Bob Buckhorn Archives - Page 6 of 32 - Florida Politics

Joe Henderson: Buckle up, Hillsborough, you’re the big political prize

Earlier this week, NBC political chief Chuck Todd was chatting with Republican strategist Jeff Roe, picking out three places around the country where election geeks should focus special attention. Hillsborough County topped the list.

Are we surprised?

Todd noted that Roe considered it “the bellwether county in the country” and added, “you could make that argument.”

As if we needed any reinforcement why both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have made campaign stops this week in Tampa, there’s your answer. As Hillsborough goes, so goes the presidential election, and the county is tough to label.

It was the only Florida county to vote twice for Republican George W. Bush, then twice for Barack Obama. Beth Reinhard, national political writer for The Wall Street Journal, called Hillsborough “molten core of the political universe.”

On the same show where Hillsborough was knighted, Steve Schale, the self-styled “old grizzled veteran of Florida politics,” came up with this factoid: The last Republican presidential candidate to win the county but lose the state was Calvin Coolidge in 1924.

All I know is, as someone who is registered “no party affiliation” I am red meat right now for pollsters and attempts to coerce me into thinking a certain way about a candidate. My home phone has rung about a dozen times today with various political pitches (yes, I still have a landline; don’t judge me). It’s not even suppertime yet.

[Psst, save your breath folks; I already mailed my ballot. Go bug somebody else.]

What we can say from watching the Trump and Clinton rallies is that both candidates enjoy strong support in our bellwether county, which would further explain the high-pressure sales job by both candidates to get out and vote.

Trump had a wildly energetic crowd of 15,000 Monday at the MidFlorida Amphitheatre. About a thousand more people were turned away because there was no room.

He hit the usual themes: Hillary is terrible, the media is terrible, get out and vote, and Hillary is terrible.

Likewise, Clinton drew a large and excited gathering as well Wednesday afternoon at Tampa’s downtown Curtis Hixon Park. After the crowd serenaded her by singing “Happy Birthday” — she turned 69 Wednesday — she, too, hit the usual themes: Trump is terrible, get out and vote, and by the way, Trump is terrible.

There was a bit of news. At one point, Clinton turned to Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and said, “That rail system you want Bob, we’re going to get it.”

She said her staff was prepared to take people to early voting sites after the rally if need be, and that’s what the theme will be between now and Nov. 8. These rallies are more about passionate pleas to people who already have decided how they’re going to vote to actually cast that ballot.

There are nearly 845,000 registered voters in Hillsborough and about 165,000 already have voted. It’s likely that a high percentage of those who haven’t yet voted have made up their mind. And with Roe’s polling showing a 46-44 percent lead for Clinton in Hillsborough, turnout is everything.

So, buckle that chin strap, Hillsborough voter. You are prized like no other place in the country. If you didn’t already know that, I’m sure someone will be glad to explain to you over the phone.

Hillary Clinton warns a Tampa crowd that Donald Trump “can still win”

Hillary Clinton celebrated her 69th birthday by giving a speech in downtown Tampa on Wednesday afternoon, just as the polls are getting tighter between herself and Donald Trump.

Trump must win Florida to have any shot at getting the 270 electoral votes necessary to win the presidency, but Clinton is also pushing hard to win in Florida, with three official campaign stops in the Sunshine State over the past two days.

“Now, Donald Trump says he can still win, and he’s right, that’s why it’s important that everyone gets out and votes,” Clinton told the crowd of a couple of thousand people who had waited hours under a warm sun to see her in Curtis Hixon Park.

Trump fans were energized with the release of a new Bloomberg Politics poll on Wednesday, which shows the Republican nominee up by two percentage points over Clinton, the first poll of Florida in a long time showing him in the lead.

The thought of a Trump presidency terrified some in the audience.

“The alternative would be quite scary, and it absolutely blows my mind that he would have that much support and that it could even be close,” said Lutz resident Susan Glickman.

Glickman’s husband, David, called the Trump candidacy a legacy of former talk-show host Jerry Springer, who he said made it acceptable for people to be angry to show how they want to solve things.

“Trump has capitalized on that anger for the sake of anger,” he said. “I think there are a lot of issues that are legitimate, but the way that he has brought it forth is anger without any substance behind it.”

Clinton took turns in her 23-minute speech laying out a positive vision if she were elected president, while also bashing Trump on a variety of topics.

“Let me tell you, if I ever need a pickup, I’m coming back to Tampa,” she said, after a group of fans began chanting “Hillary, Hillary” about five minutes into her speech.

Job one of her address was to remind voters that early voting has begun and that they need to get to the polls.

In addition to mentioning politicians who were in the crowd such as Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Senator Bill Nelson, she made sure to name-check other Democrats down the ballot, such as CD 13 candidate Charlie Crist, and local House candidates David Singer and Rena Frazier. She also gave some love to U.S. Senate hopeful Patrick Murphy, as he attempts to close the gap against Marco Rubio.

“He’s an independent voice and a problem solver,” she said of Murphy, mentioning his support for Planned Parenthood and comprehensive immigration reform, while adding, “he’s even brought Democrats and Republicans together to try to protect our environment and fund Everglades restoration.”

Clinton repeated much of her basic stump speech, joking that there should be no questions about her stamina after surviving four-and-a-half hours of debating Trump over the past month.

“We have seen Donald Trump insult nearly every person in America,” she said exaggerating greatly. “I just find that so intolerable, because look at Tampa, it’s a cosmopolitan city. Florida is paving the way for what our country will look like it, and we need to be lifting each other, listening to each other, respecting each other, not sowing seeds of hatred and bigotry.”

Although some of Clinton’s proposed policies, such as making colleges and public universities tuition free (for those whose parents make less than $125,000 annually) are progressive, she talked often of bringing Republicans and independents into her big tent vision for the future, and invoked GOP patron saint Ronald Reagan when going on a riff about how Trump has been “bashing” America for decades.

“Back in 1987, he took out a $100,000 ad in the New York Times criticizing President Reagan! He said our leaders were the laughingstock of the world,” she exclaimed with indignation. “So this is a guy who criticizes everybody but himself!”

There was a good proportion of females in the audience. 19-year-old University of Tampa student Eugenia Davies said that while some of her friends supported Hillary, some others are backing Trump. “They like him because of his views on immigration,” she said.”I agree with that, we do have a problem in the country with that, but his solutions are not the real solutions. I believe Hillary will take care of that. You’re going to have your issues, but how you deal with that is what matters.”

“Trump had a chance, but he dug his own grave,” said Tampa resident Marina Kauffman, who added that if Clinton were a man, “this would be a slam dunk.”

Star power was provided in the manner of actress Angela Bassett giving an enthusiast speech leading up to Clinton’s appearance. “Now here me Tampa Bay, and hear me well: This election is just a little too close to be comfortable, to sit back on the sidelines,” she warned.

This was Clinton’s forth appearance in Tampa during this election cycle (previous visits were at the Florida State Fairgrounds, USF, and Ybor City), and her fifth in the Tampa Bay area (she also appeared at the Coliseum in St. Petersburg).

With 13 days left before the election, it’s uncertain whether she will appear again, but very well could in this extremely fluid final countdown to Election Day.

Mitch Perry Report for 10.25.16 — DCCC ad linking Trump to Jolly goes away, but has the damage been done?

Attention political junkies: not every voter pays attention to politics until right before the election, which is why that ad by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee “dramatizing” David Jolly standing with Donald Trump was so egregious.

The ad — one of the most controversial of any produced this season in American politics — was immediately denounced by the Jolly campaign, who protested to local television stations to stop airing it. They did not. Nor did his Democratic opponent, Charlie Crist, say anything negative when called to denounce it at the time.

But beware the power of the Tampa Bay Times editorial page. On Monday morning, the Times took shots at that ad, and called for Crist to demand his new political party take those dishonest ads off the air. They also criticized other negative ads being aired against Hillsborough County State Attorney Mark Ober and state Senate District 18 Democratic candidate Bob Buesing.

After reading the editorial, Crist did as the Times demanded and called on the DCCC to drop the ad. In his own words, Crist said he was “moved” by the Times editorial, and expressed contrition that he hadn’t asked the DCCC to take it down earlier.

But the damage has been done, and Jolly wasn’t “moved” by Charlie’s about-face.

“I’ll be blunt: Charlie is a liar, always has been,” Jolly said. “Charlie’s opportunity to be moved was two weeks ago when he was confronted at Eckerd College about the ad and he claimed the First Amendment.”

The question that maybe we’ll never know is: how many voters on the fence in the 13th Congressional District were undecided about this congressional race, but are turned off by Trump and thus were persuaded not to scribble in the circle next to Jolly’s name on the ballot in Pinellas County?

The fact is, we can’t allow any candidate or third-party group in the future to allow for such “dramatizations.” They’re outright lies, and there’s already enough of that on an everyday basis in our politics, and in our campaign ads. Faking pictures is going to a new low, and while it may not be illegal, it shouldn’t be allowed.

In other news …

Donald Trump returned to Tampa last night. We hung out with some of his supporters before he came on the stage.

Hillary Clinton returns to Tampa for her fourth time this year on Wednesday.

Marco Rubio began his Monday in Sun City Center, where he added “liberal” to the other epithets he’s been throwing at Democratic Senate opponent Patrick Murphy.

The Hillsborough County Republican Party recently gave a $1,000 contribution to the lone Republican in the Tampa City Council District 7 race, Jim Davison. However, according to the City of Tampa’s charter regarding nonpartisan races, that’s a no-no.

HART has received $1 million to study a driverless bus in the county.

And what happens if Hillary Clinton wins in November, and Barack Obama passes the TPP in December? Chaos in the Democratic Party? Local guy Frank Sanchez agrees with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn on supporting the TPP, for what that’s worth.

Buddy Dyer, Phillip Levine, Bob Buckhorn, others on Mayors for Hillary bus tour

What a party bus this will be. A Democratic Party bus, filled with mayors from Florida including Orlando’s Buddy Dyer, Miami Beach’s Phillip Levine, Tampa’s Bob Buckhorn, and St. Petersburg’s Rick Kriseman, has begun a cross-state tour to campaign for Hillary Clinton.

Hillary for America announced Thursday that those four and 19 other mayors and former mayors — some from out-of-state cities like Detroit, Philadelphia and Dallas — are participating in the tour with at least four stops to promote Clinton’s economic plan and urge people to vote early.

The activity actually began Wednesday night with a kick-off debate watch party in Miami, and will roll Friday to Orlando and Gainesville, and Saturday to Tallahassee, with other stops yet to be scheduled or announced.

In addition to Levine — widely discussed as a 2018 gubernatorial candidate — Dyer, Buckhorn and Kriseman, the Florida mayors include Wayne Messam of Miramar, Oliver Gilbert of Miami Gardens, Lauren Poe of Gainesville; Andrew Gillum of Tallahassee, Thomas Masters of Riviera Beach, and former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown.

From out of state, Florida will meet William Bell of Birmingham, Alabama, Jacqueline Goodall of Forest Heights, Maryland, Sly James of Kansas City, Lovely Warren of Rochester New York, Malcolm Clark of Mt. Vernon, New York, Steve Benjamin of Columbia, South Carolina, Bill Bell of Durham, North Carolina, and former mayors Michael Nutter of Philadelphia, Mark Mallory of Cincinnati, Mike Coleman of Columbus, Ohio, Wellington Webb of Denver, Dennis Archer of Detroit, and Ron Kirk of Dallas.

Dana Young calls for FDLE investigation into Hillsborough County PTC

In the aftermath of published reports about questionable decisions made by Hillsborough County Public Transportation Executive Director Kyle Cockream over the past year, Tampa state Rep. Dana Young is calling for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) to conduct an investigation into the agency.

“When the line is blurred between the regulator and the entities they regulate, the public cannot rely on impartiality in the government,” wrote Young in her letter to the FDLE. “The disturbing revelations of the relationship between the PTC, Mr. Cockream, and members of the taxi industry in Hillsborough County merit a full review to determine if ethical or legal boundaries have been violated.”

Among the revelations that came to light last week through a release of a large number of emails, was that Cockream coordinated with local taxicab and limousine firms to fine rideshare drivers. Members of those companies acted as would-be passengers and lured Uber and Lyft drivers to pick them up before PTC agents cited them. Officially, Uber and Lyft drivers have been operating out of compliance with the PTC since they began operating in the spring of 2014.

Cockream also traveled twice to appear before the Palm Beach County Commission in the past year when that government body discussed ridesharing. He appeared at the same time in both meetings with representatives from the taxicab and limousine industry. The PTC’s mission is to regulate taxicab, limousine, and now ridesharing operations in an even, fair fashion.

“The PTC has a sordid history marred by scandals of former board members and conflicts of interest with previous senior agency personnel,” Young said in her letter. “The history of recurrent and pervasive improprieties by the PTC has resulted in multiple attempts by the Florida Legislature to repeal the regulatory body.”

The PTC was marred by a tawdry reputation for years long before Uber and Lyft ever came to Tampa. A former PTC board chairman — Kevin White — spent time in federal prison after being convicted in 2011 of accepting at least $6,000 in bribes from an undercover FBI agent posing as a businessman seeking to curry favor with him in his official role. Incidents like that led some local leaders like Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn to call for the agency to be dissolved. Those calls have been echoed by Tampa Bay area state legislators like Jeff Brandes and Jamie Grant in recent years, who have proposed bills to do that, though such efforts have come up short.

Young, a South Tampa Republican, is now running for the state Senate 18 district race against Democrat Bob Buesing and independent candidates Joe Redner and Sheldon Upthegrove.

Through a spokesman, Cockream is offering no comment.

Mitch Perry Report for 10.13.15 — Hillsborough Dems in denial about the Joe Redner factor in SD 18 race?

A St. Pete Polls survey released this morning shows Republican Dana Young with a six-point lead over her Democratic challenger, Bob Buesing, 38 percent to 32 percent. Independent candidate Joe Redner is in third place with 16 percent. Sheldon Upthegrove is at 3 percent, and 11 percent are undecided.

A survey taken earlier this summer showed Young and Buesing essentially tied, but that poll did not ask voters about Redner.

Although Redner has run many times for office, he’s actually putting some of his considerable financial resources into this campaign and, with his already well-established name recognition in Hillsborough County, is a definite factor in this race.

The adult club impresario and social activist dismisses any notion of dropping out of the contest to make way for Buesing, who he’s certainly in much more in agreement with on the issues than Young. Redner says he’s the best candidate in the race, so why should he get out?

As mentioned above, he’s also much better known than Buesing at this point. When asked earlier in the campaign about his relatively low name recognition considering he’s never previously run for office, Buesing countered that internal polling showed Young actually wasn’t that well known in Senate District 18 either. But Redner could very well be better known than either candidate. That doesn’t mean he’s going to win (this poll shows he’s not), but it does mean he’s having a serious effect on the ultimate outcome.

Democrats — including Buesing himself — say they’re not concerned Redner will take votes that might otherwise have gone to the Democratic nominee, insisting “Donald Trump Republicans” will back him. The polling shows Redner does garner GOP support. Just not as much as he does from Democrats.

The survey finds Redner gets 19 percent support from Democrats, 14 percent from independents and 14 percent from Republicans.

Young is getting more support from her Republican base than Buesing is from his Democratic base. The survey shows 58 percent of Republicans are backing Young, while 49 percent of Democrats are backing Buesing.

It certainly is relevant to note that St. Pete Polls does not poll cellphone users. However, before you write this survey off as out of touch with contemporary voters, you should note that it polled fairly accurately in several of the August primary elections.

In other news …

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is calling on Republicans to drop their support for Donald Trump and get on the Hillary Clinton campaign. 

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is using doctored photos to suggest David Jolly and Donald Trump are allies in a new ad, the Jolly campaign said Wednesday, and they wrote to local television stations, asking them to stop airing the ad.

Patrick Murphy says he’s now ready to debate Marco Rubio on Univision affiliates later this month.

A new report says Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties are two of the most eager state attorney’s offices in the nation in having their prosecutors ask for the death penalty.

HD 63 Democratic candidate Lisa Montelione is so busy helping constituents, she didn’t have time to appear in her first TV ad of the election cycle.

Bob Buckhorn: Florida Republicans, ‘put your country first’ and vote for Hillary Clinton

Bob Buckhorn has a simple question for the four members of the Florida Cabinet regarding Donald Trump.

“Where ya hidin’?” the Tampa mayor asked Wednesday at a news conference held outside City Hall. He was referring to how some of Florida’s leading Republicans have cut a very low profile when it comes to discussing Trump in the aftermath of the lewd sexual comments the Manhattan real estate magnate made in a 2005 video leaked to The Washington Post last Friday.

“You’ve got to make a fundamental choice: Pam Bondi, Adam Putnam, Jeff Atwater, Gov. Scott — do you stand with Donald Trump or not?” the mayor asked provocatively. “If you don’t, then you need to stand up and say so. But if Donald Trump’s politics represent what you think is what the Republican Party stands for, then I’m sorry, that is not the Republican Party that this country has known. That is not the candidate deserves to be president of the United States.”

Buckhorn of course, is hardly an objective observer. Hizzoner is all in with Hillary Clinton in this campaign, to the extent that some have speculated he may be offered a job in her administration if she’s elected next month. Historically he hasn’t been a huge partisan in his time in office, which contributed to his winning more than 95 percent of his re-election vote in 2015. In fact, more than a few Democrats were unhappy the mayor pledged his neutrality when Scott was running for re-election against Charlie Crist in the 2014 gubernatorial election.

That was then, however.

The mayor is the father of two young daughters, and he said that it was a “painful moment” in his life to have to discuss the contents of Trump’s comments that went national last week. It should be noted Republicans made similar comments back in 1998, when the report by special prosecutor Ken Starr on Bill Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky was laid bare for the world to observe.

“Last week was the most embarrassing, shameful episode that I have ever seen in 25 years of doing politics,” Buckhorn said of the Trump tape. “It showed me in no uncertain terms that Donald Trump is absolutely temperamentally unfit to be the president of the United States, and I have no problem standing up here and saying that.”

He also called on “all of our Republicans friends” to realize it’s time to hop off the Trump train: “It is time to abandon ship. It’s time to put your country first, and put your party second, and come over and do the right thing for America in voting for Hillary Clinton.”

Hillsborough County Republican Executive Committee Chair Deborah Tamargo was not impressed by Buckhorn’s comments.

“I didn’t think that the mayor was elected to be God and a moral judge. I thought he was elected to carry out the law,” she said, adding, “I don’t remember him running on a moral platform, and I don’t believe he’s a pastor, priest or rabbi. And I don’t think he’s in a position to make moral judgements. I think that’s a personal thing.”

Like many Republicans, Tamargo says she believes Clinton broke the law when she was found to have used a private email server when she served as secretary of state and sent out classified material. In July, FBI Director James Comey announced that despite evidence Clinton was “extremely careless” in her handling of classified emails on a private server, the bureau would not recommend to the Department of Justice that criminal charges be brought her.

“I’m really perplexed that he would be trying to extort people into not exercising their free will in voting and endorsing and supporting, and I’m rather shocked he would be supporting someone who has broken the law,” Tamargo said of Buckhorn’s comments.

The press conference, called by the Florida Democratic Party, was held to mark the decision earlier Wednesday by federal judge Mark E. Walker of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida to extend voting registration in the state until Oct. 18 because of the impact of Hurricane Matthew.

“There is no more fundamental right than the right to vote,” said House District 61 Democrat Ed Narain, who joined Buckhorn at the press conference. “While people are trying to make this out into being a political issue, it’s far from political. It’s a fundamental constitutionally protected right that all citizens have the right to vote.”

The decision is considered a victory for the Florida Democratic Party. Last week, Gov. Scott told reporters he didn’t “intend to make changes,” saying “people have had time to register.”

Mitch Perry Report for 10.12.16 — Is there still no crying in baseball?

It’s painful today for me, folks.

I stayed up past midnight this morning to see the Chicago Cubs come from behind with four runs in the top of the ninth inning to defeat the San Francisco Giants, 6-5, and advance to the National League Championship Series this weekend, where they’ll play either Washington D.C. or Los Angeles.

When I was a kid in the 1970s, baseball was my favorite sport, just like it was America’s. But over the course of the past four decades, the game has been superseded by football, and for my tastes, also by basketball.

Spring training is a great diversion because it’s in wonderful weather, where people can kick back with a beer and a dog and chat with friends. But nobody cares who wins the darn game. The MLB regular season is interminably long and, frankly, pretty tedious.

But the post-season? There’s nothing quite like it.

You know the story about the Joe Maddon-led Cubs, who haven’t won a World Series since 1908, and haven’t been in one since 1945. They have been by far the sport’s greatest team through all of 2016, and the big story going into October was — how can they NOT win it all?

Well, there was some serious gnashing of teeth late last night, as it appeared the Giants were going to take the best-of-five series back to Wrigley Field on Thursday night for a climactic fifth game. Fans everywhere (but especially in Cubs World) were beginning to fret: will “The Curse” continue?

Maybe it would have, if the Giants had at least a competent, high-school level quality of relief pitching. But they don’t. And after (former Tampa Bay Ray) Mike Moore’s brilliant performance after eight innings and 120 pitches, it was time to bring in the relief staff. Yet no one on that staff could get anybody out, and the Cubs had their miracle win, topped off by bringing in badass reliever Aroldis Chapman to strike out the side in the bottom of the ninth.

So, congrats to Maddon, Ben Zobrist, and the city of Chicago. I predicted a month ago the L.A. Dodgers would upset the Cubs in the playoffs, and that scenario could still happen, though it likely won’t.

After the Barry Bonds-led Giants blew a 3-2 lead against the California Angels and lost the 2002 World Series, I thought I’d never live long enough to see them win one in my lifetime. They then peeled off three championships in the past six years, which means I’ll still die a happy man when it comes to my baseball interests. Will Cub fans of a certain age get to same the same thing later this month?

In other news…

Bill Clinton came to Safety Harbor last night. Our report.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn loves Hillary Clinton and is doing all he can to get her elected, but he says she’s dead wrong in opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal.

Hillsborough County GOP Chair Deb Tamargo spoke to RealClear Politics Tom Bevan yesterday as well, and said that the folks calling her office are pro-Donald Trump, and against Paul Ryan.

Less than four weeks before Election Day, top Republicans in the state are being awfully shy in expressing their opinions on Amendment Two, the medical marijuana initiative.

The Republican Party of Florida is very intent on keeping the House District 60 seat in Hillsborough County in GOP hands, as they’re spending major money on Jackie Toledo’s campaign.

Bob Buckhorn says Hillary Clinton is wrong in opposing the TPP

Bob Buckhorn is very keen on getting Hillary Clinton elected. He traveled to New Hampshire this past winter to campaign for her, and has been front-and-center at the three campaign events she’s held in Tampa during this election cycle. Yet when it comes to the Trans Pacific Partnership, Buckhorn says both Clinton and Donald Trump are dead wrong in opposing the controversial free trade pact.

“I think they’re both wrong,” the Tampa Mayor told RealClearPolitics’ Tom Bevan in a lunchtime discussion held at the Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk Hotel Tuesday. The event was the second of four different “Powering the Debate” events held by RealClearPolitics, the political news and polling data aggregating website.

“It is sad to see the demonization of trade,” Buckhorn continued. The TPP is a trade pact that aims to deepen economic ties between 12 nations (the U.S., Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Chile, and Peru) by slashing tariffs and fostering trade to boost growth. Some of the strongest criticism against the pact is that it was conceived in secret, where governments were said to be seeking to bring in sweeping changes without voters’ knowledge. There is also residual anger at previous trade deals, like the 1993 NAFTA deal between the U.S., Mexico and Canada which Trump has called “a disaster.”

The deal is opposed by both forces on the political left and right, but Buckhorn is a strong advocate, saying it would eliminate 18,000 different tariffs and barriers, largely in the Far East where the U.S. has not previously engaged. “If we are not there setting the framework for labor agreements and for protection of intellectual properties, then China will step in and do it, and I can promise you that what they will deal with is not going to be nearly as good for the 11 countries in the TPP.”

Clinton used to support the TPP, but changed her position during the Democratic primaries as it became a potent issue for Bernie Sanders. Trump has been against the pact since he hit the campaign trail over a year ago. The anti-trade sentiment isn’t necessarily new, as Pat Buchanan ran on a similar platform for president in 1992 and 1996 with limited success. Buckhorn spoke disparagingly of the U.S. now being “sucked into the morass” of thinking that trade is somehow wrong.

“We’re in a global economy,” he said. “I’m not just trading with Alabama, I’m trading with the world, and we need those barriers reduced and those tariffs reduced so that American goods can be more effective. So I think they’re both wrong.”

The TPP may be voted on during the lame duck session of Congress in December.

Earlier in the discussion, Buckhorn described the mood of present day America as being uncertain and fearful, and he said that he understood the frustration of the American people, particularly when it comes to the lack of cooperation in Washington. “I think it’s the perfect storm of anger, which I think lends itself to some of the venom we see in this country,” he quipped.

RCP’s Bevan then challenged him about the angst and anxiety that working class people feel about the economy, and the anti-trade sentiment that has grown in the Republican Party. “What would you say to those people who are feeling that economic anxiety?” he asked. “To look at trade and say, ‘you know what? I don’t like the fact that we ship a bunch of jobs to Mexico or overseas. Trade hasn’t been good for me.”

Buckhorn conceded that “those were legitimate concerns,” but said it hasn’t been trade agreements that have led to major job losses in the country, but technology.

“Technology has forced industries to compete,” he said. “It is eliminating some jobs…but it’s not the trade agreement that’s causing that, it’s the ever increasing, ever encroaching disruptive types of technology that is changing the way we do business.”

The two men also spoke about terrorism, police interactions with the black community and the efficacy of the Affordable Care Act.

Inevitably, Bevan also asked Buckhorn if he still harbored thoughts about running for governor in 2018. The mayor has previously said that he would assess that possibility after the 2016 election.

“I’m looking at,” he said. “I think the Tampa story, the renaissance of this great American city, is a pretty good story to tell. I also think that Floridians are ready for another style of leadership,” he continued.

“I think that there is a path there, because I think Floridians are tired of blatant partisanship and are looking for folks who are willing to work and … get this job done.”

Buckhorn concluded it would be a “massive disruption” to his family, “but I do think 2018 does represent a pivotal election to this state, and if I can lend my voice to that progress, then I’ll take a look at it.”

What to make of House candidate Jackie Toledo?

jackie toledo 1Jackie Toledo, the oft-controversial Republican running for Florida House District 60, has a major fundraiser planned for Tuesday.

And while the invitation for the event is studded with dozens of local Republican heavyweights, I’m still not sure what to make of Toledo.

Is she, as I want to believe, the latest in a line of Hillsborough Republican female pols who were initially underestimated by their critics and the media (think Sandy Murman during her stint in the Florida House)?

Or is Toledo, as La Gaceta’s Patrick Manteiga will tell you, a Tampa Bay version of Michele Bachmann (I guess that would make Toledo the second coming of Ronda Storms)?

Toledo had a rocky entry into electoral politics, making a series of errors (forced and unforced) during her 2015 bid for the Tampa City Council.

During that campaign, the Tampa Bay Times reported her campaign was using an image photography experts said consisted of her photo superimposed on Mayor Bob Buckhorn‘s official portrait and that she used video shot without permission on a Florida Department of Transportation construction site in a campaign commercial.

Those miscues barely rose to the level of a misdemeanor, but when a political action committee that attacked her opponents appeared to have connections to her campaign consultant, Anthony Pedicini, the first-time candidate would not be given a second chance to make a first impression.

“The ugliness wasn’t just in the mail,” wrote Manteiga in March 2015. “The campaign was rotten in every aspect … You name it; it happened in this race.”

When Toledo announced she was running for House District 60, most of the state and local Republican establishment lined up behind her primary opponent, Rebecca Smith.

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam announced support for Smith in August, three days after she met with the two at a speech Putnam gave in South Tampa.

But, by almost all accounts of what happened in the HD 60 primary, Toledo feverishly outworked her opponent. Like the other pols mentioned above — Murman, Storms, etc. — Toledo put together a campaign team of dedicated volunteers, pounded on doors, and just out-hustled her opponent.

Toledo also has done her best to avoid talking to the local media, which her camp believes is predisposed against her. She skipped a Tiger Bay appearance. She does not respond to inquiries from this website’s reporters.

“Jackie is too busy being a mother, wife, volunteer, small-business owner, and community advocate to play … childish games,” Toledo spokesperson Ryan Wiggins told FloridaPolitics.com in September. “Her focus is on serving the people of District 60 and winning an election, not winning headlines in a political blog.”

Like I said, it’s unclear what to make of Toledo.

My impression is that she’s smart and sharp, but insular and slightly paranoid of outside political forces.

The best thing she probably has going for her campaign is that winning the HD 60 seat is a priority of Speaker-designate Richard Corcoran.

Corcoran, along with state Sens. Jeff Brandes and Jack Latvala, and Reps. Danny Burgess, James Grant, Chris Latvala, and Chris Sprowls, among others, are hosting a high-profile fundraiser supporting Toledo this Tuesday at the Columbia Café in Tampa.

The Democrats have recruited an excellent candidate in David Singer, although Singer can sometimes sound a tad aloof, as if he has better things to do than raise money for his campaign.

Singer has raised just over $115,000 through Sept. 16, spending more than $40,000, while Toledo has banked over $155,000 during the same period, not including a $25,000 loan, and spent nearly $167,000.

With Corcoran and the Florida GOP machine behind her — and Pedicini, who is on a hot streak, probably helping from afar (perhaps through an outside vehicle) — it’s likely Toledo will hold HD 60 for the Republicans.

I just don’t know what kind of lawmaker Toledo will make.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons