prison pipeline,” is the broadest package yet proposed by Democratic gubernatorial candidates, though they all have pushed various justice reform issues, particularly Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.

King, the Winter Park entrepreneur who’s been running a distant fourth behind Gillum, Philip Levine, and Gwen Graham in Democratic polls, unveiled the plan at the first stop of what he’s calling his “Turning the Tide” tour, at a roundtable discussion in St. Petersburg Tuesday.

“Florida needs fresh ideas and new leadership to reform its broken criminal justice system,” King stated in a news release issued afterwards by his campaign. “‘Turning the tide’ means reforming a system that needlessly criminalizes tens of thousands of nonviolent men and women in Florida. I reject the conventional politics of just seeking incremental change – we’ve got to fight for bold, progressive ideas to make our justice system fair while keeping Floridians safe.”

Perhaps the biggest and most daring of the policy positions is his call for ending the death penalty in Florida. King, a devote evangelical who often cites his faith in his speeches, has been opposed to the death penalty a long time, according to his campaign.

It’s an issue that divided much of Florida last year when Orlando’s State Attorney Aramis Ayala sought to ban the death penalty in Florida’s 9th Judicial Circuit, eventually losing an extremely hostile fight with Gov. Rick Scott and others in the Florida Supreme Court. Yet some public opinion polls indicated that Ayala, and now King, might have majorities of voters behind the position.

King’s campaign said he would decline to issue death warrants as death row inmates come up for executions, and would seek commutations of death row sentences through the Florida Cabinet.

The campaign also said he would use “all legislative and constitutional avenues” to seek the end capital punishment in Florida and replace the state’s ultimate punishment with life imprisonment without parole, and that he would use his line-item veto pen to reject appropriations for the operations of death penalties.

With Tuesday’s platform unveiling, King also became the second Democratic candidate, after Gillum, to call for the complete legalization of marijuana in Florida.

“King believes the time has come to legalize marijuana for recreational use and tax it,” his campaign stated. “Criminalizing marijuana has resulted in increased spending in incarcerating non-serious offenders and strained relations with the police. For example, African Americans in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties are at least six times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession as white people. King supports legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana for recreational use.”

Among King’s other proposals:

– Ending private prisons. “Rick Scott hands out private prison contracts like candy, promising that they will lower costs while not a single dollar of savings has been confirmed,” the release contended. “Private prisons in Florida absorb $142 million taxpayer dollars each year yet produce inexcusable conditions for prisoners and fail to lower the recidivism rate.”

– Restoration of voting rights. “King supports Amendment 4 to restore the rights of 1.6 million Floridians who haven’t had their civil and voting rights restored because no one who has paid their debt to society should be denied the right to vote,” the release stated. “Additionally, King supports reinstating reforms made by Gov. Charlie Crist attempting to stop delaying or outright ignoring requests by ex-felons for restoration of voting rights and other civil rights.”

– Reducing mass incarceration. “Florida’s crime and incarceration rates are in the top 10 nationally. King believes Florida’s goal should be to reduce mass incarceration by 25 percent in the next five years and 50 percent in the next 10 years with proper sentencing reform for non-violent offenders. To reduce mass incarceration, King supports eliminating harsh mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent crimes, instituting gain-time reform and pursuing civil citation programs,” the release stated.

– Ending the school-to-prison pipeline. King’s campaign contended the proposals would result in a $1.05 billion savings, which he would spend on K-12 education, colleges and universities, the justice system and corrections’ rehabilitation program,s and childcare and early childhood development.

Builders’ plea to Congress: Rebuild Florida’s national parks infrastructure

Construction, engineering, and contracting firms urged Congress on Tuesday to begin paying off the $262.2 million maintenance backlog in Florida’s national parks.

Organizations including the American Institute of Architects, the Florida Engineering Society, and Florida Transportation Builders signed an open letter marking “Infrastructure Week” — an effort by similar groups and labor unions to promote investment in national construction projects.

“Rebuilding and fixing the National Park System will help to employ thousands of American workers, support continued tourism and economic development in hundreds of park gateway communities, and ensure that our national treasures are preserved for generations to come,” the letter says.

They pointed to a 2017 Pew study, Restoring Parks, Creating Jobs: How Infrastructure Restoration in the National Park System Can Create or Support Jobs, suggesting that such investments could mean 2,467 jobs in Florida and more than 110,000 nationally.

The total backlog in maintenance at the country’s national parks has been estimated at $11.6 billion in 2017.

Florida’s 11 national parks generated more than $600 million for neighboring communities from visitors last year, the groups said. That contributed to 8,960 jobs and a total economic boost in the state of $904 million.

Signatories include 40 national organizations and groups from 25 other states.

President Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to increase investment in infrastructure, but this $1.3 trillion plan includes only $200 million in federal funding and counts on states, cities, and private investment for the rest.

Additional Florida signatories include chapters of the American Planning Association; American Society of Landscape Architects; Asphalt Contractors Association of Florida; Associated Builders & Contractors; Florida Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association; Florida Surveying and Mapping Society; National Association of Women in Construction – Greater Palm Beaches and Tampa; and Suncoast Utility Contractors Association.

New Rick Scott ad seeks to paint Bill Nelson as ‘party line’

A new television commercial being launched by Gov. Rick Scott‘s Republican U.S. Senate campaign features people complaining that incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson is a “party line voter.”

The 30-second spot features Orlando Republican Puerto Rico activist Dennis Freytes and others characterizing the senator as someone who does not vote independently in the U.S. Senate, and is perhaps somehow tied to the wishes of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

“Bill Nelson just votes the party line,” Freytes says in the commercial. “That’s what’s wrong with our broken Congress. Everybody is a party-line voter and Bill Nelson is one of those.”

Others in the commercial say Nelson “no longer thinks and acts” independently, and speculate “I think Nancy Pelosi is a huge influence on the Democratic Party and Bill Nelson,” and “I believe Bill Nelson is way too partisan, and it’s time for him to come home.”

Carlie Waibel, Nelson for Senate spokeswoman responded, “For eight years, Rick Scott ran a one-party rule state and now, he’s doing and saying anything to be part of the one-party rule in Washington. Bill Nelson has a long record of working across the aisle and has been recognized for it, including passing legislation to keep oil rigs off Florida’s coast, bringing back our space program and working to restore the Everglades.”

The commercial was first reported on this morning on by the Tampa Bay Times, which pointed out that Nelson has one of the more moderate voting histories in the Senate, and has famously teamed with Florida’s Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio so closely and on so many occasions that Rubio’s backing of Scott has been called into question.

Quentin James - The Collective Super PAC

In the face of criticism, The Collective super PAC strikes back

The Collective super PAC has taken a lot of flak over its attacks on Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham and her supporters, and in a Tuesday op-ed its founder fired back.

Quentin James’ first order of business was to rebuff Graham’s claim that it was a “dark money” group by pointing out that all contributions it has received from its more than 6,000 individual donors can be viewed via the Federal Elections Commission website.

“We are not a shadow group conducting shady business. We are only seeking to educate Floridians on the truth about Graham,” he wrote.

And on the substance of those “truths” spread in Collective’s ad campaign – namely, that Graham was more in line with Republicans than Democrats during her one term in Congress – James is standing firm.

“Graham has proven us right: She is considering standing with a Republican in 2018. Politico reports that, ‘Graham is considering Republican David Jolly as a Florida gubernatorial running mate.’ It boggles the mind that she would even contemplate choosing a GOP running mate in the midst of a Democratic primary, but this is exactly what our advertisement points to — Graham is not the progressive she claims to be,” he wrote.

“Instead of launching baseless attacks on our organization, Graham and her allies should inform Floridians why she stood against President Obama 52 percent of the time, why she trashed Obamacare, why she voted with the big banks, why she voted to approve the Keystone XL pipeline — twice — and why she’s considering a Republican running mate?”

So, what’s up with all the outrage directed at the Collective? Graham has called them out, and has gotten Jacksonville Democrats, Ruth’s List and three former Florida Democratic Party chairs, among others, to shame The Collective and call on Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum to publicly denounce the group, which is backing him in the four-way primary for governor.

James said that’s a double standard – “an all-too-familiar reality” for groups that support black candidates.

“Some would have you to believe Graham is a victim in this situation and that she deserves support because of her biography, her family’s political legacy or her ability to be bipartisan,” he wrote.

“But I’d ask you to remember that Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is the son of a bus driver and a construction worker who’s the first in his family to graduate from college. As a progressive leader he’s stood up to and beat the NRA. He has a plan to fix teacher pay and build and economy that works for all Floridians, and he won’t compromise our values to appeal to those who put profit over our collective wellbeing. Most important, Gillum knows math.”

His final point digs at Graham’s ability to inspire Democratic voters to turnout in the fall, saying his group doesn’t a Democrat with Graham’s background fits that mold.

“There is a lot at stake, and Florida Democrats must nominate someone who will inspire the base to vote in November. I believe Gillum is that choice, and The Collective Super PAC will unapologetically use every tool at its disposal to help him win the Democratic nomination and be elected governor in November,” he concluded.

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