Bob Buckhorn Archives - Page 7 of 31 - Florida Politics

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 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.

Lauren Book challenges Florida Democratic delegation to remember why they came to Philadelphia

One of Florida’s newest state senators, Lauren Book, addressed the Florida Delegation Breakfast Thursday at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

“Why are each and every one of you here today?” she challenged delegates shortly after her introduction. The Broward County Democrat was following such notables as Howard Dean and Terry McAuliffe.

“Why have you traveled a thousand or more miles to participate over the last few days? What is your motivation to be among this group of super Democrats? It’s taken a lot to get here.”

She answered her own question by saying it might be because of a passion for protecting a woman’s right to choose, to help Democrats to win back the Congress, or perhaps stop the epidemic of gun violence.

Or simply to help Hillary Clinton become the first woman to hold the highest office in the land.

Book won her first bid for public office last month in state Senate District 32 when no other candidate filed by the qualifying deadline.

Although she’ll be a freshman when the Legislature convenes in 2017, she’s already a well-known quantity both in Tallahassee and throughout the state, after making a name for herself as a vocal advocate on behalf of victims of childhood sexual abuse.

In 2007, Book founded Lauren’s Kids, a nonprofit which aims to teach children and adults about sexual abuse prevention through education, awareness campaigns, and speaking engagements around the world.

She’s also the daughter of the extremely wired-in Ron Book, considered one of Florida’s most influential lobbyists.

While some delegates chatted among themselves quietly as Book began to speak, halfway through her address, the entire room hushed as she told her own tale of sexual and emotional abuse, which began at the age of 11 at the hands of a nanny.

“I was scared. Embarrassed. And ashamed. I felt trapped. And very, very alone.”

Book noted it took six years for her to tell others about the abuse. “I grew stronger!” she exclaimed to loud cheers from delegation members.

Ninety-five percent of sexual abuse is preventable, Book said, through education and awareness. Her annual treks across Florida — now totaling more than 9,000 miles walked — helped bring awareness to the issue of sexual abuse. Book then mentioned those who had walked with her: Oscar Braynon, Arthenia Joyner, Bill Nelson, Bob Buckhorn and others.

As was the overall theme of the convention, Book gave some love to Hillary Clinton. She cited specifically the newly nominated presidential candidate’s work with the Children’s Defense Fund, which lobbied Congress to pass the Education for All Handicapped Children Act in 1975. The act requires all public schools accepting federal funds to provide equal access to education, as well as one free meal a day for children with physical and mental disabilities.

Book added that, while in office, she intends to continue advocating for policies protecting women’s health, expanded access to mental health services and strengthening Florida’s criminal justice system.

“As we stand at the convention tonight,” she concluded, “and watch Hillary Rodham Clinton become our nominee … I am going to ask each and every one of you to ‘remember your why.'”

“Remembering your why” — or finding the meaning of your life through impactful events — was the topic of a Ted Talk Book gave earlier this year in Oxford, England.


Joe Henderson: DNC Day 3 — organization is everything

Florida Democrats have long since undertaken the groundwork to deliver the Sunshine State to Hillary Clinton in November. In fact, you could say that began in 2008 and continued four years later when Barack Obama carried Florida in both of his presidential campaigns.

The local operatives, so critical in big elections, who turned out the vote for Obama have stayed busy trying to do the same for Clinton.

“They never left,” Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said. “Some of the players might be different now, but the model is still the same.”

That organization stands in stark contrast now to Republican nominee Donald Trump, who appears to have little visible infrastructure in place here.

Clinton has a major head start on him and that could the difference in what shapes up as a closely contested contest.

The work of turning out the vote will take on a new urgency after the balloons drop at the end of Clinton’s acceptance speech Thursday night. Buckhorn, who has solidly been in the Clinton camp, figures to be an important part of all that.

“Organization is everything,” Buckhorn said. “In Florida presidential races it’s all about the turnout and not so much about TV or radio (ads). Building connections matter. Field organization matters. Gathering data is important. It becomes a combination of analytics and data mining. Marry the two of those and you’ve got something.”

Clinton is popular among Florida Democrats.

In 2008, she received 49 percent of the primary vote to 32 percent for Obama, who by that point was well on his way to winning the nomination. In the March primary this year, Clinton nearly doubled up Bernie Sanders 64 percent to 33 percent.

But Trump received 1.079 million votes in the GOP state primary, nearly as many as Clinton’s 1.1 million.

Even given Trump’s renowned penchant for outrageous and, as Democrats charged after his suggestion that Russia hack more of Hillary’s emails, treasonous behavior, polls show a tight contest between the two for Florida’s 29 electoral votes.

“You never underestimate anybody,” Buckhorn said. “The proof is in the bodies. Organizing means putting those bodies on the road, making those phone calls, knocking the doors. I haven’t seen any evidence of the Trump people doing that (in Florida).”

WEDNESDAY TAKEAWAYS: That was a show of force Wednesday night by the star-packed Democratic lineup.

President Barack Obama, as expected, set Clinton up perfectly to be the right person to accept the baton of leadership from him. I thought former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent, took Trump apart on The Donald’s own playing field in the world of business.

But for the star of the night, give me Vice President Joe Biden. Who else but Biden could call Trump’s claims “a bunch of malarkey” and turn it into a rallying cry. The hashtag “malarkey” quickly started trending on Twitter and prompting many clever memes – the best of which was a signature red Trump ball cap with the word “Malarkey” emblazed instead of his “Make America Great Again” slogan.

Sitting through vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine’s speech was like sitting through a warmup band you don’t really want to hear before the main show begins. I’ll give a tepid thumbs-up to his mocking “Believe Me” impersonation of Trump, but he should have stopped it after one or two times.

I mean, it wasn’t THAT funny.

So it’s all there for Hillary now to see if she can convince the undecided Americans that she is best for the job. Stick to the end for the balloon drop. Balloon drops are cool.

Gwen Graham says Rick Scott, Donald Trump from ‘con man’ wing of GOP

Tallahassee-based Democratic Congresswoman Gwen Graham spent a few minutes unfavorably comparing Florida Gov. Rick Scott to Donald Trump while addressing state Democrats in Philadelphia Thursday morning.

“Make no mistake, Rick Scott and Donald Trump are cut from the same wing of the Republican Party,” she said. “Not the conservative wing, but the con man wing, and if you want to know what can happen to America, just look at what’s happened to our beautiful state.”

Graham said even though Florida has become the third-most-populous state during Scott’s six-year reign in Tallahassee, the state ranks 38th in wages, something she says he boasts about while on out-of-state recruiting trips.

“I can tell you that Florida workers are as hard working as anywhere in the country, and they deserve a raise!”

The first-term representative has already declared she is considering a run for governor in 2018. In fact, she used a teleprompter (as did some other speakers on Thursday) in giving her 10-minute-plus address in the fourth-floor conference room at the Marriott, home of the Florida Delegation breakfasts all week long at the Democratic National Convention.

Graham continued to refer to questionable Trump comments or actions and turned that back to Scott, such as on public education. But she reserved her most biting criticism for the governor’s environmental policy, calling his DEP the “Department of Environmental Pollution,” and saying just this week he had voted to allow more cancer-causing chemicals in the state’s water supply.

She was referring to the state’s Environmental Regulation Commission vote to approve a proposal by state regulators that would impose new standards on 39 chemicals not currently regulated by the state, and change the regulations on 43 other chemicals.

Although Scott won’t be on the ballot in ’18, Graham sounded like she was definitely going to be, giving praise to FPD Chair Allison Tant and name-checking various state caucuses.

She then brought it back to why Hillary Clinton was the obvious choice for the country this year.

“Do you want a president who will build up our economy, or do you want to tear it down?” she asked, before shouting out, “Build it up!” She went through a call-and-response a few more times, with limited enthusiasm from the weary crowd. Several people did get up to give her a standing ovation as she departed the stage.

With Graham, Bob Buckhorn and Philip Levine addressing the delegates this week, it looks like the low-level campaign for Florida Democrats’ hearts, minds — and money  — has begun.

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