Pam bondi – Page 7 – Florida Politics

GOP lawmaker Frank White runs for attorney general

Republican state Rep. Frank White, a general counsel and chief financial officer for a group of auto dealerships, announced Friday he will run for state attorney general in 2018.

White, a Pensacola resident who was first elected to the House in 2016, joins a GOP primary battle that includes state Rep. Jay Fant of Jacksonville and former Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Ashley Moody.

White touted his conservative credentials for the statewide seat.

“In our hometowns, our state, and across the nation, liberals in the courts and our government are working to erode the rights given us by the Creator,” White said in a prepared statement Friday.

The Cabinet post is open next year because term limits prevent Attorney General Pam Bondi from seeking reelection. Democrat Ryan Torrens, an attorney from Hillsborough County, has also filed to run for the seat.

Moody has raised more than $1 million for the race through her campaign account and a political committee known as “Friends of Ashley Moody.”

Fant has nearly matched Moody’s total by infusing his campaign with $750,000 of his own money. White’s announcement should open up the state House District 2 contest next year in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.

White is the only Republican who had opened a campaign account for the seat.

Pensacola Democrat Raymond Guillory has also filed to run. White, who raised $83,600 for the re-election effort, defeated Guillory by more than 20 percentage points in 2016.

Republished with permission of the News Service of Florida.

Debris removal firm says it will use pre-storm pricing

As the state looks into claims that debris-removal companies haven’t fulfilled post-Hurricane Irma contracts, one of three firms in the crosshairs of Attorney General Pam Bondi announced it will complete the work at pre-storm pricing.

Randy Perkins, chairman of AshBritt Environmental, told the Parkland City Commission on Wednesday night the company will perform all debris removal at prices that had been agreed upon before the storm.

“It has been our intention to serve our clients at the agreed upon pre-storm pricing since day one,” Perkins said in a prepared statement. “Unfortunately, market forces created by back-to-back record-setting storms required debris haulers to contemplate and consider higher commodity pricing in order to serve these contracts in a timely fashion. Now that the market has settled, we are pleased to let all our clients know that AshBritt will stick to the lower, pre-storm pricing levels.”

On Oct. 2, Bondi issued investigative subpoenas to AshBritt, Ceres Environmental Services, Inc. and DRC Emergency Services. According to Bondi, the companies were not honoring pre-storm debris removal contracts with local governments.

“Sitting debris is a health and safety hazard and needs to be removed as soon as possible – but instead of doing their jobs and helping Floridians recover, apparently some contractors are delaying the work or requesting higher rates,” Bondi said when the subpoenas were announced.

Gov. Rick Scott has complained about slower-than-expected debris cleanup following Irma, which made landfall Sept. 10 in Monroe and Collier counties and then blew through much of the rest of the state.

Republished with permission of the News Service of Florida.

Mike Pence to keynote Republicans’ conference in Orlando

Vice President Mike Pence is slated to be the keynote speaker at the Republican Party of Florida’s annual Statesman Dinner during their November state conference in Orlando.

Pence – with “special guest” U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio –  is to highlight the dinner set for Thursday, Nov. 2 at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, kicking off the two-day conference.

Also billed for the kickoff dinner to the quarterly party meeting are three of the four members of the Florida Cabinet, though not Gov. Rick Scott. The other advertised guests include Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Attorney General Pam Bondi,  Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, Florida Senate President Joe Negron, and Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran.

General tickets are $200 for the dinner, with executive committee members and College Republicans getting discounts.

State seeks to scuttle marijuana smoking case

Attorney General Pam Bondi‘s office is asking a judge to toss out a challenge to a new law that bars patients from smoking medical marijuana.

A 39-page motion filed last week in Leon County circuit court argues that a 2016 constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana did not require smoking to be allowed – and that lawmakers had good reasons to approve a smoking ban.

Orlando attorney John Morgan, who largely bankrolled the medical-marijuana legalization drive, filed a lawsuit in July contending that lawmakers violated the constitutional amendment by barring smoking.

The disputed law was passed during a June special session, as the Legislature took steps to carry out the constitutional amendment.

The law allows medical marijuana to be used in other ways, including by allowing patients to vaporize, or “vape,” marijuana products. The motion to dismiss the lawsuit said lawmakers pointed to health reasons for approving the smoking ban.

“The Legislature considered several significant health-related factors and reasonably determined that the harms caused by smoking were ample reason to exclude smoking from the definition of `medical use,’” the motion said.

It also contended that the constitutional amendment did not specify that smoking would be allowed.

“Had the framers or the voters intended to legalize smoking by adopting the amendment, they could have done so,” attorneys in Bondi’s office wrote. “There was ample opportunity for smoking to be specifically provided for or required in the amendment. But however hard plaintiffs may look for it, a smoking requirement is not in the amendment.”

Circuit Judge Karen Gievers has not scheduled a hearing in the case, according to an online docket.

Republished with permission of the News Service of Florida.

Election eve poll gives Lawrence McClure wide lead in HD 58 special election

A barrage of nasty direct mail campaigns in the HD 58 special election may have snookered Yvonne Fry’s chances in the Tuesday Republican Primary, according to a new survey from St. Pete Polls.

An automated phone poll conducted over the weekend surveyed 358 registered HD 58 voters and found the Plant City native trailed Republican businessman Lawrence McClure 54-36 percent, with another 10 percent saying they were unsure which candidate they would choose at the ballot box.

McClure polled 20 points better than Fry among whites, and did similarly well among both men and women. He also dominated among voters over 30 – voters aged 50 to 69 picked McClure over Fry by 32 points, with only 7 percent saying they were unsure.

Fry’s only wins came among the 18-29 crowd, 50-33, and among Hispanics, who preferred her 2-to-1 over McClure.

About 44 percent of those polled also said they had already voted in the special primary,

The prime timers have turned out for the election, too, with more than 55 percent of the 70-and-up crowd having already cast their ballot.

There’s still a day left before the door shuts on the primary, but even Fry’s wins don’t paint a pretty picture in a district where 64 percent of the electorate are non-Hispanic whites, and the median age is hovering around the late-30s.

Fry was the first-in candidate for the special election, which Gov. Rick Scott scheduled after former Rep. Dan Raulerson announced he would leave office due to health issues.

She amassed plenty of support from all levels of GOP leadership, too. In addition to Raulerson coming out in support of her once he became a “private citizen,” she won over all five current Plant City Commissioners as well as neighboring Rep. Ross Spano, Attorney General Pam Bondi and a host of others.

McClure picked up his support, and cash, from allies of House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who found himself at odds with Raulerson more often than not.

With those deep pockets backing him, he has led in fundraising through most of the campaign. And his major foible – having never cast a ballot in a primary election until last year– was outshined by the rash of mailers branding Fry as a liberal in cahoots with “Obama, Clinton and Pelosi” when it came to 2nd Amendment rights.

The winner of the McClure-Fry battle is the odds-on favorite for the seat, but still must face Democrat Jose Vazquez, Libertarian Bryan Zemina and non-party-affiliated Ahmad Saadaldin in a Dec. 19 general election.

Aaron Bean backs Jay Fant in Florida AG race

Jay Fant picked up a much-needed high-profile endorsement in his race for attorney general from fellow Jacksonville Republican Aaron Bean.

“Senator Bean has been a longtime voice for conservative politics in Northeast Florida,” Fant said. “His endorsement is one to be very proud of. We look forward to working with Senator Bean on our conservative platform for years to come.”

Fant has represented Florida’s House District 15 in the Jacksonville area since 2014. In May, immediately after the end of the 2017 regular Legislative Session, he became the first major candidate to file to run in the attorney general’s race.

Since then, Fant has been upstaged by former Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Ashley Moody, who has been endorsed by current AG Pam Bondi. Moody announced earlier Monday that she has raised over a million dollars in her quest for the GOP nomination.

Through the end of August, Fant raised $179,300 in his campaign account, but an advisor says that he has loaned his campaign $750,000 bringing his total campaign donations to $958,000, which will be officially released on Tuesday.

In addition, Fant has more than $50,000 cash-on-hand currently in his political committee, Pledge This Day, though there have been contributions to that account since June.

Ashley Moody has now raised more than $1 million for Attorney General bid

Attorney General hopeful Ashley Moody announced Monday that she has raised more than $1 million in her campaign since announcing her candidacy in June.

That total includes $850,000 into her campaign coffers and an additional $200,000 into Friends of Ashley Moody, her political action committee.

“We’re proud and excited to hit this important fundraising milestone, particularly in the first four months of our campaign. It is a testament to our statewide network of grassroots supporters, community leaders, and well-respected law enforcement professionals who’ve enthusiastically embraced our message of strong, conservative leadership,” the Republican said.

“Our campaign’s success also reflects the voters’ desire for an Attorney General who has real experience prosecuting crimes and upholding the rule of law. We’ll continue to visit communities throughout Florida and share our story and vision for a safer and more secure state.”

The 42-year-old Moody was first elected to serve as a judge in Hillsborough County’s 13th Judicial Circuit when she was 31 years old, making her the youngest judge in Florida. She resigned her seat at the end of April and announced her run for A.G. in June.

Her candidacy was quickly endorsed by Pam Bondi, the woman she hopes to succeed in the AG’s office, and a host of other Republican police sheriffs and county commissioners have flocked to back her run since then.

The other Republican in the race is state Rep. Jay Fant, who has not yet reported his take for September, but had only raised $179,300 at the end of August.

The lone Democrat in the race is Tampa attorney Ryan C. Torrens. He has also not posted September fundraising numbers, but had raised a total $34,318 at the end of August.

Ashley Moody picks up endorsement from Walton County sheriff

Attorney General candidate Ashley Moody added another Panhandle Republican to her stable of endorsements Friday, just one day after announcing Reps. Clay Ingram and Jay Trumbull are backing her campaign.

Walton County Sheriff Mike Adkinson joins the list which includes U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz,  current A.G. Pam Bondi, as well as the sheriffs of Brevard, Pasco and Pinellas counties.

“Each and every day the brave men and women in law enforcement serve and protect those in our state and do so by putting the safety of citizens before their own. I’m backing Ashley Moody for Attorney General because we need a leader in Tallahassee who understands the sacrifices our law enforcement community makes and who will support us in our mission,” Adkinson said.

Moody was thankful for the nod from the “consummate lawman,” who currently serves as president of the Florida Sheriff’s Association.

“As a former chief of police, and now sheriff of Walton County, Sheriff Adkinson is a proven and effective leader with a track record of aggressively combating crime. I’m honored to have earned his endorsement and pledge to be a strong advocate for those who protect and serve the citizens of Florida,” Moody said.

Moody is one of three candidates who are running to replace Bondi as the state’s top cop. Jacksonville Rep. Jay Fant is running against Moody in the Republican Primary, while Ryan Torrens currently has no competition for the Democratic nomination.

Moody has led the trio in fundraising since shortly after she announced her run in June, and droves of Republicans have lined up to support her campaign. Through August, she had racked up $756,000 in contributions for her campaign account and had about $733,000 on hand.

The fifth-generation Floridian and three-time University of Florida alumna also has a political committee, “Friends of Ashley Moody,” which had pulled in $137,500 through the same date.

Fant got off to a strong start with $150,000 raised in his first two months, but his numbers flatlined after Moody, seen as Bondi’s handpicked successor, entered the race. His committee, “Pledge This Day,” has also struggled and reported goose eggs three months in a row.

Undeterred by the stiff competition, he doubled down with a $750,000 loan to his campaign Friday. In the announcement he took a light jab at Moody, a former circuit court judge, by saying he was “the only conservative and the only candidate who has signed the front of a paycheck.”

“We have over a year until the election and we are just getting started,” he said.

The move may put him at the level with Moody for now, but none of the candidates have posted their full numbers for last month. September campaign finance reports for all Florida candidates are due to the Florida Division of Elections next week.

Jay Fant lends campaign $750K toward AG bid

State Rep. Jay Fant, a Jacksonville Republican vying to become Florida’s next attorney general, Friday said he had personally put in $750,000 toward his election.

The loan to his campaign, made last month, brings his total campaign funds raised to just over $958,000, his campaign told Florida Politics.

Without it, Fant’s campaign account shows just over $179,000 in contributions, according to campaign finance records as of Friday morning. That doesn’t include other September fundraising.

“I am investing my own funds because Floridians deserve an alternative to the establishment candidates in the field,” Fant said in a statement.

“As the only conservative and the only candidate who has signed the front of a paycheck, I will protect individual liberties and free enterprise,” he added. “We have over a year until the election and we are just getting started.

“Our donor and grassroots support are strong and we are looking forward to the next 13 months on the campaign trail.”

Fant, whose legislative record “includes advocacy of 1st and 2nd Amendment issues and limited government,” also said he has “pledged to commit additional personal campaign funds from time to time.”

For now, Fant faces only former Hillsborough County circuit judge Ashley Moody in the GOP primary for the seat. The winner will face Ryan Torrens, the lone declared Democrat, in the general election.

Moody, who’s gotten a series of high-profile endorsements, has raised nearly $756,000, not including September numbers—with none of that from loans, records show. She has roughly $733,500 in cash-on-hand.

Fant, however, bucked House Speaker Richard Corcoran and backed Republican Gov. Rick Scott—a deep-pocketed, likely candidate against Democrat Bill Nelson next year for the U.S. Senate—in Scott’s effort to save Enterprise Florida and VISIT FLORIDA from virtual gutting last session.

Incumbent Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi is term-limited next year.

Ashley Moody adds Clay Ingram, Jay Trumbull endorsements

Republican Ashley Moody added a pair of endorsements for her Attorney General campaign Thursday from Panhandle Reps. Clay Ingram and Jay Trumbull.

Moody is a former prosecutor and circuit court judge who stepped down from the bench earlier this year to run for the state’s attorney general post, which is opening up due to Pam Bondi hitting term limits in 2018.

“Northwest Florida has a long history of accomplished leaders in the Florida Legislature and that legacy continues on in the conservative leadership of Representative Ingram and Representative Trumbull,” Moody said. “They’ve led on tough issues and been true advocates for their districts. To have their support means so much to our campaign, and to me personally.”

The endorsements from Ingram and Trumbull add to a long list of GOP backers Moody has amassed since entering the race at the beginning of June, including U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, all five Republicans on the Hillsborough County Commission and the Sheriffs of Brevard, Pasco and Pinellas counties.

Still, the biggest endorsement to date came from Bondi herself.

The second-term attorney general threw her weight behind Moody, a longtime friend, before the ink had a chance to dry on the filing paperwork.

“I’ve known her most of her life,” Bondi told the Tampa Bay Times in June. “I don’t think there could be a more qualified candidate for attorney general in the entire state of Florida. I whole-heartedly support Ashley and I’m proud of her for wanting to sacrifice so much for our state.”

Those early shows of support came despite – or perhaps because of – Jacksonville Rep. Jay Fant’s candidacy.

He and Moody are currently the only two Republicans running to take over for Bondi, and though Fant got off to a strong start with $150,000 raised in his first two months, his numbers flatlined after Moody entered the picture.

He filed a month ahead of Moody and through August had raised almost $180,000 with about $155,000 in the bank. Moody, through the same date, had racked up $756,000 for her campaign and had about $733,000 on hand.

A chunk of that money was even snagged from a fundraiser in Fant’s home turf.

The fifth-generation Floridian and three-time University of Florida alumna also has a political committee, “Friends of Ashley Moody,” which showed $137,500 raised in 10 weeks on its August report.

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