About 136 miles from where Hurricane Ian made landfall, the storm loomed large over a Thursday forum that brought together four candidates vying to represent South Florida in Congress.
Democratic nominee Jared Moskowitz, the Republican nominee Joe Budd, and two candidates with no party affiliation — Mark Napier, a military veteran, and Christine Scott, a small businesswoman — came before about 80 of the area’s movers and shakers at a Tower Forum breakfast to discuss November’s election.
They are competing to succeed U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, representing a district that spans Broward and Palm Beach counties.
Budd said that the best thing that President Joe Biden has done so far was land in Fort Myers as he did Wednesday to comfort the victims of the Category Four storm. And Moskowitz lamented that moments of unity like this didn’t happen more often.
“It shouldn’t take a hurricane for us all to realize that we’re Floridians and that we’re all Americans,” said Moskowitz, who was first elected at age 25 and has since served at numerous levels of government. “Only when there’s a national emergency do we see our leaders being able to sit together and take photos together.”
The campaigns’ different points of emphasis came immediately into focus — as did the crowd’s enthusiasm for the candidates. Moskowitz is heavily favored to win the seat, as Florida’s 23rd Congressional District, that stretches from Boca Raton to Fort Lauderdale, favored Biden in the last election by a significant margin.
Asked to name his priorities, Moskowitz’s statements about preserving democracy in the face of those denying Biden’s election and a woman’s right to choose regarding abortion were greeted with applause that no other candidate received while speaking.
“I’ve got two young kids and … I don’t know what kind of country they’re going to inherit,” Moskowitz said.
Budd, who won the Republican Party’s nomination for the same seat in 2010 but ultimately lost to Deutch, said his first priority is addressing the economy, and blamed a large part of its struggles on the Biden administration’s action that restricted oil and gas drilling leases.
“We are causing an economic decline in this country, infinitely affecting inflation,” Budd said, also naming housing and insurance as his other two main priorities.
Moskowitz spent some of his speaking time making the case that a national catastrophe fund needs to be started. He noted that the frequency of severe storms hitting land is increasing. Also, he said, more investment needs to be made in shoring up seawalls and other infrastructure to handle the coming deluge.
“We need a national catastrophic fund so we can amortize these disasters, so we can also stabilize the economy. And quite frankly, with part of that fund, we have to stabilize the insurance market,” Moskowitz said.
Budd offered a wholly different perspective, arguing that perhaps the state’s current surplus should be used to shore up the state’s current property insurance crisis, rather than appeal to a national solution. He also pointed out scientists have been wrong about climate change before, although he believes it’s really happening.
“On April 28, 1974, the cover of Newsweek magazine had an article about global cooling — all the scientists were afraid things were going to freeze,” he said. “Climate change is real, it does happen. It goes back and forth.”
Most importantly, though, government efforts on this score have been a failure, Budd said.
“Over the last 20 years, the U.S. government has spent $5.5 trillion against the fossil fuel industry in hopes of solving the climate change issue,” he said, saying that, in that time, dependence on fossil fuel has only dropped by 2%.
Scott said she would bring to Congress more awareness about how humans can control weather.
“This isn’t woo woo,” she said. “This is science.”
Budd wrapped up his comments saying that he wished Moskowitz would debate him directly on TV, as a local station has offered to host them.
“WPBF Channel 25 is trying to organize a debate — I encourage my opponent to accept that debate,” he said.
Moskowitz, however, said that he doesn’t want to elevate Budd’s view of who won the last election.
“We should not be rewarding inflammatory rhetoric and dangerous disinformation,” Moskowitz said.
Budd is the founder of the Club 45 USA, which aims to “keep Donald Trump supporters in our area connected and engaged and to support the current and future endeavors of Donald Trump and the re-election of Governor Ron DeSantis,” according to its website. But Thursday, Budd said he recognizes Biden is the country’s legitimate President.
“I’m not an election denier,” he said. “Nowhere can you find that in my history.”
October 6, 2022 at 2:28 pm
Actually, Anne, I said that the government has had the ability to manipulate the weather and create hurricanes for at least 30 years. Scientists are fully capable of creating rain. I explained the rain can be focused over wildfires and farmland. It’s time for the government to disclose what we are capable of so that it can be used for good.
October 6, 2022 at 3:56 pm
Please do the people a favor and exit the race so we can get Joe elected. You’re only hurting the America First cause.
October 6, 2022 at 9:12 pm
lol…here’s a better idea. How about if Budd exits the race. It looks like he has zero chance of winning. Whereas I likely can win it, which you know or you wouldn’t be asking me to exit it. Even if I left the race, which I won’t Budd doesn’t have the support he needs to win. Some graphs came out indicating he likely came in 4th place but due to election tampering was bumped up to 1st for his party, which indicates his support level is far too low to win a race where NPAs have more voters in the District than the Republicans do. He should drop out if you don’t want the district Blue.
October 6, 2022 at 9:20 pm
Alex – What you want to remember is that I’m a moderate, so I pull from both parties in a district that has nearly as many NPAs as it does Dems and more NPAs than Republicans. The political climate is very tumultuous and Budd is too weak a candidate with views to radically right for him to have a chance of taking enough of the Indie votes to win. Whereas, for whatever reason, both Dems and Republicans like my views, as well as my NPAs. Therefore, if you don’t want Moskowitz to win with his D-5 advantage I would be your realistic choice.
October 6, 2022 at 4:53 pm
I am sorry, but this reporter (Anne Geggis) has demonstrated her political bias toward Moskowitz. Not once did she address any comments made by myself Mark Napier. She dismisses me as a mere military veteran, but not once state that I also served the CIA for 20 years and bring more to the table in experience than Moskowitz in Counterterrorism, Export Controls of WMD, Contingency Operations, etc. Not once was I given a fair hearing and this demonstrates how poorly our media in SOFLO is slanted not just toward the far left, but Florida Politics appears more to reflect state media I would find in former Soviet Union, China, Cuba or Iran. Very poor professionalism with deliberately misleading the public Ann Geggis. I ll be contacting your Editor.
October 7, 2022 at 11:24 am
Christine, what planet are you living on?
You are polling at 1% and Budd has came within 1 point of election in a D+7 district.
You platform is a mirror image of Joe Budd’s. At this point you are controlled opposition, put your ego aside and put your country first.
You too Mark.
October 7, 2022 at 9:30 pm
Sir, I represent the Discarded and Forgotten to include the LGBT community that both the Republicans and Democrats take for granted. As for ego, I bring more experience to the table than any candidate having worked 20 years for the CIA, 26 years for the US Army components and nearly 4 years in the combat zones.
My experience in Middle East Peace, Export Controls of WMD, Contingency Operations-Planning and Exercises, and Counterterrorism Operations. I also have the experience of being left homeless for 5 years on the streets and crawling out from under the rubble these last 7 years all because I REPORTED a mismanaged investigation involving child pornography at CIA.
So, if I had an ego, it likely fell off when I was left homeless to no fault of my own. I bring genuine concern to represent the people. I am sorry but Joe Budd does not stand a chance against Moskowitz when you have half the district registered Democrats the other half split 50/50 between Independents and Republicans. As a member of the LGBT community, I stand a better chance at defeating Moskowitz than Budd. Thats the truth of the matter. So I am not stepping aside.
October 9, 2022 at 4:07 pm
lol… I love it! Even you – very left, niche…AND CIA have a better chance of winning than Budd! It might be true. You’re probably too far left and too close to the police state nonsense that is going on to have a ‘better’ chance than Budd of winning. Perhaps and equal chance.
While you certainly DO NOT have more experience than I do… albeit you have a different type of experience, I agree that you have far more experience than either Budd or Moskowitz.
By preference, you’re a niche candidate by representing the ‘Discarded and Forgotten’. It’s not an officials right to only represent some of their constituents rather than all of the People within their district. Both Moskowitz and Budd present the same bias toward their own parties, whereas I would represent everyone.
The Republican Party needs to get it together, get past their ego, admit Budd won’t win and get behind me so that we can put someone in that is a common sense candidate who cares about the American People and will fight for us! Our representatives have a duty to represent all of us… not just some of us.
October 8, 2022 at 1:02 am
Alex, Polls are bs. Let’s see the poll. I’m out there meeting with my constituents daily. They know who I am, they’ve met me (often more than once) and most often they have no idea who ANY of my opponents are on either side. That’s the reality. What planet are you on? The one that feeds total disinformation to people hoping they have no ability to discern truth from fiction?
My platform is quite different from Joe’s. It’s substantial, where as his is white-washed tiptoeing. He doesn’t believe there was election fraud. Whereas I filed the only statewide election fraud case, in FL, in 2020. It’s not about party. Election fraud happens on both sides of the isle.
Have you looked at his platform? It’s vague, elusive and inadequate. Whereas mine is very detailed and instead of having a couple things listed I have gone into detail with about 4xs as many topics as Joe. Further, my platform has been up since 2021, so I’m not mirroring him..as you know full well. He jumped in last minute. Therefore, it would be him mirroring me.
Get off your horse of desperation. Joe is a joke. As someone put it, he’s a ‘sign stealer looking to be corrupted’.
We’ve got enough swamp creatures in congress. The goal is to drain the swamp, not add to it.
Like you said, Joe can’t win with me in the race. You’re right. He’s too weak of a candidate and I’m too strong of one. I’m for the People ALL People, not just a particular party.
No one is reading this. It’s been ‘trashed’, which means that you’re hiding behind a fake username to find out info that you can try to use in an attempt to boost Joe’s numbers. Give up. It’s not possible. He’s not the right person. He’s not even a Trump supporter. He’s a DeSantis supporter. He just wanted the Trump rolodex….lol… like the FBI… just keepin’ tabs on people.
It’s not my interest to talk negatively about Joe, so why don’t you stop bringing stuff up. He’s doing bad enough on his own, you don’t need to make it worse. If I was really polling at 1%, you wouldn’t be wasting your time attacking me. I agree Joe needs you…nonetheless your attempts are futile.
Dopey Joe…. no thanks!
October 8, 2022 at 9:12 am
D23 also doesn’t need Maskowitz. He’s a career politician that is completely out of touch with the average person. He nicknamed himself ‘Maskowitz’, is knows as ‘The Master of Disaster’ and was endorsed by Kilary! He is responsible for all the lockdowns and masks, including those in our schools, he’s proud of it and he’ll gleefully do it again. Moskowitz wants FULL TERM ABORTIONS! That’s killing children! Real live precious children. There is nothing okay about that. Moskowitz wants guns in all of schools. I want metal detectors on ALL windows and doors. God forbid one of those guns were to get in the wrong hands! And I’m pro 2nd Amendment… There are just better ways of protecting our children then by surrounding them with guns.
I’m a common sense candidate that can’t be pressured by either party. The People vote me in. The People vote me out. Neither party can pressure me. Only the People. As it should be!
October 8, 2022 at 9:01 am
Hey Alex – I responded last night but it was not posted. Let’s try this again!
Your a contradiction. You say, ‘Exit the race so we can get Joe elected.’ and ‘You’re polling at 1%’. Which is it? If I were polling at 1% you wouldn’t be begging me to exit the race. It’s about D+2 relating to NPAs (aka ‘Independents’). There are far fewer Rs in D23.
Considering my platform was up about a year before Joe entered the race, it’s not possible for it to mirror Joe’s. Further, our platforms are quite different, as are our personalities, morals, integrity level and reasons for running. Joe’s a career politician. I’ve been a small business owner for the majority of my adult life.
Joe wants no abortions ever. I’d like it to be at 12 wks with exception for mother’s healthy, deformities and retardation. Incest and rape are known immediately. I want the day after pill and abortions on a sliding scale to ensure a woman can address the issue in the first trimester. Joe doesn’t.
Joe does not believe election fraud took place in 2020. I know it did throughout the down ballot on BOTH sides of the isle.
If you know Joe can’t win and are desperately trying to get me to step down, to give Joe any inkling of hope & you think our platforms are so similar, then isn’t it him that should step aside. Don’t you believe in competition? If you want a REAL America First candidate to win, then vote for me.
You’re right. Joe has no chance of winning. That’s not my problem. It’s to my advantage! I’m running to win. Joe appears to be running to turn the district BLUE. We need a moderate. I only represent the People, not a Party. D23 needs me, not a RINO like Joe. I care about everyone in my district. Joe cares about Joe.
October 8, 2022 at 10:02 am
Anne – I received applause while speaking after at least two or three of my statements. Your claim that only the dem received applause is straight up fake news to mislead the reader.
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