While he’s not sure if he will attempt to resume his political career by running against Charlie Crist in Florida’s 13th Congressional District, former Republican congressman David Jolly says he will be part of another campaign in the future – a GOP effort to block Donald Trump from being renominated in 2020 as the party’s presidential nominee. Read more
Democratic CFO candidate Jeremy Ring will report a combined $168,822 raised last month between his campaign and committee accounts, his campaign finance director said Tuesday.
Shelby Rogers said the former state senator brought in $154,322 of the money through his campaign account and another $14,500 through his committee, “Florida Action Fund.”
“Our August fundraising numbers are further proof that Jeremy Ring’s message of bringing a more innovation-driven economy to Florida to create high-paying jobs has resonated with Floridians from the Panhandle to the Keys, and we are excited to continue sharing Jeremy’s vision for a stronger Florida economy,” Rogers said.
Ring finished July with about $130,000 between the two accounts; Rogers didn’t give any update on Ring’s on-hand totals.
According to his committee website, FAF has about $5,200 on hand, while his campaign’s August report hasn’t been filed.
James Pugh Jr. topped the committee donor roll with a $5,000 check, followed by the Jacksonville Association of Firefighters and the Florida Alliance for Better Government at $2,500, Alliance for Progressive Government at $2,000 and the Florida AFL-CIO and lobbyist Paul Wharton at $1,000 each.
Committee expenses came in at around $13,000 and included $5,500 to Johnson Campaigns and $3,000 to Renaissance Campaign Strategies for consulting work.
As of Sept. 5, Ring is still the only candidate running for CFO.
Potential GOP candidates include sitting CFO Jimmy Patronis and Brandon state Sen. Tom Lee.
Former Florida Congressmen David Jolly and Patrick Murphy will tour college campuses this fall, where the onetime U.S. Senate rivals will try to explain why politics in Washington is so screwed up.
“Why Gridlock Rules Washington and How We Can Solve the Crises” will feature a town-hall style format moderated by members of the media and academics, with a question-and-answer session to follow.
The first stop is Sept. 12 at the University of South Florida in Tampa. The 75-minute event will be sponsored by USF and the Tampa Bay Times.
Other stops include Oct. 4 at Florida International University, Oct. 18 at the University of Miami and the University of Florida in Gainesville Oct. 25, with more events likely to be added.
Jolly, a Republican from Pinellas County, won the special election in early 2014 to succeed the late Bill Young; he was re-elected later that year. He lost his bid for re-election last fall to Democrat Charlie Crist after his 13th Congressional District was redrawn up with plenty more Democrats after the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the district had been illegally drawn up by the Florida Legislature.
“I think what Patrick and I are focusing in on is regardless of where you consider yourself on the (political) spectrum, there’s a path forward to working together, and in this environment I don’t think there’s enough people speaking to that,” said Jolly, who describes himself as a “governing conservative,” willing to approach issues where few Republicans seek a compromise.
Murphy was a two-term Democratic Representative from Jupiter who narrowly defeated Republican Allen West in Florida’s 18th Congressional District in 2012. He was the Democratic Party’s nominee for U.S. Senate last fall but lost to GOP incumbent Marco Rubio.
“One of the biggest things that are frustrating Americans on both sides of aisle, and perhaps resulting somewhat in President Trump’s election, was the lack of progress that people have been seeing,” says Murphy, who said both he and Jolly agreed upon their election that there was common ground to be found on issues such as climate change, tax reform and the need for infrastructure spending.
During their short time serving together in Congress, the two men found ways to work together on those issues and more. There was the possibility that the two could have faced each other in the Senate race last year, but Jolly ultimately dropped out of the race once Rubio flip-flopped and decided he would run again for his Senate seat after his presidential ambitions collapsed.
Murphy says of all the problems with a dysfunctional Congress, gerrymandering is at the top. Jolly agrees but believes that districts should be redrawn in terms of electoral competitiveness, so that working across the aisle will be positive, instead of giving ammunition to political party officials to have that candidate “primaried” come election time.
Murphy recently agreed to serve as one of six fellows at Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service this fall.
Jolly, meanwhile, has been ubiquitous on CNN and MSNBC this year offering unfettered criticism mostly at Trump. He says that while the tour isn’t about Trump at all, it clearly is designed to provide an alternative to politics in the Trump era.
You can find more information about the tour at fixwashington2017.com.
The Margate Democrat brought in a total of $45,396 between his campaign account and his political committee, “Florida Action Fund PC.” Combined, the two entities spent $60,515, including a $20,000 payment to the Florida Democratic Party.
Among the other $40,000 in spending was more than $10,000 in payments to D.C.-based MDW Communications for a website, $4,800 to NGP VAN, Inc., based in Washington, D.C. and Somerville, Massachusetts, for IT work and a slew of $1,000-plus payments to various consulting groups across the Sunshine State.
Contributions to the committee included $10,000 from the Firefighter FactPAC, $5,000 from the Pelican Bay political committee in Naples and $2,500 from the Jacksonville Association of Firefighters. The campaign account took in $26,000 in July across 38 contributions, including $3,000 a piece from Robert Greenberg, Eric Becker, Adam Stein, James Stork and Nadezda Usina.
Ring is currently the only declared candidate for Florida CFO, is now held by Republican Jimmy Patronis, who was appointed to the position after Jeff Atwater left the job earlier this year to become the CFO of Florida Atlantic University.
Patronis, a former lawmaker himself, hasn’t said whether he would run for CFO, but several of his former colleagues in the Legislature have hinted they might take a stab at the Cabinet seat in 2018.
Possible Republican entrants include state Sen. Tom Lee and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera.
A couple of Democrats have been floated as candidates as well, including former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy.
Rep. Brian Mast will report raising more than $700,000 in the second quarter of 2017, his campaign announced.
The Mast campaign said Thursday it raised $733,964 between April 1 and June 30. That three-month fundraising haul brings his total raised to more than $1.12 million this cycle, according to the campaign.
“While national Democrats desperately dump money into the 18th District with lies to undermine Brian Mast’s service to our country, people obviously aren’t buying it,” said Brad Stewart, a spokesman for Mast, in a statement. “With 92% of all donations being small dollar and a median donation of $25, it’s clearer than ever that there is broad grassroots enthusiasm for Brian’s agenda to upend the status quo in Washington and restore fiscal sanity to our country.”
Federal campaign finance reports are due to the Federal Election Commission by July 15.
Mast is one of 59 Republicans the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee identified earlier this year as incumbents the group will try to oust in 2018. The Palm City Republican defeated Democrat Randy Perkins in 2016 to replace Democrat Patrick Murphy in Florida’s 18th Congressional District.
As Senate Republicans return to Washington this week, looking to salvage their attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, support grows among Democrats for a single-payer health care system.
The co-sponsor count for Michigan Democrat John Conyers‘ “Medicare for All” bill now stands at 113, nearly twice as many as last year. One of those new Democratic co-sponsors is Tampa Congresswoman Kathy Castor.
Castor signed on to the legislation in April, joined by five other Florida Democrats this year: Alcee Hastings, Frederica Wilson, Al Lawson, Darren Soto and Ted Deutch.
In a brief interview Monday after speaking with health care officials in Tampa on the opioid epidemic, Castor said that while she knows that such legislation won’t be passed anytime soon in a Republican-controlled Congress, she thinks now is the time to look for alternatives to bring down escalating costs of health care in America.
Under a single-payer system, all Americans would have health coverage, while the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates 22 million people would become uninsured under the Senate GOP health care plan.
Republicans believe support for the issue can hurt Democrats at the polls.
Although Florida Senator Bill Nelson doesn’t support such a plan, the fact that Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren does was enough for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) to run a Facebook ad last week linking the two lawmakers.
Citing Warren’s recent comments on getting behind a single-payer plan, the ad’s narrator says such a system “would be absolutely devastating for Florida families and businesses.”
Castor noted that she has previously supported a government public-option plan.
The idea of a public option is to create a separate, government-run insurance plan to compete with private insurers offering coverage through the Affordable Care Act exchanges. President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders included versions of the public option in their proposals in 2009 when they first began working on health care reform. But they dropped the idea relatively quickly.
Democrat Patrick Murphy embraced the idea during his unsuccessful Senate run last year, as has current gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham.
Support for a single-payer health care system has never been higher.
In the June Kaiser Health Tracking poll, 53 percent of respondents now favor such a system, with 43 percent opposing.
That’s the highest level of support in the 19 years since Kaiser began polling on the issue. However, Kaiser Health officials point out that “a prolonged national debate” on the issue could easily shift the public’s attitudes.
According to the Kaiser Health website: “For example, when those who initially say they favor a single-payer or Medicare-for-all plan are asked how they would feel if they heard that such a plan would give the government too much control over health care, about four in ten (21 percent of the public overall) say they would change their mind and would now oppose the plan, pushing total opposition up to 62 percent.
“Similarly, when this group is told such a plan would require many Americans to pay more in taxes or that it would eliminate or replace the Affordable Care Act, total opposition increases to 60 percent and 53 percent, respectively.”
Alan Grayson said on Tuesday that he is not running for any office in 2018, at least not yet. But there are plenty of people who want him to, as he has racked up several hundred thousand dollars in campaign contributions for a CD 11 bid, a seat currently occupied by Republican Daniel Webster.
The former U.S. Representative has been actively campaigning for Jon Ossoff, the Democrat running in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District through Act Blue, which bills itself as “the online clearinghouse of Democratic action.”
An online ad for Ossoff includes the disclaimer, “Your contribution will be divided evenly between Jon Ossoff and Alan Grayson.” There is a link that says, “click here to allocate amounts differently.”
In an interview Tuesday afternoon, Grayson said repeatedly when he originally told FloridaPolitics last December — that because he continued to receive campaign contributions larger than $5,000 after he lost in the U.S. Senate Primary race last August to Patrick Murphy, he had to legally file to run for office in 2018.
He opted to file to run in Florida’s 11th Congressional District, centered in Lake County, a seat currently held by Republican Daniel Webster, who defeated Grayson in Florida’s 8th Congressional District in 2010.
District 11 is a deep-red, conservative seat, and includes the Villages retirement community, a GOP stronghold. The seat was previously held by Rich Nugent before he announced his retirement last year. Ginny Brown-Waite held the seat before that.
“We passed the $5,000 mark quickly, and I had to file, so we went ahead and filed,” he said. “I haven’t made any decisions about what my plans are to run in Congress, but we filed for a specific district, and what prompted that was simply the legal obligation to do so.”
As a federally registered political action committee, Act Blue serves as a conduit for online contributions to Democratic candidates and committees.
According to the website Open Secrets, a website run by the Center for Responsive Politics. Grayson had raised $437,291 at the end of March, the first quarter of 2017.
Grayson says that every time he ran in Congress, he never decided whether he would run again until the same year as the election, so his decision to hold off on any announcement until 2018 is par for the course. He says his decision to run for the U.S. Senate was a much bigger race, which is why he did announce his candidacy for that seat a year in advance.
“It’s encouraging that I have that kind of support,” he said.
Sometimes political change comes slowly, one drop at a time. That was the 2016 Florida congressional election where Democrats gained a single seat, although the opportunities were everywhere.
Sometimes elections result in a political tsunami, where the political landscape is fundamentally altered, and one party replaces the other party as the dominant political force.
The 2010 and 2014 midterm elections created a tsunami where Republicans wiped out a substantial Democratic majority and won political control of the House.
What will 2018 bring?
Republican gains in 2010 and 2014 were due to Democrat Barack Obama in the White House and the negative public reaction to Obamacare. Now, with a Republican in the White House who has far lower approval ratings than Obama and with the Republican House voting to repeal and replace Obamacare with something that has little public support, will it be the Republicans who get washed away?
Charlie Cook just released his Partisan Voting Index (PVI) which found that only 72 of the 435 congressional districts were really competitive, with a PVI of less than +5 Democrat or Republican. In other words, most districts are safe.
Larry Sabato estimates that 141 congressional districts are safe for Republicans, and 135 are safe for Democrats. That means that 276 of the 435 districts, or 63 percent, are safe. Only 159 districts are competitive, and Republicans hold 100 of those seats and Democrats hold 59.
The following is a quick rundown of Democratic opportunities in Florida in 2018. The seat offers retiring Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is the top priority for Democrats. The seat has a +5 Democratic advantage, and Clinton defeated Trump by 19 percent. The district has trended Democrat by 6.2 percent over the past four years, the sixth greatest swing nationally.
Quite frankly, the seat is a Democratic seat held by Republicans.
The next target is Carlos Curbelo in neighboring Congressional District 26. Curbelo represents a district which has a +6 Democratic PVI and one that Clinton carried by 15 percent. Curbelo’ district has trended Democrat by 4.5 percent over the past four years.
Fellow Republican Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart in Florida’s 25th Congressional District does have a narrow Republican PVI of +4, but it has trended Democrat by 5.6 percent over the past four years, the 10th greatest swing in the nation.
Other Republicans on the Democratic target list include Republican newcomer Brian Mast in District 18, who won the seat previously held by Democrat Patrick Murphy. Murphy gave up the seat in his unsuccessful bid to win the U.S. Senate seat held by Marco Rubio. The district has a +5 Republican PVI.
Republican Ron DeSantis in Florida’s 6th Congressional District is another Democratic target. The district has a PVI of +7 Republican, but DeSantis narrowly won in 2016.
Finally, Democrats have made Republican Vern Buchanan in Florida’s 16th Congressional District as their second highest priority on the hit list. Buchanan has had only one serious challenge, and that was in his first race against Christine Jennings. Buchanan won by 369 votes.
Sarasota Republican Party Chair Joe Gruters claims that “the Democrats have zero chance of winning this seat.” Keith Fitzgerald, a former challenger of Buchanan, argues that the Democratic Party wants “qualified candidates in place in advance of a wave election.”
Will 2018 bring a tidal wave to the Florida political landscape, or will it be another status quo election? Stay tuned.
Pam Keith has formed an exploratory committee to consider facing Brian Mast in Florida’s 18th Congressional District next year.
Keith, who received over 15 percent of the vote in last summer’s Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, made the announcement at the Palm Beach County Democratic Executive Committee meeting Thursday night, just hours after Mast voted with the majority of his fellow Republicans for the American Health Care Act.
“The response has been phenomenal,” Keith said Friday to FloridaPolitics.com. “People love that I am a veteran and feel that this helps to neutralize a lot of what Brian emphasized in his campaign.”
Taking 15.4 percent of the Democratic vote for Senate last year, Keith nearly eclipsed Alan Grayson — a well-known and better-funded candidate — who received only 17.7 percent.
Mast’s predecessor, former Congressman Patrick Murphy, won the Democratic nomination in August before losing to Marco Rubio in the general election.
Keith wanted to wait longer before making the announcement, but said Mast’s vote in support of the AHCA “really pushed me to get out there and test the waters.”
A former Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Navy, Keith made her first run for public office with a 2016 Senate bid.
After Mast voted Thursday for the AHCA, the Palm City Republican immediately came under fire from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
“Make no mistake about it: Mast must face the music, look his constituents in the eye, and answer for the mess they created,” said DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Lujan, a congressman from New Mexico. “There is no question that this bill will cause incredible pain for hardworking Americans, particularly those fighting to make ends meet, and this vote will haunt Mast through Election Day.”
Speaking on the House floor, Mast said Thursday that he has a pre-existing condition — he lost his legs in a bomb attack while serving the U.S. Army in Afghanistan — adding he was the “staunchest advocate for people out there that have pre-existing conditions.”
Keith believes her politics line up “very well” in the swing district, where “people know how much I am willing to work hard on the ground for each vote.”
An advocacy group formed by six of President Donald Trump‘s top campaign aides launched a $3 million advertising campaign to praise Congress members working to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
The list of 12 select members from America First Policies includes Republican Brian Mast of Florida’s 18th Congressional District.
“Obamacare is collapsing and bringing our health care system down with it, harming millions of American families,” said Nick Ayers, Chairman of the Board of America First Policies. “The time is now to repeal and replace this terrible law, but we need citizens to engage.”
The issue advocacy campaign will be on broadcast or cable, the internet and through phone calls in twelve districts, including CD 18, which stretches from Ft. Pierce to Palm Beach in Southeast Florida.
“We are also utilizing Trump voter data in partnership with the Data Trust to reach the same grassroots supporters that supported America First issues over the last two years,” said Brad Parscale, Senior Digital Advisor for America First Policies. “We will be utilizing Google and Facebook to connect with millions of targeted followers across twelve districts to ask them to contact their representative and encourage them to keep working to repeal Obamacare.”
Mast was lobbied personally by Trump to support the GOP’s health care bill that never came up for a vote last month, and he reportedly called on his colleagues to unite behind the bill in an emotionally charged address, according to The Washington Post.
Mast flipped the seat from blue to red last November when he defeated Democrat Randy Perkins. The seat had been held for the previous four years by Patrick Murphy, who opted to run for U.S. Senate last year.
Announcing their creation in January, America First Policies officials said they would conduct research into public policies and promote Trump’s favored causes, such as changing immigration policies and dismantling and replacing the Affordable Health Care law.
In their news release, America First Policies enclosed the ad specifically praising Alabama Republican Gary Palmer.