Tampa Bay Archives - Page 5 of 194 - Florida Politics

Internal poll shows David Shapiro within striking distance of Vern Buchanan

A new internal poll from the David Shapiro campaign shows him trailing, but within striking distance of, Vern Buchanan in the race for Florida’s 16th Congressional District.

Conducted by ALG Research, the survey showed Shapiro earning 44 percent support among likely voters to Buchanan’s 48 percent — just within the poll’s 4.9 percent margin of error.

The poll, which sampled 400 people, ran from Aug. 22 to Aug. 25 and utilized live telephone interviews.

Since this is an internal poll, it should be noted that they routinely offer numbers more biased toward the campaigns releasing them, and should be a factor when assessing its reliability.

Nevertheless, if this is even in the ballpark of truly gauging the race, it’s good news for Shapiro. Analysts tend to see this seat sticking in the Republican column.

But a four-point gap in the polls can easily be overcome by Election Day.

“Voters are turning on corrupt Congressman Vern Buchanan because they realize they deserve better than a Washington insider who uses his position in Congress to line his own pockets,” said Javier Hernandez, spokesperson for the Florida Democratic Party.

“It’s no mystery why Buchanan has been dodging his constituents lately: he is afraid to answer for his ethics problems and the fact he wrote a tax law to help the special interests bankrolling his political career and luxury lifestyle.”

Hernandez is referring there to the fact that Buchanan purchased a yacht on the same day House Republicans passed the first version of their tax cuts bill last year. It was later reported that Buchanan received a loan for that purchase from a company who was also lobbying in support of the tax bill.

Buchanan’s camp denied anything improper occurred regarding the yacht’s financing.

The Buchanan campaign also remains skeptical of Shapiro’s new poll, doubting it is an accurate reflection of the race.

“Obviously it’s a bogus push poll,” dismissed Buchanan campaign manager Max Goodman.

“If Shapiro could barely beat a no-show candidate in the Democrat primary after outspending her 50-to-1, he sure isn’t within striking distance of Vern. The fact that he would release a phony poll after such a poor showing shows just how demoralized and panicked he is.”

On Tuesday, Shapiro defeated Jan Schneider by just over 9 percentage points despite heavily outspending her during the primary. Then again, Buchanan did spend big on anti-Shapiro ads throughout the primary, which may have held down his numbers among Democrats who are likely to come back to him during the general.

While there’s no clear evidence the poll was outright “bogus,” a four-point margin doesn’t quite line up with the shape of the race right now, according to other data.

A FiveThirtyEight analysis of the race shows Buchanan with an expected margin of victory of just under 10 points, per available data. That would give him just under a 90 percent chance of winning the race, their model shows.

Phil Hornback

Phil Hornback raising campaign cash for HD 58 run Thursday

Ruskin Democrat Phil Hornback is holding a fundraising reception Thursday evening to kickstart his campaign for Hillsborough County’s House District 58.

The event will run from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Keel & Curley Winery, 5210 Thonotosassa Rd., in Plant City. The suggested contribution $25, and attendees can expect some entertainment from The Hummingbirds.

Though Hornback filed for HD 58 back in May, he hasn’t made much headway on the fundraising trail. It seems that could change in the near future, however, given some of the names on his fundraiser’s host committee — former CFO Alex Sink, Democratic Attorney General nominee Sean Shaw, state Sen. Daryl Rouson and Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp are among the many names on the invite.

Supporters looking more information on the event or to RSVP can send a message to campaign manager Jason Marlow via jasonsmarlow21@gmail.com or call 561-459-9368.

Hornback is a former middle school science teacher, football coach and real estate broker. Prior to entering the race for the northeastern Hillsborough County district, he was a candidate for Florida’s 15th Congressional District.

HD 58 is currently held by Republican Rep. Lawrence McClure, who won the seat in a special election late last year. Prior to McClure, the seat was held by former Republican Rep. Dan Raulerson who resigned the office due to health issues.

As of Aug. 23, Hornback had raised about $7,000 for his campaign and kicked in another $6,000 in candidate loans though he had little cash on hand. McClure, meanwhile, has raised close to $52,000 with $36,600 in the bank.

HD 58 includes Plant City, Temple Terrace, Dover, Mango, Seffner, Thonotosassa, and parts of Tampa and East Lake-Orient Park. The seat has a Republican advantage — it voted plus-10 for Donald Trump two years ago.

The fundraiser invitation is below.

Hornback fundraiser 8.30.2018

Dana Young announces Oct. 2 fundraiser for SD 18 re-election bid

Tampa Republican Sen. Dana Young is holding a fundraiser for her Senate District 18 re-election campaign on Oct. 2 in Tallahassee.

The event will run from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the BC Room of the Governors Club, 202 South Adams St. Those looking for more information or to RSVP can contact Kristin Lamb via Kristin@FLFStrategies.com or 850-339-5354.

Young was elected to Senate District 18 in 2016, but due to the shakeup caused by redistricting she and other state Senators in even-numbered districts must run for re-election after only two years.

She is facing a tough challenge from House Minority Leader Janet Cruz, who entered the race in mid-April. The most recent poll of the race shows Cruz with a slim advantage in the northwestern Hillsborough district, which covers much of Tampa.

SD 18 sits atop the Florida Democratic Party’s wish list this fall. Other than South Florida’s SD 36, where David Perez won the Democratic primary to challenge Republican Rep. Manny Diaz on Tuesday night, SD 18 is the only district Democrats are after that voted for Hillary Clinton two years ago.

Young has landed several endorsements, most recently from the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and she’s already started revving up her ground game with canvassing drives. But her biggest advantage this cycle is in the money race.

As of Aug. 23, Young had more than $455,000 banked in her campaign account at the last reporting checkpoint. Her political committee, Friends of Dana Young, has about $1.27 million at the ready.

By comparison, Cruz had $189,000 in hard money and another $330,000 in her political committee, Building the Bay PC, through the same date.

Late last month, Young challenged Cruz to two debates ahead of their general election showdown. After poking Young for being down in the polls, spokesperson Kevin Cate said the Cruz campaign would reach out to the debate organizers and that the campaign was “eager to debate expanding access to affordable care, more funding for schools, and common-sense gun reform.”

Election Day is Nov. 6. Young’s fundraiser invitation is below.

Young Fundraiser 10.2.2018

All for Transportation opening office, kicking off volunteer efforts tonight

The committee backing a one-cent sales tax to fund transportation initiatives in Hillsborough County is opening a Tampa office and holding an orientation meeting for volunteers Wednesday night as it begins to push for a November win in earnest.

The All for Transportation office, located at 504 E Tyler St., will host prospective volunteers and inform them on how they can help the campaign during the 6 p.m. “Office Grand Opening and Volunteer Kickoff Meeting.”

The group said there’s parking on site, and for those traveling on two wheels instead of four, there’s a bike rack at Portico Café one block away. Volunteers busing in can use any route stopping at the Marion Transit Center, which will get them within two blocks of the office.

In an email announcing the event, All for Transportation encouraged supporters to “bring along friends, family, or co-workers—all are welcome!”

The referendum would add a penny-per-dollar sales tax in Hillsborough County for 30 years starting in 2019. It’s estimated that would bring in $280 million per year to fund transportation initiatives in the county.

The money raised by the sales tax would be split between Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART), which would get 45 percent of the funds, and local governments in the county, which would divvy up the other 55 percent for road maintenance and projects tackling traffic congestion.

All for Transportation launched a frantic push early last month to make the November ballot via the seldom-used citizen’s charter amendment process and in a matter of weeks the group had collected the more than 49,000 signatures required to successfully make the November ballot.

The initiative has been heavily supported by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik as well as businessman and philanthropist Frank Morsani, both of whom pitched in $150,000 to jump-start the eleventh-hour petition drive.

Multiple business groups have shown up with other major contributions over the past month, bringing the total amount raised by the committee to more than $750,000, but it took a large portion of that cash to collect the signatures. All for Transportation had about $73,000 in the bank on Aug. 23.

Last week, the referendum earned endorsements from the Tampa Downtown Partnership and the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, which joined their community partner, the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce, in backing the measure after a unanimous vote by its board.

Election Day is Nov. 6.

Voters around state say yes to local school tax increases

Voters in several parts of Florida approved tax hikes for local school programs and teacher raises, which could be encouraging news to backers of a proposed half-cent sales tax increase in November for Hillsborough County public schools.

By a 13-point margin, Lake County voters approved a property tax increase of .75 mills to help pay for additional school security, the Daily Commercial reports. A similar tax referendum in Clay County was approved by 53 percent of voters, according to WJXT.

The Sun-Sentinel reported that Broward County voters passed a property tax increase to give teachers a 6 percent raise. The money also will help pay for school security officers and student mental health care.

WLRN reported that Monroe County voters by a 60-40 margin gave a resounding thumbs-up tax to pay for security measures, while the Panama City News reported that Bay County voters extended a local sales tax for security and construction projects.

The Orlando Sentinel said 83 percent of voters approved an extension of a special property tax to help pay for teacher raises and school arts programs.

Amanda Murphy holding Tampa fundraiser for SD 16 bid Thursday

Former Democratic Rep. Amanda Murphy is heading to Tampa Thursday night for a fundraising reception benefiting her run for Pasco and Pinellas-based Senate District 16.

The event will be held at Mise en Place, 442 W Kennedy Blvd. #110, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The invite lists a suggested minimum contribution of $100, though notes that any donation is welcome.

Included on the host committee are former CFO Alex Sink, former Education Commissioner and former USF President Betty Castor, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, former Congressman and 2006 Democratic nominee for Governor Jim Davis and former state Rep. Ed Narain, among others.

Supporters looking to attend the event can send an RSVP to note Shannon@AmandaMurphy.com or call 727-835-8517.

Murphy, a New Port Richey Democrat, served in the Florida House from 2013 through 2016, when she lost by just a handful of votes despite Donald Trump carrying her district decisively.

In 2018, she is running against former Republican Rep. Ed Hooper of Clearwater for SD 16, which covers northern Pinellas and southwestern Pasco counties.

Though she hasn’t put much of a dent in Hooper’s massive fundraising lead thus far, most polling of the matchup has shown a tight race with her on top despite big spending by Hooper’s campaign.

At the beginning of August, an SEA Polling & Strategic Design survey found Murphy up 2 points, 41-39 percent. That edge falls within the margin of error

As the poll noted at the time: “Amanda Murphy holds a two-point lead despite significant spending on Hooper’s behalf throughout July and early August. Two public polls conducted by St. Pete Polls showed Murphy leading or in a dead heat with Hooper which set off fire alarms in the Senate Majority office and likely led to Hooper’s midsummer panic spending.”

The head-to-head between Murphy and Hooper is Nov. 6.

Murphy’s invitation is below.

Amanda Murphy fundraiser invite

Mike Beltran wins tough GOP primary in HD 57

Attorney Mike Beltran is the Republican nominee in HD 57 after his victory in Tuesday’s primary over challenger Sean McCoy.

HD 57 is currently represented by Lithia Republican Jake Raburn, who announced he was not running for re-election to devote more time to family and business.

Democrat Debbie Katt was running unopposed.

The Republican side of the ballot was quite the scrum, though.

Beltran sued McCoy for defamation following a mailer that accusing him of helping an illegal alien get out of jail and back on the streets.

Beltran, a Harvard Law School alum, called it a “defamatory hit piece” and said he was appointed to defend the client by a judge. Beltran said he asked for a 15-year sentence followed by deportation.

Raburn endorsed McCoy, a West Point graduate and U.S. Army veteran.

“Sean’s record of service to his country and his commitment to our conservative principles makes him the best choice to serve our community in Tallahassee,” Raburn said.

“I know Sean will work tirelessly to fight for the conservative values we hold dear and protect our local agriculture industry to help grow our economy. With Sean McCoy in Tallahassee, District 57 will be in good hands.”

Katt, a software designer from Valrico, is a political newcomer.

Susan Valdes leading in HD 62 Democratic primary

Hillsborough School Board member Susan Valdes appears to have overcome months of sloppy campaigning to eek out a win in the Democratic primary for Hillsborough County’s House District 62.

With 34 of 37 precincts reporting some outstanding mail votes, Valdes is leading Mike Alvarez, U.S. Marine Corps veteran by a few hundred votes with medical marijuana activist Chris Cano running a distant third.

Alvarez, who now works for Westfall Roofing, was the first-in candidate for the seat, which has been held for the past eight years by House Minority Leader Janet Cruz.

For the first year after Alvarez filed in May 2017, the primary was rather sleepy. That all changed when Valdes entered the race in the 11th hour — literally — ahead of the candidate qualifying deadline.

Her decision to give up her School Board seat, effective Election Day, turned Hillsborough races topsy-turvy. As a well-liked, albeit, controversial official who has been in office for more than a decade, Valdes was thought to be far out in front of the competition the moment her candidacy became official.

That perception quickly changed as her campaign made one unforced error after another.

First, there was the controversy surrounding her resign-to-run letter. Next, there was the semi-viral video of her dodging a question about whether she would accept campaign contributions from charter schools. That video spawned another troubling allegation — that her campaign threatened to pull strings and have the man who recorded it fired from his job at the State Attorney’s office.

After a brief respite, Valdes was back in the news, this time being admonished by U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor for a campaign mailer that insinuated the congresswoman had endorsed her in the state House race. Another mailer, this one paid for by a group connected to charter schools, led Cruz — a personal friend of Valdes for 20 years — to publicly rescind her endorsement.

Whether Alvarez would have gotten as much attention without Valdes’ repeated gaffes is an interesting ‘what if.’

The way it played out, however, saw the young first-time candidate reel in one major endorsement after another. First up was the Florida AFL-CIO, followed by the Florida Education Association, Castor, and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

Despite weeks of what more closely resembled a Dumpster fire than a campaign, Valdes still had a few supporters in her corner, namely the Florida Realtors PAC, and county Property Appraiser Bob Henriquez as well as the editorial boards of the Tampa Bay Times and La Gaceta.

In the end, it seems that Valdes’ loyal supporters and her name recognition were enough to get her across the finish line in the primary. If her lead is cemented once all votes are counted, her ticket to Tallahassee is all but booked — she’ll be only nominally opposed by a write-in candidate in November.

Todd Marks wins Republican primary for Hillsborough Commission

After spending months revving up to face off for the District 1 seat on the Hillsborough County Commission, Republicans Todd Marks and Aakash Patel found themselves making ambitious first-time bids for the countywide District 7 seat held by exiting Commissioner Al Higginbotham.

The race was an expensive one, and it wasn’t without its fair share of mudslinging but in the end Marks defeated Patel in a landslide, netting more than two-thirds of the vote in the two-way race.

Patel, a Tampa businessman, had built a massive war chest — five days out from the Tuesday’s election he had raised nearly $575,000 between his campaign account and affiliated political committee, Elevate Tampa. Marks, meanwhile, raised about $158,000 for his bid, with much of it coming from his own checking account.

Though Patel’s fundraising efforts were impressive, so was was his ability to pull in big-name endorsements — U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, Attorney General Pam BondiHouse Speaker Richard Corcoran, former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, former House Speaker Will Weatherford, to name a few.

Though Marks wasn’t as flashy or well-funded, he had a few major backers behind him, including Tampa Sen. Dana Young and state Reps. Jackie Toledo and Lawrence McClure. His biggest get, however, was likely the nod from Commissioner Sandy Murman, whose seat he and Patel were competing for before entering the District 7 race.

Patel beat Marks to the airwaves with an ad highlighting his vision for “A Better Hillsborough,” but it didn’t take long for Marks to remix the positive message displayed in Patel’s 30-second spot into a hit piece highlighting some past donations Patel had made to Democratic politicians — while a dive into finance reports did show $1,853 in contributions to Democratic campaigns, it also uncovered $21,875 in donations to Republican candidates.

Rather than dumping oppo on Marks, Patel responded with an ad promising to keep it clean and not shift his message away from the issues facing Hillsborough voters. That move didn’t pay off.

Marks will appear on the November ballot alongside Kimberly Overman, who emerged from the four-way Democratic primary Tuesday. Also contending in the general election is Green Party candidate Kim “KLARC” O’Connor.

Election Day is Nov. 6.

Joe Wicker cruises past Ronda Storms in GOP HD 59

Joe Wicker cruised to a solid victory Tuesday night over long-time political face Ronda Storms to secure the Republican nomination in HD 59.

Wicker had 54 percent of the vote to Storms’ 46 percent.

Storms called Wicker to concede, saying she congratulated him and adding, “Obviously this is not the result I wanted, but God is good.”

HD 59 covers most of Brandon, as well as Valrico, Dover, Seffner, Riverview, Palm River and Clair-Mel City.

Wicker, a Brandon businessman and Army veteran, filed for the seat a day after incumbent Ross Spano announced his Attorney General bid, which he abandoned after deciding to run for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Storms, who served in the Hillsborough County Commission from 1998-2006, and later in the state Senate, was a surprise entrant into this race. She didn’t jump in until several months after Wicker’s announcement.

The race turned dirty down the stretch, with mailers attacking Storms that she said wildly misrepresented her views and actions.

One charge was that Storms voted to approve President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus package, which she vehemently denied in a video on her Facebook page, later repeating that in an interview with Florida Politics.

“That is patently false,” she said. “I never – no, never – voted for President Obama’s stimulus package.”

She repeated that denial for another mailer that said she didn’t do anything about illegal immigration while in office.

“That is also patently false,” she said.

Wicker had to take a break from campaigning a week before the primary after his wife gave birth to what Wicker called on his Facebook page “our newest constituent” – 10-pound, 14-ounce Savannah Leigh Wicker.

Wicker explained his momentary absence by saying, “A man that cannot serve his family cannot serve the community.”

He had the endorsement of the Florida Chamber of Commerce and was endorsed by the Tampa Bay Times.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons