Jeb Bush Archives - Page 6 of 147 - Florida Politics

Marco Rubio to campaign with Mike Pence, while keeping distance from Donald Trump

Marco Rubio is agreeing to appear with Republican vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence, even as the Florida senator and former presidential candidate keeps his distance from Donald Trump.

ABC News reports that, after several phone conversations, Pence and Rubio could begin campaigning in Florida within the next few weeks. After ending his presidential bid, Rubio is currently seeking re-election to the U.S. Senate.

A statement from the Rubio campaign says that although “Marco has tremendous respect and admiration for Gov. Pence,” no joint events are “scheduled at this time.”

Rubio’s agreement with Pence is seen as the latest move by Republicans to attempt to improve relations with the party’s presidential nominee. Pence recently met with both John McCain and Jeb Bush privately, and had contacted former presidential candidates John Kasich and Ted Cruz.

During the Republican primary, Trump and Rubio clashed on several occasions, most notably when Trump called the senator “Little Marco” and Rubio responding by mocking the New York billionaire’s “small hands.”

However, after solidly losing the Florida primary to Trump, Rubio said he would continue to back the Republican nominee, but later saying he doubted Trump could be trusted with the nuclear codes. Rubio refused to back down from his earlier comments, saying Trump was a “con man.”

“I’ve stood by everything I ever said in my campaign,” Rubio told the Miami Herald.

If re-elected to the Senate, Rubio said he could help keep Trump in check.

Rubio also told reporters he would not be making personal appearances with Trump.

“Not that I’m looking to undermine him,” Rubio said in an interview with CNN in June. “But I think the differences between us on key issues are so significant that I don’t plan …. I’ve got to run my own race.”

According to the latest NBC/WSJ/Marist poll, Democrat Hillary Clinton leads Trump in Florida 44 to 39 percent.

Adam Putnam endorses David Jolly in CD 13

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is throwing his support behind Rep. David Jolly.

Putnam has endorsed Jolly in Florida’s 13th Congressional District. The endorsement comes just two weeks ahead of the Aug. 30 primary.

“David Jolly has a proven record of putting people before politics and his community’s interests before Washington’s,” said Putnam in a statement.

Putnam knows a thing or two about serving in Congress. He spent 10 years representing Florida’s 12th Congressional District, stepping down in 2010 to run for agriculture commissioner. A lifelong Floridian, Putnam is widely believed to be gearing up for a 2018 gubernatorial bid.

“It’s an honor to have Commissioner Putnam’s support,” said Jolly in a statement. “He’s one of Florida’s greatest leaders, committed always to economic growth and individual liberty — a free market constitutionalist whose support is a true honor.”

While most of the focus has been on the likely match-up between Jolly and Democrat Charlie Crist in November, Jolly does have a primary challenger.

Jolly faces Mark Bircher in the Aug. 30 primary. The race marks the second time Bircher and Jolly will face off in a Republican primary. Bircher finished third behind Jolly and Kathleen Peters in special Republican primary in January 2014.

But Bircher faces an uphill battle in his quest to unseat Jolly. The Indian Shores Republican has received the backing of establishment Republicans, including former Gov. Jeb Bush and Rep. Vern Buchanan, the chairman of the Florida congressional delegation.

“David has demonstrated he has the capability to break through the dysfunction in Washington,” said Putnam. “He is without a doubt the right man for the job.”

Report: Mike Pence, Jeb Bush met in South Florida this week

Mike Pence — middleman?

Reports say the GOP vice-presidential candidate met with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in Coral Gables Friday, as part of a series of meetings intended to salvage party unity among those maligned by Trump on the road to the nomination.

The meeting, at Bush’s office at the Biltmore Hotel, was intended to mend fences between Bush, who was excoriated by Donald Trump throughout the Republican primaries.

When Pence was selected as Trump’s running mate in June, Bush described Pence as a “good man” who would “add value to the ticket.”

Beyond the Pence pick, Bush has been less than rousingly supportive of the Republican ticket, floating the idea of voting for Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson earlier this summer.

Resistance runs through Bush’s inner circle as well: Sally Bradshaw, a senior adviser to Bush during his presidential campaign, left the GOP in despair over the presidential nominee, calling Trump a “total narcissist — a misogynist — a bigot.”

During his presidential run, Bush’s slogan was “Jeb can fix it.” In light of his role, the GOP slogan for the VP candidate may need to be “Can Mike fix this?”

Mitch Perry Report for 8.8.16 — Will Rubio’s stance on abortion be fodder in U.S. Senate race?

When he was running for president, Marco Rubio‘s stance on abortion was an issue noted not just by Democrats as being too extreme, but some Republicans as well. Rubio is opposed to abortion in all cases except to save the life of the mother.

“I’m pro-life. The most tragic thing in the world is for a woman to be raped, a child, a pregnancy caused by rape. I’m very pro-life, (but) I can’t go there, I can’t tell that woman you gotta carry that child,” said South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. “I’m very pro-life, that’s a sensitive issue, but I think in a general election that will be a hard sell.”

“Politically, it’s a tough sell to tell a pro-life mother — had her daughter been raped — that she would just have to accept that as a sad fact,” said Jeb Bush. “This is not an easy decision, but Marco will have to explain that position.”

On Saturday, Rubio’s stance again became a story when he said in Miami that he doesn’t believe a pregnant woman infected with the Zika virus should have the right to an abortion — even if she had reason to believe the child would be born with severe microcephaly.

“I understand a lot of people disagree with my view — but I believe that all human life is worthy of protection of our laws,” the senator and former 2016 hopeful said in an interview with POLITICO. “And when you present it in the context of Zika or any prenatal condition, it’s a difficult question and a hard one. But if I’m going to err, I’m going to err on the side of life.”

“This is shocking,” responded South Florida Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy in a statement to supporters Sunday. “Zika is most dangerous for women who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant, yet Marco Rubio still opposes a woman’s right to make her own health decisions.”

Murphy is likely to advance later this month in the race for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. If it becomes a Murphy-Rubio matchup, look for abortion rights to be an issue Murphy will press on. Whether the race should focus on a specific issue like that, the politics work for Murphy, considering he can use the quotes of Republicans like Bush and Graham in ads to indicate that Rubio is out of the mainstream of Florida voters on this issue.

In other news…

Hillary Clinton returns to the Tampa Bay area this afternoon, giving a speech on the economy at the Coliseum in St. Petersburg. Her visit comes just two-and-a-half weeks after she spoke in Tampa, hours before she named Tim Kaine to be her running mate.

The three Democrats vying to succeed Ed Narain as the representative in Florida’s House District 61 seat debated on Friday at the Tampa Tiger Bay Club.

And apologies to those who received an unusual email from me on Friday afternoon — I opened an an attachment in my own email account, which not only closed out my gmail account for two days (I finally got back online yesterday afternoon), but sent this email with a deadly virus to everyone in my inbox. The internet is a dangerous place, sometimes.

Florida Republicans disagree with Donald Trump, but still back him

Top Florida Republicans are distancing themselves from GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump‘s comments about an American Muslim family whose son was killed in Iraq.

But so far, none of the top elected Republicans in the state have dropped their support of Trump, or even criticized him as sharply as some other Republicans have in the last few days.

Still, there are signs of growing discomfort even among some of his most ardent supporters.

Right now it’s not clear if any prominent Florida Republicans plan to join him when Trump does a campaign swing through Florida on Wednesday. Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who spoke at the Republican National Convention, is hosting events in the Panhandle, including a meeting to discuss battling the Zika virus.

“It’s hard,” said Jeff Atwater, the state’s chief financial officer and one of three statewide elected officials on the Florida Cabinet. “Because I don’t appreciate this kind of tone, rhetoric and commentary that he’s offering.”

Trump has been feuding for days with Khizr and Ghazala Khan, a Muslim family whose son, Capt. Humayun Khan, was killed in 2004. At last week’s Democratic National Convention, Khizr Khan criticized Trump’s call to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States and accused Trump of sacrificing “nothing and no one.”

In response, Trump said he was “viciously attacked” by Khizr Khan and implied that Ghazala Khan, the soldier’s mother, stood silently alongside her husband during the speech because, as a Muslim, she was restricted her from speaking. The comments have drawn rebukes from both Democrats and Republicans such as U.S. Sen. John McCain, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization called them “out of bounds.”

Attorney General Pam Bondi, who endorsed Trump before the March presidential primary, called Capt. Khan an “American hero” and added: “Would I have ever said anything about his mother standing up their silent, not saying anything? Absolutely not.”

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam echoed Bondi’s comments about Khan and said “any comments to the contrary are dishonorable and abhorrent.”

The cautious reaction by some of Florida’s top GOP elected officials is a contrast to people such as former Gov. Jeb Bush, who has refused to endorse Trump. Sally Bradshaw, a north Florida resident and one of Bush’s top political advisers, recently changed parties and said this week that she may vote for Hillary Clinton if the election is close.

Scott, who recently agreed to become chairman of a super PAC backing Trump, as well as all three Cabinet members said they still intend to vote for Trump. Atwater, citing the investigation into Clinton’s emails, said Trump was the “better candidate.”

Scott, who served in the U.S. Navy, would not comment directly on Trump’s comments and instead said Tuesday that “I’m never going to agree with every candidate on what they are going to say.” He praised Trump as someone “who believes in our military.”

When asked if Trump should apologize, as Scott said: “You can talk to Donald Trump. I just can tell you from my standpoint I’m [appreciative] of everybody that served.”

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Sally Bradshaw’s bolt from GOP a sign of Donald Trump’s impact on party

Less than four years ago, the Republican Party tapped a few respected party officials to help the GOP find its way forward. This week, one of them says she’s leaving the party — driven out by Donald Trump.

While not a household name, Sally Bradshaw‘s decision to leave the GOP rocked those who make politics their profession. The longtime aide to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was one of the five senior Republican strategists tasked with identifying the party’s shortcomings and recommending ways it could win the White House after its losing 2012 presidential campaign.

Now, she says, she’ll vote for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton if the race in her home state of Florida appears close come Election Day.

“Sally is representative of an important segment of our party, and that is college-educated women, where Donald Trump is losing by disastrous margins,” said Ari Fleischer, who worked with Bradshaw on the GOP project and was a senior adviser to President George W. Bush. “Trump has moved in exactly the opposite direction from our recommendations on how to make the party more inclusive.”

Fleischer still supports Trump over Clinton. But Bradshaw is among a group of top Republican operatives, messengers, national committee members and donors who continue to decry Trump’s tactics, highlighting almost daily — with three months until Election Day — the rifts created by the billionaire and his takeover of the party.

This past weekend, the billionaire industrialist Charles Koch (coke) told hundreds of donors that make up his political network that Trump does not embrace, nor will he fight for, free market principles.

That’s one reason Koch‘s network, which has the deepest pockets in conservative politics, is ignoring the presidential contest this year and focusing its fundraising wealth on races for Congress. Donors and elected officials gathering at a Koch event in Colorado said they accepted the Koch brothers’ decision, even if it hurts the GOP’s White House chances.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, among the high-profile Republicans on hand, refused to endorse Trump and referenced now defunct political parties, such as the Whigs, when asked about the health of the modern-day GOP.

“The party is not really what matters. It’s the principles,” Bevin told The Associated Press.

Another of those in attendance, House Speaker Paul Ryan, didn’t even mention his party’s presidential nominee during his speech to the group. Yet he referenced an election he called “personality contest” devoid of specific goals or principles.

Liberals and those on the political left are hardly fully united around Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, whose convention was interrupted on occasion by supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

But after beating Sanders in the primaries, Clinton took steps to win over Sanders and his supporters — including agreeing to changes to the party’s platform. Trump has shown little such inclination, pushing ahead instead with the approach and policy proposals that proved successful in the GOP primary.

Among the key recommendations of the post-2014 report that Bradshaw helped write was for the party to be more inclusive to racial and ethnic minorities, specifically Latino voters. One of Trump’s defining policies is his call to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico, and forcibly deport the millions of people — many of whom are Hispanic — living in the country illegally.

Bradshaw told The Associated Press her decision to change her voter registration in her home state of Florida was “a personal decision,” with the tipping point being Trump’s criticism of the Muslim mother of a U.S. soldier killed in Iraq in 2004. In an email to CNN, Bradshaw wrote that the GOP was “at a crossroads and have nominated a total narcissist — a misogynist — a bigot.”

Her decision to leave the party isn’t “a good sign, given the role she’s played at the national level with the RNC and the high esteem in which she’s held,” said Virginia Republican Chris Jankowski, among the nation’s leading GOP legislative campaign strategists.

Another member of the panel that examined Mitt Romney‘s 2012 loss is Henry Barbour, a Republican National Committee member from Mississippi.

In a message to the AP, he joined the many Republicans who called on Trump to apologize to the family of the late Capt. Humayun Khan, a suggestion the billionaire has rejected to date.

Like Fleischer, he does not plan to follow Bradshaw out of the party, but insisted that Trump must work harder to unify it.

“If we are to gain anything by this, Donald Trump must show he wants to unite Americans so he can win in November and the best way to do this would be to apologize,” Barbour said. “There’s no excuse, particularly for his comments about Mrs. Khan.”

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Report: Sally Bradshaw says she may vote for Hillary Clinton

A prominent Jeb Bush aide has said she might vote for Hillary Clinton come November.

Sally Bradshaw told CNN Monday she has left the Republican Party to become an independent. Bradshaw, a close adviser to Bush, also said if the presidential race in Florida is close, she will vote for Clinton come Election Day.

“This election cycle is a test,” she told CNN. “As much as I don’t want another four years of (President Barack) Obama‘s policies, I can’t look my children in the eye and tell them I voted for Donald Trump. I can’t tell them to love their neighbor and treat others the way they wanted to be treated, and then vote for Donald Trump. I won’t do it.”

Bradshaw is a longtime Bush family supporter, working first on George H.W. Bush’s 1988 presidential campaign. She remained close with the family, and has served Jeb Bush in several capacities over the years, including a significant role in his 2016 presidential bid.

Her comments come as Trump criticizes the family of a Muslim soldier killed in action in Iraq in 2004. Bradshaw told CNN that Trump’s remarks were despicable.

Bradshaw told CNN she had been considering switching her voter registration for a while, but Trump’s recent comments solidified her decision. She said she had worked hard to make the party “a place where all would feel welcome,” but Trump has taken the GOP in a different direction.

While she told CNN she wasn’t sure who she would vote for in November, she said if the race in Florida is close she “will vote for Hillary Clinton.” She said she disagrees with her on several issues, but the country is at a crossroads and “this is a time when country has to take priority over political parties.”

Mitch Perry Report for 7.21.16 — Ted Cruz’s courage

One of the biggest surprises of how the Republican primary season played out to this reporter was how successful Ted Cruz was. When you looked at the panoply of candidates who had serious potential to go all the way in 2016, he was never at the front of my list (neither, of course, was Donald Trump).

But Cruz emerged over the much more hyped Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, et al. He’s a true believer, what Paul Ryan likes to call a “movement conservative.”

Trump is definitely not, which is one reason why the Republican Party as a whole has never, and will never, completely embrace the NYC business mogul.

Cruz is very conservative — too conservative to lead the country, some might suspect. Trump is not as conservative, which is why he could very well defeat Hillary Clinton this fall.

So while I suppose I sort of guess I understand the anger expressed by Republicans toward Cruz last night at the RNC for failing to endorse Trump, I sort of don’t. There was not one report from anyone beforehand that Cruz was going to endorse. Not one. Trump certainly knew that when he allowed Cruz to speak at his convention.

I actually think it was courageous of the Texas Senator to stick to his principles, and have the audacity to do so in front of thousands in the Q and millions worldwide.

Rubio has been all over the place in terms of whether he’d support Trump or not. He ended going halfway, sending an incredibly brief video saying Republicans should back Trump (Interesting, by the way, that Rubio is conducting a statewide campaign tour this week — a tour that could have been planned for next week, but gives him the cover that he’s too busy campaigning to actually travel to Cleveland).

True, Bush and John Kasich, two other major Republicans who don’t support Trump, have made sure to far, far war from the convention hall. But this is Ted Cruz, folks. There’s a reason he’s the most loathed member of the senate.

They say he (and Rubio) are already running for 2020. Some say he’s thrown that all away after last night. I’m not so sure.

It was Florida night on the stage Wednesday, with Rubio, Rick Scott and Pam Bondi getting airtime. Actually, Bondi’s speech wasn’t carried by any of the cable networks, but was captured in its entirety on C-SPAN. Including the part where she seemed to enjoy the refrain of the week regarding Hillary: “Lock her up.”

Meanwhile, if you want to watch the final night of the RNC with a group of Republicans, the Hillsborough County REC hosts a gathering at a South Tampa craft brewery.

In other news …

Hillary Clinton speaks at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa in the second of three Florida appearances before heading to Philadelphia to receive the presidential nomination for the Democratic Party.

The Hillsborough County Commission actually hung the Gay Pride flag from their building in tribute to the fallen victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando last month, but don’t expect them to ever do that again.

We finally heard back from the head of the Tampa Firefighters Union regarding their endorsement of Luis Veira. Steve Suarez says Veira received their endorsement because he was the only one who asked, and he had no interest in the other candidates running.

Mark Kelly & Gabby Giffords‘ super PAC on gun safety is backing Patrick Murphy for senate. Neither Kelly or Murphy had much to say positive about Rubio’s record on guns.

Eric Lynn & Ben Diamond announce more endorsements in their HD 68 race.

Joe Henderson: With Donald Trump, perhaps the beginning of a movement

When Donald Trump formally announced his intention to run for president, comedians everywhere fell to their knees in praise for the heaven-sent gift of a nonstop laugh track.

That was one year, one month and two days ago when no one seriously entertained the notion of Trump heading to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland as the presumptive nominee. But here he is, about to formally accept the GOP nomination.

He accomplished this by defying everything anyone thought they knew about big-time politics. At times it seemed he was running for president of his middle-school class instead of the most powerful office in the world.

He ran on a platform of insults, bullying and name-calling. He ignored fact-checkers. Bad manners didn’t stop him. Condemnation from some world leaders bounced off his hide like BB’s against a battleship. He could not be shamed.

Trump did it without a super PAC and without the support of most mainline Republican leaders. He wouldn’t even release his income tax records, which raises questions whether he is as “really rich” as he claims to be.

The GOP establishment didn’t realize until it was too late that its disgust toward Trump helped propel him. Millions of his supporters don’t give a hoot about any of the traditional things that are supposed to be the bedrock for national campaigns.

This is a populist revolution, and its champion is a twice-divorced, often-sued tycoon with four bankruptcies.

Many Republican members of Congress will skip the festivities in Cleveland, but his supporters won’t care.

Several large corporations have either backed out completely or greatly reduced their commitment to the convention, now that Trump will be the nominee. It forced organizers to plead with billionaire conservative Sheldon Adelson for a $6 million check to cover Cleveland’s expected shortfall for expenses.

These conventions are supposed to be heavily scripted celebratory rollouts with an eye toward the White House. Instead, the stage is set for the formal collapse of the Republican Party as we know it.

Perhaps we are even seeing a movement that will lead to the creation of a viable third party going forward. If Trump loses in November, it’s hard to see his most fervent supporters willingly returning to a party they no longer believe cares about them.

The reverse is true if Trump wins, though. Those who have been the mainstay of the GOP now look with dismay at what has been wrought by the barbarians at the gate. It’s unsure how many would want to be part of that going forward.

In an op-ed in The Washington Post, former Florida governor and failed presidential candidate Jeb Bush wrote, “Call it a tipping point, a time of choosing or testing. Whatever you call it, it is clear that this election will have far-reaching consequences for both the Republican Party and our exceptional country.

“While he has no doubt tapped into the anxiety so prevalent in the United States today, I do not believe Donald Trump reflects the principles or inclusive legacy of the Republican Party. And I sincerely hope he doesn’t represent its future.”

Trump represents the immediate future; that much is sure. Whether enough Americans buy into his malarkey to make him president is uncertain, but win or lose, Trump gave voice to those who see politics as benefiting everyone but them.

Whatever happens with Trump in charge, they figure, would have to be an improvement.

Mitch Perry Report for 7.13.16 — Conservatism is still running strong, Jeb Bush insists

Jeb Bush says whatever you want to call Donald Trump, don’t call him a conservative.

“Conservatism is temporarily dead,” the former Florida governor told Nicolle Wallace on an MSNBC special that aired Monday night. “I mean, if you look at it, we have two candidates. Donald Trump is barely a Republican. He’s certainly not a conservative.”

Bush makes the point, however, that while that might not matter much in the presidential sweepstakes, conservatism is still powerful across the country.

“I mean, the — the conservative cause isn’t just about the, you know, a presidential race. It’s about core beliefs that, if implemented properly, will lead people to a better life. And so I think outside of the hot presidential campaign, this message still resonates and it’s still important. It certainly resonates around the country.”

As has been well documented, Republicans have won a ton of elections since President Obama won office in 2008, with Democrats in control of the House and Senate. In the states, Republicans have won 900 legislative seats since ’08, and there more governors with an “R” next to their name than a “D.”

Let’s look at Florida, for example, where Republicans have dominated in the Legislature for two decades now (I had to laugh at loud when Mr. Conventional Wisdom, Mark Halperin, in trying to explain why Donald Trump is now leading Hillary Clinton in a new poll out this morning, said Florida “has been trending red RECENTLY.” Say What??)

Bush says he now understands where the GOP primary electorate is at: they’re pissed off, essentially.

“I think the difference is people don’t believe anything anybody says anymore … in politics. I don’t know if they even heard what I said. That’s the point. They — they— they didn’t — they wanted their voice heard. They still do. They’re angry for legitimate reasons. They latched onto the big horse. All of which is logical to me in retrospect. In the midst of it, it wasn’t very logical. I mean,” he said.

Nearly five months after dropping out after finishing a disappointing fourth in South Carolina, Bush now says he’s not sure he could have done anything to change the outcome. “There is some weird solace in that, I guess that I don’t have to think about it that much. … Looking back on it, I’m not sure what I could’ve done. Having a conservative record, offering conservative solutions, hopefully giving people a sense that I could’ve done the job wasn’t — wasn’t enough. And it may not have ever been enough, given the circumstances.”

Bush says he can’t vote for Trump, nor Clinton. What about the Libertarian ticket of former GOP governors Gary Johnson and William Weld? “Well, I don’t know, ” he said. “They don’t get a lot of airtime yet.”

That ticket is getting in the high single digits in some polls, though Johnson won’t be invited into the presidential debates until he hits 15 percent in the polls, which seems doubtful, but who knows?

In other news…

Elected officials, religious figures and law enforcement officers attended a press conference at City Hall in Tampa yesterday to discuss the tensions that exist between the police and the black community. No fewer than three of the public speakers all spoke about getting pulled over by local law enforcement recently.

Manatee County lawyer and activist C.J. Czaia is among the candidates vying to win the House District 70 seat being vacated this fall by Darryl Rouson.

And Brian Willis won an important endorsement in his bid to win the Hillsborough County Commission District 6 seat.

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