Bill Nelson Archives - Page 5 of 89 - Florida Politics

Outside spending tops $25 million in Florida’s U.S. Senate contest

Outside spending has exceeded $25 million already in Florida’s U.S. Senate race, with Democratic groups behind U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson outspending Republican groups behind Gov. Rick Scott by a margin of three dollars to two so far.

According to the latest outside expenditure reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission, covering campaign expenses running through last Friday, almost all the outside money coming to Scott’s aid is from the super political action committee he set up to help his election, the New Republican PAC. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce pitched in some last spring, and another five groups have contributed small amounts, mainly for ground-game support.

It’s a different picture on the Democratic side, where three national PACs already have spent well into seven figures, a union PAC is approaching $1 million, and four other PACs are well into six figures, either campaigning for Nelson’s re-election or in opposing a U.S. Senate quest by Scott.

The result: so far outside groups have spent $15.2 million on Nelson’s side, and $10.3 million on Scott’s side.

Leading the charge so far for Nelson’s re-election is the Senate Majority PAC, controlled by the U.S. Senate’s Democratic leadership. They want Nelson back, and through last Friday the PAC had spent $6.5 million on various media buys, mainly television. Their TV commercials have been on Florida airwaves since last spring, and on Tuesday the group announced its latest spot.

The Democratic super PAC Priorities USA, founded by a couple of President Barack Obama‘s former advisors, has spent $4.3 million, mainly on digital advertising, much of that in coordination with Senate Majority PAC efforts. Majority Forward, a super PAC affiliated with the Senate Majority PAC, has spent $1.8 million, mainly on television advertising. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees PAC has spent $972,000 on a variety of items including a TV commercial, canvassing, and mailers.

Four other Democratic PACSs, For Our Future, Win Justice, United We Can, and the Service Employees International Union’s SEIU COPE each has spent between a quarter million dollars and a half-million on such things as ground-game staff, canvassing and mailers. Five other groups have each provided less than $100,000 apiece for similar efforts.

On Scott’s side, the New Republican PAC, which he left before declaring his candidacy, has spent $9.4 million on media placement, mainly television commercials. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has spent $750,000 on media, though that all was spent in April, timed with the kick-off of Scott’s campaign. Three groups associated with Americans For Prosperity have reported a combined $120,000 in expenses, almost entirely for staffing a ground-game in Florida. Four other groups have provided less than $100,000.

If it looks like most of the outside spending is going into attacks, that is true.

The Republican PACs’ FEC filings indicate that more than $9.9 million of the $10.4 million they’ve spent on Florida’s U.S. Senate race was explicitly spent to oppose Nelson.

The Democratic PACs indicate that $6 million of the money $15.3 million they’ve spent was explicitly spent to oppose Scott.

That’s a total of nearly $16 million in attack ads and other opposition activity.

Of the positive advertising and activities, the Democrats groups have reported $9.2 million in expenses to support Nelson, while Republican groups have reported only $414,000 in support of Scott. Most of the pro-Scott spending was done by the U.S. Chamber, with some by Club for Growth and the Susan B. Anthony List. That’s a total of $9.6 million in positive ads and related support activity.

Face off: Bill Nelson and Rick Scott trade shots in first debate

Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and Republican challenger Rick Scott met face-to-face Tuesday for the first debate in their U.S. Senate race.

Both candidates came armed with clear-cut messages they hammered throughout the discussion. Scott accused Nelson of failing to get anything done during his long tenure in Washington. And Nelson repeatedly framed Scott’s statements as untrue, arguing the election is about integrity.

The candidates met at the studios of Telemundo 51 in Miramar for the taping, which will air Tuesday night at 7 p.m. The debate was moderated by Jackie Nespral of NBC6 and Marilys Llanos of Telemundo 51.

Candidates were given 90 seconds to answer each question, and the first candidate to answer was offered 30 seconds for a rebuttal. No time was allotted for an opening statement, leaving the moderators to jump right in with questions.

The first topic was immigration, where Nelson called for a comprehensive immigration reform plan. He also hit Gov. Scott over the child separations which have occurred under the Donald Trump administration.

“While that was happening, my opponent was silent,” Nelson said of those separations.

That’s not exactly true, as Scott did say back in June he does not support families being separated. However, Scott blamed the problem on the failure to “secure our borders,” rather than on the Trump administration’s actions.

Scott also used the topic to begin his attacks on Nelson’s alleged inaction as a lawmaker, saying “My opponent has had 40 years to do something on immigration and he has absolutely done nothing.”

However, as Nelson noted, he and the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration bill back in 2013. That bill later died in the House.

But Scott followed up on those attacks by saying Nelson should have advanced legislation to stop the separation of immigrant families. Trump eventually attempted to reverse course on the policy, though larger bills to address the immigration system failed.

Nelson battled back against Scott’s accusations by noting a finding by Politifact that nine out of nine Rick Scott ads reviewed by the organization contained falsehoods.

“He tries to distract,” said Nelson. Scott responded by asserting Politifact was an “arm of the Tampa Bay Times” and was a de facto part of the Democratic Party.

The topic then turned toward gun reform. Nelson referenced Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was killed during February’s mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School. Guttenberg was in the audience for Tuesday’s debate.

“I hope that you will look Fred in the face and tell him that you are not going to support those kinds of policies that you have with the NRA,” Nelson said to Scott.

The Governor said that while he feels for the victims of mass shootings, “I believe in the 2nd Amendment. I believe in the 1st Amendment. I believe in all the Amendments in the Bill of Rights.”

Scott did point to the bill Florida passed following the Parkland shooting, and once again accused Nelson of inaction at the federal level.

Candidates were then asked how they would increase economic security for Floridians. Nelson claimed an increase in the minimum wage law is necessary.

“Raise the minimum wage to $12 at least, if not $15, to raise the income level so people can pay for the necessities of life and feed their families.”

Scott shot back, saying “I think this is an example of why we need term limits.” He argued Nelson’s support of tax raises and increased regulation would hurt employers’ ability to hire more workers.

The two traded similar barbs over health care and the red tide crisis. Scott bashed Nelson for not solving these issues during his time in the Senate, arguing the Affordable Care Act did not live up to its promises.

Meanwhile, Nelson hit Scott over rejecting Medicaid expansion for Florida and cutting the state budget to combat the red tide problem.

“This election is about integrity and trust,” Nelson argued.

Scott was also challenged on his efforts to distance himself from President Trump after Trump called into question the death toll in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria.

When asked by the moderators whether he was simply attempting to recruit the votes of Puerto Ricans who have fled to Florida, Scott said, “I don’t think about politics that way. I think about how you help families.”

Scott then talked about his various trips to the island and efforts to work with Gov. Ricardo Rossello throughout the storm and its aftermath.

That’s when Nelson reminded Scott that Rossello endorsed Nelson’s campaign on Monday, though Rossello did call it a tough decision.

Nelson also hammered Scott over saying “I don’t know what I’d do differently” than the federal government following the storm. The latest estimates put the death toll in Puerto Rico at close to 3,000 people.

Scott’s strongest line of attack was arguably regarding Nelson’s unsubstantiated claims of Russian interference in Florida’s election systems.

“I don’t know what his plan was,” Scott said of Nelson’s claims.

“Did he want to make people uncomfortable?”

When given the chance, Nelson dodged directly answering Scott’s questioning over the assertions of interference, which Scott made sure to note for the audience.

The final topic of the night was the Governor’s race between Democrat Andrew Gillum and Republican Ron DeSantis. Scott reiterated his support for DeSantis and attempted to tie Nelson to the Democratic candidate.

“Sen. Nelson and Andrew Gillum will kill the economy,” Scott argued.

That’s when Nelson once again returned fire over Scott’s alleged falsehoods, saying, “Apparently you never got your mouth washed out with soap after telling a lie.”

Nelson asserted that voters’ reaction to Scott’s tenure as Governor will drive Gillum to victory in the race.

It’s hard to say whether the back-and-forth will push either candidate into a comfortable lead. Polls have shown the race as a close contest. While Scott held the lead in most surveys throughout the summer, Nelson has been ahead in more recent polls.

The next debate between the two will be aired on CNN on Oct. 16. That discussion will be moderated by Wolf Blitzer.

Democratic PAC launches Spanish attack ad on Rick Scott on education

The Democratic Senate Majority PAC announced Tuesday it is launching a new Spanish-language television commerical attacking Republican U.S. Senate nominee Rick Scott over the education budget cuts he signed during his first couple of years as governor.

The 30-second commercial, “Dime Con Quien” [“Tell Me Who”], questions who Scott was working for when he pushed through the massive cuts his administration and the Florida Legislature adopted as austerity measures after he took office in 2011 during the tail-end of the great recession.

The commercial continues the multi-million dollar campaign that Senate Majority PAC and its partner Democratic PACs, primarily Majority Forward PAC and Priorities USA have been running in Florida for months, mostly attacking Scott, sometimes supporting his rival, Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson‘s re-election bid. Senate Majority PAC so far has spent at least $6 million, according to Federal Election Commission records.

The latest SMP commercial’s video focuses on the eyes of Scott, young students, and teachers, as a narrator asks, in Spanish, “Well, who was Rick Scott with when he cut more than $1.3 billion from our public schools?”

“Not with our students who now sit in classrooms without A/C and filled with mold,” the narrator continues. “Not our teachers who pay for supplies themselves. If he wasn’t with us, then who was he with?”

Those earlly budget cuts hit schools hard, though Scott’s office and Legislative Republicans argue the spending was restored, and spending increased to record levels, since the economy rebounded.

Still, the original cuts retain their sting for Democrats.

“Rick Scott recklessly cut more than a billion from Florida’s public schools; leaving children to sit in moldy classrooms and teachers to pay out of pocket for necessary school supplies,” Hannah Hurley, spokesperson for SMP, stated in a news release. “Florida families count on quality schools to help their children to learn and grow. Thanks to Rick Scott and his education cuts, these schools are now covered in mold and lack the money for basic supplies and air conditioning. Rick Scott left families across Florida without any options, and that is unacceptable.”

Ground game: Florida Democrats to open 40 new ‘grassroots offices’

The Florida Democratic Party has announced the opening of 40 new “grassroots offices” as campaigns try to close out the final five weeks of the midterm elections.

A statement released by Democratic Party officials say the openings will kick off Wednesday, Oct. 3 and will continue through the weekend alongside several get-out-the-vote activities.

“Opening 40 offices in one week is a monumental feat and it is truly a team effort – with massive support from the entire ‘Democratic Winning Ticket,’ including Sen. Bill Nelson, Mayor Andrew Gillum, our Cabinet nominees, state legislative candidates and Democrats running for local office across the state,” party Chair Terrie Rizzo said.

The offices are slated to open in West Palm Beach, Plantation, St. Augustine, Orlando, Jacksonville and Panama City, among other places. Florida Democrats also say they recently trained an additional 200 field organizers.

Rick Scott and Bill Nelson

Bill Nelson, Rick Scott tied in battleground U.S. Senate contest

Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson are statistically tied in a new poll of November’s U.S. Senate race, though Scott holds a razor-thin edge.

The St. Pete Polls survey, commissioned by Florida Politics, found Nelson, Florida’s only statewide elected Democrat, and Scott, who is term-limited after eight years in the Governor’s Mansion, each receiving about 47 percent support from likely general election voters.

Without rounding, Scott slightly edges out Nelson, 47.4 percent to 46.7 percent. The remaining 6.1 percent of voters are undecided.

Both Nelson and Scott have similarly strong support among their bases, with each breaching the 75 percent threshold among the party faithful, though independent voters prefer Nelson by a 51-40 margin.

By age, Scott holds a 49-55 percent lead among voters under 30, while Nelson takes the 30- to 49-year-old bracket by 6 points, 50-44 percent. The 70-and-up crowd leans slightly toward Scott, 47-46 percent, while the pair tie among 50- to -69-year-olds with 47 percent support apiece.

The high-ranking politicians are also tied among men, 47-47 percent, with Nelson leading by a basket among women, 48-46 percent. Demographically, Scott leads by 13 points among white voters, while black voters are plus-61 for Nelson and Hispanic voters also lean toward the incumbent by a margin of 48-45 percent.

The poll also measured each candidate’s support regionally, with Scott holding firm leads in the state’s Republican bastions of Pensacola, Panama City and Southwest Florida. The exiting Governor also holds a 56-39 percent lead in the Jacksonville media market.

Nelson, meanwhile, ran up the score in Tallahassee, Gainesville, and South Florida. He also holds a slim lead in the Orlando market, while the pair split Tampa with 46 percent support apiece.

Scott led in most early polls of the race, thanks in part to outspending Nelson with major media buys that started shortly after announcing his candidacy in April. Recent polls, however, have shown Nelson chipping away at Scott’s edge.

A Florida Chamber of Commerce poll released Friday found Nelson with a 2-point lead, which fell within the poll’s 4.4 percent margin of error.

Still, a recent analysis by Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight labeled Nelson as the “most vulnerable” of the two dozen Dems seeking another term in November, 10 of whom, including Nelson, are seeking re-election in states that Donald Trump carried in the 2016 presidential election.

 “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” … “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.”

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.

The automated phone poll was conducted Sept. 29 through Sept. 30 and received responses from 2,313 registered voters who said they planned to vote in the November election. The top-line result of the St. Pete Polls survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

Andrew Gillum focuses on equal citizenship rights in Puerto Rico

Now that he’s acepted the endorsement of Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló in the heart of Florida’s Puerto Rican community in Kissimmee, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum sought Monday to differentiate himself from Republicans led by his opponent Ron DeSantis, starting with a firm call for equality.

Rosselló hustled Monday from an endorsement rally in Orlando for re-election of Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson against Republican Gov. Rick Scott to a rally in Kissimmee to support Gillum’s election against DeSantis,

As he did so, Republicans quickly responded with their own pronouncements in support of Puerto Rico Monday, for the work Scott had done and commitments DeSantis had made, with backing from, among others, the island’s lieutenant governor, member of Congress, and Republican state Rep. Bob Cortes of Altamonte Springs, who helped push through several plans last fall to assist Puerto Rican refugees.

Monday’s activity showed how critical both parties see the Puerto Rican vote in Florida.

Equal citizen rights is a rallying cry for many on and from the island, who see that island residents get less Medicare and Medicaid benefits, were hit with a new tax liability in last year’s Republican-pushed tax cut law, saw the first round of hurricane and natural disaster legislation get approved in the U.S. House of Representives without money for Puerto Rico, and were left feeling the federal relief effort lacked the focus, commitment and care seen in the efforts offered for Florida and Texas last year.

Both Gillum and Nelson emphasized the need for equal rights for American citizens in Puerto Rico compared with those stateside, something Rosselló also pushed when he announced why he chose to back Nelson over Scott, and Gillum over DeSantis.

“Andrew’s message, it is a message of equality,” Rosselló said. “It is the commitment that every U.S. citizen should be treated the same.”

That’s where Gillum entered Monday, with far less record in the past than Nelson or Scott in addressing Puerto Rico, and perhaps more or less on equal footing with DeSantis in comparison of activity to address Puerto Ricans’ concerns. Gillum’s focus on equality is what sets him apart, Rosselló said.

Equality has been a theme of Gillum’s campaign since he first announced his candidacy in early 2017, and on Monday he sought to bridge the similar struggles of the underprivileged communities in Florida, from which he came, and those of Puerto Rico.

“Guess what, ya’ll? I’m here to ask to be the candidate for governor that is the candidate choice for the Boricua right here in the state of Florida. I want that label! I want that label! Gillum said. “And I want it not in a tokenizing way. I want it in a way that says we understand one another, that we know what it means to fight for every inch, every square inch, for every mile of what we get. You’re not gifting us anything. We work for what we got.

“I want my living experience here in the state of Florida to say, ‘You know what? That is our shared experience,'” Gillum continued. “When I talk about a job where people can work and earn a livable wage, I’m talking about my mother and my father.”

Gillum began by pointing to efforts by Florida’s only member of Congress who is of Puerto Rican descent, Democratic U.S. Rep. Darren Soto of Celebration, who stood by his side at both rallies.

“This man is also a champion of just saying, ‘Don’t treat us like the third world!’ We’re American citizens, and we deserve respect, and the dignity that comes with humanity,” Gillum declared.

Bill Nelson leading Rick Scott by 4 points in latest poll

The turnaround may be real for incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, as he is leading Republican challenger Rick Scott in yet another poll.

The newest Public Policy Polling survey puts Nelson up 4 points against Scott, the outgoing Florida Governor.

Nelson grabbed 48 percent while Scott earned 44 percent. A total of 9 percent say they remain undecided.

The survey sampled 779 registered voters Sept. 28-30.

Nelson also earned better favorable numbers than Scott, though both were underwater.

The incumbent pulled in 41 percent approval while 44 percent of voters disapproved of his performance. Just 39 percent approved of Gov. Scott’s performance, while 51 percent disapproved.

Majorities of voters also said they “trust Democrats and Bill Nelson more” on the issues of Medicare and health care generally.

According to polls aggregated by RealClearPolitics, Scott led or was tied in the vast majority of polls conducted from May until early September. Recently, however, Nelson has turned it around with leads in several consecutive surveys.

FiveThirtyEight still pegs it as a close race, though sees it “leaning” toward the Democrats.

Meanwhile, Scott is attempting to regain ground with a new ad appealing to Hispanics and Democrats released earlier Monday morning.

Ross Spano

Ross Spano holds slim lead over Kristen Carlson in new CD 15 poll

Republican state Rep. Ross Spano and Democratic attorney Kristen Carlson are in a tight race in Florida’s 15th Congressional District, according to a new poll from Bold Blue Campaigns.

The poll, conducted Sept. 22 through Sep. 27, found Spano ahead by 3 percentage points over Carlson, 49-46 percent, with 5 percent of voters saying they were undecided. Spano’s lead falls well within the poll’s margin of error and continues to show strong Democratic support in the heretofore safe Republican seat.

CD 15 covers parts of Hillsborough, Lake and Polk counties. It voted plus-10 for President Donald Trump two years ago while current U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross scored a 15-point victory over Democratic nominee Jim Lange. The seat is open this year due to Ross’ decision to not seek re-election.

Bold Blue Campaigns claims Spano is “underperforming” but is still the favored candidate to win the seat come November. However, the pollster found some positive news for Carlson as well.

“The 5 percent of undecided voters are primarily younger voters, independents and voters of color, meaning that the Democrat Carlson likely still has some room to grow, while Spano will have to rely on motivating the GOP base to turn out to fend off a potential wave result,” the polling memo said.

The new poll is one of the first public measures of the CD 15 contest since the Aug. 28 primary election, where both Spano and Carlson scored double-digit wins to secure the major-party nominations.

A mid-September poll conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and released by the Carlson campaign found her with a 1-point lead over Spano. Respondents favored a “generic Republican” over a “generic Democrat” by a margin of 42-36 percent, but when Carlson and Spano were named, they shift to 48-47 percent in her favor.

According to the new poll, Spano holds an edge when it comes to name ID, as he was viewed favorably by a 47-37 percent margin with 16 percent saying they didn’t know enough about him to have an opinion. Carlson was above water by a 43-38 percent margin with 20 percent answering “do not know.”

Another metric measured in the Republican-leaning seat were voters’ thoughts on President Donald Trump, who came in underwater 40-49 percent. Asked about the proposed border wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, 40 percent said they supported it while 45 percent were opposed.

Broken down by age, Carlson carries Millennials by a 37-point margin and Gen Xers by a touchdown, while Spano holds a 20-point lead among the 50- to 64-year-old demographic and a 13-point lead among those older than 65. By gender, Carlson leads women 57-39 percent while Spano leads men 63-31 percent.

Bold Blue Campaigns said Trump’s numbers, and the wall’s, sank below that level among Independents, Democrats and women, while registered Republicans and men buoyed the score.

The CD 15 race was also recently called out by prominent political forecasting website FiveThirtyEight, which gave Carlson a solid chance to flip the seat.

“It’s an R+13 district, but Republican incumbent Dennis Ross is retiring, and Democratic candidate Kristen Carlson has raised almost double the individual contributions that Republican Ross Spano has,” FiveThirtyEight analyst Nathaniel Rakish noted. “Carlson likewise has a 1 in 4 chance of winning.”

Other forecasters, including the Cook Report and Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, have also moved the seat out of the “safe Republican” column. Sabato’s “Crystal Ball” website rates CD 15 as a “leans Republican” while Cook has done the same.

When it comes to the top of the ticket, the CD 15 electorate prefers Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis over Democratic nominee Andrew Gillum by a single point, 42-41, while current Gov. Rick Scott leads incumbent Bill Nelson 44-42 percent in the U.S. Senate race.

Additionally, Republican nominee Ashley Moody held a 6-point lead over Democratic state Rep. Sean Shaw in the Attorney General race, while it was Democrat Nikki Fried who was on top in the Agriculture Commissioner showdown. He held a 47-43 percent lead over state Rep. Matt Caldwell.

The latter result shows a similar margin to a recently released poll from the Florida Chamber of Commerce, where Fried led Caldwell by 42-37 percent statewide. The same poll found Shaw up by a basket in the Attorney General race; sitting CFO Jimmy Patronis and former Democratic Sen. Jeremy Ring tied in the Chief Financial Officer race; and Gillum with a 6-point lead over DeSantis.

Bold Blue Campaigns’ public poll included responses from 500 likely voters living within the boundaries of CD 15 and was conducted via live phone interviews on both landlines and cellphones. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

Ricardo Rosselló endorses Bill Nelson in Florida’s U.S. Senate race

Declaring he wanted to stand with a friend of Puerto Rico who has supported the island and its people for a long time, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló came to Orlando Monday to endorse Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson for re-election over Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

Rosselló, whose endorsement is expected to carry significant weight in Central Florida’s burgeoning Puerto Rican community, also announced Monday that he is endorsing Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum in the Florida gubernatorial race.

The two endorsements ended some suspense and even offered mild surprise as Rosselló had worked closely with Scott — and Nelson — in recovery efforts for the past year after Florida came to help Puerto Rico both politically and practically after the island was devastated by Hurricane Maria.

It also sparked some anger and frustration from some Florida Republicans who had worked hard to make sure Florida, including Scott, addressed Puerto Rico as a sister in need, and now fear the island’s government could lose with the Republican-led Florida government. State Rep. Bob Cortes, Hispanic outreach liaison for Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis‘ campaign, called Rosselló’s endorsement “treacherous” considering all that Scott and Republicans had done.

On Monday Rosselló said it was a tough decision to endorse Nelson because he considered Scott to also be a friend of the island’s residents. but he said in the end he went with Nelson because of his longstanding relationship.

Rosselló and Nelson also spoke to the clear partisan divide on Capitol Hill regarding Puerto Rico, as the Republican tax cuts bill passed at the end 0f 2017 slapped the island with new tax liabilities, which Rosselló said made a desperate economy less competitive; and for the U.S. House’s passage of a disasters bill that had no money in it for Puerto Rico until the Senate, behind Nelson’s push, forced it into the final bill.

In response, Scott’s campaign put out a press release reminding that he also has received many Puerto Rican endorsements, including those of the island’s U.S. Rep. Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon, former Gov. Luis Fortuno, and current Lt. Gov. Luis Rivera Marin.

Rosselló also announced his endorsement of the re-election of Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park. He previously had endorsed Democratic U.S. Rep. Darren Soto. Murphy is running against Republican state Rep. Mike Miller of Winter  Park.

Former President Barack Obama endorses Andrew Gillum

Is there a bigger ‘get’? President Barack Obama announced Monday he’s supporting Andrew Gillum to become Florida’s first African-American Governor.

“Andrew is a proven fighter with the courage and determination to stand up for Florida families,” Obama said in a statement supporting the Tallahassee Mayor. “As Governor, Andrew will expand access to affordable health care, protect Floridians with pre-existing conditions, invest in education, protect the environment and build an economy that works for all.”

Obama, whose legacy is in part marked by the passage of the Affordable Care Act, commended Gillum’s stances on health care, saying, “Andrew believes that healthcare is a right, not a privilege, and he will make expanding Medicaid a priority on day one as governor.”

Responded Gillum: “As Governor, we’ll build on his legacy by making healthcare a right, not a privilege, investing in our children’s education, and protecting the environment for our future generation of Floridians.”

He also commended Gillum’s tenure as mayor of the state’s capital city.

The former President’s support was announced on Monday in his second wave of midterm election endorsements. Joining Gillum were running mate Chris King and U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, who also received on Monday the endorsement of Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló. Rosselló also is expected to endorse Gillum later on Monday.

Other down-ballot candidates also received nods from Obama. According to the former president’s press office, he’s weighed in on 260 midterm races this cycle.

“The Democratic Party has always made the biggest difference in the lives of the American people when we lead with conviction, principle, and bold, new ideas,” Obama said in a statement announcing the endorsements. “Our incredible array of candidates up and down the ticket, all across the country, make up a movement of citizens who are younger, more diverse, more female than ever before.”

He added that he was “eager to continue making the case for why they deserve our votes this November.”

Also included in the endorsement wave: Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy and Democratic congressional hopefuls Nancy Soderberg, Stephanie MurphyChris Hunter,  Lauren Baer and Debbie MucarselPowell.

Soderberg, who faces Republican Michael Waltz in the race for Florida’s 6th Congressional District, said she was “excited” to have Obama backing her Congressional campaign.

“I am deeply honored to have earned the support of President Obama who has been an extraordinary testament to what we can achieve when we work together to live out our American values,” she said. “President Obama continues to inspire millions in this country and around the world with his vision of and work to build a more inclusive society that enables all of us to reach our full potential.”

In races for state Senate seats, Obama announced endorsements for Sen. Annette Taddeo, along with Senate candidates Kayser Enneking, Janet Cruz, Bob Doyel, Lindsay Cross and David Perez.

In the House, incumbents Margaret Good, Nick Duran and Javier Fernandez received 44’s backing. So too did candidates Anna Eskamani, Fentrice Driskell and Emma Collum.

To Florida House Victory, a the state legislative arm of the Florida Democratic Party, those endorsements signal that the down-ballot races are getting national attention.

“President Barack Obama’s endorsement of Florida House Victory candidates goes to show that the success of Democrats in the state House is a crucial part of moving Florida forward,” said Marisol Samayoa, spokesperson for Florida House Victory. “As a former state legislator himself, President Obama recognizes the role that legislatures can play as the first line of defense against Republican attacks on health care, public education, and the environment.”
Show Buttons
Hide Buttons