Pam Bondi Archives - Page 7 of 24 - SaintPetersBlog

Mitch Perry Report for 8.23.16 – Terry McAuliffe fulfills his promise

Donald Trump calls himself “the law and order candidate,” so one shouldn’t be surprised about his reaction to Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe‘s announcement yesterday that he had signed papers restoring the voting rights of nearly 13,000 ex-felons.

Tump accused McAuliffe of “getting thousands of violent felons to the voting booth in an effort to cancel out the votes of both law enforcement and crime victims.”

Nevermind the fact that Virginia was just one of less than a handful of states that does not automatically restore the voting rights to ex-felons. McAuliffe’s announcement was a fulfillment of a promise he made when addressing the Florida delegation of Democrats at the DNC last month in Philadelphia.

In April, the Virginia Governor issued a sweeping order restoring rights to all ex-offenders who are no longer incarcerated or on probation or parole. That move was nixed by the Virginia Supreme Court however, which ruled last month that he had overstepped his clemency powers, agreeing with state Republicans who challenged his order, arguing the governor can only restore voting rights on a case-by-case basis and not en masse. So McAuliffe told Florida Democrats  that’s exactly what would do, and the first batch of 13,000 were given those rights yesterday.

His move comes as a couple of Florida Republicans in the Cabinet (some who still have aspirations in politics) told the Miami Herald’s Mary Ellen Klas that they’re willing to revisit the Sunshine State’s hardcore rules on this subject. Yes, Florida is one of only 4 states (including Virginia)  that permanently strip felons of voting rights unless the governor lifts the prohibition.

“If someone does an analysis, we have been granting civil rights to those who were waiting who would have automatically had their rights restored (under the previous system) and it’s probably time for us to revisit,” CFO Jeff Atwater told the Herald.

“Having had some time and experience on the Clemency Board, I’ve come to believe that there are opportunities for improvement,” added Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

More than 10,000 men and women who have served their time remain on a waiting list to go before Putnam, Atwater, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Governor Rick Scott to have their cases reviewed individually, with the possibility of them granting them their voting rights. But hundreds of thousands have given up that hope.

In other news…

David Jolly has one of the best scores of anybody on the US Chamber of Commerce congressional scorecards. Yet the organization that spent more than $35 million in helping Republicans in 2014, hasn’t kicked out a dime for him this year.

It’s just not college students bummed at the absurdly high levels of debt they incur after graduating. The realtors want some legislative action as well, since it means that younger people have fewer dollars available to buy new homes.

Bob Buckhorn is being proactive in having his city prepared to deal with the Zika virus.

The Mayor also had some kind words to say of comedian/actress and now author Amy Schumer, after she offered some not so kind words about his city in her new memoir.

Tim Canova says Debbie Wasserman Schultz has too close of a relationship with Big Sugar interests.

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Martin Dyckman: Supreme Court nominees no reason to elect Donald Trump

Some Republicans to whom Donald Trump is the skunk at their garden party would have you elect him president nevertheless.

Mark Sanford is one. When last heard of, he was the governor of South Carolina, canoodling with a mistress in Argentina while his office pretended that he was hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Now he’s a congressman, and he had an op-ed in The New York Times last week (Aug. 14) strongly criticizing Trump for refusing to release his tax returns.

Trump’s obstinacy “will have consequences,” Sanford said. It “would hurt transparency in our democratic process, and particularly in how voters evaluate the men and women vying to be our leaders.

“Whether he wins or loses, that is something our country cannot afford.”

Hear, hear.

But Sanford also hedged his bets.

“I am a conservative Republican who, though I have no stomach for his personal style and his penchant for regularly demeaning others, intends to support my party’s nominee because of the importance of filling the existing vacancy on the Supreme Court, and others that might open in the next four years,” he wrote.

There you have it. To Sanford, keeping Hillary Clinton from appointing new justices is worth letting everything else go to hell. The government, the country, maybe the world and certainly the court.

Trump might even nominate his conspicuous Florida cheerleader Pam Bondi.

Sanford isn’t the only Republican who has sold out for fear of a liberalized Supreme Court. That’s probably a factor with Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and John McCain too.

Independents and die-hard Hillary-hating Democrats need to pay attention. If they don’t vote for her, they could have themselves to blame for making the Supreme Court a right-wing rat hole for another generation.

Republicans want a court that would uphold their state-by-state voter suppression schemes, shut its eyes to maliciously partisan gerrymandering, and make it impossible rather than merely difficult to sue people like Trump for consumer fraud, environmental pollution and other white collar crimes.

The Citizens United atrocity would continue to leave Congress in the grip of the Koch brothers and their allied oligarchs.

Clinton vows to appoint justices who would repeal that monumentally bad Supreme Court decision.

Trump doesn’t make that promise. He does, however, assure the religious right that his justices would repeal Roe v. Wade.

Exacting such commitments from future judges is another of those developments the Founders didn’t anticipate. They had the idealistic, if naive, view that integrity and competence would govern who got appointed.

But we have to take the world as it is, and there’s no shortage of capable lawyers who have declared that Citizens United was wrongly decided. Four of the justices at the time said so too.

The court has a history of renouncing prior decisions as wrongly decided or simply no longer applicable. It trashed two precedents in Citizens United.

Although Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion more or less rationalized that full disclosure would restrain corporate election spending, that hasn’t happened. Dark money by the billions is sinking the ship of state.

And in South Dakota, the Kochtopus is fiercely fighting a ballot initiative that would require public disclosure of donors to advocacy campaigns, create a state ethics commission and provide public financing of political campaigns.

Fortunately, there are Republicans who disagree that the court is reason enough to sacrifice everything else.

John Yoo and Jeremy Rabkin, law professors in California, are two of them. Writing in the Los Angeles Times Aug. 14, they described the dangerous world we live in and warned that a Trump presidency “invites a cascade of global crises.”

Moreover, they argued, conservatives should not take Trump’s word that he would appoint suitable justices or that the Senate would confirm them.

“Even if Trump were to win in November, it is in the legislative and executive branches that conservatives will have to win their most important battles,” they wrote. “Does Trump look like the man to lead them?”

Yoo’s opposition is really noteworthy. He was the deputy attorney general in the George W. Bush administration who wrote the notorious memos condoning extreme methods of interrogating terrorism suspects, including waterboarding. That’s a form of torture that Trump is salivating to resume.

If even Yoo can’t stomach Trump, what does that tell us?

___

Martin Dyckman is a retired associate editor of the newspaper now known as the Tampa Bay Times. He lives in suburban Asheville, North Carolina.

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In Tampa, Patrick Murphy says Marco Rubio is running to be president, not a full-time Senator

Although they both have a primary election to get through in two weeks, both Patrick Murphy and Marco Rubio are acting like the general election for U.S. Senate is already here. That was evident in Tampa on Monday morning, when the Jupiter Democrat denied he was overlooking Alan Grayson and the Aug. 30 primary, but then immediately lit into his probable Republican opponent.

“We don’t take anything for granted,” Murphy responded, adding that he’s going out and about to try to meet as many voters as he can. “Everyone I talk to, whether they’re Republican, Democrat or independent, tell me: Patrick, I want a senator who at least wants the job. Who at least wants to be there to solve our problems.”

Murphy spoke with reporters after making an appearance at Tampa Bay WaVE, a local nonprofit that has been helping entrepreneurs build, launch, and grow tech businesses since 2008. He was joined by Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who was one of the first elected officials in the Tampa Bay area to back his candidacy more than a year ago.

“Senator Rubio’s missed more votes than any senator from Florida in nearly 50 years. That’s to me is unconscionable,” Murphy added.

When Rubio announced in late June that he would reverse his previous stance and run again for his Senate seat, he refused to say that he would commit to fulfilling a full six-year term in office, saying, “What I’m not going to do any more are these unequivocal pronunciations.” The comment came after he had reversed his statements over the past year that he would not run for reelection to his senate seat. With Donald Trump on the rocks in his presidential run currently, there are more than a few Republicans who are already thinking of their potential field in 2020, and Rubio could very well be in that mix again.

“He’s in this because he wants to run for president again,” Murphy said. “That’s his ambitions. I care about working for the people of Florida, for getting things done for Floridians, and part of that is getting around and meeting entrepreneurs and meeting people, hearing what’s on their minds so I can be the strongest voices for them.”

In the days before the presidential primary, Buckhorn blasted Rubio for being a no-show in visiting Tampa for the majority of his five years plus as a senator. He repeated the charge on Monday.

“If it’s any indication, I’ve seen Patrick Murphy more in the last five weeks that I saw Marco Rubio in the last five years,” Buckhorn says. “I have never met Marco Rubio. That speaks volumes about his commitment to Florida, and certainly his commitment to the Tampa Bay area.”

Although Buckhorn is a supporter of Murphy, he’s also expressed praise for Rick Scott and Pam Bondi in the past, statements that have at times alienated him from some local Democrats. Buckhorn insisted that he wasn’t being partisan in expressing his disappointment about Rubio’s performance when it comes to showing Tampa some attention.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s a Democratic mayor or a Republican mayor,” Buckhorn added. We’re the third largest city in this state, we’re the economic engine that drives this state, and the fact that our U.S. Senator has never taken the time to spend any time to talk about issues with the local leaders, I think that’s an indictment right there.”

The Rubio camp has pushed back on those charges, but there’s no doubt that he’s been a much more visible in the Tampa Bay area in recent weeks, including a visit to a Republican Party of Florida field office in Brandon on Saturday, and making an appearance at Republican Convention watch party in South Tampa last month.

Murphy and Buckhorn spent more than a half-hour chatting with some of the local entrepreneurs who were at Tampa Bay WaVe, including Akira Mitchell, with TechStart TampaBay. It’s a local nonprofit that teaches kids how to code, build robots and 3D print. “Our focus is on the next generation of creators. We provide opportunity, inspiration and education for them.”

Murphy also spoke with Sherry Benton with taoconnect.com and Saravana Pat Bhava’s business with pikmykid.com. Both talked of potential remedies that they hoped the federal government could work on if Murphy makes it to the Senate.

Not surprisingly, his visit was blasted by the Rubio campaign.

“Patrick Murphy was caught lying about being a small business owner himself, making him the last person to know what it takes to help Florida’s entrepreneurs succeed,” said campaign spokesman Michael Ahrens. “Murphy doesn’t even know whether the business he claims to own is still operating. Florida’s small businesses already have a senator who fights for them, and that’s why local business groups from across the state are supporting Marco’s campaign.”

Ahrens comment referenced allegations made by reporter Miami television reporter Jim DeFede earlier this summer, who reported that Murphy exaggerated claims that he was a small business owner and a certified public accountant. The Murphy responded with a memo saying that the story was inaccurate with some of its claims.

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37% of likely Florida GOP primary voters back Mike Huckabee for governor in 2018

It’s never too early to think about the next election, and a new poll from St. Pete Polls has Floridians doing just that.

According to the survey, 54 percent of likely Republican primary voters said Gov. Rick Scott would make a good U.S. Senator. The survey found 16 percent of respondents said they were unsure, while 30 percent said he wouldn’t be a good senator.

Scott can’t run for re-election again in 2018 because of term limits. While he’s been mum on his future political plans, many Florida insiders believe he is gearing up to challenge Sen. Bill Nelson in 2018.

Scott’s political committee — Let’s Get to Work — continues to raise money, raising nearly $1.9 million in the first seven months of 2016. He’s also become the chair of a pro-Donald Trump super PAC, giving a larger presence on the national stage.

With Scott vacating the Governor’s Mansion in a few years, speculation has already begun about who will replace the Naples Republican come 2018.

While Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is widely believed to be gearing up for a 2018 gubernatorial run, other possible contenders include CFO Jeff Atwater, Attorney General Pam Bondi, House Speaker Designate Richard Corcoran, and Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and a Florida resident.

When it comes to the governor’s race, 37 percent of likely Republican primary voters said they would vote for Huckabee; while 26 percent stated that they would pick Bondi. Nearly 8 percent of voters said they would pick Putnam, while nearly 7 percent said they would vote for Atwater.

About 1 percent of voters said they would vote for Corcoran, 3 percent stated that they would pick former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker, and less 1 percent said they would vote for former House Speaker Will Weatherford.

Seven percent of voters polled said they would vote for someone else. And with more than two years until the election, 12 percent of respondents said they were unsure who they would vote for.

The survey was conducted Aug. 2 and polled 1,835 likely Republican primary voters through an automated calling system. Voters were chosen at random from the state’s registered voting lists. The margin of error is 2.3 percent.

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Florida Republicans disagree with Donald Trump, but still back him

Top Florida Republicans are distancing themselves from GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump‘s comments about an American Muslim family whose son was killed in Iraq.

But so far, none of the top elected Republicans in the state have dropped their support of Trump, or even criticized him as sharply as some other Republicans have in the last few days.

Still there are signs of growing discomfort even among some of his most ardent supporters.

Right now it’s not clear if any prominent Florida Republicans plan to join him when Trump does a campaign swing through Florida on Wednesday. Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who spoke at the Republican National Convention, is hosting events in the Panhandle including a meeting to discuss battling the Zika virus.

“It’s hard,” said Jeff Atwater, the state’s chief financial officer and one of three statewide elected officials on the Florida Cabinet. “Because I don’t appreciate this kind of tone, rhetoric and commentary that he’s offering.”

Trump has been feuding for days with Khizr and Ghazala Khan, a Muslim family whose son, Capt. Humayun Khan, was killed in 2004. At last week’s Democratic National Convention, Khizr Khan criticized Trump’s call to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States and accused Trump of sacrificing “nothing and no one.”

In response, Trump said he was “viciously attacked” by Khizr Khan and implied that Ghazala Khan, the soldier’s mother, stood silently alongside her husband during the speech because, as a Muslim, she was restricted her from speaking. The comments have drawn rebukes from both Democrats and Republicans such as U.S. Sen. John McCain and the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization called them “out of bounds.”

Attorney General Pam Bondi, who endorsed Trump before the March presidential primary, called Capt. Khan an “American hero” and added: “Would I have ever said anything about his mother standing up their silent, not saying anything? Absolutely not.”

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam echoed Bondi’s comments about Khan and said “any comments to the contrary are dishonorable and abhorrent.”

The cautious reaction by some of Florida’s top GOP elected officials is a contrast to people such as former Gov. Jeb Bush, who has refused to endorse Trump. Sally Bradshaw, a north Florida resident and one of Bush’s top political advisers, recently changed parties and said this week that she may vote for Hillary Clinton if the election is close.

Scott, who recently agreed to become chairman of a super PAC backing Trump, as well as all three Cabinet members said they still intend to vote for Trump. Atwater, citing the investigation into Clinton’s emails, said that Trump was the “better candidate.”

Scott, who served in the U.S. Navy, would not comment directly on Trump’s comments and instead said Tuesday that “I’m never going to agree with every candidate on what they are going to say.” He praised Trump as someone “who believes in our military.”

When asked if Trump should apologize, as Scott said: “You can talk to Donald Trump. I just can tell you from my standpoint I’m [appreciative] of everybody that served.”

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

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Rick Scott, Pam Bondi headed to Fort Myers after teen club shooting

Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi said they are meeting with Fort Myers-area law enforcement Monday after a nightclub shooting there.

Gunfire erupted at Club Blu, which was hosting a swimsuit-themed party for teens, leaving two dead and at least 17 wounded, according to reports.

The incident happened more than a month after a nightclub shooting in Orlando that was the deadliest in modern U.S. history. The Pulse nightclub shooting June 12 left 49 victims dead and 53 others wounded.

“Following the horrific news of a shooting at a nightclub in Fort Myers, I spoke with Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson, Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott and Fort Myers Interim Police Chief Dennis Eads to offer any assistance from the state,” Scott said in a statement.

“I have canceled my scheduled events today to meet with law enforcement and local officials in Fort Myers,” he added. “While we are still learning the details about what happened this morning, we know that some of the victims of this terrible incident were children. We will continue to pray for the victims and their families.”

Added Bondi: “As the investigation into this night club shooting continues, I will be in Fort Myers today to meet with law enforcement and offer assistance to victims and their families suffering in the aftermath of this tragedy.”

The Florida Attorney General’s Office offers grief counseling and victims services to victims of violent crimes including assistance with burial expenses and medical bills, her statement said.

The violence at Club Blu erupted about 12:30 a.m. Monday, police said.

A post on the club’s Facebook page Monday morning said the shooting happened as the club was closing and parents were picking up their children. The post also said there was armed security at the event.

“We are deeply sorry for all involved,” the post read. “We tried to give teens what we thought was a safe place to have a good time.”

Three people remained hospitalized Monday morning, according to Cheryl Garn, a spokeswoman for Lee Memorial Health System. All others were treated and released.

Two people brought to two other area hospitals were also treated and released, Garn said. Ages of the patients ranged from 12 to 27, Garn said.

The club is in a strip mall that includes a daycare center and is across the street from a large apartment complex. Officers had the area taped off as crime scene technicians scoured the strip mall parking lot for clues.

State Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, the Republican who represents Fort Myers in the Florida House, said she too “will be working with community leaders, citizens and law enforcement to bring the perpetrators to justice and find a way to restore peace to our community.”

“I urge anyone with any knowledge of the shooting to call the local authorities with any information, either in person or anonymously,” she added. “Now is the time to come together as one Fort Myers!”

The Associated Press contributed to this post, reprinted with permission

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Pam Bondi cheers on “Lock her up” chant to Hillary Clinton in RNC speech

Coming out to the stage by declaring her love for her native state, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi addressed the Republican National Convention on Wednesday night, where she said that a Donald Trump presidency would return the country to the rule of law that has been absent under the past eight years of the Barack Obama administration.

“November 8 is a day of reckoning for all those who have abused their power,” she began, referring to Election Day. “It’s the day when we the people will take back our government from Washington bureaucrats playing doctor with our health care, to a president who’s been playing fast and loose with our constitutional rights, and Russian Roulette with our borders.”

Bondi endorsed Trump on the eve of the Florida primary in March, and there is speculation that she could be picked for a Cabinet position if the New York City business mogul wins in November.

Since being elected in 2010, Bondi has joined with her fellow Republican attorneys general to sue the Obama administration on a number of fronts, from the Affordable Care Act, to the EPA’s Clean Power Plan to the president’s plan to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Shortly into her six-minute plus speech, Bondi then segued to perhaps the major theme of the first three nights of the RNC – bashing presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

“She deserves no security clearance. How do you become president of the United States with no security clearance?” Bondi asked. Republicans have promulgated the notion that Clinton would have a difficult time getting a security clearance after FBI Director James Comey said that she was careless in her handling of national security documents. The Justice Department recently concluded their investigation into the former secretary of state’s handling of classified documents, which ended with Comey chastising her in a press conference, without filing any charges against her.

“This lawlessness must stop. Right here. Right now,” Bondi said, before acknowledging a chant amongst some of the delegates that has become a mantra at the Cleveland RNC.

“Lock her up? I love that,” she said, repeating the chant that erupted during Chris Christie’s speech on Tuesday night at the convention.

There is no question that there likely be changes with the makeup of the Supreme Court in the next four years. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 83. Anthony Kennedy will turn 80 by Election Day, and Stephen Breyer will be 78. Bondi said that Clinton will stack the next court with liberal justices.

“I know Donald, and I’m proud to know Donald. He will appoint conservative justices who will defend, rather than rewrite, our Constitution,” she said.

Bondi’s endorsement of Trump in March revived a storyline that she no doubt had been forgotten. That was the fact that she personally solicited a political contribution from Trump’s charitable foundation just three days after her office said it was “reviewing” fraud allegations against one of Donald Trump’s businesses in 2013. Bondi denied that the contribution had any bearing on her office’s decision not to open an investigation into Trump University, his for-profit-school.

The Clinton camp sent out a statement during Bondi’s address, entitled, “Scammed by Trump U? Don’t ask Florida AG Pam Bondi for help,” followed by links to negative stories about Trump U.

“If you believe it’s time for America to start acting like America again, there is only one choice in this election – Donald Trump,” Bondi concluded, to cheers from the audience.

Although Bondi was given a good time slot at 8:30 p.m., none of the three cable networks broadcasting the convention – Fox, MSNBC and CNN – covered Bondi’s speech live.

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Former rivals, military leaders, actors to take stage at RNC

Former presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, Scott Walker and Marco Rubio — the latter by video link — are among those set to speak at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Military leaders, members of Congress, actors, faith leaders and family members of presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump are also set to speak in what the Republican National Committee calls “an unconventional lineup” that will challenge the status quo and press for Trump’s agenda.

Speaker highlights at the four-day convention, which begins Monday at the Quicken Loans Arena.

MONDAY

Theme: Make America Safe Again

Headliners: Trump’s wife, Melania; Lt. Gen. (ret.) Michael Flynn, U.S. Army; Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; and Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont.

Others: Willie Robertson, star of “Duck Dynasty”; former Texas Gov. Rick Perry; Marcus Luttrell, retired U.S. Navy SEAL; Scott Baio, actor; Pat Smith, mother of Sean Smith, killed in the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya; Mark “Oz” Geist, member of a security team that fought in Benghazi; John Tiegen, member of Benghazi security team and co-author of the book “13 Hours,” an account of the attacks; Kent Terry and Kelly Terry-Willis, siblings of Brian Terry, a Border Patrol agent whose shooting death revealed the botched “Fast and Furious” gun-smuggling operation; Antonio Sabato Jr., actor; Mary Ann Mendoza, Sabine Durden and Jamiel Shaw, immigration reform advocates; Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas; David Clarke, sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wis.; Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis.; Rachel Campos-Duffy, LIBRE Initiative for Hispanic economic empowerment; Darryl Glenn, Senate candidate in Colorado; Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark.; Karen Vaughn, mother of a U.S. Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan; Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.; former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani; and Jason Beardsley of Concerned Veterans for America.

___

TUESDAY

Theme: Make America Work Again

Headliners: Tiffany Trump, candidate’s daughter; Kerry Woolard, general manager, Trump Winery in Virginia; Donald Trump Jr.; Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.; former GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson; and actress Kimberlin Brown.

Others: Sharon Day, co-chairwoman of Republican National Committee; Dana White, president, Ultimate Fighting Championship; Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson; Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge; former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey; Andy Wist, founder of Standard Waterproofing Co.; Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis.; Chris Cox, executive director, NRA Institute for Legislative Action; golfer Natalie Gulbis; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.; House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

___

WEDNESDAY

Theme: Make America First Again

Headliners: Former presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio; Eric Trump, son of the candidate; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Trump’s pick to be vice president.

Others: radio host Laura Ingraham; Phil Ruffin, businessman with interests in real estate, lodging, manufacturing and energy; Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi; retired astronaut Eileen Collins; Michelle Van Etten, small business owner; Kentucky state Sen. Ralph Alvarado Jr.; Darrell Scott, senior pastor and co-founder of New Spirit Revival Center Ministries, Cleveland; Harold Hamm, oil executive; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; Lynne Patton, vice president, Eric Trump Foundation; Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. (by video); Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Callista Gingrich, wife of Newt Gingrich.

___

THURSDAY

Theme: Make America One Again

Headliners: Peter Thiel, co-founder PayPal; Tom Barrack, CEO of Colony Capital; Ivanka Trump, daughter of the candidate; and Donald Trump, GOP nominee for president.

Others: Brock Mealer, motivational speaker; Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin; Dr. Lisa Shin, owner of Los Alamos Family Eyecare in New Mexico; RNC Chairman Reince Priebus; Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University and evangelical leader.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

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Rick Scott gearing up for GOP convention speech

Gov. Rick Scott brushed off questions about whether Donald Trump would be able to secure the nomination next week, saying the New York Republican is the clear winner.

“He clearly won the delegates,” said Scott during a stop in Naples on Friday. “My goal is that we have a great convention, and we highlight where we’re going as a country and a party, and we have a big win and change the direction of this country.”

Scott is one of dozens of people slated to speak during the Republican National Convention next week. The Naples Republican praised Trump early in the primary cycle but did not endorse him until after Florida’s March 15 primary. Since then, he has been a vocal supporter of the New York Republican and was often mentioned as a potential running mate.

Trump announced Friday he selected Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to be his running mate. During his stop in Naples, Scott told reporters he had made it clear to Trump he wasn’t interested in the No. 2 spot.

“I’ve been clear all along,” he said. “I have a great job, and I want to keep this job.”

Scott said he is excited to go to the convention, noting he missed most of the 2012 Republican convention in Tampa because of a hurricane. Republicans cut the conference short by a day because of the storm threat. Scott was also scheduled to speak at that event.

“I’m going to talk about why we ought to elect Donald Trump,” said Scott. “We need a business person. We need someone who is going to destroy ISIS. We need someone who is going to focus on jobs. And that’s what he’s going to do.”

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is also scheduled to speak at the convention.

Floridians heading up to Cleveland for the event will have a jam-packed schedule, including breakfasts, tailgate parties and a reception.

The Republican Party of Florida released a rundown of events Friday morning. Delegates will be able to participate in a breakfast speaker series hosted by the state party and Speaker Designate Richard Corcoran. Speakers at the breakfasts include Frank Luntz, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Dick Morris, and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Presidential hopeful Ben Carson is scheduled to attend a breakfast hosted by Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

“With Florida being front and center as the largest swing state, we are excited to welcome these great speakers to the conversation of Making Florida Red Again and Making America Great Again,” said Blaise Ingoglia, the chair of the Florida GOP and a state representative.

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Mitch Perry Report for 7.15.16 – No Tebowing in Cleveland

Bad news for folks who were psyched that Tim Tebow was announced on Thursday to be a featured speaker at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Like Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady before him, Tebow became the latest (former) pro quarterback who has disavowed any intentions that he would be speaking at Donald Trump’s party next week.

“My goal has always been to be able to make a difference in the biggest way possible. And if one day that’s in the political realm, that’s what I’ll do,” Tebow said on his Instagram account last night. “But right now, I really believe that’s through my foundation and our amazing partners in fighting for kids who can’t fight for themselves.”

The Republic, and the Republicans, will certainly survive an RNC sans Tebow, but how does that even happen? All the other folks named yesterday: Pam Bondi, Rick Scott, Mary Fallin, Peter Thiel, etc., all will speak. It’s just sort of odd.

Although he’s delaying his announcement about his running mate today, all indications are that Trump will select Indiana Governor Mike Pence to be his running mate – unless he changes his mind overnight, that is.

The Tampa Bay Times Michael Auslen forwards the story we reported on last week – there aren’t any upcoming U.S. Senate primary debates coming up soon, and it appears as though Patrick Murphy is the reason why.

Catherine Welch from WMFE radio in Orlando, who was coordinating radio debates across Florida public radio stations, wrote to me yesterday that the Murphy camp confirmed that they received her invitation on May 30th, “yet the campaign says it can not fit our Aug 3rd 9:00am debate into the schedule.”

And the Times Rick Danielson reports on a story that we meant to get to but didn’t (so props to him) – that organizers in Tampa of a referendum that would replace the city’s citizen review board with something stronger will not make the deadline of 21,000 signatures to get on this November’s ballot.

“I don’t think will make it this ballot,” the Reverend Russell Meyer told me on Monday before a Black Lives Matter protest began at Lykes Gaslight Park. “Something like what we’re talking about will be on the Tampa Charter Review Committee that City Council is talking about.” He also mentioned electing a different City Council to change how the board is composed, but of course, with the exception of the District 7 race this fall, the board won’t turn over until 2019.

In other news…

A new Hillary Clinton campaign office opened in Ybor City last night, and there was lots of excited folks there – not too many of them under 40, though.

Christine Quinn is the South Tampa businesswoman who is taking on Kathy Castor in Florida’s 14th Congressional District this fall.

The Tampa City Council is close to approving a franchise agreement with developer Jeff Vinik’s Strategic Property Partners and Cascade Investments for an underground chiller for the Channelside development.

Any Libertarians out there? There’s a contested Senate battle next month, and we’ve got a poll on who’s leading in that race.

The Florida League of Women Voters is getting into advocacy and education regarding solar power.

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