2018 election Archives - Page 6 of 135 - Florida Politics

Dana Young and Jackie Toledo holding joint fundraiser Thursday night

State Sen. Dana Young and state Rep. Jackie Toledo, both Tampa Republicans, are teaming up for a joint campaign fundraiser Thursday night.

The reception will be held on the Yacht StarShip, which docks at 603 Channelside Drive in Tampa, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Those looking to snag a boarding pass can send an RSVP to Kristin Lamb via Kristin@FLFStrategies.com or 850-339-5354.

The host committee for the fundraiser features more than a dozen names, including Yacht StarShip captain Troy Manthey and fellow maritime industry veteran John C. Timmel, who discovered the American Victory and helped bring it down to Tampa. Also on the list are George Howell III of Holland & Knight and Jan Gorrie of Ballard Partners.

Young was elected to Senate District 18 in 2016 and is running for re-election in the fall against House Minority Leader Janet Cruz. Early polling shows the two women in a close race, though Young had a threefold fundraising advantage over Cruz as of Aug. 23.

Toledo succeeded Young in Hillsborough County’s House District 60 two years ago and is up against Democrat Debra Bellanti in the fall. To date, Toledo has raised nearly $225,000 for her re-election bid and has $135,000 on hand while Bellanti has cleared $39,000 and has $30,700 in the bank.

SD 18 is one of the Florida Democratic Party’s top targets for a flip this fall and has a close partisan split — it voted plus-6 for Hillary Clinton two years ago. HD 60, however, went narrowly for Trump as Toledo scored a 14-point win over 2016 Democratic nominee David Singer.

The general election is Nov. 6. The fundraiser invitation is below.

Dana Young & Jackie Toledo fundraiser 9.6.2018

Jeff Brandes holding Thursday fundraiser as Lindsay Cross struggles to raise cash

St. Petersburg Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes is holding another fundraiser Thursday for his re-election bid in Senate District 24, where he holds a better than 20-to-1 cash lead over Democratic challenger Lindsay Cross.

Among the several dozen names listed on the host committee for the St. Petersburg reception are former St. Pete Mayors Rick Baker and Bill Foster, Pinellas County Commissioners Jay Beyrouti and Karen Seel, Pinellas Clerk of the Court Ken Burke, Tampa Sen. Dana Young, former House Speaker Will Weatherford, St. Petersburg City Councilman Ed Montanari and state Rep. Kathleen Peters, who won the Republican nomination for Pinellas County Commission District 6 last week.

Brandes’ event will be held in the Grand Ballroom of The Birchwood, 340 Beach Drive NE, starting at 5:30 p.m. Those looking for more information or to send in an RSVP can contact Rick Porter or Ivey Rooney via 407-849-1112 or Ivey@PoliticalCapitalFlorida.com.

SD 24 is among the seven state Senate seats Florida Democrats said they were targeting in the 2018 cycle, and early polling showed their initial recruit, trial lawyer Carrie Pilonwithin 5 points of Brandes among likely voters. Pilon’s campaign ended abruptly, however, due to unexpected health problems of a close family member.

Cross stepped in at the last minute and, while she was put in an unenviable position, she has been somewhat flat on the fundraising trail. As of Aug. 23, she had raised $48,725 for her campaign account and had about $44,250 in the bank.

She also failed to preserve the momentum built by Pilon’s campaign when it comes to the polls. The first measure of the race since she became the Democratic nominee showed Brandes with a 39-19 percent lead over Cross. With 42 percent of voters undecided, there’s room for growth for both candidates.

Brandes meanwhile, has raised about $820,000 for his campaign account, including $300,000 in self-funding, and had $531,370 on hand on Aug. 23. Should Cross start to catch up, Brandes has another $360,000 ready to deploy in his affiliated political committee, Liberty Florida.

SD 24 covers most of southern Pinellas except for the tip of the peninsula, which is included in neighboring SD 19. According to the most recent bookclosing report published by the Florida Division of Elections, Republicans hold a 4-point advantage in voter registrations within the district.

Despite the GOP advantage, SD 24 voted for Barack Obama twice before going plus-7 for Donald Trump in 2016.

The fundraiser invitation is below.

Brandes fundraiser 9.6.2018

Quinnipiac poll: Andrew Gillum starts with 3-point lead over Ron DeSantis

Democrat Andrew Gillum is opening the fall Florida Governor’s race with the leanest of leads over Republican Ron DeSantis, according to a new poll released Tuesday from Quinnipiac University.

The poll, the first Quinnipiac has conducted since last Tuesday’s primary, reflects the results of last week’s Public Policy Polling survey: Gillum has an edge built from Florida’s independent voters as partisan voters cling tightly to their nominees.

In the new poll, Gillum drew 50 percent and DeSantis 47 percent, with only 3 percent of voters saying they don’t know or are undecided at this point. The difference is within the margin of error but also marks the second time in two polls this past week in which Gillum, the surprise, upset winner of the Democratic primary, has come out on top versus the longtime Republican favorite.

The remarkably small group of undecided voters nine weeks out was further backed up by a Quinnipiac question that found that very few voters think there is any chance they’ll change their minds between now and the Nov. 6 Election Day.

“Mayor Andrew Gillum came out of his upset victory in the Florida Democratic primary with a head of steam,” Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, stated in a news release.

“Neither man was well-known before their primaries, but since then the race has become a center of political attention in the state,” Brown continued. “Now, 97 of 100 voters say they will vote for one of the two men, a highly unusual situation this far from the actual voting. Just as unusual, more than 90 percent of Gillum and DeSantis voters say they will not change their minds and are dead set in supporting the candidate they now favor.”

The poll was conducted last Thursday through Monday of 785 Florida likely voters with live interviews over both landline and cell phones. The margin of error is 4.3 percent, according to Quinnipiac.

Gillum received a “favorable” rating from 46 percent of those surveyed, and an “unfavorable” rating from 33 percent. DeSantis was seen favorable by 45 percent and unfavorable by 43 percent.

Gillum is overwhelmingly carrying Democratic voters, with 93 percent supporting him. Likewise for DeSantis with 92 percent of Republican voters backing him. The difference comes from independent voters leaning toward Gillum, by a spread of 55 percent to 42 percent.

Quinnipiac University Poll is reporting that it found little “Trump effect”: 22 percent of voters said their decision in the race will be more to express support for the president and 24 percent say their vote for governor will be more to express opposition. But 51 percent said Trump is not an important factor in the governor’s race.

At the same time, 47 percent of those surveyed said they approved of Trump’s job performance, while 51 percent disapproved.

The economy was cited as the most important issue by those polled, topping the list at 23 percent. Immigration and health care followed, each cited by 14 percent; gun policy, 13 percent, environment, 12 percent; and education, 10 percent.

Gainesville Democrats hit Ron DeSantis’ healthcare record

Gainesville Democrats held a press conference at City Hall on Tuesday afternoon where they lambasted Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis’ record of voting against health care protections during his three terms in Congress.

Alachua County Democratic Party Executive Committee Chair Cynthia Chestnut, Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe, City Commissioner David Arreola, Florida’s 3rd Congressional District nominee Yvonne Hayes Hinson and Senate District 8 nominee Kayser Enneking all gave their own takes on what Florida Democrats say is DeSantis’ recording of “voting against Florida” in the U.S. House.

“Ron DeSantis has spent the last six years in congress attacking healthcare,” Chestnut said, citing DeSantis’ votes to “gut protections” for individuals with pre-existing conditions and his support for the House bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would have stripped health insurance coverage from 67,200 people living in CD 3 according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Additionally, data compiled by the left-leaning Center for American Progress estimates that there are 280,300 Floridians living in CD 3 with pre-existing conditions.

There were no mentions of “monkey” comments or out-of-state racist robocalls — each of the speakers focused on the clear difference between Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum and DeSantis when it comes to healthcare.

Gillum, who defied all polling by winning the five-way Democratic primary for Governor last week, is a proponent of Medicaid expansion as well as “Medicare for All.” It is estimated that Medicaid expansion provide health coverage to 800,000 Floridians.

“When you need healthcare in America, you get it by law,” said Enneking, a physician. “But this healthcare is often too late. ‘Trump Care,’ which is what they support, would deny coverage for pre-existing conditions.

“Medicare is the best system of healthcare in America — why should Americans have to wait to 65, or 67 in Ron DeSantis’ world, to get it?” she asked.

Hinson, who faces incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho in November, said she “believes healthcare is a right and not a privilege. Ron DeSantis thinks it’s a privilege.”

“As Governor, Ron DeSantis will deny coverage to 800,000 Floridians. Everyone deserves healthcare and I will make sure they get it,” she said.

Arreola, the youngest commissioner ever elected in Gainesville, said he spent some time as one of DeSantis’ constituents when he attended Flagler College. During his time at the St. Augustine campus, he said DeSantis cast votes that would strip away his coverage under the ACA provision that allows young adults to remain on their parent’s healthcare plans until age 26.

“Florida cannot rely on Ron DeSantis to expand healthcare,” he said.

Poe, who was elected Gainesville Mayor in 2016, said the stark contrast between the Republican and Democratic healthcare platforms would be evident up and down the ballot in November.

“For U.S. Senate, we have Bill Nelson, a staunch defender of healthcare,” he said, before reminding those present that Gov. Rick Scott, who is challenging Nelson in the fall, “defrauded Medicaid” to the tune of $1.7 billion when he ran hospital chain Columbia/HCA.

To solve the healthcare crisis, Poe said “we need to elect Democrats top to bottom.”

Ben Albritton sends backup to embattled GOP state Senators

Wauchula Republican state Rep. Ben Albritton is in good position to ascend to the state Senate in the fall and has started putting some of the cash he’s amassed in his affiliated political committee to the most vulnerable incumbent Republicans in the 40-member chamber.

Albritton’s committee, Advancing Florida Agriculture, has raised nearly $400,000 since he filed for Senate District 26, a Republican stronghold covering all of DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Highlands and Okeechobee counties as well as parts of Charlotte, Lee and Polk.

SD 26 is open due to Sebring Sen. Denise Grimsley’s ultimately unsuccessful bid for the GOP nomination to succeed Adam Putnam as Agriculture Commissioner. Albritton’s only challenger in the SD 26 contest is Lake Wales Democrat Catherine Price, whom he has outraised eightfold in hard money alone.

With extra cash in the bank, Advancing Florida Agriculture sent $11,000 to SD 8 Sen. Keith Perry, who faces well-funded Democratic challenger Kayser Enneking in November; $11,000 to former Republican Rep. Ed Hooper, who is even with former Democratic Rep. Amanda Murphy in the polls despite his massive fundraising advantage in SD 16; $11,000 to Republican Rep. Manny Diaz Jr., who faces Democratic nominee David Perez in his bid to succeed term-limited Sen. Rene Garcia in South Florida’s SD 36; and $6,000 to SD 18 Sen. Dana Young, who is polling behind House Minority Leader Janet Cruz in spite of her threefold cash advantage.

In each instance, Albritton sent $1,000 to the lawmaker’s campaign account with the balance heading to their affiliated political committees.

Though Sarasota Rep. Joe Gruters is likely to cruise in his bid for SD 23 and Ocala Sen. Dennis Baxley only faces nominal opposition in his re-election bid in SD 12, both Republicans picked up $3,500 in contributions to their campaign and committee accounts during the Aug. 25 through Aug. 31 reporting period.

Also on the ledger was an $11,000 transfer to Marili Cancio, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Annette Taddeo in SD 40. Again, $1,000 of those funds headed to Cancio’s campaign account and another $10,000 went to her affiliated political committee.

In all, Advancing Florida Agriculture shelled out $57,000 in contributions to Republican state Senate candidates and finished August with nearly $138,000 left in the tank.

When it comes to his campaign account, Albritton had cleared more than $240,000 in total fundraising for his Senate bid as of Aug. 31, with about $149,000 banked. Price had raised $31,312 as of Aug. 23 with $5,155 on hand.

David Perez SD 36

David Perez adds $65K days after winning SD 36 Democratic primary

A political committee tied to David Perez, the Democratic nominee in Senate District 36, posted its best fundraising numbers to date for reporting period covering the last week of August.

Floridians for Change, chaired by attorney Mark Herron, reeled in $65,000 between Aug. 25 and Aug. 31, bringing its overall fundraising to $231,500 since it started accepting contributions in late June.

The haul came in across a half-dozen checks, with the International Association of Firefighters throwing in $25,000 to support Perez, a former firefighter and paramedic. A political committee tied to Fort Lauderdale Democratic Sen. Gary Farmer showed up at the same level, while committees linked to the United Teachers of Dade and Miami-Dade’s SEIU Local 1991 showed up with $5,000 contributions. The Latino Victory Project and Miami Airport Center Self Storage rounded out the set by giving $2,500 each.

The new money wasn’t offset by any expenditures, though Floridians for Change did report some heavy spending ahead of Perez’ primary showdown against Julian Santos, whom he defeated 54-46 percent in the two-way contest held last week.

The committee started September with more than $174,000 on hand.

When it comes to overall fundraising, Hialeah Republican Rep. Manny Diaz Jr. has Perez beat by a country mile. The two are much closer, however, when it comes to cash on hand heading into the general election.

As of Aug. 23, Diaz’ campaign account had raised $477,740 and had about $216,000 banked while his affiliated political committee, Better Florida Education, has raised $336,200 since the beginning of the 2018 election cycle and has about $62,000 at the ready.

Perez, ex-aide to former Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas, has raised about $92,500 in hard dollars including a $1,900 candidate loan. He had about $64,000 in his campaign account on Aug. 23.

Diaz has a combined war chest of $278,072, putting him $40,000 ahead of Perez’ $238,145 in available funds.

SD 36 is currently held by term-limited Republican Sen. Rene Garcia, who has endorsed Diaz as his successor. The district covers an inland portion of northern Miami-Dade County including Miami Lakes, Hialeah, and Miami Springs.

SD 36 is one of only two Republican-held seats being targeted by Florida Democrats this cycle that voted for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton two years ago, and it did so by a much wider margin than in Tampa-based SD 18, where House Minority Leader Janet Cruz is challenging Republican Sen. Dana Young.

Clinton won the majority Hispanic district by 14 points, though Garcia won re-election over underfunded Democratic challenger Anabella Grohoski Peralta 55-45 percent.

Mike Miller, Maria Elvira Salazar named NRCC ‘Young Guns’

State Rep. Mike Miller and Maria Elvira Salazar have been named “Young Guns” by the National Republican Congressional Committee, qualifying them for the committee’s highest level of Young Guns campaign support for their runs for Congress in Florida.

Miller, of Winter Park, is running in Florida’s 7th Congressional District against Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park.

Salazar, of Coral Gables, is the Republican nominee for the open seat in Florida’s 27th Congressional District. She’s facing Democrat Donna Shalala of Miami this fall.

Miller and Salazar are among 12 candidates nationwide that the NRCC added for its Young Guns program in this latest move. The NRCC now has 23 Young Gun candidates identified for the 2018 election.

“We have no shortage of compelling candidates in our Young Guns program,” NRCC Chairman Steve Stivers stated in a news release. “I’m thrilled to support this impressive, diverse group and look forward to welcoming them to Congress, where we can continue working to protect our communities and ease Americans’ cost of living.”

janet cruz

Bob Buckhorn endorses Janet Cruz for state Senate

House Minority Leader Janet Cruz added an endorsement from Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn for her campaign to oust incumbent Republican Sen. Dana Young in northwestern Hillsborough’s Senate District 18.

“Janet is a proven leader, a fighter for working families, and a tireless advocate for public education,” Buckhorn said. “As a member of the Florida House, Rep. Cruz brought back $14 million to Hillsborough Community College, spearheaded Equal Pay for Equal Work legislation, and sponsored legislation that raised police and fire survivor benefits within the City of Tampa to 100 percent.

“As your next Senator, she will continue to fight for what’s right while being laser focused on what’s best for our district,” he said.

Buckhorn joins some of the state’s biggest unions in backing Cruz, who currently represents House District 62. Past endorsements have come in from the Florida Education Association, the state’s largest teacher union, and the Florida AFL-CIO, which represents more than 1 million Florida workers.

“Mayor Buckhorn is a true visionary and I am honored to have his support,” Cruz said. “Under his leadership, Tampa is thriving. Corporations are choosing to relocate here, and the Riverwalk is flourishing with new businesses, while connecting Channelside to the Heights.

“From the Super Bowl to the NHL All Star Game to the Women’s Final Four, Tampa is now a national destination that we all get to enjoy. I look forward to continue working with him to make Tampa the best place in Florida to live, work, and play for everyone,” she concluded.

SD 18 sits atop the Florida Democratic Party’s wish list this fall. Other than South Florida’s SD 36, where David Perez won the Democratic primary to challenge Republican Rep. Manny Diaz, SD 18 is the only district Democrats are after that voted for Hillary Clinton two years ago.

As of Aug. 23, Young held a large lead in fundraising with more than $455,000 in hard money on hand and another $1.27 million at the ready in her affiliated political committee, Friends of Dana Young. By comparison, Cruz had $189,000 in hard money and another $330,000 in her political committee, Building the Bay PC.

Cruz and Young both went unopposed in last week’s primary elections. Unlike two years ago, when Young won a plurality of the vote against three challengers, Cruz and Young are the only candidates to make the ballot in 2018.

Election Day is Nov. 6.

Andrew Gillum

Equality Florida’s PAC endorses Andrew Gillum for Governor

Equality Florida Action PAC, the political arm of the state’s leading LGBTQ rights organization, announced Friday that it’s backing Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum over his Republican opponent, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis.

“Andrew Gillum has been a consistent champion for LGBTQ equality, and Floridians will see the stark contrast between his record on equality and his opponent who has embraced the anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and policies of the Trump-Pence administration,” Equality Florida Action PAC chair Stratton Pollitzer said.

“DeSantis is out of touch with the values of everyday Floridians, 70 percent of whom support nondiscrimination protections for the LGBTQ community. Mayor Gillum has committed to advancing Florida as a leader for LGBTQ equality in the South, making the state a welcome place for everyone to live, work, and visit,” Pollitzer said.

The EQFL nod comes after the group awarded Gillum its highest honor, the “Voice for Equality Award,” in 2017.

But the endorsement isn’t all Gillum can expect from the group — they plan to pitch in with a fundraising tour and a “massive campaign” to spread the word to 500,000 Florida voters who see LGBTQ rights as a major factor in whether they’ll cast a ballot on Election Day.

EQFL said that means Gillum, who defied all polling by winning the five-way primary Tuesday, will be the beneficiary of digital media buys, phone banking and field outreach.

“Andrew Gillum is the equality champion who can energize voters and win the Governor’s Mansion,” Pollitzer concluded.

Equality Florida is the second major statewide group to endorse Gillum, currently the mayor of Tallahassee, since he won the nomination.

On Thursday, he earned the support of AFSCME, a labor union that represents more than 1.6 million working and retired public employees.

A full list of candidates backed by Equality Florida Action PAC is available on the group’s website.

According to the first post-primary poll of the general election matchup, Gillum leads DeSantis 48-43 percent with only 9 percent of voters unsure of who they would vote for. The poll also found Gillum with a plus-27 favorability rating while DeSantis, who has the backing of President Donald Trump, was underwater.

Election Day is Nov. 6

Mike Miller starts CD 7 campaign in striking distance of Stephanie Murphy

Republican state Rep. Mike Miller is starting his campaign within striking distance of Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy.

A new poll from St. Pete Polls taken Thursday shows Murphy with 47 percent of voter support and Miller with 46 percent, with just 7 percent undecided. Miller’s competing to unseat Murphy from her Congressional District 7 seat.

The poll puts the gap between the congresswoman and the state representative, both from Winter Park, inside the poll’s margin of error of 4.7 percent.

Miller, the two-term state lawmaker, easily won a contentious primary to run in CD 7, which covers Seminole County and north and central Orange County stretching through downtown Orlando. Murphy is the freshman member of Congress who won an upset victory in 2016 in a district that Republicans had held forever, then easily brushed past a left-wing challenge in the Democratic primary Tuesday.

Both parties desperately want this district, which is now solidly purple but trending toward a slight Democratic lean in voter registration. National Democratic and Republican organizations and donors will be weighing in heavily heading toward the Nov. 6 election.

StPetePolls, commissioned by Florida Politics, conducted a random telephone survey of 435 registered voters Thursday.

According to the poll, Murphy actually has a lead in Seminole County, the district’s most reliable Republican base, while Miller leads in Orange County, where the district’s Democratic base is strongest. Murphy leads among Seminole County voters 50 to 44, while Miller leads in Orange County 48 to 43.

Miller’s House District 47 is entirely inside Orange County, while Murphy has been representing both counties for the past two years.

Each has strong favorability ratings in both counties, with Murphy having an edge with stronger name recognition. Overall, 50 percent of the voters said they have favorable opinions of the congresswoman, while 29 percent said they have an unfavorable view, and 21 percent have no opinion. For Miller, 42 percent said they have a favorable opinion of him, 24 percent said they have an unfavorable opinion, and 34 percent have no opinion.

The poll shows Murphy solidly leading Miller among independent voters: 57 percent favor her, 34 percent favor him. Otherwise, both of them are holding within their parties. Murphy has 78 percent of Democrats’ votes in the poll; Miller gets 77 percent of Republicans.

Within the small demographic subsamples, there weren’t many significant differences between the two, but there were two groups showing dramatic preferences: 88 percent of black voters want Murphy; 68 percent of young voters, under age 30, want Miller.

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