Jeb Bush Archives - Florida Politics

Jeb Bush: Marco Rubio needs to lead on immigration

The perception that Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio were close was shattered during the 2015-16 race for President.

The two Miami-area GOP heavyweights clashed in debates and on the campaign trail as they vastly underperformed to expectations in losing the Republican nomination to Donald Trump.

The former Florida Governor took a verbal shot at the U.S. Senator on Friday, when he accused Rubio of abdicating a leadership role in the current debate on immigration.

“God forbid you actually took on something that was controversial and paid a political price,” Bush told USA Today. “That’s the attitude in D.C. right now. Certainly Sen. Rubio is no different in that regard.

“Marco is a talented guy and he understands this issue really well, and maybe behind the scenes he’s working hard. But at some point, his leadership would be really helpful.”

Rubio has said he believes an agreement in Congress to protect the approximately 780,000 undocumented immigrants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program can and should happen.

However, skepticism is high after President Trump and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer were unable to come to an agreement on DACA last weekend, forcing the government to shut down for a couple of days last week. That occurred despite the intervention of centrist senators from both parties to attempt to resolve the problem.

Florida Democrat Bill Nelson was part of that group, but Rubio was not. He said earlier this week that any such a deal on immigration shouldn’t be the product of a “gang” of senators as it was with the group he was a part of for comprehensive immigration reform the Senate passed in 2013.

The junior Florida Senator said if Democrats want to talk about a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, then a debate about chain migration has to be on the table. But he said that Democrats have to understand that such a deal won’t happen until they agree to authorize funding to construct a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border.

He added that that progress can happen quickly on the issue, “but it cannot be a product of a gang of four or five people meeting somewhere, putting a bill on the floor, and saying ‘take it or leave it.’ ”

“I was part of an effort like that in 2013, I see others are trying to do it now. It won’t work. This issue is too critical to too many people to be a product of a small group and a ‘take it or leave it’ proposition.”

In his interview with USA Today, Bush blamed both political parties when sizing up the ongoing battle over immigration. The White House on Thursday released a plan that provides a path to U.S. citizenship for up to 1.8 million undocumented DREAMers in exchange for $25 billion to help build a border wall and a nearly 25% reduction in legal immigration.

Members of both parties panned the deal for different reasons. With the clock ticking down to Feb. 8 for another deal to keep the government functioning, Bush said the immigration issue can’t continue to be punted by lawmakers who were sent to Washington to find solutions.

“The left and the right have figured out that this is a great political wedge issue,” Bush said. “It’s not a moral issue or an economic issue. It’s purely an issue of, ‘How do we poll this to make sure our team, our tribe, does better?’ “

The paper describes the former Florida Governor as having “railed” against President Trump’s alleged comments describing Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as “shithole” countries.  And he bemoaned Trump’s behavior in office and says it could be his downfall.

“The character of the guy and the (turnover) and fighting, and just the constant chaos around his presidency that is self-inflicted has made it hard for him,” Bush said. “I want the president to succeed. I don’t think he will succeed if he continues on this path.”

Jeb Bush endorses CFO Jimmy Patronis for another term

Calling his qualities “all too rare in politics,” former Florida Governor and presidential candidate Jeb Bush on Thursday endorsed Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis for a second term.

The former Republican House member has now picked up the endorsements of two Florida governors: Bush and Gov. Rick Scott, a longtime ally of Patronis who appointed him to be in charge of the state’s checkbooks and a nearly $300 million budget.

“As a small businessman, Jimmy understand how to keep our state growing by securing high credit ratings, and through his role as State Fire Marshal Jimmy is protecting those who protect us by fighting to improve mental health and cancer benefits for Florida firefighters,” Bush said.

Patronis, a Panama City restaurant owner,  said he was “humbled” to have Bush support his campaign.

“The mark he forever left on Florida as a successful two-term governor has been a tremendous influence on me and he will continue to be someone who’s counsel I am honored to have,” Patronis said.

As CFO, Patronis is one of three elected Cabinet members who work with Scott to set state policy. He works with Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Attorney General Pam Bondi. Scott appointed him to the position after Jeff Atwater resigned to work at Florida Atlantic University.

As he campaigns for another term as CFO, he is likely to face Republican Sen. Tom Lee in the primary. Lee has said he will run, but has not yet filed the official paperwork.

In 2006, when Bush was governor, he endorsed Lee in his failed effort to become CFO.

“He gives it to you straight,” Bush said, “with the character and experience to back it up.

“Our state needs Tom Lee.”

Rick Scott to help fundraise for Tennessee gubernatorial candidate

Gov. Rick Scott is taking a trip to Tennessee next month, but unlike most of his out-of-state jaunts he’s not looking to lure any jobs away from the Volunteer State.

An invitation to a fundraiser benefitting Diane Black, a Republican running for Tennessee governor, lists Scott as the event’s headliner.

Attendees will need to fork over $1,000 to Black’s campaign to get in the door. The event is set for Jan. 11, just two days after Florida lawmakers are set to convene in Tallahassee for the start of the 2018 Legislative Session.

Scott isn’t the only Florida governor playing a role in the Tennessee race, either.

Back in October, former Gov. Jeb Bush was the guest of honor at a Nashville fundraiser for businessman Randy Boyd, the other major Republican running to replace exiting Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.

Bush’s appearance led the Black campaign to label Boyd as a “moderate Republican” and sling a few arrows at the pair over Bush’s stances during his 2016 presidential campaign, namely Bush’s assertion that immigrants come to the U.S. out of “an act of love.”

Black has also seized on Bush’s and Boyd’s shared dislike of President Donald Trump, whom Bush has called the “Chaos President.” Scott, conversely, has a fairly amiable relationship with Trump and was briefly considered as a potential running mate.

“Jeb Bush and Randy Boyd are a match made in establishment heaven. Their pro-illegal immigration, pro-big government, anti-Trump positions are more suited to the Democratic primary than the Republican primary,” said Chris Hartline, a spokesman for Black’s campaign.

Tim Canova wants a state and federal investigation into why Broward County SOE destroyed ballots in 2016 race

South Florida law professor and 2016 Democratic congressional candidate Tim Canova is calling for a congressional investigation into why Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes destroyed all of the ballots in his 2016 primary race against Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Florida’s 23rd Congressional District.

Canova lost to Wasserman Schultz by 13 points in their bitter Democratic primary in the CD-23 race in the summer of 2016.

The revelation that Snipes’ office had destroyed all of the ballots came about only after both Canova and independent reporter Lulu Friesdat made several different public records requests over the past year for access to the paper ballots used in the August 2016 primary. Canova, a law professor at Florida International University, then iled a lawsuit against the Broward County elections head under Florida’s public records law this June after he grew weary of waiting for her to respond to his request to inspect the ballots in his August 2016 primary. The lawsuit revealed that Snipes ordered the destruction of all the ballots in October, several months after he made his initial request. According to election law, Snipes was required under federal law to maintain the ballots for 22 months, and voting experts quoted in a POLITICO Florida published on Friday maintain that there’s no question that Snipes’ office has broken the law.

“The ballot destruction raises serious questions: Why engage in this blatant lawbreaking? To cover up something worse? What has the Supervisor of Elections been hiding?” Canova asked in a statement issued Friday afternoon. “We demand state and federal investigations into the ballot destruction and prosecution of illegal wrongdoing.”

Canova also is calling for Gov. Rick Scott to replace Snipes and her directors and top staff, noting that there is precedence to do so in that same office.  In 2003, then Gov. Jeb Bush replaced Miriam Oliphant, who had been accused of mishandling the 2002 gubernatorial primary, with Snipes.

Florida Politics contacted Snipes’ office on Friday afternoon for comment.  An official took down a reporter’s contact information,  but never replied back.

An attorney for the Broward County Supervisor of Elections’ office told POLITICO that they did not break the law because they made electronic copies of the ballots. Canova disagrees.

“Destruction of ballots prevents any reliable audit of the election results. We are left dependent on scanned ballot images created and sorted by scanning software that requires inspection by software experts,” the progressive Democrat says, adding that scanning software is considered proprietary software, owned and and controlled by the private vendors, and often protected from independent inspection and analysis.

After he lost his congressional challenge to Wasserman Schultz last summer, Canova chose not to contest the results. But Friesdat, the independent journalist, was curious about the contest and made two public-records requests in November of 2016, and then submitted a third request this past March. Canova joined the requests and filed his lawsuit in June.

Snipes’s order to destroy the requested documents was dated Sept. 1, 2017. It authorized the destruction of 106 boxes containing vote-by-mail certificates and 505 boxes of in-person cast ballots and 40 boxes of early-voting ballots, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

Canova says the only way to deal with the issue now is for Congress to investigate and hold public hearings on what happened during the primary election. And he thinks the Congress should investigate therelationships between the vendors that control the electronic voting machines and software, their officers and directors, the Broward Supervisor of Elections office, Democratic party officials,
and candidates for public office.

Late Friday afternoon, Canova sent out a fundraising email to supporters, requesting funding that could help in a lawsuit against Snipes’ office.

Joe Negron named ‘Champion of the Everglades’

Environmental group Audubon Florida presented Senate President Joe Negron with an award Tuesday recognizing his “steadfast leadership” in Everglades restoration.

Negron earned the “Champion of the Everglades” award for a bill he ushered through the legislature earlier this past session that mandated the construction of a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee to reduce discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries and prevent a repeat of the historic and harmful algal blooms that wreaked havoc on Florida waters in 2016.

Audubon Florida’s deputy director, Julie Hill-Gabriel, described the legislation as “an incredible victory” for the Everglades.

“President Negron helped secure a much-needed restoration project for America’s Everglades. His tireless efforts responded to an ecological crisis by garnering support for one of the most important wins for Florida’s environment in a decade,” she said. “We applaud President Negron for his commitment to protecting Florida’s environment for generations to come. It is with great excitement we name President Negron as a Champion of the Everglades.”

Audubon Florida said the award is reserved for “individuals who have gone above and beyond their call of duty to protect Florida’s water and wildlife in the River of Grass.” Past winners of the award include Nathaniel Reed and former Gov. Jeb Bush.

“Audubon Florida has been a strong partner in the ongoing effort to reduce and one day eliminate harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee that destroy our environment and harm our economy,” Negron said. “I am honored to receive this award and look forward to working with Audubon in the future as we continue to closely monitor the implementation of Senate Bill 10 and other legislative efforts to restore and protect Florida’s environment and natural resources.”

Gwen Graham goes nuclear over recovery fees, fracking fees

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham wants to put a stop to Florida utility ratepayers paying for nuclear power  plants that were never built or which never worked, or for paying for fracking exploration in Florida.

The former congresswoman from Tallahassee went nuclear Tuesday denouncing the 2006 law that allowed Florida investor-owned utility companies to charge advance fees for nuclear power plants that were never built, something that the Florida Public Service Commission has allowed, to the tune of more than $3 million in fees, she said. She charged that the commission is out of control.

Her statement Tuesday in some ways echoes that made last month by her rival for the Democratic primary nomination, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who welcomed her on board the position Tuesday, yet also said “it feels like an election year conversion” for Graham.

Graham faces Democrats Gillum and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, and Winter Park businessman Chris King in seeking the 2018 Democratic primary nomination to run for governor.

On Oct. 17, Gillum declared in a statement, “Instead of forcing everyday Floridians to continue ponying up money for Florida Power & Light, the PSC should instead force FPL to pay for their Turkey Point nuclear energy license. Working people in this state face enough financial hardships as it is — they should not have to fork over more money to an enormous corporation who controls most of the state’s major energy decisions. Corporations have run roughshod over this state for too long, and when I’m Governor it will finally end.”

On Tuesday, Graham also called for an end.

“Floridians should not be forced to pay for nuclear power plants that are never built or for fracking exploration,” Graham stated in a news release. “For 20 years, the Republican politicians in Tallahassee have turned a blind eye to the Public Service Commission and utility companies as they’ve taxed seniors, small business owners and families. That ends when I’m elected governor.”

She also criticized both Gov. Jeb Bush and current Gov. Rick Scott for what she said was stacking the commission with what she called “unqualified, industry-friendly commissioners.” She then went after Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, the leading Republican gubernatorial candidate, for having voted for an unbuilt nuclear power plant while he was in Congress, and then go after likely Republican gubernatorial candidate House Speaker Richard Corcoran for appointing to the PSC nominating commission.

In 2015, the commission accepted a utilities’ request to allow the charges to Floridians as much as $500 million a year for natural gas fracking projects. The Florida Supreme Court ruled the commission exceeded its authority by approving it.

Now proposed legislation that would grant the commission new authority to charge what Graham called “the fracking tax.”

She pledged that as governor she would fight that and push for a statutory ban on any fracking tax.

“Rick Scott has appointed unqualified, industry-friendly commissioners. Adam Putnam voted to approve the construction of a $24-billion nuclear expansion that is unlikely to ever be built. As Speaker of the House, Richard Corcoran makes half of the appointments to the PSC Nominating Council — which has refused to consider consumer advocates for the PSC,” Graham said. “Their records make it clear that Corcoran and Putnam would continue to allow the Public Service Commission and utilities to charge Floridians with outrageous and unfair taxes.”

Corcoran’s office responded by saying he has six appointments to that commission, and they included Democratic House Leader Janet Cruz and consumer Ann Marie Ryan.

The watchdog group Integrity Florida recently labeled the PSC a “Captured Regulatory Agency,” asserting it has been captured under the influence of the very utilities it is responsible for regulating.

“The Public Service Commission is out of control. As governor, I will appoint consumer advocates who will vote in Floridians best interests — not the special interests,” Graham said. “I will fight to repeal the advanced nuclear recovery taxes and to ban utilities from ever charging customers a speculative fracking tax.”

Adam Putnam: Roy Moore accusations are ‘repulsive’

UPDATED

Agriculture Commissioner and GOP gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam denounced U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, of Alabama, following reports that he had a sexual encounter with an underage girl nearly four decades ago.

“I find the accusations repulsive,” Putnam said in a statement. “I believe that for the good of the people of Alabama, Roy Moore should drop out of the race.”

Jacksonville area state Representative Jay Fant, a candidate for Attorney General, also weighed in on Monday.

“Sexual assault is a disgusting act that we shouldn’t take lightly,” Fant told Florida Politics. “Under our Constitution, Roy Moore is entitled to due process. But if these allegations are true, Roy Moore belongs in prison, not the U.S. Senate.”

Attorney General candidate Ashley Moody weighed in Tuesday morning.

“The allegations against Roy Moore are extremely serious,” she said. “If true, these allegations would not only warrant that he drop out of a political race, but more importantly, require that he be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I’m confident that our legal system and Constitution, which ensure a fair process for both the accused and accusers, will lead to the truth of these allegations and ensure justice is served.”

Putnam is the the most prominent member of the Florida Republican Party to denounce Moore’s plight. Former Governor Jeb Bush called early on Monday for Moore to drop out.

***Update – Tuesday 7:39 a.m.*** – Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran tweeted to Florida Politics, “As the father of two teenage girls, there can’t seriously be a question of my position. Roy Moore should step aside.”

“This is not a question of innocence or guilt like in a criminal proceeding, this is a question of what’s right and wrong,” Bush said in an interview with CNBCs Brian Sullivan. “Acknowledging that you’re dating teenagers when you’re 32 years old as an assistant state attorney is wrong. It’s just plain wrong.”

Bush’s comments came shortly after U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced in Louisville that he believed the women who told their stories about Moore to the Washington Post last week. Republican Senator Susan Collins, of Maine, also called for Moore to drop out of the race.

“We have to stand for basic principals, and decency has to be one of those,” Bush said on CNBC.

The former Governor also said the denouncements shouldn’t be partisan.

“When it happens to your team, you have an obligation to speak out as well,” Bush said during the CNBC interview.

Shortly after Bush made his remarks, a fifth woman came forward to accuse Moore of making sexual or romantic advances toward her when she was a teenager.

The new accuser, Beverly Young Nelson, said during a news conference in New York that Moore attacked her when she was 16 and he was a prosecutor in Etowah County, Alabama.

Florida Politics has reached out to other statewide running candidates Jack Latvala and Ashley Moody to get their thoughts on what Moore should do. This article will be updated with any future comments.

Personnel note: Chip Case, Foyt Ralston start Capitol Advocates

Veteran lobbyists Chip Case and Foyt Ralston have formed a new firm, Capitol Advocates, to represent clients before the Legislature, executive branch agencies, and in Washington, according to a news release. 

“In today’s political climate, clients need advocates in the Capitol who have the expertise to work with policymakers in all branches of government, and who can help them achieve their legislative priorities,” Case said. “We are excited about the access and expertise our team of political veterans is going to bring together for our clients.”

Ralston added, “Our combined experience in both the public and private sector not only gives clients unparalleled access to lawmakers but helps them successfully navigate various local, state and federal branches of government.”

Here’s the rest of the release:

Capitol Advocates represents a variety of business and non-profit clients from throughout the state of Florida in addition to providing crisis communications and political guidance to corporate and political organizations.

For more than 20 years, Case has been involved in state government and politics … He has held nearly every role in state government from legislative assistant to chief of staff.  

From 2004-06 he served as Deputy Chief of Staff to House Speaker Allan Bense, where his responsibilities included external affairs, policy development on Medicaid reform, tort Rrform, and transportation, as well as the coordination of all statutory appointments for the Speaker.

Case also has served as one of the state’s leading strategists and fundraisers to various successful election and re-election campaigns for some of the state’s top governmental officials for the last two decades. Upon his re-election to a second term, Case served on the transition team for Gov. Jeb Bush.

In 2006, Case returned to the Republican Party of Florida, where he became Chief of Staff for House campaigns. He was responsible for recruiting candidates, directing strategy and media outreach, fundraising, and managing a $14 million budget for the 2008 cycle.

That year, the Republican Party’s House campaign successfully maintained 76 State House seats for Republicans—the same year that President Obama won Florida and Democrats were expected to make significant gains at the state level.

Ralston has more than 20 years of experience in government relations in the public and private sectors and brings a wealth of knowledge to the firm.

His past professional experiences include serving as Florida’s chief information officer and as chief of staff of the State Technology Office. In this leadership position, Ralston helped create reforms affecting the conduct of business by government and private industry.

Prior to working with the State of Florida executive branch, Ralston was staff director for the Florida Senate Majority Office. He has also served in numerous leadership positions with local and state campaigns as well as with several congressional campaigns.

In the private sector, Ralston has represented various local city and county governments as well as taxing districts. He has represented a variety of clients with diverse issues including information technology, energy, manufacturing, tort reform, public finance, environmental regulation, agriculture, insurance, regulated industries, special taxing districts, healthcare and telecommunications.

Supreme Court brings new meaning to ‘oral arguments’

What a year we’re having in Florida’s capital city. Just not in a good way.

In April, we had the sad spectacle of Miami Republican Sen. Frank Artiles resigning from the Senate after uttering racial slurs in the direction of Jacksonville Democrat Audrey Gibson. Less than two weeks ago, incoming Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Clemens resigned after admitting an affair with a lobbyist.

Now, we have six women alleging misconduct on the part of powerful Republican Sen. Jack Latvala, a candidate for governor. At the same time, another potentially big story, this one involving the Florida Supreme Court, is almost being ignored.

A few days ago Florida Politics’ Jim Rosica was at the Florida Supreme Court to hear arguments on the case involving whether Gov. Rick Scott has the authority to appoint three justices to the Supreme Court the day before he leaves office in January, 2019.

The lawsuit seeks to force Scott to prove he has the authority to fill the seats currently occupied by Justices Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince, who all must retire due to constitutionally-imposed age restrictions. Something weird, or suspicious – choose the word – occurred after oral arguments.

Rosica reported Pariente and Chief Justice Jorge Labarga could be heard on a hot mic, where Labarga says “Izzy Reyes is on there. He’ll listen to me.” Listen to you about what?

“There” is the Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission, which recommends names to fill Supreme Court vacancies, from which the governor selects.

Israel U. Reyes from Miami-Dade is one of those members. Before Reyes’ name came up, Labarga can be heard uttering “Panuccio,” and Pariente shortly thereafter was picked up saying “crazy.”

Jesse Panuccio, former head of the Department of Economic Opportunity, is also a JNC member.

Was this discussion about trying to influence the nominating process? It doesn’t look, or sound, good. Jason Unger, Chairman of the JNC, filed a public records request to try and get to the bottom of it.

Another piece of intrigue developed the following day. After the Florida Channel removed the portion that included the exchange from their website, Unger sought, and received the clip.

Jason Gonzalez, a former general counsel for Gov. Charlie Crist, posted the video only to be told to take it down by the Florida Channel. To the surprise of no one who knows Gonzalez, he refused (citing the Fair Use Doctrine) and it is now part of the YouTube universe.

On Wednesday, the Tampa Bay Times reported Scott asked for documents and a copy of the recording. The request was made through his general counsel, Daniel Nordby, who is arguing the appointments case before the Court. Nordby is also a member of the 9-person JNC.

Capital watchers will recall 1998, when the outgoing and incoming governor faced a similar quandary with the impending retirement of Justice Ben Overton. Both Lawton Chiles and Jeb Bush claimed authority to make the appointment, but the two agreed to both interview the candidates and decide on a nominee.

Quince was the choice and now she is part of the other end of the process.

The court will make a decision in the coming weeks, making future Chiles/Bush-type agreements no longer possible or necessary. Before they decide, calls by Republicans for Pariente and Labarga to step aside are likely to grow.

If nothing else, this budding controversy brought an all new meaning to the term “oral arguments.”

Ashley Moody’s Democratic past may raise questions in GOP primary for AG

Retired Hillsborough County Judge Ashley Moody, by many reckonings, is the front-runner in the Republican primary for Attorney General.

And with that front-runner status comes front-runner scrutiny — including Moody’s past as a registered Democrat … something that may not play well with the GOP die-hards who will vote in the primary next year.

Moody’s father James was appointed to a federal judgeship in 2000 — by Democratic President Bill Clinton,

Though this in itself is not dispositive, Moody has been registered as a Democrat in the past — as her 1993 voter registration form indicates.

Moody wasn’t a Democrat for long. She flipped voter registration to become a student representative to the Florida University System Board of Regents.

However, in that role, she showed a willingness to consider Democratic arguments that ran counter to Gov. Jeb Bush and his One Florida Initiative, which sought to end race-based criteria for admission to college.

Moody was on the losing end of an 11 to 3 vote that upheld Bush’s initiative, per the Florida Times-Union, lining up with Democrats like Rep. Corrine Brown against Bush’s reform measure.

While it is by no means certain that Brown will endorse in the GOP primary for Attorney General, what is very likely is that Moody’s primary opponents will capitalize on the alignment between Moody and the former Congresswoman and future convict.

Moody wasn’t finished bucking Jeb Bush; in the 2002 Gubernatorial race, Moody contributed $100 to the campaign of Democrat Bill McBride — another move that GOP supervoters are likely to find objectionable.

In addition to voting like a Democrat and donating like a Democrat, Moody also wrote speeches like — and for — a Democrat.

As her campaign website asserts, Moody was an assistant to then-American Bar Association President Martha Barnett.

Barnett is historically aligned with the 2016 Democratic Presidential nominee, including describing herself as being “honored” by Clinton at one point, and “serving alongside” Clinton on a panel.

It is only a matter of time before Barnett’s speeches and publications attract scrutiny, as Moody’s opponents use those writings to define the candidate.

Notable: months after taking office, President George W. Bush stopped the long-standing federal practice of consulting the ABA on judicial nominees, per CBS News.

Though liberal stalwarts such as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and advocacy groups like People for the American Way bristled, it was clear that the Republicans in the Bush Administration saw the ABA as interested in politicizing the judiciary.

“The question is whether the ABA should play a unique, quasi-official role and then have its voice heard before and above all others. We do not think that kind of preferential arrangement is either appropriate or fair,” wrote a White House counsel in 2001.

Martha Barnett has put her money where her mouth — and writings are — with big-dollar donations to Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Al Gore, John Kerry, Charlie Crist, Bill Nelson, Alex Sink, and reproductive rights group Emily’s List.

Barnett doesn’t just give to Democrats though; she has also donated to Moody.

With two other candidates in the Attorney General race tacking to Moody’s right, it’s inevitable that this information will factor into the race to define Moody.

She is going to have to counter a perception — based on historic associations — that she’s not a good fit for the Republican Party.

With over a million dollars banked as of the end of September, she is in a position to make that argument.

But will GOP voters buy the argument that a ghostwriter for one of the leading liberal lawyers in the country will carry their conservative values forward for four years?

That’s the existential question that the Moody campaign now faces.

One final shot: as is widely known, Moody once was on the plaintiff side of a lawsuit against President Donald Trump‘s private company,  charging fraud regarding a failed development project.

While POLITICO reports that Moody now supports Trump and his agenda, the question going into 2018 is whether Republican voters can believe her.

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