Mitch Perry Report for 7.21.16 — Ted Cruz’s courage

One of the biggest surprises of how the Republican primary season played out to this reporter was how successful Ted Cruz was. When you looked at the panoply of candidates who had serious potential to go all the way in 2016, he was never at the front of my list (neither, of course, was Donald Trump).

But Cruz emerged over the much more hyped Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, et al. He’s a true believer, what Paul Ryan likes to call a “movement conservative.”

Trump is definitely not, which is one reason why the Republican Party as a whole has never, and will never, completely embrace the NYC business mogul.

Cruz is very conservative — too conservative to lead the country, some might suspect. Trump is not as conservative, which is why he could very well defeat Hillary Clinton this fall.

So while I suppose I sort of guess I understand the anger expressed by Republicans toward Cruz last night at the RNC for failing to endorse Trump, I sort of don’t. There was not one report from anyone beforehand that Cruz was going to endorse. Not one. Trump certainly knew that when he allowed Cruz to speak at his convention.

I actually think it was courageous of the Texas Senator to stick to his principles, and have the audacity to do so in front of thousands in the Q and millions worldwide.

Rubio has been all over the place in terms of whether he’d support Trump or not. He ended going halfway, sending an incredibly brief video saying Republicans should back Trump (Interesting, by the way, that Rubio is conducting a statewide campaign tour this week — a tour that could have been planned for next week, but gives him the cover that he’s too busy campaigning to actually travel to Cleveland).

True, Bush and John Kasich, two other major Republicans who don’t support Trump, have made sure to far, far war from the convention hall. But this is Ted Cruz, folks. There’s a reason he’s the most loathed member of the senate.

They say he (and Rubio) are already running for 2020. Some say he’s thrown that all away after last night. I’m not so sure.

It was Florida night on the stage Wednesday, with Rubio, Rick Scott and Pam Bondi getting airtime. Actually, Bondi’s speech wasn’t carried by any of the cable networks, but was captured in its entirety on C-SPAN. Including the part where she seemed to enjoy the refrain of the week regarding Hillary: “Lock her up.”

Meanwhile, if you want to watch the final night of the RNC with a group of Republicans, the Hillsborough County REC hosts a gathering at a South Tampa craft brewery.

In other news …

Hillary Clinton speaks at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa in the second of three Florida appearances before heading to Philadelphia to receive the presidential nomination for the Democratic Party.

The Hillsborough County Commission actually hung the Gay Pride flag from their building in tribute to the fallen victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando last month, but don’t expect them to ever do that again.

We finally heard back from the head of the Tampa Firefighters Union regarding their endorsement of Luis Veira. Steve Suarez says Veira received their endorsement because he was the only one who asked, and he had no interest in the other candidates running.

Mark Kelly & Gabby Giffords‘ super PAC on gun safety is backing Patrick Murphy for senate. Neither Kelly or Murphy had much to say positive about Rubio’s record on guns.

Eric Lynn & Ben Diamond announce more endorsements in their HD 68 race.

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Mitch Perry Report for 7.13.16 – Conservatism is still running strong, Jeb Bush insists

Jeb Bush says whatever you want to call Donald Trump, don’t call him a conservative.

“Conservatism is temporarily dead,” the former Florida Governor told Nicole Wallace on an MSNBC special that aired Monday night. “I mean, if you look at it, we have two candidates. Donald Trump is barely a Republican. He’s certainly not a conservative.”

Bush makes the point, however, that while that might not matter much in the presidential sweepstakes, conservatism is still powerful across the country.

“I mean, the– the conservative cause isn’t just about the, you know, a presidential race. It’s about core beliefs that, if implemented properly will lead people to a better life. And so I think outside of the hot presidential campaign, this message still resonates and it’s still important. It certainly resonates around the country.”

As has been well documented, Republicans have won a ton of elections since President Obama won office in 2008, with Democrats in control of the House and Senate. In the states, Republicans have won 900 legislative seats since ’08, and there more governors with an ‘R’ next to their name than a “D.”

Let’s look at Florida for example, where Republicans have dominated in the Legislature for two decades now (I had to laugh at loud when Mr. Conventional Wisdom, Mark Halperin, in trying to explain why Donald Trump is now leading  Hillary Clinton in a new poll out this morning, said that Florida “has been trending red recently.” Say What??)

Bush says he now understands where the GOP primary electorate is at: they’re pissed off, essentially.

“I think the difference is people don’t believe anything anybody says anymore…in politics. I don’t know if they even heard what I said. That’s the point. They– they– they didn’t– they wanted their voice heard. They still do. They’re angry for legitimate reasons. They latched onto the big horse. All of which is logical to me in retrospect. In the midst of it, it wasn’t very logical. I mean,” he said.

Nearly five months after dropping out after finishing a disappointing fourth in South Carolina, Bush now says he’s not sure he could have done anything to change the outcome. “There is some weird solace in that I guess that I don’t have to think about it that much. … Looking back on it, I’m not sure what I could’ve done. Having a conservative record, offering conservative solutions, hopefully giving people a sense that I could’ve done the job wasn’t– wasn’t enough. And it may not have ever been enough– given the circumstances.”

Bush says he can’t vote for Trump, nor Hillary Clinton. What about the Libertarian ticket of former GOP governors Gary Johnson and William Weld? “Well, I don’t know, ” he said. “They don’t get a lot of airtime  yet.”

That ticket is getting in the high single-digits in some polls, though Johnson won’t be invited into the presidential debates until he hits 15% in the polls, which seems doubtful, but who knows?

In other news…

Elected officials, religious figures and law enforcement officers attended a press conference at City Hall in Tampa yesterday to discuss the tensions that exist between the police and the black community. No fewer than three of the public speakers all spoke about getting pulled over by local law enforcement recently.

Manatee County lawyer and activist C.J. Czaia is among the candidates vying to win the House District 70 seat being vacated this fall by Darryl Rouson.

And Brian Willis won an important endorsement in his bid to win the Hillsborough County Commission District 6 seat.

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Denise Grimsley: Health care top issue for 2017 Legislature

Health care, and expanded Medicaid funds offered by the federal government, are still on the minds of many Floridians if a barrage of questions from Tuesday’s Tiger Bay of Polk County luncheon is any indication.

State Sen. Denise Grimsley, a Sebring Republican, came to the lunch prepared to discuss the accomplishments of the 2016 Florida Legislature. But as one of the key experts on health care and nursing in the Senate, she fielded many health legislation questions by the audience, made up largely of middle-aged and older voters.

They hungrily asked what the Legislature will do on health care matters in 2017.

Grimsley is well qualified to answer as a veteran nurse, and now administrator of two hospitals in her 26th Senate District and has fought the Florida Medical Association’s attempts to restrict services of nurse practitioners and physician assistants that have been allowed in other states.

Asked for the top issues the Legislature can expect to deal with, Grimsley, who will be there since she drew no opponent during qualifying, said health care. The second issue, she said, would be water issues dealing most notably with the need for dike repairs on Lake Okeechobee, Indian River’s continued problems and the demand by some in South Florida that the state buys up all of the sugar-growing lands.

She had candid and succinct remarks on Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s method of vetoing bills approved by both House and Senate.

“Under Jeb Bush, you knew why he was going to veto a bill, whether you liked it or not,” she said.

Grimsley said Bush laid down specific criteria that had to be met by a piece of legislation for him to sign it into law.

“Under Gov. Scott’s administration, there is no going to explain the bill or a definite system it seems to use. At times a bill is vetoed and (his) staff comes to us and says ‘Oh we really didn’t understand,’” she said,

Asked for details on a series of bills from the past, Grimsley quipped, “Every legislative session is like having a baby. It is painful, and I just want to forget about it.”

Grimsley was asked about the attempts by her and others that finally passed legislation allowing nurse practitioners and physician assistants to prescribe narcotic drugs to patients under controlled situations. Florida was one of the very last states to allow it because of decades of pressure against from the Florida Medical Association.

“(The FMA) has lobbyists as do all special interests. And lobbyists try to justify their work to their members,” she said.

But it is really about the quality of medical care, Grimsley said, during a brief interview after her address. Many of the small towns in her district have no doctor, and the elderly often can’t travel to a city to get a medical prescription for an illness that could be cured over the weekend or a few days. Nurse practitioners working in clinics can now do that.

She also said that the federal and state monies “need to follow the patient” and never really have, going to state agencies or other medical disbursement systems. A former House Budget Chair, Grimsley said expanded Medicaid money offered by the federal government would help patients and cut health care costs.

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Mitch Perry Report for 7.12.16 – Will the FBI open another investigation into Hillary Clinton?

While there should be smiles in Portsmouth, New Hampshire later today when Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have their unity rally, some things to contemplate about Ms. Clinton, a week after the FBI announced that they will not indict her in the investigation of her email server while serving as secretary of state.

A majority of Americans think Comey let her off easily. Fifty-six percent of Americans disapprove of Comey’s decision to exonerate her, according to a Washington Post survey released Monday, while 35 percent approve.

This poll includes liberals who think that Clinton’s behavior here was a bit shady. Over 3 in 10 Democrats disapprove of Director Comey’s recommendation against charges for Clinton (31 percent), and the same percentage says the issue makes them worry about Clinton’s presidential responsibility. Over 4 in 10 liberals say the issue raises concerns about how Clinton might handle responsibilities as president, as do 36 percent of non-white Americans and 56 percent of those under age 40.

If you watched Comey’s 4.5 hour performance in front of the House Oversight Committee last Thursday, you saw how chairman Jason Chaffetz asked Comey if he had investigated on whether Mrs. Clinton had lied under oath regarding her emails when she gave her 10 hour performance before a committee investigating her actions in the Benghazi tragedy last fall. Come said he needed a referral – Chaffetz immediately responded, “You’ll get one in a few hours.”

Well, it took a few days, but in fact, the Oversight Committee last night referred the matter formally to the FBI to investigate.  The NY Times reports this morning that while legal analysts think it’s unlikely the bureau would ultimately find enough evidence to prosecute her for lying to Congress, “there might be enough to warrant opening an investigation. That alone could prove damaging to her campaign.”

To say the least. While supporters of Mrs. Clinton will maintain that the Republicans just let go of their obsession to go after her, another investigation will not help her out, folks. It won’t. This isn’t like the Republicans when they impeached Bill Clinton , and clearly overreached. The public knew the facts there, and saw the Republicans were being bullies. Here? The fact is she’s got serious trust issues.

In other news…

SD 19 candidate Augie Riberio pours in $300,000 of his own cash to kick start his very late entrance into that race.

Jeb Bush emerged from exile last night to condemn Donald Trump once again, telling voters that they’ll only be disappointed if he actually gets elected in November.

Bush says he’ll “actively campaign for Pinellas County CD 13 Congressman David Jolly this fall.

House District 61 Democratic candidate Sean Shaw talks about working with the GOP if elected, guns in the Legislature, and getting “the talk” about how to handle issues with the police from his father, the late Leander Shaw, the first African-American named to the Florida Supreme Court.

The Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission is poised to raise the fines incurred by Uber and Lyft drivers in the county, much to the distress of state Senator Jeff Brandes, a leading PTC critic.

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Jeb Bush will campaign for David Jolly

Jeb Bush has formally endorsed David Jolly in his race for reelection to his seat in Florida’s 13th Congressional District in Pinellas County, and says he’ll campaign for him this fall.

“I’m excited David Jolly decided to run for his congressional seat and I plan on actively campaigning for his re-election,” said Bush in a statement sent out by the Jolly campaign. “Representative Jolly has done what any congressman should do and that’s do the job that he was elected to do. I am proud to support him in this race.”

Jolly backed Bush in his unsuccessful bid for president that ended earlier this year. He said it was an honor to receive such “enthusiastic support” from the former Florida Governor.

“Jeb worked tirelessly for all Floridians as Governor and especially for children throughout Pinellas and the entire nation as an advocate for education reform,” Jolly said in the statement. “We share this commitment to education, particularly when it comes to improving early childhood education and student readiness. I look forward to working with Governor Bush and families throughout Pinellas on these and other important priorities.”

Despite raising more than $100 million during his campaign for president over the last year, Bush had trouble breaking through with the Republican electorate during the race, and dropped out after finishing a disappointing fourth in the South Carolina primary in February. However, he remains a superstar in GOP politics in Florida, and it shouldn’t be much of a problem for him to campaign against Crist, who succeeded him in the governor’s mansion in Tallahassee back in 2006.

Crist left the GOP to run and lose as an independent to Marco Rubio in the race for U.S. Senate in 2010. After that election, Bush said Crist had “abandoned” the Republican Party and was “not welcome” to return.

In fact, Crist never did return to the GOP. He officially switched to become a Democrat in late 2012, and became the Florida Democratic Party’s gubernatorial nominee in 2014, where he narrowly lost to Rick Scott.

 

 

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8 Reasons Rick Scott is the perfect veep for Donald Trump

Rick Scott is basically as awful as Donald Trump in so many ways. But before Floridians start petitioning Trump to introduce Scott to a presidential election turnout and an embarrassing loss before Scott runs for U.S. Senate in 2018, read all eight reasons.

8) Cons. Scott didn’t build his $300-some million fortune with a fraudulent university, but he did help build a company that defrauded Medicare and Medicaid by way more, paying a record $1.7 billion fine.

7) Muslims. Scott was offending Muslims and Hispanics long before Trump descended down the escalator at Trump Tower. Scott put some of his first campaign dollars into fear mongering about Muslims in “Obama’s Mosque” near Ground Zero in 2010Also, mic cut.

6) Hispanics. Similar to Trump, and despite all evidence, Hispanics love Scott, according to…only Rick Scott. Scott claims he “won” the Hispanic vote in 2014, despite actually losing it by 20 percent.

5) Little Marco. While Trump’s insults are infamous, Scott is doing his part in Florida. He backed Trump over Rubio (and Jeb!) and is now working against Rubio in his US Senate race, supporting mini-Trump Carlos Beruff, best known for unapologetically calling President Obama an “animal.”

4) Smarts. Trump could own Anderson Cooper‘s “RedicuList” segment, but Scott once got on it for insulting “everybody’s intelligence” trying to defend himself for using on-duty cops at campaign events.

3) Votes. Trump needs turnout to be as depressed as Jeb! after South Carolina. Scott has been hard at work, rolling back civil rights reforms that allowed nonviolent, ex-felons to vote.

2) Money. Scott won in 2014 by outspending his opponent on TV by $33,000,000Romney lost Florida by less than 1 percent in 2012, but only outspent Obama by $17 million. An extra $16,000,000 million might have bought 29 electoral votes.

1) Florida. Trump can’t win without Florida, and Rick Scott knows how to win here.

___

Kevin Cate owns CATECOMM, a public relations, digital, and advertising firm based in Florida.

 

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Marco Rubio leads Carlos Beruff 71% to 7% in new AIF poll

Marco Rubio holds a 60-plus point lead over Carlos Beruff.

That’s according to a new Associated Industries of Florida poll of likely Republican primary voters. The survey — conducted on June 27 and June 28, one week after Rubio announced he was running for re-election — found 71 percent of respondents said they would support Rubio in the primary.

Seven percent of voters said they would vote for Beruff, while 18 percent said they were still undecided.

Rubio announced last week he was running for a second term in the U.S. Senate, reversing a previous decision to return to private life when his term ended. The decision cleared the field, with Republicans Ron DeSantis, David Jolly, Carlos Lopez-Cantera and Todd Wilcox all bowing out of the race.

Beruff, a Manatee County homebuilder who has poured a significant amount of his own wealth into the race already, said he would continue to run for the seat. He has said he is prepared to put another $10 million to $15 million more into the race.

Rubio has received the backing of several top Republicans in Florida, including Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, and former Governor Jeb Bush. He’s also received support from the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Sen. Ted Cruz.

One top Republican that hasn’t thrown his support behind him? Gov. Rick Scott.

In a Facebook post last week, Scott stopped short of endorsing Beruff, but said the “Florida voters deserve the opportunity to consider his candidacy alongside Senator Rubio and make their own decision.”

While the AIF polling memo notes that Rubio’s entry into the race creates an entirely different field than just a few weeks ago, it also points out Rubio was leaps and bounds ahead of Republicans even before he got into the race.

When AIF conducted a similar survey in April, 50 percent of Republicans said they would support Rubio. The April survey found 5 percent of respondents would support Beruff, while 26 percent said they were undecided. Jolly was in second in the April survey by AIF, with 8 percent support.

The AIF poll is in line with another poll released this week. A survey conducted for News 13/Bay News 9 found 63 percent of Republicans would vote for Rubio in the Aug. 30 primary, while 11 percent said they planned to support Beruff. In that survey, 13 percent of respondents were undecided.

The most recent AIF poll surveyed 750 likely voters on June 27 and June 28. The survey has a margin of error of 4 percent.

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Jeb Bush throws his support behind Marco Rubio in U.S. Senate bid

Jeb Bush has picked his candidate in the U.S. Senate race.

The former Florida governor announced Thursday he was backing Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate race. The announcement came one day after Rubio announced he was running for re-election.

Bush took to Twitter on Thursday to announce his support, saying he is “joining many good conservatives in supporting” Rubio. He continued by saying there is “nothing more important than” keeping a Republican majority in the Senate.

JEBENDORSE

Both men were among the more than a dozen Republicans vying for their party’s nomination for president. During the campaign, Bush had a few harsh words, including telling him he should be showing up to work.

“I’m a constituent of the Senator, and I helped him, and I expected he would do constituent services, which meant he would show up to work,” said Bush during the CNBC debate in October. “When you signed up for this, this was a six-year term, and you should be showing up to work.”

Bush dropped out of the race after the South Carolina primary. Rubio dropped out a few weeks later after a disappointing showing in the Florida primary.

Rubio faces Republicans Todd Wilcox and Carlos Beruff in the Aug. 30 Republican primary.

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NARAL Pro-Choice America to begin airing ads attacking Marco Rubio in Florida

During his ultimately unsuccessful presidential campaign, Marco Rubio went further than most Republicans ever have when he said that he would deny abortion to women who are survivors of rape and incest.

Such a stance was considered outside mainstream sensibilities, and the pro-choice group NARAL Pro-Choice began airing TV ads against Rubio following the New Hampshire primary on that issue.

Now with the Florida Senator announcing on Wednesday that he will run for re-election to his U.S. Senate seat, the group says they begin airing that same 30-second TV ad in the Sunshine State, beginning later this week.

“Rubio would deny the choice of an abortion to all Americans, even those who are survivors of rape and incest,” said Sasha Bruce, Senior Vice President for Campaigns and Strategy at NARAL. “While Rubio may try to portray himself as some sort of new generation of Republican, his position on abortion is from the dark ages and is far more extreme than even many of his Republican colleagues. While Rubio record is thin, his priorities of rolling back reproductive freedoms are crystal clear. And those priorities are wrong for Florida and the nation.”

Rubio was attacked by some of his fellow Republicans running for president for his abortion stance during the campaign.

“Politically, it’s a tough sell to tell a pro-life mother — had her daughter been raped — that she would just have to accept that as a sad fact,” Jeb Bush told CNN last February. “This is not an easy decision, but Marco will have to explain that position.”

“I’m very pro-life, that’s a sensitive issue, but I think in a general election that will be a hard sell,” said South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham.

Watch the ad below:

 

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Business lobby upset over worker’s comp decision

The state’s business lobbying groups called for legislative action Thursday after a Florida Supreme Court decision earlier that day on the worker’s compensation law.

The court’s 5-2 ruling for injured St. Petersburg firefighter Bradley Westphal strikes down a provision in the law limiting the time that injured workers can get temporary disability benefits. (Story here.)

Three justices, however, suggested that the Legislature needs to overhaul the worker’s comp law.

Thursday’s decision comes six weeks after the court invalidated the law’s legal fee schedule as unconstitutional, saying it was a violation of due process. Both decisions were authored by Justice Barbara Pariente.

Shortly afterward, an umbrella organization representing worker’s comp insurers filed a request for a 17-percent rate hike, directly attributed the increase to the court’s decision in Castellanos v. Next Door Company.

“With job creators already facing a 17.1 percent workers’ comp rate increase, today’s ruling causes even more uncertainty, and is a further sign that Florida’s workers’ comp system is under attack,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

“A legislative solution for both cases will help bring certainty back to Florida’s job creators and injured workers that Florida’s workers’ comp system is working,” he added.

Spokespeople for the Florida House of Representatives and state Senate had no immediate comment other than saying their legal counsel were “reviewing” the latest decision.

Bill Herrle, executive director of National Federation of Independent Business/Florida, called the Westphal decision “one more blow from the Supreme Court that poses a very real threat to small business owners’ ability to employ Floridians.”

“Legislative action will be required to maintain a stable workers’ compensation market for Florida businesses,” he added, saying he hoped the Office of Insurance Regulation “acts as quickly as possible so that Florida business owners have a chance to do whatever they can to meet these unexpected costs.”

Logan McFaddin, regional manager for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), said the decision “could significantly destabilize Florida’s business environment.”

“The Florida worker’s compensation system provides essential benefits to injured workers in a timely, efficient, and economically sound manner and the wage-replacement benefit system balances the interests of employees and employers,” McFaddin said. “We continue to support the 2003 Florida workers compensation reforms that were put in place to protect the interests of employees, as well as help control costs for business owners.”

In 2003, Gov. Jeb Bush and the Legislature enacted changes to the worker’s comp system, though critics say they favored employers at the cost of injured employees. Companies said the changes cut costs to employers, which helps businesses grow jobs

“The impact of both decisions will likely motivate legislative action either through a special session in 2016 or in the regular session in 2017,” McFaddin added in a text message.

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