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Bloomberg group to air ads targeted Pam Bondi for challenging Obama’s Clean Power Plan

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is financing his super PAC about $10 million in television ads targeting Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and three other attorneys general for their opposition to the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan.

“Despite the overwhelming evidence of the clean power plants progress and the lives we’ve saved, the 4 attorney generals in Florida, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin are now directly interfering with the public interests in their state,” said Howard Wolfson, a senior adviser with Independence USA PAC. That’s Bloomberg’s political action committee that’s spent hundreds of millions of dollars on various progressive causes since its creation two years ago.

In August, Bondi announced she would file a lawsuit arguing rules governing the carbon emissions during startup, shutdown and malfunctioning of power plants overstep the federal government’s authority. The EPA’s proposed rules aim to drastically reduce or eliminate coal-based energy generation by reducing carbon dioxide emissions at existing power plants by an average of 32 percent by 2030

“We will not step aside while the EPA, through heavy-handed federal overreach, threatens to upend a system that the EPA has approved multiple times and has provided a consistent, reliable framework to safely provide electricity to millions of Floridians across the state,” Bondi said in a statement in August.

While the Clean Air Act gives the federal government authority to set standards regarding harmful pollutants, Bondi said it remains the states’ responsibility to determine how to implement those standards.

Independence USA PAC says it will be airing eight-figure ads targeting Bondi and the attorneys general of three other swing states, Bill Schuette of Michigan, Chris Koster of Missouri and Brad Schimel of Wisconsin, beginning this weekend.

There are 27 states in all suing the EPA.

Wolfson said that his group is targeting Bondi and the other three AGs because Florida, Missouri, Michigan and Wisconsin are all states that are relatively swing-states not dominated by one political party over another.

In 2011, the Sierra Club began its Beyond Coal campaign, funded in part by at least $80 million through Bloomberg Philanthropies, which has donated at least $80 million to the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign. Since that time, the club claims that more than 200 of the nation’s 523 coal fire powered plants have been shut down.

“These decisions were not made because of EPA rules,” former Sierra Club President Carl Pope said of  the plants that have shut down in recent years. “They were made by citizens who lived in those states, by public utility commissions, appointed to protect the interests of consumers in those states, and by the utilities themselves … but now we have a group of attorney generals  who have decided that they can stop the future, they can hold back the tide using taxpayer money and slow down the process of planning for America’s energy future.”

“Attorney generals in many states are frequently relatively unknown, relative to governors and senators and mayor, that often operate under the cover of darkness, ” said Wolfson on a conference call on Friday. “They think they can take decisions that are at odds with the interests of their constituents without anyone really noticing, and we want to make sure to shine a very bright light on the activities on these attorney generals to make sure that constituents in all four states know exactly what they are up to.”

Florida Politics contacted Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office for comment. We’ll add that to this story when provided.

Idaho’s Jim Risch becomes the 3rd GOP Senator in three days to back Marco Rubio for president

U.S. Senator Jim Risch of Idaho became the third Republican senator this week to endorse Marco Rubio on Wednesday.

Risch says he’s been impressed with Rubio’s communication skills and understanding of serious issues while working together in the Senate.

His endorsement comes a day after Rubio received a similar voice of approval from Montana Senator Steve Daines. On Monday, Colorado’s Cory Gardner became the first of Rubio’s colleagues to back him in his quest for the GOP presidential nomination.
The 72-year-old Risch has served in the Senate since 2008, when he won the seat that had previously been held by Larry Craig.

Marco Rubio on the rise in latest Monmouth University poll of NH voters

While Donald Trump continues to lead in New Hampshire in a Monmouth University poll released Monday, Marco Rubio is nipping at Ben Carson for second place in the new survey.

Trump is at 24 percent and Carson is at 16 percent in the poll, but Rubio comes in next with 13 percent, followed closely by John Kasich at 11 percent. Other contenders include Ted Cruz (9 percent), Jeb Bush (7 percent), Carly Fiorina and Chris Christie at 5 percent and Rand Paul at 3 percent. None of the other six candidates included in the poll registers higher than 1 percent.

That’s not that dramatic a change since the last time Monmouth U polled Republican Party voters back in September, with the notable exception of Rubio, who only at 4 percent in that survey.

“Marco Rubio’s standout performance in the last debate seems to have paid dividends in a contest that was supposed to be dominated by his former mentor Jeb Bush,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, New Jersey. “Rubio’s new- found support seems to be a little softer than for other candidates at the front of the pack, but it is not particularly solid for anybody.”

And while Carson has the best favorables to unfavorables of any candidate in the Granite State, Rubio is right behind.

Carson’s 64 percent favorable and 19 percent unfavorable rating is slightly off his 73 percent – 10 percent high mark in September. Rubio’s 62 percent favorable and 19 percent unfavorable rating marks an increase from his already solid 50 p ercent – 26 percent showing two months ago.

Bush’s current rating of 44 percent favorable and 42 percent unfavorable is a definite improvement over his 39 percent – 45 percent showing in September.

Vowing that he’ll turn “Washington upside down,” Jeb Bush begins comeback in Tampa

Political pundits from coast to coast declared Jeb Bush‘s presidential campaign all but dead Wednesday night after his desultory performance in the third GOP debate, from Boulder, Colorado.

The Economist wrote that,”(I)t is hard to see him coming back into contention now.”

“It was do or die. And Bush died,” wrote Slate’s Jamelle Boulle.

Bush obviously believes reports of his demise are greatly exaggerated, but it’s not one to say his campaign is struggling. Although they may have already been scheduled, having three events in Florida on Monday will doubtless boost his confidence.

Speaking to a crowd of 300 to 400 at the Tampa Garden Club off Bayshore Boulevard, Bush compared himself to Abraham Lincoln, if Lincoln had campaigned during the age of cable news pundits.

“Advisers telling him to shave his beard,” he mused. “Cable pundits telling him to lose the top hat. Opposition researchers calling him a five-time loser before the age of 50.”

Bush used that as a segue to the criticism he’s receive, in his case along stylistic lines.

“Take off the suit coat. Ditch the glasses … Some advice is more strategic. Nail that zinger. Be angrier. Hide your inner wonk.

“But I have learned two important things from my time serving the people of Florida,” he said. “One, I can’t be someone I’m not. And, two, getting things done isn’t about yelling into a camera, or regurgitating sound bites free of substance. The campaign trail is littered with candidates disguised as television critics. Politicians echoing poll-tested pabulum.”

Bush said leadership wasn’t about telling people what they want to hear, but what they must hear. “It’s not about saying the right thing, but doing the right thing.”

Those lines were all met with unbridled enthusiasm.

Bush’s 22-minute speech was one of three events scheduled: Stops in Orlando and Jacksonville were to follow. It comes on the day of the publication of his new book, “Reply All,” a compendium of email correspondence he had with Florida voters during his time in office.

“It wasn’t something I could have predicted at the start of my time in office, but this eight-year conversation with Florida shaped my governorship,” he said. “So, in writing my book, I used my email exchanges to tell the Florida story. To tell about the work to turn one of America’s largest states into an economic engine where people could live, work and raise their family in safety and security.”

Some say that Bush is staking too much of his campaign on what he in Florida more than a decade ago. That he’s too focused on the past, and not about the future.

“I think he’s said that enough,” conceded Tampa resident Joe Steem. “Everybody knows that he was governor of Florida and did a good job. But he did start to look forward today.”

Bush had several passages in the speech denigrating President Barack Obama. But he said Democrats had been successful in setting “a trap” for Republicans.

“On the issue of immigration, they have written a script for Republicans, filled with grievance and resentment,” Bush said. “Frankly, the last thing they want is a Republican challenger who takes them out of their comfort zone of forced indignation and PC platitudes. But let me be clear: I’m not stepping into the role of ‘angry agitator’ that they have created for us, because it’s not what’s in my heart. It is not true to the conservative cause. And, in the end, that role is just a bit part in the story of another conservative loss and another liberal victory.”

Bush appeared to be taking aim at Marco Rubio, and definitely at Donald Trump, saying, “The answer isn’t sending someone from one side of the capital city to the other.” he said. The solution won’t be found in someone who has never demonstrated the capacity to implement conservative ideas.”

“And you can’t just tell Congress … ‘You’re Fired’ … and go to a commercial break.”

Before the speech, Orlando resident William R. King, 78, acknowledged that this has been a “different campaign.”

“I’ve been in politics all my life,” he said. “He needs to address where Americans are today. This is not the same as every other campaign.”

Mark Proctor is vice chairman of the Bush campaign in Hillsborough County. He said Bush must focus on what he’ll do for the average voter in 2017. “It can be a slogan, it can be a statement,” he said. “I think it could be something that’s very effective: ‘I was a great governor 10 years ago, but now this is what I want to do for the country.'”

The campaign does have that statement now. It’s called “Let Jeb fix it.”

“After seven years of incompetence, corruption and gridlock in Washington, we need a president who can fix it,” Bush said. “I can fix it. After seven years of historic cuts to our military … a foreign policy based on leading from behind…the emboldening of our enemies and the isolation of our allies…we need a president who fixes America’s standing abroad. I can fix it. After seven years of massive deficits, historic debt, and a president who vetoes defense spending because he wants more reckless spending, we need a president who fixes our budgetary mess. I can fix it.

“I know I can fix it … because I’ve done it.”

He later said that he was a change agent in Tallahassee, and “turned the political culture of Tallahassee upside down.”

“I’m putting The Beltway on notice. I’ll turn Washington upside down, too.”

But can the son of the 41st president of the U.S. and the brother of the 43rd inspire Republican voters to follow suit?

In court filing, state highway department approves of Uber’s insurance carrier

The Uber ride-sharing service has faced sharp questioning from authorities about its insurance policies for its drivers in the year and a half it has been operating in Florida. However, there may finally be an answer.

This past year, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation decided that Uber’s $1 million commercial insurance policy with James River Insurance of Richmond, Va., met Florida requirements.

That didn’t end the controversy or confusion, though.

The question of whether Uber’s coverage, plus drivers’ personal motorist insurance, would meet coverage requirements of the Florida Financial Responsibility Law still remained unanswered. At the time of the OIR’s OK, Monte Stevens, deputy chief of staff, said that was up to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) to decide.

The DHSMV, though, has never said anything definitive about James River Insurance.

A court filing this week may have provided the answer everyone has been waiting for.

The filing was a request from the DHSMV to the 2nd Second Judicial Circuit in Leon County that it dismiss a lawsuit filed in September by Tallahassee-based Capitol Transportation and Broward County’s B & L Services.

The two companies sued the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) contending that the cellphone app used by companies such as Uber to calculate fares is equivalent to a taxi meter. Therefore, they argued, the app should be subject to the same tests that ensure their metered fares are accurate. The lawsuit refers to other cases across the country of established taxi interests attempting to use the courts to halt Uber’s expansion.

“They both are necessary to compute the time and distance associated with a commercial passenger trip taken in a taxicab or a private car utilized by a [ride-sharing company] driver, in order to determine the customer’s fare,” the plaintiffs contend in their 96-page lawsuit.

In the DHSMV’s response, attorneys Stephen D. Hurm, Damaris E. Reynolds and Nicholas A. Merlin contend, ”Non-party Uber has produced two liability insurance policies which meet the insurance requirements of Florida law.” (our emphasis.)

“The first policy, referenced in Plaintiff’s Complaint, is issued by the James River Insurance Company, a surplus lines carrier authorized to business in Florida.” The attorneys also write that second policy is by Old Republican Insurance Co.

DHSMV representative Alexis Bakofsky, contacted for more information, replied via email, “As the Department is currently involved in pending litigation, we cannot provide further comment.”

Uber officials also could not be immediately reached for comment.

Florida Democrats to convene this weekend at Disney Resort

The Florida Democratic Party will gather this weekend for their fall convention in Lake Buena Vista.

The confab comes almost a full  year before the 2016 election, where in addition to trying to keep the state blue for the third straight time at the presidential level, the party is hoping to get one of their own to join Bill Nelson in the U.S. Senate.

One of the highlights of the three-day event takes place Saturday night when Senate candidates Alan Grayson, Patrick Murphy and Pam Keith will address the crowd.

Keith has been outspoken in saying that she hasn’t been given a fair shake by the party establishment. Whether she’ll dare to say that could be an interesting development. And who gets the love from the crowd between the better known Florida members of Congress will be instructive as well, as the thought is that the party wants the centrist-leaning Murphy to be their standard bearer next fall.

The featured guest speakers will be Connecticut Governor Daniel Malloy on Friday night, and Missouri U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill on Saturday evening.

Leading up to Malloy’s speech on Friday will be appearances by one of the party’s rising stars who may be redistricted out of office next year, Congresswoman Gwen Graham. Bill Nelson will also speak, along with Democratic members of Florida’s congressional delegation and Democratic congressional candidates.

Saturday will kick off with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed participating in a breakfast honoring the “Emanuel 9,” the group of six women and three men who were killed in a mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina this past summer. Bishop Adam Richardson, Jr. from that church, along with Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, Congressman Alcee Hastings, and other Democratic elected officials, will make comments.
Following that is the general session that will take up the rest of the morning, from 9:30- 12 p..m. That’s when Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant will address party members, along with Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, and Senator Amy Klobuchar. Additionally, panels will be held on education and the minimum wage featuring St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam, Senator Dwight Bullard, and others.
On Sunday morning there will be an Equality Brunch that will feature Freedom to Marry founder and president Evan Wolfson and former FDP Chair Bob Poe, who is reportedly considering a run for Congress in the newly drawn up 10th District.
In addition, there will be dozens of meetings held by members of the party’s numerous caucuses and committees.

DNC seizes on Sun-Sentinel’s call for Marco Rubio to resign

Without further editorial comment, the Democratic National Committee on Wednesday sent out a mass email statement that included the entire content of Wednesday morning’s South Florida Sun-Sentinel lead editorial, entitled, “Marco Rubio should resign, not rip us off.”

It comes after Rubio has continued to make reactionary remarks when asked about his poor attendance record in the Senate this year.

Rubio had missed 92 of the year’s 284 roll calls as of Tuesday morning, a 68 percent attendance rate. That’s worse than the other members of the Senate running for president this year, but unlike Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul or Lindsey Graham, none have been making such derisive comments about the institution which employs them.

“I don’t know that ‘hate’ is the right word,” Rubio told The Washington Post about his feelings. “I’m frustrated.”

Here’s part of the Sun-Sentinel editorial:

If you hate your job, senator, follow the honorable lead of House Speaker John Boehner and resign it.

Let us elect someone who wants to be there and earn an honest dollar for an honest day’s work. Don’t leave us without one of our two representatives in the Senate for the next 15 months or so.

You are paid $174,000 per year to represent us, to fight for us, to solve our problems. Plus you take a $10,000 federal subsidy — declined by some in the Senate — to participate in one of the Obamacare health plans, though you are a big critic of Obamacare.

You are ripping us off, senator.

Observers note that the Sun-Sentinel endorsed Rubio in the U.S. Senate race in 2010.

American Bridge, a progressive organization that says it is “committed to holding Republicans accountable for their words and actions,” also sent out the editorial in its entirety to reporters on Wednesday.

Here’s the entire editorial:

After five years in the U.S. Senate, Marco Rubio does not like his job. A long-time friend told The Washington Post “he hates it.” Rubio says hate might be too strong a word, but he sure acts like he hates his job.

Rubio has missed more votes than any other senator this year. His seat is regularly empty for floor votes, committee meetings and intelligence briefings. He says he’s MIA from his J-O-B because he finds it frustrating and wants to be president, instead.

“I’m not missing votes because I’m on vacation,” he told CNN on Sunday. “I’m running for president so that the votes they take in the Senate are actually meaningful again.”

Sorry, senator, but Floridians sent you to Washington to do a job. We’ve got serious problems with clogged highways, eroding beaches, flat Social Security checks and people who want to shut down the government.

Let us elect someone who wants to be there and earn an honest dollar for an honest day’s work. Don’t leave us without one of our two representatives in the Senate for the next 15 months or so.

You are paid $174,000 per year to represent us, to fight for us, to solve our problems. Plus you take a $10,000 federal subsidy — declined by some in the Senate — to participate in one of the Obamacare health plans, though you are a big critic of Obamacare.

You are ripping us off, senator.

True, it’s not easy to raise money and run a presidential campaign while doing your day job. But two other candidates — Sens. Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders — have missed only 10 Senate votes during their campaigns for the White House. You, on the other hand, have missed 59, according to a tally by Politico. This includes votes on the Keystone pipeline, the Export-Import Bank and trade, to name just a few.

It is unpersuasive — and incredible, really — that you say your vote doesn’t matter. “Voting is not the most important part of the job,” you told CNN.

And it is unconscionable that when it comes to intelligence matters, including briefings on the Iran nuclear deal, you said, “we have a staffer that’s assigned to intelligence who gets constant briefings.”

And you want us to take you seriously as a presidential candidate?

Two weeks ago, you took to the Senate floor to excoriate federal workers at the Department of Veterans Affairs for failing to do their jobs. You said, “there is really no other job in the country where if you don’t do your job, you don’t get fired.”

With the exception of your job, right?

Look, a lot us are frustrated by our jobs and office politics. But we still show up for work every day to earn a paycheck.

By choosing to stay in the Senate and get the publicity, perks and pay that go with the position — without doing the work — you are taking advantage of us.

Jeb Bush is right to call you out. “What are high standards worth if we don’t apply them to ourselves?” our former governor said in August. “Consider a pattern in Congress of members who sometimes seem to regard attendance and voting as optional — something to do as time permits.”

Your job is to represent Floridians in the Senate.

Either do your job, Sen. Rubio, or resign it.

Donald Trump to close out first full day of RPOF Sunshine Summit

Donald Trump, the solid front-runner in Florida and nationally in the GOP presidential race, will be the sixth and final candidate to speak at the Republican Party of Florida’s Sunshine Summit taking place Nov. 13-14 at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando.

Twelve candidates in all will participate in the event, a fundraiser for the RPOF and one that looked in danger of being a bust just a few weeks ago, when only native sons Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush had committed to participating.

Rubio will be the first speaker Friday the 13th. Bush will also speak that day, with Trump closing out the day with a 5:30 p.m. scheduled speech.

Ben Carson, George Pataki and Jim Gilmore are the only other candidates who have not yet committed to the event. Carson will be making multiple stops in early November as part of his national book tour.

The RPOF says that the four candidates running for Senate: Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, former CIA contractor Todd Wilcox, and U.S. Reps. David Jolly and Ron DeSantis will also speak, times to be determined.

The Sunshine Summit officially kicks off Thursday, Nov. 12, with a speech by former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Listed below is the entire schedule:

Friday, Nov. 13:

11:30 a.m. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio Remarks

12:30 p.m. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz Remarks

1 p.m. U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham Remarks

2 p.m. Gov. Mike Huckabee Remarks

4 p.m. Gov. Jeb Bush Remarks

5:30 p.m. Donald Trump Remarks

Saturday, Nov. 14:

11 a.m. Sen. Rick Santorum Remarks

1 p.m. Gov. Bobby Jindal Remarks

1:30 p.m. Sen. Rand Paul Remarks

2 p.m. Gov. Chris Christie Remarks

2:30 p.m. Gov. John Kasich Remarks

4 p.m. Carly Fiorina Remarks

4th Floor Files talks with Sean Pittman about end-of-session blues, an antique Mercedes and the City of Gretna

The latest edition of the 4th Floor Files talks with attorney and lobbyist Sean Pittman, named one of the Top 25 Most Influential People in Tallahassee by the Tallahassee Democrat.

In addition to lobbying and his legal practice, Pittman also co-hosts The Usual Suspects, one of North Florida’s and South Georgia’s premier weekly political talk shows.

Here is the file on Sean Pittman:

Significant other? Children? Grandkids?

My wife Audra; we have been married since 2009. We have three beautiful daughters: Paloma, 4, and my twin girls Phoebe and Pilar, 2.

In 25 words or less, explain what you do.

I help my clients navigate through Florida’s legislative process, Florida’s political and legal landscape, within all levels of government.

Without using the words Democrat, Independent or Republican, conservative or liberal, describe your political persuasion.

I would describe myself as being a moderate. I am in the middle of the spectrum on most of my political views.

If you have one, what is your motto?

Attention to detail.

During your career, have you had a favorite pro bono client?

My favorite pro bono client is the City of Gretna because it is the only city in Florida that meets all eight indicators for impoverished communities under federal government criteria, yet has a real opportunity to be positioned to control its own destiny.

Three favorite charities.

Children’s Home Society, Smokey Hollow and John G. Riley House.

Any last-day-of-session traditions?

I wear a compassion blue jacket to remind legislators to have compassion with power, and more importantly, because everyone else wears pink.

What are you most looking forward to during the 2016 Legislative Session?

I am looking forward to working with new clients and furthering the interests of our existing client roster.

If you could have another lobbyist’s client list, it would be …

Ronald Book.

Professional accomplishment of which you are most proud?

My biggest professional accomplishment was founding the Big Bend Minority Chamber. It was my sole intention to create an organization that would promote a business climate favorable for minority and women-owned businesses.

Lobbyists are often accused of wearing Gucci loafers; do you own a pair of Gucci loafers?


Who is your favorite Florida Capitol press corps reporter?

Dara Kam and Mary Ellen Klas.

Other than SaintPetersBlog.com, your reading list includes …

The Sayfie Review and the Fort Report.

What swear word do you use most often?

Dammit, man!

What is your most treasured possession?

Other than Paloma, Pilar, and Phoebe, my three beautiful daughters, it is my 1983 SL 380 antique convertible Mercedes.

The best hotel in Florida is …

The Breakers in Palm Beach.

You’ve just learned that you will be hosting a morning talk show about Florida politics. Who are the first four guests you’d invite to appear?

Gov. Jeb Bush, Ronald Book, U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, and state Sen. Chris Smith.

Favorite movie.

The Godfather.

When you pig out, what do you eat? 

Buffalo wings.

If you could have dinner with a historical figure no longer living, who would it be?

John F. Kennedy.

DCCC lays out how John Mica is beatable due to redistricting in CD 7

Under the newly drawn Congressional District 7 seat awaiting Florida Supreme Court approval, venerable north-central area GOP U.S. Rep. John Mica appears vulnerable for the first time in his 22-year-long congressional career.

And the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is excited about that possibility.

In a memo released on Tuesday by Jermaine House, south regional press secretary for the DCCC, it’s made clear that the Florida 7th is now a battleground district. House writes that the redrawn district becomes 2-3 points more Democratic, and President Obama carried the new district in 2008 with 51.6 percent of the vote, and tied Mitt Romney in 2012.

Under the newly drawn lines, CD 7 now encompasses portions of East Orlando that includes more Latinos — they will now account for 20.6 percent of the new district, and African Americans represent an additional 11.7 percent of the new district.

The DCCC says that some of Mica’s previous comments may not play so well in this new district, such as his comment that, My state, in fact, has seen the impact of these deluges of illegal, and I call them semi legal immigrants in Florida. Our hospitals and jails and schools are filled to capacity.”

The memo also highlights the fact that Mica has voted eight times to raise his own pay, accepting a 30 percent salary increase over his time in Congress. House writes that during the same time span, he’s voted for GOP measures that cut funding for Medicare, Pell Grant funding, and Social Security.

The DCCC also gleefully notes that in a new district that is covered 100 percent by the Orlando media market, Mica could be challenged. “The cost of Orlando broadcast advertising is significant, and certainly requires fundraising at a pace far beyond what Mica has done thus far in 2015,” House writes.

Whether it’s appealing to a more Democratic electorate, defending his 20-year-old record in Washington, or raising funds consistent with competitive races across the country – one thing is clear: John Mica’s road to re-election won’t be easy this time around,” concludes the memo.

Bill Phil­lips, a former con­sult­ant for Nex­t­Gen Flor­ida, announced last week that he will challenge Mica in 2016. Phil­lips cur­rently serves as first vice pres­id­ent of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment at Am­al­gam­ated Bank.

Despite reports that he might consider running in the much more favorable CD 6 seat in Florida being vacated by Ron DeSantis, Mica says he’s staying put.

“Dis­trict 7 is where my home is and it’s where I’ve lived for 43 years,” he said in a statement last week. “I in­tend to con­tin­ue representing and am act­ively seek­ing re-elec­tion to only Dis­trict 7.”


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