Barack Obama Archives - Page 7 of 81 - Florida Politics

Donald Trump likely to try to reverse Barack Obama’s environment initiatives

President-elect Donald Trump has not minced words about his approach to environment and energy policy: He loathes regulation and wants to increase the use of coal, offshore drilling and fracking.

Trump has said he believes climate change is a hoax and that he would “cancel” U.S. involvement in the landmark Paris Agreement on global warming.

While he’s been vague about precise policies, Trump’s election likely means trouble for some of President Barack Obama‘s signature environmental initiatives, environmentalists and policy analysts say.

They say it’s probable that Trump’s administration will seek to weaken or kill the Clean Power Plan, a cornerstone Obama policy meant to reduce carbon pollution from the nation’s power plants as part of an effort to combat climate change.

The Clean Power Plan is being challenged in federal court, and if it survives, Trump could move to scuttle it. But not without a fight.

“We don’t consider the CPP dead. We have many tools to help preserve it,” said David Goldston, director of government affairs for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “He can’t just snap his fingers and wish away regulations. There’d be a backlash, which would make Congress think twice.”

Any move to back out of the Clean Power Plan or the Paris Agreement could be extremely unpopular moves, environmentalists argue. Polls have shown a majority of voters in at least two states believe global warming is a serious problem.

An exit poll conducted for The Associated Press and television networks found that about half of Trump voters in Florida, a state he carried, agreed that climate change was a serious problem. In Maine, just over half of Trump supporters also agreed, while about four in 10 disagreed.

Trump also has vowed to tap into America’s coal reserves in an effort to put the shrinking energy sector back to work. In a speech in the Bakken shale fields of North Dakota, he also said he would increase hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the nation’s shale and natural gas reserves to further remove any dependence on foreign energy sources.

Industry advocates are buoyed by the possibilities presented by Trump’s win.

“We look forward to working with the new administration” on issues such as opening more public land and offshore areas to oil and gas drilling, building more energy infrastructure and reducing environmental regulations, American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard said Thursday. He would not say whether he supported a U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement.

Likewise, the coal industry believes Trump “understands the urgent need to rein in the Washington bureaucracy and sweeping, excessive regulations” to protect coal jobs in an industry where sharply falling demand for coal has led to permanent plant closures, the American Coal Council said.

“The coal sector has been devastated by lower demand and job loss in recent years due to the mounting impact of regulations pointed squarely at our industry,” American Coal Council CEO Betsy Monseu said.

Some question whether it would make economic sense for the U.S. to attempt to increase the use of coal, a fuel being phased out of the energy picture due to its pollution and falling prices of renewables such as solar and wind.

“Coal is not coming back,” said Michael Brune, Sierra Club executive director. “Ask investors on Wall Street, or regulators at the state and local level who are choosing solar and wind because of basic economics.”

As for offshore drilling, Trump could target the Atlantic and Arctic: two areas the Obama administration had made off-limits for oil leases in the immediate future. While the Obama administration has moved to restrict drilling in waters off the Eastern Seaboard and Alaska, Trump has been vague on whether he would support reopening these areas to drilling, saying he backs it when it “can be done responsibly.”

Environmentalists said Wednesday they hope Trump concludes opening the Atlantic and Arctic to offshore drilling is a bad business decision.

“In the Atlantic, we hope he will recognize the strong opposition from the business community, which has mounted a concerted campaign to protect its fishing and tourism industries against the interest of the oil industry,” said Jacqueline Savitz of Oceana, a group opposed to offshore drilling. “In the Arctic, it’s impossible to respond to an oil spill, with extreme cold, floating ice, darkness much of the year and no response facilities.”

Concerns over the incoming administration’s environmental approach were not confined to policy.

Some climate scientists expressed concern that the Trump administration could reduce government’s efforts to study climate change. For example, some Republicans have long wanted to stop NASA’s role in studying earth science and climate change – a key contribution to scientific understanding of the issue that helps drive policy decisions.

Waleed Abdalati, a former NASA chief scientist, said in an email that the agency’s contributions are extremely important to the nation’s success.

“Part of this investment includes trying to better understand how and why our environment is changing and the implications for the American people, as well as people all over the world,” Abdalati wrote. “No one can argue that there is tremendous value in knowing what tomorrow will bring.”

Reprinted with permission of the Associated Press.


Donald Trump takes triumphant tour of Washington, has cordial meeting with Barack Obama

President-elect Donald Trump took a triumphant tour of the nation’s capital Thursday, holding a cordial White House meeting with President Barack Obama, sketching out priorities with Republican congressional leaders and taking in the majestic view from where he’ll be sworn into office.

Trump’s meeting with Obama spanned 90 minutes, longer than originally scheduled. Obama said he was “encouraged” by Trump’s willingness to work with his team during the transition of power, and the Republican called the president a “very good man.”

“I very much look forward to dealing with the president in the future, including his counsel,” Trump said from the Oval Office. He’ll begin occupying the office on Jan. 20.

While Trump noted that he and Obama had never met before, their political histories will forever be linked. Trump spent years perpetrating the lie that Obama was born outside the United States. The president campaigned aggressively against Trump during the 2016 campaign, warning that his election would put the republic at risk.

But at least publicly, the two men appeared to put aside their animosity. As the meeting concluded and journalists scrambled out of the Oval Office, Obama smiled at his successor and explained the unfolding scene.

“We now are going to want to do everything we can to help you succeed because if you succeed the country succeeds,” Obama said.

From the White House, Trump headed to Capitol Hill for meetings with House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to discuss the GOP legislative agenda. Ryan, who holds the most powerful post in Congress, was a sometime critic of Trump and never campaigned with the nominee.

Emerging from the meetings, Trump sketched out priorities for his presidency.

“We’re going to move very strongly on immigration,” he said. “We will move very strongly on health care. And we’re looking at jobs. Big league jobs.”

If Trump makes good on his campaign promises, he’ll wipe away much of what Obama has done during his eight years in office. The Republican president-elect, who will govern with Congress fully under GOP control, has vowed to repeal Obama’s signature health care law and dismantle the landmark nuclear accord with Iran. He’s also vowed to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

First lady Michelle Obama met privately in the White House residence with Trump’s wife, Melania, while Vice President Joe Biden was seeing Vice President-elect Mike Pence later Thursday.

Obama and Trump met alone, with no st Melania Trump aff present, White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters afterward.

“The two men did not relitigate their differences in the Oval Office,” Earnest said. “We’re on to the next phase.”

Trump traveled to Washington from New York on his private jet, breaking with protocol by not bringing journalists in his motorcade or on his plane to document his historic visit to the White House. Trump was harshly critical of the media during his campaign and for a time banned news organizations whose coverage he disliked from his events.

As scores of journalists waited to be admitted to the Oval Office to see Obama and Trump together, they saw White House chief of staff Denis McDonough walking along the South Lawn driveway with Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law. A handful of Trump aides trailed them.

The show of civility at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue contrasted with postelection scenes of protests across a politically divided country. Demonstrators from New England to the heartland and the West Coast vented against the election winner on Wednesday, chanting “Not my president,” burning a papier-mache Trump head, beating a Trump pinata and carrying signs that said “Impeach Trump.”

More than 100 protesters held a sit-in outside Trump International Hotel just blocks from the White House. The mostly student protesters held signs saying “Love Trumps Hate,” a phrase Democrat Hillary Clinton often used during the campaign.

Trump’s advisers, many of whom were stunned by his unexpected victory over Clinton, plunged into the work of setting up a White House and staffing government agencies.

Officials at the Pentagon and State Department said they had not yet been contacted.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the agency stood ready “to work with the incoming team once that team is designated and arrives here. But we don’t have any firm word as to when that will be.”

Trump was expected to consider several loyal supporters for top jobs, including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani for attorney general or national security adviser and campaign finance chairman Steve Mnuchin for Treasury secretary. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker were also expected to be under consideration for foreign policy posts.

As president-elect, Trump is entitled to the same daily intelligence briefing as Obama — one that includes information on U.S. covert operations, information gleaned about world leaders and other data gathered by America’s 17 intelligence agencies. The White House said it would organize two exercises involving multiple agencies to help Trump’s team learn how to respond to major domestic incidents.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Donald Trump bucks protocol on press access

President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday refused to let a group of journalists travel with him to cover his historic first meeting with President Barack Obama, breaking a long-standing practice intended to ensure the public has a watchful eye on the nation’s leader.

Trump flew from New York to Washington on his private jet without that “pool” of reporters, photographers and television cameras that have traveled with presidents and presidents-elect.

Trump’s flouting of press access was one of his first public decisions since his election Tuesday.

Trump’s meeting with Obama on Thursday will be recorded by the pool of White House reporters, photographers and TV cameras who cover the president.

News organizations had for weeks tried to coordinate a pool of journalists who could begin to travel with Trump immediately after Election Day if he won election. But his campaign did not cooperate with those requests and his senior advisers refused Wednesday, the day after the election, to discuss any such press arrangements.

Trump also broke from tradition as a candidate, refusing to allow a pool of campaign reporters, photographers or cameras to fly on his plane as he traveled to events.

Every president in recent memory has traveled with a pool of journalists when they leave the White House grounds. A pool of reporters and photographers were in the motorcade when President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas.

The pool was just steps away from President Ronald Reagan when he was shot outside a hotel in the District of Columbia, and was stationed outside his hospital room as he recovered. The pool also travels on vacation and foreign trips and at times captures personal, historic moments of the presidency.

News organizations take turns serving in the small group, paying their way and sharing the material collected in the pool with the larger press corps. The pool also covers official events at the White House when space doesn’t allow for the full press corps.

The Associated Press is among those reaching out to Trump advisers about press access.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Mitch Perry Report for 11.10.16 — The ‘What do we now?’ moment for the president-elect

As Donald Trump publicly laid low and dealt with officials about how the transition of his administration will begin, I couldn’t help but recall that often-referred-to famous final scene from the 1972 Michael Ritchie film, “The Candidate” starring Robert Redford.

Bill McKay, the novice (played by Redford) who has just won an improbable victory for the U.S. Senate, turns dazedly to his campaign manager and asks, “What do we do now?”

What will the 45th POTUS do? No doubt the Affordable Care Act will be repealed, but what takes its place? Since policy was never emphasized during this campaign, I’m not sure too many of us (especially those of us on the ACA) are aware what that will be, presumably conceived by House and Senate leaders.

Border security will no doubt be emphasized with the building of a wall along the Mexican border. Trump also has talked about tripling the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and seeks to create a “special deportation task force”. Although Kellyanne Conway says that task force will first focus on “the most dangerous criminal illegal immigrants,” Trump has made clear any undocumented migrants could be affected.

He has talked tough when it comes to guns and criminal justice reform. That could include turning back the Obama administration’s efforts to address mass incarceration. And what about the bipartisan effort in Capitol Hill on criminal justice reform? Again, details are needed.

And what about foreign policy, specifically Syria, the No. 1 burning problem in the world. Going back to when I first encountered the 15 (at the time) Republicans running for president who met in Nashua, New Hampshire in 2015, the overwhelming criticism was about Barack Obama‘s foreign policy. Hearing their criticism, I wondered, frankly, how would they handle some of the world’s most vexing problems? Does anyone really know the agenda from the man who said he “knows more than the generals” about combating ISIS, for example. “Take their oil” and “bombing the sh*t out of them” is going to have to be fleshed out a little more, one would think.

Trump has said contradictory things about NATO. That may be predicated on the first Trump-Vladimir Putin sit-down. After months of speculation about what type of relationship they might have, we’ll find out soon enough what Trump is willing to allow Putin to get away with — which may not bother too many Americans, but will freak out some of our allies overseas.

There’s roughly 100 days left before the president-elect becomes the president. And hopefully we’ll have a clearer idea of what lies ahead of us over the next four years.

In other news …

Uber and Lyft are finally street legal in Hillsborough County, though of course, not without controversy.

The PTC’s executive director, chairman and a board member with the agency all announced their departure on Wednesday.

The one bright spot for Hillsborough Democrats was Andrew Warren’s narrow victory as state attorney.

Marco Rubio defined Donald Trump’s upset victory as a “rejection of business-as-usual” in D.C. politics.

Tampa City Council members are pleased the charter amendment that will allow them to request internal audits was overwhelmingly approved by the voters.

Elizabeth Warren proposes truce with Donald Trump

The Latest on the U.S. election:

3:25 p.m. — Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is proposing that she and President-elect Donald Trump “put aside our differences” and work together to rebuild the American economy for working people.

A favorite of liberals, Warren has waged bitter wars of words with Trump. She’s called him a “pathetic coward” and worse on Twitter. He’s nicknamed her “Pocahontas” — a reference to claims she made about being part Native American.

As recently as Monday, Trump called Warren a “terrible person,” ”a terrible human being” and a “terrible senator.”

In a statement Wednesday, Warren said the integrity of U.S. democracy is more important than an individual election. She said she hopes Trump will fulfill the role of president “with respect and concern for every single person in this country, no matter who they are.”

3:15 p.m. — White House spokesman Josh Earnest says President Barack Obama has congratulated the Senate’s top Republican about his party’s success in maintaining its majority in the Senate.

Earnest said Obama and Mitch McConnell discussed priorities that should be taken up as lawmakers meet before a new Congress takes office. They spoke Wednesday, the day after the election.

While he did not have details about the issues discussed, Earnest said Obama will continue to encourage Republican leaders to take up a massive trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He said the president believes the trade pact will benefit the U.S. economy. President-elect Donald Trump strongly opposes the deal.

Earnest says the president also hopes to talk with House Speaker Paul Ryan.

3:05 p.m. — The White House says the President’s Daily Brief and other intelligence materials are now being made available to President-elect Donald Trump, Vice President-elect Mike Pence and other members of Trump’s transition team.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said it’s a courtesy that former President George W. Bush extended to President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and a few aides as they were preparing to take office.

The President’s Daily Brief is a classified document delivered to the president each morning. Until his victory Tuesday, Trump had received some classified briefings but not as extensive as what he’ll now be receiving.

Earnest says it’s part of Obama’s efforts to ensure a smooth transition.

3 p.m. — The Senate’s top Republican isn’t interested in rehashing contentious comments President-elect Donald Trump made about Hispanics during the campaign.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky wouldn’t say whether he thought Trump’s remarks have caused lasting damage to the Republican Party with an important demographic group. Trump has called some Mexicans rapists and criminals and had claimed that a judge might be biased against him because of the judge’s Mexican heritage.

Several months ago, McConnell publicly worried that Trump could push Hispanics from the party as Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater had done with blacks in the 1964 election.

McConnell said: “We should look forward and not backward and rehash and re-litigate the various debates we had both internally and with the Democrats over the past year.”

2:45 p.m. — White House spokesman Josh Earnest is disputing the notion that Thursday’s meeting between President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump will have an air of insincerity about it given the harsh things they’ve said about each other.

Earnest said “I’m not saying it’s going to be an easy meeting.” But he said the president is sincere about fulfilling a basic responsibility he has to ensure a smooth transition of power.

Earnest said the success of America’s democracy depends on all citizens setting aside their partisan affiliations and political preferences, and rooting for the success of the American president.

During the campaign, Obama had called Trump unfit and unqualified.

2:25 p.m. — Donald Trump is spending the day after winning the presidency holed up in Trump Tower, where sleep-deprived aides appear jubilant as they come and go.

The usually buzzing lobby of Trump’s residence and campaign headquarters is currently closed to the general public, though an impersonator of the famous “Naked Cowboy” — wearing a robe — was at one point spotted strolling through.

The scene outside is chaotic, with protesters and a mass of press gathered in penned-off area. Curious onlookers are clogging foot traffic as they pause to take in the scene.

The east side of Manhattan’s busy Fifth Avenue between 56th and 57th is also closed to the public with dump trucks filled with dirt forming a protective barrier outside the building’s lobby.

1:58 p.m. — White House spokesman Josh Earnest says President Barack Obama’s top priority following Tuesday’s election is not his legacy.

Earnest says the president is focused on the 20 million people who gained health insurance after the Affordable Care Act went into effect.

Earnest is taking questions from reporters about how the election results will affect Obama’s legacy on issues such as health care and climate change.

Earnest says the president is also concerned about the prospect of protections being stripped from millions of Americans who benefit because health insurers are not allowed to discriminate based on pre-existing health conditions or impose a lifetime cap on expenses.

Earnest says the tearing away those protections would negatively affect a lot of people, and “that’s something Republicans will have to consider moving forward.”

1:50 p.m. — Officials hope to unveil Donald Trump’s repaired star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame as soon possible now that he’s been elected president.

The star along a well-traveled block of Hollywood Boulevard remains blocked off and covered in plywood two weeks after a protester took a sledgehammer to it. The man was charged with felony vandalism.

Vivian Kish with the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce says the star has been mostly repaired, but still needs to finish drying and then be polished. She said it usually takes about two weeks to complete the process.

About two dozen Trump supporters reveled at the site after the election, snapping photos until police asked them to move on.

Trump’s star was dedicated in recognition of his work on NBC’s “The Apprentice.”

1:45 p.m. — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he has spoken to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and has already received an invitation to meet.

Netanyahu said Trump invited him to meet “at the first opportunity” in a phone call Wednesday.

A statement from Netanyahu’s office said the Israeli leader congratulated Trump on his win and said that “the U.S. has no better ally than Israel.” It described their conversation as “warm” and said they spoke about regional issues.

Israel and the U.S. are close allies but relations were often tense between Netanyahu and President Barack Obama, mainly over Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians and concerns over the U.S.-led nuclear deal with Iran.

Netanyahu and Trump are friendly and ties are expected to improve.

Netanyahu met with Trump and Hillary Clinton in September.

1:40 p.m. — A close presidential vote pushed many people past their bedtimes, including President-elect Donald Trump’s 10-year-old son, Barron.

The youngest of Trump’s five children stood next to his father during his victory speech in New York early Wednesday. Television cameras caught the younger Trump fighting through heavy eyelids during his father’s remarks.

The internet took notice with many posting clips of boy, noting that his appearance mirrored those of many at home struggling to stay awake.

1:05 p.m. — Republican Donald Trump won the presidency fueled by a surge of working-class whites across a band of Midwestern states. Those are the kind of voters who had helped anchor Democratic presidential victories for a generation.

Trump won states such as Pennsylvania and Iowa that had twice backed Barack Obama.

Exit polls and unofficial returns reflect deep racial, gender, economic and cultural divides across the region and nationally.

Trump’s support Tuesday skewed older, more male and overwhelmingly white. His supporters said they are deeply dissatisfied with the federal government and eager for change. That’s according to the exit polls conducted by Edison Research for national media outlets.

Democrat Hillary Clinton’s support was anchored in cities, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Trump’s advantages in small towns, rural areas and many suburbs.

1 p.m. — A prominent Republican critic of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is giving the Democrat high marks for her concession speech.

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said in a statement Wednesday that Clinton should be congratulated for “doing her part to bring about healing of our nation.”

Unimpressed with either candidate, Graham quipped in September that the choice “makes me want to move to Canada.”

But a day after the election, Graham said Clinton struck the right tone.

Graham said, “all Americans should follow her counsel and try to work with our next president.”

He said Trump “will need all the help he can get given the many challenges we face as a nation.”

12:55 p.m. — Another former president Bush is congratulating Donald Trump on winning the race for the White House.

George W. Bush said in a statement that he called Trump Wednesday. He said he and his wife, Laura, wished the president-elect and his family “our very best as they take on an awesome responsibility.”

Bush added: “We pray for the success of our country and the success of our new president.”

A spokesman said Bush and his wife didn’t vote for Trump when casting early ballots for Tuesday’s election.

Bush’s father, George H.W. Bush, also called and congratulated Trump on Wednesday.

12:50 p.m. — President Barack Obama says he could not be prouder of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Obama said Clinton’s candidacy and nomination sent a message to daughters all across the country that “they can achieve at the highest levels of politics.” Clinton lost to Republican Donald Trump in Tuesday’s election.

Obama was speaking Wednesday in the White House’s Rose Garden. He said he is confident that Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton will continue to do great work for people around the world.

12:40 p.m. — President Barack Obama says he was heartened by President-elect Donald Trump’s call for unity.

Speaking Wednesday at the White House, Obama said the campaign was long and hard fought and that while a lot of Americans are feeling exultant, others are not.

He said everyone is sad when their side loses an election. But, resorting to sports analogies, Obama said “we’re actually all on one team” and we’re in an intramural scrimmage.

He said all Americans should want what’s best for the country.

In his acceptance speech, Trump called for the country to “bind the wounds of division.”

12:35 p.m. — President Barack Obama says he’s instructing his team to make sure there is a peaceful transfer of power to Donald Trump.

Obama spoke Wednesday in the White House’s Rose Garden following Trump’s upset victory in Tuesday’s presidential election.

He noted that he and Trump have had big differences. Trump promises to repeal many of Obama’s achievements over the past eight years. Obama had warned voters that if Trump were to win, “all that progress goes down the drain.”

Now, Obama said, “we all want what’s best for this country.” He said the point is that we all go forward with a presumption of good faith in all citizens. He says that’s how the country has moved forward and he’s confident that the incredible American journey will continue.

12:05 p.m. — Hillary Clinton says America “is more deeply divided than we thought,” but she is urging her supporters to accept the outcome of the presidential election.

In a speech Wednesday conceding the presidency to Republican Donald Trump, Clinton said, “I still believe in America, and I always will.”

She noted that “our responsibility as citizens is to keep doing our part to keep building that better, stronger, fairer America.”

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Post-election, winners and losers abound in Northeast Florida

The votes have been counted on the national level. Reality is setting in: Donald Trump is president-elect — despite the best efforts of the most aggressive political machine in history.

There are, of course, aggregations of who won and who lost on the national level. But due to the unique position of Duval County as a swing county in a purple state, and due to the unique role of local players, winners and losers in this Northeast Florida region abound.


Susie Wiles: Give her the credit she’s due. If it hadn’t been for the decision weeks back to have Wiles replace Karen Giorno atop the Trump campaign in Florida, there very well might be a different person as president-elect today.

There certainly would be a different Florida winner.

Wiles presented a stabilizing force. The veteran Jacksonville operative led key organizational decisions (as POLITICO reported, Wiles agitated to ensure sufficient resources were devoted to absentee ballots, a category in which the 62,000-vote GOP advantage statewide cut into the 155,000 vote Democratic advantage during early voting).

As well, Wiles was good at translating Trump’s stump persona to members of the Florida political media. Her decades of credibility meant she was able to meaningfully frame Trump’s populist appeals and flourishes as a means to an end, not as the end itself.

Lenny Curry: The Jacksonville mayor was not on the ballot, and his big pension reform referendum was in August. Curry was pilloried, including by this writer, for his decision to serve as master of ceremonies during the Trump visit to Florida ahead of that referendum. Curry’s explanation of that move was typically pragmatic, boiling down to supporting the Republican candidate as a Republican.

Did the Trump support hurt Curry? He got 65 percent on that August referendum, with internal polling from his operation showing that backing Trump shored up his support with Republicans. Since that referendum, Curry hadn’t appeared at another Trump campaign event.

Now? It doesn’t matter. Curry has positioned himself as a rare commodity: a big city Republican mayor who didn’t run away from the top of the ticket. With a GOP Congress and a Republican president as political allies, Jacksonville is as well-positioned as it can be for federal money for local priorities like dredging to deepen the harbor for JAXPORT, solidifying the arguments for Mayport and Naval Air Station Jax, and other pet projects for which federal funding has been elusive.

During the tortuous path to get federal money for Duval County recovery efforts after Hurricane Matthew, Curry echoed Gov. Rick Scott, saying Duval taxpayers deserve to get back the money they give to Washington.

Trump will be a far more valuable ally to Curry, and the city of Jacksonville, than Hillary Clinton would have been.

The Jacksonville Business Community: As we observed Tuesday evening, Congressmen-elect Al Lawson and John Rutherford are pragmatists, willing and eager to work across the aisle to accomplish policy priorities.

Lawson — who has an association with Ballard Partners and the aforementioned Susie Wiles — is still getting up to speed on Jacksonville policy priorities. But he will have a lot of help as he prepares to replace Corrine Brown atop Florida’s 5th Congressional District.

Rutherford, taking over for Ander Crenshaw in CD 4, can already count as a key ally House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who swung through Jacksonville during the campaign to appear by Rutherford’s side.

While Lawson and Rutherford are disadvantaged by not having the seniority of their immediate predecessors, they will have other advantages that should translate into a bit more federal money coming Jacksonville’s way, especially as the expected infrastructure push from Trump materializes.

Brian Hughes and Tim Baker: To quote DJ Khaled, “all they do is win win win no matter what.” They carried two countywide referendums through between Aug. 30 and last night. The pension reform referendum was in August. The followup: the referendum to allow slot machines at bestbet Jacksonville.

The ads were the most positive, anodyne work of the two GOP strategists’ careers. Augmented with people at voting locations with shirts and signs promoting the referendum, the measure was buoyed by support on Jacksonville’s Northside, in Northwest Jacksonville, and in some of the more economically depressed areas of Jacksonville’s Southside.

Baker and Hughes are the political equivalents of Bear Bryant, the legendary Alabama football coach who famously said: “I’ll beat you with my team today, and I’ll beat you with your team tomorrow.” Despite the carping of other consultants, they have more signature wins than anyone.

Bill Gulliford: The Jacksonville City Councilman from the ocean side of the Intracoastal Waterway was not on the ballot, but he won a meaningful victory. Gulliford’s Beaches First political committee waded into the contentious mayoral race between incumbent Charlie Latham and challenger Cory Nichols with a couple of sharp mailers that contended Nichols’ bankruptcy a few years back disqualified him from being mayor.

Gulliford’s move was, at least in part, a response to very personal campaigning from Nichols and those who supported him.

Gulliford engaged on social media with Nichols and at least one supporter, effectively saying that the results of the election would be the ultimate proof of who was right.

Latham won by 15 points.

The Florida Times-Union: The Jacksonville paper endorsed a “change agent.” And their guy won.

Even if most staffers sold the endorsement out as a corporate pick, Morris Communications picked the winner when many other papers hedged their bets and said “Hillary or else.”


Duval Democrats: There was a lot of optimism that 2016 would be the year Duval became Blu-Val.

It didn’t quite happen. And this despite a wealth of surrogate action, including a visit from President Barack Obama, multiple visits from former President Bill Clinton, and a Souls to the Polls swing through from Rev. Jesse Jackson and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

There were two schools of thought on the surrogate visit. One was the idea that they were stacking votes. The other was the idea that they were trying to mitigate a potentially bad loss in Jacksonville.

And there was understanding that there were problems. At the Saturday event with Jesse Jackson, this reporter asked the Chicago preacher and local African-American pols if there was an enthusiasm gap Hillary Clinton faced that Barack Obama did not.

Jackson said that there wasn’t. A couple of the pols, however, affirmed there was … before following Jackson’s lead.

You think Duval Dems miss the Corrine Brown turnout machine yet? While Quick Picks were given out this year, absent were the amazing parties Brown threw to spike turnout, fetes that have been described by more than one observer as “lit.”

Glo Smith: Hard to beat Al Lawson in an election. Harder when, as a GOP nominee, you run away from the top of the ticket.

Smith had a golden opportunity to talk to the base at Trump’s rally on Jacksonville’s Westside last week. She was a no-show. And GOP and Duval voters both no-showed for her, perhaps as a result.

Smith likely wasn’t going to be able to stack the numbers in Jacksonville necessary to overcome Lawson’s 50-point win in Leon County. However, the fact that she lost what she represents as her home county by 40,000 votes to a candidate from Tallahassee suggests her political instincts are nonexistent.

Dave Bruderly: Of course he was going to lose to John Rutherford. But it was the way he lost: an amateurish campaign that wouldn’t have won him a seat on the school board. Even Rutherford’s operatives felt sorry for him.

Joe Henderson: There is no roadmap for where America goes next

If it’s morning after the election and you are reading this, then the exit polls were correct on at least one point. The sun did indeed come up on all the blue states, red states, and especially on the Sunshine State.

So, there is that. But for the moment at least, that’s pretty much the end of normal as we knew it.

We now live in a nation where the president-elect broke every rule of campaigning and won the White House. Whether the outcome of this race was an embrace of the outsider Donald Trump or a rejection of Hillary Clinton as a soiled remnant of the establishment is a debate for pundits and historians.

What is undeniable is that the people wanted change and now they have it. That deserves a moment of pause and reflection.


The moment is over. That crashing sound was your 401(k) as it struck the rocks at the bottom of the cliff. We have entered a world where no one has a map. Everybody wide awake now? No, you aren’t dreaming.

The Republican Party of Reagan has been taken over by a foul-mouthed misogynist outsider who essentially ran against both the Democrats and the party that nominated him. The Bill Clinton Democrats and his successor-designate wife have been rejected by an American public fed up enough with the whole lot of them to roll the dice on a planetary scale.

Trump was supposed to be the wrong messenger; everyone said so. The polls said so, pundits said so, and logic said so. None of that applied, though, because the essence that drove his campaign was spot on. That’s how we got here, and the outcome of this election proves that.

I grew up in Ohio, the son of a working man who spent more than 30 years in a smoky factory in our small town. When he was about 60, the bosses moved that factory and all the jobs to a source of cheaper, southern labor. This proud man learned about age discrimination and the value of a lifetime spent working with his hands and back.

Things haven’t changed that much since 1969, have they? That was Trump’s platform.

Working men and women still feel like they get nothing but the back hand from their government. Unions that were supposed to protect them were impotent in the clutch and are now seen as part of the problem.

They felt abandoned. They felt betrayed.

They decided no was listening to them.

Well, they’re listening now.

I know those people. I love those people. Those are my friends, and I understand at least some of their anger. They want to be respected. I don’t like their solution, but I get it.

They feel like they pay for programs they can’t share. They are handed the bill for benefits they don’t receive. They see big business send their jobs overseas or out of state, while the rich CEO walks away with all their money.

They see elected representatives on the take from lobbyists. Where they saw Washington as the solution, they now see the nation’s capital as the problem. When people ask how Trump could win the presidency, it’s because these people saw him as their only voice.

They struck back the only way they could.

Did you see that sea of red-colored counties on the election maps Tuesday night? That was small-town, rural America screaming ENOUGH!

They believed that strongly enough to hand the keys to the White House to a crude man with a history of bankruptcy, both moral and business, because that man said he heard them.

He was the only one who did.

It was a strong enough message to swamp 15 other Republican candidates in the primaries. It stunned pollsters, pundits, and now the worldwide financial markets by winning the White House against the Chosen One.

What’s weird about this result is that President Barack Obama will leave office with historically high approval levels. The public loved him, but not enough to let him pass the baton to Clinton.

Trump won the day by recognizing millions of people are fed up. Trump made them believe Clinton was the problem and he is the answer. That’s what happened Tuesday night.

As for what happens now, well, we’ll get back to you.

Shawn Harrison holds on in rough-and-tumble HD 63 race

Republican Shawn Harrison held on in a rough-and-tumble race against challenger Lisa Montelione to represent House District 63.

With all precincts reporting, Harrison had 51 percent of 71,483 votes cast. Montelione held a close early lead but Harrison overcame that and steadily pulled ahead as the night progressed.

“Obviously, we’re very happy,” Harrison said in a statement. “We executed what was a perfect game plan. We had a very targeted and specific message to Democrats in this district, and we executed it. We tried to appeal to Democrats, which you have to do in a swing district like this.”

The race to represent this moderate swing district covering parts of New Tampa, Lutz, Carrollwood, and the University of South Florida area, turned nasty in the closing days.

Harrison, the incumbent, ran a TV spot with an empty chair to symbolize what he said was Montelione’s 33 percent absentee rate on votes at the Tampa City Council.

Montelione and the Florida Democratic Party demanded that Brighthouse Networks stop airing the spot over copyright issues related to an ad she ran against Harrison.

Republicans also hit Montelione hard on her vote supporting free parking for council members and her support for a controversial stormwater assessment fee.

That vote drew the ire of La Gaceta, a tri-language weekly newspaper that traditionally endorses Democrats. However, publisher Patrick Manteiga, a Democratic activist, threw his support behind Harrison in this race. In an editorial, the newspaper said “normally, we support Democrats, but lately we’ve noticed some Democrats aren’t acting like Democrats. Lisa Montelione is on that list.”

It also said Democrats can work with Harrison, a moderate Republican, adding: “He’s smart, compassionate, focused, and does his homework. He can build coalitions.”

Montelione, endorsed by President Barack Obama, raised more than $246,000 for this race, including more than $53,000 from the Florida Democratic Party. Harrison reported nearly $298,000.

A former Tampa City Council member, Harrison first won election to the old HD 60 in 2010. He lost in 2012 after redistricting placed him in the more moderate HD 63, but came back in 2014 and won.

Montelione was elected to the city council in 2011 and ran unopposed in 2015. She resigned her council seat to run in this race.

Marco Rubio cruises to victory in Senate re-election bid

Sen. Marco Rubio is heading back to Washington D.C.

The Miami Republican defeated Rep. Patrick Murphy in Florida’s U.S. Senate race. According to preliminary election results, Rubio received 52 percent of the vote. Murphy received 45 percent.

The victory caps off a tough political year for Rubio. He faced a devastating loss in his home state in March, coming in second to Donald Trump in Florida’s presidential preference primary.

 “This nation is at a pivotal crossroads and throughout his career, Rubio has proven himself as a steadfast and distinguished conservative leader committed to holding government accountable,” said RPOF Chairman Blaise Ingoglia. “Once again, our great state rewarded the Senator’s dedication to public service and protecting the founding principles of this country.  We look forward to working with him to restore the trust and confidence the American people want to have in their government.”

He jumped into the U.S. Senate race in June, after weeks of brushing off calls and questions about whether he was going to run for re-election. He often cited concerns about the top of the ticket as one of the reasons he was running for a second term.

Rubio spent months fielding questions about his tepid support for Trump and whether he planned to serve a full term if re-elected. In October, he said he would “serve six years in the United States Senate, God willing.”

Despite a big push to turn Florida blue, Murphy failed to gain traction.

The Treasure Coast Democrat was relatively unknown, despite having the support of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama, and Vice President Joe Biden. He trailed Rubio in almost every poll since June, and was dogged by claims he padded his resume.

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to be Florida’s Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate. I’m proud of the campaign we built and so grateful for the passion Florida families across the state put in to this fight,” said Murphy in a statement. “While we hoped for a different result, the people of Florida have spoken and I respect their choice. I congratulate Senator Rubio on his victory and on the incredible honor of representing this state again in the U.S. Senate. Floridians are counting on him to fight for them, and he has my support in that fight.”

Murphy was first elected in 2012 to serve in Florida’s 18th Congressional District. He unseated Republican Rep. Allen West, and easily won re-election two years later. But his campaign was plagued by criticism of his limited accomplishments during his time in office.

Murphy said he is “grateful to the people of Florida’s 18th District for putting their trust in me over the past four years.”

“I will always remain true to that promise, and I will always fight for Florida,” he said.

Razor’s edge: Duval GOP, Democrats near even turnout as voting nears close

Robust Election Day turnout allowed Duval County Republicans to take the raw vote lead over the Democrats Tuesday morning at 10:10, after starting the day down by over 4,200 votes.

At 6:00 p.m., the lead was winnowed down to barely 1,700 votes for Republicans: 177,844 to 176,119.

That’s tight: barely a 1,700-vote spread out of nearly 430,000 votes. With turnout at 73 percent, that suggests an electorate

Republicans dominated the vote-by-mail part of early voting, amassing a 7,600-vote lead, while the actual on-site early voting was won by Democrats with an 10,554-vote margin.

In 2012, Mitt Romney beat Barack Obama 51 percent to 48 percent in Duval County.

Romney, however, was a much different candidate from Trump, and those following elections closely speculate on how much of the GOP women vote will go to Hillary Clinton, how much of the GOP and millennial vote will go to Gary Johnson, and whether the enthusiasm gap in the African-American community for Clinton that some Duval Dems have mentioned privately will cause the final tallies to dovetail.

As well, there are questions as to how many of the newer Republicans were simply Dixiecrats who voted Republican while maintaining a Democratic registration until the Trump Train rolled through in March.

This post will be updated.

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