Bob Buckhorn Archives - Page 6 of 30 - Florida Politics

Patrick Murphy says he’ll push for public option to be added to ACA if elected to the Senate

Patrick Murphy says if he is elected to the U.S. Senate in November, he’ll push to provide a public option to the Affordable Care Act.

“At least in rural areas, where you don’t have much competition,” the Jupiter representative and Senate Democratic hopeful said on while making a campaign stop on Monday morning in West Tampa. He said that would be an added option for people on the ACA, “and beyond that, to make sure that there is competition ultimately.”

Passed six years ago, the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) still divides the country and the Congress. Most Republicans continue to call for repealing the entire measure, though they rarely have provided a viable alternative. Democrats have stood by it for the most part, but even some of the law’s biggest supporters say it needs an overhaul.

Earlier this month, health care giant Aetna announced it had lost more than $400 million on Obamacare policies since the insurance exchanges were set up in 2014, and was going to pull out of most of them, including in Florida. That followed similar announcements made by United Healthcare and Humana.

Which means fewer choices for those on the ACA. Lack of competition means higher premiums and/or lower benefits. A public option would be a federal option open to anyone on the individual market, and Murphy said he’d push for it if elected in November. Hillary Clinton has made similar comments on the campaign trail.

“The key is like any issue — it’s acknowledging that there are some things that are working, and that some things that need to be fixed,” Murphy said. “No legislation that is passed — or rarely I should say — is perfect, and you have to evolve with the times to see what’s actually working. Unfortunately, in Washington you have a group of people that basically want to shut down the government … they say throw the whole thing and start over, without offering solutions to it.”

Murphy was in the Tampa Bay area for the third straight Monday leading into Tuesday’s primary election, where he’s facing Congressman Alan Grayson and retired Navy JAG officer Pam Keith for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. However, Murphy never talks about his fellow Democrats on the campaign trail, instead looking ahead to a November matchup against incumbent GOP Sen. Marco Rubio.

Murphy appeared shortly before 9 a.m. at the West Tampa Sandwich Shop, a traditional stop for Democrats running for office to make an appearance at (Barack Obama was there in September of 2012). He was joined by state Rep. Janet Cruz, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Tampa City Councilman Guido Maniscalco, and Hillsborough County Commission hopeful Pat Kemp, among others. Murphy spent time speaking to other “regular voters” who had assembled at the table, which gave him the opportunity to discuss his plans for immigration, health care and the economy. And diss Rubio.

“Climate change — I believe it’s happening, I believe it’s real, I believe we have to get off this addiction to fossil fuels; Sen. Marco Rubio denies it’s happening,” he said while speaking to reporters after spending more than half an hour sitting at a table and talking about some of the issues he’s running on.

“It’s like infrastructure. I believe we need to make the investments. He doesn’t believe in that. I want to pass comprehensive immigration reform. He does not want to do that. He wants to support Donald Trump, who wants to build a wall, and deport 11 million people the first day. Sen. Rubio has completely lost sight of his values and his morals, because he’s so worried about running for president again.”

“Patrick Murphy promised voters that Obamacare’s state exchanges would bring down costs and create more competition, but Floridians are finding that the exact opposite has happened,” said Rubio spokesman Michael Ahrens. “Obamacare has left them with fewer health care options and skyrocketing premiums they can’t afford, yet Patrick Murphy’s answer is to expand the program and make things worse for Florida’s families. Marco will keep fighting for a patient-centered alternative that improves choices for consumers, costs Floridians less, and helps everyone get the coverage they need.”

Following his West Tampa appearance, Murphy was scheduled to make campaign stops in Orlando and Miami. His campaign announced he will be spending election night in Palm Beach Gardens.

 

Jack Latvala says Michael Bay’s ’13 Hours’ one of two reasons he’s voting for Donald Trump

Nationally and in Florida, there are many, many Republican elected officials who seem to equivocate when asked whether or not they’ll support Donald Trump for president.

Jack Latvala is not one of those Republicans.

The always-irascible Pinellas County lawmaker made it clear Friday morning that while the Manhattan real estate developer is hardly his cup of tea, there are two reasons why he won’t be holding his nose when he pulls the lever for him this fall (or scribbles in a circle next to his name, to be more accurate).

One is the power the next president has to nominate what could be multiple selections to the U.S. Supreme Court — besides the already-open seat left bare as Senate Republicans have refused to give Merrick Garland a hearing.

The other is the visceral disdain Latvala says he feels toward Hillary Clinton, a feeling he says he’s had ever since watching “13 Hours,” the Michael Bay-directed dramatic portrayal account of what happened at the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, when Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed.

“I will tell you that it had a very profound impact on me,” the Clearwater Republican told an audience in South Tampa Friday morning.

“I do not believe that Donald Trump would leave four American employees of our country — officers of our country — in a situation like that, and never try to help them, and that’s the tie-breaker for me,” he said.

Along with the burgeoning issues with her private email server and perceptions of “pay-to-play” that those emails have shown regarding the Clinton Foundation, Clinton’s role as secretary of state during the Benghazi attack has been an issue that Republicans have attacked her on since she officially became a candidate for president last year. She testified for nearly 11 hours last October before a House committee examining the attack.

“I’ve always been a Republican, and even though I don’t agree with the choice that our party has made, I still think that he’s a whole lot better than the candidate on the other side,” Latvala said, adding that he thinks virtually any other one of the original group of 17 Republican who vied for the nomination a year ago would be leading Clinton decisively at this point of the campaign.

Latvala also questioned the conventional wisdom regarding the potential nominees for governor in Florida in 2018, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in particular, who appears to be the Republican to beat. Latvala said a party that favors Donald Trump would hardly be the same one to support someone who’s been serving in Tallahassee and Washington for almost two decades.

He mentioned Southwest Florida congressional candidate Frances Rooney, CFO Jeff Atwater and incoming Speaker of the House Richard Corcoran as the ones to watch. “Richard Corcoran is running for governor,” he said definitively.

He also scoffed at the conventional wisdom that has Tallahassee U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham in the driver’s seat for the Democrats, calling it “incredible” that because of her last name (she’s the scion of former Gov. and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham) she’s at the top of the charts.

He gave a shoutout to Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine as possible contenders.

Jack Latvala says his GOP colleagues have their ‘heads in the sand when it comes to transportation’

Incoming Florida Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jack Latvala said Friday a lack of mass transit in the Tampa Bay area has become a bigger problem than ever, and he blasted his fellow Republicans in Tallahassee for failing to lead on the issue.

“We’ve got a lot of folks in my party that just bury their head in the sand when it comes to transportation,” the always outspoken Clearwater Republican said, addressing dozens of people who gathered at 8 a.m. to hear him speak at the weekly “Cafe con Tampa” breakfast in Tampa’s Hyde Park.

Latvala said unless something changes soon, the lack of a capable transit system in the region will ultimately force the Tampa Bay Rays to leave the market.

“It’s not going to be a question of whether the Tampa Bay Rays are in St. Petersburg or in Tampa, it’ll be a question of whether they’re in Hartford (Connecticut), or Montreal. We WILL lose our baseball team,” he said with obvious disdain. “What a blow to the image of our area. All because of people who keep their head in the sand.”

Latvala said the lack of transit options was exposed nationally when the Republican National Convention was held in Tampa exactly four years ago. “Trust me, we will NEVER have another one because of the transportation embarrassments of the delegates getting back at to their hotel at three o’clock in the morning because of our lack of a transit and transportation system in the Tampa Bay area,” which happened on one notorious night of the 2012 RNC.

As has been widely reported, two transit referendums have gone down to defeat in the Tampa Bay area over the past six years. Resistance amongst the current Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners and elements on the left and right in Tampa ended any plans to put another type of sales tax on the ballot this fall. Several Democrats running for state office on the campaign trail this summer have talked about pushing for the Legislature allow large cities like Tampa and St. Petersburg to have the ability to place their own referendums on the ballot.

“I never had a problem allowing people to vote on whether they wanted to tax themselves,” Latvala said when asked about that proposal. “If people are tired of sitting still on the interstate and they want to do something, then why as government leaders should we tell them they don’t have the option of voting for that? Because we’ve got our head in the sand.”

He later added he didn’t think the measure had any chance of passing in the Legislature, though he did praise Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman for continuing to push that and other transit measures forward.

Four years ago, Latvala said it was time to examine consolidating HART and PSTA, the transit agencies in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, respectively. Two separate studies were taken on looking at a merger. The first showed a savings of $2.4 million, but a second KPMG study in 2014 showed those savings to be more modest at $330,000.

When anti-tax activist Tom Rask mentioned to Latvala that HART was opposed to the measure, Latvala simmered. “Of course both agencies are opposed to it, because people are going to lose their jobs!” He said both agencies had CEOs who made six-figure salaries, had lobbyists who came close to costing nearly $100,000, as well as various administrative staffs that could be reduced. “I cannot imagine you would not support something to reduce bureaucracy!,” he barked at Rask.

Rebecca Smith, a Republican running on Tuesday in the House District 60 race, challenged Latvala about his emphasis on mass transit, instead waxing rhapsodically on a future of autonomous vehicles. Latvala was unmoved, saying, it sounded like she was from the “Jeff Brandes school of mass transit” (the St. Petersburg Republican is an enthusiastic champion of such technology).

“You’re still talking about a vehicle on the road,” he countered. “The only difference is that they don’t have a driver.”

Latvala said he’s taken it relatively easy regarding contemplating state issues this summer, but now will begin digging in as he becomes Senate Appropriations Chair after the November elections. He said transit and the Rays’ fate will two of his biggest priorities moving forward.

Joe Henderson: Jackie Toledo would be better off talking kitchen counter issues than immigration

Jackie Toledo has made the repeal of some immigration reforms a centerpiece of her campaign against Rebecca Smith for the House District 60 seat in next week’s Republican primary.

In a recent mailer to voters, she vowed to seek the repeal of a Republican-passed law that grant in-state college tuition to what she called “illegal immigrants.” She also wants to repeal a measure that makes it possible for undocumented immigrants to obtain a law license.

It’s an interesting gambit for Toledo, who first made her political name by losing a close and controversial 2015 race for the Tampa City Council.

She likely faces a tough fight this time, too. Smith, who founded the A.D. Morgan Corp., has high-powered endorsements from Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Hillsborough Sheriff David Gee, and former Gov. Bob Martinez.

The winner of this primary faces Democrat David Singer in November.

The district they all want to represent covers a large part of south Tampa and extends to parts of Ruskin in southern Hillsborough County and, I believe, comes with a lot of misconceptions about its makeup.

The district includes Plant High School, generally considered one of the best and more upscale public high schools in the county. Less known, though, is that 22 percent of its students receive free or reduced lunches.

It is one of six schools in south Tampa where a volunteer group known as “End 68 Hours of Hunger” is working to provide meals for hungry families over the weekend, when schools are closed.

Also, south Tampa is notorious for bad flooding and traffic. While some of that is a city problem, Toledo has an extensive background in traffic engineering and management that could be useful in solving a long-term problem in the district.

Think people in south Tampa would welcome some help from Tallahassee with that?

Being a state representative is mostly about seeking solutions for the pressing needs of your district. A lot of it is what Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn calls “infrastructure work” and it can be tedious.

It also often flies below the headline-writers’ radar, but it’s vital and it is why voters send candidates to the Legislature. They know who is in there getting things done for them. That’s why an argument about everyday concerns like jobs and transportation might sell better to voters than more pointed fingers with a jag on immigration.

In her unsuccessful race for city hall, Toledo outspent opponent Guido Maniscalco by about 3-to-1 and ran an unusually negative campaign for a council seat. Despite wide criticism for her tactics, she lost by just 151 votes in a runoff after Maniscalco went door-to-door around his Seminole Heights neighborhood in the closing days.

The lesson is that while sweeping issues like immigration might grab headlines, voters tend to pick candidates who can get basics accomplished for them and their neighbors.

Mitch Perry Report for 8.24.16 — Pressure builds for Clinton Foundation to fade away

Last week it was The Boston Globe. On Tuesday, it was Michael Tomasky at the Daily Beast, and now it’s USA Today. All three media entities say it’s now time for Bill and Hillary Clinton to shut down the Clinton Foundation, as it has become a major liability to the former first lady as she seeks the presidency.

Earlier this week, Bill Clinton (finally) announced details to tighten the ethical safeguards of the foundation, to eliminate “legitimate concerns about potential conflicts of interest.”

But it appears too late for that.

“Ending foreign and corporate contributions is a good step, but allowing them to continue at least through the first week of November looks more like an influence-peddling fire sale (Give while you still can!) than a newfound commitment to clean government,” USA Today’s lead editorial reads today.

“But the only way to eliminate the odor surrounding the foundation is to wind it down and put it in mothballs, starting today, and transfer its important charitable work to another large American charity such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,” the editorial continues. “If Hillary Clinton doesn’t support these steps, she boosts Trump’s farcical presidential campaign and, if she’s elected, opens herself up to the same kind of pay-to-play charges that she was subject to as secretary of state.”

On Tuesday, The Associated Press reported more than half the people outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money — either personally or through companies or groups — to the Clinton Foundation. The AP says no clear quid pro quo ever happened while she was at State, which is important to note.

In other news …

Bob Buckhorn says loyalty and friendship are why he’s supporting Thomas Scott in the Hillsborough County District 6 Democratic primary next week.

Pat Frank is changing an ad that features some folks who say they’re not supporting her in her bid for re-election to the clerk of the courts race in Hillsborough County.

Alex Sink has chipped in $5,000 to Ben Diamond’s super PAC just before next week’s House District 68 primary versus Eric Lynn next week.

Amendment 4 supporters held a discussion on the University of South Florida-St. Pete campus yesterday extolling the virtues of Amendment 4 on next week’s primary ballot (the only measure statewide that independents can vote on).

Vern Buchanan is staying with the tried and true as he prepares to enter a general election contest. The Longboat Key Republican issued out a statement yesterday calling for Congress to back his bipartisan bill that would crack down on those who try to scam seniors.

Mitch Perry Report for 8.23.16 — Terry McAuliffe fulfills his promise

Donald Trump calls himself “the law and order candidate,” so one shouldn’t be surprised about his reaction to Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe‘s announcement yesterday that he had signed papers restoring the voting rights of nearly 13,000 ex-felons.

Tump accused McAuliffe of “getting thousands of violent felons to the voting booth in an effort to cancel out the votes of both law enforcement and crime victims.”

Nevermind the fact that Virginia was just one of less than a handful of states that does not automatically restore the voting rights to ex-felons. McAuliffe’s announcement was a fulfillment of a promise he made when addressing the Florida delegation of Democrats at the DNC last month in Philadelphia.

In April, the Virginia Governor issued a sweeping order restoring rights to all ex-offenders who are no longer incarcerated or on probation or parole. That move was nixed by the Virginia Supreme Court however, which ruled last month that he had overstepped his clemency powers, agreeing with state Republicans who challenged his order, arguing the governor can only restore voting rights on a case-by-case basis and not en masse. So McAuliffe told Florida Democrats  that’s exactly what would do, and the first batch of 13,000 were given those rights yesterday.

His move comes as a couple of Florida Republicans in the Cabinet (some who still have aspirations in politics) told the Miami Herald’s Mary Ellen Klas that they’re willing to revisit the Sunshine State’s hardcore rules on this subject. Yes, Florida is one of only 4 states (including Virginia)  that permanently strip felons of voting rights unless the governor lifts the prohibition.

“If someone does an analysis, we have been granting civil rights to those who were waiting who would have automatically had their rights restored (under the previous system) and it’s probably time for us to revisit,” CFO Jeff Atwater told the Herald.

“Having had some time and experience on the Clemency Board, I’ve come to believe that there are opportunities for improvement,” added Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

More than 10,000 men and women who have served their time remain on a waiting list to go before Putnam, Atwater, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Governor Rick Scott to have their cases reviewed individually, with the possibility of them granting them their voting rights. But hundreds of thousands have given up that hope.

In other news…

David Jolly has one of the best scores of anybody on the US Chamber of Commerce congressional scorecards. Yet the organization that spent more than $35 million in helping Republicans in 2014, hasn’t kicked out a dime for him this year.

It’s just not college students bummed at the absurdly high levels of debt they incur after graduating. The realtors want some legislative action as well, since it means that younger people have fewer dollars available to buy new homes.

Bob Buckhorn is being proactive in having his city prepared to deal with the Zika virus.

The Mayor also had some kind words to say of comedian/actress and now author Amy Schumer, after she offered some not so kind words about his city in her new memoir.

Tim Canova says Debbie Wasserman Schultz has too close of a relationship with Big Sugar interests.

Mitch Perry Report for 8.22.16 — Who’s down with TPP?

Good morning, y’all. Welcome to the last full week of campaigning before your Aug. 30 primary election in the Sunshine State.

Before we get into the news of the day, how was your weekend? I went and saw a couple of good, if somewhat overrated movies (“Come Hell or High Water,” “Don’t Think Twice”), and finished reading an underrated novel (Jay McInerney’s “Bright, Precious Days”).

I also voted, as the majority of Floridians will do, before next week’s primary election. Not much more to say about that, other than I now have to contact the supervisor of elections to return to being a Non-Party Affiliated voter.

One of the issues Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton agree on is they don’t like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the regional trade agreement between the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim nations.

Although a lot of progressives don’t trust Clinton’s conversion on the agreement and fear she’ll turn around and push for it if she’s elected in the fall, the fact of the matter is, the agreement may already be approved before either her or Trump is inaugurated in January.

As the New York Times Jackie Calmes reports, President Obama will be making a big push for Congress to pass the agreement during the lame duck session of Congress, probably in December.

John Kerry, Ash Carter, Michael Mullen, and former GOP Maine Senator and Defense Secretary William Cohen will also be making the rounds to campaign for the TPP.

Will it be enough? Obama will also have surrogates like Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn pushing that the deal will be good for the Tampa Bay and Florida economy.

But with opposition to trade deals being a major tangible issue that both the far-right and far-left can agree on, can POTUS get that last legislative and diplomatic achievement added to his ledger as he closes out his presidency?

In other news …

A poll published yesterday has Debbie Wasserman Schultz leading Tim Canova in Florida’s 23rd Congressional District by 10 percentage points.

After our story last week about the fact that it looked Eric Lynn and Ben Diamond wouldn’t be engaging in a one-on-one debate before the Aug. 30 primary, we offered up the weekly radio show I host as a possible venue — and the candidates have accepted.

HD 60 candidate Jackie Toledo has been talking tough on immigration, despite the actions of her spouse a few years ago.

Kevin Beckner reacted Friday to Mike Deeson‘s report about the Hillsborough PTC pulling their money out of the clerk of the court’s office.

The candidates in the Senate District 19 race met up at the Tampa Tiger Bay Club forum on Friday.

Tim Schock hasn’t said much about Jim Norman‘s “issues” in their Hillsborough County Commission District 6 Republican race — until now.

Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin was all over the Tampa Bay area this weekend making the rounds for her new book on the U.S.- Saudi Arabia relationship. You can read our interview with her here.

Joe Henderson: In Florida U.S. Senate race, it’s liar versus slacker

It won’t show up on the ballot this way, but the parameters of a likely November showdown between Marco Rubio and Patrick Murphy for a U.S. Senate seat are becoming clear.

Place your “X” for the liar or the slacker.

Rubio will try to win re-election by framing Murphy as a serial fibber who can’t be trusted.

Murphy will try for the upset by framing Rubio as someone who didn’t show up for work because he wasn’t interested in the job he was elected to do, and so he can’t be trusted.

First, there is the matter of the Aug. 30 primary where both candidates face challenges. They appear to have moved well past those skirmishes to the main event, though. The polls indicate that is a safe strategy at this late hour.

At a gathering Monday in Tampa, Murphy wasn’t drawing distinctions between himself and Alan Grayson, his primary opponent. As Mitch Perry of FloridaPolitics.com reported, it was all about Rubio — even though Murphy said, “We don’t take anything for granted.”

Oh yes, he does. Otherwise, he probably wouldn’t have followed that by saying, “Everyone I talk to, whether they’re Republican, Democrat or independent, tell me: Patrick, I want a senator who at least wants the job. Who at least wants to be there to solve our problems.”

In case anyone didn’t get that message, Murphy piled on and said of Rubio, “He’s in this because he wants to run for president again.”

It’s not a bad seed for Murphy to plant in voters’ minds. Rubio’s voting record in the Senate, along with his oft-voiced frustration about the job, is legit fodder for an opponent. As Murphy will repeatedly remind voters, Rubio at first said he wasn’t running for re-election but changed his mind a couple of months ago after Republicans begged him to get into the race.

Rubio’s camp quickly counter-punched Monday with a liar, liar, pants on fire missile.

“Patrick Murphy was caught lying about being a small-business owner himself, making him the last person to know what it takes to help Florida’s entrepreneurs succeed,” campaign spokesman Michael Ahrens told Perry.

Rubio spent part of Saturday in Brandon, a Republican stronghold. He needs to do more of that. Bob Buckhorn, Tampa’s Democratic Mayor, has pressed the attack that Rubio is an absentee representative of the people.

When Rubio was in the process of being routed in the state’s Republican presidential primary, Buckhorn made the point to me that, despite his taking several trips to Washington on Tampa’s behalf, Rubio never made time to meet with him. Buckhorn is a staunch supporter of Murphy.

So, who do you trust?

Put another way, who do you distrust least?

The liar?

The slacker?

It’s game on and now we know the plan.

Charlie Crist leading statewide survey of 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidates

With a presidential and U.S. Senate election to focus on, Florida Democrats don’t appear to be thinking too much about who might be their standard bearer for governor in 2018.

Other than pure name recognition, how else to explain that in a statewide survey of Democrats conducted by St. Pete Polls earlier this week, former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist by far leads any other Democrat, getting 38 percent support.

Crist is running in Florida’s 13th Congressional District’s against Republican David Jolly. He has made no indication he would then turn around and run for the seat he held from 2006-2010.

Finishing in second place in the survey is Congresswoman Gwen Graham, who gets 12 percent. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer is at 10 percent, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn gets 9 percent, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is at 3 percent, and state Sen. Jeremy Ring gets 0.9 percent. Another 7 percent prefer another candidates, and 19 percent were unsure.

Graham, Buckhorn and Levine all gave speeches at the Florida Delegation Breakfasts that were held daily in Philadelphia during the Democratic National Convention. Of the three, Buckhorn won the most plaudits for speech, while Graham was criticized by some for using a teleprompter. Levine’s address was considered extremely low-key.

Graham, the daughter of former Florida Gov. and Sen. Bob Graham, has been hailed as a potential star in the party after her election to Congress in 2014, but her district was severally altered in redistricting last year, prompting her to announce earlier this year she would not run for a second term. She has indicated she is strongly considering a statewide run in 2018.

Ring, who worked for Yahoo! before getting elected to the Legislature, has also talked up a possible 2018 candidacy, as has Levine.

Dyer and Buckhorn have been more circumspect about a possible run.

Although Crist has denied any interest in running for higher office, there are still those throughout the state who say it is impossible to discount the possibility that he might pursue a third run for the office. After serving one term as governor, Crist left the office to run for U.S. Senate in 2010, where he lost while running as an independent.

In 2014 he became the Democratic nominee for Governor before narrowly losing to Rick Scott. He announced his candidacy for Congress  last fall.

The poll robocalled 1,807 likely Democratic primary voters Aug. 2. It has a 2.3 percent margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level.

Some candidates have questioned St. Pete Polls surveys in the past, because they do not include cell phones in their polls. The survey did poll only Democrats who voted in the 2012 and 2014 primary elections.

Mitch Perry Report for 8.3.16 — How many GOP candidates still ‘not there yet’ on Trump?

New York Rep. Richard Hanna yesterday became the first Republican in Congress to say that not only could he not support Donald Trump for president (he said that months ago), but he now says he’ll be voting for Hillary Clinton in the fall.

“While I disagree with her on many issues, I will vote for Mrs. Clinton,” Hanna wrote in an op-ed. I will be hopeful and resolute in my belief that being a good American who loves his country is far more important than parties or winning and losing. I trust she can lead. All Republicans may not like the direction, but they can live to win or lose another day with a real candidate.”

President Obama attempted to persuade more Republicans to dump Trump (which will probably have an opposing effect, knowing how much they’re going to rely on his advice) yesterday. “There has to be a point,” the president said, “at which you say, ‘This is not somebody I can support for president of the United States, even if he purports to be a member of my party.’”

The question now is: how many Republicans will follow?

The answer isn’t clear this morning. Yes, Meg Whitman, something of a GOP powerbroker, is also for now for Hillary, but what about other lawmakers or candidates?

Not much happening there, except for the proverbial, “I’m not there yet,” which was Paul Ryan‘s statement to Jake Tapper months ago, before he got there, as it were, and backed his party’s standard bearer.

Our own David Jolly in Pinellas County also has adopted the “not there yet,” phrase when asked if he could back Trump in November.

In a somewhat rich bit of irony, Trump told The Washington Post that he’s “not there yet” when it comes to supporting House Speaker Paul Ryan in his bid for re-election. “I like Paul, but these are horrible times for our country,” the Manhattan business mogul told the Post’s Philip Bump. “We need very strong leadership. We need very, very strong leadership. And I’m just not quite there yet. I’m not quite there yet.”

Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens, as conservative a voice as there is in popular commentary, wrote Tuesday that Clinton is pretty bad, but she is not “the apotheosis of evil,” and “not a sociopath.”

Would it matter if polling showed that it would be beneficial for Republicans down the ballot would prosper more if they disavowed Trump? Because surely that could move hearts and minds.

It’s early August, so there’s plenty of time for Trump to pour gas on the fire in terms of his candidacy, which is never, ever about policy (why not attack an economy which had only 1 percent growth last quarter), but is aways about lashing out at perceived injustices uttered at the nominee.

In other news…

With his strong support for the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership, Bob Buckhorn (and the Mrs.) got himself on the guest list for last night’s state dinner at the White House with the prime minister of Singapore, one of the 12 nations on the pact.

Hillsborough County is now offering a diversion program for teenagers busted for possessing weed.

Well, that proposed meeting on new rules and regulations for ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft didn’t go very far yesterday in Hillsborough County.

Unlike that other constitutional amendment on solar power that Floridians will vote on in November, everybody loves the solar amendment measure known as Amendment Four this August, right? No, not exactly.

The Florida Democratic Party is taking sides in some competitive primaries this month. One candidate who isn’t being favored by the FDP says she’ll rely on grassroots power to win her contest.

C.J. Czaia is making some strong claims regarding the transparency of the endorsements that have gone to Wengay Newton and not himself in the HD 70 race. Not everyone agrees with him.

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