Nick DiCeglie Archives - Florida Politics

HOA group endorses a score of state legislative candidates

A trade group representing a consortium of community association managers rolled out a list of 20 endorsements for non-incumbent candidates running for state House and state Senate seats.

The Chief Executive Officers of Management Companies represents more than 18,000 licensed, professional community association managers who manage more than 14,000 community associations.

“Dedicated to protecting the quality of life and affordable cost of living for six million Florida homeowners, Florida’s licensed Community Association Managers, and the 14,000 Associations who employ them, understand the importance and necessity of educating our legislators and those who seek to become legislators in Florida,” said CEOMC executive director and lobbyist Mark Anderson.

“With so many incumbents not returning to the legislature next year, we focused most of our attention on candidates running in ‘open’ seats throughout Tampa Bay, Orlando, and South Florida. On behalf of CEOMC, I’m pleased to offer our industry’s support for the following candidates.”

Four Senate candidates, all Republicans, got the nod: Former Clearwater Rep. Ed Hooper, who is running against former Democratic Rep. Amanda Murphy in SD 16; Sarasota Rep. Joe Gruters, who faces Democrat Faith Olivia Babis in SD 23; Hialeah Rep. Manny Diaz, who is being challenged by Democratic nominee David Perez, a former firefighter; and Marili Cancio, who is looking to oust first-term Democratic Sen. Annette Taddeo in SD 40.

The other 16 CEOMC endorsements went to state House candidates, including a dozen Republicans and four Democrats. A quintet of those endorsements went to candidates running in some of the most competitive House races of the 2018 cycle.

Those names include Orlando Democrat Anna Eskamani, who is looking to flip HD 47, the seat vacated due to Republican Rep. Mike Miller’s congressional bid; St. Petersburg Democrat Jennifer Webb earned CEOMC’s seal of approval in HD 69, currently held by exiting GOP Rep. Kathleen Peters; Ocean Ridge Democrat Jim Bonfiglio, who is seeking to succeed term-limited Republican Rep. Bill Hager in HD 89; Republican Chip LaMarca, a Broward County Commissioner running against Emma Collum in HD 93.

Miami Republican Anthony Rodriguez was the only House candidate who got CEOMC’s seal of approval over an incumbent lawmaker. Rodriguez is running against freshman Democratic Rep. Robert Asencio in HD 118.

The full list of CEOMC endorsed candidates:

— HD 28: Republican David Smith

— HD 32: Republican Anthony Sabatini

— HD 37: Republican Ardian Zika

— HD 47: Democrat Anna Eskamani

— HD 57: Republican Mike Beltran

— HD 59: Republican Joe Wicker

— HD 66: Republican Nick DiCeglie

— HD 69: Democrat Jennifer Webb

— HD 71: Republican Will Robinson

— HD 73: Republican Tommy Gregory

— HD 79: Republican Spencer Roach

— HD 89: Democrat Jim Bonfiglio

— HD 93: Republican Chip LaMarca

— HD 98: Democrat Michael Gottlieb

— HD 115: Republican Vance Aloupis

— HD 118: Republican Anthony Rodriguez

— SD 16: Former Republican Rep. Ed Hooper

— SD 23: Republican Rep. Joe Gruters

— SD 36: Republican Rep. Manny Diaz

— SD 40: Republican Marili Cancio

Nick DiCeglie hosting Clearwater fundraiser tonight

Republican businessman and Pinellas GOP chair Nick DiCeglie is holding a fundraiser for his House District 66 campaign this evening in Clearwater.

The event is from 5:30 p.m.at Alfano’s Restaurant, 1702 Clearwater Largo Road N. Those interested in attending can give a last-minute RSVP with Rick Porter or Ivey Rooney at 407-849-1112 or Ivey@PoliticalCapitalFlorida.com.

DiCeglie is running for the seat currently held by termed-out Rep. Larry Ahern, who is also on the event’s nearly 80-person host committee, joined by former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, state Sen. Jeff Brandes and state Reps. Chris Latvala, Chris Sprowls and Kathleen Peters, as well as other leading Republicans.

In the Aug. 28 Republican primary, DiCeglie defeated St. Petersburg attorney Berny Jacques and will face Democrat Alex Hereen Nov. 6.

HD 66 is a safe Republican district. It covers part of western Pinellas County, including Clearwater, Belleair, Indian Rocks Beach and Indian Shores.

The invitation is below.

Nick DiCeglie

Nick DiCeglie cruises past Berny Jacques in HD 66 Republican primary

Belleair Bluffs businessman Nick DiCeglie defeated Seminole lawyer Berny Jacques in Tuesday’s Republican primary for House District 66.

At 7:25 p.m., DiCeglie holds a 60-40 percent lead over Jacques with more than two-thirds of the vote counted.

DiCeglie pumped $125,000 in candidate loans into his bid in the closing weeks of the primary race to surpass Jacques, who had held the fundraising lead throughout most of the race because of his head start.

The money is only one aspect of the race. Both men touted volleys of competing endorsements throughout the hotly contested campaign.

For DiCeglie, he earned the backing of state Rep. Joe Gruters, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Florida Realtors, the Sun Coast Police Benevolent Association, Pinellas County Commissioner Dave Eggers, Pinellas County Clerk Ken Burkeand many others.

Jacques, meanwhile, earned the backing of the Florida Professional Firefighters, the Florida Fraternal Order of Police, the Seminole Professional Firefighters, retired Air Force Col. EJ Otero, Seminole City Councilmember Roger Edelman, former Pinellas County School Board Member Glen Gilzean, and Largo Commissioner and former police chief John Carroll.

Despite a strong fight from Jacques, the writing appeared to be on the wall two weeks ago, when a survey from St. Pete Polls showed DiCeglie with a 44-30 percent lead over Jacques and an even bigger lead among those who voted early.

Now that DiCeglie has secured the Republican nomination to succeed term-limited Rep. Larry Ahern, he can turn his focus toward Democratic nominee Alex Heeren, a former school teacher who went unopposed in the primary.

HD 66 covers part of Clearwater and numerous other communities, including Belleair Bluffs, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores and Seminole.

The district has a Republican lean — Ahern has held the seat since it was redrawn in 2012 when he won re-election by 6 percentage points. His next two re-election bids ended in double-digit wins. President Donald Trump had similar success in 2016 when he carried the district 55-41.

Nick DiCeglie

Direct mail round-up: Nick DiCeglie slammed as ‘lifelong Democrat’

There’s a new hit job showing up in Pinellas County mailboxes painting House District 66 candidate Nick DiCeglie as a “lifelong Democrat” who has contributed to “pro-amnesty liberals like Charlie Crist.”

If that’s the case, the Republican Party of Pinellas County has a problem on its hands — DiCeglie is the chair.

But it’s not the case. Far from it.

DiCeglie did give to Charlie Crist, when he ran for U.S. Senate in 2010. That was long before Crist, a lifelong Republican from Pinellas County, switched his allegiance to the Democratic Party. Also of note: DiCeglie gave to U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio later on in that election cycle.

All of his contributions since then have been to Republican candidates and committees: former Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Young, former Republican U.S. Rep. David Jolly, the Republican Party of Florida — and those are just his federal contributions.

At the state level, he’s donated exclusively to Republican politicians: Attorney General Pam Bondi, state Rep. Kathleen Peters, former state Sen. Jack Latvala, Gov. Rick Scott and future House Speaker Chris Sprowls.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Nick DiCeglie is obviously a Republican. But that’s not the only troubling thing about the mailer. It also partially “doxxes” the candidate by listing his personal cell phone number.

That’s low. Blasting that information out to the public with a mailer pushing false and inflammatory information isn’t just irresponsible, it’s a recipe for someone to get harassed and possibly physically assaulted. As anyone who has had their information put out knows, it rarely stops at phone calls.

DiCeglie is running for the seat currently held by term-limited Rep. Larry Ahern. He faces Seminole attorney Berny Jacques in the Republican primary. Heading into the final five days of the election, DiCeglie surpassed Jacques in both total fundraising and cash on hand — he had $46,605 in the bank, much of it loans, while Jacques had less than $500 in his two accounts.

It is unclear whether the mailer attacking DiCeglie was sent by the Jacques campaign as the flipside of the document was not provided to Florida Politics. Still, campaign finance reports show Jacques spent more than $18,000 on direct mail campaigns over the last couple weeks.

Recent polls show DiCeglie with a firm lead heading into the primary election. An Aug. 13 survey of likely Republican primary voters in the coastal Pinellas district showed DiCeglie with a 44-30 percent lead over Jacques. That edge expanded to 51-34 percent among the voters who said they’d already sent in their primary ballot.

The winner of Tuesday’s election will move on to face Democratic nominee Alex Heeren in November.

HD 66 covers part of Clearwater and numerous other communities, including Belleair Bluffs, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores and Seminole.

The district has a Republican lean — Ahern has held the seat since it was redrawn in 2012, when he won re-election by 6 points. His next two re-election bids ended in double-digit wins, and President Donald Trump had similar success in 2016, when he carried the district 55-41.

The mailer is below. Florida Politics has edited the picture in order to not disclose DiCeglie’s cell phone number.

Anit-Nick DiCeglie mailer

Nick DiCeglie

Nick DiCeglie takes fundraising lead ahead of HD 66 Republican primary

Belleair businessman and Pinellas GOP chair Nick DiCeglie anted up bigtime ahead of his head-to-head with Seminole attorney Berny Jacques in the Republican primary to succeed term-limited state Rep. Larry Ahern.

DiCeglie pumped $55,000 in loans into his campaign account and added another $22,350 in true fundraising to bring his overall to-date money total to $289,406. His campaign also blew through $57,307 during the reporting period, with nearly $40,000 of that spending heading to media buys.

As of Aug. 23, five days out from primary election day, he had $46,605 in the bank.

DiCeglie, the owner of Solar Sanitation, joined the HD 66 race months after Jacques and has been playing catchup in fundraising ever since. But the latest cash infusion, which makes for $125,000 in loans thus far, put’s him $30,000 ahead Jacques’ combined fundraising total of $259,475.

Jacques, for his part, raised just $325 in hard money during the 13-day reporting period while his political committee, Protect Pinellas, laid an egg.

There was plenty of action on the spending ledger, however, with the two accounts shelling out nearly $48,000 combined. That includes $29,100 in media production and airtime, as well as more than $18,000 in payments to Gainesville-based Data Targeting for direct mail campaigns.

Jacques finished the reporting period with just $469 in his campaign account and less than $5 in his committee, leaving him virtually exhausted moneywise in the twilight hours of the primary contest — state law prohibits candidates who are opposed in an election from raising campaign cash in final five days before voters head to the polls.

If recent public polling holds, DiCeglie primed to win the Tuesday’s election. An Aug. 13 survey of likely Republican primary voters in the coastal Pinellas district showed DiCeglie with a 44-30 percent lead over Jacques. That edge expanded to 51-34 percent among the voters who said they’d already sent in their primary ballot.

The winner of Tuesday’s election will move on to face Democratic nominee Alex Heeren in November. He tacked on $1,400 in his new report and spent nothing, bringing his fundraising total to $33,181 with $11,140 banked on Aug. 23. Unlike his Republican rivals, his fundraising efforts don’t need to pause since he’s unopposed in August.

HD 66 covers part of Clearwater and numerous other communities, including Belleair Bluffs, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores and Seminole.

The district has a Republican lean — Ahern has held the seat since it was redrawn in 2012, when he won re-election by 6 points. His next two re-election bids ended in double-digit wins, and President Donald Trump had similar success in 2016, when he carried the district 55-41.

Berny Jacques adds $50K, Nick DiCeglie loans $40K in HD 66 Republican primary

The two Republican contenders to succeed term-limited Rep. Larry Ahern in House District 66 have already spent nearly $335,000 combined and show little sign of slowing down as the primary election approaches.

Seminole attorney Berny Jacques held on to his fundraising lead after bringing $50,660 between his campaign account and political committee, Protect Pinellas, during the Aug. 4 through Aug. 10 reporting period. Nearly all of that cash — $50,050 — was sent to Protect Pinellas from another committee, Conservatism Counts, which says on its website that its mission is to “promote the ideals and benefits of conservative and limited government.”

Spending for the week totaled $60,734 and included more than $35,000 in payments to Gainesville-based Data Targeting for several rounds of direct mailers. Another $22,000 went to Virginia-based Multi Media Strategies for media buys, while Tallahassee-based Evolution Media picked up $3,335 for media production work.

With the major windfall, Jacques has now raised $259,150 between his two accounts. After spending, the two accounts had a combined $48,110 banked on Aug. 10.

Belleair Bluffs businessman Nick DiCeglie posted just $1,525 in campaign contributions for the week, but he juiced his campaign with another $40,000 in candidate loans to cover his own spending spree, which clocked in at nearly $56,000.

That outflow included a $25,000 media buy through Tampa-based Spectrum Reach and nearly $25,000 more for direct mail campaigns through Tallahassee-based Election Management Solutions. Also on the report was a $3,000 payment to Pulpo Creative for media production, $1,500 to Political Capital for fundraising consulting and $1,555 to Elections Connections for telephone calls.

Through the end of the reporting period, DiCeglie had raised $142,056 in outside cash and kicked in $70,000 in loans for a to-date total of $212,056. He had $26,562 in the bank on Aug. 10.

According to a recent poll of the primary race, DiCeglie leads Jacques 44-30 percent among likely Republican primary voters with the remainder undecided. Among Republicans who said they had already voted, DiCeglie’s lead expanded to 51-34 percent, while those yet to vote preferred him by a 10-point margin with 32 percent undecided.

The winner of the Aug. 28 Republican primary will go up against schoolteacher Alex Heeren, who locked up the Democratic nomination without opposition. Heeren, for his part, added $760 to his campaign account, bringing his to-date total to $31,781 with $9,740 at the ready.

HD 66 is a coastal Pinellas seat that covers part of Clearwater and numerous other communities, including Belleair Bluffs, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores and Seminole.

The district has a Republican lean — Ahern has held the seat since it was redrawn in 2012, when he won re-election by 6 points. His next two re-election bids ended in double-digit wins, and President Donald Trump had similar success in 2016, when he carried the district 55-41.

Nick DiCeglie

New poll: Nick DiCeglie trouncing Berny Jacques in HD 66

Two weeks out from the House District 66 primary election and Belleair Bluffs businessman Nick DiCeglie holds an outside-the-margins lead over his Republican primary opponent, Seminole attorney Berny Jacques.

The new survey out of St. Pete Polls found and DiCeglie, also the chair of the Republican Party of Pinellas County, with 44-30 percent lead over Jacques, the first-in candidate in the race to replace term-limited Rep. Larry Ahern.

Of course, mail ballots have already gone out to many voters in the coastal Pinellas district, and quite a few of those polled, 42 percent, say they’ve already sent theirs in. Among that crowd, DiCeglie’s lead inches up to 51-34, with the balance undecided.

The remaining 58 percent of voters — those who plan to vote but haven’t done so yet — still favor DiCeglie, though by a tighter margin. DiCeglie was the pick of 39 percent of the yet-to-vote crowd, compared to a 29 percent share for Jacques, who came a few points behind “undecided” at 32 percent.

The DiCeglie v. Jacques primary has been one of the most contentious contests that managed to steer clear of turning nasty.

Both men hit the airwaves with TV ads touting their experience, without dinging their rival.

DiCeglie, the owner of waste management company Solar Sanitation, said he was ready to “clean things up in Tallahassee” in his TV spot. Jacques, a former prosecutor, touted his record of putting criminals behind bars in his ad.

Both men have also raised well into the six-figures for their campaigns.

DiCeglie has raised more than $140,000 from donors and chipped in $30,000 of his own money, with about $41,000 left over as of Aug. 3. Jacques has raised more than $127,000 in hard dollars and another $81,100 through his affiliated political committee, Protect Pinellas. He had more than $58,000 banked on Aug. 3.

The winner of the Aug. 28 Republican primary will go up against schoolteacher Alex Heeren, who locked up the Democratic nomination without opposition.

HD 66 is a coastal Pinellas seat that covers part of Clearwater and numerous other communities, including Belleair Bluffs, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores and Seminole.

The district has a Republican lean — Ahern has held the seat since it was redrawn in 2012, when he won re-election by 6 points. His next two re-election bids ended in double-digit wins, and President Donald Trump had similar success in 2016, when he carried the district 55-41.

The automated phone poll was conducted Aug. 13 and took responses from 347 registered Republicans who indicated they planned to vote in the primary election for HD 66. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.3 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

Nick DiCeglie, Donald Trump, Joe Gruters - HD 66 endorsement

Joe Gruters backs Nick DiCeglie in HD 66 Republican primary

Republican Rep. Joe Gruters wants Belleair Bluffs businessman Nick DiCeglie to join him in the state Legislature.

The Sarasota GOP chair, who co-chaired Donald Trump’s Florida campaign, called his Pinellas counterpart a “true conservative leader” when he endorsed him over House District 66 Republican primary rival Bernie Jacques on Thursday.

“As Chairman of the Pinellas County Republican Party, Nick worked tirelessly to increase Republican voter registration and improve a grassroots operation that helped turn Pinellas County from blue to red,” Gruters said. “His help was a critical part of helping Donald Trump win Florida in 2016. In fact, President Trump and his campaign had so much confidence in his support that they selected him to be one of Florida’s 29 members of the Electoral College, where he cast a vote for Donald Trump.”

While Gruters’ endorsement isn’t from “the big man himself,” it’s about as close as you could expect for a state House race and could carry some weight among HD 66 voters, who broke plus-14 for Trump two years ago.

“I am honored to have the endorsement of Representative Joe Gruters,” DiCeglie said. “He brings a tremendous energy to our party, which proved to pay dividends in the 2016 election. He too is an ardent supporter of our President and his leadership didn’t go unnoticed as Trump named him Florida Co-Chair of his campaign. Rep Gruters and I are like minded individuals who share the same agenda as our President and his support means a great deal.”

Gruters, who is running for state Senate, joins the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Florida Realtors, the Sun Coast Police Benevolent Association, Pinellas County Commissioner Dave Eggers, Pinellas County Clerk Ken Burke and many others in backing DiCeglie.

In addition to his leadership role in Pinellas County Republican politics, DiCeglie is the owner and operator of waste management company Solar Sanitation. That part of his resume got the spotlight in his first TV ad, where he said he outlined his plans to “clean things up in Tallahassee.”

DiCeglie and Jacques will go head-to-head in the Aug. 28 Republican primary for the open seat, currently held by term-limited Rep. Larry Ahern. The winner of that contest will face school teacher Alex Heeren, a Democrat, in the Nov. 6 general election.

Jacques, who is also on the airwaves and boasting fresh endorsements, has the advantage in the money race.

At last check in, he had raised $124,260 in hard money and another $81,100 through political committee Protect Pinellas, with about $100,000 banked between them. DiCeglie has raised $132,456 in campaign cash and had a balance of $56,000 on July 20. Heeren has raised $28,000 and has $8,300 banked.

HD 66 is a coastal Pinellas seat covering part of Clearwater as well as Belleair Bluffs, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores and Seminole. It is a safe Republican seat that has been held by Ahern since it was redrawn ahead of the 2012 elections.

Berny Jacques

Florida firefighters back Berny Jacques for HD 66

Seminole Republican Berny Jacques announced Wednesday that another first responder group is backing his campaign for House District 66.

The new endorsement came in from the Florida Professional Firefighters, a statewide association representing 8,600 members working in 100 fire departments throughout the Sunshine State.

“We believe that you will honorably serve the citizens of Florida, and the interests of the men and women employed in the Fire and Emergency Medical Services, who have made the protection of life and property their life’s work,” FPF president Jim Tolley said in an endorsement letter.

The FPF nod comes one week after the former prosecutor earned the support of the Florida Fraternal Order of Police and one month after he picked up an endorsement from the Seminole Professional Firefighters.

Others backing Jacques in the HD 66 race include retired Air Force Col. EJ Otero Seminole City Councilmember Roger Edelman, former Pinellas County School Board Member Glen Gilzean and Largo Commissioner and former police chief John Carroll.

“It is truly humbling to be endorsed by our state’s firefighters. It takes a special person to join a profession whose mission is to save lives, and they deserve strong voices in Tallahassee,” Jacques said. “I am proud of all of our state’s first responders and can’t wait to work on their behalf as a State Representative.”

Jacques is running against Pinellas GOP chair and small-business man Nick DiCeglie in the Republican primary for HD 66, the coastal Pinellas County seat currently held by term-limited Rep. Larry Ahern.

DiCeglie started hitting the airwaves in advance of the Aug. 28 primary election two weeks ago and Jacques followed with his first ad a few days later. The winner of the Republican nomination will face school teacher Alex Heeren, a Democrat, in the Nov. 6 general election.

As of July 6, Jacques led the money race with more than $200,000 raised and $140,692 banked compared to $122,256 raised and $65,555 banked for DiCeglie. Heeren is in a distant third in the money race with $26,176 in receipts and $9,367 at the ready.

HD 66 is a safe Republican seat that has been held by Ahern since it was redrawn ahead of the 2012 elections. It also voted plus-14 for Donald Trump two years ago.

Florida Chamber endorses 20 more state legislative candidates

The Florida Chamber of Commerce released a “second round” of endorsements for state legislative races Thursday, adding four incumbents and 16 candidates to the 60 endorsements announced in May.

“To help ensure Florida remains competitive, we need candidates that are focused on supporting jobs and the Floridians they employ,” said Marian Johnson, the Florida Chamber’s senior vice president of political operations. “The Florida Chamber is proud to support candidates that support free enterprise.”

Like the first round of endorsements, the Florida Chamber said the endorsements were issued based on the grades they’ve received on the org’s annual Legislative Report Card as well as candidate interviews.

Making the cut in the upper chamber was Thonotosassa Republican Sen. Tom Lee, while House incumbents getting the nod included Neptune Beach Republican Rep. Cord Byrd, Polk City Republican Rep. Josie Tomkow and Tequesta Republican Rep. MaryLynn Magar.

Like the current lawmakers in the announcement, all the non-incumbents picking up an endorsement Thursday were Republicans. The full list: Alex Andrade for HD 2, Marc A. Vann for HD 10, Wyman Duggan for HD 15, Elizabeth sure for HD 26, Ardian Zika for HD 37, Henry Parrish for HD 51, Sean McCoy for HD 57, Joseph Wicker for HD 59, Nick DiCeglie for HD 66, Jeremy Bailie for HD 69, Melissa Howard for HD 73, James Buchanan for HD 74, Spencer Roach for HD 79, Matt Spritz for HD 89, Vance Aloupis for HD 115, Anthony Rodriguez for HD 118.

Among that set, only two are vying to unseat an incumbent lawmaker — Fetterhoff is challenging Daytona Beach Democratic Rep. Patrick Henry, while Rodriguez is up against Miami Democratic Rep. Robert Asencio.

“It is imperative that candidates who are focused on job creation and further economic growth for Floridians are elected to the legislature, and that legislators with proven track records of supporting policies aimed at enhancing Florida’s competitiveness are re-elected,” Johnson said.

“The Florida Chamber is focused on keeping the momentum built under eight years of leadership from Governor Scott going, and these endorsements represent the business community’s view of who we need as partners in the legislature to accomplish that mission.”

The Florida Chamber also said it expects to release additional rounds of endorsements before the Nov. 6 general election.

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