Alan Grayson Archives - Page 7 of 35 - SaintPetersBlog

Valleri Crabtree ‘shows up’

Members of the Polk County Democratic Executive Committee waited anxiously through their two-hour meeting Monday night in Bartow for Dr. Dena Minning Grayson, a candidate for Florida’s 9th Congressional District.

She never showed in what later was discovered to have been a miscommunication by the party leadership.

But Valleri Crabtree of Kissimmee, the former Osceola Democratic Party chair and candidate for the same post, was present.

“Crabtree shows up,” the 59-year old attorney and professor shouted from the back of the room.

The phrase has been her battle cry during the Democratic primary race for the congressional district that contains parts of Orange and Polk Counties and all of Osceola County.

It is also her hashtag for tweets.

The Democratic Primary field for the 9th Congressional District is a crowded one. The winner is very likely to win the general election because of the massive Democratic voting majority.

In addition to Crabtree and Grayson, who is the wife of Rep. Alan Grayson whose seat she is seeking as he runs for the U.S. Senate, two other more well-known candidates are in the race: state Sen. Darren Soto and Susannah Randolph, Alan Grayson’s former district director, both of Orlando.

Dr. Grayson, 45, is a physician and medical researcher. She had entered the race last year as Dena Minning, but she and the congressman were married Memorial Day weekend in Melbourne where she has lived and worked.

Grayson, Randolph and Soto each are either near or above $500,000 in campaign contributions with Crabtree far behind.

“I’m one of the people. We can relate. I probably won’t spend more than $60,000 in the campaign, but Crabtree shows up,” she added again noting that other candidates, who had other appointments, had sent their campaign managers to the executive committee meeting.

Her pledge to show up at every possible campaign event in the far-flung 9th Congressional District has consumed a great deal of her time and energy, she said.

“But I am an integral part of this district,” she said, in an interview following the meeting.

She favors term limits for Congress and wants live streaming of meetings between members of Congress and lobbyists, she said.

“There is also a lack of programs for substance abuse and mental health care for the general public,” she said.

Covering a gamut of issues, she said that the federal government should be responsible for all care and treatment of military veterans.

“We shouldn’t have to have Wounded Warriors and other private groups caring for our veterans; that is the obligation of the federal government,” Crabtree said.

Marco Rubio announces $2.1 million nine-day fundraising haul

After less than two weeks, Marco Rubio’s re-election campaign is showing major momentum.

Politico is reporting that Rubio has flexed his fundraising muscle with more than $2.1 million raised since re-entering the race, according to an email Friday morning to supporters.

“Thanks to a tremendous effort lead by Ambassador John Rood and several others,” wrote Rubio finance director Anna Rogers, “we’re thrilled to tell you we raised over $2.1M in just nine days!”

Rogers added that one of Rubio’s Democratic rivals, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, raised about the same amount — $2.4 million — during the “entire” first quarter. Murphy faces fellow Congressman Alan Grayson in the Senate Democratic primary.

“This is a great story for us to tell and is a testament to Marco and to you, the supporters driving this campaign,” Rogers said.

With more than tens of millions of dollars to be raised on both sides, many expect Florida’s Senate contest to be among the nation’s costliest and most competitive.

Deadline for proposed Alan Grayson-Patrick Murphy debates approaches

There’s less than two months to go before the extremely competitive Democratic primary for U.S. Senate takes place, yet no debates have officially been scheduled between the two major candidates in that race, Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson.

That may be changing though. Or maybe not. has learned that three NPR affiliates in the state – WUSF in Tampa, WMFE in Orlando and WLRN in Miami – are attempting to hold radio debates between the primary candidates for both the Democratic and Republican parties during the first week of August at the studios of WMFE. The debates would be made available for every public radio station in the state to broadcast.

And the two Bright House all-news stations in the state – Bay News 9 in Tampa and News 13 in Orlando – also have expressed interest in hosting similar forums. But both media groups say they must make a determination on whether to plan such events by Friday.

WMFE News Director Catherine Welch says she’s waiting on Murphy to say if he’ll participate, and says the deadline for him to respond back to her is tomorrow.

Mike Gaudreau, senior director for news for Bay News 9 in Tampa and News 13 in Orlando, also says he’s working on potential logistics for a senate primary debate for both the Democratic and Republican candidates before the Aug. 30 primary.

“We’ll likely reach a final decision by the end of the week,” Gautreau says, adding that his stations are checking with all of the candidates who polled more than 5 percent in the most recent poll conducted by the two Florida television stations. That means that Pam Keith would be included in a Democratic primary, and Dwight Young would be invited to debate Marco Rubio and Carlos Beruff in a GOP forum.

Gautreau wouldn’t mention any names specifically, but said that a factor on whether or not his stations will broadcast say such debates depend on “candidate interest.”

“Both candidates face serious questions, so Rep. Grayson has agreed to take part in several media-sponsored debates to discuss his record and plan to give seniors a raise,” says Grayson campaign manager Michael Ceraso. “Patrick has been elusive, evasive and continues to exaggerate his resume. If Murphy’s team isn’t competent or honest enough to field debate offers, the Grayson campaign will gladly supply times, dates and locations where Patrick can show up and defend his fabricated past and unknown plans.”

Joshua Karp, a spokesman for the Murphy campaign, wouldn’t specifically address the issue regarding these two specific debate opportunities, but does say Murphy wants to engage with Grayson.

“Patrick is looking forward to debating, because Floridians deserve to hear the candidates’ values and vision for Florida,” Karp said last Friday. “There is no question, Hedge Fund Manager Alan Grayson has a lot to answer for when he debates Patrick Murphy, a champion for the middle class and a fighter for Florida families.”

Murphy’s campaign has been rocked in recent weeks by some critical reporting. Specifically, a two-part investigation by Jim DeFede of the CBS affiliate in Miami documented serious allegations about the Jupiter congressman’s resume and work history as a small businessman and CPA. Team Murphy pushed back hard in refuting the allegations in the report, but it gained new life as footage for negative ads that were quickly used against him by his political opponents.

Grayson said last Friday that he’d be “happy to participate” in any debates while appearing on WMNF 88-5 FM radio in Tampa.  In the caustic style for which he’s known for , the Orlando area Representative got personal in explaining why he doesn’t believe Murphy wants to go mano-a-mano with him under the klieg lights.

“I can explain my positions and what I have to offer the electorate, and Patrick has put a bag over his head,” Grayson told WMNF’s Rob Lorei. “He’s become a bubble boy. And it’s understandable why. I mean, every time he opens his mouth he tells some kind of lie or embarrasses himself. It’s just pathetic.”

Not so pathetic are Murphy’s fundraising numbers. On Thursday, his campaign said he raised $2.4 million in the second quarter, and has over $7 million cash on hand.

The Florida Democratic Party says they’d like to see some debates happen soon.

“While the responsibility lies with the campaigns to organize debates with media partners, the Florida Democratic Party would be happy to see our Senate candidates debate ahead of the August 30th primary,” said Allison Tant, the chair of the Florida Democratic Party.

We should know by early next week if these two forums will take place or not.

Patrick Murphy raises $2.4 million during second quarter for U.S. Senate campaign

Patrick Murphy announced Thursday that he has raised more than $2.4 million in the past three months in his campaign for U.S. Senate in Florida. And he now has more than $7.2 million cash on hand, the most of any candidate running for the U.S. Senate.

“I am humbled by the outpouring of grassroots support from Floridians across our state and I will continue working hard every day for them,” Murphy said in a statement. “Florida families are ready for a leader who shows up to work and fights for our shared progressive priorities in the Senate. Together, we will protect a woman’s right to choose, defense Secocial Security and Medicare for our seniors, and strengthen our middle class. This campaign is about Floridians and I am proud to have them behind me in this race.”

The Murphy campaign says it raised $750,000 just in the last 10 days of the month, demonstrating support during one of the toughest periods since he declared his candidacy in the spring of 2015. That was the fallout of the reporting by CBS Miami reporter Jim DeFede, who reported that Murphy was not a licensed CPA in Florida, and was never a small-business owner (charges that the Murphy campaign pushed back on).

“The strong grassroots support is proof positive that Floridians have a clear choice between someone who will show up for work and fight for them and two politicians who only look out for themselves: Alan Grayson and Marco Rubio.”

Murphy is the first of the four major candidates running for senate in both parties to disclose his second-quarter fundraising totals.

Gwen Graham celebrates July 4th by sponsoring bipartisan ‘Made-In-America Flag’ bill

U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham got into the Independence Day spirit Friday by co-sponsoring a bill to ensure the federal government only purchases flags made in America.

“There’s no better time than the Fourth of July to remind us how important the American Flag is to our nation,” the North Florida Democrat said. “This common-sense, bipartisan legislation would require the federal government only purchase American flags made in America. It’s the right thing to do to honor the founding fathers who declared our independence and all those who have fought to keep us free.”

HR 916 was introduced in the U.S. House earlier this year by Illinois Democratic U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos and has drawn cosponsorship from 105 representatives, including 22 Republicans and 83 Democrats.

Outside of Graham, Florida Republicans Daniel Webster, Ted Yoho, Bill Posey, as well as Democrats Corrine Brown, Kathy Castor, Lois Frankel, Alan Grayson and Patrick Murphy, have signed on to Bustos’ bill as co-sponsors.

The bill would require the federal government to purchase only flags that contain 100 percent American-made materials and which are entirely manufactured in the U.S., while current law allows the government to buy flags composed of 50-percent American-made materials.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Census Data, $4 million worth of American Flags were imported into the U.S. in 2013, with $3.9 million of those flags coming from China.

Alan Grayson introduces assault weapon ban bill

Undeterred by the fact that every other gun bill considered in the past three weeks has been shot down, U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson introduced another Friday, seeking to reinstitute the assault weapon ban that was in place from 1994-2004.

Grayson, the Orlando Democrat running for the U.S. Senate seat in Florida, said he would push the bill the way he’s pushed another legislation he was able to pass, meeting with individual members of Congress to appeal to them one-on-one, following the June 12 mass killing at Orlando’s popular gay nightclub, Pulse.

His bill, which he dubbed the “Freedom From Fear” bill, reinstates two sections of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. One section restricts the manufacturing and possession of certain semi-automatic weapons. The other lists the weapons included in the ban.

Grayson argued that the 1994 ban worked, cutting the number of mass shootings by two-thirds in the period of 1995-2004.

“It was the weapon that made this possible,” Grayson stated in a news release issued by his congressional office. “You can’t always know what is in people’s heads, we can’t always know what’s in people’s hearts, but we can know, and we do know what’s in people’s hands. That’s why I think we have to go back and re-institute the assault weapons ban.”

Mitch Perry Report for 6.29.16 — Hillary Clinton survives Trey Gowdy, now what about James Comey?

For those of you who were looking for a smoking gun that would nail Hillary Clinton from Trey Gowdy‘s Select Committee on Benghazi’s two-year investigation, you might be out of luck.

At least that’s the consensus from reporters who (presumably) read all 800-pages of that committee’s report which was released to the public yesterday. I didn’t read a word of it, so I’m not going to profess to be authoritative at all about what the report ultimately says.

However, it doesn’t appear to include too many new nuggets, certainly not enough that could change people’s perception of Clinton and she performed in her role as Secretary of State during the entire U.S. experience in Libya.

Before Gowdy’s crew got busy in 2014, there had already been seven congressional investigations on Benghazi, which frankly, seems a bit excessive regarding the tragedy that occurred there on September 11, 2012, when four Americans were killed when the U.S. consulate was attacked.

It should be noted that one of those previous investigations, from the Senate Intelligence Committee in January 2014, concluded that the attacks were preventable, security at the consulate was weak, and the Obama administration put too much emphasis on a controversial video that alienated Muslims.

There was also the Senate Homeland Security Committee’s bipartisan report, which said that the State Department failed to provide adequate security for the consulate and that intelligence agencies misunderstood the threats on the ground.

So the investigations — of Libya — are over for Clinton.

Next up? The FBI’s investigation into her private email server.

This could have an effect on the general election in a way that Benghazi never could, because, while Republicans have indeed politicized the email issue, Clinton has always seemed much more vulnerable on this subject, politically speaking, over the past year. She’s never come up with a sufficient explanation of why she did this in the first place (saying that Colin Powell and Condi Rice has done it some extent just isn’t good enough a response).

My question is — what the f*ck is taking Jim Comey‘s FBI so long to come up with a final report?

Seriously, the FBI has been at this for over a year now, and while I get it that they want to to be thorough, Clinton, the Democratic Party, and the nation deserves to know at this point whether she will be indicted or cleared in this investigation.

Folks, it’s July at the end of this week. Clinton is about to become the Democratic nominee for president at the end of next month. The FBI owes it to the nation to give us their best case and let the proverbial chips fall where they may.

In other news …

Surprisingly, Marco Rubio had harsh words for Hillary Clinton after the publication of the Gowdy report on Benghazi.

Jim DeFede‘s report on Patrick Murphy‘s business background is the gift that keeps on giving for those opposed to a Murphy Senate career. The National Republican Senate Committee is airing a new ad (not to be seen in Florida, but to influence pundits in D.C.) that takes slices out of that tough report.

Murphy gets endorsed by the Florida PBA for Senate.

Alan Grayson is doing all he can to try to help lift the FDA ban on the time limit on when gay and bisexual men can give blood.

The odds on Carlos Beruff defeating Marco Rubio in August appear grim, really grim, after this poll was released.

Speaking of polls, a St. Leo’s University online poll shows both solar amendments on the ballot in August and November, respectively, having a good shot at passage this year.

Poll: Marco Rubio leads Carlos Beruff 63 percent to 11 percent

Marco Rubio has a 52-point lead over his nearest competitor, according to a new poll released Tuesday.

The Florida Decides poll, a statewide poll conducted for News 13/Bay News 9, found 63 percent of Republicans said they would vote for Rubio in the Aug. 30 primary. The poll found 11 percent of voters said they would support Carlos Beruff in the Republican primary.

The survey found 13 percent of respondents said they were still undecided.

Rubio saw strong support among all demographics, including voters who say they are part of the tea party movement, millennials, and voters have an income greater than $80,000.

The Miami Republican announced last week he was running for re-election, reversing a vow to return to public life after the end of his term. To some extent, his decision to run for a second term cleared the Republican field. Of the five Republicans who initially announced they were running for the seat, Beruff is the only one to remain in the race.

The Manatee County homebuilder has poured a significant amount of his own wealth into the race and has said he would be willing to put an additional $10 million to $15 million into his campaign.

The Republican Senate poll surveyed 555 likely GOP primary voters from June 25 to June 27. It has a margin of error of 4.1 percent.

On the Democratic side, the survey found Patrick Murphy leads Alan Grayson 30 to 21 percent. The survey found 35 percent of Democratic primary voters were still undecided. The Democratic poll surveyed 618 likely Democratic voters from June 25 to June 27. It has a margin of error of 4 percent.

While Rubio appears to be leaps and bounds ahead of Beruff, a general election matchup between Rubio and Murphy would be a much tougher race.

The News 13/Bay News 9 poll found the two men would be tied — with 43 percent support each. Eight percent of voters said they were undecided.

The general election poll surveyed 1,678 likely general election voters. It has a margin of error of 2.4 percent.

Alan Grayson pushes for repeal on limit on when gay, bisexual men can donate blood

As dozens of injured people were being sent to Orlando hospitals in the immediate aftermath of the Pulse nightclub mass shooting, thousands in Central Florida and throughout the state immediately went to give blood to those fighting for their lives.

However, some survivors of the shooting were prohibited from donating blood to their friends who were shot because of an existing Food and Drug Administration policy that prohibits gay and bisexual men from donating blood unless they’ve been celibate for the past year.

Since Orlando, there’s been a movement in the country to change that policy, with over 130 members of Congress and a number of activists groups now calling on the FDA to lift the ban.

“It’s high time for this outdated and discriminatory policy to end,” said Colorado Democratic Rep. Jared Polis on a conference call Tuesday. “I’m confident that with such broad-based support, among both the American public and members of Congress, the FDA will be moved to look at the science that shows that in fact, there’s nothing inherently different about the blood of gay and bisexual Americans.”

The policy actually has been amended since it was first implemented by the Reagan administration in 1985. On December 21 of last year, the FDA switched its blood donation policy from a ban on any man who has had sex with another man since 1977 to a one-year deferral.

The revised policy also defers blood donations from a woman who has had sex with a gay or bisexual man within the last year.

Tuesday’s call was organized by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and the National Gay Blood Drive. Along with the Equality Federation, the groups have created a petition to change the current policy, and they say over 12,000 people have signed it in recent weeks.

“We can’t say that some people can give blood, other people can’t, based upon their sexual orientation or anything like that. So that experience illuminated for all of us in Orlando the importance from the social standpoint of ending discrimination,” Orlando area Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson said on the call.

Grayson, who is in a contested battle for the Democratic nomination for Senate in Florida with Rep. Patrick Murphy, says he will soon introduce legislation in Congress to address the situation. He says his bill will create a grant program that will give money to blood banks to do more thorough blood testing based upon antigen testing and RNA testing, rather than simple antibody testing.

“That will not only make it possible for far more people to be able to give blood and avoid a situation where that donated blood is infected with HIV or hepatitis viruses, but it will also … help us to identify people who do give blood, and have the infection when it hasn’t resulted in antibodies being generated in their own bodies yet,” Grayson said.

The FDA also defers blood donations for 12 months from any person who has had sex with an HIV-positive individual, an intravenous drug user or a prostitute.

In 2013, the American Medical Association urged that the lifetime ban be lifted, calling it “discriminatory and not based on sound science.” Instead, the group suggested a policy that assessed individual risk, rather than sexual orientation alone. However, the American Red Cross supports the current one-year deferral policy because it’s in line with deferrals for the other risk categories noted above.

Advocates also point to a report from the Columbia Medical Review last year that said the one-year requirement is unnecessary.

“Due to the number of potential donors that are unjustly turned away, the existence of adequate screening protocols, and the desire for increased donations within the medical community, the current restrictions are unconscionable,” the report says.

“What we’re hoping to do is to take this tragedy, and not only show a renewed respect for everyone’s rights, and to make these determinations based on genuine risk factors and risky behavior, rather than sexual orientation, but also to use this to actually improve public health,” added Grayson.

Patrick Murphy endorsed by Florida Police Benevolent Association

After enduring his worst week as a candidate since declaring that he was running for the senate over a year ago, Jupiter Representative Patrick Murphy has received a nice boost in his campaign to succeed Marco Rubio in Washington, procuring the endorsement from the Florida Police Benevolent Association.

“The Florida PBA is proud to endorse Patrick Murphy because we know the he will stand with our police officers and first responders in the U.S. Senate,” said PBA President John Rivera. “Patrick is the leader that our officers need to ensure that they can continue keeping our communities safe. As the organization that advocates for Florida’s police officers, we trust Patrick Murphy to advocate for us.”

In 2014, the Florida PBA endorsed Democrat Charlie Crist for governor, but also supported the rest of the GOP-laden cabinet, backing AG Pam Bondi, CFO Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in their bids for reelection.

“I’m proud to receive the endorsement of the brave men and women at the Florida PBA,” said Murphy in a statement supplied by his campaign. “Every day, our officers put their lives on the line to protect us and they deserve our full support. In the U.S. Senate, I will stand with our police officers and first responders to make sure they have the resources necessary to keep Florida safe. Our communities and families are safer and stronger because of their hard work, and I am humbled to have them standing with me in this campaign.”

Murphy unveiled his plan to reform the criminal justice system earlier this month in Hollywood at the Florida Democratic Party’s Leadership Blue Gala. Among those proposals include legislation mandating that all police officers be equipped with body cameras (though a bill called the Police CAMERA Act, which would increase funding for states and local governments). Murphy also  is supporting the TRUST (the Tracking Reputations Upgrades Society Trust) Act, which would measure public trust in law enforcement via the National Crime Victimization Survey, which is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Justice Statistics.  That proposed legislation (sponsored by Florida Democrat Corrine Brown) calls for areas where the level of public trust in the police force is problematically low; the Attorney General would submit recommendations to improve confidence in law enforcement and address systemic problems before conflicts escalate.

Murphy is opposing Alan Grayson and Pam Keith in the Aug. 30 Democratic primary.

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