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HAPPIEST OF BIRTHDAYS: Best wishes to my friend Kevin Cate. Rep. Scott Plakon recently said it best, remarking that if the Democrats had more thinkers like Kevin Cate, Florida’s Republicans would be in real trouble. Speaking of the GOP, happy birthday to Speaker Dean Cannon.
OBAMA BREAKS 50% IN FLORIDA AND TWO OTHER SWING STATES
A New Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times polls find President Obama leading Mitt Romney in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Florida: Obama 51%, Romney 45%; Ohio: Obama 50%, Romney 44%; Pennsylvania: Obama 53%, Romney 42%
Key takeaway: “But a torrent of television advertising in the states, particularly in Ohio and Florida, appears to be resonating in Mr. Obama’s quest to define his Republican rival. The polls found that more voters say Mr. Romney’s experience was too focused on making profits at Bain Capital, the private equity firm he led, rather than the kind of experience that would help create jobs.”
MARCO RUBIO TO STUMP FOR ROMNEY IN ADVANCE OF OBAMA
Rubio plans to stump as a surrogate for Romney in Orlando in advance of President Obama’s speech at Rollins College Thursday. Rubio will be appearing at an 8 a.m. rally at Harbco General Contractors, Inc., 3700 34th St., in Orlando.
NEW POLL: BILL NELSON 47%, CONNIE MACK 40%
In Florida’s U.S. Senate race, Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson leads U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, the likely Republican challenger 47 – 40 percent, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac. Independent voters go 43 percent for Mack and 40 percent for Nelson.
CHARLIE CRIST BACKING NELSON IN SENATE RACE
Nelson’s campaign confirmed Wednesday that former Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican turned unaffiliated voter, will be on hand at a fundraiser for Nelson on Thursday. “President Clinton will be the featured guest at an Orlando fundraiser tomorrow night for Bill Nelson. The event will be attended by many officials including the former governor,” deputy campaign manager Marley Wilkes said in an email. “We’re glad to have all their support.” Crist bolted the GOP in 2010 after his support in the primary for the party’s U.S. Senate nomination that year collapsed; he eventually lost the general election to Republican Marco Rubio. Since then, observers have been looking for signs that he would attempt a political comeback as a Democrat.
NELSON UP WITH FIRST TV AD
Starting Thursday, Nelson’s re-election campaign kicks off what a spokesman said is a multi-week buy all across the state.
“It’s time the people of Florida started getting the truth,” said Nelson Campaign Manager Pete Mitchell. The campaign declined to elaborate on other details of the ad buy.
GOV. RICK SCOTT’S APPROVAL RATE STILL UPSIDE DOWN AT 36%/52%
Florida voters disapprove of the way Gov. Rick Scott is handling his job by a 52-to-36 percent margin according to a poll released by Quinnipiac University.
“DEFAMATORY” DOCUMENTS IN JIM GREER CASE WILL REMAIN SEALED
The identity of a person who wants to keep some documents from being released in the criminal trial of a former Republican Party of Florida chair will be kept under wraps for a bit longer.
Documents the mystery person doesn’t want released will be sealed for seven days while the person’s attorney decides whether to appeal, Circuit Judge Marc Lubet ruled Wednesday.
FIRST CLAIMS BILLS FILED IN FLORIDA SENATE
A woman profoundly injured when hit by a speeding deputy sheriff who didn’t have his siren on, a woman killed by chemotherapy she shouldn’t have ever had, and a man wrongfully imprisoned for 7 years would all be compensated by claims bills filed Wednesday in the Senate, reports David Royse of the News Service of Florida.
One of the largest claims among the bills filed Wednesday would go to Jennifer Wohlgemuth, whose compensation bill (SB 16) would pay her $8.6 million for injuries she suffered in 2005 when she was 21-years-old and was slammed into by a Pasco County deputy who was chasing a suspect. The deputy was speeding through a red light without his lights and siren on.
Claims bills, filed in the Senate, go to a special master for a recommendation to the full Legislature, which then must approve them. In many cases where such bills do pass, the award comes not from the state, but from a local government or an insurance policy held by the local government. The bills are necessary because of sovereign immunity limits on how much government can pay as the result of a lawsuit. Any amount agreed to or awarded above a certain amount must be approved by the Legislature in a claims bill.
FLORIDIANS CONTINUE UNPLUGGING HOME PHONE LINES
Floridians are continuing to turn off traditional home phone lines as they rely on wireless phones and voice services from Internet providers, according to a new report by the Florida Public Service Commission. The report, which is sent to state leaders annually, shows that traditional residential lines declined 16 percent between Dec. 31, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2011, for what are known as “incumbent” phone companies such as AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink. During the same period, business lines for those carriers increased 8 percent. The report also says about 17.6 million wireless handsets were in service as of June 2011, or nearly one for every Floridian. Overall, the report said 93 percent of Florida households had telephone service as of July 2011, slightly lower than the national rate of 96 percent.
PERSONNEL NOTE: KRISTEN BRIDGES PROMOTED TO SENIOR VP OF BASCOM COMMUNICATIONS; LYNDSEY CRULEY REJOINS FIRM
Kristen Bridges has been promoted to senior vice president of Bascom Communications & Consulting. Bridges will continue her role as a lead communications consultant for Bascom and will now also oversee the Web & Graphic Design Division and serve as a member of BCC’s senior leadership team. Specializing in public relations, legislative communications and new media, Bridges develops and implements successful communications strategies for some of BCC’s most high-profile clients. … Lyndsey Cruley re-joins BCC on August 1, 2012, as a vice president. Cruley will be a lead communications consultant at BCC, focusing on the firm’s public affairs and political communications practice and will also serve as a member of BCC’s senior leadership team.
VAL DEMINGS POSTS ANOTHER IMPRESSIVE FUNDRAISING QUARTER FOR CD 10 RACE
In the pre-primary period of just 25 days, which ran from July 1 to July 25, Val Demings raised $76,479 from a whopping 1,262 donors. The campaign added almost 1,000 new donors – a pretty impressive figure.
LOIS FRANKEL HIRES THIRD CAMPAIGN MANAGER by Dara Kam of the Palm Beach Post
Maybe the third time’s the charm for former West Palm Beach mayor Lois Frankel’s Congressional campaign. The combative Democrat has hired Jonathon Bray as campaign manager #3 in her quest for U.S. House District 22.
Bray, 28, comes from North Carolina, should be an asset for Frankel in her Democratic primary against Broward County Commissioner. He recently left North Carolina state Rep. Patsy Keever’s congressional campaign, where as her campaign manager he successfully shepherded her through a Democratic primary in May. The Democratic operative was helped Kendrick Meek gather petitions to make it on the ballot in his failing bid for the U.S. Senate two years ago. Frankel’s spokesman Joshua Karp said Bray has strong family ties to Palm Beach County.
Bray replaces Greg Richardson, who Karp said left the campaign because of family health problems. Richardson fumbled when he sent a memo to Jacobs demanding that she resign from her Broward County Commission seat before Gov. Rick Scott can appoint a Republican replacement. Within hours, Richardson sent Jacobs’ campaign manager Marcia Monserrat a second memo, saying he misstakenly sent the e-mail and it was not approved by Frankel. Richardson left the campaign shortly afterwards but the memo mishap had nothing to do with his departure, Karp said.
ASSOCIATED BUILDERS ISSUE LEGISLATIVE ENDORSEMENTS
Florida Senate: John Thrasher (R) – District 6, Geraldine Thompson (D) – District 12, Jack Latvala (R) – District 20, Melanie Peterson (R) (Qualified ) – District 25, Mack Bernard (R) – District 27, Ellyn Bogdanoff (R) – District 34, Ron Saunders (R) – District 39
Florida House: Clay Ford (R) – District 2, Doug Broxson (R) – District 3, Marti Coley (R) – District 5, Janet Adkins (R) – District 11, Lake Ray (R) – District 12, Mike Davis (R) – District 17, David Santiago (R) – District 27, Jason Brodeur (R) – District 28, Chris Dorworth (R) – District 29, Mike Fasano (R) – District 36, Richard Corcoran (R) – District 37, John Wood (R) – District 41, John Tobia (R) – District 53, Jake Raburn (R) – District 57, Peter Nehr (R) – District 65, Ed Hooper (R) – District 67, Frank Farkas (R) – District 68, Dane Eagle (R) – District 77, Matt Caldwell (R) – District 79, Steve Perman (D) – District 81, Carl Domino (R) – District 82, Bobby Powell (D) – District 88, Katie Edwards (D) – District 98, Joe Gibbons (D) – District 100, Manny Diaz Jr. (R) – District 103, Carlos Trujillo (R) – District 105, Kathleen Passidomo (R) – District 106, John Patrick Julien (D) – District 107, Pat Santangelo (D) – District 108, Jose Oliva (R) – District 110, Eddy Gonzalez (R) – District 111, Erik Fresen (R) – District 114, Michael Bileca (R) – District 115, Ana Rivas Logan (R) – District 116, Jose Felix Diaz (R) – District 116, Frank Artiles (R) – District 118, Holly Merrill Raschein (R) – District 120, Morgan McPherson (R) – District 120
‘JERSEY MIKE’ OR HOMETOWN HERO? DUELING BEAN-WEINSTEIN ADS HEAT UP ALREADY HOT RACE by Matt Dixon of the Florida Times-Union
A group supporting state Senate candidate Aaron Bean wants you to think “New Jersey” when you hear the name of his opponent, Mike Weinstein. A group backing Weinstein calls their candidate “Jacksonville’s only hope for a hometown hero.”
Both ads, out Wednesday, underscore both the race’s regional dynamic and importance in helping shape the future of the Florida Senate.
A 60-second radio spot put out by Liberty Foundation of Florida, which backs Bean, begs to differ by highlighting Weinstein’s New Jersey roots. “Mikey is telling people he has Jacksonville roots,” says a character with a thick accent right out of “The Sopranos.” … “Mikey? Mikey Weinstein from Jersey?” replied a second character identified as Vinnie.
JEB CAMEOS IN COMMITTEE’S NEW TV SPOT FOR JEFF BRANDES IN SD 22 Watch here.
JANET ADKINS UNDER ATTACK IN HD 11
In a mailer reaching voters this week, House District 11 candidate Cord Byrd is pouncing on attempts by outgoing state Sen. Stephen Wise to help a mental health facility owned by the husband of Byrd’s opponent, state Rep. Janet Adkins, reports Matt Dixon of the Florida Times-Union. Mailer here.
POLL NUMBERS IN HD 59
A consultant working for a ECO involved in this GOP primary tells me Joe Wicker is polling at 38%, followed by Ross Spano at 22%, Betty Jo Tompkins at 14%.
TOM GUSTAFSON OFFICIALLY RUNNING IN HD 89
Former Democratic House Speaker Tom Gustafson on Wednesday formally announced his candidacy for House District 89 after his entry was approved by local party officials. Gustafson replaces candidate Pamela Good, who last week withdrew from the race citing family reasons. Gustafson, who served in the House from 1976 to1980, is set to run against Rep. Bill Hager, R-Boca Raton. “Former House Speaker Tom Gustafson willingness to serve means we have a candidate who can hit the ground running, and a candidate who will win this seat,” said Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach.
>>>The United Christians of Florida co-endorsed Aaron Bean and Mike Weinstein in Senate District 4.
Florida Current on HD 12: The Democratic primary for the Senate District 12 seat pits an incumbent lawmaker against a first-time candidate who is married to a term-limited senator.
Sunshine State News on HD 57: Battling for an open seat in the Florida House representing parts of Hillsborough and Manatee counties, businessman Jake Raburn has the edge over his opponent for the Republican nomination and the Democrat in the race
Tampa Tribune on House District 59: Four Republicans have entered the ring for the District 59 state House seat, all with connections to the greater Brandon area.
GAFFEPALOOZA: “Whether at home or abroad, presidential candidates’ so-called gaffes — and the media’s preoccupation with each inartfully phrased or impolitic remark — have defined the 2012 election,” opines the Huffington Post: Gaffes get tweeted, blogged, and reported. Cable pundits declare them game-changers. And rival campaigns amplify them through any means possible. When that’s done, the story becomes whether the campaign gaffed in cleaning up its gaffe.”