2018 legislative races Archives - Page 3 of 47 - Florida Politics

Keith Perry up 10 in SD 8 re-election battle

Three weeks out from Election Day, incumbent Republican Sen. Keith Perry has a double-digit lead over Democratic challenger Kayser Enneking in the race for Gainesville-based Senate District 8.

A St. Pete Polls survey, commissioned by Florida Politics, found Perry leading Enneking 49-39 percent with 6 percent of voters opting for unaffiliated candidate Charles Goston and the balance still unsure of which candidate they’ll vote for in the general election.

Similar to the prior measure from the same pollster, Perry’s lead stems from his strong support among the Republican base compared to Enneking’s weaker support among SD 8 Democrats: Perry holds an 83-10 percent lead among GOP voters, while Enneking holds a 67-17 percent lead among registered Dems.

Part of the weak showing for Enneking, a Gainesville physician, is due to Goston, a former Gainesville City Commissioner, siphoning away 7 percent of Democratic voters. Goston also takes a 4 percent share among Republicans.

When it comes to no- and third-party voters, who make up 23 percent of the electorate, Perry leads Enneking 53-35 percent while Goston is the pick for 6 percent of those polled with the remainder unsure.

The crosstabs show Perry with a 20-point lead among white voters, who account for nearly three quarters of SD 8’s population according to U.S. Census data. Black voters prefer Enneking by a 57-12 percent margin. Goston, who is black, posted his best results among black voters, earning a 15 percent share.

Perry, a roofer by trade, holds a majority among men, 53-38 percent, and a plurality among women, 45-41 percent. He was also the pick for more than half of voters under 50 years old and carried Baby Boomers 48-43 percent and the 70-and-up bracket 46-39 percent.

St. Pete Polls took responses from 936 registered voters who said they planned to vote in the general election, and more than one in six said they had already cast their ballot. Among that comparatively small sample size, Perry held a 53-35 percent lead over Enneking. Those yet to vote lean toward the incumbent 47-41 percent.

SD 8 is one of a handful of districts that became more favorable to Democrats after the Senate map was redrawn ahead of the 2016 elections. About 55 percent of the district’s population lives in Alachua County, while 30 percent live in northern Marion County and the remaining 15 percent live in Putnam County.

Democrats hold an 8-point voter registration advantage over Republicans in the redrawn district. The district has a large population of young voters thanks to it being home to the University of Florida, though that slice of the population typically turns out in low numbers.

Data from the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections shows only about 300 votes were cast at the on-campus J. Wayne Reitz Union during the 2018 primary election.

Two years ago, Perry scored a comfortable victory over Rod Smith, a former state Senator and former Florida Democratic Party Chair. The district also voted in favor of President Donald Trump by two tenths of a percentage point — the slimmest margin among Florida’s 40 state Senate districts.

The St. Pete Polls survey was conducted Oct. 13-14 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

Harry Barkett, Jeff Vinik hosting Dana Young fundraiser Tuesday

Amalie Oil Co. exec Harry Barkett and Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik will help boost Republican state Sen. Dana Young’s re-election bid with a fundraising reception in Tampa this week.

The Tuesday evening event will be held at the home of Barkett and his wife, Carmen, while Vinik’s wife, Penny, is also listed on the host committee. Supporters interested in attending the event, slated to run from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., can RSVP with Kristin Lamb by emailing Kristin@FLFStrategies.com or calling 850-339-5354.

Young was elected to Senate District 18 in 2016, but due to Florida courts approving new maps for the Florida Senate she and other Senators in even-numbered districts were only elected to two-year terms.

She is facing a tough challenge from House Minority Leader Janet Cruz, who shelved her Hillsborough County Commission bid to enter the Senate race in mid-April. The most recent poll of the race shows Cruz with a slim advantage in the northwestern Hillsborough district, which covers much of Tampa. Prior polls have shown the two women jockeying in the purple district.

The Florida Democratic Party sees SD 18 as one of its top targets for a flip. Other than South Florida’s SD 36, where David Perez won the Democratic primary to challenge Republican state Rep. Manny Diaz, SD 18 is the only district Democrats are after that voted for Hillary Clinton two years ago.

Young has vastly outraised Cruz, however, and the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, the PAC chaired by incoming Senate President Bill Galvano, has much deeper pockets than the equivalent fundraising arm supporting Democratic state Senate campaigns.

As of Oct. 5, Cruz had raised about $934,000 between her campaign account and affiliated political committee, Building the Bay PC, with about $115,000 of that cash banked due to a spree of media buys and contributions to the Florida Democratic Party, which has provided her campaign with a large amount of “in-kind” support.

Young has amassed $870,000 in hard money and still has $600,000 of that money in the bank. Young formed her PAC, Friends of Dana Young, well before the 2018 election cycle, but had another $600,000 in that account at the end of the early October reporting period. Like her opponent, much of her committee cash has been funneled to the FRSCC.

The fundraiser invitation is below.

Dana Young Fundraiser 10.16.2018

David Shapiro, Margaret Good rally Sarasota voters around Democratic slate

Democrats running in the Sarasota-Bradenton area banded together at an event organized by the progressive group Indivisible.

State Rep. Margaret Good, the incumbent in state House District 72, and Democratic Congressional candidate David Shapiro, who thus far mustered a serious campaign for Florida’s 16th Congressional District, rallied the crowd of activists from both Indivisible’s Northeast Sarasota chapter and the Sarasota Democratic Party.

“I am proud to share the field of battle and walk along a slate of incredible Democratic candidates,” said Shapiro.

The event lured more than 100 volunteers and campaign professionals to the Selby Library in downtown Sarasota.

Margaret Good addresses Indivisible in Sarasota.

Good, whose special election win in District 72 in February has helped fuel enthusiasm among Democrats throughout the region, told Florida Politics there’s hope to expand the party’s presence in the region.

“I’m incredibly proud of the work all of our candidates up and down the ballot are doing,” she said.

“We are working together — knocking on doors, making phone calls, and finding the resources we need to communicate with voters.”

The event drew a range of candidates from Congress down to hospital board.

Among the notables, state Senate District 23 candidate Faith Olivia Babis, state House District 71 candidate Tracy Pratt and state House District 73 candidate Liv Coleman.

Pratt, a Bradenton attorney, said the angst over President Donald Trump’s surprise win in 2016 inspired candidates to run, and environmental disasters like red tide only energized the base more.

“I’ve been involved in community organization for two decades but I have never seen the energy I have for the last two months running for office.”

Olivia Babis, Liv Coleman and David Shapiro greet volunteers.

Babis, who would be the first disabled member of the Florida Legislature is she wins her Senate race, said voters were connecting with all candidates.

And Coleman said the entire election landscape feels radically different. She noted her own recent endorsement from Emily’s List as an oddity in a race where such groups rarely get involved.

What will this mean four weeks from now? Every legislative candidate sans Good trails their opponents in monetary contributions.

But Democratic leaders felt confident in the quality of candidates this year. Jo Bloom of Indivisible also said progressives and mainline Democrats this year were working in tandem in ways unthinkable just two years ago.

Florida Republicans begin replacement process for Dorothy Hukill

The Republican Party of Florida on Tuesday informed the Florida Department of State that it was beginning the process of selecting Sen. Dorothy Hukill’s replacement ahead of the November election for Senate District 14.

Hukill died Oct. 2, just days after announcing that she could no longer campaign due to a recurrence of cancer first diagnosed and treated last year. She was 72.

“It is with great sadness I inform you that due to the passing of Senator Dorothy Hukill, there now exists a vacancy in the nomination for the Republican Party in the 2018 General Election for the Florida Senate District 14 race,” RPOF Chair Blaise Ingoglia wrote in the letter. “Senator Hukill served our state with distinction and honor, and we will forever be grateful for her lasting impact on the lives of so many Floridians.”

“Upon your notification, the Republican Party of Florida will begin the process of designating a nominee for the District 14 race as outlined in section 100.111, Florida Statutes, and our internal party rules,” Ingoglia concluded.

Under state law, candidate vacancies after the primary elections have taken place “are required to be filled by committee nominations.” The law also states that “the ballots shall not be changed and the former party nominee’s name will appear on the ballot. Any ballots cast for the former party nominee will be counted for the person designated by the political party to replace the former party nominee.”

With Ingoglia’s letter, Florida Republicans have one week to decide on a new nominee. That responsibility will fall upon local Republican leaders in the Brevard- and Volusia-based district. The majority of SD 14 voters live in Volusia County and the panel that decides on Hukill’s replacement could tilt toward choosing a Volusia candidate if there is a lack of consensus early on in the nomination process.

Department of State spokeswoman Sarah Revell explained last week that since the ballots cannot be changed, “a notice would be provided to voters at the polls, and enclosed with any future vote-by-mail ballots.”

Brevard Republican State Committeeman Mike Thomas, Brevard Republican Executive Committee Chairman Rick Lacey and Brevard State Committeewoman Cheryl Lankes, each of whom will sit on the panel that decides Hukill’s replacement, told Dave Berman of Florida Today that there were more than a dozen candidates who had expressed interest in running for SD 14. Thomas also told the paper that a meeting was planned for Thursday evening to choose a nominee.

Brevard County names being floated for the job: Titusville City Councilman Matt Barringer, term-limited Rockledge Rep. Tom Goodson, RPOF regional director Margaret Goudelock, Republican precinct committeeman Brian Hodgers, Canaveral Port Authority Chairman and retired Coast Guard Adm. Wayne Justice, Republican precinct committeewoman Pam LaSalle, Republican district leader Cindy Roberts, Melbourne City Councilman Tim Thomas.

Possible candidates from Volusia County: Mims Republican Cindy Thompson, DeBary City Councilwoman Erika Benfield, former Deltona City Commissioner Zanaida Denizac, former Volusia County director of corrections Marilyn Ford and retired businessman Tommy Wright.

Also mentioned as a possible candidate is Seminole County Republican State Committeewoman Susie Dolan. Seminole County is not contained in SD 14, though Florida law does not require candidates live within the district they seek to represent until they are elected to office.

Hukill started her career in public service in 1992, when she was elected the Town of Ponce Inlet Council. She entered the Legislature as a member of the Florida House in 2004, and after four terms in office she moved up to the Florida Senate. Hukill was running against Cocoa Democrat Melissa “Mel” Martin, a retired U.S. Marine Corps major, in the general election.

SD 14 covers the southern half of Volusia County and the northern half of Brevard. It was one of the districts to see substantial changes after Florida courts approved new district maps at the end of 2015. Registered Republicans make up 39 percent of the electorate while registered Democrats make up 33 percent.

Mitt Romney carried SD 14 by 7 points in 2012, and in 2016 it voted plus-18 for Donald Trump. Hukill’s opponent two years ago was no-party candidate Richard Paul Dembinsky, whom she beat 68-32 on Election Day.

Shawn Harrison

Legislative Black Caucus clarifies it has not endorsed Shawn Harrison

State Rep. Shawn Harrison’s re-election campaign has been sending out a direct mail piece showing him alongside members of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus, and the group said Tuesday it wants to make it clear that it has not endorsed the Tampa Republican.

Topping the bullet points on the mailer is that the HD 63 Republican “stood with the Black Caucus to take out the Marshall Program from the School Safety Bill.” The “Marshall Program” would have allowed teachers to carry concealed weapons on campus to fend off active shooters.

The mailer also touts the Tampa lawmaker’s votes on a number of other measures supported by members of the FLBC: The Dozier School Bill, the removal of Confederate General Kirby Smith’s statue from the U.S. Capitol, the creation of the Florida Slavery Memorial and his vote in favor of a special Legislative Session to review the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law. Harrison was the only Republican lawmaker to vote in favor of the special session.

Despite aligning with caucus members on some issues, FLBC Chairman and state Rep. Bruce Antone, an Orlando Democrat, said the mailer could give recipients the wrong impression.

“The Florida Legislative Black Caucus is a non-partisan organization and does not endorse candidates for political office. Representative Harrison’s campaign mailer, which used a photo of members of the Black Caucus standing behind him as he presented a bill, is misleading and implies he has been endorsed by the Black Caucus,” Antone said.

“We ask Rep. Harrison to refrain from using photos of members of the Black Caucus in his mailers, television ads, and social media ads, if he has not obtained written permission prior to the use of photos. Furthermore, we also ask that Rep. Harrison inform his constituents that he has not been endorsed by the Black Caucus,” he concluded.

While Harrison doesn’t claim he’s landed an endorsement, his use of that photo is similar to other campaign communications that have been called out this cycle. In neighboring HD 62, for example, Democrat Susan Valdes received a stern warning from U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor for using a photo of the two of them in a direct mail ad.

“I am disappointed that the latest communication from Susan Valdes is inconsistent with Florida law and implies my endorsement of her campaign,” Castor said. “It is imperative that candidates follow the law to ensure fairness and transparency.”

The law referenced in that instance and the one between FLBC and Harrison is found in Chapter 106.143(4) of the Florida Statutes.

It reads as follows: “It is unlawful for any candidate or person on behalf of a candidate to represent that any person or organization supports such candidate, unless the person or organization so represented has given specific approval in writing to the candidate to make such representation.”

A violation of that rule can result in civil fees.

Harrison faces Democratic nominee Fentrice Driskell in the general election for HD 63, a perennial swing seat that Harrison for two terms.

As of Sept. 28, Harrison held a strong fundraising lead with $238,150 banked between his campaign account and his affiliated PAC, Committee for an Innovative Florida. Driskell, meanwhile, had $125,000 in her campaign account six weeks out from Election Day.

HD 63 covers part of Hillsborough County, including portions of northern Tampa and the communities of Lutz, Pebble Creek, Lake Magdalene, and Carrollwood. Democrats make up about 39 percent of the swing seat’s electorate, while Republicans hold a 32 percent share.

Anna Eskamani Canvass

Anna Eskamani: Stockton Reeves ‘everything wrong with politics’

Democratic HD 47 candidate Anna Eskamani has been on the receiving end of several campaign mailers that painting her as “everything wrong in politics” over language she’s used in public appearances.

On Monday, however, she parried that attack by throwing it right back at Republican rival Stockton Reeves.

“The majority of Stockton’s campaign is funded by himself, the Republican Party of Florida and special interests,” Eskamani said. “We should remember that my opponent’s largest contributor is the same political party who slashed funding for affordable housing, stripped away resources for environmental conservation, and never expanded Medicaid.

When it comes to Reeves’ campaign finances, he has indeed received the vast majority of his funds from himself, the Republican Party of Florida and the industries that Eskamani singled out, including fossil fuel companies, the sugar industry, tobacco companies, greyhound racetracks and businesses that pay employees minimum wage.

To date, Reeves’ has juiced his campaign account with about $95,000 in candidate loans with nearly $49,000 of his $131,500 in fundraising coming from RPOF. Most of his other donors are corporations and political committees. He had $75,000 left to spend on Sept. 28

“It’s no wonder Stockton is so focused on smearing me with superficial attacks versus actually talking about the issues that matter most to Central Floridians,” Eskamani continued. “He’s been bought out by special interests, and we don’t need another political insider like Stockton Reeves in Tallahassee.”

By comparison, Eskamani has raised nearly $373,000 in hard money as well as nearly $72,000 more for her affiliated political committee, People Power for Florida, including nearly 3,000 contributions from individuals chipping in $100 or less. As of Sept. 28, she had $82,000 banked between the two accounts.

The scorching statement comes just after Eskamani released a new campaign ad saying Florida Republicans “should be afraid” of her candidacy because she will “fight the special interests that profit from our broken system.”

The Monday release also cited a recent poll from NBC and the Wall Street Journal that showed Democrats and Republicans were equally concerned about “reducing the influence of special interests and corruption in Washington.”

Eskamani’s campaign said it thinks voter sentiment will be consistent in that view when it comes to Tallahassee.

HD 47 covers north-central Orange County and is currently held by Republican Rep. Mike Miller, who vacated the seat to challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy in Florida’s 7th Congressional District.

The seat has a slim Democratic advantage in voter registrations and it was held by current Democratic Sen. Linda Stuart before Miller edged her out by four points in the 2014 cycle. He followed that up with a 6-point win over Democrat Beth Tuura in 2016, when the seat voted plus-11 for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Kayser Enneking

Direct mail roundup: Kayser Enneking, Keith Perry release dueling mailers in SD 8

The race for SD 8 has already taken to the airwaves, but both candidates for the Alachua County-based seat have been sending out mailer after mailer pitching themselves as the best candidate for the job.

As he’s done throughout the election cycle, Gainesville Republican Sen. Keith Perry put out another mailer this week tying his campaign to a Gainesville referendum that would transfer the governance of Gainesville Regional Utilities from the City Commission to a five-member panel appointed by the City Commission.

“What does the Gainesville City Commission want to do instead of lowering GRU rates?” one side of the mailer says, while pulling a quote from Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos about bringing a seasonal ice rink to Gainesville. “Spending $190,000 on a sessional ice rink while residents can’t pay their bills… Seriously?!

“The Gainesville City Commission could change this, but they won’t,” the flipside says. “The Gainesville City Commission has used GRU as a slush fund for too long.”

The GRU referendum has been panned by city commissioners, as well as the area’s only Democratic member of the Legislature, Alachua state Rep. Clovis Watson.

Perry’s and Newberry Republican Rep. Chuck Clemons pushed for the bill putting the referendum on the ballot, but some of the language he’s used in pushing for its passage has been controversial. In particular, calling the payments a “slush fund” for frivolous projects despite the majority of the funds paying for police and firefighter services recently caused the IAFF Local 2157 firefighter union to ban Perry from its union hall.

Perry’s mailer was paid for by the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, the well-stocked GOP affiliated committee chaired by incoming Senate President Bill Galvano that’s charged with supporting Republican state Senate candidates.

Meanwhile, SD 8 Democratic nominee Kayser Enneking sent out her own mailer dogging Perry for his support of the so-called “toilet-to-tap” bill that would have allowed chemically treated, recycled water to be pumped into the state’s underground aquifer, an effort supporters say will boost the state’s supply of potable water.

Critics, including the Sierra Club, argued it would contaminate Florida’s supply of drinking water, and Gov. Rick Scott killed the bill with his veto pen after the 2018 Legislative Session.

“You won’t believe what Keith Perry voted to pump into our drinking water,” the ad reads.

The middle of the frontside features a glass of water with a scratch-off section that, once completed, says “Perry voted to pump sewage water into our drinking water.”

Below the glass, which was mercifully not scratch-and-sniff, the mailer says “Yes, we’re serious and just as grossed out as you.

“Our environment is sick and Tallahassee politicians are only making the water worse,” Enneking says on the flipside, which also touts her endorsement from the Sierra Club.

Enneking’s mailer comes shortly after the Florida Conservation Voters Action Fund announced it was making a $250,000 digital ad buy to hammer Perry over his vote on the “toilet-to-tap” while also attacking SD 24 Sen. Jeff Brandes for voting “to cut red tide funding.”

SD 8 covers all of Alachua and Putnam counties as well as the northern half of Marion County. It is one of a handful of districts that became more favorable to Democrats after the Senate map was redrawn ahead of the 2016 elections.

Despite Democrats holding an 8-point lead in voter registrations in the redrawn district, Perry scored a comfortable victory over two years ago as the seat was narrowly carried by President Donald Trump.

This cycle, Florida Democrats are heavily targeting SD 8 for a flip, and the FRSCC is pumping serious cash into Perry’s defense effort.

As of Sept. 28, Enneking had raised $750,000 between her campaign and committee, and had about $93,000 in the bank thanks to a recent spate of ad buys. Perry has raised $861,000 between his campaign and committee and had $492,000 left to spend through the same date.

Both SD 8 and the GRU question will be on the November ballot.

The mailers are below.

Jeff Brandes still up double digits in SD 24 re-election battle

St. Pete Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes is sitting pretty a month out from Election Day according to a new poll of his contest against Democratic nominee Lindsay Cross.

A new St. Pete Polls survey, commissioned by Florida Politics, found the longtime lawmaker with an 11-point lead over Cross, 52-41 percent with the remaining 7 percent of voters in the Pinellas County district unsure how they’ll vote come November.

The fresh poll, conducted Oct. 6 and 7, shows a marked decrease in undecided voters from St. Pete Polls’ previous measure. That poll, released in mid-August, showed Brandes with a 39-19 percent lead over Cross, putting them both behind “undecided,” which accounted for 42 percent of likely voters.

Brandes’ lead skyrockets among the one-in-seven voters who said they had already cast their ballot. That crowd preferred the U.S. Army veteran by a 32 percent margin, though 6 percent of them said they were “undecided” — whether that means the SD 24 contest will present a bundle of undervotes or that the Pinellas electorate is suffering from memory loss is unclear.

The race was tighter among those who said they hadn’t voted yet but that they planned on making it to the polls, with Brandes pulling an even 50 percent of the vote to Cross’ 42 percent.

Other good news for Brandes: 51 percent of likely SD 24 voters said they had a favorable view of President Donald Trump, giving him a plus-6 favorability rating within the boundaries of the southern Pinellas seat. That rating represents a 1 percentage point drop from the margin-of-victory SD 24 voters handed Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

Brandes also scored high marks among his constituents, who see him favorably by a 49-27 percent margin. He fared even better among those who’ve already ticked a box, earning a plus-39 percent favorability rating. Those who haven’t voted yet look poised to stay the course as well. They see the incumbent positively by a 19-point margin.

The St. Pete Republican also got a boost on Monday by way of an endorsement from FMA PAC, the political arm of the Florida Medical Association.

“The FMA PAC is proud to endorse Senator Jeff Brandes for re-election. We’ve worked closely with him during his time in the House and Senate and we look forward to continuing our work to ensure Florida patients have the very best health care,” said committee president Mike Patete.

Cross, meanwhile, is improving but still treading water when it comes to name ID. She earned a plus-5 favorability rating overall; a minus-8 among early voters; and a plus 8 among those who’ve yet to vote.

In each instance, however, more than a quarter of respondents said they didn’t know enough to have an opinion on Cross, who recently left as executive director of the Florida Wildlife Corridor.

Brandes’ lead is partially attributable to his strong support among Republicans and independent voters, whom he leads 81-15 percent and 47-42 percent, respectively. The Democratic base isn’t as keen on Cross — 70 percent of Dem voters said they would back her, but a fifth say they’re on Team Brandes.

Further down the poll, Brandes holds a clear lead among nearly every slice of the electorate. He holds a 16-point lead among non-Hispanic white voters, who make up 90 percent of the voting age population according to U.S. Census data. He also edges out Cross among men, women, Millennials, Gen Xers, Boomers and older voters.

SD 24 covers most of southern Pinellas County 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, which voted in favor of Barack Obama twice before going for Trump in 2016.

Cross entered the race at the end of July, a few weeks after Florida Democrat’s prior pick, trial lawyer Carrie Pilonwithdrew from the contest due to the unexpected health problems of a close family member. During her brief tenure in the race, Pilon worked up from a 9-point deficit in late May to within striking distance by early July.

Though Cross had a lot of ground to gain in name recognition, she’s also been vastly outraised by Brandes, who has raised nearly $919,000 in hard money, including $300,000 from his personal fortune. Adding in the $433,000 he has socked away in his political committee, Liberty Florida, Brandes had $858,000 left to spend on Sept. 28.

Cross, meanwhile, only just broke the six-figure mark for her campaign account and had about $65,000 banked through the same date.

The St. Pete Polls survey received 770 responses from registered voters within SD 24’s borders and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

Election Day is Nov. 6.

___

Jeff Brandes is a client of Extensive Enterprises Media, the holding company that owns FloridaPolitics.com.

Anna Eskamani ad

Anna Eskamani says political insiders ‘should be afraid’ in new ad

Orlando Democrat Anna Eskamani rolled out a new ad Monday in her campaign to succeed exiting Rep. Mike Miller in Orange County’s House District 47.

The 30-second ad, titled “Why Are They Afraid,” features the Planned Parenthood exec shutting her laptop on one of the ads being run against her in the Orlando-based district and saying Florida Republicans are afraid of her flipping the seat back to the Democrats in November.

“The insiders said they’d do anything, so their dishonest ads are no surprise. Why are they afraid?” Eskamani asks. “Well, I’ll fight the special interests that profit from our broken system.

“I want our education funds to only go to public schools, not private corporations. I’ll take on the NRA to pass gun reform and will protect the environment. Political insiders should be afraid of me, because I won’t stop fighting for working families,” she concludes.

The new ad comes after Eskamani put out a campaign video painting her as a superheroFlorida’s Avengerin response to an attack ad blasting her for language she’s used in public appearances. Eskamani was also one of several Florida legislative candidates to get a nod from former President Barack Obama last week.

Eskamani is up against Winter Park Republican Stockton Reeves in the Nov. 6 general election. Reeves earned the GOP nomination after a narrow victory against Mikaela Nix in the August primary election.

That contest drained Reeves’ campaign account. As of Sept. 28, he had raised $131,516 and kicked in another $94,700 in candidate loans but only had about $75,000 left to spend.

Eskamani, meanwhile, has raised nearly $373,000 in hard money as well as nearly $72,000 more for her affiliated political committee, People Power for Florida. She had about $82,000 banked at in her most recent campaign finance reports.

HD 47 covers north-central Orange County. Miller vacated the seat to challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy in Florida’s 7th Congressional District.

The seat has a slim Democratic advantage in voter registrations and it was held by current Democratic Sen. Linda Stuart before Miller edged her out by four points in the 2014 cycle. He followed that up with a 6-point win over Democrat Beth Tuura in 2016, when the seat voted plus-11 for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Eskamani’s ad is below.

Environmental group launches ad buy supporting Kayser Enneking, Lindsay Cross

The Florida Conservation Voters Action Fund said Wednesday that it’s putting $250,000 behind a digital ad campaign supporting the Democrats challenging Gainesville Sen. Keith Perry and St. Petersburg Sen. Jeff Brandes in the fall.

The ad supporting Gainesville Democrat Kayser Enneking’s campaign in Senate District 8 hits Perry for his “disastrous ‘toilet to tap’ bill.” That measure, which was panned by environmental groups and vetoed by Gov. Rick Scott, would have allowed chemically treated, recycled water to be pumped into the state’s underground aquifer.

“You have a choice for Florida Senate District 8,” the 15-second ad says. “Keith Perry, author of the toilet to tap bill that even Rick Scott thought was too disgusting to become law, or Dr. Kayser Enneking, a physician who knows the value of clean water and our natural resources. On Nov. 6, who will you pick.”

The ad backing St. Pete Democrat Lindsay Cross hammers Brandes for his “votes to cut important funding to our water management agencies.” That statement refers to a 2011 bill Brandes voted for that capped the funds Water Management Districts can collect to perform their duties.

“Voting on Nov. 6? Republican incumbent Jeff Brandes voted to cut red tide funding. We could use some of that right now,” the SD 24 ad says. “Environmental scientist Lindsay Cross will fight for funding to combat red tide disasters. Vote Lindsay Cross for Florida Senate District 24.”

In a press release announcing the ads FCV Action Fund’s deputy director, Jonathan Webber, said Floridians could pin the blame for “our almost never-ending environmental problems” on Perry and Brandes.

“Year after year, bill after bill, Perry and Brandes have supported some of the most irresponsible ideas to ever pass through the Legislature,” Webber said. “Their abysmal record speaks for itself, and it’s clear: Perry and Brandes lack the basic common sense to be trusted with our water.”

The group also crafted a list of environmental bills it opposed that earned a yes vote from Perry or Brandes stretching back to when both Republicans were members of the Florida House.

SD 8 and SD 24 are top targets for the Florida Democratic Party in November.

Democrats hold an 8-point registration advantage in SD 8, which includes Alachua and Putnam counties as well as northern Marion, though Perry and Donald Trump both won the district two years ago. In 2018, Enneking has been competitive on the fundraising front but trails in the most recent public poll of the contest.

SD 24 covers most of southern Pinellas County except for the tip of the peninsula, which is included in neighboring SD 19. It voted twice for Barack Obama  before going plus-7 for Trump in 2016. A recent poll of the race showed Brandes with a 39-19 percent lead over Cross with 42 percent of those polled unsure of who they’ll vote for come Election Day.

The ads are below.

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