2018 election – Page 4 – Florida Politics

Rebekah Bydlak crosses $100K mark for state House campaign

Gonzalez Republican Rebekah Bydlak has raised nearly $108,000 for her campaign to take over for Rep. Clay Ingram in House District 1.

Bydlak raised $6,725 last month, bringing her fundraising total to $107,987 since filing for the seat in August. She also sent $2,656 during the reporting period, leaving her with about $88,000 on hand heading into March.

The February numbers follow nearly $14,000 in contributions received in January.

Bydlak brought in 28 contributions last month, including a pair at the campaign maximum of $1,000.

The max checks from Rich Howard and Cliff Maloney were complemented by another four checks for $500, one each from the Pensacola Indoor Shooting Range, health care exec Anna Benson, former Rep. Susan Goldstein and Jason Broxson, the son of Gulf Breeze Sen. Doug Broxson.

Spending included $2,141 in payments to Gainesville-based Data Targeting Research and $350 to Robinson Hanks Young & Roberts for accounting work. The remainder took care of credit card fees from fundraising platform Anedot.

Bydlak is far ahead, moneywise, in the HD 1 race. She faces former Rep. Mike Hill in the primary for HD 1. Democrat Vikki Garrett is the only other candidate to file for the seat.

Hill, who served in the House from 2013 through 2016, added $1,220 in February and spent $2,416. Since filing in September, he’s raised $32,265 and had about $22,000 of that money in the bank at the end of last month.

His report showed 11 contributions, with retiree Diane Dobson, attorney Edmund Holt, rancher Jamie Siegmeister and investor Michael Price tying for the top spot with $200 checks.

Garrett showed $620 of new money in her report and has raised $12,575 through seven months in the race – somewhat impressive, given the district’s hefty Republican advantage.

Only one Democrat has made the ballot in HD 1 since it was redrawn – Gloria Robertson-Wiggins in 2014 – and without counting loans, she raised just $750 throughout her campaign.

Garrett finished the month with about $7,500 on hand.

HD 1 covers the western inland portion of Escambia County, including Brent, Bellview, Ensley, Ferry Pass, Gonzalez and Molino. Ingram went virtually unopposed in 2012 and 2016, and in 2014 defeated Robertson-Wiggins with nearly 70 percent of the vote.

All four Democratic gubernatorial candidates commit to Tampa debate

The Tampa debate is on for all four major Democratic gubernatorial candidates.

The campaigns for Andrew Gillum and Philip Levine joined those of Chris King and Gwen Graham Thursday in announcing they have committed to a debate being planned in Tampa on April 18.

After Gillum challenged his rivals to agree to a series of debates Thursday, in quick succession King’s and Graham’s campaigns, and then Gillum’s and Levine’s all announced they have committed to one at WTVT-TV, the Fox affiliate in Tampa.

Gillum’s campaign said they were the first to pledge to that debate but kept quiet about it, waiting for the station to firm everything up and announce.

“We’re pleased two of the other campaigns [King and Graham] have agreed to debate on stage there, and we look forward to adding more debates. Democrats deserve to hear from all of the campaigns all over the state,” said Gillum’s Campaign Communications Director Geoff Burgan.

Around the same time he was issuing that statement, Levine’s campaign also announced his commitment.

“Mayor Levine looks forward to participating in the April 18th debate in the Tampa Bay area, and share his vision for Florida, coupled with his record of progressive accomplishments as a successful two-term Mayor,” said his consultant Christian Ulvert.

The station has not announced any details about time or format.

Philip Levine announces Ed Rendell’s endorsement

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine has picked up an endorsement from Pennsylvania’s former governor Ed Rendell.

Rendell served as general chair of the Democratic National Committee during the last two years of the Clinton administration. He served two terms as Pennsylvania’s governor after that, and two terms as mayor of Philadelphia before his DNC post.

Levine is a former mayor of Miami Beach.

“I am proud to support Mayor Philip Levine to be the next governor of Florida,” Rendell said in a news release issued by Levine’s campaign. “As a former two-term mayor myself, I am happy to stand behind another mayor with a strong record of success, who has done the right thing for his community by taking bold action on climate change, raising the minimum wage, and fighting for the values that improve the lives of residents. During my time as governor, I realized I was incredibly well prepared for the challenges I would face because of my service as a two term mayor. As the former chair of the DNC, I also know what it takes to win tough races. Philip has everything it takes to win the Governor’s mansion after over 20 years of one-party rule and bring Florida Democrats together with a bold progressive vision for the future.”

Levine is battling with Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, and Winter Park businessman Chris King for the Aug. 28 Democratic primary nomination to run for governor. The leading Republican candidates are Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis.

“Ed is a good friend, an incredible mayor, and an accomplished governor in his own right,” Levine said in the release. “Our campaign continues to grow its support because Floridians know we will shake up Tallahassee and focus on getting things done. As governor, I’m committed to move Florida forward as a leader in the 21st century economy by investing in our public schools, our environment, our healthcare, and fighting for the real needs of Floridians.”

Andrew Dolberg

Second Democrat files for House District 98

Democrat Andrew Dolberg announced Wednesday that he would run for the House District 98 seat currently held by Rep. Katie Edwards-Walpole.

Edwards is currently in her third term representing the Broward County district, but announced last week that she was ending her re-election bid in order to spend more time with her family.

In his announcement, Dolberg touted his active role in the Broward Democratic Party and his background as a small business owner.

The 24-year-old Plantation native is the founder of Champion Briefs, an education resources company helping students develop public speaking and debate skills. He studied Marketing at Florida Atlantic University and, since February, is on the board of Broward Young Democrats.

“I’m running for the Florida House of Representatives in order to advocate for progressive, long-term solutions to the problems we face here in Broward County,” Dolberg said in a press release. “I have spent nearly my entire life in this district and I understand the unique needs of our communities.

“Voters here want and deserve a progressive champion who is capable of delivering results on important issues including commonsense gun safety, quality public education, affordable healthcare, and climate change resiliency.  I am that candidate and I will be that representative in Tallahassee.”

Dolberg is up against Davie resident Michael Gottlieb in the Democratic Primary for the seat. A third Democrat, Louis Reinstein, filed for the seat last week, but withdrew from the race Monday.

HD 98 covers part of Broward County, including Plantation and Davie, and is a Democratic Party stronghold.

Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by a nearly 2-to-1 margin in the South Florida district, which voted 60-36 in favor of Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Joe Henderson: Timing may never be right again for David Jolly

Because it’s best to never rule out anything in politics, I offer this qualifier: Perhaps the time will come again for David Jolly to make another run for public office.

Having said that, I honestly doubt it.

In a tweet late Tuesday night, Jolly said he won’t try to regain his seat in Congress by challenging U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist in November.

As he noted, “politics is about timing” and given what could be a Democrat tsunami in the November mid-terms, Jolly said he will dedicate his efforts toward being part of a primary challenge in 2020 to Donald Trump.

I like David Jolly and his maverick ways, but the political reality is that he is a man without a party right now. Even as a Congressman from Pinellas County, he angered Republican Party bosses by going rogue on “60 Minutes” with his disgust at how much of his day was spent fund-raising.

After losing his re-election bid in 2016 to Crist, Jolly has made bridge-burning a daily habit – not that he is wrong. He has become a national go-to quote when someone needs a Republican to rip Trump.

He shows up frequently on panels at MSNBC and doesn’t hold back at how he feels Trump is ruining the cause of conservatism and the country.

It makes for compelling theater, and Jolly does make a reasoned argument that the Trump presidency is a disaster and our political system is broken.

But speaking the truth can have consequences, and Jolly would surely face them if he ever tried to run for national office again. Democrats wouldn’t support him over one of their own, and Republicans would shun him like he had typhoid.

Maybe he could run for state office, but he likely still would face those same obstacles. Even if he were elected, he would likely be a pariah in his own party once he reported to work.

He could follow the Crist model and change parties, but that doesn’t seem to be his style. What Jolly seems to want is for the Republican Party to come to its senses and reject the kind of extremism that has been the Trump brand.

Good luck with that.

It likely will take a ballot-box slaughter in November and maybe one in 2020 as well for any sort of reasoned moderation to take hold in the GOP. By that time, Democrats could be back in control while Republicans search for a new identity that doesn’t scare the crap out of voters and our allies.

Where does that leave David Jolly?

For at least the time being, it leaves him right where he is – on the front line of visible opposition to his own party. It leaves him to fight an uphill battle to restore some conservative sanity to the GOP message.

And it leaves him as a politician without an election.

Like I said, we learned in 2016 that anything can happen in politics, so never say never. Right now though, Jolly will have to be content to call it like he sees it from the sidelines. He can only hope someone is paying attention.

interim Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister

Chad Chronister raises another $31K for Hillsborough Sheriff race

Sitting Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister brought in $31,445 last month for his campaign to win a full term in the job.

Chronister brought in the money across 123 contributions, including 18 checks for $1,000.

Among the top donors for the month were Tampa Honda, Netterfield’s Popcorn and Lemonade, The Leytham Group, Parks Advocacy Group, Four M Auto Sales & Leasing and Yellow Cab of Tampa.

The Chronister campaign also spent $17,314 in February, with the biggest expenditure weighing in at $3,371 for campaign shirts. The shirts were part of $7,700 in payments to Strategic Image Management, which also provided website hosting, consulting services and office supplies.

Also on the ledger was a $3,210 payment to World of Beer for catering, and $2,152 to EventLive for event management. Campaign staff made up the bulk of the rest of February’s outflow.

In all, Chronister finished the month with nearly $535,000 on hand in his campaign account. Since filing in October, he’s raised a total of $591,188.

Chronister, a Republican, has been with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office since 1992 and was a colonel before the retirement of longtime lawman David Gee in 2017, which landed him the job as interim sheriff. He filed for election a day after he was sworn in.

He is running against Democrat Gary Allen Pruitt and no-party candidate Juan Rivera, neither of whom have made put up much of a fight on the fundraising trail.

Pruitt, a retired Tampa Police Department corporal, raised $0 last month and has shown only a single self-contribution of $200 since filing in November. He has about $25 in his campaign account.

Rivera, a retired CIA officer, added no money in February, but has raised $722 since filing and has $120 on hand.

Mike McCalister enters Agriculture Commissioner race

Mike McCalister entered the race for Florida Agriculture Commissioner, setting up a four-way Republican primary to replace Adam Putnam, who is termed-out and running for Governor.

Florida Politics previously reported that McCalister, a retired Army Colonel, was eyeing a run for the seat with a decision to come in early spring.

McCalister got some name recognition when he ran for governor in 2010, the same year Rick Scott won his first term, and when he ran for U.S. Senate in 2012. He took 10 percent in the Republican Primary for governor — more than 130,000 votes — despite spending less than $10,000 on his campaign.

Chatter about McCalister launching another campaign for statewide office grew loud early in the year as he made stops at Republican clubs and town hall meetings.

His efficiency in 2010 will come in handy in the Ag Commissioner race, where each of his three primary opponents has crossed the $1 million mark in total fundraising.

McCalister joins Lehigh Acres Rep Matt Caldwell, Sebring Sen. Denise Grimsley and former Winter Haven Rep. Baxter Troutman in the Republican Primary for the Cabinet position. Also running are Democrats Jeffrey Porter, David Walker and Thomas White.

Troutman leads the field in fundraising due to a $2.5 million self-contribution. He has $2.7 million on hand, followed by Caldwell with $1.11 million and Grimsley with about $910,000.

The primary election is in late August.

Bryan Nelson knocks Joe Kilsheimer from Apopka mayor’s office

Orange County Commissioner Bryan Nelson was elected mayor of Apopka Tuesday, ended the tenure of Mayor Joe Kilsheimer after one four-year term.

Nelson, a one-term county commissioner who previously served in the Florida House of Representatives, defeated Kilsheimer 61 to 38 percent, with a voter turnout of about 20.5 percent, with just over 6,400 votes cast in Orange County’s second-largest city. In unofficial results posted Tuesday night by the Orange County Supervisor of Elections, Nelson drew 2,786 votes, and Kilsheimer 1,733.

Nelson is an insurance agent with deep family roots in Apopka, who had eschewed the chance to run for a second term, to run instead for the Apopka mayor’s office, a gambit that paid off.

He will be sworn in on April 24.

The election campaign was in part a contest between the new establishment brought into office by Kilsheimer and the city’s previous establishment rallying around Nelson, which had centered around the legendary, late John Land, who had served as mayor for 61 of the previous 64 years before Kilsheimer defeated him in in 2014.

In other municipal elections in Orange County, two multi-candidate Apopka City Council races headed for run-off elections on April 10; Commissioner Rosemary Wilsen and George Oliver III were elected in Ocoee City Commission races; and Jim Partin was elected to the Belle Isle City Council.

Suzanne Kidd and Alexander Smith survived the first-round election in Apopka’s District 1, with Kidd drawing about 39 percent, and Smith 29 percent. Eliminated Tuesday were Gene Knight and Theresa Mott.

In the Apopka District 2 contest, incumbent City Commissioner Diane Velazquez, seeking re-election, and Alice Nolan survived to met again, with Velazquez getting 40 percent and Nolan, 39. Ousted in that race were Alicia Koutsoulieris and Leroy Bell.

In Ocoee, Wilsen easily won re-election to her District 2 seat on the City Commission, defeating Robert Rivera 75 percent to 25 percent.

However, in Ocoee’s other contest, an incumbent was defeated. Oliver beat Commissioner Joel Keller by 53 percent to 47 percent, or 369 to 328 in the unofficial vote total.

Turnout in Ocoee was only 8 percent.

In Belle Isle, Partin beat Andrew Thompson 59-41 in unofficial results There also were 13 charter amendment proposals in Belle Isle, and they all were approved. Turnout in Belle Isle was about 16 percent.

Hillsborough Commissioners hold big leads in re-election battles

February fundraising reports show the four sitting Hillsborough County Commissioners who’ll be on the ballot in 2018 are far ahead in fundraising for their respective races.

Commissioner Ken Hagan’s campaign account is the most flush of all, with more $458,000 in the bank, including $3,750 raised last month.

Hagan, a Republican, currently holds the countywide District 5 seat on the commission but faces term limits and is running instead for the District 2 seat in the fall.

Challengers Angela Birdsong, a Democrat, and Chris Paradies, a Republican, haven’t made much of an impact on the campaign trail compared to Hagan, though each brought in more than $2,000 last month.

After raising $2,896 and spending $973 in February, Paradies has about $15,000 on hand. Birdsong added $2,275 last month and spent $2,037 for an on-hand total of $1,563.

In the District 4 race, Commissioner Stacy White continued outgunning Democratic challenger Andrew Davis.

White raised $3,751 last month and spent nothing, leaving his campaign account with more than $125,000 heading into March.

Davis tacked on $515 and spent $86, putting him at about $1,800 on hand.

District 2 Commissioner Victor Crist faces a bit more of a challenge for the District 5 seat, which he’s looking to take over from Hagan.

He’s raised $77,905 so far this cycle, including $1,000 last month, and has a little over $60,000 in the bank.

His closest challenger, Democrat Mariella Smith, brought in $5,890 in February and has raised $45,713 since entering the contest in January.

She topped the eight-person field last month, with Democrat Mark Nash the only other candidate to top $1,000 in their new report. He has about $40,000 on hand.

Democrat Elvis Piggot took the third-place spot for the month with $900 raised, followed by Republican Angel Urbina Capo with $100 and Democrat Jamela Passmore with $95. Republican Timothy Curtis and write-in candidate George Nieman showed no money in their reports.

In the District 7 race Republican Commissioner Sandra Murman is lightyears ahead of her four challengers with nearly $155,000 on hand.

Murman currently holds the District 1 seat, but is switching over to the countywide district for 2018.

She added $4,900 last month and spent $1,950.

Her closest competitor, Democrat Kimberly Overman, showed $3,530 raised in her new report and has collected about $18,000 since she filed for the seat in August. She has $11,377 in the bank.

The reports trail off significantly after Overman. Democrat Sky White brought in $1,105 and has $2,549 on hand, followed by Republican Cherie Denham with $70 in February and $350 in the bank. Democrat Cory Reynolds and Republican Charles Davis have not posted any contributions since entering the race.

Kathleen Peters, Pat Gerard maintain leads in Pinellas Commission races

February campaign finance reports show Pat Gerard and state Rep. Kathleen Peters are firmly in the lead in the races for the District 2 and District 6 seats on the Pinellas County Commission.

Gerard, a Democrat and the incumbent District 2 commissioner, raised $4,650 last month, putting her campaign a couple hundred dollars shy of the $100,000 mark since she filed in June. Heading into March, she had nearly $80,000 in the bank.

Her opponent for the fall, Republican Doreen Caudell, raised an even $1,000 last month and spent triple that to finish February with just shy of $45,000 on hand.

Gerard took in 34 contributions in February, including a $500 check from Largo surgeon Stephen Weinstock. Another seven donors pitched in $250 each, while a dozen small-dollar donors gave contributions of less than $100.

Spending registered at $2,286 for the month, all of which went to Blue Ticket Consulting.

In the District 6 commission race, Peters posted $0 in contributions for the month due to her status as a lawmaker and spent $1,416.

The report left her with about $65,000 in the bank – more than her two opponents combined.

Peters faces fellow Republicans Barb Haselden and state Rep. Larry Ahern in the District 6 race.

Ahern also posted $0 raised last month and spent $1,145, leaving him with $28,196 in the bank. Haselden, who operates St. Pete-based Hometown Insurors, raised $392 and spent $1,927 in February to finish the month with $29,270 on hand.

Also up for election in 2018 is the District 4 commission seat currently held by Commissioner Dave Eggers, who is so far unopposed in his re-election bid.

He’s raised $6,878 for his campaign thus far, though he didn’t add any money in February. He finished the month with $6,315 on hand.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons