2018 midterms Archives - Page 4 of 48 - Florida Politics

Donna Shalala in trouble in CD 27, new poll shows

A new survey from Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy shows Democratic candidate Donna Shalala trailing in the race for Florida’s 27th Congressional District. That’s according to a report from POLITICO.

The poll was conducted Oct. 1 to 6 among 625 likely voters on behalf of Telemundo 51. It showed 44 percent of voters behind Republican nominee Maria Elvira Salazar, while 42 percent supported Shalala.

Mayra Joli, the Trump-supporting third-party candidate, polled at just 1 percent.

The Democrat’s deficit was well within the poll’s margin of error of 4 percentage points. But it’s another sign that Shalala’s position in the race is not as strong as Democrats had hoped.

But Mike Hernandez, spokesperson for the Shalala campaign, took issue with the survey’s findings.

“President [Donald] Trump lost this district by approximately 20 percent[age points] just two years ago,” Hernandez said.

“Mason-Dixon has the President at just 3 percent underwater [in favorability ratings]. It’s difficult for our campaign to accept that this is the only congressional district in the country that Trump is becoming dramatically more popular.”

Hernandez also added that the poll “does not match out internal polls both in terms of what the electorate will be or voter intention.”

Not surprisingly, Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker disagrees with those doubting the results in comments to POLITICO.

“Shalala definitely lags when you compare her with the other Democrats,” Coker said.

“A big part of it is Shalala’s not Hispanic, and there’s a sizable Democratic Hispanic vote, particularly non-Cuban Hispanics in the district.”

Shalala does lead Salazar 50 percent to 29 percent among non-Cuban Hispanics, according to the survey. But Coker argues that margin could be even larger.

And among Cuban Hispanics, Shalala is well behind. Salazar earned 69 percent of that Demographic, compared to Shalala’s 15 percent. That gives Salazar a 33-point edge overall among Hispanics, 58 percent to 25 percent.

Voters of all reported Demographics showed the economy and jobs were the number one concern heading into Election Day on Nov. 6.

Democrats had planned on flipping this seat, as longtime Republican U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen decided not to run for re-election. That made the contest an open one in a district that favored Hillary Clinton by nearly 20 percentage points in 2016.

But while some analysts still give Shalala an edge in the race, others now see the race as a tossup.

Andrew Gillum

Direct mail roundup: Andrew Gillum will ‘take money from hardworking families’

Americans for Prosperity Action, or AFP-Action, said it was rolling out a direct mail campaign opposing Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum earlier this month, and those ads are starting to hit mailboxes statewide.

The mail campaign is one component of AFP-Action’s anti-Gillum ad blitz. The Koch-backed political committee also made a digital ad buy labeling the Tallahassee Mayor as “too extreme for Florida.”

The front of the mailer features a picture of Gillum on a TV set and says, “Breaking news: Andrew Gillum says ‘we will increase taxes.’”

“What will Andrew Gillum’s tax increases do? Hurt Florida’s economy. Hit small business. Take money from hardworking families,” the flipside says. “Change the channel. Vote AGAINST Andrew Gillum on November 6th.”

The mailers appear to be referencing statements by Gillum that he would raise taxes on businesses to pay for his education priorities. His plan would increase Florida’s corporate income tax rate from 5.5 percent to 7.75 percent in order to pay for a proposed $1 billion increase in the education budget to pay for increases in teacher pay.

When AFP-Action announced the ad campaign its senior adviser, Chris Hudson, said that if Gillum was elected and his education and health care priorities were implemented, it would “take away your health insurance and cut access to Floridians on Medicaid by expanding a broken system” and “destroy successful programs that give students a hand up in achieving their goals.”

AFP-Action contends that the state is “heading in the right direction,” however Gillum has claimed that even though the Florida has a low unemployment rate, individuals are being forced to work “two to three jobs to make ends meet.”

Gillum and running mate Chris King face Republican nominee Ron DeSantis and his LG pick, state Rep. Jeannette Nuñez, in the Nov. 6 general election.

Every poll since Gillum and DeSantis became their parties’ nominees has shown Gillum in the lead, though most polls have put his edge within the margin of error. According to an aggregation of public polls compiled by RealClearPolitics, Gillum as a 3.7 percentage point edge with less than a month to go before Election Day.

AFP-Action’s mailer is below.

AFP Gillum

AFP Gillum

Former Colombian President rebukes use of his comments in Maria Elvira Salazar ad

Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe is pushing back against the Maria Elvira Salazar campaign over a radio ad that appeared to imply Uribe had endorsed her campaign.

Uribe offered words of support for Salazar, who is now the Republican candidate in the race for Florida’s 27th Congressional District, in a video that has since been uploaded to her YouTube channel.

According to a report from El Nuevo Herald, the video was recorded by Abelardo De La Espriella, a Colombian lawyer. In it, Uribe offers praise for Salazar’s long career.

Salazar then used portions of that video in a radio ad which aired on Radio Caracol 1260 in Miami. But according to Uribe, his comments were not meant to take sides in the race between Salazar and Democratic nominee Donna Shalala.

“In recent days, I sent a message of appreciation to the journalist, Maria Elvira Salazar, for her career and gratitude for her solidarity,” read a letter from Uribe obtained by the Shalala campaign.

“We have been alerted that the message has been used for political purposes in the campaign to benefit her advancement for Congress of the United States. I reiterate that the messages sent by me, to people in their official capacity, do not represent political support, but rather a tightening of fraternal relationships.”

Uribe went on to say the he and his political party “reiterate our commitment to maintain respectful and bipartisan diplomatic relations, with the congressman and candidates in the United States, without any preference in elections.”

A request for comment to the Salazar campaign regarding the ad was not returned.

Mike Hernandez, spokesperson for the Shalala campaign, argues Salazar’s use of Uribe’s comments was dishonest.

“At a minimum, Maria Elvira Salazar was misleading voters of the 27th Congressional District into believing that former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe supported her candidacy,” Hernandez said.

“At worst, Maria Elvira Salazar was lying. Whatever the case, shame on Maria Elvira Salazar! She owes voters an apology.”

Salazar and Shalala are locked in a tight contest to replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in CD 27. Ros-Lehtinen opted not to run for re-election.

Sean Shaw TV ad

Sean Shaw seeks to ‘disarm’ the gun lobby in new ad

Sean Shaw, the Democratic nominee for Attorney General, is out with a new ad calling for increased gun control in Florida.

The slickly-shot 30-second spot, titled “I Will,” contrasts the ability to get quality health care for those with preexisting conditions with the ability to purchase a firearm. Shaw makes the case that that balance is out of whack, while also getting in some shots at his Republican opponent, Ashley Moody.

The ad starts with a shot of several people with  preexisting conditions holding weapons as Shaw narrates.

“Right now, it’s easier for these people to get one of these [a firearm] than to get health insurance if they have a preexisting condition because of politicians like Ashley Moody and the lobbyists that bankroll her campaign,” Shaw says.

“I’m Sean Shaw and I’m running for Attorney General because I believe it’s time we disarm the insurance and gun lobbyists and arm the people with an Attorney General who’s ready to fight for all of us.”

A request for comment on the ad from the Moody campaign is pending.

“It should not be easier to gain access to a high-powered weapon than it is to get proper health care in Florida,” Shaw argued in a statement released along with the ad. “Where are Floridians supposed to get their health care if Ashley Moody has her way and the Affordable Care Act disappears? The answer is simple, they won’t.”

Moody has said she would push forward with litigation started by Attorney General Pam Bondi, which would end the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with preexisting conditions. Both Bondi and Moody argue those provisions in the law are unconstitutional.

Shaw says he would do the exact opposite if elected.

“As Attorney General, I will withdraw the state of Florida from the preexisting coverage lawsuit and work with the legislature to get common sense gun-reform passed,” Shaw promised.

“We don’t have to continue down the same path and expect different results. We owe it to Floridians to act and As Attorney General, I will lead this effort on day one.”

Shaw’s ad is below.

Nancy Soderberg expects to win the money race in CD 6.

New poll shows Nancy Soderberg, Michael Waltz statistically tied in CD 6

Democrat Nancy Soderberg and Republican Michael Waltz are tied in the race for Florida’s 6th Congressional District according to a new poll from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.

The poll, conducted Oct. 1 through Oct. 4, found both candidates pulling 45 percent among voters in CD 6, the seat recently vacated by Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis. The remaining 9 percent are undecided.

The new numbers indicate there has been a bit of jockeying in the sprint toward Election Day — GQR’s prior measure of the race, released Sept. 6, found Waltz had a 2-point lead with only 7 percent of voters undecided. The pollster claims the Fox News personality’s slippage is due to weak support among Republicans.

“Waltz is failing to motivate his own base, earning just 75 percent of the vote among registered Republicans. Soderberg receives 82 percent of the vote among registered Democrats,” the polling memo says. “Soderberg also leads Waltz among self-ascribed independents by 20 percentage points and voters who are undecided more closely resemble Soderberg supporters than Waltz supporters.”

The GQR poll surveyed 400 voters via live telephone interviews with a 43 percent cell phone component. A third of the sample were registered Democrats, while 42 percent were Republicans and 24 percent were independents. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

CD 6 covers parts of St. Johns, Putnam, Flagler and Volusia counties on Florida’s Atlantic coast. President Donald Trump won CD 6 by 17 points two years ago while DeSantis, who held the seat for three terms, won re-election by 17 points.

The Cook Political Report and Larry Sabato both rate CD 6 as “likely Republican,” while Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight puts the odds of a flip at less than 25 percent. Their forecasting model currently expects Waltz to win 52-48  in November.

Still, Soderberg had raised more than $1.7 million for her campaign through the pre-primary reporting period while Waltz had raised $1 million. She also held a nearly 4-to-1 lead in cash on hand thanks in part to Waltz having to get through a bruising three-way Republican primary.

Election Day is Nov. 6.

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.

Bill Nelson

FiveThirtyEight says Bill Nelson’s re-election odds are on the upswing

A month after claiming U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson was the most vulnerable incumbent nationwide, Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight says his odds of defeating Gov. Rick Scott are improving.

Based on polls alone, the political forecasting website currently lists the third-term Democrat with a 57 percent chance of earning another six years in Washington. He fares a little better in the site’s “Classic” model, which accounts for x factors such as incumbency, fundraising and historical trends.

Despite the improved odds, the vote tally is expected to be as close as ever: FiveThirtyEight currently predicts Nelson will take 50.5 percent of the vote on Election Day while Scott, a Republican, will get a 49.5 percent share.

Still, the new forecast shows a marked improvement over FiveThirtyEight’s mid-September assessment, which predicted Nelson would eek out another term by just one-tenth of a percentage point.

“It might seem surprising that the fundamentals calculation regards Florida’s Bill Nelson as the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent since Florida is quite purple and there are Democrats up for re-election in some genuinely red states,” Silver wrote a month ago.

“Nelson has a very good challenger in Florida Gov. Rick Scott; one way our model accounts for candidate quality is by looking at the highest elected office the opponent has held, with races against current or former governors or senators falling into the top category.”

Nelson one of 10 Democratic U.S. Senators running for re-election in a state that voted for Donald Trump two years ago, and his battle against Scott has been lopsided, spending wise, since the term-limited Governor entered the race in April.

Scott’s media blitz and high name ID translated into polling leads in the early phase of the race, but recent polls have seen Nelson bounce back.

A recent St. Pete Polls survey, commissioned by Florida Politics, found Nelson, Florida’s only statewide elected Democrat, and Scott essentially tied with 47 percent support apiece. Polls published by the University of North Florida and Public Policy Polling have also indicated Nelson has closed the gap since the general election began in earnest.

Florida’s U.S. Senate election is seen as a “must-win” by national Democrats, who are holding out hope they can flip both chambers of Congress in the fall. Republicans currently hold a 51-49 advantage in the Senate.

When it comes to Democrats’ chances of flipping the upper chamber, however, FiveThirtyEight says that possibility is rapidly waning as embattled Democrats in Indiana, Missouri, Tennessee and North Dakota have slipped in the polls.

“Republicans’ chances of keeping the Senate are up to about a 4 in 5 (79 percent), according to the ‘Classic’ version of the FiveThirtyEight forecast,” Silver wrote Tuesday. “Republicans have always been favored to hold the Senate, but that’s nevertheless a meaningful improvement from recent weeks, when their odds were generally hovering between 2 in 3 (67 percent) and 7 in 10 (70 percent) instead.”

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell nabs $1.6M in latest fundraising period

The Debbie Mucarsel-Powell campaign says the third quarter has been kind to the candidate, with $1.6 million in new donations pouring in to the Democrat’s coffers.

Mucarsel-Powell is attempting to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo in Florida’s 26th Congressional District.

The campaign says it received contributions from more than 70,000 unique donors. Numbers from the Curbelo campaign were not yet available on the Federal Election Commission‘s website.

Mucarsel-Powell came out ahead of Curbelo in the previous fundraising period, topping his numbers by more than $60,000.

The money race could be even more important than usual in the CD 26 contest. A recent report from Kantar Media cited by David Wright of CNN showed the CD 26 race tops in the country in terms of money spent on TV ads

The race is one of the tightest in the country as well. While some analysts give Curbelo a slight advantage, others see the race as a true toss-up.

A recent pair of Democratically-aligned polls, including one from the Mucarsel-Powell campaign, showed the same thing. A New York Times poll from last month had Curbelo ahead by 3 points, well within the margin of error.

Donna Shalala ad hits opponent over previous Donald Trump praise

A new Spanish language ad from Democratic candidate Donna Shalala is going after her opponent in Florida’s 27th Congressional District over previous tweets praising President Donald Trump.

Former broadcaster Maria Elvira Salazar earned the Republican nomination in the heavily Hispanic district back in August. Now, Shalala is attempting to tie her to the President in a new ad titled, “The Trump Cheerleader.”

“Maria Elvira Salazar: Trump’s greatest cheerleader,” the ad’s narrator begins.

“Praising him…”

That’s when a woman’s voice, imagined to be that of Salazar, pops in reading out her tweet to Trump.

“Bravo, Trump!”

“…an ally of his.”

“Bravo, Trump!”

“Meanwhile, Trump attempts to eliminate millions’ access to health care and raise our premiums. Maria ‘Bravo, Trump!’ Salazar encouraged him. Enough with Trump’s cheerleaders. We need a leader.

“Donna Shalala. Working to improve health care. Shalala has the strength to face Trump and achieve big things for us.”

A request for comment from the Salazar campaign regarding the new ad is pending.

The Shalala campaign also released a statement bolstering their efforts to tie the two together.

“Salazar claims to be a moderate, but regularly sides with Trump and his Republican enablers,” said Mike Hernandez, a campaign spokesperson.

“The ad underscores that while Donald Trump pushed terrible policies, such as pushing Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would have resulted in increased premiums and eliminated access to health care for millions of Americans, including those with pre-existing conditions, Salazar encourages him.”

It’s true that Salazar has used the phrase, “Bravo #Trump” two times in the past on Twitter. Both were in 2017.

One tweet thanked Trump for calling for the release of Venezuelan political prisoner Leopoldo Lopez.

The second stems from Trump’s 2017 speech to Congress, in which he called for “real and positive immigration reform.” Salazar echoed those comments, adding, “Looking forward to concrete details.”

As of yet, no comprehensive immigration plan has been settled on, as Trump has often continued his harsh rhetoric on the subject.

The ad attempts to tie Salazar’s “Bravo #Trump” phrase to the issue of health care, arguing Salazar “encouraged” Trump’s failed efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. But Salazar never used those words in a statement on ACA repeal, according to a search of her Twitter account.

On health care, Salazar has called to “repeal crushing Obama-era taxes and needless regulations.” However, according to the Miami Herald, Salazar opposed the GOP’s ACA repeal absent the proposal of a “viable alternative.” Salazar also said she would “not support removing pre-existing conditions from coverage options.”

Anthony Rodriguez takes cash lead over Robert Asencio

There’s a new cash-on-hand leader in the race for House District 118.

Republican challenger Anthony Rodriguez now leads Democratic incumbent Robert Asencio, according to the latest reports filed with the Florida Division of Elections.

Rodriguez earned a whopping $70,100 Sept. 15-28.

That was bolstered by an influx of $46,000 from the Republican Party of Florida, along with a series of $1,000 donations from various political committees.

Most of the money spent by Rodriguez was on phone banks, mailings and door-to-door canvassing.

In total, he spent $18,546 during the period. Rodriguez now has more than $110,000 on hand.

That surpasses Asencio’s $84,000 and change. Asencio earned just $15,901 during the latest reporting period. He spent even more than that—$16,316—mostly on advertising.

Asencio was recently joined on the campaign trail by U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois.

HD 118 covers parts of Miami-Dade County including Tamiami and Kendall. Both Asencio and Rodriguez were unchallenged in their respective primaries.

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