Staff Reports - 7/75 - SaintPetersBlog

Staff Reports

Report: Mailers from Illinois PAC targeting Joe Negron over education bill

A mailer from an Illinois based political committee targeting Senate President Joe Negron is landing in Treasure Coast mailboxes.

The Palm Beach Post reported voters living in Negron’s Treasure Coast-Palm Beach district are receiving mailers from SunshinePAC, a newly formed Illinois-based PAC, criticizing the Stuart Republican over his support of a wide-sweeping education bill (HB 7069).

The mailer, according to the Palm Beach Post, calls Negron out for making making “backroom deals” and says “our schools are paying the price.”

“Behind closed doors, Joe Negron and his friends in Tallahassee passed HB 7069 which takes away much needed funding to our public schools,” the mailer says, according to the Palm Beach Post.

It also urges voters to call Gov. Rick Scott and encourage him to veto the measure, a top priority for House Speaker Richard Corcoran. The bill, according to House records, has not yet been sent to Scott for his consideration. However, Scott is largely expected to sign the bill once he receives it.

According to the Federal Election Commission, SunshinePAC formed on May 26 and is headed by John Hennelly. Hennelly is a former Florida director for the Service Employees International Union, and now serves as a consultant with Democracy Partners, according to the Palm Beach Post.

Missing penny almost costs House candidate

A missing penny nearly cost one Miami-Dade Republican his chance at the ballot.

Daniel Anthony Perez, a Miami Republican, is one of two Republicans who qualified Tuesday for the race to replace Rep. Jose Felix Diaz in House District 116. But state records show Perez, who qualified via check, had to submit two checks to the Division of Elections after his first check appeared to be one penny short.

According to the Division of Elections, candidates choosing to qualify by the fee method needed to submit a “properly executed campaign check signed by the treasurer or deputy treasurer in the amount of $1,781.82 (partisan) or $1,187.88 (no party affiliation).”

The Division of Elections received a check from the Perez campaign at 9:24 a.m. on Monday. That check, however, had conflicting amounts written on it. In one place, the correct amount – $1,781.82 — was written out; while in a second place on the check, the sum was for $1,781.81.

The Division reported receiving a second check at 8:09 a.m., Tuesday for the correct amount, allowing Perez to qualify by the noon deadline.

Perez faces Jose Mallea in the GOP primary to replace Diaz in House District 116. The winner of the July 25 special primary will face Democrat Gabriela Mayaudon in the Sept. 26 special general election.

Diaz resigned his House seat, effective Sept. 26, to run in the special election to replace Sen. Frank Artiles in Senate District 40. Artiles resigned earlier this year amid scandal, promoting a special election.

Two Republicans, one Democrat qualify for HD 116 race

The race is set.

Three candidates qualified to run in the race to replace Rep. Jose Felix Diaz in House District 116.

State records show two Republicans, Jose Mallea and Daniel Anthony Perez, and one Democrat, Gabriela Mayaudon qualified to run for the seat. Democrat Ross Hancock, who previously filed to run for the seat, has withdrawn from the race, according to state records.

Mallea and Perez will battle it out for their party’s nomination in the July 25 primary. The winner will face Mayaudon in the Sept. 26 general election.

Diaz, a Miami-Dade Republican, resigned his seat effective Sept. 26 to run in the Senate District 40 special election to replace Sen. Frank Artiles. Artiles, a Miami-Dade Republican, resigned in April amid scandal.

The Senate District 40 special primary is also scheduled for July 25, with the general on Sept. 26.

David Mica Jr.

Personnel note: David Mica Jr. named interim head of Florida Lottery

David Mica Jr., the Florida Lottery‘s chief of staff, has been named interim secretary while Gov. Rick Scott searches for a full-time replacement, an agency spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Mica was officially appointed as interim on Friday, according to Lottery spokeswoman Connie Barnes.

The vacancy was created by the departure of former Secretary Tom Delacenserie, now president and CEO of the Kentucky Lottery.

Mica is the son of David Mica, executive director of the Florida Petroleum Council.

Before joining the Lottery last year, Mica Jr. was director of legislative affairs for the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, according to his LinkedIn profile.

He also was a Gubernatorial Fellow under Gov. Rick Scott in 2013-14. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Florida and law degree from Florida State University, according to the profile.

Gwen Graham hits $2.25M mark after first month on campaign trail

Gwen Graham has topped the $2 million mark after just one month on the campaign trail.

Graham’s campaign announced Tuesday that she has already raised more than $2.25 million, surpassing the $2 million raised by Democratic rival Chris King.

According to Graham’s campaign, the former U.S. representative raised $1.5 million in May — $430,000 to her official campaign account and more than $1 million toward Our Florida Political Committee, the political committee backing her 2018 run.

“I’m humbled by the outpouring of support we’ve received from Floridians across our state. Florida families understand that after almost twenty years of Republican rule in Tallahassee, we’re running out of time. Too many families are struggling to get by, too many children are at risk of losing their future, and too much of our land and water is threatened,” said Graham in a statement. “As governor, I will renew our promise to public education, build an economy that works for every Floridian, and fight to protect our environment.”

The campaign said it has raised a combined total of more than $2.25 million thus far.

The King campaign said Monday it had passed the $2 million mark in total contributions in May, and raised $212,000 during the one-month period, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is also running for the Democratic nomination. May fundraising numbers weren’t immediately available; however, Forward Florida, the political committee supporting Gillum’s 2018 run, did not report raising any money during May, according to campaign finance data posted to its website.

“While Mayor Gillum took time off the trail this month for the birth of his third child, we’re confident that we’ll have the resources to compete all across Florida,” said Geoff Burgan, the communications director for Gillum’s campaign. “We’ve raised more than $1 million from more than 7,000 contributors — by far the most in the Governor’s Race.”

Campaign finance reports covering the month of May are due to the Division of Elections by June 12.

The Florida Bar

Personnel note: Joshua E. Doyle selected as head of Florida Bar

Joshua E. Doyle, a Tallahassee-based special agent for the FBI, will be taking the reins from John F. “Jack” Harkness, Jr. as the next executive director of The Florida Bar, according to a Tuesday press release.

Harkness, who’s been with the Bar for 37 years, will shift to an “ongoing consulting role.” They’ll start a six-month transition in July.

The Bar is charged with regulating the state’s 104,000 licensed attorneys.

Doyle, 37, who has spent seven years with the bureau, previously was a lawyer-lobbyist for Metz, Husband & Daughton in Tallahassee, including serving as an outside legislative consultant to the Bar, the release said.

Leading the Bar “is his dream job,” said name partner Jim Daughton. “It’s the only job he would have left the FBI for.”

“After spending hundreds of hours and reviewing dozens of applications including from appellate judges and senior government officials, we ultimately found what we were looking for, which is embodied in the character and credentials of Josh Doyle,” said Scott Hawkins, past president of The Florida Bar and chair of the Executive Director Search Committee.

Doyle, who grew up in Tallahassee, received his undergraduate and law degrees from Florida State University.

His mother is former Tallahassee Democrat business editor and Capitol bureau reporter Judy Doyle; his father is P.J. Doyle, a law enforcement consultant and retired Florida Department of Law Enforcement official.

Before law school, Joshua Doyle served as a special assistant to Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Graham. He was also special assistant to Tallahassee attorney Martha Barnett when she was president of the American Bar Association in 2001.

“Josh is one of the most ethical people I have had the fortune to know and treats everyone with respect, whether it is the building maintenance staff or a Supreme Court justice,” Barnett said. “He also has a keen ability to process information quickly and stay one step ahead of what’s necessary to fulfill common goals.”

Matt Caldwell raised more than $100K for Agriculture Commissioner bid in May

Matt Caldwell brought in more than $100,000 in less than a month, his campaign announced this week.

The North Fort Myers Republican raised $101,1575 for his 2018 agriculture commissioner bid during a 20-day period in May. While Caldwell filed to run for the statewide office May 1, he did not begin fundraising until after the 2017 Legislative Session ended.

Caldwell will report ending the month with $100,458 cash on hand, according to his campaign. His political committee, Friends of Matt Caldwell, will report raising $712,825 since January. Caldwell’s one-month fundraising total was first reported by POLITICO Florida.

“I am truly humbled by the outpouring of support we have received and what we have been able to accomplish in our first month. When we announced our campaign, I said this would be a grassroots endeavor,” said Caldwell in a statement. “As I’ve spent the last month traveling from South Florida to the Panhandle, across major highways and two lane roads throughout rural Florida, I’m constantly reminded by the hardworking men and women in our great state of the importance of our conservative message. As the next Commissioner of Agriculture I will continue the legacy of Commissioners (Charles) Bronson and (Adam) Putnam, who have done spectacular jobs in this role.”

First elected to the Florida House in 2011, Caldwell can’t run for re-election again because of term limits. Republicans Sen. Denise Grimsley and Paul Paulson have also filed to run.

Grimsley announced she was running for the statewide office in February. Saving Florida’s Heartland, the political committee backing Grimsley, has raised about $488,500 since January.

Governor appoints three new Tampa Bay judges

Gov. Rick Scott on Monday announced the appointment of Gregory G. Groger to the 6th Judicial Circuit Court in Pasco and Pinellas counties.

Groger, 38, of Land O’Lakes, has served as an assistant state attorney for the circuit since 2003.

He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Florida and his law degree from Stetson University College of Law. Groger fills the vacancy created by the resignation of Judge Walter L. Schafer, Jr.

Scott also announced the appointments of Darren D. Farfante and Christine Ann Marlewski to the 13th Judicial Circuit Court in Hillsborough County.

Farfante, 46, of Tampa, practices with Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, and previously served as a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice Tax Division.

He received his undergraduate, master of laws, master of accountancy, and law degree from the University of Florida. Farfante fills the vacancy created by the resignation of Judge Brenda “Tracy” Sheehan.

Marlewski, 40, of Tampa, is an equity shareholder with the GrayRobinson law firm.

She received her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Florida. Marlewski fills the vacancy created by the resignation of Judge William P. Levens.

Latest on the legislative staffing merry-go-round

With a tip of the hat to LobbyTools, here are the latest movements – both on and off – of the legislative merry-go-round.

Off: Hope Holt, formerly calendar coordinator in the House Clerk’s Office, is now serving as a program specialist for the Office of Professional Development.

Off: Tina White stepped down as policy chief for the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee.

Off: Dane Bennett is no longer a legislative assistant for Fort Myers Republican Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto.

Off: Theresa Frederick and Isabela Dorneles are no longer legislative assistants for North Miami Beach Democratic Sen. Daphne Campbell. Frederick has retired.

Off: Whitney Legrand is no longer legislative assistant for Bradenton Republican Sen. Bill Galvano.

On: Adriana Mitchell became a secretary for Gainesville Republican Sen. Keith Perry.

On: Matthew Floyd became a legislative assistant for Tampa Republican Sen. Dana Young.

Off: Lydia Brooks is no longer legislative assistant for Tallahassee Democratic Rep. Loranne Ausley.

Off and on: Karol Molinares is replacing Daniela Fernandez as legislative assistant for Miami-Dade Democrat Rep. Daisy Baez

Off: Kathi Brown is no longer district secretary for Bradenton Republican Rep. Jim Boyd.

On: Robin Steele is now district secretary for Newberry Republican Rep. Chuck Clemons.

Off: Zachary Allen is no longer district secretary for Naples Republican Rep. Byron Donalds.

Off and on: Robert Bogle has replaced Gabriel Sheffield as a legislative assistant for Fort Lauderdale Democratic Rep. Bobby DuBose.

Off: Harrett Mann is no longer district secretary for Jacksonville Republican Rep. Jason Fischer.

Off: Dana Coleman is no longer district secretary for The Villages Republican Rep. Don Hahnfeldt.

Off and on: Among the changes in Beverly Hills Republican Rep. Ralph Massullo’s office: Christopher Melvin is no longer a legislative assistant, Adele Scordato has moved from district secretary to legislative assistant, and Dorothy Dilworth has now become district secretary.

Off: Kelly McClure is no longer legislative assistant for Orlando Democratic Rep. Amy Mercado.

Off: Jeremy Stein is no longer district secretary for Destin Republican Rep. Mel Ponder.

Off and on: Alexis Howard replaced Renay Kinloch as district secretary for Miami Gardens Democratic Rep. Sharon Pritchett.

Off and on: Among the changes in Boca Raton on Democratic Rep. Emily Slosberg’s office, Ed Sol has replaced Paula Rigoli as district secretary and Joshua Winograd has stepped down as a legislative assistant.

Off: Priscilla Johnson is no longer district secretary for Miami Gardens Democratic Rep. Barbara Watson.

Florida leaders react to the shooting in Orlando

A disgruntled former employee opened fire inside a Florida awning manufacturer on Monday, killing five workers there and then killing himself, officials said.

The gunman was armed with a knife and a gun but did not stab anyone, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said during a news conference. Demings said the shooter —  who had been fired in April and had been previously accused of assaulting a co-worker —  was not believed to be connected to any sort of terror organization. Demings characterized the shooting as a likely “workplace violence incident.”

Here is a compilation of reaction from Florida’s elected officials and leaders about the tragedy:

— U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson: “The city of Orlando, which is still healing from the Pulse massacre, has seen too much violence this past year. We must do more to address mental health issues in this country.”

— Gov. Rick Scott: “Over the past year, the Orlando community has been challenged like never before. I have been briefed by our law enforcement officials on this tragic incident and Ann and I are praying for the families who lost loved ones today. I ask all Floridians to pray for the families impacted by this senseless act of violence. I will remain in contact with the Orlando law enforcement community throughout the day as more information is made available.”

— Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam: “In the wake of today’s shooting in Orange County, my prayers are with the victims, their loved ones, first responders and the entire the Central Florida community.”

— U.S. Rep. Darren Soto via Twitter: “Our thoughts & prayers are with the victims of #ForsythShooting. I encourage public to support law enforcement investigation.”

— U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy: “I’m incredibly saddened by the news of this morning’s tragic shooting in Orlando. My heart breaks for the families and co-workers affected, and I join all Floridians in praying for a quick recovery for those injured and for the families who lost a loved one. The Orlando community is also grateful to our first responders for their speed, bravery, and professionalism, especially the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. I am incredibly thankful for their dedicated public service. “Orlando has endured far too much heartbreak over the past year, and it’s especially important we remain united and supportive of one another. This senseless act of violence happened just one week away from the anniversary of the Pulse attack, only adding to our community’s collective grief. In these difficult moments, we must continue to find strength in one another. We are Orlando strong and Orlando united.”

— Sen. Linda Stewart: :Orlando business shooting is not terrorist attack. Mental Health issues more likely, again a continued need for more help.”

— Rep. Jason Brodeur via Twitter: “Hug your family. Be vigilant. Local Family Help Line: 407-679-0100. Ext. 3087.”

— Rep. Chris Sprowls via Twitter: “My heartfelt prayers to the families & victims of the shooting in Orlando. A big thank you to first responders who contained the situation.”

— Rep. Jennifer Sullivan via Twitter: “Praying for the families effected in the Orlando shooting. My heart is grieved at the thought of yet more loss.”

— Rep. Frank White via Twitter: “Thoughts and prayers for those affected in today’s tragic shooting in Orlando.”

— State Attorney Aramis Ayala : “A sad day in Orlando. My most sincere condolences to the families impacted. Much respect and honor to Orange County Sheriff’s Office and first responders.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report, reprinted with permissions.


Show Buttons
Hide Buttons