2018 election Archives - Page 5 of 157 - Florida Politics
Young TV ad

Dana Young releases a pair of new ads for SD 18 re-election bid

With Election Day in sight, Republican Sen. Dana Young is letting some surrogates make the case for her re-election with a pair of new campaign ads rolling out in Tampa-based Senate District 18.

The ads, titled “Fix the Problem” and “Sacrifices,” focus on Young’s record of fighting for Florida children, with a special focus on her support for school safety reform.

Young’s non-vote on adding an assault rifle ban to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act has been an avenue of attack from her Democratic challenger, House Minority Leader Janet Cruz, but the second of those two ads flips the script on that narrative — it features a resounding endorsement from Andrew Pollack, the father of Meadow Pollack, who was killed during the February school shooting.

“We can make our schools safer and that’s exactly what Dana Young is doing,” Pollack says in the ad. “Dana Young voted for the most comprehensive and common-sense school safety reform in Florida history.

“Dana Young increased school safety funding, putting a police officer in every school, bolstered crisis training and expanded mental health services. Lives will be saved. I stand with Dana Young for Florida Senate,” he concluded.

The second ad features Young’s mother, Nancy Duden, extolling the virtues of her daughter and pushing back against other attacks from the Cruz camp, namely that Young’s support for charter schools — which are publicly funded but run by private education providers — is a negative.

“Dana Young is kind, compassionate, and she has a heck of a mom,” Duden says. “I’m Dana Young’s mom and I’m also a retired public school teacher. Dana knows the sacrifices teachers make, that’s why Janet Cruz’ attacks aren’t just false, they’re shameful. I know my Dana. I know her heart. She’s kind and compassionate and she fights for our kids.”

The Young-Cruz battle is among the most competitive state Senate races slated for the 2018 ballot.

Young won the seat 2016 with a plurality of the vote against a much weaker Democratic challenger in a four way race that saw third party candidates net 11 percent of the vote. SD 18 is also one of two targeted by Florida Democrats this cycle which voted for Hillary Clinton at the top of the ticket two years ago.

In 2018, the contest is a head-to-head. Polls of the race have shown the two women swapping leads more often than an average NBA game, though neither candidate has built a lead outside-the-margins lead in a public poll — an early October measure from Democratic pollster PPP even failed to show Cruz with a statistically significant advantage.

Still, Young has plugged along in the money race, continuing her trend of being one of the most prodigious fundraisers in the Florida Legislature. The latest tally: $930K in hard money and millions in soft for Young vs. $420K hard and $970K soft for Cruz.

Election Day is Nov. 6. Young’s ads are below.

Todd Marks

Todd Marks stands with Hillsborough NAACP after death threats

Tampa attorney Todd Marks, a candidate for Hillsborough County Commission, said he was standing in solidarity with the county NAACP chapter in the wake of a death threat it received for its opposition to the transit sales tax slated for the general election ballot.

The death threat came in via a letter, postmarked from St. Petersburg, to chapter President Yvette Lewis. The threats were levied against all African Americans, including Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum.

The author of the letter threatened to “gather up you n******* friends and family and put them on a bus to Miami. Make sure that lying cheating corrupt piece of garbage Andrew Gillum gets a front seat, that way if the bus crashes he’ll be sure to go through the windshield … get hurt or worse.

The letter referenced the NAACP’s opposition to the ballot referendum that would add a penny sales tax in Hillsborough to fund transportation infrastructure projects. The referendum is sponsored by political committee “All for Transportation” and has received wide support from business interests in the Tampa Bay area.

Soon after News Channel 8 reported on the letter, Marks issued a statement condemning it.

“The Tampa NAACP exercised its First Amendment rights and as a result has received a hate filled letter intended to intimidate the group into silence. There is no place for racism and intolerance in our society,” Marks said. “I stand in solidarity with the NAACP and condemn this reprehensible act of cowardice and strongly support their rights to engage in the political discourse surrounding important issues facing our county.

“In the wake of senseless shootings and violence in our communities across America, we must all unite and condemn hateful rhetoric. We must show a united front against such heinous acts when anyone among us is attacked. We need more civil discourse, not less. I stand with organizations like the Tampa NAACP and will fight with them for the best interests of every neighborhood in Hillsborough County,” Marks concluded.

Marks is running for the countywide District 7 commission seat currently held by exiting Commissioner Al Higginbotham. He faces Democrat Kimberly Overman and Green Party candidate Kim O’Connor in Tuesday’s general election.

The District 2, 4, 5 and 7 seats will all be on the Nov. 6 ballot, alongside other county government seats including sheriff and four school board districts.

Phil Hornback

Phil Hornback confident he can oust Lawrence McClure in HD 58

Phil Hornback and his wife, Sara, left teaching to become a Realtor because, he said, of the low pay low pay to educators in Florida. They both still have no health insurance since leaving teaching.

Hornback said he is more concerned about the others in House District 58 who have low paying jobs and no health insurance. The Seffner resident who refers to himself as a “Blue Collar Democrat” has been running for the seat since May.

He was a mason and owned a masonry business for 20 years before selling it and going to college for bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education. He has been endorsed by unions and local teacher groups.

A lot of people have written off Hornback, except Hornback.

He said he and his staff have worked through all the cities within the district and rural areas and visited black, Hispanic and Muslim communities and gatherings as well.

Friday, the campaign had scheduled visits to 200 homes along with other locations to knock on doors or to visit.

“Our face-to-face is going to pull us through,” he said.

He is running against incumbent Lawrence McClure, who was elected to District 58 in a special election Dec. 1, 2107, receiving 54 Percent of the vote in a four-way race against a Democrat, Libertarian and an independent.

McClure replaced Republican Rep. Dan Raulerson, who retired for health reasons on Aug. 15, 2017.

He had earlier defeated Yvonne Fry in the Republican Primary in a controversial campaign in which Fry charged that she was a victim of false campaign attack ads.

Hornback said he has not seen any negative ads against him from the McClure campaign.

McClure was seated in time for the 2018 session of the Florida House and served as a member of the Public Integrity & Ethics Committee and the Ways & Means Committee.

He has a much larger campaign war chest than Hornback, but not as much as many incumbents, likely because many big contributors believe he is the likely winner.

McClure had $84,464 banked to Hornback’s $22,082 at the end of the Nov. 1 campaign finance reporting period.

Hornback’s staff complained that the newspaper of record for the area had written little about the race, mentioning neither Hornback or McClure, possibly because of a foregone conclusion of how this highly conservative and Republican district may go for the incumbent.

But the Hornback camp is reporting what other Democratic candidates in races where the state party has not targeted them for help, that early voting turnout among registered Democrats is up.

The campaign, basing its calculations on the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s “Early Voting Dashboard” believe Democrats are turning out in early voting in District 58 at a far greater pace than years past.

“Every day we are only about 200 or up to 300 less than Republican early votes and in a conservative district, that bodes well once independents and those going to the precincts are counted,” Hornback said.

Youth early voting in two precincts abutting the University of South Florida has doubled over the turnout in 2016, an aide said.

HD 58 covers eastern Hillsborough County, running from Temple Terrace to Plant City. It is a rural and suburban mix.

More than 4 million ballots already cast

More than 4 million Floridians, almost 31 percent of the state’s 13.28 million registered voters, have already cast ballots for next week’s general election.

Republicans, with an advantage in vote-by-mail ballots, had cast nearly 1.69 million ballots as of Friday morning, according to numbers posted online by the state Division of Elections.

Democrats, slightly up in the number of people going to early-voting sites, had cast a little more than 1.63 million ballots. Voters with no party affiliation accounted for 722,397 ballots cast, with third-party voters at 26,815.

Early voting will end Saturday in many areas. But Bay, Bradford, Broward, Calhoun, Charlotte, Duval, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jackson, Hillsborough, Leon, Miami-Dade, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Polk, Seminole, St. Lucie, Suwannee and Volusia are among counties that will continue to hold early voting on Sunday.

Due to an executive order from Gov. Rick Scott in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf and Jackson counties have added Monday to early voting.

Election Day polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Direct mail round-up: Vance Aloupis ‘has always fought for our children’

Miami Republican Vance Aloupis, a candidate for House District 115, is out with a new campaign mailer highlighting his work expand free and reduced-cost health coverage for Florida children.

Aloupis heads up The Children’s Movement of Florida, a charitable organization devoted improving outcomes for children in the first five years of life. Among the issues it advocates for are increased investments in early education, parental training and better health care access.

“Since 2012, Vance Aloupis and the early childhood organization he leads advocated relentlessly for Florida to eliminate a five-year waiting period that had been a barrier in the way of thousands of children from accessing free health insurance,” the mailer reads.

“As a result of Vance’s continued efforts, the Florida Legislature eliminated the five-year waiting period for those children in need,” it continues, adding that the change made another 17,000 Florida children eligible for free health care.

Effective July 1, 2016, the Florida Legislature expanded health care coverage to legal immigrant children from birth to 5 years of age through Florida KidCare. There had previously been a five-year waiting period for those children.

The mailer also includes a quote from former Republican Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, who represented neighboring House District 115 before resigning to run in a special election for the state Senate.

“Vance Aloupis is a great champion for children. His professional record speaks for itself. He has dedicated his whole life to helping kids and low-income families in our community,” Diaz says in the ad. “Vance has fought for better health care for our most needy, and he was at the forefront of expanding Florida KidCare for over 50,000 kids in our state. He is an amazing human being and will be an exemplary and honest public servant for our district.”

Aloupis, a University of Miami alumnus, faces Democratic nominee Jeffrey Solomon in the race to succeed term-limited Republican Rep. Michael Bileca in the South Florida seat.

Aloupis is one of the better fundraisers in the current crop of House candidates, having raised nearly $435,000 in hard money for his campaign as of Oct. 19. The four-way GOP primary chipped away at that war chest, though he still has nearly $59,000 banked to Solomon’s $19,000.

HD 115 has been friendly to down-ballot Republicans, though it is one of the majority-Hispanic districts that voted for Hillary Clinton’s two years ago despite remaining red in other races.

The district covers parts of Pinecrest, South Miami and Palmetto Bay. Aloupis’ mailer is below.

Aloupis Mailer Aloupis Mailer

Andrew Gillum bus tour cruising South Florida

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum will take his rolling tour through at least three stops in South Florida Friday, campaigning with Democratic Florida Agriculture Commissioner candidate Nikki Fried and Democratic U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, among others.

His campaign schedule has his bus tour hiting Coconut Creek in the morning, Boynton Beach in the afternoon and West Palm Beach in the afternoon, pushing a get-out-the-vote message in the Democratic-rich areas.

In West Palm Beach, he’ll wind up the day with a “Bring It Home” block party concert.

Gillum and Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis head into the final weekend before next Tuesday’s Election Day.

In Coconut Creek, Gillum, Deutch, Fried and Fried will be joined by Wynmoor Village community leaders for a 10:30 appearance at Wynmoor Village.

In Boynton Beach, Gillum will be joined by state Sen. Lori Berman, state Rep. Al Jacquet and other local elected leaders and candidates at the Ezell Hester Center for a 5 p.m. rally.

In West Palm, Gillum will be joined by state Sen. Bobby Powell and local elected leaders and candidates at Gaines Park for a 7 p.m. rally before the party starts.

President Obama to campaign for Bill Nelson, Andrew Gillum today

Former President Barack Obama will campaign alongside Florida’s leading Democratic candidates on Friday in Miami at Ice Palace Film Studios.

Obama will join U.S. Sen. Bil Nelson and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, the Democrats’ U.S. Senate and gubernatorial nominees, for a rally sure to demonstrate the former President’s continuing popularity among the base.

That means the biggest of the political big stars are aligning over Florida in the closing week. The Republicans are bringing in President Donald Trump for a rally Saturday in Pensacola. The Democrats bringing in Obama Friday, following former Vice President Joe Biden and California’s U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, two potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, who campaigned for the Democrats last week.

The Ice Palace Film Studios is an events venue dating to 1923 in the heart of Miami with a capacity of 10,000 people. Details of the Obama rally are forthcoming. It comes at the moment when Florida’s U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races are, as expected, almost air-tight, with polls showing either dead heats or Nelson and Gillum with slight leads over their Republican rivals, Florida Gov. Rick Scott and former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis.

Obama first hit the 2018 campaign trail on behalf of Democrats this weekend in the Midwest.

“Barack Obama has been my friend since I first introduced him to Florida in 2005, when he was a rising political star,” Nelson declared in a news release issued Monday by the Florida Democratic Party. “I cast a key vote in support of his health care reforms, and he and I fought for public schools and protecting Florida’s unique and treasured environment.”

“I’m proud and humbled to have President Obama, my friend and a true patriot, on the campaign trail here in Florida,” said Gillum. “President Obama knows what’s at stake in this election — protections for people with pre-existing conditions, funding for public schools, and leadership to restore our environment. With President Obama’s help, we’re going to bring it home for Florida this November.”

And FDP Chair Terrie Rizzo said, “We are honored to welcome President Obama to Florida to help us get out the vote in the final days of the election. President Obama’s support of Sen. Nelson, Mayor Gillum and Democrats up-and-down the ballot will be crucial to ensuring victory on Nov. 6.”

Everytown for Gun Safety

Everytown for Gun Safety spends $450K on last-minute mail campaign

Everytown For Gun Safety, a gun-control group co-founded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has poured $455,000 into a direct mail campaign according to a newly filed campaign finance report.

The national branch of the org, Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, funneled $465,000 to its state-level PAC, Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund Florida, on Tuesday. The Florida fund plunked nearly all of that money down on a quartet of direct mail buys through The Pivot Group, a Washington-based political strategy firm.

The Pivot Group received $308,000 for another pair of direct mail campaigns on Oct. 26.

The Oct. 30 report contains the committee’s transactions since state law forced committee and candidate accounts to accelerate to daily finance reporting.

Prior to paying for a new slate of mailers, the state-level committee had spent $2.6 million since it set up shop in mid-September. The bulk of that sum, $1.99 million, went to another DC firm, Bully Pulpit Interactive for online ads, while another $260,000 paid for mailers through Massachusetts-based Wildfire Contact.

In addition to playing in the Florida elections with a state-level PAC, the national committee has spent another $600,000 boosting candidates on both sides of the aisle.

Incoming Senate President Bill Galvano, a Republican, has been on the receiving end of most of that cash. Everytown has sent his political committee, Innovate Florida, two checks totaling $500,000 since September.

The other $100,000 went Democrats.

Democratic Ag. Commissioner nominee Nikki Fried took in half of that cash via her committee Florida Consumers First, while the other $50,000 went to Democratic Attorney General nominee Sean Shaw’s committee, Sean Shaw for Florida.

Fox and Shaw

Sean Shaw’s anti-special interest ad features some curious casting

Normally, the extras flanking politicians in TV ads are about as memorable as the stock photo models on direct mailers. They flitter across your eyeballs for a second, before getting tossed into the orange bin in the garage.

Sometimes they’re dressed up as tradesmen, construction workers, college students or, in the case of a recent ad by Democratic Attorney General nominee Sean Shaw, as Floridians with pre-existing conditions.

The mid-October commercial doesn’t flip the script on the Democratic Party’s platform by any stretch. Step one: Attack the special interests, such as the gun lobby, funding the opposition. Step two: Explain how voting blue will get someone in office that’ll work for the people rather than corporate interests.

“Right now, it’s easier for these people to get one of these [a firearm] than to get health insurance if they have a preexisting condition because of politicians like Ashley Moody and the lobbyists that bankroll her campaign,” Shaw says in his 30-second spot.

The message checks all the boxes a campaign ad should, except for one detail.

If the tilt and pan shots weren’t impressive, the commercial’s obviously competent director slickly mixed the focal lengths of his camera to put Shaw in crisp focus and leave the crowd of extras behind him blurred.

But for a couple seconds, as the camera dollies up to the Tampa lawmaker, one extra who certainly didn’t get the job through central casting becomes clearly visible: John Fox.

Fox is an employee of the Florida Justice Association, formerly the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers, which is one of largest special interest groups in the Sunshine State. Of course, Fox and Shaw are also close friends. They’ve even posted pictures of themselves knocking back a beer or two during their downtime.

Fox and Shaw

There’s nothing wrong with giving a friend an opportunity to be on a statewide ad, but it’s a little disingenuous for Shaw to say he’s running to be Florida’s top cop so he can “disarm” certain special interests when he’s apparently pretty chummy with other ones.

Shaw’s ad is below. Fox comes into focus at the 24-second mark.

gambling Amendment 3

Seminole Tribe puts another $1M behind Amendment 3 push

The political committee behind a proposed constitutional amendment to let voters decide on future gambling expansions in the Sunshine State picked up another seven-figure check from the Seminole Tribe of Florida on Wednesday.

Voters in Charge, the committee sponsoring Amendment 3, has been heavily backed by the tribe as well as Disney Worldwide Services. With the new check, the Seminole Tribe has anted up $24.35 million for the Amendment 3 push since December 2017.

Disney has put $19.65 million into the campaign since handing over its first contribution in April 2017. Combined, the Seminoles and Disney have put exactly $44 million into the committee, which represents all but $314,000 of the money it has raised since it started accepting contributions in late 2015.

Voters in Charge had $13 million left to spend heading into November.

The two companies each have a stake in stopping more casinos from popping in Florida. The Seminole Tribe is a casino operator and is not subject to the state’s restrictions on casino-style gambling. Disney has argued that more gambling could tarnish the family-friendly image it banks on to bring in vacationers.

The million-dollar infusion was the only action disclosed in Voters in Charge’s penultimate daily finance report — even though the committed brought in nearly $7.6 million in contributions over the last 11 days of the month, it hasn’t’ reported any contributions since the finance report covering Oct. 13 through Oct. 19.

A pair of committees opposing the amendment — Citizens for the Truth About Amendment 3 and Vote NO on 3 — haven’t uploaded their most recent dailies yet, though they had raised a combined $16.9 million as of Oct. 30.

A large chunk of that money came in during the reporting period ending Oct. 19, when gambling interests MGM Resorts International, Xpressbet, Jacksonville Greyhound Racing and 831 Federal Highway Acquisitions sent along $1 million or more in backup.

Amendment 3, also known as the “Voter Control of Gambling” amendment, would tie the hands of the Legislature by “ensur(ing) that Florida voters shall have the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling,” according to the ballot summary.

A recent poll conducted by the Associated Industries of Florida showed 69 percent of voters plan to vote in favor of Amendment 3, while only 17 percent say they’re a hard no. Another one in seven voters said they were unsure how they would vote. Constitutional amendments must receive 60 percent of the vote to pass.

Amendment 3 is one of a dozen measures that will go before voters in the 2018 general election, including seven amendments placed on the ballot by the Florida Constitution Revision Commission and three by the state Legislature.

Only Amendment 3 and Amendment 4, also known as the “Voter Restoration Amendment,” made the ballot through the petition method.

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