Marco Rubio Archives - Florida Politics

Personnel note: Jose Oliva names Carol Gormley as chief of staff

Carol Gormley, a veteran legislative staffer, will be chief of staff to incoming House Speaker Jose Oliva, according to an email sent to members by the Speaker’s Office on Wednesday.

Gormley is a highly-regarded health care policy expert who has worked for both Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.

She’s not a household name outside of Tallahassee, but Gormley is regarded as one of the most influential legislative bureaucrats in the Capitol.

As a House staff director, she has played an influential role in health issues such as Medicaid.

In 2012, she jumped to the Senate to be a senior policy advisor to then-Senate President Don Gaetz. More recently, she was a senior policy staffer to immediate past House Speaker Richard Corcoran.

The news upends conventional wisdom that Jason Rojas had been on track to be Oliva’s chief of staff when the Miami Lakes Republican takes over as Speaker for 2018-20.

Rojas, who also has been a House staff director, moved to the Republican Party of Florida last year to serve in a policy development role that was considered a stepping stone to the Speaker’s Office.

Marco Rubio dials down tone in official comment on Florida recount

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has waded into partisan waters increasingly during Florida’s triple recount, as one might expect from one of Florida’s leading Republicans.

However, it wasn’t until Wednesday morning that he offered comment from his official perch.

“I’m not against the recount. A recount is mandated by law and should happen. The recount should happen, and every legal vote should be counted, but what we should not see happen here is that somehow lawyers are able to find federal judges that change Florida election law after the election, go in and basically order the state of Florida to ignore its own laws,” Rubio said.

“You cannot change the rules of the game after the game in order to win, because that would be stealing an election and that would be unacceptable,” Rubio added.

Substantially, this is what Rubio has been saying all along. There was even a tweet for the game metaphor.

In terms of tone, however, Rubio shows a moderation in his official persona that he has not exhibited in media appearances, including television and social media.

On Twitter Tuesday, Rubio channeled his inner Donald Trump, as he bemoaned “incompetent law breaking election officials lead to chance for lawyers to steal an election” and warned of a “potentially deliberate effort to delay final count” in Broward and Palm Beach Counties.

Linking to an article from the New York Times that disparaged the Republican posture in the recount, Rubio lambasted “Left wing commentators” who “have no shame just making things up.”

In a press conference organized last week by the Rick Scott campaign, Rubio struck a similar tone of conspiracy.

“I’m concerned about everything, because when you don’t even know how many ballots are there, and they refuse to tell you how many ballots they have, or how many ballots need to be counted, or when they came, you have to be concerned about the whole thing,” Rubio said Friday. “You have to be, given what we have seen in the past. So I’m concerned about the whole thing. Absolutely.”

Marco Rubio: Democratic lawyers working to ‘steal election’ in Florida

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio was back on Twitter Tuesday, sounding the alarm about a potentially stolen election in South Florida.

“Incompetent law breaking election officials lead to chance for lawyers to steal an election Dem lawyers aren’t here to make sure every vote is counted. They’re here to get as many votes for their client as possible counted & get as many votes for opponent as possible thrown out,” Rubio tweeted shortly after noon Tuesday.

& are headed towards being only counties to not make deadline for machine recount Potentially deliberate effort to delay final count hoping a judge will order domestic vote by mail received after 7pm counted, in violation of state law,” Rubio added.

Rubio has aggressively messaged the Republican position in the ongoing recount drama, sounding similar concerns last week.

“Florida law requires counties report early voting and vote-by-mail within 30 minutes after polls close,” he wrote on Twitter. “Forty-three hours after polls closed two Democrat strongholds Broward County and Palm Beach County are still counting and refusing to disclose how many ballots they have left to count.”

While the race for Governor between Ron DeSantis and Andrew Gillum sees a 0.41 percent spread as the machine recount progresses, the race for Senate is much closer (a 0.15 percent spread) between incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

With an undervote in play in Broward County, the nation’s eyes will be on whether it can meet the Thursday at 3 p.m. deadline for results.

Rubio is skeptical.

Despite skepticism from many corners, Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes claims that the deadline will be satisfied.

Ted Deutch: Every vote should count.

Count every vote. Why is that such a troubling goal for Gov. Rick Scott, Sen. Marco Rubio, and President Donald Trump?

As the margins narrowed in the U.S. Senate, Florida Governor, and Florida Commissioner of Agriculture races, Republicans responded to a close election by trying to erode confidence in our democratic institutions and prevent Florida voters’ voices from being heard.

Since Election Day, Rubio and Scott have spouted conspiracy theories, requested law enforcement investigations to harass elections officials, and filed lawsuits to cloud the vote counting process in suspicion.

These are acts of desperation and show that Republicans are afraid of what will happen if every Florida vote is counted.

Marco Rubio should remember that he is our U.S. Senator and is supposed to be representing every Floridian. His post-election tweets were irresponsible and are intended to slowly erode confidence in the results.

He baselessly claimed that Democrats “are here to change the results of election,” and that lawyers will “try to steal a seat in the U.S. Senate and Florida Cabinet.”

Sen. Rubio is not telling the truth and offered zero evidence for his conspiracy theories. He portrayed post-election night vote counting as a troubling anomaly. It wasn’t. After the 2016 election, 10 million ballots were counted over the course of 10 days after polls closed nationwide.

This year, five million ballots across the country had yet to be counted by Friday.

In many races, overseas, mail-in, and provisional ballots that are counted and verified after Election Day won’t change the outcome. But in Florida, we have six very close races that deserve to have every vote counted without interference from our Senator.

Sen. Rubio was joined by Gov. Scott who claimed “unethical liberals” are trying to steal the election. He unsuccessfully ordered the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate. In response, an FDLE spokesperson said that they would be willing to investigate credible allegations of fraud, but they hadn’t seen any.

That’s because our own Gov.’s allegations are a farce.

As Sen. Rubio and Gov. Scott could have guessed, President Trump took the bait and joined the fray on Twitter. He tweeted about “Election Fraud in #Broward and Palm Beach” and claimed Florida already chose Rick Scott for Senate. He even closed a Friday afternoon Twitter tirade by thanking Sen. Rubio for “exposing the potential corruption going on.”

But Sen. Rubio hasn’t exposed anything. He’s made baseless conspiracy theories that he knew would be fodder for a president that has used similar false allegations in the past to attack election results.

In 2018, Sen. Rubio amplified a President Trump tactic from 2016. After he lost the popular vote by a historic margin of 3 million votes, President Trump used unfounded voter fraud claims to waste taxpayer resources on a so-called the.

The commission was shut down after states refused to provide it with information that violated voters’ privacy and could have been used in erroneous voter purges like we’ve seen multiple times in Florida.

Sen. Rubio often portrays himself as a responsible and reasonable actor in a political world that has gone mad. Friday afternoon, he tried to dial back his false allegations of fraud by claiming that he just wants information on the state-mandated schedule.

But it’s too late.

Sen. Rubio fueled the president’s conspiracy engine this week in an effort to drive Florida’s election off the rails. We can all hope that the damage he’s caused won’t stop the work Florida’s elections officials are doing as three very close races proceed to automatic recounts that will ensure that every vote is counted.

___

U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch represents Florida’s 22nd Congressional District.

Marco Rubio says Broward County put election integrity on line

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio came to the aid of his fellow Republican Gov. Rick Scott Friday declaring that the vote-counting and transparancy problems at the Broward County Supervisor of Elections office is putting the integrity of Florida’s U.S. Senate election on the line.

Rubio insisted that his concerns were “not about an effort to prevent anyone from counting votes.”

He spent most of his remarks criticising Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes for not being open about why her office is so late in reporting and counting votes that should have been tabulated on Tuesday, and for refusing to tell anyone why, or how many votes are at issue.

Still, Florida’s junior Senator, who stayed out of this year’s election between Scott and Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson until just the past week or so, said the pattern he’s seen of Snipes’ activities, the stories he’s heard about incidents this week, and her refusal to date to provide information leads him to believe that “the whole thing” concerns him. He didn’t explicitly say whether the whole thing includes questioning the validity of any votes in Snipes’ possession, but he did imply it.

“The issue here is why is it taking them so long to count the votes and where are they getting them from?” Rubio said.

Some of that information is expected to be revealed after 7 p.m. if Snipes meets a court order, brought through a lawsuit from Scott’s campaign, to disclose information.

“I’m concerned about everything, because when you don’t even know how many ballots are there, and they refuse to tell you how many ballots they have, or how many ballots need to be counted, or when they came, you have to be concerned about the whole thing,” Rubio said in a press conference organized by Scott’s campaign. “You have to be, given what we have seen in the past. So I’m concerned about the whole thing. Absolutely.”

Rubio was joined by attorney Tim Cerio of GrayRobinson, one of the lawyers working on the Scott campaign, who described incidents he saw of Snipes refusing to turn over ballots to the county’s canvassing board, of voters coming in to vouch for provisional ballots and being given false information, and of refusing to provide information.

Rubio said that after the election is concluded, Snipes should be considered for removal from office, “given the damage she’s done to public credibility to our elections.”

Cerio said Scott is not considering removing Snipes, “at this time.”

“This is a procedural reality,” Rubio said later. “At the end of the day the one thing our country uses to resolve policy disputes are elections. And if people start to doubt that elections are valid and credible, or that there are problems in the way they are processed and handled, then we’ve got big problems.

“This is more than the outcome of the race. This is about public confidence in our election process. Doubts are being driven not by political gamesmanship, but by reality,” Rubio added.

Marco Rubio on recount: Broward, Palm Beach failed to follow law

Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio went on the offensive to complain how Broward and Palm Beach counties elections officials handled early and absentee voting.

This comments came after vote tallies two days after Election Day flipped the Agriculture Commissioner race, tightened a voter gap in the U.S. Senate race and moved the gubernatorial totals into automatic recount range.

“Florida law requires counties report early voting and vote-by-mail within 30 minutes after polls close,” he wrote on Twitter. “Forty-three hours after polls closed two Democrat strongholds Broward County and Palm Beach County are still counting and refusing to disclose how many ballots they have left to count.”

Ironically, he tweeted after an influx of ballots came in from Suwanee County.

As Democrats step up their own efforts to hunt down votes and dispatch election observers to every county in Florida, Rubio digitally guffawed at the drastic vote changes tallied on Thursday afternoon.

He noted the swing in the Agriculture Commissioner contest, where Democrat Nikki Fried now leads Republican Matt Caldwell, whom Rubio endorsed in July.

Rubio said that since 3 a.m. Wednesday, a “slow drip” of votes from the two counties helped cut Gov. Rick Scott‘s lead in the Senate race against Sen. Bill Nelson from around 54,000 to 17,0000.

Importantly, Rubio did not call for officials to stop counting votes.

On Thursday evening, Scott said he has asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate Broward and Palm Beach counties’ Supervisor of Elections, calling them a “rag-tag group of liberal activists.”

“I will not sit idly by while unethical liberals try to steal this election from the great people of Florida,” Scott said during a news conference at the Governor’s Mansion.

Nelson’s campaign has aggressively promised to see a recount process through, promising they are in the recount game “to win.”

Importantly, the state remains in the midst of its first tabulation of votes. Should the margin between candidates in any race remain within 0.5 percent of total votes cast, Florida law calls for an automatic recount. Should the total at that point remain within 0.25 percent, then a manual recount will be triggered.

The Agriculture Commissioner and Senate race both fall within the manual recount margin now.

And today, the gubernatorial election between Republican (and apparent winner) Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum tightened to machine recount margins.

Red Tide Politics: It’s the environment, stupid.

Candidates in Southwest Florida anticipated lengthy debates about Medicaid expansions, gun rights and maybe charter school funding to dominate political discourse this election.

So it seemed illustrative to state Sen. Kathleen Passidomo when a Naples candidate informed contained not one question about health care came up.

“This year,” she said, “it’s all about the water and our quality of life.”

Welcome to red tide politics.

First blue-green algae coursed along the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers following unpopular discharges from Lake Okeechobee. Then red tide struck beaches on Florida’s east and west coasts.

Republican leaders, most especially Gov. Rick Scott, suddenly faced questions over deregulation and the appointment of business leaders instead of scientists on water management district boards in South Florida. The smell of dead fish and the issuance of no-swim advisories turned harmful algal blooms from an academic term to a hot-button issue.

Candidates knocking on doors along both coasts reported the top question, whether politicians ran for the Florida Legislature, county commission or local mosquito board, pertained to red tide.

It seemed quite the shift in conversation after a decade of Tea Party politics in which environmental regulation became anathema to conservative ideology.

Scott’s reported ban on the terms “climate change” and “global warming” seemed suddenly counter-productive. Sen. Marco Rubio, a one-time Tea Party hero, lobbied President Donald Trump’s administration to adjust discharge schedules.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham returned donations from the sugar industry, making Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam the only major candidate running for Florida’s highest office this year to keep money from the environmental boogeyman.

Neither Graham nor Putnam made it out of primary season.

In the general election season, Republicans in once safe seats suddenly faced well-funded opponents. Even when a hurricane seemed to draw red tide back out to sea, Democrats like District 73 House candidate Liv Coleman continued to batter the message home running footage of dead fish just in case voters forgot the sight.

At a Tiger Bay debate in Sarasota, Democrats Tracy Pratt and Tony Mowry hammered Republican opponents Will Robinson and James Buchanan for environmental deregulation under the GOP, even though neither of the conservatives had served in the Legislature and both promised to get tough on polluters.

Republican state Rep. Joe Gruters, a state Senate hopeful this year, held a joint town hall with Democratic state Rep. Margaret Good as both candidates showed their commitment to bipartisan solutions to fixing the environment.

And even in major Republican strongholds like Lee County, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum packed a venue with the promise of taking questions on environmental preservation.

John Capese, Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida’s Southwest Chapter, could be found on the sidelines of that event, excited at the sense of urgency green issues gained during the election cycle.

He wondered if the environment could give life even to longshot Democrats like David Holden, the Democratic challenging U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney in Florida’s 19th Congressional District.

It’s unclear whether Rooney lost much sleep at that prospect, and no major political prognosticators paid any heed to the race. But a couple days after the Gillum town hall, Rooney took the stage at a Trump rally, and the message he sent to voters was about recent funding approval for a new reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee.

Scott raised the same matter at Trump rallies in Pensacola and Fort Myers. But Sen. Bill Nelson barraged airwaves with ads that put the onus on “Red Tide Rick.”

Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis, though, avoided such attacks by making enemies with Big Sugar years ago. One of his strongest days of the general election season, and one that sent Democrats into convulsions, came as he secured the endorsement of the Everglades Trust.

Seeing an environmental group back the GOP candidate certainly seemed off, but only through the prism of politics in the year 2018.

In the not-so-distant past, GOP leaders like Gov. Jeb Bush championed Florida Forever funding. Gov. Claude Kirk campaigned during and after his political career on the promise of saving and restoring Florida’s waterways.

It used to be a given that Florida politicians, regardless of party, would always champion the environment. That seemed to chip away a decade ago when even Bush entertained opening Florida’s shores to oil drilling, once a third rail of Florida politics.

That didn’t last long. The 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster turned once-softening public opinion on petroleum exploration into severe backlash on the idea.

Red tide may once again turn a green platform into a regional requirement for political success in Florida, regardless of hostility between national conservatives and the environmental community.

And in some ways how could that not happen eventually? The Everglades remain a crucial part of Florida’s identity, and beach tourism a critical piece of the state economy.

For all the efforts toward diversification in the economy, manufacturing always faces challenges in the Sunshine State thanks to its limited ground access to most of the continental U.S. In a state surrounded by water on three sides, how long could water quality stay out of headlines and political debates?

Algae just helps twist a famous James Carville truism. He helped President Bill Clinton win the White House asking citizens to make a gut check on whether the economy seemed better than when President George W. Bush took office.

It may take more than pictures of dead fish to lead to many Democratic upsets this evening in safe Republican seats. For many GOP candidates who once expected few questions on the environment had to develop a platform darn quick this year.

In Florida, it’s always the environment stupid.

Ron DeSantis expecting GOP super voters to make the difference on Tuesday

The polls and the voter turnout through the weekend might have a blue tint but Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis is counting on Florida’s Republican super-voters to do what they always do – turn out en masse on Election Day – and make the difference.

“I really believe if we can get people out to vote I will be elected governor on Tuesday,” DeSantis told a crowd of about 150 people gathered in an Orlando pharmacy parkling lot Monday morning.

DeSantis made the comment during a get-out-the-vote rally that featured Republicans U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, Agriculture Commissioner nominee Matt Caldwell, Attorney General nominee Ashley Moody, and congressional nominee Mike Miller, among others. So naturally, the comment was a standard line for such a rally.

Yet an edge in DeSantis’s voice sounded as if he knows it will be needed, as someone trailing by five points in three different polls released Monday morning, and with reports that Democrats had a big voter turnout over the weekend. After his Orlando speech he told reporters that the voter turnout numbers will turn.

“We have a lot of our super voters left to vote. We have hundreds of thousands of voter-advantage in terms of potential voters,” DeSantis said. “Not all the votes have been tabulated from weekend in the Panhandle from earely voting. I think we’re going to go into the election having  rough parity, which we were not anticipating. We thought we’d have to come back.

“We just have a lot of our voters who like to vote on election day,” DeSantis added. “That’s just the way they are. So I think we’re definately going to win election day.”

Considering the star power of three cabinet nominees and Florida’s Republican U.S. Senator appearing at Monday in Orlando the rally drew a modest crowd to a small space. DeSantis’s end game speech included the usual comparisons with his Democratic opponent Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and reminders that Tallahassee is being investigated by the FBI for potential corruption.

Yet DeSantis also put more emphasis Monday on seeking to define the leadership differences, and in reminding the crowd that he has at least a good working relationship with President Donald Trump, if not a mutual-admiration society, while Gillum has called for Trump’s impeachment.

“You also have to someone who is a good leader and can get this stuff done. If you look at transportation, which we obviously need in Central Florida, you should have a governor who can work constructively with the administration in Washington to make sure Florida is getting what it needs for us to be able to fix our infrastructure,” DeSantis said.

“I can do that because I can call the president, I can call key people in the administration, and I can fight for Florida and fight for Florida’s interests,” he continued. “Andrew Gillum wants to impeach Donald Trump.”

Rubio spoke only briefly, mainly warning against a state of high taxes and business regulations that he said Gillum would bring.

“We’re not going backwards,” Rubio said. “We are most certainly not going to become a state like people are leaving. That’s not going to happen.”

Crunch time: Ron DeSantis, Marco Rubio stump to Jacksonville GOP diehards

Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis made his first of five stops Monday morning in Jacksonville with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, in an attempt to drive up election day vote.

The visit was especially pivotal given a Democratic lead statewide in ballots cast, including an almost 13,000 ballot lead in Duval County as of the end of voting Sunday.

In front of an enthusiastic crowd approaching 200 people (if the streaming video was a reliable indicator), Rubio urged voters to keep Florida “moving forward on the right track,” choosing between “big government” and “bureaucrats.”

“He has done his part. Now we have to do ours,” Rubio said.

The candidate said familiar things, including simultaneously trumpeting the economy as the best ever in Florida history while saying that there is plenty of room for improvement.

As he has done at many other stops, he suggested that Democrat Andrew Gillum would raise taxes, buttressing his points in a “non-partisan” economic analysis by the conservative James Madison Institute. He also depicted Gillum as a threat to gun ownership, and said that expanding Medicaid would be “bad for health” and would lead to “rationed care.”

“He doesn’t respect your individual freedom,” DeSantis said, before launching into a familiar litany of Gillum’s infractions, including raising taxes in Tallahassee.

He didn’t miss a chance to give his familiar indictment of Gillum’s dealings with lobbyists, amidst an FBI sting focusing on Tallahassee either. If Governor, DeSantis again vowed to “launch a statewide grand jury” on “municipal corruption.”

Before the headliners, Mrs. Casey DeSantis kicked remarks off to the faithful, essentially paraphrasing well-worn remarks her husband has used on the stump in recent weeks, likewise pillorying Gillum for his proposed tax increases and expansions of the social safety net before offering the capsulized biography of the candidate as devoted to public service above all else.

Lt. Gov. candidate Jeanette Nunez urged voters to say no to the “corruption” and “radical socialist” vision offered by Gillum.

DeSantis’ GOTV tour has urgency. Fresh surveys from St. Pete PollsQuinnipiac, and NBC say that Gillum is up by five to seven points, outside of those polls’ margins of error.

The trio of new polls shows a consistent trend that has had Gillum leading in nearly every survey for more than a month, according to RealClearPolitics, which tracks major polls.

Most polls, but not all, show a strong break of independent voters to Gillum.

While polling can be wrong (as exemplified by the Democratic primary race of 2018), what was clear in Jacksonville was DeSantis was racing against time and poll-demonstrated trends.

Marco Rubio, Lara Trump hitting trail for Ron DeSantis

Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio will spend Monday urging voters to support GOP gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis at events across the state.

Lara Trump, President Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law, also will join the Republican leaders at multiple stops.

Rubio, a former state House Speaker, burst onto the national scene in 2010 with his first run for U.S. Senate, when he rallied conservatives and pushed then-Gov. Charlie Crist out of the Republican primary. Rubio went on to win the Senate seat and re-election in 2016.

Rubio starts the day rallying alongside DeSantis at Bobcat of Jacksonville at 8:30 a.m.

When Rubio won re-election in 2016, he took Duval County by nearly 60,000 votes over Democrat Patrick Murphy.  Republicans hope the second-term U.S. Senator will get voters as excited about the gubernatorial ticket this year.

Rubio and DeSantis then head to Freedom Pharmacy in Orlando to meet with supporters at 11 a.m..

The Republican officials then jet down to Vero Beach, where they will connect with Lara Trump and boost up voters at The Patio Seafood Tavern at 1:30 p.m.

Attendees of “Make America Great Again” rallies will know Lara Trump from video spots played throughout the events. She married Eric Trump, the president’s third oldest child, in 2014 at Mar-A-Lago. From 2012 through 2016, she worked as a story coordinator and producer on Inside Edition.

Lara Trump also joins Rubio and DeSantis at a Pinellas County rally at Quarter Steak & Lube in Clearwater at 4 p.m.

DeSantis and Rubio continue on to one more stop in Fort Walton, at AJ’s Oyster Shanty, at 7 p.m.

The relationship between Rubio and the Trump clan, of course, has been fraught with ups and downs.

Rubio also ran for President in 2016 against Trump in the primary, but dropped out of the race after Trump defeated Rubio here, in his home state of Florida.

After Trump won the White House, Rubio has been a conservative supporter on some issues and a critic on others, particularly regarding foreign relations.

But he and the Trump campaign both want to see the Governor’s Mansion — after eight years of term-limited GOP Gov. Rick Scott — keep a Republican occupant.

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