2018 election – Page 7 – Florida Politics

Anna Eskamani reports her HD 47 funds have topped $200K

Democratic Florida House District 47 candidate Anna Eskamani reported Tuesday that her official campaign and her independent political committee combined have now cleared the $200,000 level in contributions.

Eskamani, seeking to succeed Republican state Rep. Mike Miller, has raised $184,400 in her official campaign fund. Her camp said in a news release Wednesday that People Power for Florida, her independent political committee, has drawn $24,250.

Her campaign raised $15,816 in February, the eight-consecutive month it reached five figures in donations, and finished February with about $139,000 in the bank. The latest reports for People Power for Florida have not yet been posted by the Florida Secretary of State. Through January that committee had brought in only about $3,200, and had spent about half of that.

Eskamani, of Orlando, is gearing up to face one of two Republicans seeking the seat, which represents north-central Orange County including Maitland, Winter Park, downtown Orlando, and neighborhoods around it.

Neither Stockton Reeves VI of Winter Park nor Mikaela Nix of Orlando has announced February campaign finance results, and their reports have not yet been posted by the Florida Secretary of State. However, both of them held their campaign kickoff fundraisers in February. Reeves came into the month having raised $11,000 since last summer and has lent his campaign $90,000, so his campaign entered February with about $95,000 in the bank. Nix entered the race in late January, and her only campaign finance activity at that point had been $100 she put into her account to start.

Eskamani’s campaign now has received more than 1,600 donations since she entered the race last July.

“This is more than just a moment, this is a movement,” she said in a news release issued by her campaign. “I am an Orlando native and a daughter of working class immigrants who lost her mom to cancer at age 13. I never thought I would run for office one day, let alone raise more than $200,000 from over 1,600 individual donations in just eight months.

“I have been holding politicians accountable and pushing for common sense policy for the last ten years of my life,” she added. “It’s about time women like me march from our neighborhoods and into the Florida House.”

Email insights: Donna Shalala ‘elitist, disconnected, and delusional’

Former University of Miami President Donna Shalala made her CD 27 run official Tuesday and the GOP seems about as excited as her Democratic opponents according to an email sent out by the Republican National Committee.

“Donna Shalala represents everything Floridians dislike about the Clinton’s – elitist, disconnected, and delusional about the working class and their needs,” RNC spokesperson Taryn Fenske said in an email. “She proved this by leading the Clinton foundation and covering up scandalous international fundraising activities as well as the Clinton family’s lifetime record of corruption.”

The RNC statement echoes the sentiments of some of Shalala’s Democratic Primary rivals, though their concerns have more to do with the former Health and Human Services secretary’s corporate ties than her Clinton connections.

Mary Barzee Flores said last month that Shalala is “compromised” by her ties to health insurers and homebuilders, as well as her treatment of low-wage employees at UM.

But the RNC’s statement kept beating the Hillary Clinton drum – even rolling out President Donald Trump’s nickname for his former adversary.

“Floridians clearly didn’t want Crooked Hillary or her cronies representing us in D.C., and Donna should know the Clinton’s influence, and reign, is officially over,” Fenske said.

Shalala faces Barzee Flores, Matt Haggman, Michael Hepburn, state Rep. David Richardson, state Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez, and Miami Beach City Commissioners Kristen Rosen Gonzalez and Ken Russell in the CD27 Democratic Primary.

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro and songwriter Angie Chirino are competing for the Republican nomination.

The seat is opening up in 2018 due to the retirement of longtime Republican U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. CD 27 is one of a handful of districts nationwide to simultaneously vote for Clinton and a Republican member of congress in 2016.

Rick Kriseman endorses René Flowers for Pinellas School Board

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman on Tuesday endorsed Pinellas County School Board Chair René Flowers for re-election.

“I have been honored to call René Flowers a friend for many years and I enthusiastically support her re-election to the Pinellas County School Board,” Kriseman said in a press release. “Nobody will fight harder for St. Petersburg and our kids than René.”

Kriseman’s endorsement follows Flowers’ Monday announcement that Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch, St. Petersburg City Council Chair Lisa Wheeler-Bowman and Mt. Zion Primitive Baptist Church Pastor Dr. G. Gregg Murray had endorsed her for a second full term.

“I am extremely grateful to have the endorsement of Mayor Rick Kriseman. The future is bright for public schools and I look forward to continuing the partnership with the City of St. Petersburg under Mayor Kriseman’s leadership,” Flowers said.

Flowers also announced an upcoming campaign fundraiser in the press release, set for 6 p.m. on March 9 at the Iberian Rooster, 475 Central Avenue.

Flowers was first elected to the District 7 board seat in 2012 to serve out the remainder of deceased School Board Member Lew Williams’ term.

She won that election with 77 percent of the vote over Glenton Gilzean, and in 2014 she took 96 percent of the vote against a write-in opponent.

Flowers is currently running against Bilan Joseph and Nicholas Wright in the 2018 contest. A third challenger, Shyla Sams, filed to run for the seat last summer but has since withdrawn.

School board elections are nonpartisan and will be on the Aug. 28 primary election ballot.

Video: John Boehner backs Scott Sturgill for CD 7

Congressional candidate Scott Sturgill and picked up an endorsement from former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner during a March 1 campaign fundraiser.

The ex-politician promised to keep his endorsement short, telling the crowd at the event “as Elizabeth Taylor told her fifth husband, ‘don’t worry honey, I won’t be here long.’”

The former Ohio congressman then outlined his support for Sturgill, who is running for Florida’s 7th Congressional District. The Central Florida seat is currently held by freshman Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, but Republicans are aiming for a flip in the fall.

“Scotty was a big help to me when I was trying to become speaker of the House back in ’09, ’10, and was there during my time as Speaker helping me do what I needed to do to raise money to re-elect a Republican majority,” Boehner said.

“And so, when Scotty and I ran into each other and he told me he was running for Congress, I went ‘WHAT!’”

“I think you had a few other adjectives,” Sturgill joked.

“I’m here tonight because Scotty’s a great guy, and I just want to say this: Elections are won and lost not based on what the polls say, not based on anything else other than who shows up to vote and how they vote,” Boehner said.

Boehner then recounted his longshot first campaign for Congress, and encouraged the crowd to open up their pocket books to give Sturgill a boost in the CD 7 Republican Primary, where he faces state Rep. Mike Miller as well as Patrick Weingart and Vennia Francois.

“The best way for him to win is to clear out the field,” Boehner said. “If he raises enough money, these other people will just go away. So, I would just urge all of you to step up and write the big check, get on with it, cause you’re going to do it sooner or later.”

Also attending the fundraiser were former U.S. Rep. Sandy Adams, Seminole County Republican State Committeewoman Susie Dolan and businessman and philanthropist David Maus.

Sturgill leads his primary opponents in the money race as of the end of 2017. His year-end report showed about $309,000 raised and $266,000 on hand compared to $220,000 raised and $185,000 on hand for Miller. Weingart and Francois have not yet filed their first campaign finance reports.

Murphy leads the overall field with $1.36 million raised and $973,000 on hand. Her primary challenger, Chardo Richardson had $8,700 in the bank at the start of the year.

Video of Boehner’s endorsement is below.

HD 66 candidate Berny Jacques endorsed by EJ Otero

Republican Berny Jacques announced Tuesday that retired Air Force Col. Evelio “EJ” Otero had endorsed his campaign for coastal Pinellas-based House District 66.

Otero led the establishment of the first ever U.S. Command Headquarters in Qatar and at one time was the Chief of Coalition Intelligence at MacDill Air Force Base. In 2012 he was the Republican nominee for Florida’s 14th Congressional District, losing to Democratic U.S. Rep. Cathy Castor on Election Day.

“I’ve had the pleasure to see Berny’s tremendous leadership skills,” Otero said in a press release. “Berny is a strong conservative thinker who is always in tune with issues affecting the community. It is my privilege to support one of the highest caliber individuals running for the Florida House. I respect Berny and I’m proud to encourage voters to unequivocally vote for him.”

Otero joins Seminole City Councilmember Roger Edelman, former Pinellas County School Board Member Glen Gilzean and Largo Commissioner and former police chief John Carroll, among others, in endorsing the St. Petersburg attorney.

“It is truly an honor to have the support of Col. EJ Otero,” Jacques said. “Col. Otero is someone I’ve always admired for his record of leadership in our military, and for his efforts as a grassroots conservative activist in the Tampa Bay Area. I won’t let him down.”

Jacques is competing with Belleair Bluffs businessman Nick DiCeglie for the GOP nomination to succeed term-limited Republican Rep. Larry Ahern.

Also running for the seat are Democrat Alex Heeren and Reform Party candidate Paul Bachmann, though the winner of the Republican Primary has the best odds to win the seat in November given its GOP tilt.

HD 66 covers part of western Pinellas County, including Clearwater, Belleair, Indian Rocks Beach and Indian Shores.

Through the end of January, Jacques was leading the money race with nearly $108,000 on hand between his campaign account and political committee, Protect Pinellas.

DiCeglie, who entered the race six months after Jacques, had about $64,000 on hand through the same date.

Bob Poe endorses Andrew Gillum in governor’s race

In an endorsement sure to get the attention of Florida’s establishment progressive Democrats, former Florida Democratic Party Chair Bob Poe announced his backing Tuesday of Andrew Gillum for governor.

In a video released over his Twitter account, Poe, a longtime Democratic activist, donor, and fundraiser from Orlando, said he had intended to stay on the sidelines this year until after the primary, but events changed his mind.

“I know all the candidates and I like them personally,” Poe said, referring to the Democrats running, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, former U.S. Rep Gwen Graham, and Winter Park businessman Chris King, as well as Gillum.

“This year we have a historic and unique opportunity to elect a bold candidate that believes strongly in our Democratic values and isn’t afraid to share them, from the brightest-blue cities, to the deepest-red counties of our state, and everywhere in between,” Poe said. “We shouldn’t accept anything less. And we don’t have to. And that’s why I’m endorsing Andrew Gillum for governor.”

Poe, a fundraiser for Charlie Crist‘s gubernatorial campaign, ran for U.S. Congress in 2016, losing the Democratic primary in Florida’s 10th Congressional District to now-U.S. Rep. Val Demings. An entrepreneur who made a fortune in radio, Poe’s involvement in Democratic politics dates back decades.

“In all those years in politics, I’ve never seen a candidate quite like Andrew,” he said.

He cited Gillum’s efforts, in college, to take on then-Gov. Jeb Bush on affirmative action issues, in pushing through gun ordinances in Tallahassee and then withstanding legal challenges from the NRA, and in Gillum’s efforts to walk with protesting students following the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

“He’s the real deal,” Poe said. “Andrew’s the candidate we’ve been waiting for.”

Philip Levine placing another nearly $2 million in TV ads

Expressing frustration with what the Florida Legislature is doing with guns and schools, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine is placing another nearly $2 million buy for statewide TV commercials this month, his campaign announced Monday.

The commercials will continue for a while with his “We Will” spot that launched in late February on a $750,000 statewide-buy, declaring the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School “a wakeup call we can’t ignore.” By mid-March that likely will be replaced by a new TV commercial, his campaign indicated.

Levine is running against former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, and businessman Chris King for the Aug. 28 Democratic primary nomination. He is the only Democrat to air TV commercials yet, and his buys already have gone over $4 million prior to March. The leading Republicans are Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis.

The latest TV buy will be split between Levine’s independent political committee “All About Florida” and his official Levine for Governor campaign. All About Florida will be spending $630,000 to continue running “We Will” through about March 11, while the official campaign will spend about $1.3 million on TV commercials for the rest of the month. All the commercials will run statewide, in either English or Spanish, depending upon the stations.

“As the Republican Legislature continues their political double talk on legislation, Mayor Philip Levine has made it clear that the time is now to enact sensible gun safety reforms that take Florida from having the weakest gun safety laws in the nation to the strongest,” declared a statement released by campaign consultant Christian Ulvert. “The Mayor opposes efforts to arm teachers with weapons and reaffirms the public’s call for an assault weapons ban, raising the age to 21 for gun purchases, and universal background checks, in addition to closing any loopholes.”

In the current “We Will” commercial Levine expresses his goals of “reasonable gun regulations, better background checks, and a permanent ban on assault rifles.”

The commercial begins with Levine standing next to a school bus saying, “When we send our children off to school, we want to know they’re safe. But here in Florida, despite 14 school shootings in 8 years, we still have some of the weakest gun laws in the nation. And the tragedy at Stoneman Douglas High is a wakeup call we can’t ignore.

Kubs Lalchandani raises $70K in first month of HD 113 campaign

Democrat Kubs Lalchandani has raised nearly $70,000 since entering the House District 113 race on Feb. 1, his campaign said Monday.

“I’m honored by the tremendous outpouring of support from so many who believe in my path to change Tallahassee. The Republican leadership in the Florida House continue to leave families behind and their efforts to undermine our public schools and environment must be challenged,” Lalchandani said in a press release.

“The future is here in so many other sectors of our society – it’s time our government reflected it with innovative policies that put people first and help them get ahead. Our leaders should be serving their constituents and working towards improving their lives. It’s time to break the mold, and we’re only getting started.”

Lalchandani is an alumnus of Cornell Law School and served as a clerk under Federal District Court Judge Patricia Seitz before entering private practice at international law firm White & Case. He eventually opened his current firm, Lalchandani Simon PL, which specializes in helping businesses use technology to grow their bottom line.

The candidate’s full report is not yet available through the Florida Division of Elections, though his campaign said it received contributions from 220 individual donors, which it said was “a sign of the things to come.”

The campaign also poked at Democratic Primary opponent Deede Weithorn, who had not yet hit the $70,000 milestone despite having a seven-month head start in the race.

Weithorn, a former member of the Miami Beach City Commission, had not filed her February campaign finance report as of Monday evening, though through January she had raised nearly $54,000 and had about $29,000 cash on hand.

Though she possibly lags behind in the fundraising race, Weithorn has pulled down a stack of local endorsements toward the end of 2017, including nods from Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber and commissioners Michael Gongora, Mark Samuelian, and Micky Steinberg.

Lalchandani and Weithorn are currently the only candidates vying for HD 113, a Democratic stronghold that covers southeastern Miami-Dade, including Miami Beach and North Bay Village.

The seat is opening up in 2018 due to Democratic Rep. David Richardson’s decision to run for Florida’s 27th Congressional District, which is currently held by retiring Republican U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

Democrat Neil Henrichsen enters HD 27 race in Volusia County

Democrat Neil Henrichsen, a former chair of the Duval County Democrats and founding member of Henrichsen Siegel law firm, has filed to run for House District 27, seeking to take on Republican incumbent state Rep. David Santiago of Deltona.

Henrichsen, 55, of Deltona, is the second Democrat into the race. But the other, Tyran Rayaad Basil, has raised little money and has shown minimal campaign activity — especially given his early start last April.

In Henrichsen, Santiago may be drawing a competitor with both deep ties to the state Florida Democratic Party and to fundraising. Henrichsen opened his law firm in Jacksonville but among the expansions is a Daytona Beach office, and Henrichsen said he has had a home in Volusia County for more than 10 years. The district covers south and west Volusia, including the cities of Deltona, Orange City and Debary, which essentially are suburbs of Orlando.

He is a past chair of the Duval Democratic Executive Committee and a past vice chair of the Florida Democratic Party County Chairs Association, and also has been active in Democratic Party politics in Volusia. His law firm focuses on labor, employment, civil rights, and civil litigation, with offices in Jacksonville, Daytona Beach, Miami, New York, and Washington D.C.

“Volusia County has always been a big home … and that’s a seat that should be Democratic,” he said. “It has a handful more registered Democrats and a representative in Santiago who has not done a lot for the district or the state.”

Henrichsen said he expects Santiago to be vulnerable for his vote. Two weeks ago, with survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre looking on in the gallery, Santiago was against allowing floor debate on House Bill 219, which would prohibit the sale, transfer or possession of assault weapons or large-capacity ammunition magazines.

Henrichsen also expects to go after Santiago on homeowners insurance in a county that’s been hit hard by hurricanes, and for being too tightly tied to the Florida Chamber of Commerce and its agenda.

Nick DiCeglie hosting March Madness fundraiser

State House candidate Nick DiCeglie is holding a fundraiser during the height of March Madness, and attendees are encouraged to wear some flair for their favorite team, be it an alma mater or a Cinderella.

The fundraiser is slated for 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Angry Pepper Taphouse in Seminole, 9366 Oakhurst Road.

Attendees are encouraged to wear the logo of their favorite tournament team, so those on the bubble may need to wait until after Selection Sunday to pick out their attire.

DiCeglie’s invite didn’t say what logo he’ll be wearing, the invite did list his March Madness team, which includes Carol Bumiller, Diane Blum, Janice Hill, Carol Williams, Ann Muller, Diane Nelson and Mary Erickson-Tweiten.

Those looking to attend can RSVP by emailing rick@politicalcapitalflorida.com.

While aren’t set for March Madness, voters have a little bit better of an idea of who’ll be facing off in the House District 66 race.

DiCeglie, a Republican, is running for the coastal Pinellas County seat currently held by termed out Republican Rep. Larry Ahern.

He faces St. Petersburg attorney Berny Jacques in the GOP primary for HD 66, while Democrat Alex Heeren and Reform Party candidate Paul Bachmann are so far uncontested in the primary.

The winner of the Republican Primary will be the undisputed No. 1 seed in the general election – HD 66 has is a safe Republican seat.

Through the end of January, Jacques held the fundraising lead with nearly $108,000 on hand between his campaign account and political committee, Protect Pinellas.

DiCeglie, who runs Clearwater-based trash removal and recycling company Solar Sanitation, had about $64,000 on hand in his campaign account through the same date.

The invitation is below.

DiCeglie Fundraiser 3.15.18

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