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8 posts from October 4, 2013

October 04, 2013

Gov. Scott's campaign scores $250,000 from Jaguars owner

From The News Service of Florida: Gov. Rick Scott's re-election campaign posted more big numbers as the clock wound down on September.

The biggest score came from Shahid “Shad” Khan, the owner of the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars, who dropped $250,000 into Scott's “Let’s Get to Work” committee, which is backing the governor’s re-election. The contribution was posted on the committee's website Sept. 30, three weeks after Scott hosted Khan at the Governor's Mansion for a Sunday night meeting about unspecified economic-development opportunities.

Khan has expressed interest in developing land known as the Shipyards near EverBank Field along the St. Johns River. A spokesman for Khan, who made his money with the Illinois-based auto-parts maker Flex-N-Gate and owns a home in Naples, has described the Sept. 8 meeting as "outstanding." Scott's spokespeople have only noted the generic topic of the get-together.

Khan isn't the first billionaire from the luxury boxes to get behind Scott. Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has set up his own political action committee, Florida Jobs First, which has helped raise money for Scott.

The PAC was created by Ross after he all but declared war against House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, because of the House's failure to support upgrades to Sun Life Stadium earlier this year. Khan’s Sept. 30 contribution was among $1.34 million that churned into the "Let's Get to Work" account the final week of September.

The money put the committee's intake for September at $3.65 million. Scott has lagged in polls behind potential Democratic candidate Charlie Crist, the former governor who left the GOP. But those poll numbers haven’t discouraged business interest for Scott.

The money in the final week of September included $140,000 from contributors with construction and real-estate ties, $227,759 from the health-care field, $53,000 from the insurance industry, and $362,000 from banking and finance. Another $60,000 was chipped in by gaming interests. The Buffalo, N.Y.,-based Delaware North Gaming & Entertainment and several of its affiliates, including the Daytona Beach Kennel Club and Poker Room, collectively gave $50,000 at the end of September. Melbourne Greyhound Park gave $10,000.

The money posted by gaming interests was in addition to $540,000 in gambling-tied money that rolled in during the first part of the month, as the Legislature prepares for a major debate during the 2014 session about Florida’s gaming future. Earlier in September, the Seminole Tribe of Florida, approaching an end to a key part of its exclusive gambling compact with the state, dropped $500,000 into the committee, while Missouri-based Isle of Capri Casinos, which owns Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park in Broward County, and Calder Race Course in Miami-Dade County each gave $20,000.

Since the start of the year, the "Let's Get to Work" committee has raised $13.25 million, of which $1.2 million has been spent, mostly on consultants.

Weatherford weighs in on flood insurance with letter to Boehner and Reid

House Speaker Will Weatherford, a Wesley Chapel Republican, added his voice to the chorus of Florida leaders pleading with Congress to get back to work and amend the flawed flood insurance reform act that took effect this week.

Weatherford highlighted a provision in the bill that effectively hits homeowners whose purchased older homes when the Biggert Water Flood Insurance Reform Act became law last July and only now are learning that the rate subsidy they thought would continued disappeared on Oct. 1, and their flood insurance rates are soaring.

"While other potential implementation problems deserve further review and improvement, Congress should not wait any longer to pass legisation to provide a reasonable rate glide pather for all primary residences,'' he wrote in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.  

Gov. Rick Scott and U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio have all called on Congress to fix the law. Scott wrote a letter to Florida's congressional delegation warning that the bill will have a devastating effect on Florida's recovering real estate market and he criticized the president for not leading on the issue. 

Rubio, who at first was reluctant to support a delay in the law, held a press conference with a bi-partisan group of senators and joined with them in urging a short-term fix to stop the chilling effect the rapid rate hikes will have on home buyers. 

"Unfortunately thse calls for sensible action went unheeded,'' Weatherford said, calling for phased in rates for the most dramatically affected properties. "This oversight should be corrected immediately, and the federal program should provide glide paths for all policyholders."  Download Weatherford on NFIP

On far-right promises, Rick Scott tacks to the center

From @katielsanders and @politifactfl:

Politically unknown in 2010, millionaire businessman Rick Scott needed an opening against the GOP establishment’s first choice for governor. He found one in Attorney General Bill McCollum’s waffling on a controversial Arizona immigration law popular among conservatives.

The law made "common sense" to Scott, who poured part of his fortune into a television campaign promising to bring it to Florida.

Scott didn’t stop there, rounding out his jobs-centered message with pledges to ban embryonic stem cell research and "safely" expand offshore drilling. Where McCollum veered middle, Scott pulled right.

Flash forward. As Scott prepares for his second run for governor, pointed talk about immigration, oil drilling and other controversial conservative issues is gone — replaced by promises of more public education funding, tax cuts for businesses and families, and back-slapping over the likelihood of record tax collections. Read more from PolitiFact.


Tropical Storm Karen. Rick Scott. And the polls, perils and pluses of disaster.


As Tropical Storm Karen churned offshore, Gov. Rick Scott swiftly ditched an annual state Republican fundraiser even though he’s an embattled incumbent.

Scott’s move Friday was a stark reminder of the grave threats Florida faces and the fact that no fundraiser can rival the big, potential political payouts of natural disasters.

Calamities and their threat give chief executives a chance to portray a commander-in-chief moment -- in real-time on TV -- to show how they safeguard and help the public.

Continue reading "Tropical Storm Karen. Rick Scott. And the polls, perils and pluses of disaster." »

Miami commissioner no longer running for mayor keeps wishing voters a happy birthday


If you live in Miami and your birthday falls between now and New Year's, expect a birthday card -- from Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez and his family.

It seems Suarez's political group raised so much money during his abandoned attempt to become city mayor that the campaign decided to spread a little birthday cheer. 

"People are still having birthdays," he said. "It's a thoughtful thing. It's a good way of being in touch."

The back of the the card reminds voters that Suarez is a 35-year-old lawyer, the youngest person to chair the City Commission and the executive director of his electioneering communications organization, The Future is Now.

The front features a photograph of Suarez and his family, including his wife, three sisters, three brothers-in-law and parents. Dad happens to be County Commissioner Xavier Suarez.


Jackson Health System to step up bond campaign


Officials for Jackson Health System vowed this week to step up the campaign to persuade Miami-Dade voters to vote ‘Yes’ in November on an $830 million upgrade for the county’s public hospital system to be financed by a property tax hike.

Darryl Sharpton, chairman of the Public Health Trust that runs Jackson, told Miami-Dade commissioners on Thursday that the campaign was gearing up for a big launch.

“In the next couple of days, that ramp up should be very obvious,” Sharpton said, though he did not give details.

The campaign’s fundraising committee, Citizens for a Healthy Miami-Dade, has raised more than $1 million since July.

Separately, Jackson’s employee unions also are supporting campaign, spending their own money to have airplanes pull banners urging football fans at Sun Life Stadium for Saturday’s University of Miami Hurricanes football game and Sunday’s Miami Dolphins game to “Vote Yes.’’

“We’re starting our campaign,” Martha Baker, president of SEIU Local 1991, which represents Jackson’s nurses and other healthcare professionals, told commissioners.


With Tropical Storm Karen's approach, Marco Rubio puts shutdown aside, re-activates Gulf offices


Nothing like the threat of a natural disaster to remind us of the man-made disaster that is Congress.

It's also a good way for everyone more broadly to focus on what's important and what government's core function is: Safety for its people.

To that end, the federal government has pledged whatever aid is necessary and proper and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is calling up three staffers, currently furloughed during the partial government shutdown, in the Panhandle and Big Bend.

"To help Floridians who may be impacted by Tropical Storm Karen this weekend, Senator Rubio is recalling three furloughed Senate employees and re-opening our Tallahassee and Pensacola offices next week," Rubio spokesman Alex Conant said.

Sen. Bill Nelson: 'reckless right-wing' House members instigated gridlock

An email to supporters from Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, parlaying off the finding of most polls finding that Americans are more inclined to blame the GOP from the current logjam in Congress:

I want to apologize for the partisan gridlock over the budget that a handful of irresponsible and reckless right-wing members of the U.S. House of Representatives have instigated.

They have managed to shut down many of the federal government's services and programs simply because they couldn’t get their own way and get rid of the country's health care law.

Continue reading "Sen. Bill Nelson: 'reckless right-wing' House members instigated gridlock" »