2018 election Archives - Page 7 of 135 - Florida Politics

Here’s the first post-primary poll of the race for Florida governor

Andrew Gillum is breaking ahead of Ron DeSantis in the governor’s race, fueled by the early preference of Florida’s independent voters, according to the first publicly-released poll of the general election campaign season.

A new poll produced by Public Policy Polling gives Gillum, the progressive Tallahassee mayor who rocked the Democratic Party on Tuesday, 48 percent, and DeSantis, the conservative Republican nominee running with President Donald Trump, 43 percent, in the opening days of the Nov. 6 election campaign.

A remarkably low  percentage of voters, just 9 percent, told PPP pollsters that they were unsure, an early indication of how clear the differences already are, and likely will continue to be ,between the two major gubernatorial candidates.

The poll, taken Wednesday and Thursday, shows Gillum starting with a commanding lead among independent voters. Party faithful are lining up pretty equally behind their nominees, and consequently Gillum’s early advantage appears built entirely from independent voters chosing him.

PPP surveyed 743 Florida voters, of which 41 percent were Republicans, 41 percent were Democrats and 18 percent were independent.

The poll was commissioned by EDGE Communications, the politial consulting firm of Christian Ulvert, the former senior consultant for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine, who lost to Gillum Tuesday.

“In the first general election poll since Tuesday’s primary, we see how Florida is very much a swing state. Mayor Gillum starts ahead of Ron DeSantis by 5 points,”  Ulvert stated in a release announcing the poll.

The poll finds Gillum starting out with a fairly warm reception from those surveyed, and DeSantis, not so much.

In favorability ratings, 45 percent of those surveyed said they have a favorable opinion of Gillum, and 27 percent an unfavorable opinion. DeSantis starts the fall campaign with a 41 percent favable rating, but a 47 percent unfavorable rating.

While party voters generally were lining up solidly behind their nominees, DeSantis’s favorability issue extends deeply into independent voters, according to the survey. Just 26 percent found him favorable, and 55 percent found him unfavorable.

Gillum, meanwhile, starts out with a 51 percent favorable rating among independents and only a 14 percent unfavorable rating. Gillum also starts with a large percentage of Republican voters, 37 percent, who say they have no opinion of him yet.

The result of that independent voters favorability gap: 59 percent would vote today for Gillum and just 25 percent for DeSantis, with 16 percent undecided.

“The most interesting number is among Independent voters where Gillum leads DeSantis by 34. … Gillum starts with an impressive edge among Independent voters who are key to winning Florida,” Ulvert stated.

There also is a sharp differences of opinion between men and women, and divided by races.

“In the governor’s race, there is massive gender gap with Gillum leading among women by 21 and DeSantis leading among men by 13,” Ulvert noted.

Gillum has 84 percent of the vote of black voters and 61 percent of Hisapanic voters, while DeSantis hs 54 percent of the white voters.

Public employee union endorses Andrew Gillum, Nikki Fried

The nations largest public employee union has endorsed Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) announced its endorsement Thursday, two days after Gillum defied every pre-election poll and came out on top in the five-way Democratic primary for Governor.

“Andrew Gillum understands the issues facing Florida’s working families because he comes from a working family, he understands his success is due to hard work and the support of public institutions, and, most importantly, he has continued standing with working families every step of the way,” said AFSCME executive director Jana Weaver.

AFSCME, which has more than more than 1.6 million working and retired members, said its membership held a statewide call after Tuesday’s primary to discuss the general election and decided that Gillum rather than Republican nominee Ron DeSantis would be the best pick for public employees in November.

“It is clear that for the dedicated public workers who never quit serving their communities that Andrew Gillum is the clear choice and we are going to work hard every day until November to bring it home. He doesn’t just talk the talk, Andrew Gillum knows how to deliver the change our state needs,” Weaver said.

“While Ron DeSantis is focused on his cable news headlines, Andrew Gillum has put together a real agenda to tackle our state’s income inequality, make a real investment in public education, protect our communities from senseless gun violence and expand healthcare access,” she concluded.

In the same announcement, AFSCME said it was also backing the Nikki Fried for Agriculture Commissioner. Fried was a late entry into Democratic primary for the statewide seat, but quickly surpassed her primary challengers in fundraising and earned 58 percent of the vote in the three-way race.

“Nikki Fried will put an end to the scandals and issues that have plagued a department central to the prosperity of our entire state,” Weaver said. “She will work with the dedicated state workers in the department to implement the goals Floridians have clearly stated they want while tackling the challenges, such as climate change, that threaten our future.”

With the addition of Gillum and Fried, AFSCME has backed every Democrat running statewide in 2018. Prior endorsements went out to U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who will face term-limited Gov. Rick Scott in the fall; Attorney General nominee Sean Shaw, who defeated Ryan Torrens in the primary and now faces former circuit court judge Ashley Moody; and Jeremy Ring, who is running for Chief Financial Officer against incumbent Republican Jimmy Patronis.


Updated Friday — Later Thursday night, the Committee on Political Education of the Florida AFL-CIO announced it had voted to endorse Gillum for Governor.

Florida AFL-CIO is the state federation of unions representing over one million union members, retirees, and their families in the state.

“For too long Florida’s working people have been left behind by corporate special interests in Tallahassee,” Florida AFL-CIO President Mike Williams said in a statement. “We need a Governor that will boldly fight for the issues that affect workers every day.”

Poll: Florida’s U.S. Senate race back to one point gap

A new poll from Public Policy Polling puts Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson back up by one point over Republican Gov. Rick Scott, putting Florida’s Senate race back in the dead-heat category.

Polling in the contest generally has pendulumed a few points in favor of either since the race began in earnest in the spring. The new PPP Poll, commissioned by EDGE Communications as the first of the general election campaign season, sets them at one point apart:

Nelson 46, Scott 45, with eight percent of Florida voters undecided.

PPP surveyed 743 Florida voters on Wednesday and Thursday, to set a baseline coming out of Tuesday’s partisan primaries.

The poll finds independent voters with essentially the same preference for the Democrat in the U.S. Senate race as they show for Democrats Andrew Gillum and Sean Shaw in the Florida gubernatorial and attorney general races.

Independent voters are preferring Nelson by 56 percent to 36 percent over Scott, with only seven percent of independent voters undecided, in PPP’s poll.

Scott makes up most of that disadvantage by attracting more party loyalty than Nelson enjoys. Seventy-nine percent of Republicans are ready to vote for Scott, and 12 percent of them for Nelson; while 76 percent of Democrats are ready to vote for Nelson, and 15 percent for Scott, according to survey.

The same poll also gives President Donald Trump an approval rating of 46 percent and a disapproval rating of 49 percent.

Independents voters’ views of Trump follows the same pattern as their picks in the Senate race: 38 percent find Trump favorable, and 51 percent unfavorable.

First poll of Attorney General race: Ashley Moody just ahead of Sean Shaw

Republican Ashley Moody opens the fall race for Florida attorney general with a three-point lead over Democrat Sean Shaw, which starts the contest essentially even, according to a new poll.

The poll from Public Policy Polling and commissioned by EDGE Communications give Moody, the former judge, 44 percent and Shaw, the state senator, 41 percent in the opening days after each of them won theiur parties’ primaries Tuesday.

That difference is within the margin of error to start with, based on the 743 Florida voters that PPP polled on Wednesday and Thursday.

The remaining 15 percent of those surveyed said they were not sure yet in the attorney general’s race.

Details of the polling show that Shaw has an early advantage among independent voters, leading 46 percent to 29 percent, but that Moody has more support within her party than Shaw does from his. Eighty-one percent of Republicans are ready to vote for Moody, while only 71 percent of Democrats would vote for Shaw today.

In the PPP survey, 41 percent of the voters polled were Republicans, 41 percent were Democrats and 18 percent were independent.

Florida Police Chiefs Association backs John Mina in Orange County sheriff race

Florida police chiefs are backing one of their own, Orlando’s John Mina, in the election for Orange County Sheriff, calling him a role model in law enforcement.

The Flordia Police Chiefs Association, which represents more than 900 of the state’s top law enforcement executives, backed Mina over former Florida Highway Patrol Chief Jose “Joe” Lopez and Darryl Sheppard, according to a new release issued Thursday by Mina’s campaign.

In backing Mina, the police chiefs’ group referenced his leadership during and after the 2016 massacre of 49 people at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub. That year the organization awarded Mina its top declaration, the “Outstanding Chief Executive Award.”

“Chief John Mina has been tested in a way no police chief should ever have to be tested during the Pulse tragedy and its aftermath,” FPCA Executive Director Amy Mercer stated in the release. “His professionalism and steady hand showed what kind of leader he is. In those moments of doubt, John Mina and the Orlando Police Department served as the rock the community needed to find peace and feel safe again.

“Mina is recognized as a role model in law enforcement for the community policing standards Orlando implemented to build stronger relationships between officers and the communities they serve,” Mercer added. “The FPCA is proud to endorse John Mina for Orange County sheriff.”

FPCA serves municipal police departments, airport police, college and university police, and tribal police, private business and security firms, as well as federal, state and county law enforcement agencies.

The Orange County sheriff election and office are partisan, but partisan distinctions are complicated this year. Both Mina and Lopez changed their party affiliations from Republican to Democrat in 2017, but they each did so too late to qualify to run for office this year as Democrats. So both are running as independents. Sheppard then won the Democratic nomination by default. No Republicans are running this year.

“The Florida Police Chiefs Association is one of the most respected law enforcement organizations in the United States. To be endorsed by the great men and women who make up the FPCA is an honor,” Mina stated in the release. “As the next sheriff of Orange County, I will continue to uphold the ideals and professionalism of the Florida Police Chiefs Association.”

Bill Posey gets behind Wayne Liebnitzky in CD 9 race

U.S. Rep. Bill Posey is endorsing fellow Republican Wayne Liebnitzky in his campaign to be elected to Florida’s 9th Congressional District, which includes a broad swath of voters Posey once represented.

Liebnitzky is taking on Democratic U.S. Rep. Darren Soto this fall.

Posey’s Florida’s 8th Congressional District covers Brevard County, Indian River County, and east Orange County, while CD 9 covers south Orange, Osceola and eastern Polk counties. Before redistricting, much of what is now in CD 9 was inside Posey’s district.

In a letter to Liebnitzky, Posey recounts that when he first ran he lost the vote in Osceola County, and he was told residents there were not satisfied with the representation they had received over time from their previous representative. “Over the next years, I worked very hard to properly represent them and earn their trust. In the next election, Osceola County voters gave me 4,849 more votes than my opponent!

“Because I know you will work just as hard to represent my former constituents and friends in Osceola County,” Posey wrote, “I am pleased to give you my most enthusiastic endorsement.”

Nancy Argenziano joins Reform Party ticket in governor’s race

Former Republican state Sen. Nancy Argenziano is now the Reform Party candidate for lieutenant governor, the campaign for Reform Party gubernatorial candidate Darcy Richardson announced Thursday.

Richardson’s campaign is filing paperwork Thursday to put Argenziano on the ballot as his running mate this fall.

Argenziano is a former Republican state senator and state representative who also served as chair of the Florida Public Service Commission under then-Gov. Charlie Crist. In 2011, she declared her disenchantment with the direction of the Republican Party and quit, initially trying to become a Democrat. But Argenziano failed to qualify for a Congressional run as a Democrat in 2012 and settled in as an independent.

Now she joined the Reform Party, the organization that dates back to Ross Perot‘s failed attempts to establish a major third party in the 1990s.

Richardson, a former Democrat, is the party’s nominee to run for governor of Florida this year.

“Given the state of our democracy, is there any question we need to make major reforms? I am certain Darcy is up to the task,” Argenziano said in a news release from Richardson’s campaign. “When Darcy asked me if I wouldn’t mind getting back in the trenches, given the state of America and Florida in particular, I said yes – of course!”

Argenziano added that she draws inspiration from the legacy of John McCain, according to the release.

“Nancy’s record speaks for itself, she has been a champion for Florida consumers and is going to be an incredible asset for our campaign,” Richardson said. “Cleaning up the corruption in Tallahassee is no small job. As our next lieutenant governor, Nancy Argenziano will be the special interests’ worst nightmare.”

Venice Council supports approval of dog racing ban

Though Amendment 13 remains in legal limbo, the Venice City Council is now on the record in support of the proposed greyhound racing ban being approved by voters this November.

The city lies in Sarasota County, a county which has hosted greyhound races since 1929 at the Sarasota Kennel Club.

But the Venice City Council is advocating for the passage of Amendment 13, which could ban those races starting in 2021, should it be placed on the ballot pending a legal challenge now being heard by the Florida Supreme Court.

“The City of Venice hereby declares support of proposed constitutional Amendment 13 to phase-out the cruelty of commercial greyhound racing,” reads the relevant section of the resolution.

The resolution also calls greyhound racing “a dying industry” and asserts “public opposition to commercial greyhound racing is increasing due to both humane and economic concerns.”

On the other hand, greyhound boosters, like Jennifer Newcome of the Committee to Support Greyhounds, have said dog racing “has been a proud Florida tradition for decades, as well as an integral part of the Florida economy, creating thousands of jobs, contributing to the tax base and supporting local charities.”

The Florida Greyhound Association challenged Amendment 13, arguing its title and summary were misleading. That argument satisfied a lower court judge earlier this month, who ordered the amendment stricken from the November ballot.

The Florida Supreme Court heard arguments on the case on Wednesday, and will ultimately decide the amendment’s fate. If it does make the ballot, it must earn 60 percent of the vote in order to pass.

Phil Hornback

Phil Hornback raising campaign cash for HD 58 run Thursday

Ruskin Democrat Phil Hornback is holding a fundraising reception Thursday evening to kickstart his campaign for Hillsborough County’s House District 58.

The event will run from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Keel & Curley Winery, 5210 Thonotosassa Rd., in Plant City. The suggested contribution $25, and attendees can expect some entertainment from The Hummingbirds.

Though Hornback filed for HD 58 back in May, he hasn’t made much headway on the fundraising trail. It seems that could change in the near future, however, given some of the names on his fundraiser’s host committee — former CFO Alex Sink, Democratic Attorney General nominee Sean Shaw, state Sen. Daryl Rouson and Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp are among the many names on the invite.

Supporters looking more information on the event or to RSVP can send a message to campaign manager Jason Marlow via jasonsmarlow21@gmail.com or call 561-459-9368.

Hornback is a former middle school science teacher, football coach and real estate broker. Prior to entering the race for the northeastern Hillsborough County district, he was a candidate for Florida’s 15th Congressional District.

HD 58 is currently held by Republican Rep. Lawrence McClure, who won the seat in a special election late last year. Prior to McClure, the seat was held by former Republican Rep. Dan Raulerson who resigned the office due to health issues.

As of Aug. 23, Hornback had raised about $7,000 for his campaign and kicked in another $6,000 in candidate loans though he had little cash on hand. McClure, meanwhile, has raised close to $52,000 with $36,600 in the bank.

HD 58 includes Plant City, Temple Terrace, Dover, Mango, Seffner, Thonotosassa, and parts of Tampa and East Lake-Orient Park. The seat has a Republican advantage — it voted plus-10 for Donald Trump two years ago.

The fundraiser invitation is below.

Hornback fundraiser 8.30.2018

Top House Republicans raising cash for party nominees next week

Incoming House Speaker Jose Oliva is holding a fundraiser in Tallahassee next week benefitting the new crop of Republican nominees running for the Florida House in the fall.

The fundraising reception well be held at the DoubleTree Hilton, 101 South Adams Street, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. In addition to Oliva, Palm Harbor Rep. Chris Sprowls and Palm Coast Rep. Paul Renner are listed on the host committee.

Sprowls is in line to become House Speaker following the 2020 elections, with Renner set to follow in 2022.

Republicans currently hold a 75-41 majority in the House, with 4 vacant seats.

There are 17 currently Republican lawmakers who cannot run for re-election in 2018 due to term limits, with another handful leaving the chamber early to pursue runs for other offices.

Among those leaving early: Sarasota Rep. Joe Gruters, who is running for SD 23; Venice Rep. Julio Gonzalez, who lost in the primary for CD 17 Tuesday; Winter Park Rep. Mike Miller, who cruised in the CD 7 primary; Dover Rep. Ross Spano, who won the crowded primary contest for CD 15; and Pensacola Rep. Frank White, who lost the Attorney General primary by double digits.

There’s a long list of races that are considered at least somewhat competitive in the fall, where the GOP nominees will need party support for Republicans to avoid ceding ground in the chamber.

The Republican Party of Florida is well equipped to play defense after announcing it raised more than $7.4 million for the reporting period covering April 1 through Aug. 23. In the state Senate, where there are also a number of competitive races slated for November, Republicans are also in decent shape — the party’s Senate campaign arm recently announced more than $7.2 million over the same four month stretch.

The fundraiser invitation is below.

House Majority fundraiser 9.5.2018

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