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Mitch Perry Report for 7.20.16 – Vetting Paul Manafort

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

A political convention is often called “the Super Bowl” of politics, and that’s true in this respect: There are a sh*tload of reporters on hand around, and not that many storylines that are unique. Hence, the constant discussion of Melania Trump’s speech on Monday night.

Donald Trump’s top campaign aide, Paul Manafort, said early Tuesday that the claims that the possible next First Lady in America had cribbed portions of Michelle Obama’s 2008 RNC was all about …..Hillary Clinton?

“This is once again an example of when a woman threatens Hillary Clinton, how she seeks out to demean her and take her down,” Manafort said.

The absurdity of that sentence should make people look at Manafort a little closer. What is his experience in U.S. politics? Yes, we know that he helped out Jerry Ford stave off the Ronald Reagan insurgency at the ’76 convention in Kansas City. And he helped in the “Morning in America’ Ronald Reagan convention in Dallas in August of 1984, as well as shaping Bob Dole’s San Diego RNC in 1996.

But how versed is he in running a presidential campaign? I had to laugh at loud at Mr. Conventional Wisdom, Mark Halperin, saying on MSNBC that Manafort is as “experienced a hand as there is in Republican politics.” That line was so absurd that Joe Scarborough had to challenge him on that, saying that he had never heard of Manafort when Trump hired him earlier this year.

Manafort and his lobbying firm has made a fortune fronting for a group of clients once referred to as the “torturers’ lobby.”That, we know. His experience in running presidential campaigns? Not so much.

In other news..

In the seemingly ultra competitive House District 68 Democratic primary in Pinellas County, Ben Diamond has begun airing a TV campaign, the same day that rival Eric Lynn did as well.

The Senate Majority PAC, a Democratic superPAC created by aides to Harry Reid, have begun airing ads in Florida on behalf of Patrick Murphy.

Arthenia Joyner is backing Sean Shaw in the House District 61 race in Hillsborough County.

An internal poll conducted for Charlie Crist shows the Democrat leading David Jolly 50%-38% in CD 13. Other polls show it much closer, however.

Tampa City Council District 7 candidate Luis Viera has received the endorsement from Tampa Firefighters Local 754. Some of his opponents are not pleased, and not because they didn’t get the endorsement.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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