2018 election – Page 7 – Florida Politics
Melissa Howard HD 73

Vanessa Baugh endorses Melissa Howard for HD 73

Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh weighed in on the Republican Primary battle for House District 73, announcing Monday she is backing Melissa Howard.

“Today I am proud to announce my endorsement of Melissa Howard for House District 73. Melissa has a proven track record as a leader who cares for our community and its values. She has been a constant and tireless civic leader through her countless charitable works and has worked to make our area a source of distinction for us all,” Baugh said.

“Melissa is already working with great local leaders such as Representative Joe Gruters, who has signed on as her campaign treasurer, to help continue this area’s great legacy. She is truly the most qualified person to represent us in Tallahassee.”

Baugh was briefly a candidate for HD 73, but backed out shortly after filing.

Howard faces fellow Republican Tommy Gregory in the primary race for HD 73, currently held by Gruters, a Sarasota Republican. The seat is opening up due to Gruters’ run for SD 23, which opened in the wake of U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney’s announcement he would not run for re-election in 2018.

“I appreciate Commissioner Baugh’s faith in my candidacy and in my ability to get the job done,” Howard said. “I look forward to working with her to ensure the top concerns Manatee County residents and business owners have are addressed at the state level.”

Howard leads Gregory in hard money fundraising with nearly $125,000 raised, including $100,000 in candidate loans, to his $56,000. Gregory has the advantage when soft money is included. His committee, Friends of Tommy Gregory, has $85,000 banked, giving him a combined $132,220 on hand compared to $123,900 for Howard.

Gregory’s had more time to gather funds, however. He filed for the race on March 14 and was running solo for a month before Howard jumped in on April 16. Also running for the seat is Democrat Liv Coleman, who finished April with $28,000 on hand, including $5,000 in loans.

HD 73 covers parts of Manatee and Sarasota, with more than 85 percent of the district’s voters residing in Manatee County. The district massively favors Republicans, who make up nearly half of the electorate compared to a 25 percent share for Democrats.

Gruters, currently in his first term, took nearly two-thirds of the vote against Democrat James Golden in the 2016 election. The seat also voted plus-25 for Donald Trump.

Rick Scott’s Spanish commercial pushes his Puerto Rico cred

Republican Gov. Rick Scott‘s U.S. Senate campaign is launching a new Spanish-language commercial touting his efforts on behalf of Puerto Rico and providing praise for him from Puerto Rican Floridians.

The 30-second spot,  “Presente,” is running on Spanish TV stations in Tampa and Orlando as part of what the campaign describes as a “major ad purchase,” according to a news release.

Translated to English, the praise Scott receives includes Jeannie Calderin stating, “I’m supporting Gov. Rick Scott because the truth is that when Puerto Ricans needed the help, he was the first to be there…. Rick Scott has been there. He has been present. He has helped. And what he said he would do, he has done.”

Kelvin Valle says, translated to English, “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…. Rick Scott will fight for us in the Senate.”

Their comments come with interspersed video shots of them speaking and Scott appearing at various events with Florida’s Puerto Rican community, including the Puerto Rican parade in Orlando two weeks ago, and of various factory and distribution center scenes.

Scott faces Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson this year.

Judson Sapp lands trio of endorsements for CD 3 bid

Republican Judson Sapp announced Monday that he’d landed three endorsements for his campaign to boot Gainesville Republican U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho from Florida’s 3rd Congressional District.

His new backers are former state Sen. Jim Horne, former Clay County Sheriff Rick Beseler and Green Cove Springs City Councilman Van Royal.

“Judson has the right vision and leadership to represent the constituents of the 3rd Congressional district. He is a successful businessman and will be a leader in Congress from day one,” said Horne, who served as Education Commissioner during Jeb Bush’s tenure as Governor. “Judson Sapp understands that every child must receive a quality education to fully realize the American dream, and as our Congressman he’ll work to make sure our students have those opportunities.”

Beseler said he was “disappointed in Congress, and we need a reset,” adding that Sapp is “a leader we can trust to make government smaller, protect our second amendment rights, and keep our community safe.” Royal pointed to Sapp’s background as a businessman, saying Congress “needs more businessmen who understand how to meet a payroll and earn a dollar.”

Sapp thanked each of his endorsers for the support and said the North Central Florida district deserves “a Congressman who will take a business-like approach to Washington.”

Sapp is one of five candidates to qualify for the ballot in CD 3, the others being Yoho and Democrats Dushyant Gosai, Yvonne Hayes Hinson and Tom Wells.

Through the end of March, Yoho led the money race with $466,000 raised and $355,000 in the bank. Sapp had $24,000 on hand, followed by Hinson at $13,200, Wells at $1,800 and Gosai at $383.

CD 3 covers the whole of Alachua, Bradford, Clay, Putnam and Union counties as well as the northern half of Marion County. The major population centers of the district are Gainesville, Palatka and part of Ocala.

The seat is a Republican stronghold and whether Yoho is re-elected will likely be decided in the Aug. 28 primary election. Yoho was elected to the old CD 3, which extended westward from it’s base in Alachua County, back in 2012. In 2016, Yoho was re-elected over Democrat Ken McGurn to the newly drawn CD 3 with 57 percent of the vote.

In the same cycle, CD 3 voted plus-16 for Donald Trump.

ardian zika family

Pasco police union endorses Ardian Zika for HD 37

Republican Ardian Zika announce Monday that he’d picked up an endorsement for his House District 37 bid from a Pasco chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police.

“It gives me great pleasure to give you the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police, Pasco County Sheriff’s Lodge 29,” said R.W. “Skip” Stone, President of the FOP Pasco County Sheriff’s Lodge 29. “We represent the members of the Fraternal Order of Police in Pasco County and are entrusted to looking after their best interest while they serve the citizens of Pasco County.

“We are grateful for your support of public safety and are confident you will be a fair and impartial voice. We value your professionalism and commitment to both the citizens of Pasco County and those who put their lives on the line on a daily basis to make sure Pasco County is a safe place to live. Thank you for your commitment to public service, public safety, and our members.”

The police union’s nod was preceded by another major law enforcement endorsement. Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco and Pasco Tax Collector Mike Fasano announced last week that they were backing Zika in the four-way Republican Primary for HD 37, currently held by termed-out House Speaker Richard Corcoran.

Zika, a Land O’ Lakes businessman who immigrated to the U.S. from Kosovo in the 1990s, said he was honored to be Lodge 29’s pick for the Florida House.

“The Fraternal Order of Police represents the women and men who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe and secure. I am thankful for their willingness to serve and protect us daily and appreciate the sacrifice their families make so they may serve our community,” Zika said. “Our law enforcement professionals and their families have earned our respect and appreciation and I am humbled to have their support this election.”

Past endorsements for Zika have come in from St. Petersburg Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes, Senate Majority Leader Wilton Simpson and former House Speaker Will WeatherfordZika’s campaign also recently announced last week that it had gathered enough signatures to make the HD 37 ballot by petition.

He faces Ryan Boney, Bill Gunter and Elle Rudisill in the Republican Primary. Democrats Tammy Garcia and Denise Mestanza-Taylor are also running, though HD 37 is a safe GOP seat.

Through April, Zika held a commanding lead in the money race. He has so far raised more than $183,000 and has $170,000 on hand, followed by Rudisill with $13,500 banked and Boney and Gunter each with $0 in their campaign accounts.

HD 37 covers the majority of inland Pasco County, including the communities of Land O’ Lakes, Odessa, Heritage Pines, Shady Hills, Meadow Oaks and Moon Lake.

Kathleen Peters

Kathleen Peters crosses $100K raised for Pinellas Commission bid

Treasure Island Republican Rep. Kathleen Peters’ fundraising lead in the race for Pinellas County Commission District 6 keeps growing.

New fundraising reports show the third-term lawmaker tacked on $25,435 in contributions last month – her best total in nearly a year. She has now raised $112,000 since filing for the seat in May 2017 and has nearly $76,000 of that cash at the ready.

Peters announced near the end of April that she had gathered enough signatures to qualify for the ballot by petition.

She faces Republicans Larry Ahern, also a state Representative, and Barb Haselden in the race. Haselden is still in the No. 2 spot in total fundraising, though Ahern passed her in cash on hand after posting the better report in April.

The termed-out lawmaker showed $7,200 in new contributions last month as well as $4,000 in spending. That brings his campaign’s lifetime total up to $40,040 through 13 months. He has $29,200 banked.

Haselden, an insurance agent who runs her own business, brought in $1,845 last month and spent nearly $1,000. The April numbers are her best of 2018 and follow a $0 March report. She has raised a total of $42,152 – nearly half of which was raised in her first month – and has $28,763 in the bank.

The three Republicans were recently joined by Democrat Amy Kedron, who won’t show her first fundraising numbers until June.

District 6 includes the communities of Indian Shores, Redington Beach, Redington Shores, Madeira Beach, Pinellas Park, Seminole, Treasure Island and St. Pete Beach. The seat is currently held by John Morroni, who is retiring after four terms on the commission.

The District 6 race will be on the November ballot alongside District 2 and District 4. Incumbent Commissioner Dave Eggers is currently unopposed in the District 4 race, while District 2 incumbent Pat Gerard is being challenged by Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell. Through April, Gerard led Caudell in the money race by about $45,000.

Javier Enriquez holding May 16 fundraiser for HD 114 bid

Republican House District 114 candidate Javier Enriquez is holding a campaign fundraiser this week in Coral Gables.

The fundraiser will be held Wednesday evening at The Boardroom, 270 Catalonia Ave., from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm. Those looking to attend can let the campaign know by sending an email to Javier@ElectJavierEnriquez.com or by calling 786-200-9419.

Enriquez, an attorney and lifelong resident of the district, filed earlier this month and is currently the only Republican running for the seat, which covers a portion of Miami-Dade County.

“District 114 has always been my home,” Enriquez said when announcing his candidacy. “It would be an honor and a privilege to serve my friends and neighbors in Tallahassee. I am committed to supporting policies that foster economic growth, empower the middle class, and help families and small businesses get ahead.”

Democrat Javier Fernandez was elected to the seat in a May 1 special election, beating Republican Andrew Vargas by nearly 5 points. He has not yet filed paperwork to run for re-election in the fall.

Also running for the seat are Democrats Ross Hancock and Albert Santana, though Hancock appears to be winding down his campaign – last month he repaid $15,000 of a $20,000 loan he used to kickstart his campaign.

Enriquez’ invitation is below.

Aakash Patel

Firefighter union endorses Aakash Patel for Hillsborough Commission

Republican Aakash Patel announced Monday that Hillsborough County Firefighters Local 2294, which represents more than 1,000 area firefighters, has endorsed his campaign for Hillsborough County Commission.

“Hillsborough County Firefighters proudly support Aakash Patel for Hillsborough County Commission District 1. Mr. Patel has an extensive history of supporting all aspects of Hillsborough County public safety. His experiences have given him a greater insight into the daily challenges of public servants,” Local 2294 president Derrik Ryan and vice president Jose Prado said in an announcement.

The firefighter union is the latest in a string of endorsements for Patel. Past endorsements include Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, Panhandle U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, former House Speaker Will Weatherford, Zephyrhills Rep. Danny Burgess and Sarasota Rep. Joe Gruters.

“It means a lot to me to have received the Endorsement of the Hillsborough County Firefighters. These true first responders show daily their appreciation for our community as they serve to protect us. We, as a community, are extremely fortunate to have them. I am so very grateful for their support and endorsement. It will be such an honor to have their hard work and support in my #Patel2018 campaign,” Patel said.

Patel is one of three candidates running for District 1, currently held by Commissioner Sandra Murman, who is running for the countywide District 7 seat in the fall. Patel is running against Tampa attorney C. Todd Marks and Democratic businesswoman Jen McDonald, who filed in mid-April.

Patel has built a large lead in the fundraising race. As of April 30, he had raised nearly $332,000 for his campaign and had another $101,000 through an affiliated political committee. He has $267,311 on hand between the two accounts.

Marks has raised $80,150 and has nearly $79,000 on hand, while McDonald raised $4,345 in her first report and has about $4,200 in the bank.

Jeff Brandes qualifies for 2018 ballot by petition

St. Petersburg Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes’ Senate District 24 re-election campaign has collected enough signatures to make the ballot.

“I’m happy we were able to qualify for the ballot by petition,” Brandes said Friday. “We’re building a strong grassroots network and seeing broad support throughout the district, from St. Petersburg to Seminole, Largo and the Beaches. As we knock on doors and talk with voters, we’re excited to see our message of lower taxes and common-sense solutions resonate with concerned Pinellas County residents.”

Candidates must collect signatures from at least 1 percent of a districts voters to qualify by petition and avoid paying a fee. Brandes’ campaign said it has had 3,925 signatures verified by the Florida Division of Elections, beating the requirement by 625.

Brandes, a life-long resident of St. Petersburg, was elected to the Senate in 2012. If successful, his 2018 re-election will be his last before he hits term limits. Brandes is running against Democrat Carrie Pilon, who filed for SD 24 at the beginning of April.

SD 24 covers most of southern Pinellas County. The GOP has a 4-point advantage in voter registrations within the district, though it was carried by Barack Obama in both of his presidential elections before going plus-7 for Donald Trump in 2016.

Through the end of April, Brandes had more than $550,000 on hand between his campaign and committee accounts, including $300,000 of his own money, while Pilon had a little over $100,000 in the bank after her first month.

Neither candidate faces a primary challenger.

Lee Mangold announces backing from Carlos Smith in HD 28 race

Orlando state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith is endorsing Democrat Lee Mangold in the contest for House District 28.

Mangold’s campaign announced the endorsement Monday morning.

At a recent Mangold fundraiser, Smith said: “The reason I decided I wanted to jump on to Lee’s team and very proudly say that I was supporting his race and his campaign is not only because he’s such a passionate advocate for the issues we care about, it wasn’t only because like me — and like many of you — he has a major problem with the Florida Legislature spending $67M on the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas School Safety Act to train and arm teachers and faculty in our public schools.

“I’m also supporting Lee because he has a very strong campaign, he has a community of support, I’m impressed even by the fact we have such a great community turnout here in the district he’s running in, but also I’m supporting Lee Mangold because I know that he can win!”

Mangold, who owns a cybersecurity company and teaches at the University of Central Florida, faces Winter Springs business consultant and retired Marine colonel Republican David Smith in the HD 28 race. Smith, of Casselberry, and Mangold each seek to succeed Republican state Rep. Jason Brodeur in the district covering northeast Seminole County.

“Rep. [Carlos] Smith is someone I truly look up to in the legislature, ” Mangold stated in a news release. “He is a tireless fighter for true progressive values, such as supporting public education, supporting affordable and available health care for all, and a continual fight for equality.

“I’m truly honored to receive Carlos’ endorsement, and I look forward to serving alongside him in Tallahassee.”

Philip Levine

Philip Levine opening Broward campaign office Saturday

Former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is opening up another office for his gubernatorial campaign on Saturday in Broward County.

The new regional office, located in Plantation, is the fourth one for the South Florida Democrat. His other offices are in Kissimmee, St. Petersburg and Tampa.

The campaign said it’ll kick off the opening with a 3 pm event where Levine will speak to supporters, volunteers and locals on “his bold, progressive vision to move Florida forward” as well as Broward’s importance in the primary and general elections.

The office address is 8320 W Sunrise Blvd., Suite 204.

Once the office opening wraps, the campaign said Levine will head to Miami, where he will participate in candidate forum put on by Avanse Asanm, a movement aimed at boosting “volunteerism, commitment, connectivity, and investment in the Haitian Community” among Haitian American Millennials.

The forum is set to start at 4:30 pm at the Little Haiti Cultural Center, 212 NE 59th Terrace. The Levine campaign said he will speak at 5:45 pm.

Also slated speak at the Avanse Asanm event is Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is also running in the Democratic Primary for governor.

The group says the candidates “will be discussing student debt reduction, living wages, affordable workforce housing, transportation, immigration, and more.”

The other two major Democrats in the race, former Congresswoman Gwen Graham and Orlando-area businessman Chris King, will not be in attendance.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons