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‘Nonpartisan’ group targets eight House Rs with negative mailer

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Eight House Republicans have been targeted by FloridaStrong, a group that calls itself “nonpartisan” but has ties to Democrats.

The negative mailer targets Republicans in swing districts, accusing them of “fail(ing) leadership, violating the state Constitution, and endangering the health and well-being of Floridians.”

The mailer doesn’t mention Medicaid or FHIX, which caused the rift between the House, Senate and Governor’s Office and led to the demise of the 2015 regular legislative session but tells voters to contact their representatives and tell them to support the bipartisan Senate budget. The Senate budget contains Medicaid dollars for an expansion of health care under the federal health care law.

The Division of Corporations database shows FloridaStrong is a fictitious name registered to the group Florida Watch Action. Florida Watch Action lists Christopher Findlater, Carlos Odio, Josh Geise, and Charly Norton as the officers. Tallahassee attorney Ronald Meyer is listed as the registered agent.

The Naples Daily News reported that Findlater is a large Democratic donor and Odio previously worked in the White House Office of Political Affairs.

The Republicans being targeted include:

  • Mike Miller
  • Michael Bileca
  • Shawn Harrison
  • Kathleen Peters
  • Gayle Harrell
  • Bob Cortes
  • Rene Plasencia
  • Jose Oliva

Harrell is married to a doctor and has a strong healthcare background. Plasencia has said he will support a Medicaid expansion and Oliva is expected to follow Richard Corcoran as House speaker.

Norton, executive director of Florida Strong, said the organization is committed to educating the public on policies that impact the quality of life. “Our primary focus is holding Tallahassee to their word, and, ultimately, securing our state’s future for our children and grandchildren.”

She said the group will hold the Legislature “accountable on issues important to Florida families,” and will target lawmakers on their records, not political affiliation.

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