Charlie Crist Archives - Page 7 of 69 - Florida Politics

Will ‘fair districts’ in Florida lead to a fairer outcome?

Six years ago, Florida voters approved constitutional amendments with the catchy title of “Fair Districts” that promised to end the political games that surrounded drawing legislative and congressional districts.

Due to expensive court battles and standoffs in the Florida Legislature, this year’s election will mark the first time the full effort to end gerrymandering will be in place.

As Election Day nears, however, it’s becoming apparent that the changes have not caused any major disruptions politically. Republicans are expected to retain control of the state Legislature. The gap between Democrats and Republicans in the state’s congressional delegation will probably shrink, but the GOP will likely remain in the majority.

“We never expected this to be a revolutionary change, it was an evolutionary change,” said Pamela Goodman, president of the Florida State League of Women Voters, whose organization challenged in court how legislators enacted the standards.

There have been some shake-ups as a result of the amendments finally kicking in: Two incumbent members of Congress, both Democrats, will be leaving office this year due in part to their reshaped districts. And several Republican members are also in tight battles that could result in their defeat Tuesday.

Former Gov. Charlie Crist, who was once a Republican but is now running as a Democrat, may revive his political career if he wins a redrawn Democratic-leaning seat in Pinellas County.

Florida has long been divided politically, and has emerged again as a key battleground in the presidential race between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.

President George W. Bush, a Republican, carried the state in 2004, but President Barack Obama, a Democrat, won the next two elections. Critics have long complained that the districts don’t reflect the close divide of the electorate.

Florida voters in 2010 overwhelmingly approved the “Fair Districts” amendments which mandated that legislators cannot draw districts intended to help incumbents or a member of a political party. The group that backed the amendment was financed largely by unions and donors aligned with Democrats.

Legislators adopted new maps in 2012 that they said followed the guidelines, but a coalition of groups sued. The legal battles resulted in several key rulings, including one where the state Supreme Court ruled that GOP operatives had “tainted” efforts to draw up congressional districts.

Legislators deadlocked over how to respond, leaving the final map put in place by the court. A separate battle over state senate districts also resulted in a circuit court judge saying that legislators had acted with “partisan intent.”

The final result, which came after the Legislature spent more than $12 million in taxpayer money fighting the lawsuits, means that congressional and state senate districts were put in place by judges not legislators. State House seats adopted by legislators were not challenged.

Matthew Isbell, a data consultant who tracked redistricting and has worked for Democratic-leaning organizations, said while the changes “have put more seats in play” it will not result in Democrats taking back either chamber in the Legislature. Currently the GOP holds a 26-14 edge in the 40-member state Senate that could narrow some. Isbell predicts the 17-10 split in the congressional delegation will also shrink, but Republicans will still be in the majority. Part of it, he said, is due to the GOP’s fundraising advantage in the state.

“It’s a long game for Democrats,” Isbell said.

Ellen Freidin, a South Florida attorney and one of the main architects of Fair Districts, said she is satisfied with the outcome. She said because of the power of incumbents “you can’t judge the merits on one cycle.” But Freidin maintains there has been more competition for legislative and congressional seats this year and more people have chosen to run for office.

“This idea has always been about the rights of people of the state of Florida to choose their representatives instead of representatives choosing voters,” Freidin said.

Top Republicans, however, don’t share the enthusiasm.

State Rep. Jose Oliva, a Miami Lakes Republican who led House redistricting efforts last year, says that the “Fair Districts” amendments are nearly impossible to implement and that all it has done has shifted power over to judges who can also act in a partisan manner.

“Anytime something has ‘fair’ in it, it’s anything but fair,” said Oliva, who is line to become House speaker in 2018. “The only thing we did with Fair Districts is we diluted one branch of government.”

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Charlie Crist leads “souls to the polls” on final day of early voting

As the final day of early voting wound down, there were lines at voting sites and overall turnout was about 47.8 percent in Pinellas.

That number included both mail-in ballots that had been received and early voting as of about 4 p.m. Sunday, a day that saw candidates scrambling for every vote still left on the table.

One of the big pushes was the “Souls to the Polls” events, a statewide initiative designed to reach members of the faith community, particularly African-Americans, said Melissa Baldwin, the Tampa Bay regional press secretary of For Florida’s Future.

“Souls to the Polls” events were scattered across Florida, with several in the Tampa Bay area. According to a press release from For Our Future, the events, which combined entertainment and food, with the “get out and vote” message, was a success.

Thousands of congregants from dozens of faith organizations joined together today to celebrate the progress our country had made and ensure their community has a say in our future, the release said. At 15 “Souls to the Polls” events across the state, family fun, speeches and marches, among other activities, helped to ensure the last day of the popular early voting was a success.

In St. Petersburg, former Gov. Charlie Crist led a contingent of voters from Williams Park to the Courthouse, a block away.

Crist, like his opponent, David Jolly, had started the morning visiting African-American churches in southern St. Petersburg to urge voters to go to the polls. Then he took time to drop by the Gulfport Neighborhood Center, 1617 49th St. S, and stand in line to cast his ballot.

Crist, a Democrat, is challenging Republican incumbent Jolly for the Congressional District 13 seat.

The election is Tuesday.

Charlie Crist  Charlie Crist  Charlie Crist  Charlie Crist  Ben Diamond  Bensmihen and Diamond  David Jolly  David Jolly

Joe Biden, Jimmy Buffett to hold GOTV rally in St. Petersburg on Monday

Jimmy Buffett has a message for Floridians: Get out and vote.

Buffett is scheduled to perform at a get out the vote rally for Democrats Hillary Clinton, Patrick Murphy, and Charlie Crist on Monday. The Florida music icon will be joined by Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden, the vice president’s wife. The event comes just one day before Election Day, and is meant to encourage voters to get to the polls.

Murphy and Crist are also expected to attend. Murphy faces Sen. Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate race, and trails Rubio in the polls an average of 3.2 percentage points, according to RealClearPolitics. Crist, the former governor of Florida, is hoping to unseat Rep. David Jolly in Florida’s 13th Congressional District.

The addition of the Bidens to the roster shows just how important Florida is to the presidential race. Clinton has an average lead of 1 percentage point over Donald Trump in the Sunshine State, according to RealClearPolitics. The margin isn’t much larger nationwide, where RealClearPolitics shows she has an average lead of 1.8 percentage points.

The vice president and his wife will attend a rally at 1:15 p.m. at Florida A&M University, 1668 South Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard in Tallahassee before heading to St. Petersburg.

Buffett is expected to perform a short set of songs with Country Music Musician of the Year Mac McAnally. The event is schedule for 5 p.m. at Albert Whitted Park, 480 Bayshore Drive SE in St. Petersburg. The event is free, but tickets are required.

Mitch Perry Report for 11.4.16 — What will be this year’s decisive October surprise?

It was the Thursday night before the 2000 general election when Fox News’s Carl Cameron reported George W. Bush had been arrested in 1976 in Maine on a DWI case. It was definitely an “October surprise,” and it definitely seemed to stop Bush’s momentum in that contest — a contest in which he ultimately lost the popular vote, but took the Electoral College after a 36-day recount.

On the Friday night before the 2004 election, the late Osama bin Laden released a tape, aired by the Arab television network Al-Jazeera, where he spoke directly to the American people. He admitted for the first time that he carried out the Sept. 11 attacks and said the attacks would have been less severe if Bush had been more alert. John Kerry later said he believed that tape cost him the election against Bush.

The big news that could affect this year’s election appeared to have happened last Friday afternoon at approximately 1 p.m. Eastern, when Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz tweeted , “FBI Dir just informed me, The FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation.” Case reopened.”

Whether that announcement is the ultimate game-changer preventing Hillary Clinton from winning the general election remains to be seen. “Big Mo,” however, doesn’t seem like it’s with the Democrat this morning, as she’s now resorted to spending considerable time on the stump disparaging her opponent, when less than two weeks ago she said she was done talking about him.

Then again, the ultimate October surprise may end up being the revelation first reported at approximately 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6, when The Washington Post reported on and posted a video of Donald Trump making lewd comments about women on tape from 2005.

Depending on who is announced as the victory late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning, one of the two above listed events will need to be placed prominently on the epitaph of the losing candidate.

Unless something else pops this weekend, which couldn’t possibly happen. Could it?

In other news …

Making his final pitch in the HD 63 race, Shawn Harrison slams Lisa Montelione’s attendance record on the Tampa City Council, as well as her votes on the city’s budget and raising parking fees.

Tampa City Council members Charlie Miranda and Mike Suarez say, as children of immigrants, they reject Donald Trump’s divisive language on the subject.

CD 14 Republican candidate Christine Quinn is hyping her endorsement from a veterans group in her race against Kathy Castor.

Charlie Crist added $5,500 to his campaign account Wednesday.

And the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is airing radio ads in St. Petersburg this weekend featuring Barack and Michelle Obama to try to drive up the black vote for Crist.

Charlie Crist campaign adds another $5,500 to his campaign war chest

Charlie Crist added another $5,500 in campaign contributions Wednesday.

Among the contributions was a $1,000 check from the political committee, Friends of Rose DeLauro. DeLauro has been representing Connecticut’s third district in the U.S. House of Representatives for over two decades.

Crist also received a $1,000 contribution from Democrats Reshaping America (Dreampac), a Democratic super PAC, and a $1,000 contribution from Lisa DeBartolo, who oversees the DeBartolo Family Foundation as its executive director. She is also executive vice president of DeBartolo Holdings. She’s perhaps best known for being the daughter of former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo and cousin to Jed York, the current Niners CEO.

Crist is running in Florida’s 13th Congressional District against incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. David Jolly.

Through Oct. 19, Jolly had brought in about $1.9 million and had about $160,000 of that money on hand, while Crist had raised over $1.5 million through Oct. 19 and had about $169,000 in his campaign account.

DCCC to air radio ads in CD 7 and 13 featuring Barack and Michelle Obama

Aiming at driving black voters to the polls to vote on down-ballot races,  the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is now airing radio ads featuring Barack Obama and Michelle Obama in Florida’s congressional Districts 7 and 13, two districts with a significant African-American population.

This DCCC radio advertising campaign begins Thursday and runs until next Monday, Nov. 7 in the Orlando and Tampa markets. The DCCC says the ads will run on hip-hop, R&B, and urban contemporary radio stations, in order to target voters young and old. In Orlando, the campaign will run the maximum number of spots on four different African-American radio stations.

“Each and every voice will make a difference in this high-stakes election, and this radio advertising effort courtesy of Barack and Michelle Obama is a critical part of the plan for House Democrats to pick up seats in Florida on Election Day,” said DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Lujan. “We have long recognized the need to engage critical Democratic base voters, including African-Americans, Latinos, and millennials, and I am thankful that the Obamas are urging the American people to turn out early and strongly in Florida and key districts across the country.”

Democrat Stephanie Murphy is facing GOP incumbent John Mica in District 7, while Charlie Crist is attempting to bring the CD 13 seat into the Democratic column for the first time in several generations against Republican David Jolly.

There has been considerable discussion that black voters in Florida are voting in lower numbers to date than in 2008 and 2012, when Obama was on the ballot. Most observers believed Hillary Clinton would never be able to match those historic numbers, but with Florida looking to be a dead-even race (the RealClearPolitics shows Donald Trump to have a narrow lead), the campaign needs to do everything it can to bring out its base voters.

In CD 13, Jolly is making an appeal to black voters specifically, running ads criticizing Crist for his previous incarnation as “Chain Gang Charlie,” when he pushed for aggressive treatment of prisoners.

Here are the scripts for the radio ads:

FLORIDA’s 7th SCRIPT:

Michelle Obama: This election is about more than the White House. It’s also about electing leaders to Congress who care as much as we do about our children’s future.

Announcer: Stand up and be counted. Cast your ballot early and show that your vote matters. Early voting in Orange County is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day through Sunday, and in Seminole County 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day through Sunday.

Vote today for Democrats all the way down the ballot.

SCRIPT ONE:

Announcer: Our future matters. So, make sure your voice is heard, Nov. 8th.

Barack Obama: We have the opportunity to build on all the progress we’ve made, to fight for the issues you and I believe in. I’m doing everything I can to make sure our Democrats all around the country have what they need to win, and that’s why I need you. I need you to vote. I need you to make sure your friends, family, and neighbors vote.

Announcer: Continue President Obama’s legacy. Show up and be counted. Vote Democrats for Congress on Tuesday.

SCRIPT TWO:

Michelle Obama:

This election is about more than the White House. This election is about planning for our children’s future. It’s about electing a Congress that will have our interests at heart. Support the issues that matter to you, work with our president, and continue my husband’s legacy, building on the progress we’ve made.

On Tuesday, I want you to vote. I want you to make sure that your friends, families, and neighbors vote. Vote for your future. Vote for your children’s future. Vote Democrat all the way down the ballot.

Charlie Crist nets another $7K from lobbyists, Morgan & Morgan employees

Former Gov. Charlie Crist reported another $7,000 in contributions in a new FEC filing Tuesday, including checks from a pair of Morgan & Morgan employees.

The donor roll included attorneys Adam Brum and Keith Carter of Morgan & Morgan, who gave $1,500 and $1,000, respectively. Crist took a job at Morgan & Morgan after his lone term as Florida governor ended in 2011.

Also in the filing were Tallahassee lobbyist Jeff Sharkey and Nicholas Herbach of Index Management Services, who each gave $1,000, as well as the American Federation of Government Employees PAC, which gave $2,500.

Crist is running in Florida’s 13th Congressional District against incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. David Jolly, who also filed a notice with the FEC Tuesday to report a $1,000 contribution from a PAC tied to Florida East Coast Industries.

Through Oct. 19 Jolly had brought in about $1.9 million and had about $160,000 of that money on hand, while Crist had raised about $1.5 million through Oct. 19 and had about $170,000 in his campaign account.

Since those reports, the candidates have been neck-and-neck, with each of them turning in new notices to the FEC on a daily basis.

Congressman, civil rights icon John Lewis: Vote, vote, vote

Charlie Crist
Charlie Crist

Civil rights icon John Lewis, now a congressman from Georgia, came to St. Petersburg on Wednesday to support former Gov. Charlie Crist.

Crist, a Democrat, is running against Republican incumbent David Jolly for Florida’s 13th Congressional District.

Lewis, who has represented Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District since 1986, said he had followed Crist’s career.

“I’m delighted and very pleased and honored to be standing here with you,” Lewis told Crist. “I’m here to support you. I’m looking forward to getting things done.”

Lewis said Crist could help make things better not only for the CD 13, but also the state of Florida and the U.S.

Crist said he was “grateful beyond words” for Lewis’ support. If elected, he said, he looked forward to working with Lewis.

The two spoke at a press conference outside the Greater Mount Zion AME Church, 1045 16th St. S. The two had been part of a meeting and prayer inside the church before speaking. Others who joined them included former St. Petersburg Council Member Wengay Newton, who is running for state House District 70, and Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch.

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor was unable to attend but sent a representative from her office.

Lewis was not in town only to support Crist. He also urged residents to get out and “vote, vote, vote.”

A vote “is powerful,” Lewis said. He added, “I gave a little blood on that bridge in Selma for the right to vote.”

Lewis was referring to an incident on March 7, 1965, that has become known as “Bloody Sunday.”

Lewis and Hosea Williams, another civil rights advocate, had planned to lead 600 peaceful, orderly protestors in a march from Selma to Montgomery to demonstrate the need for voting rights in Alabama. They got as far as the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma when state troopers and local police blocked the way and demanded they turn around. When they refused, they were tear gassed and beaten with billy clubs.

A successful march was held later that month with federal protection. And, that August, the Voting Rights Act was passed.

Lewis was also scheduled to appear at the University of South Florida’s St. Petersburg campus to discuss civil rights. Later, he was scheduled to tour Jordan Park.

Early voting in Pinellas ends Sunday. Election Day is Tuesday.

Opening for state Supreme Court gets first application

Conservative appellate judge C. Alan Lawson has become the first applicant for the open seat on the Florida Supreme Court.

Jason Unger, the Tallahassee attorney who chairs the Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission, confirmed the name Tuesday night.

Lawson
Lawson

Lawson is now chief judge of the 5th District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott will make the pick, his first chance to select a member of the seven-member state Supreme Court that often splits 5-2 on matters of public policy.

Now, Justices Charles Canady and Ricky Polston are the court’s only reliable conservative votes.

The man Lawson seeks to replace, Justice James E.C. Perry, is the same person who beat him in 2009 for the high court job, itself created by the retirement of Justice Charles T. Wells.

Lawson was backed by “religious conservatives and the National Rifle Association,” wrote politics reporter William March in a February 2009 story for the now-defunct Tampa Tribune, while Perry was favored by “liberal groups and black leaders.”

The appointment created a quandary for then-Gov. Charlie Crist, March wrote, “pit(ting) conservatives in his own party (then Republican) against a minority community Crist is courting.” He eventually picked Perry, who joined the court the next month.

Lawson, born in Lakeland, graduated from Tallahassee Community College and later Clemson University with a degree in Parks, Recreation & Tourism Management, according to his online bio. He got his law degree from Florida State University in 1987.

He was in private practice for several years before becoming an assistant county attorney in Orange County and then a circuit judge in 2002.

Lawson also was a Florida Bar exam question writer and grader. He moved to the 5th District appellate bench in 2006.

In 2012, he was a member of a three-judge appeals panel that considered a custody battle between two women who were formerly in a relationship.

The majority said both women have parental rights, but Lawson wrote “a blistering dissent,” in which he said a child can have only one mother, according to the Associated Press.

The court shouldn’t recognize two mothers “unless we are also willing to invalidate laws prohibiting same-sex marriage, bigamy, polygamy, or adult incestuous relationships on the same basis,” Lawson said.

In a 4-3 opinion, the state Supreme Court later said the non-birth mother could seek shared custody.

Perry’s retirement is effective Dec. 30. His absence otherwise leaves Peggy A. Quince as the only African-American on the court.

The nominating commission is scheduled to interview finalists on Nov. 28 and submit a list to Scott of possible replacements by Dec. 13.

 

Mitch Perry Report for 11.2.16 — Hillary Clinton returns to the oldie but goodies in Dade City speech

Remember when Hillary Clinton would invoke Michelle Obama‘s phrase when dealing with Donald Trump that, “When they go low, we go high?”

That was so, oh, I don’t know, October-like.

In Pasco County yesterday, the Democratic presidential nominee spent considerable time tearing apart Trump, invoking his greatest hits of insults as she tries to rally the base in the final week of the campaign.

Clinton dug deep, referring to how The Donald boasted on Howard Stern’s show about how he used to go backstage at beauty pageants to barge in on the women while they were getting dressed.

“He said he did that — he said he did that to ‘inspect’ them. That was his word — and he said, ‘I sort of get away with things like that.’ And sure enough, contestants have come forward to say, ‘Yes, that’s exactly what he did to us.’ Now, as bad as that is, he didn’t just do it at the Miss USA pageant or the Miss Universe pageant. He’s also been accused of doing it at the Miss Teen USA pageant. Contestants say that Donald Trump came in to look at them when they were changing. Some of them were just 15 years old. We cannot hide from this. We’ve got to be willing to face it. This man wants to be president of the United States of America and our First Lady, Michelle Obama, spoke for many of us when she said Donald Trump’s words have shaken her to her core.”

Obviously, talking about policies has never been at the forefront of this campaign, but undoubtedly this will probably be the nature of her oratory over the next six days. Not exactly the soaring rhetoric her team could have intended to be her message in closing out this interminable campaign.

There are reports this morning that Team Clinton and their allies are freaking out about the black vote not being as robust for Clinton so far in early/absentee voting, in comparison to 2008 and 2012.

Message to the rest of planet Earth — Nobody every thought it could be. Barack Obama‘s name on the ballot was revolutionary in 2008, and though much less so in 2012, it still brought out the black vote in unprecedented ways. Did anybody seriously think Clinton was going to match that number?

Clinton remains strong with older blacks, but millennials have never bought into her to the same extent. A friend of mine yesterday questioned the entire premise that Clinton was so popular among blacks. He said, wasn’t that what “they” said took her over the top over Bernie Sanders?

That wasn’t an opinion; that was a fact. Clinton dominated the black vote — a huge demographic in Democratic primaries — over the Vermont-based socialist senator. I’ve argued that if he had made stronger inroads with the African-American community to any extent prior to his unlikely rise over the past year, he might have had a fighting chance at the nomination.

But Clinton, and certainly Sanders, were never going to get a comparable black vote in 2008 or 2012. Not going to happen.

In other news …

One interesting trend in Florida with less than a week before the voting ends is the record vote from the Latino community to date.

SD 18 Democrat Bob Buesing has gone up on TV with his final ad (he says).

David Jolly isn’t giving up on trying to take part of the black vote in St. Petersburg away from Charlie Crist. The CD 13 Republican is airing a new ad that once again goes back in time to the era when his Democratic opponent was known as “Chain-Gang Charlie.”

Former Florida Sen. and Gov. Bob Graham held a conference call yesterday to detail his problems with Amendment 1, the solar power initiative. Graham said its passage could neutralize the Amendment 4 solar power measure that passed by 73 percent in August. A spokesperson for the measure strongly disagrees with him.

Civil engineer Wael Odeh hopes to win a Temple Terrace City Council seat next week, despite a hate-filled letter spread to households in the city last month regarding his character because he is a Muslim.

Newly leaked WikiLeaks emails indicate that while former DNC head Debbie Wasserman Schultz was all about Hillary Clinton, the feeling among some of her staffers absolutely wasn’t mutual.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons