Steve Crisafulli Archives - Page 3 of 35 - Florida Politics

Latest on the legislative staffing merry-go-round

With a tip of the hat to LobbyTools, here are the latest movements — both on and off — of the legislative merry-go-round.

Off: Mary Kassabaum is no longer legislative assistant for Trilby Republican state Sen. Wilton Simpson.

Off: Caroline Crow is no longer district secretary for Rockledge Republican state Sen. Thad Altman.

On: Matthew Hunter is returning as legislative assistant for Fort Myers Republican state Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto.

Off: Sean Nixon is no longer legislative assistant for Cutler Bay Democratic state Sen. Dwight Bullard.

Off: Kyle Langan is no longer legislative assistant for Inverness Republican state Sen. Charlie Dean.

Off and on: Allison Hess Sitte is no longer legislative assistant for Niceville Republican state Sen. Don Gaetz. Sitte has moved to the president’s office to serve as director of scheduling for Senate President-designate Joe Negron, a Republican from Stuart.

Off: Nanci Cornwell and Anne-Marie Norman are no longer legislative assistants for Umatilla Republican state Sen. Alan Hays.

Off: Karol Molinares is no longer legislative assistant for North Miami Democratic state Sen. Gwen Margolis.

Off: Carolina Castillo and Alexandra Rueckner are no longer district secretaries for Miami Republican state Rep. Frank Artiles.

Off: Gabe Peters is no longer legislative assistant for Hialeah Republican state Rep. Bryan Avila.

Off and on: Lance Clemons is no longer district secretary for Monticello Republican state Rep. Halsey Beshears. He was replaced by Chris Kingry.

Off: Andrea Knowles is no longer legislative assistant for Deerfield Beach Democratic state Rep. Gwyndolen “Gwyn” Clarke-Reed.

On: Evelyn Haas is the new district secretary for Speaker-designate Richard Corcoran.

On: Beatriz Marte became district secretary for Kissimmee Democratic state Rep. John Cortes.

Off: Ashley Guinn is no longer legislative assistant for Speaker Steve Crisafulli.

Off: Christian Schultze is no longer district secretary for Tampa Democratic state Rep. Janet Cruz.

Off and on: Allison Hopkins is no longer district secretary for Eucheeanna Republican state Rep. Brad DrakeAnn McGraw, formerly with Baker Republican state Sen. Greg Evers, joins Rhonda Thomas as Drake’s legislative assistant.

On: Nathan Klein is a new district secretary for Cape Coral Republican state Rep. Dane Eagle.

On: Edward Metzger is a new legislative assistant for Fort Myers Republican state Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen.

Off and on: Karen Sweeney is no longer legislative assistant for Stuart Republican state Rep. Gayle HarrellCatherine Thomson is replacing Sweeney as Harrell’s district secretary.

Off and on: Derick Tabertshofer, former district secretary, replaced Jacob Gil as legislative assistant for Tampa Republican state Rep. Shawn HarrisonBenjamin Kelly is now Harrison’s new district secretary.

Off and on: Sue Berfield, former district secretary, joined Janine Kiray as legislative assistant to Clearwater Republican state Rep. Chris LatvalaKaren Flaherty is no longer Latvala’s district secretary.

Off and on: Amanda Geltz replaced Jennifer Wylie as district secretary for Yalaha Republican state Rep. Larry MetzSara Pennington is no longer Metz’s legislative assistant.

Off: Charkay Suiters is no longer district secretary for New Port Richey Democratic state Rep. Amanda Murphy.

On: Victoria Gagni became district secretary for Naples Republican state Rep. Kathleen Passidomo.

Off and on: Sarah Goldman is replacing Colleen Hartman as district secretary for South Pasadena Republican state Rep. Kathleen Peters.

Off: Lori Moran is no longer district secretary for Sarasota Republican state Rep. Ray Pilon.

On: Nitin (Sunny) Aggarwal became legislative assistant for Orlando Republican state Rep. Rene Plasencia.

On: Jannette Nunez is the new district secretary for Miami Beach Democratic state Rep. David Richardson.

On: Jason Holloway is the new legislative assistant for St. Petersburg Democratic state Rep. Darryl Rouson.

Off and on: Karen Foster replaced Teri Mitze as legislative assistant for Boca Raton Democratic state Rep. Irving “Irv” SlosbergLawrence Victoria is Slosberg’s new district secretary.

Off: Adam Miller is no longer legislative assistant for Melbourne beach Republican state Rep. John Tobia.

Off: Albie Kaminsky is no longer district secretary for Panama City Republican state Rep. Jay Trumbull.

Off: Emily Bleecker is no longer district secretary for Trilby Republican state Rep. Ritch Workman.

 

After being suspended from State House, Reggie Fullwood resigns

House Speaker Steve Crisafulli suspended Reggie Fullwood Monday in a terse one-paragraph letter, bringing an ignominious end to his political career.

“As you are guilty of a felony,” Crisafulli writes, “you are suspended immediately.”

Fullwood is not entitled to pay for the rest of his term.

He also has to close his intraoffice expense account and return funds to the Florida House; all administrative activities of his office are transferred to the Office of House Administration.

****

Fullwood entered a guilty plea Thursday on two counts in his federal fraud trial, which set into motion a chain of events, including resigning Friday from his re-election campaign, and a Monday evening vote by the Duval County Democratic Executive Committee to replace him as a candidate.

Fullwood’s replacement to run for the House District 13 seat will be chosen at 6 p.m. during a meeting of the Duval County Democratic Executive Committee at the IBEW Hall on Liberty Street.

Three-minute statements will be allowed, but not required, from interested candidates.

From there, the DEC will hold a vote.

The two most likely to emerge: former Duval County Deputy Supervisor of Elections Tracie Davis and current Duval County School Board member Paula Wright.

****

A source close to Fullwood had told this outlet on Friday that Fullwood had promised to resign voluntarily.

However, that didn’t happen, necessitating Crisafulli’s action.

Fullwood did send Crisafulli a letter after Crisafulli’s own letter on Monday explaining that he had an “intent to send this letter on Friday of last week, but it was being reviewed by my attorney.”

Fullwood did ask Crisafulli to “allow the District 13 staff to stay in place to address constituent issues and other concerns over the next 30 plus days until the new representative is elected in November.”

In his letter, Fullwood called the decision to resign the “toughest decision” that he ever had to make, predicated on a “very able judge” finding that his spending of over $60,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses “could be charged as wire fraud under federal law.”

“My options were to go to trial with an uncertain outcome and face the possibility of a lengthy appeal or seek an immediate resolution. As a father of three children,” Fullwood wrote, “I felt that bringing closure to this matter was the best choice.”

Reggie Fullwood resignation letter

fullwoodcrisa

Resigning from House, Reggie Fullwood withdraws from HD 13 race

In the classic tradition of politics in Florida, some big news developed during Happy Hour on Friday.

A day after pleading guilty to federal fraud chargesReggie Fullwood filed a letter Friday with Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner saying he is no longer a candidate in House District 13.

Fullwood’s withdrawal, said the letter, was “effective immediately,” to “permit the Democratic Party [to] designate a nominee.” It reads:

“The purpose of this correspondence is inform the Department of State, Division of Elections, that I have withdrawn as the Democratic candidate for election to the Florida House of Representatives, District 13, effective immediately.

“This is to permit the Democratic Party to select a nominee to fill the vacancy created by my withdrawal as a candidate. Thank you for your attention to this matter.”

The Democratic Party will have to decide quickly who the candidate will be.

Division of Elections Director Maria Mathews sent Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant a letter late Friday saying a candidate’s letter of designation and qualifying papers must be submitted to the Division of Elections by Oct. 7 at 5 p.m.

Names being floated include Tracie Davis, Duval School Board member Paula Wright, and Rahman Johnson.

Powerful state Sen. Audrey Gibson is close to the first two mentioned; Johnson, meanwhile, would be Fullwood’s pick.

There is, as well, some consternation about who is the best pick. Those who value legislative experience in the Duval’s Democratic Executive Committee back Wright. However, Davis ran a competitive second to Fullwood in the August primary, which burnishes her case for selection by the DEC.

Discussion is robust in the DEC on this matter, with passionate advocates for candidates saying that there needs to be a candidate from the district with legislative experience, which Davis lacks.

Fullwood is in the process of writing a letter to House Speaker Steve Crisafulli resigning from the House.

“While this is a very unfortunate situation, Rep. Fullwood is now obligated by House Rule to resign from his seat. I am hopeful that he will do what is right and do so immediately,” said a statement from Crisafulli to Jacksonville’s WOKV.

****

Fullwood was indicted in April on 14 federal counts related to wire fraud, alleging he transferred $65,000 of campaign contributions into his personal account.

Ten counts were for wire fraud; four counts, for failure to file federal tax returns.

The plea deal reached Thursday was for one count of wire fraud for $1,500 and one count of failure to file.

Though there may be expectations of lenient sentencing, Judge Marcia Morales Howard told Fullwood that the court would set the sentence and decide how lenient it might be.

****

Fullwood had attempted a number of creative defenses in the trial.

Some were more successful than others.

Fullwood scored a victory when the judge ruled the Florida Division of Elections could not have been defrauded by his misappropriation of campaign funds.

However, the Jacksonville Democrat’s motion to dismiss was thwarted.

Fullwood contended no contributor’s property interest was compromised by his use of campaign funds for personal expenses, as the contributors got what they paid for — Fullwood in office.

Federal prosecutors produced FBI testimony from multiple contributors saying their sole intention was for campaign donations to be used only for campaign expenses, eviscerating the motion to dismiss.

Ultimately, that testimony undermined Fullwood’s defense, and a plea deal came.

Fullwood will be sentenced Jan. 9; however, the Democratic Party will have to choose a replacement candidate as soon as possible.

Mitch Perry Report for 9.14.16 — Steve Crisafulli goes there

Outgoing Florida Speaker of the House Steve Crisafulli penned an opinion piece yesterday slamming Hillary Clinton‘s now-infamous “basket of deplorables” phrase to describe half of Donald Trump‘s supporters.

“By calling so many of our nation’s citizens ‘deplorable’ haters and racists and the other half too stupid to make their own decisions about who should be our next president, Hillary once again revealed how the elitist Clintons really view Americans,” Crisafulli wrote.

Similar Trump surrogates echoes similar statements last weekend, but not that many House Republicans.

As the New York Times reports this morning, GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence pretty much struck out in a visit to Capitol Hill in getting his former colleagues to join in deploring Clinton for her “basket of deplorables” remark.

In separate news conferences, House and Senate Republican leaders declined to join Mr. Pence, the Indiana governor and vice-presidential nominee, in rebuking Mrs. Clinton over her remark.

Mr. Pence wound up raising the subject only when pressed by a reporter — and then gave a halting answer in which he would not call David Duke, a white supremacist and onetime Ku Klux Klan leader, “deplorable.” He insisted instead that Mrs. Clinton did not have “that bad man” in mind when she assailed Mr. Trump’s supporters.

You might have seen Pence on Monday night, when he refused to take the bait from CNN’s Wolf Blitzer when asked if Duke could be considered “deplorable.”

“The simple fact is that I am not in the name-calling business,” Pence said, which he again repeated yesterday in D.C.

“Is the factory worker looking for a job that Hillary helped send overseas deplorable?” Crisafulli wrote yesterday. “Are the families whose sons and daughters fight for our country deplorable? Are the millions of Americans who simply want her to tell the truth deplorable? If asking these questions is reason for Hillary to put someone in a basket — she can throw me in too.”

Needless to say, Crisafulli is all in when it comes to supporting Trump for president. Obviously, the rest of his party isn’t nearly that unified.

Meanwhile, the Real Clear Politics average has Trump up by .01 percent over Clinton in Florida, and down only two points nationally.

In other news…

Patrick Murphy used the opportunity of getting endorsed by a political action committee formed after the Pulse nightclub shooting to blast Marco Rubio’s votes on gun safety.

Tampa millennials gathered Monday night in Ybor City to talk transportation and how Hillary Clinton’s plan for infrastructure improvements could help the area if she’s elected.

Dana Young and a host of other (mostly Republican) state lawmakers from the Tampa Bay area are warning the Hillsborough PTC not to pass rules that could prompt Uber and Lyft to leave Tampa.

The AFL-CIO is dropping more than 50,000 mailers to union families in Florida this week touting their support for Hillary Clinton.

CD 15’s Dennis Ross has signed on to a House bill that would prohibit any further payments to Iran from the U.S. government.

Steve Crisafulli blasts Hillary Clinton on ‘basket of deplorables’ comment

On Tuesday, Florida House Speaker Steve Crisafulli blasted Hillary Clinton over her untimely reference to half of Donald Trump‘s supporters as a “basket of deplorables.”

The long-form Crisafulli response — billed as an op-ed by the Trump campaign — offers one more piece of evidence that Trump and his surrogates will use Clinton’s pejorative as a way to rally the base.

“Hillary Clinton’s hateful and divisive comments about millions of patriotic men and women are sickening and a new low, even for her,” Crisafulli wrote.

Crisafulli pivoted into a condemnation of Clinton as a “pay-to-play” elitist, disconnected from the people she desires to lead.

“As Florida’s speaker of the House, I watched Hillary Clinton defame and insult millions of hardworking Americans for simply disagreeing with her and rejecting her pay-to-play scheme at the [state] department where she traded official access for donations to the Clinton Foundation from foreign donors. By calling so many of our nation’s citizens ‘deplorable’ haters and racists and the other half too stupid to make their own decisions about who should be our next president, Hillary once again revealed how the elitist Clintons really view Americans,” Crisafulli wrote.

From there, Crisafulli posed a series of rhetorical questions: “Is the factory worker looking for a job that Hillary helped send overseas deplorable? Are the families whose sons and daughters fight for our country deplorable? Are the millions of Americans who simply want her to tell the truth deplorable? If asking these questions is reason for Hillary to put someone in a basket — she can throw me in too.

“Frustrated after years of being ignored, millions of hardworking Floridians have stood up demanding to be heard. Today Donald Trump has given them a voice against the offshoring of jobs and Clinton’s brand of Washington pay-to-play cronyism and backroom deals,” Crisafulli wrote, before adding one more jab at the end of the piece.

“Hillary Clinton’s basket is lined with the riches of a corrupt political life that has disconnected her from the realities of struggling families around this country,” Crisafulli added.

Personnel note: Kathy Mears heading to FSU

mears-kathy-largeKathy Mears, who served as chief of staff to two consecutive Florida House speakers, will become the new top in-house lobbyist for Florida State University.

Mears, who confirmed her hiring Monday, said she will take the new role of chief legislative affairs officer. She starts Sept. 19.

Mears was chief of staff to Republican House Speakers Will Weatherford (2012-14) and Steve Crisafulli (2014-16).

At FSU, she will report to President John Thrasher, another former state lawmaker.

It’s a homecoming for Mears, who got both her undergraduate degree and master’s in public administration from FSU.

Mears also has been a top advisor to former Senate Presidents Ken Pruitt and Tom Lee, and was deputy chief of staff to former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist. 

She also served as campaign communications director to Congressman Daniel Webster and was a vice president at On 3 Public Relations in Tallahassee.

“Kathy’s passion for public policy and academia makes her the perfect choice for President Thrasher and FSU,” said Christina Johnson, the firm’s president. “I am thrilled for her as she continues to achieve incredible milestones throughout her professional career.”

Debbie Mayfield defeats Ritch Workman in SD 17

Rep. Debbie Mayfield came out on top in Senate District 17.

According to unofficial election results, Mayfield received 42 percent of the vote. She defeated Rep. Ritch Workman, who received 35 percent.

The race was one of the nastiest in this election cycle. Outside political committees poured thousands upon thousands of dollars into the race, running ads hitting the candidates on their voting records and personal life.

First elected in 2008, Mayfield succeeded her husband — Rep. Stan Mayfield, who died in Sept. 2008 — in the Florida House. The Vero Beach Republican is a staunch opponent of Common Core, and had the backing of Florida Parents Against Common Core. She also was endorsed by the Florida Board of Realtors, the Republican Liberty Caucus, and Florida Right to Life.

The long list of supporters didn’t stop the attacks. Workman called for her resignation after a bio box appeared in Florida Today saying she moved to Brevard County in 2015. And the “Accomplished Conservative Leaders Fund” — a political committee largely funded by Workman’s committee, “Citizens United for Liberty and Freedom” — attacked her voting records, family businesses, and personal loans to her campaign.

Workman took to Twitter on Tuesday to congratulate Mayfield, saying he looks forward to supporting her against Democrat Amy Tidd in November.

Workman didn’t escape the race unscathed. “Stop Career Politicians,” a political committee backing Mayfield, has called out Workman for using taxpayer dollars to send a mailer outside of his House district, votes on immigration, and support for an alimony reform bill.

And after months of attacks, Workman’s wife and ex-wife came to his defense. The campaign released an advertisement featuring both women, who hammered Mayfield for attacking Workman.

First elected in 2008, the Melbourne Republican rose to the position of House Rules chairman under House Speaker Steve Crisafulli. He was endorsed by the Florida Chamber of Commerce, and his campaign ran TV ads featuring Gov. Rick Scott.

 

The story from a primary election day in the not-too-distant future

TALLAHASSEE — Two years after Hillary Clinton became the nation’s first female president, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham has become the second woman to win a major party’s nomination for Florida governor.

Graham, an attorney and daughter of former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, held off her two Democratic rivals in a spirited primary election.

Graham now faces former state House Speaker Will Weatherford in November. The Wesley Chapel Republican edged out Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, the GOP establishment favorite, in a free-wheeling, wide-open Republican primary.

The man Graham and Weatherford hope to replace, Rick Scott, easily won the Republican nomination in Florida’s U.S. Senate race. He’ll face three-term Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson in the fall.

Spending only $9 million out of his personal fortune, it was the least amount Scott has spent to win an election. Instead, the still-powerful governor raised more than $30 million for his Senate campaign from the political allies who have long supported him. The Florida Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce donated heavily to “Let’s Get to Work America,” the super PAC backing Scott.

It was Scott’s nonstop fundraising after winning re-election in 2014 — especially as it became clear he would be back on the ballot in 2018 — that became one of the launching points for Graham’s gubernatorial bid. Her promise to “clean up the Governor’s Mansion” became a rallying cry for her and supporters on the campaign trail.

Graham captured 38 percent of the Democratic vote, while Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn finished second with 30 percent and Miami Beach Mayor Phil Levine, despite spending more than $50 million of his own money, ended in third place with 28 percent. A handful of also-rans and gadfly candidates rounded out the results.

The clear difference for Graham was her strength with African-American voters, who were reminded in television commercial after television commercial of Tampa’s controversial “biking while black” ticketing scandal.

While Graham rarely brought up the topic, an anti-Buckhorn super PAC never let the issue drop, dogging Buckhorn press conferences with paid protestors who would buzz the events by circling around on bicycles. The video of Buckhorn jumping down from a stage to confront one of the young protestors went viral.

Levine entered the race with considerable fanfare, distributing virtual reality players to donors and reporters so they could watch the short film he had produced about his tenure as mayor.

And while the “Miami Beach Miracle” movie was the first use of VR on a campaign trail, Levine did not deliver at the box office. Polls indicated he never connected with either the conservative north Florida Democrats loyal to Graham or the voters of the I-4 corridor which Buckhorn hoped would be enough of a base to beat Graham.

The Tampa Bay area was ground zero for the GOP primary, with at least five candidates having staked some sort of claim to the state’s largest media market. Weatherford is from Wesley Chapel, Putnam from Bartow, Carlos Beruff from Parrish, Richard Corcoran from Land O’ Lakes, and Jack Latvala from Clearwater.

Beruff never stopped running for statewide office after losing to Marco Rubio in the 2016 U.S. Senate race. Although his consulting team was busy with Scott’s race, the prospect of Beruff writing another eight-figure check for his campaign kept the nucleus of his team together.

The Manatee County homebuilder parted with another $14 million in his bid to become governor, making it nearly $25 million Beruff has spent in the last two years for two losing campaigns.

Corcoran and Latvala, the two legislative powerhouses who brought the Capitol to a standstill earlier this year over Corcoran’s resistance to commit any taxpayer dollars to Latvala’s plan to build a new stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays, really only flirted with running for governor.

Corcoran was in the race for about a month, Latvala less than that. But after the so-called “Waffle House Summit” at which Corcoran and Latvala agreed to drop their bids for governor and instead run for attorney general and chief financial officer, while backing Weatherford over Putnam, the governor’s race became a two-man affair.

Corcoran will square off against Palm Beach State Attorney Dave Aronberg in the attorney general’s race, while Latvala will face Democrat Jeremy Ring. Former House Speaker Steve Crisafulli faces nominal Democratic opposition in the race for agriculture commissioner.

For much of the race, Putnam held every advantage — in fundraising, endorsements, and name recognition. But Weatherford doggedly traveled the state, damning Putnam with faint praise.

“Adam has been a good politician for more than 20 years,” Weatherford would say, “And he would make a good governor. But what Florida needs now is a transformational governor.”

The charge of Putnam being a career politician began to stick as Weatherford won straw polls at county party meetings and the endorsements of national movement conservatives. To many observers, the Weatherford vs. Putnam race played out like the Marco Rubio vs. Charlie Crist race of 2010.

By the time Goliath noticed David, it was too late.

Weatherford heads into November knowing that Florida Republicans typically outperform Democrats in non-presidential years.

But Graham is anything but a typical politician. With her father campaigning by her side and a legion of volunteers behind her, Graham may be the Democrats’ best chance to take back the Governor’s Mansion since the days of Lawton Chiles.

Donald Trump to hold fundraiser in Tampa days after RNC

Donald Trump will be in Tampa on Tuesday, July 26, to appear at a fundraiser on his behalf.

The event will be hosted by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus. 

Governor Rick Scott will also be in attendance, along with Florida House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, St. Pete business magnate Bill Edwards, Tampa Bay area philanthropist Les Muma, Hillsborough County Aviation Authority Chairman Robert Watkins, Outback Steakhouse founder Chris T. Sullivan, Port Tampa Bay Chairman  Steve Swindal and developer Joe Williams.

The site has for the fundraiser has yet to be announced.

Later in the day, Trump will then travel to Miami for another fundraiser at 7 p.m. that evening.

 

Florida court sides against former Miami congressman David Rivera

A Florida court is refusing to block a recommendation that a former U.S. congressman and one-time ally of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio should pay nearly $60,000 stemming from an ethics investigation.

The 1st District Court of Appeal on Wednesday rejected former U.S. Rep. David Rivera‘s contention that he was denied due process by the Florida Commission on Ethics. Rivera, a former state legislator from Miami, served one term in the U.S. House.

Rivera is accused of violating several state ethics laws. The commission recommended Rivera pay $16,500 in penalties and more than $41,000 in restitution.

It’s up to House Speaker Steve Crisafulli to decide whether to impose penalties.

Rivera’s attorney says Crisafulli has no authority over former House members, but the court said it couldn’t rule on that until the speaker acts on the case.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons