Monday, July 21, 2014

Cuomo spokesman questions Jeff Atwater's math skills

Posted By on Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 11:14 AM


Florida CFO Jeff Atwater has been watching those television ads asking entrepreneurs and others to come to New York and start a business in the Empire State, and he's not a fan.

"The reality is that New York boasts the highest taxes in America, the highest cost of living in the country, and one of the worst business climates in the nation," Atwater wrote in a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo last Thursday, regarding Cuomo's "START-UP NY" ad campaign.

Sarcastically writing that "Perhaps you should consider the following when you choose to release the next iteration of these ad campaigns," Atwater's letter then lists a series of bullet points comparing New York unfavorably to Florida when it comes to recent economic success, such as citing a CEO magazine report calling Florida the second best place in the country to do business in the U.S, and New York 49th.

Cuomo's office isn't taking Atwater's letter lying down.

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Jim Davis says Bill Nelson would have been a good candidate, but is prepared to get behind Charlie Crist

Posted By on Sat, Jul 19, 2014 at 12:20 PM

A recent poll showed that 89 percent of Democrats want Charlie Crist to debate Nan Rich before the August 26 primary election, and you can include Jim Davis among them. The former Tampa Congressman and 2006 gubernatorial nominee says Crist would be well served to debate going into the fall. "Debate, we as Democrats believe, makes us stronger," he says.

Davis is part of the Florida Democratic Party establishment who has been less than enthusiastic, shall we say, about the former Republican once known as "Chain-gang Charlie" becoming the party's standard-bearer. Davis was one of a number of major figures in the party who spent considerable time attempting to persuade Bill Nelson to enter the primary, a possibility that Nelson himself kept alive over the past 8 months or so before the deadline to enter the race came and went last month.

"I think Sen. Nelson would have been a very strong candidate, a very strong governor," Davis said Thursday afternoon on WMNF's Last Call program (hosted by this reporter). "He knows the state, and he has served us well, but he chose not to run and now it's water under the bridge."

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Charlie Crist names Annette Taddeo-Goldstein as his running mate

Posted By on Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 12:40 PM

(Update: Nan Rich responds. See below). Although he won't be the (likely) Democratic party nominee for governor for 40 more days, Charlie Crist announced this morning from Miami that he has selected Annette Taddeo-Goldstein to be running mate and serve as Florida's next Lieutenant Governor if he defeats Rick Scott this fall.

A former party chair and congressional candidate from Miami-Dade County, the 47-year-old Taddeo-Goldstein had been considered to be on Crist's shortlist of would-be running mates. She was also a contender to run the state party after Rod Smith stepped down two years ago, but dropped out of that race and ended up backing current party chair Allison Tant.

“As a working mom and a small businesswoman, I am thrilled to serve with a man who has always fought for Florida’s middle-class families,” said Taddeo. “We deserve a governor who understands the struggle our families and seniors are facing and works every day to make our lives better — not harder."

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

First Brandes campaign ad slammed immediately by Judithanne McLauchlan

Posted By on Tue, Jul 15, 2014 at 4:01 PM

Just hours after Jeff Brandes began airing his first television ad of the year in his Senate District 22 seat race against Democratic challenger Judithanne McLauchlan, the USFSP political science teacher fired back.

Here's the St.Petersburg-based GOP legislator's ad, in which he takes pride in his legislation to address the private flood insurance issue that blew up in Pinellas County towards the end of last year.

Brandes' legislation would establish a private market alternative to the National Flood Insurance Program, which faced massive premium spikes because of reforms set by the controversial Biggert-Waters Act enacted by Congress in 2012. 

But the McLauchlan team released a statement this advertising calling the ad "false and misleading," saying that it completely mischaracterizes his work on flood insurance and what it means for homeowners and small business owners in Tampa Bay.

“I’m extremely disappointed that my opponent is grossly misleading Tampa Bay families on the vitally important issue of rising flood insurance rates," McLauchlan said. "Instead of working to find a solution to rising rates that works for middle-class families, my opponent would rather force hard-working people into a corner where their only option is to get risky coverage from unstable, fly-by-night private plans."

McLauchlan goes on to say that if elected, she'll work to ensure that Floridians are protected and secure, "rather than letting insurance companies profit and sticking middle-class Floridians with the bill."

Back in March, Congress passed legislation that would keep flood insurance rates from climbing more than 15 percent each year for primary homes, with a hard cap of 18 percent.

The SD 22 seat encompasses both southern Pinellas and part of Hillsborough County.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Democrats try to make hay out of typical Rick Scott presser

Posted By on Mon, Jul 14, 2014 at 2:49 PM

Rick Scott was in Largo this morning, where he was queried about that flap from a week ago, where on-duty law enforcement officers were asked to participate in a Scott campaign event in Tampa, an ethical no-no.

Scott was asked to respond to the allegation four times in a row by WFLA-TV reporter Lauren Mayk and WTSP's Noah Pransky this morning during a media availability, but alas, stayed fervently "on message." Watch below:

The Crist camp is trying to make the most of it, but really folks, this isn't anything new. The Governor had the exact same response a week ago at that now controversial event at Patrick's in Tampa when I asked him about Republican Party criticism that his insistence on making sure every Florida prison inmate serves at least 85 percent of his prison sentence is actually appropriate (Scott had vetoed a 2012 bill that would have allowed certain non-violent drug offenders to be released from jail after serving 50 percent of their sentence). And there are many, many other incidents where Scott remains relentlessly on message by failing to answer a question that he views as being negative. It annoys reporters, but whether the public really cares about his indifference to the Fourth Estate is an open question.

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In Tampa, Perry Thurston & George Sheldon tag team to blast Pam Bondi

Posted By on Mon, Jul 14, 2014 at 11:02 AM

Democratic AG candidates Perry Thurston & George Sheldon in Tampa on Saturday.
  • Democratic AG candidates Perry Thurston & George Sheldon in Tampa on Saturday.

A lot has been made this year about how, once again, Florida Democrats appear outgunned when it comes to the Cabinet races.

While the party has had to rely on a former Republican to challenge Rick Scott's bid for re-election for governor, it has also had its problems fielding candidates to challenge Jeff Atwater for Chief Financial Officer and Adam Putnam for Agriculture Commissioner.

But they actually have candidates with impressive credentials running against each other for the opportunity to challenge Attorney General Pam Bondi in the fall, even though the nominee — either Perry Thurston or George Sheldon — will be a decided underdog against the well-financed Republican in November. 

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

United for Care gets the message about medical marijuana out in St. Pete

Posted By on Sun, Jul 13, 2014 at 10:16 AM

Sarah Andrews, deputy regional field officer at United For Care and Carl Sandstrom, vice-deputy regional field officer, promoting Amendment 2. - DAINA STANLEY
  • Daina Stanley
  • Sarah Andrews, deputy regional field officer at United For Care and Carl Sandstrom, vice-deputy regional field officer, promoting Amendment 2.
Around two dozen citizens came to hear representatives from organizations raise awareness about medicinal cannabis at Mad Hatters Ethnobotanical Tea Bar in St. Petersburg last week.

The educational meeting consistent of a diverse age group was hosted by Libertarian party congressional candidate Lucas Overby Thursday night. A 60 percent vote is needed to get the Medical Marijuana Act passed, which would legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in the state of Florida.

Representatives from United For Care, the American Cannabis Exchange, and the Libertarian party shared their support for Amendment 2 that will be voted on by Florida residents on the 2014 ballot. Whether personal, political, or economic, each group is intent upon getting as many voters to the booths in November as possible. 

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

In Tampa, Charlie Crist says he became a Democrat because Republicans "lost their minds"

Posted By on Sat, Jul 12, 2014 at 5:58 PM

  • Chip Weiner
On the eve of  the one-year anniversary of the George Zimmerman 'not guilty' verdict, Charlie Crist said at a political candidates forum in Tampa this afternoon that "we gotta fix it," when asked his opinion of the state's controversial Stand Your Ground law.

"People have the right to defend themselves. Nobody has a problem with that," the Democratic gubernatorial candidate said when asked his opinion about the 2005 state law. "But when you have a situation like that (referring to Zimmerman killing unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin), where the instigator ends up taking the life of somebody, you know, it's all screwed up. It's just wrong."

Crist made that comment while making an impromptu appearance at the Hillsborough Democratic Black Caucus Political Forum, held at the Bible Based Fellowship Church of Temple Terrace in North Tampa. That's where he fielded relatively softball questions tossed to him for approximately 20 minutes in front of a mostly African-American audience.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Narain stands out in HD61 Debate at Hillsborough LGBTA event

Posted By on Thu, Jul 10, 2014 at 1:45 PM

Florida's House District 61 seat encompasses much of the urban core of Tampa, and is looking for new representation with the term-limited retirement of Betty Reed this fall. Three of the four people competing in the heavily Democratic district appeared for an hour Wednesday night at J.J.'s in Ybor City at the Hillsborough County LGBTA Democratic Caucus monthly meeting. Ed Narain was the breakout candidate.

Narain was joined by Sharon Carter, a former vice-chairwoman of the Hillsborough County Democratic Executive Committee, and Tatiana  Denson, who ruffled some feathers when she challenged Reed for the seat back in 2012. After fielding a softball query on whether they supported raising the minimum wage (they all did), the candidates were asked what would be the the first law they would introduce in Tallahassee if elected.

While Carter and Denson fumbled before speaking in generalities about education (Carter) and economic development and transportation (Denson), Narain, an area manager for AT&T who recently received his law degree at Stetson University, was poised to respond. 

"It's going to be to expand Medicaid," he said, earning a hearty cheer from the audience. "We sat here and watched as Rick Scott basically said, 'Hey, $55 billion of our money. We just gave it away. Just like with the high-speed rail." 

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

In Tampa appearance Carlos Lopez-Cantera compares Charlie Crist's record unfavorably with Rick Scott's

Posted By on Wed, Jul 9, 2014 at 4:50 PM

Florida LG Carlos Lopez-Cantera spoke at the J.C. Newman Cigar Factory in Tampa on Wednesday.
  • Florida LG Carlos Lopez-Cantera spoke at the J.C. Newman Cigar Factory in Tampa on Wednesday.
Although Florida Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera's appearance at the J.C. Newman Cigar Factory in Tampa today was billed as a non-political event, Rick Scott's running mate made sure to use the occasion to disparage Charlie Crist and Barack Obama when discussing new FDA regulations that the cigar store's owners say could force them to give up their 119-year-old business.

Though his only criticisms at the mic while standing next to owner Eric and Bobby Newman were on what they all called too much government regulation of a premium cigar factory (the last of its kind in Tampa), Lopez-Cantera let loose when talking with a reporter from the Fox News Channel immediately after taking a half-hour tour of the facility.

"This is a perfect example of Barack Obama and Charlie Crist not getting it, because why?" he told the FNC reporter while a few local reporters stood nearby. "They’ve never built anything. They’ve never run anything. Governor Scott and my family built businesses out of nothing, so we get it, this is a clear distinction between the two philosophies of the two parties. More government, which puts small businesses out of business like this one out of business and puts more middle-class people out in the street, or less regulations, less government because we believe they know they’re responsible enough to run their business?"

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