Reporter William March has covered state and national politics since 1994. Email
Reporter Mike Salinero has covered Hillsborough County government since 2007. Email
Reporter James L. Rosica covers state government from the Tribune's Tallahassee bureau. Email
Florida Political Blogs:
Most Recent Entries
- Bondi’s committees now have raised more than $1 million
- First David Jolly ad touts his local ties, but could be fodder for critics
- Sources: Crist’s new campaign manager is gone
- Clark to ignore Detzner absentee directive for D 13 race
- Murman also uncertain about LG job
- Dems cry voter suppression, election supes unhappy, over new absentee rule
- Crist raises first million; Scott now over $25 million
- House and Senate bills would regulate parasailing
- Castor to raise $$ for Sink
- Two candidates left on Gov. Scott’s ‘short list’ for Lt. Gov.
- Peters responds to DCCC flood insurance comments
- Gov. Scott weighs in on Iran deal
- Q poll: Bush, Clinton top Florida 2016 choices
- Q poll: Bush, Clinton top Florida 2016 choices
- Q Poll: Scott narrows gap v. Crist
Bondi’s committees now have raised more than $1 million
Posted Dec 9, 2013 by James L. Rosica
Updated Dec 9, 2013 at 02:26 PM
Two fundraising committees affiliated with Attorney General Pam Bondi on Monday now have raised more than $1 million.
“And Justice for All,” Bondi’s political communications fund, raised $47,500 in November for a total of more than $941,500.
Of that amount, $500,000 came from the Republican State Leadership Committee, which helps conservative GOP candidates get into state office.
“Justice for All,” a similarly-named but separate political committee, has raised $102,250 so far.
“The total raised collectively by the two committees since being established in July of this year (is) $1,043,832,” according to a press release.
Those numbers don’t include Bondi’s traditional campaign finance account, which lists more than $701,000 in monetary and in-kind contributions and $5,400 in expenditures, according to the state Division of Elections’ website.
Bondi, the incumbent Republican, is a former Hillsborough County prosecutor and Fox News analyst.
One of her Democratic challengers, George Sheldon, has raised $5,931 in his traditional campaign finance account.
Sheldon is a former state Department of Children & Families secretary and more recently was an acting assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The other declared Democrat in the race, House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston, has not yet reported any fundraising.
First David Jolly ad touts his local ties, but could be fodder for critics
Posted Dec 5, 2013 by Kate Bradshaw
Updated Dec 5, 2013 at 09:15 PM
Congressional hopeful David Jolly’s first campaign commercial touts his Pinellas ties, but where it was shot may be fodder at Friday’s Tiger Bay Club candidate forum.
Tiger Bay Club meetings serve as a chance for members and guests to ask questions of elected officials and candidates, and some might be relatively tough. Friday, all five candidates in the race for the open congressional seat left in the wake of Congressman Bill Young’s death are expected to take part, including Jolly and his two primary opponents, State Rep. Kathleen Peters and newcomer Mark Bircher, Democratic former CFO Alex Sink and Libertarian Lucas Overby. A sixth, write-in candidate Michael Levinson, said he may also attend.
By now, most Tiger Bay members have probably seen the barrage of emails from national Republicans and Democrats slamming the opposite party’s major candidates. By Friday, many of those in attendance will have seen Jolly’s video.
It features former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker and Beverly Young, the congressman’s widow, among others, who touted Jolly’s years of experience working for the late congressman. Some scenes were shot in front of the Vinoy and at outdoor spots along Beach Drive. The problem is, those downtown St. Pete spots are not within FL-13. The district’s southeast boundary is 9th Avenue North. That might be troubling for a candidate who is trying to establish local ties after a long career largely based at his Washington lobbying firm.
The video sparked numerous comments on political blogs and social media after SaintPetersBlog founder Peter Schorsch noted that much of the ad was shot outside the district.
His campaign said it’s not really a big deal.
“David considers all of Pinellas County his home and will represent all of Pinellas County, regardless of what blocks fall within the drawn congressional districts,” wrote campaign spokeswoman Sarah Bascom in an email. ” These locations are places where CD-13 residents work and spend their days.”
The Tiger Bay Club forum, which takes place at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, is also taking place outside the district, she pointed out. Kyle Kondik, who covers congressional politics for and is managing editor of political Web site Sabato’s Crystal Ball, said people in the district probably won’t really care if a commercial is shot less than a mile outside the district.
“That’s a little inside baseball, I think,” he said.
His campaign headquarters will be well within the district, though, his campaign announced today. On Saturday, the campaign will hold a headquarters grand opening at 2 p.m. at 4585 140th Avenue North, Suite 1004, in Clearwater.
He and primary opponent, State Rep. Kathleen Peters have been the target of criticism largely lobbed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which today released a statement slamming Jolly for saying he wants to “fix what’s broken in Washington” in his first campaign video, even though he said at his campaign kickoff that anyone who says they wants to change Washington is “either being disingenuous, or they don’t understand the job they’re stepping into.”
“The first thing Washington lobbyist David Jolly said when he started his campaign was that he wouldn’t and couldn’t fix Washington,” said DCCC spokesman David Bergstein. “He would know: as a lobbyist, Jolly spent years enriching himself at the expense of Florida families – which is why even Republicans are saying that sending Jolly back to Washington is a bad idea because he’d do what lobbyists always do and make Congress even worse.”
Sources: Crist’s new campaign manager is gone
Posted Dec 3, 2013 by William March
Updated Dec 3, 2013 at 06:13 PM
It’s not official, but several folks closely connected to the Charlie Crist campaign are either confirming it off the record or not denying it: Crist’s new campaign manager, Bill Hyers, is leaving.
If true, that would add a big bump to a campaign that has opened somewhat less smoothly than Crist may have wanted.
The campaign manager, Bill Hyers, is the latest hot property among Democratic campaign operatives—he’s fresh off managing Bill de Blasio’s successful New York mayoral race.
Here’s a Wash Post profile.
According to sources, there’s a campaign announcement coming out momentarily.
If it’s true, it raises the question of whether the press spokeswoman, Lauren Hitt, who worked with Hyers on de Blasio, will stay or go.
Clark to ignore Detzner absentee directive for D 13 race
Posted Dec 2, 2013 by William March
Updated Dec 2, 2013 at 06:47 PM
Pinellas County Elections Supervisor Deborah Clark says she’ll ignore a controversial directive on absentee ballot returns from Secretary of State Ken Detzner.
In a message to Detzner today, Clark said she’ll go ahead with plans to allow voters to drop off absentee ballots at eight sites in the county, not just at her own three offices, in the March 11 special election to replace the late Rep. C.W. Bill Young.
Disagreeing with Detzner’s interpretation of Florida elections law, she said the law authorizes the extra drop-off points; plus, she said, they add to voter convenience and save taxpayer dollars.
Clark said in the response that she was “disappointed the state of Florida did not consult the 67 supervisors of elections regarding this directive.” She said her emphasis on mail ballots—sometimes returned by mail and sometimes in person—has allowed the county “to increase voter turnout while decreasing the cost of elections.”
Clark, a Republican, described robust security measures she said protect ballots dropped off at locations other than her offices, which will include three tax collector’s offices and two public libraries for the March 11 voting. She said the Department of State has known about and sanctioned the practice in Pinellas elections going back to 2008.
Detzner’s Nov. 25 directive told supervisors that voters who receive mail ballots but drop them off in person rather than mailing them back must take them to the elections supervisor’s office. Story here.
That generated protests from Democrats of voter suppression by the Gov. Rick Scott administration—Detzner is a Scott appointee—and objections from supervisors including Craig Latimer in Hillsborough, a Democrat, and Brian Corley in Pasco, a Republican. Both use numerous additional drop-off spots besides their own offices in their elections.
The supervisors, irked that they weren’t consulted about the directive, said they don’t accept the legal arguments behind it. Democrats, who have made heavy use of mail ballots that are voted and returned by voters in person, linked the move to attempts by the Scott administration to purge voter rolls of non-citizens. Democrats say there’s little problem with non-citizens registering, and that the voter list purges can disenfranchise legitimate voters, most of them minorities.
Detzner doesn’t have the authority to remove or sanction an elected county elections supervisor, but could take legal action to try to enforce his directive. A Department of State spokeswoman didn’t respond immediately this afternoon to discuss Clark’s message; FSP will update when a response comes.
Murman also uncertain about LG job
Posted Nov 27, 2013 by William March
Updated Nov 27, 2013 at 05:38 PM
Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman has confirmed she’s being vetted as a possible appointee to become Gov. Rick Scott’s lieutenant governor, but like the only other remaining candidate on Scott’s list, state Sen. Tom Lee, Murman stopped short of saying for certain that she’ll accept the job if it’s offered.
“I’d love the opportunity ... I’d give it very serious consideration,” Murman said in an interview, but she said she wanted to give her final answer first to Scott himself if the position is offered.
“When the governor calls and asks, that’s when I’ll give my direct answer,” she said.
It’s been widely reported, though not confirmed by the governor’s office, that Scott was considering a “short list” of four names for the position including Murman and Lee.
But two of the people on that list, St. Johns County school superintendent Joseph Joyner, and Seminole County sheriff Don Eslinger, have since asked to be taken out of consideration, leaving only Murman and Lee.
Lee told the Tribune last week that it’s an honor to be considered, but that he’s undecided on whether to accept the job if it’s offered because of potential professional and career problems his move from Brandon to Tallahassee could cause him and his wife, Laurel, recently appointed by Scott as a Hillsborough County circuit judge.
The situation raises the question of whether Scott might consider other candidates, but the governor’s office had no substantive comment on that question.
“We’ll take the right time to find the right person,” said Scott spokeswoman Jackie Schutz.