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Direct mail round-up: Jack Latvala reminds Pinellas voters what’s at stake this election

A new mailer from Clearwater Republican state Sen. Jack Latvala offers a simple message: “This election is not just about Washington D.C.”

Latvala’s mailer lets Pinellas County voters know what he believes is at stake this November — at both the state and local levels — with a handy voters’ guide for down-ballot races.

“It’s also about Florida and Pinellas County!” he says.

On the congressional level, the mailer suggests support for Republicans Marco Rubio for U.S. Senate and David Jolly for Florida’s 13th Congressional District. Photos of Democratic opponents — Congressman Patrick Murphy and former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist — are shown shadowed with their faces crossed out.

“Of these men, who can best be trusted to keep our taxes low, our nation secure and government out of our lives,” the flyer says. “YOUR VOTE could make the difference in these races.”

As for representing Pinellas in Tallahassee, Latvala is joined by state Reps. Chris Latvala of House District 67 and Chris Sprowls of HD 65.

“Do we want to turn back the clock on our state to a time when crime rates were skyrocketing, taxes were increased every year, and our public schools had no accountability?” Latvala asks. “YOUR VOTE can keep leaders like Jack Latvala, Chris Sprowls, and Chris Latvala fighting for us in Tallahassee!”

Locally, the flyer endorses Mike Mikruak for Pinellas County Commissioner; if he wins, it could result in a return to Republican majority on the board.

“YOUR VOTE for Mike Mikurak can help Republicans win back the majority on our County Commission that was lost in 2014 for the first time in 50 years!” the mailer says.

With such discord at the top of the presidential ticket this year, Latvala’s flyer reminds us that all politics — and good governance — is indeed local.

latvala-stake_page_1 latvala-stake_page_2

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Moments to remember — or try to forget — from Campaign 2016

Every presidential race has its big moments. This one, more than most.

A look back at some of the historic, amusing and cringe-inducing events of Campaign 2016.

There are plenty more where these came from. Play along at home and think about what you would add to the list.

___

GOING DOWN?

Donald Trump‘s long ride down the escalator at Trump Tower to announce his presidential bid in June 2015 wasn’t huge news at the time. It only merited a page 16 story in his hometown newspaper, The New York Times. But his 45-minute speech laid out a road map for the next 500 days. It had denunciations of rapists from Mexico, the promise to build a border wall, complaints that the United States doesn’t win anymore, assertions that the U.S. should have taken Iraq’s oil before the Islamic State group got it, criticism of President Barack Obama‘s health law, pledges to get lost jobs back from China and elsewhere, rants against “stupid” trade deals and many more themes Trump has hammered on ever since.

___

RAISE YOUR HAND

Trump jolted the first Republican debate in August 2015 when he was the sole candidate among 10 men on the stage to raise his hand to signal he wouldn’t pledge to support the eventual GOP nominee. The best he could offer: “I can totally make the pledge if I’m the nominee.” (The GOP field was so crowded then that seven more Republican candidates were relegated to an undercard debate.) This was the same debate where Trump mixed it up with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly over his history of intemperate comments about women, foreshadowing a running campaign theme. Trump answered Kelly’s question about whether he was part of the “war on women” with a riff against political correctness.

___

THOSE ‘DAMN EMAILS’

Hillary Clinton got a gift from Bernie Sanders in the first Democratic debate in October 2015 when he seconded her dismay at all the focus on her use of a private email setup as secretary of state. “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails,” Sanders said. That took some air out of the controversy but it never fully went away. Then in June, FBI Director James Comey announced he would not recommend charges against Clinton over the email issue, but said she and her aides had been “extremely careless” in handling classified information. The issue took on new life when the FBI announced just 11 days before the election that it was investigating whether there is classified information in newly discovered emails. Trump called it “bigger than Watergate.”

___

SMALL HANDS. EWW.

A Republican debate this past March strayed into cringe-inducing territory when Trump brought up GOP rival Marco Rubio‘s mocking reference to his “small hands” and then volunteered some reassurance about the size of his genitals. Trump told his debate audience and millions of TV viewers, “He referred to my hands, if they’re small, something else must be small. I guarantee you, There’s no problem, I guarantee.” The arbiters of good taste had a problem with that.

___

CEILING: SHATTERED

She wore white, the color of suffragettes. Clinton stood before voters at the Democrats’ Philadelphia convention in July and at last claimed the presidential nomination of a major party for women. “I’m so happy this day has come,” she told cheering supporters. “Happy for grandmothers and little girls and everyone in between. Happy for boys and men, too. Because when any barrier falls in America, for anyone, it clears the way for everyone.” Clinton had finally shattered that “glass ceiling” she cracked in the 2008 campaign.

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THE ‘DEPLORABLES’

Clinton drew laughter when she told supporters at a private fundraiser in September that half of Trump supporters could be lumped into a “basket of deplorables” — denouncing them as “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it.” No one was laughing when her remarks became public. Clinton did a partial rollback, saying she’d been “grossly generalistic” and regretted saying the label fit “half” Trump’s supporters. But she didn’t back down from the general sentiment, saying, “He has built his campaign largely on prejudice and paranoia and given a national platform to hateful views and voices.” Soon enough, Trump had the video running in his campaign ads, and his supporters were wearing the “deplorable” label as a badge of honor.

___

A REAL STUMBLE

There are always stumbles in a presidential campaign. Clinton took a real one in September when she became overheated while attending a 9/11 memorial service in New York. It turned out she was suffering from pneumonia, a condition she’d hidden from the public and most of her aides. That gave Trump an opening to press his case that Clinton lacks the “stamina” to be president. But she had a sharp rejoinder in the fall debate with Trump, saying: “As soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a cease-fire, a release of dissidents, an opening of new opportunities in nations around the world or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina.”

___

‘YOU CAN DO ANYTHING’

Trump’s living-large persona is part of his appeal for many people. But the leaked release in October of a 2005 video in which Trump boasted about groping women’s genitals and kissing them without permission threw his campaign into crisis. Politicians in both parties denounced Trump and some said he should drop out of the race. Trump apologized, but wrote off his videotaped comments as mere “locker-room banter.” He denied engaging in the kind of predatory activity he’d laughed about. But a string of women came forward to say he’d made unwanted sexual advances toward them.

___

HE WENT THERE

Trump toyed throughout the campaign with bringing up allegations about Bill Clinton‘s past sexual misconduct. Trump went there in a big way in October at the second presidential debate, seating three of the former president’s accusers in the front row for the faceoff. “Bill Clinton was abusive to women,” Trump said. “Hillary Clinton attacked those same women and attacked them viciously.”

___

HE WOULDN’T GO THERE

As Trump’s standing in the polls faltered, he cranked up his claims that the election was being rigged against him. Asked in the final presidential debate if he would accept the results of the election, Trump refused to go there. Pressed on the matter by the debate moderator, Trump said: “I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense.” It was a startling statement that raised uncertainty about the peaceful transfer of power after the election. Even the Republican National Committee disavowed Trump’s statement.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

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New Senate Leadership Fund ad blasts Patrick Murphy for lying about, well, everything

A new ad from the Senate Leadership Fund blasts U.S. Senate hopeful Patrick Murphy with a litany of what they say are his sins – lying, embellishing and not doing much in Congress.

The criticisms have been leveled before by Murphy’s detractors and his opponent Marco Rubio – the ad says Murphy lied about everything from his business record to his education.

“He lied about his education,” the ad states. “Murphy’s claims of business experience, outright false. Why did he pad his resume? He doesn’t have a record. He was ranked one of America’s least effective congressmen. In a do nothing congress, Murphy’s at the bottom of the barrel.”

The ad says it’s “no wonder” Murphy “misleads, exaggerates and outright lies” about all of those things.

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Barack Obama: ‘This is the moment where America has to take a stand’

At the University of Central Florida Friday night, a triumphant-sounding Barack Obama made a bold declaration to voters — in this election, no less than the direction of America was at stake.

The president, no doubt buoyed by resurgent popularity and comforted by the realization that the end is near, proclaimed fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton a worthy bearer of his progressive legacy.

“This is the moment where America has to take a stand and decide what it is what we believe in and who we are,” Obama told 9,000 people inside the CFE Arena, and a reported 7,000 more outside.

“And we’re not going to believe in fear. Instead, we’re going to lift up hope. If you want hope instead of fear, then you will elect Hillary Clinton as president of the United States!”

That stand, in Obama’s words, is for a more progressive America.

In his 42-minute speech, Obama acknowledged he didn’t accomplish everything he wanted, and that he made some mistakes.

But he did boast a list of accomplishments: 20 million more people on health insurance, reducing dependence on foreign oil, recognizing global warming and fighting to reduce carbon emissions. He also promoted his expansion of Civil Rights, preservation of abortion rights, the fight for women’s rights, reduced unemployment, increased wages, and the creation of a country where “You can marry the person you love.”

“Across the board, by almost every measure,” he said, “we are significantly better off now than we were eight years ago.”

“All the progress we’ve made over the last eight years goes out the window if we don’t win this election,” he added.

Obama seldom mentioned Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump‘s name — calling him “that other guy” — but repeatedly compared him with Clinton, characterizing the Democratic candidate as prepared and optimistic, while Trump was unprepared and fear mongering.

At one point, Obama praised Clinton as a meticulous hard-worker, who knows issues in depth, accusing Trump of “just making stuff up.”

“You don’t want at the slacker as your president,” he said. “You want somebody that knows what they’re talking about.”

Using his speech in front of a college student-dominated crowd, Obama pushed for the election of Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy over Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

Obama criticized Rubio for taking many of the conservative stands that he said would end many of his progressive initiatives, including a vote to defund Planned Parenthood, opposing abortion, walking away from comprehensive immigration reform and “the Latino community;” and not believing in climate change.

That led the crowd, which often cheered Obama with defining, high screams — as if at a 1964 Beatles concert — to chant, “Patrick, Patrick, Patrick.”

But the chant never gained momentum and died off pretty quickly.

When Obama took a brief swipe at Trump’s comments about and alleged behavior toward women, a man in the back of the arena climbed over the railing of the upper deck, positioned himself on folded-back risers, and began shouting: “Bill Clinton is a rapist!”

It went on for several minutes before an Orange County deputy sheriff managed to talk him back over the railing and escorted him out.

Obama described an optimistic and diverse America, saying, “That’s the America I love.

“That’s why through all the ups and downs I haven’t been worried about this country,” he continued.

“Because, I’ve seen the heart and soul of the American people, and it is good, and it is decent, and it is strong, and it is resilient, and there is only one candidate in this race who I believe can continue the progress that we’ve made, and I know that because she’s been working all her life to make America better. And that’s the next president of the United States, Hillary Clinton.”

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Pro-Marco Rubio super PAC brings in $1.1 M over 19 days

A super PAC supporting Marco Rubio’s re-election to the U.S. Senate raised more than $1.1 million in the first three weeks of October.

Newly filed campaign finance reports show Florida First Project’s biggest donor for the month was Jupiter businessman Lawrence DeGeorge, who chipped in $500,000 to the committee, with an additional $500,000 coming Conservative Solutions, an organization tied to DeGeorge that supported Rubio’s run for the presidency.

Ohio coal company Murray Energy Corporation also pitched in $38,000, and Jacksonville tobacco company Swisher International wrote a check for $25,000.

Florida First Project has raised more than $3.4 million in total since its launch back in April; as of Oct. 19, the committee had about $1.5 million on hand.

The committee spent about $1.2 million of its reserves on a media buy Oct. 25 through Los Angeles-based Target Enterprises, with another $14,000 heading to strategist Chris Mottola for consulting work.

Rubio faces U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy on Election Day. Recent polls have shown the race tightening up, though Rubio maintains a slim lead over his Democratic rival.

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American Federation of Teachers relaunches ad targeting Marco Rubio

The American Federation of Teachers is relaunching an ad campaign opposing Marco Rubio.

The organization announced Friday it was relaunching a campaign that claims Rubio “flip-flopped from writing legislation to provide relief to Puerto Rico to siding with hedge funds.”

“Time and time again, Marco Rubio has revealed where his allegiance lies. Rubio flip-flopped from writing legislation to provide relief for Puerto Rico, to siding with hedge funds demanding that Puerto Rico make deeper cuts in education and impose regressive taxes in order to pay of distressed debt,” said Michelle Ringuette, head of the organization’s political program. “As a result, 200 schools closed and millions of dollars were cut from education. During a time when Puerto Rico and Rubio’s constituents needed him in the face of a humanitarian crisis, Rubio came out on the side of pernicious hedge funds.”

The five-figure ad campaign will consist of one English-language statewide campaign ad. The organization ran the ad for two weeks earlier in the election cycle, according to the American Federation of Teachers.

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Miami GOP rainmaker Mike Fernandez endorses Patrick Murphy, gives $100K

Mike Fernandez is backing Democrat Patrick Murphy in his race against Republican Marco Rubio for the U.S. Senate.

Fernandez, the Miami billionaire who is one of the nation’s largest GOP funders, announced his support of Murphy to the Miami Herald Friday morning. He told reporters the main reason he’s voting for Murphy is the Jupiter Democrat’s support for lifting the Cuba embargo.

As well as voting for Murphy, the Herald also reports Fernandez has given $100,000 to a pro-Murphy super PAC.

Fernandez has been a longtime Republican fundraiser — giving more than $3 million this cycle to a super PAC supporting Jeb Bush’s presidential run — and briefly served as finance chair for Gov. Rick Scott‘s 2014 re-election bid.

However, in September Fernandez announced he was formally endorsing Hillary Clinton for president.

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Jeanette Rubio highlights husband’s support of the Girls Count Act in new ad

Jeanette Rubio is praising her husband’s work against human trafficking in a new campaign ad.

The Marco Rubio campaign released a new advertisement Friday featuring the Miami Republican’s wife. The 30-second spot gives Jeanette Rubio a chance to highlight the Girls Count Act, which helps ensure children in developing countries are registered at birth.

“Human trafficking is a tragedy. Of all the things Marco has done, the Girls Count Act is the one thing I’m most proud of,” says Jeanette Rubio in the advertisement. “Marco wrote the law that forces any country in the word that receives American aid to give little girls birth certificates when they are born. It doesn’t sound like much, but that one thing could save thousands of girls, and even if it just saves one, it is truly a blessing.”

According to Girl Up, a program run by the United Nations Foundation, one in 12 people around the world is a girl or young woman between the ages of 10-24. The organization reported most developing counties did not account for the number of girls in their population. In some countries, the reason might be that they don’t have the capacity to do it, while some “don’t prioritize girls.”

“This means that as a girl grows up it will be difficult, if not impossible, for her to attend school or get a job. She will not be able to own her own land or start her own business,” according to the Girl Up website. “She will not be able to vote.  She will likely be confined to the home and left unpaid — an invisible member of society.”

President Barack Obama signed the bill, which was sponsored by Rubio, into law in June 2015.

“There is a massive worldwide problem involving boys and especially girls for whom no official records exist because they were not registered at birth,” said Rubio in a March 2015 statement introducing the bill. “This leaves them vulnerable to human trafficking and exploitation, but it also leaves them excluded from accessing basic services in their countries, such as education.”

Rubio faces Rep. Patrick Murphy in the Nov. 8 general election. Rubio has been leading in the polls for months, with RealClearPolitics showing he has an average 3.6 percent lead over Murphy.

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Mitch Perry Report for Friday, 10.28.16 — FLOTUS dissects the Trump strategy

Michelle Obama brought her newly awakened star power to the Hillary Clinton campaign Thursday, giving a speech with the Democratic nominee yesterday in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she said the Donald Trump campaign modus operandi in the final 10 days of the election was to discourage them from going to the polls.

“Here’s where I want to get real. If Hillary doesn’t win this election, that will be on us,” she said to one of the biggest crowds a Clinton campaign event has held this year. “It will be because we did not stand with her. It will be because we did not vote for her, and that is exactly what her opponent is hoping will happen. That’s the strategy, to make this election so dirty and ugly that we don’t want any part of it.”

She continued, “So when you hear folks talking about a global conspiracy, and saying that this election is rigged, understand that they are trying to get you to stay home. They are trying to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter, that the outcome has already been determined, and you shouldn’t even bother making your voice heard. They are trying to take away your hope. And just for the record, in this country, the United States of America, the voters decide our elections, they’ve always decided. Voters decided who wins and who loses, period, end of story.”

For weeks (if not months), political analysts have said that while he’s got a solid 40 percent or so of the electorate banked, Trump has to add voters to his coalition to win the election, yet has done precious little to bring in those wavering independents suspicious of Clinton but not sure they want to pull the trigger for him.

Then came the report from Bloomberg Thursday that quoted a senior official in the Trump camp that, ‘We have three major voter suppression operations underway. They’re aimed at three groups Clinton needs to win overwhelmingly: idealistic white liberals, young women, and African-Americans.”

This isn’t exactly new information. This is from what the Wall Street Journal reported more than two weeks ago:

“Following the release of a tape-recording of his lewd comments about women and several high-profile Republican defections over the weekend, Mr. Trump has effectively given up the conventional wisdom of trying to reach voters far outside his core of support, one high-level Republican supporter said.”

That Bloomberg article also had a lot more information about how the Trump campaign has built a direct marketing operation that “could power a TV network — or finish off the GOP.”

Translation: Trump, Inc., will still be very much in the political/media world post Nov. 8 — and, who knows, maybe he could still pull off a stunning election victory. He’ll do it his way, however, like he’s done it for the past two years — but it doesn’t look it’s going to work in this general election.

In other news …

The Florida Commission on Ethics dismisses a complaint made against Hillsborough property appraiser candidate Todd Jones.

And Hillsborough County Commission District 6 candidate Tim Schock has resorted to pumping out short videos on his Facebook page, as he attempts to get his message out.

Tim Canova’s progressive political action group is calling on a movement to try to support five separate constitutional amendments on the 2018 Florida ballot.

A tete-a-tete on Syria during Wednesday night’s Senate debate prompted Arizona Democratic Representative and Iraq war veteran Ruben Gallego to call out Marco Rubio.

The major party candidates in the SD 18 race — Dana Young and Bob Buesing — announced some big endorsements.

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Marco Rubio rallies the faithful during Naples stop

Sen. Marco Rubio used a stop in deep-red Collier County to gin up supporters and encourage Floridians to get out and vote.

The Miami Republican held a get-out-the vote rally in Naples on Thursday. The campaign stop came just one day after the second and final U.S. Senate debate, and Rubio used the stop to hammer Rep. Patrick Murphy over his limited congressional accomplishments.

“I’m running against someone who has been in Congress for four years; he’s not a theory, he’s not a businessman that’s coming in from the outside,” he told a crowd of about 200 people at 7th Avenue Social in downtown Naples, one block from a popular early voting location. “He’s been in Congress for four years, and yet he’s never had a bill that he wrote that has been passed into law.”

Rubio resorted to familiar attacks, pointing to claims Murphy padded his resume. The claims have been a frequent point of contention during the election, and have been at the center of several attack ads.

He criticized Murphy, honing in on comments the Treasure Coast Democrat made during the debate Wednesday.

“(He said) ‘when I got to Congress I started a bipartisan group. So I just passed all these laws, I’m banned from going to Nicaragua, I’m banned from going to Venezuela … and he’s bragging about starting a club,” said Rubio. “We cannot afford a U.S. senator from one of the most important states in the country that can’t get things done on behalf of you.”

The rally was meant to energize supporters in a deep red county. There are 199,889 registered voters in Collier County, 51 percent of whom are registered Republicans.

He hoped to tap back into that support network Thursday, encouraging the crowd to “vote early.”

“Vote once, and vote right,” he said, after joking he wanted to tell supporters to vote early and often. “We’ll win; we’ll turn this country around. We’re going to leave our children as the freest and most prosperous Americans that ever lived, and Florida as most prosperous state in America.”

According to the Division of Elections, as of Thursday more than 2.4 million had already cast their ballots.

“We’re not just choosing between political parties and ideologies, we’re choosing between two very different destinies: An America greater and ever more prosperous than before, or a once-great nation in decline,” said Rubio. “That is the crossroads with which we are at, and we must make a choice right now and it begins in this election.”

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