Drew Wilson - 5/30 - SaintPetersBlog

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for SaintPetersBlog and FloridaPolitics.com. While at the University of Florida, Wilson was an editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and after graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to cover business deals for The Hollywood Reporter. Before joining Extensive Enterprises, Wilson covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools.

Frank Artiles maintains strong fundraising edge in SD 40

Republican Rep. Frank Artiles held a strong fundraising edge in the SD 40 race with $183,000 on hand the week before Florida’s primary election.

Although Artiles did not face a primary challenger, he brought in $25,720 and spent $48,450 between Aug. 13 and Aug. 25.

Expenses mainly went toward canvassing and printing, including more than $20,000 in payments to Miami-based Green Point Group and another $6,500 to Doral-based Vision Concepts Ink.

At the end of the reporting period, he had a six-figure edge over Democratic Sen. Dwight Bullard, who took nearly half the vote in a three-way race for the Democratic nomination against Ann Rivas Logan and Andrew Korge.

Bullard raised about $21,000 and spent $23,000 ahead of his primary battle.

Donors during the two-week period included Disney, the Florida AFL-CIO and about a dozen political committees that each chipped in with $1,000 checks. The major expenditure was a $16,700 ad buy through Campbell Communications Aug. 17.

Though Korge came in third place with 23 percent support, he raised and spent by far the most money heading into the contest.

The businessman added $118,000 in contributions and $15,000 in loans during the two-week period and spent every dime of it, mainly on a media blitz. Through Aug. 25, his unsuccessful campaign had spent more than $422,000.

SD 40 is a majority Hispanic district that covers part of inland Miami-Dade County. The seat carried a slight edge for Democrats in voter registrations and voted plus-10 in favor President Barack Obama in 2012.

No-party candidate Mario Jiminez is also running for the seat and has about $2,200 on hand.

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Miguel Diaz de la Portilla widens fundraising lead in SD 37

Miami Republican Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla built on his fundraising lead in the Senate District 37 race against Democratic Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez, with another $15,000 in contributions between Aug. 13 and Aug. 25.

The second-term senator took in 16 contributions over the two-week period, including three $1,000 checks from private prison company The GEO Group and its subsidiaries. To date, the campaign has raised $613,810.

The campaign also took in $19,500 in “in kind” support from the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, mainly for staffing, and didn’t spend any money during the reporting period, leaving Diaz de la Portilla with about $479,000 on hand.

Rodriguez raised $11,618 during the pre-primary reporting period, including $1,000 from service industry group SEIU Florida.

The income was offset by more than $60,000 in expenditures, $54,000 of which when to Chicago-based Snyder Pickerill Media Group for an ad buy. On Aug. 25, Rodriguez had about $187,000 in his campaign account.

According to district statistics, there are more registered Republicans than Democrats in SD 37, though President Barack Obama won re-election in the district by 7 points. During the same cycle, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson won re-election by 13 points.

Neither Rodriguez nor Diaz de la Portillia faced a primary challenger for the seat, which covers the northernmost stretch of the Miami-Dade coastline.

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Keith Perry wins last SD 8 primary money report, still lags behind Rod Smith

Gainesville Republican Rep. Keith Perry scored a fundraising win over former Sen. Rod Smith in his final report before Florida’s primary election, but he still has a long way to go to catch up to his Democratic Senate District 8 rival.

Perry, who currently holds the HD 21 seat, brought in $48,850 between Aug. 13 and Aug. 25, including a whopping 37 checks for the maximum contribution of $1,000. The performance was a huge jump from previous two reports, which combined for a middling $5,725.

The third term representative spent just $12,461, mainly on campaign staff, leaving him with about $216,000 on hand Aug. 25 on total fundraising of $385,000.

Through the same date, Smith had $276,000 in his campaign account and another $81,000 on hand for his political committee, “Independent Leadership for Florida.”

Though neither Perry nor Smith faced primary challengers, the former Florida Democratic Party chair brought in $17,500 in committee cash and $14,595 through his campaign in the two weeks leading up to the Aug. 30 election.

The biggest single donor was publican employee trade group AFSCME, which chipped in $14,000 to Smith’s committee and another $1,000 to his campaign account. His campaign also received another $32,000 in “In Kind” support from the Florida Democratic Party for polling and staffing costs.

The pre-primary report brings Smith’s to-date total to $915,000 across the two accounts, with $357,000 of that money on hand.

The Alachua County-based district holds a slight advantage for Democrats. Back in 2012, the district was carried by President Barack Obama by 1 point.

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Medical marijuana supporters take another $34.5K in August

The committee backing a constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana in the Sunshine State raised $34,526 between Aug. 6 and Aug. 12 according to newly filed campaign finance reports.

People United for Medical Marijuana took in 61 contributions during the weeklong reporting period, with the majority coming in from individuals donating less than $100 each.

D.C.-based group Marijuana Policy Project was the top donor for the period with a $20,000 check Aug. 10, followed by Alachua resident Michael Singer with a $10,000 contribution.

People United also spent $27,124 during the reporting period, including a $14,264 payment to Weston-based group Impact Politics for digital media and marketing.

The totals left the committee with $94,612 on hand Aug. 12.

People United for Medical Marijuana has gotten the bulk of its support from Orlando attorney John Morgan, who also heavily backed the proposal when it was narrowly defeated in the 2014 election cycle.

The measure will appear as Amendment 2 on November ballots and, if approved, would allow patients with chronic conditions such as cancer or AIDS to be prescribed marijuana for treatment and pain management.

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Retailers, health care gives Rick Scott committee big boost in August

The political committee backing Gov. Rick Scott has raised $135,000 in the second week of August, according to newly filed reports.

Since Aug. 6, “Let’s Get to Work” brought in $50,000 apiece from Sovereign Healthcare Disbursements and Wal-Mart, with an additional $25,000 coming from the Florida Retail Federation and $10,000 coming from Bradenton-based BI Services.

The income was offset by just $3,500 in expenditures between Aug. 6 and Aug. 12, including $1,882 in printing expenses to Gandy Printers and $1,565 for accounting services from Carroll and Company CPAs.

The haul shows a slight uptick from the last reporting period, covering July 30 through Aug. 5, when the committee brought in $112,500 and spent about $60,500.

The new numbers show “Let’s Get to Work” with about $1.67 million on hand Aug. 12.

Florida candidates and committees face a Friday deadline for filing reports for the period.

Scott cannot run for re-election due to term limits, though the two-term Republican may be eyeing a 2018 run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Bill Nelson.

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Florida population to reach nearly 21 million by end of 2016, report says

Florida’s population will hit 20.7 million by the end of the year, according to a report released Wednesday by commercial real estate services company Cushman & Wakefield.

The Sunshine State has grown by more than 2 percent over the past 12 months, with more than 1,000 people moving to Florida each day. Many new residents are coming in from Puerto Rico, where tough economic conditions have forced families to seek opportunities elsewhere.

Fort Myers has the highest growth rate among Florida’s major metro areas, with a population increase of 3.3 percent year over year. Orlando and Lakeland also surpassed the state’s growth rate, with 2.6 percent and 2.3 percent increases, respectively.

Florida’s other big metros – South Florida, Tampa Bay and Jacksonville – clocked in with growth rates slower than the state’s 2.1 percent increase and Miami failed to crack 1 percent.

The population bump has also helped raise home values, which saw an average gain of 7.7 percent over the past 12 months to hit $222,030. Though the still short of the 2006 peak, average home values have climbed $83,000 from their 2011 low.

Jacksonville homes saw the largest increase of the cities tracked in the report, with the average value spiking to $243,000 – an increase of 18.4 percent year over year.

New Floridians have also contributed to a 5.6 percent increase in retail growth over the past year, and Cushman & Wakefield predict Florida retail sales will hit $3.8 trillion for the calendar year.

Fort Meyers led the major metros in retail growth with a 6.2 percent increase year over year and total sales of $12.8 billion. The City of Palms, which also saw a double-digit increase in home values, added nearly 23,000 residents over the past year.

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Florida adds 16,400 jobs in July, new ADP report says

Florida added 16,400 private sector jobs last month according to a report released Wednesday by payroll company ADP.

The report estimates 1,800 new jobs were added in the goods-producing sector, with the other 14,600 jobs heading to the service industry.

The industry breakdown shows 5,100 jobs added in professional and business services companies, 2,800 in trade, transportation and utilities, 1,200 in manufacturing and 700 new jobs in mining and construction.

The performance ties the jobs added in July 2015 and clocks in ahead of June, when the Sunshine State added 14,600 jobs.

The 16,400 jobs put Florida in second place among the states tracked by the ADP report, with California taking the top spot with 27,900 new private sector jobs. Fellow large states Texas and New York added 14,500 jobs and 6,400 jobs, respectively.

The South held on to the top spot with 66,000 jobs created among the 16 states making up region. Western states followed with 54,000 new jobs, with the Midwest adding 40,000 and the Northeast adding 18,000.

The ADP Regional Employment Report is produced with help from Moody’s Analytics and combines government jobs data with the company’s in-house payroll data. The next report, covering August, is scheduled for release Sept. 8.

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Rod Smith drops 3rd ad in SD 8, taking direct aim at Keith Perry

The Rod Smith campaign released its third ad in the Senate District 8 campaign Thursday, and this one takes direct aim at his opponent, Republican Rep. Keith Perry.

“In North Central Florida, our economy and way of life depend on safe water,” Smith says in the ad. “My opponent Keith Perry voted to ignore local communities and let polluters pump toxic chemicals into the ground, right next to the water we depend on and without disclosing the chemicals they’re using.”

“That’s not responsible, it’s just money talking in Tallahassee,” he said.

The Gainesville Democrat is referring to Perry’s vote for HB 191 in 2016 session, which would have allowed fracking in Florida. The bill cleared the House on a party-line vote, but ended up dying in the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee.

“I’m going to fight to keep our water safe, because without that we won’t have anything,” Smith said to close out the ad.

The race for Senate District 8 has been heating up, with both candidates airing ads on Gainesville area television.

Through the June 24 campaign finance reporting period, Smith held the lead in fundraising with more than $547,000 on hand across his campaign and committee accounts. Perry, through the same date, has just under $199,000 in his campaign account.

The pair are the only candidates to qualify for the ballot in the newly redrawn SD 8, which holds a slight advantage for Democrats. Back in 2012, the district was carried by President Barack Obama by 1 point.

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Florida adds nearly 15K jobs in June

The Sunshine State added 14,700 private sector jobs last month according to a new report released by payroll company ADP.

The performance is slightly down from May, when Florida added 17,100 jobs and is down nearly 7,000 jobs from June 2015, when the state added 21,400 new private sector jobs.

Still, Florida’s numbers bested all other states tracked in the report except California, which saw a gain of 26,900 jobs in June. Fellow large states Texas and New York each saw gains of 10,700 jobs, while Illinois topped Midwestern states with 7,400 new jobs.

The majority of Florida’s new jobs headed into the service industry, while 2,100 headed to goods-producing sectors.

According to the industry breakdown, the state added 3,700 professional and business services jobs, 1,300 manufacturing jobs, 1,200 trade, transportation and utilities jobs and 700 natural resources, mining and construction jobs.

Regionally, the South and the West tied with 53,000 jobs each, followed by the Northeast with 34,000 jobs and the Midwest with 32,000.

The tie marks the first time the South has not been the top performer since April 2015, when Western states added 55,000 jobs compared to 54,000 for Southern states.

The ADP Regional Employment Report is produced with help from Moody’s Analytics and combines government jobs data with the company’s in-house payroll data. The next report, covering July, is scheduled for release Aug. 10.

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Hillsborough County chair Les Miller endorses Ed Narain in SD 19 race

Democratic Rep. Ed Narain announced Monday that Hillsborough County Commission Chairman Lesley “Les” Miller has endorsed his bid for the District 19 seat in the Florida Senate.

“I’ve known Ed Narain since he was a student leader at the University of South Florida and now as State Representative,” said Miller, who himself served 14 years as a lawmaker. “His leadership and ability to bring people together are rare features in elected officials today.”

“Having been elected Chair of the Legislative Black Caucus during his first term, he has the respect of Democrats – and Republicans across the state. I am confident in his ability to represent all of Tampa Bay, to be an effective voice for our community, and to stand up for Democratic values,” Miller continued.

Narain said the endorsement is “humbling” and that he hopes to follow in Miller’s footsteps, as well as those of Sen. Arthenia Joyner, who is vacating the seat due to term limits.

The nod from Miller adds to an impressive list of Florida pols backing Narain in the four-way primary race, including endorsements from Joyner, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, former U.S. Rep. Jim Davis, as well as Florida House colleagues Janet Cruz, Mark Pafford and David Richardson.

The Tampa Democrat led the money race through June 24 with about $100,000 in his campaign account, followed by fellow Democratic Rep. Darryl Rouson with about $41,000 and former Democratic Rep. Betty Reed with about $16,000.

Augie Ribeiro, the fourth Democrat in the race, has about $800 in the bank, while lone Republican candidate John Houman, who bills himself as “Mr. Manners” in his filing paperwork, has just $665 on hand through three months in the race.

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