Sunshine State News Blogs

Former U.S. Rep. David Rivera, R-Fla., announced on Friday that, with congressional redistricting up in the air, he was ending his bid for the Republican nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., the man who beat him in 2012. Rivera announced he will run for the Florida House in 2016.

“As you may have already heard, yesterday a Florida court outrageously invalidated the state's congressional district map which had been drawn by the Florida Legislature in 2012,” Rivera announced to supporters. “This decision has created great uncertainty as to the final composition of all of Florida's congressional districts, including CD 26 in South Florida, for which I am a candidate. In essence, liberal activist judges are hijacking the reapportionment process and holding congressional candidates, like myself, hostage until the appeals process concludes at the liberal Democrat-dominated Florida Supreme Court (see Bush v. Gore 2000). As a congressional candidate affected by this decision, I will not be held hostage by Florida's liberal activist judges.

"After consulting with state legislative leaders and reapportionment attorneys, and pending further clarification of this court decision, I have decided to suspend campaigning for CD 26 and will launch my candidacy to the Florida State House of Representatives for the 2016 election cycle. There are just too many issues to solve in Florida -- Common Core, Medicaid, economic development and others -- to sit by and wait for unelected judges to decide the fate of congressional districts. As always, I am humbled and grateful for your support of my candidacy. However, while Florida's liberal activist judges may cast uncertainty by hijacking the congressional reapportionment process, I simply will not allow myself to be one of their hostages.”

With Rivera out, Miami-Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo is a strong favorite to win next month’s Republican primary to challenge Garcia.

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After winning two NBA titles and losing two finals in four years for the Miami Heat, LeBron James, the best basketball player in the world, is headed back to the Cleveland Cavaliers where he started his career. James talked to Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated who has the details.

With James out of the mix, the Heat now have to pick up the pieces, including determining what they do with free agent Chris Bosh who has been flirting with joining the Houston Rockets.

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Former state Rep. Carl Domino is taking aim at All Aboard Florida (AAF) as he angles for the Republican nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla. Domino went after Murphy on Friday, trying to link him to AAF.

“Patrick Murphy signed a letter of support for All Aboard Florida (AAF) in October,” Domino insisted on Friday. “And even though he has stated that 100 percent of what he hears in his office from constituents is in opposition to AAF, he still has not withdrawn his support.

“Murphy’s busy writing letters which ‘ask questions’ and posing for photo opportunities to make us think he has taken our concerns to Washington,” Domino added. “I have and will continue to fight against AAF because it’s a bad investment which will adversely impact our quality of life here on the Treasure Coast.  There will be no voice louder than mine fighting to stop wasteful taxpayer-backed loans to All Aboard Florida.”
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U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., reached out across the aisle and teamed up with U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., to sponsor the “Girls Count Act" on Thursday. The bill would carve out from current foreign aid programs to create birth registries in underdeveloped countries. The senators noted that 51 million children across the globe are not registered at birth, with most of them being girls.

“Young boys and girls of all ages deserve to be properly recognized and identified. Failing to register children at birth leaves them vulnerable to human trafficking and exploitation, yet millions of children around the world continue to be denied this basic human right,” said Rubio. “While both boys and girls fail to receive proper identification in their countries, it is young women who are disproportionately affected. These young girls deserve to be recognized, and they deserve to be counted.

“A nationally recognized proof of birth system is critical to establishing key documentation for a child, which ultimately ensures that child can go on to fully participate and contribute to society,” added Rubio. “The Girls Count Act will help pave the way for women to benefit from new opportunities previously denied to them, and is a strong step forward in the fight against human trafficking and forced labor.”

“Every day women and girls around the world fight to improve conditions for their families and communities, often in the face of gross injustices,” Shaheen said. “The world needs this generation and future generations of women and girls to be recognized and have the opportunity to thrive. The bipartisan Girls Count Act will safeguard the basic human rights of girls everywhere and help them attain the success they aspire to and deserve.”
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A former Broward County police officer filed an election-law complaint against Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday, alleging that Scott's campaign violated the law by having on-duty police officers at a campaign event in Tampa earlier this week. 

The complaint cites a Florida law which says it's a misdemeanor for public employees to engage in political activity during the workday, except for elected officials like sheriffs. 

"Rick Scott's political campaign facilitated the violation of (law) by soliciting the assistance of on-duty law enforcement officers -- under the false pretense of security -- only to repeatedly feature them as props in the background of campaign events," Joe Marano, president of the Broward County Police Benevolent Association, wrote in the complaint.

The Monday event was held at a business which specializes in police uniforms and accessories and several police officers were present. The complaint alleges the officers were asked to provide security for the events but did not know they were political.  

“They deserve better than to be used by Rick Scott as props in his political campaign,” Marano said. “They deserve nothing less than his utmost respect.”

When asked about the allegations, Scott spokesperson Greg Blair said:

"Gov. Scott is proud to have the support of Florida’s law enforcement community, including the Florida Police Chiefs Association and 40 Florida sheriffs. This is just another sad distraction from Charlie Crist’s numerous ethical problems, including his broken promise to be transparent by releasing tax returns for both himself and his spouse."

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U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., said on Thursday that immigration reform is dead for 2014. Diaz-Balart is a vocal proponent of immigration reform. While he praised the help he got from the other side of the isle, the Florida Republican took shots at the Democratic leadership and President Barack Obama, saying they did little to advance the issue.

“From 2009-2010, I had been working with a group of bipartisan colleagues to draft immigration reform legislation. Unfortunately, Democratic leadership refused to consider the bill when they had the majority,” Diaz-Balart said. “During the last year and a half, I have been working nonstop with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to draft legislation that would obtain a majority of the Republicans and a number of the Democrats who are willing to put politics aside and get immigration reform done. In particular, I want to thank Luis Gutierrez for all his help, for his willingness, when necessary, to take on Republicans, Democrats, and the president.

“After lots of work and revisions, we finally drafted legislation that could garner the necessary bipartisan support. We learned our lessons from the 1986 amnesty bill and last year’s Senate bill, and did not repeat their mistakes,” Diaz-Balart said before turning his fire toward Obama. “Due to the extraordinary lack of trust in this president, I worked to ensure that the legislation would independently verify and hold this and future presidents accountable for finally securing the borders. The bill is a common-sense solution to illegal immigration that recognizes we are not going to spend tens of billions of dollars to round up and deport millions of undocumented workers who have been here for many years. My solution would require those who came here illegally to earn legal status, earn their right to remain here, and demonstrate their commitment to the United States. It is an efficient and effective approach that is good for the American economy and fair to the people who came here legally.

 “I am grateful for the cooperation, advice, and trust I received from so many of my colleagues, specifically Speaker Boehner and his staff,” Diaz-Balart continued. “I also want to thank Paul Ryan for his guidance, leadership, and friendship, and countless other House Republicans, like my legislative sister Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, for their constructive input on this issue. Despite our best efforts, today I was informed by the Republican leadership that they have no intention to bring this bill to the floor this year. It is disappointing and highly unfortunate, because we have a unique opportunity to secure the borders, fix our broken immigration system, and strengthen our economy.

“This system is not going to fix itself, and delaying a common-sense solution is only going to make matters worse, as is evident by what is going on today with the crisis on the southern border,” Diaz-Balart insisted. “It is highly irresponsible not to deal with the issue. I know it is difficult, especially when you have a president that failed to build the trust of the American people or the U.S. Congress, and who has done little to enforce current law despite his assertions to the contrary. But we were sent here by the American people precisely to tackle difficult issues and not to take the easy way out. By blocking reform, whether it was when Nancy Pelosi was speaker or now, we are in effect abdicating our duty. Particularly when we have a president that is willing to unilaterally act through executive action, that he himself has said is legally circumspect, will not provide a long-term solution to our immigration system, and I believe could even make it worse.

“I hope that in the near future leadership will reconsider and allow my legislation to come to the floor. I for one am not willing to give up and will continue to work until we can finally fix a broken immigration system that everyone recognizes is dysfunctional,” Diaz-Balart said in conclusion. “I want to make it clear that I am ready to proceed at any time.”


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A new poll shows U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., running better in Florida against former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton than two potential Republican presidential candidates from the Sunshine State.

The poll of registered Florida voters from WFLA and Survey USA finds Clinton, the heavy favorite for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, leading Paul within the margin of error. Clinton takes 46 percent while Paul garners 42 percent.

Clinton does much better when matched up against two Florida Republicans in Surevy USA polls from last month. Former Gov. Jeb Bush takes 41 percent but Clinton leads with 47 percent. Clinton routs U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., in his home state, taking 53 percent while the Republican pulls 39 percent.

The poll of 849 registered Florida voters was taken from June 30-July 2 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.4 percent.
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A new poll from WFLA and Survey USA finds Gov. Rick Scott with a small lead over former Gov. Charlie Crist, the favorite in next month’s Democratic primary despite having spent most of his political life as a Republican.

Scott takes 45 percent in the poll of likely voters while Crist takes 43 percent. While 7 percent back other candidates, 5 percent remain undecided. A Survey USA poll released on June 24 had Scott with 43 percent and Crist at 42 percent.

The poll of 558 likely Florida voters was taken from June 30-July 2 and had a margin of error of +/- 4.2 percent.
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Former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre endorsed former Florida Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich for governor on Wednesday. After an underwhelming bid for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination, Ferre crossed party lines to endorse Republican Rick Scott in 2010. Rich is an underdog against former Gov. Charlie Crist in next month’s Democratic primary.

“I’m strongly supporting Nan Rich because she is the candidate with a clear vision for Florida’s future that genuinely puts the needs of people first,” Ferre said. “Her unwavering commitment to improving Florida’s public schools, fighting for social justice, and protecting individual rights, clearly demonstrate her character and priorities. She is exactly the kind of person and leader we need as our governor.”

“I am sincerely honored to have Mayor Ferre’s support and endorsement,” Rich said. “His vision and leadership inspired confidence, stimulated investment, and reshaped the face of Miami. As the first Hispanic mayor of a major American city, he also opened the door of opportunity for all who followed. His experience and insight will be a valuable asset to our campaign.”
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Florida TaxWatch showcased airplane manufacturing in the Sunshine State in a report released on Thursday.

"Florida is a great place to do business, and the state's commitment to investing in aircraft manufacturing is ensuring that Florida's economy continues to benefit from this important industry sector," said Dominic Calabro, the president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch, on Thursday.

The reports shows the industry is set to boom as aviation continues to grow, leading to high paying jobs. The report finds airplane manufacturers currently located in the state are in good position to grow and shows companies can be lured from other states due to a host of factors, including the elimination of the manufacturing sales tax, one of Gov. Rick Scott’s chief priorities last year.

But Jennifer Linares, a research analyst for Florida TaxWatch, warned this opportunity could be threatened if education does not focus more on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

"Expanding the aircraft manufacturing industry helps the state retain STEM talent," said  Linares. "However, the shortage of qualified technical employees could be an impediment to the industry's future growth in Florida."  

 The report can be read here.
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The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) unveiled a new ad on Thursday entitled "The Better Governor," and the ad contrasts Gov. Rick Scott with former Gov. Charlie Crist.

The new ad focuses on the two governors’ records in Tallahassee, honing in on the sharp rise in unemployment under Crist.

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Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi nabbed the endorsement of the Florida State Lodge Fraternal Order of Police on Thursday. 

The Florida State Lodge FOP pointed to Bondi shutting down pill mills, cracking down on human trafficking and investigating Medicaid fraud as some of the reasons it supports Bondi in her bid for re-election.

In a letter to Bondi, Florida State Lodge FOP President James W. Preston wrote:

“Over the last four years we have been honored as you consistently supported our law enforcement profession. Your attendance at the funerals and memorial services for our fallen heroes means a great deal to those dealing with loss. Your genuine compassion, comfort and empathy during the tragic loss of an officer in the line of duty, for the families and officers, is extremely important as you speak for the state of Florida letting them know the state is there for them."

Bondi said it was an honor to receive the Florida State Lodge FOP's endorsement.

“This is truly an honor to have the endorsement of the more than 20,000 active and retired professional law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line each and every day to protect Floridians,” she said. “As Florida’s chief legal officer, and through my Office of Statewide Prosecution, we have collaborated in targeting criminal activities and keeping citizens safe from unscrupulous offenders.”

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According to the state Division of Elections website, state Rep. Travis Hutson -- who represents House District 24 which includes Flagler County and parts of St. Johns and Volusia counties -- filed paperwork this week to seek another term in 2016. The Elkton Republican is running unopposed this year.

Hutson and eight other House incumbents, as well as 12 Senate incumbents, are already planning to run in 2016. Filing the paperwork allows candidates to begin raising money.

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Democratic gubernatorial candidates Charlie Crist and Nan Rich are scheduled to appear this week before a gathering of newspaper editors and executives, but not at the same time.

The Florida Press Association and Florida Society of News Editors will hold a convention Thursday and Friday at The Biltmore in Coral Gables. Crist is scheduled to speak at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, while Rich -- who wanted to debate Crist during this event -- will be speaking at 9 a.m. Friday.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott is not expected to appear at all.
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Most voters strongly believe the debate about global warming isn't over yet and also disagree with the decision by some major news organizations banning comments from those who don't believe global warming is a problem.

According to a new Rasmussen Reports poll, only 20 percent of likely U.S. voters believe the scientific debate about global warming is over, while 63 percent say it's not. Seventeen percent say they aren't sure.

The BBC recently announced a new policy to ban comments from global warming deniers, but the BBC isn't the first organization to do so. The Los Angeles Times has banned comments from those who deny global warming, as well.

Most voters oppose the the decisions of news organizations to ban global warming skeptics. Not even a quarter -- 19 percent -- favor such a ban. Nearly half of voters -- 42 percent -- believe the media make global warming appear to be worse than it actually is, while 22 percent say the media paint an accurate picture of the environmental issue. 

The national survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted July 7-8 by Rasmussen Reports.

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U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a member of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee and a possible Republican presidential hopeful in 2016, called upon President Barack Obama on Wednesday to crack down on the Maduro regime in charge of Venezuela. Rubio wrote Obama, asking him to free the assets of Venezuelan leaders and prohibit them from entering the U.S, due to their continued actions against protesters.  

“Three months ago, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution urging you to impose targeted sanctions, including visa bans and asset freezes, against officials involved in this ongoing repression,” Rubio wrote, before mentioning he had been working with two Democratic senators -- Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Bill Nelson of Florida -- on the matter. “I have been working with Sens. Menendez and Nelson on legislation that would impose such sanctions immediately. I intend to seek Senate passage of this bill in the coming weeks, a version of which the House of Representatives has already passed, to ensure that Congress continues to send a strong message to the Maduro regime.

“I urge you to heed these bipartisan calls from Congress and take action immediately. You already have the ability to begin to make life more difficult for those involved in brutal human rights abuses and corruption,” added Rubio. “By preventing these individuals and their families from traveling to and investing in the United States, you can make clear that those who violate the Venezuelan people's fundamental freedoms will pay a significant price.”
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The Republican Party of Florida filed another ethics complaint against former Gov. Charlie Crist on Wednesday, this time accusing Crist of "cutting legal corners" by avoiding transparency on his personal finances. 

According to an email, the complaint filed by Sarasota GOP chair Joe Gruters outlines:

(1)  Crist misrepresented his financial interests by not reporting details of assets and liabilities reported by the Miami Herald.

(2)  Crist failed to report the full extent of his relationship with The St. Joe Co. on his financial disclosure.

(3)  Crist failed to include secondary sources of income into Charlie Crist LLC, instead listing it is an asset with no explanation of customers served or the sources of his income into the LLC.

See the complaint below.  

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Former U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., noted on Wednesday that former Gov. Sarah Palin, R-Alaska, was calling for the impeachment of President Barack Obama and claimed his efforts to remove the president from the White House were gaining momentum. West, who has left the door open to a political comeback in 2016, called for Obama’s impeachment last month.

“Sarah Palin joined tens of thousands of conservatives when she called for the impeachment of Barack Obama,” West emailed supporters on Wednesday. “This movement is far from over ... it's gaining speed!

“Barack Obama is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors and of brazenly disregarding the Constitution of the United States,” West added. “And now a huge grassroots movement is under way to expose Obama and hold him accountable.”
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U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., who sits on the U.S. Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, pointed to reports from the Office of Inspector General (OIG) about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and which found major flaws with President Barack Obama’s health-care law.

“OIG has reported 2.6 million unresolved inconsistencies in the applications of individuals who signed up for the president's health-care law. This could mean errors in citizenship, income, employment information, or a host of other issues," Bilirakis said on Tuesday. "This is yet another piece of evidence that the ACA was not ready for prime time. Improper subsidy amounts funded by taxpayers may have gone to people that were ineligible. I previously expressed my reservations about the ‘back end’ of, which is responsible for processing this kind of information. It’s obvious my misgivings were warranted.”

Bilirakis noted, back in August, he introduced the “No Taxation Without Verification Act” which would have stopped Obama’s health-care law from imposing fees and taxes until it was proven the website was secure and fully operational.

“I introduced legislation nearly a year ago that would have prevented this,” Bilirakis said. “However, the level of irresponsibility when it comes to the implementation of the president's health-care law by this administration continues. They went live with knowing full well how far it was from completion – chock full of errors. The administration’s malfeasance toward spending taxpayers’ hard-earned money is outrageous. These OIG reports detail the latest example of one of the many serious problems in the president’s health-care law."
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On Tuesday night, U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw, who sits on the House State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, weighed in on President Barack Obama’s request for $4.3 billion to provide humanitarian aid for immigrants crossing the border and for aiding wildfire operations.

Crenshaw did not close the door on supporting Obama’s request, saying the committee should review his proposals. But Crenshaw said the blame for the increase of illegal immigrants should fall on Obama.

“President Obama continues to ignore immigration law and circumvent Congress,” Crenshaw said. “The result: a humanitarian and national security crisis of dire proportions at our Southwestern border. Encouraged by the dangerous incentives and false hopes of the administration’s policies, thousands of children and families are placing themselves in harm’s way to enter our country illegally.

“The Appropriations Committee will review each piece of the emergency funding request to determine the best application of taxpayer dollars to address this dire situation,” Crenshaw added. “As it does, the president must commit himself to working with Congress, not around it, to stem the tide of a crisis that swells with every passing day. In a June 25 letter to him, I joined my colleagues in demanding that he stop bypassing Congress and put an end to his failed policies. I hope he takes us seriously.

“Moreover, the surge at our border is proof that it is not secure, and, in my book, that is the first correction that must be made,” Crenshaw concluded. “As we work to stop illegal immigration, let me be crystal clear that I stand 100 percent opposed to placing those who reside in our country illegally on an automatic path to citizenship.”
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From his perch on the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., called at the end of last week to cut off all foreign aid to Mexico until that nation can handle its side of the immigration problem.

“Mexico should not be accepting American generosity with one hand and covering their eyes to the situation at the border with the other,” Yoho said. “The House of Representatives controls the ‘purse strings’ and if the executive branch refuses to address this crisis, the House of Representatives should act. In addition to us securing our border, Mexico should be securing theirs. While Mexico, as a sovereign nation, is free to act how they want -- their negligence should not be rewarded with our foreign aid. Our unsecured border is a national security situation and we need to act now.”
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In the aftermath of Hobby Lobby’s challenge to the federal government which led to the Supreme Court ruling at the end of last month that business owners can object for religious reasons to being forced to cover birth control due to President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is gathering petitions to protect religious freedom.  

Rubio, who is a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2016, is using his Reclaim America PAC to gather the petitions demanding religious freedom.

“The First Amendment is pretty simple. Congress cannot make laws infringing upon our exercise of religion," Rubio emailed supporters on Tuesday. “It's a cornerstone of our American way of life, despite the left only respecting it when it suits their political purposes. No person should be forced by the government to violate their faith.”
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Gov. Rick Scott continues to put his crime-fighting credentials in order this week. As he tours the state focusing on how Florida has its lowest crime rate in decades, Scott announced the backing of 40 sheriffs from around Florida led by Sheriff Grady Judd of Polk County.

“Crime is at a 43-year low in Florida because Gov. Scott works with and believes in law enforcement,” Grady said on Tuesday. “He knows the importance of keeping our families, our children and our job creators safe. That is why I and many of my colleagues support Rick Scott, our governor."
The “Sheriffs for Scott” so far includes the following sheriffs:

Mike Adkinson – Walton

Larry Ashley – Okaloosa

Susan Benton – Highlands

Rick Beseler – Clay

Chris Blair – Marion

Gary Borders – Lake

Tom Brown – Holmes

Don Eslinger – Seminole

Bill Farmer – Sumter

David Gee – Hillsborough

Robert Gualtieri – Pinellas

Wendell Hall – Santa Rosa

Jeff Hardy – Putnam

Mike Harrison – Gulf

Mark Hunter - Columbia

Wayne Ivey – Brevard

Ben Johnson – Volusia

Tom Knight – Sarasota

Arnold Lanier – Hardee

Bill Leeper – Nassau

Deryl Loar – Indian River

Paul May – Okeechobee

Bobby McCallum – Levy

Frank McKeithen – Bay

David Morgan – Escambia

Al Nienhuis – Hernando

Chris Nocco – Pasco

Bill Prummell Jr. – Charlotte

Kevin Rambosk – Collier

John Rutherford – Duval

Mike Scott – Lee

David Shoar – St. Johns

Gordon Smith – Bradford

William Snyder – Martin

Brad Steube – Manatee

Ben Stewart – Madison

Steve Whidden – Hendry

Stuart Whiddon – Glades

Brad Whitehead – Union.
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Women on the Move's Leslie Wimes will sit down at 7 p.m. Tuesday (tonight) with Jim Greer, the former chairman of The Republican Party of Florida, and Peter Golenbock, author who wrote Greer's story.

The interview will be presented live on "Let's Talk Live,"

The book, "The Chairman," is the story of Greer's tenure with the Republican Party, and the betrayal he alleges by former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. Crist currently is running again for governor of Florida, this time as a Democrat.

Greer became very close to Charlie Crist, who he feels betrayed him by lying about a fundraising company that Crist had approved. In his book Greer details the rise of Marco Rubio, as well as the tea party. The book documents backroom deals, sex, drugs, and lots of spending.

In promoting the broadcast Wimes says, "Learn about the inner circle of the Republican Party of Florida, as well as Charlie Crist, from the man who was right in the center of it all."

Greer was arrested June 2, 2010, after being indicted on six felony charges: organized scheme to defraud, money laundering, and four counts of grand theft. Prosecutors alleged that Greer, while chair of the Florida GOP, schemed to take more than $100,000 from the party through a fundraising company he created, Victory Strategies LLC.

Greer was officially released July 5. Wimes' interview will be Greer's first given live and on-air since the release.

Call in to speak with the show host at (347) 857-2102.

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The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) launched a new video ad on Tuesday which offers a response to one from former Gov. Charlie Crist unveiled on Monday. Despite spending most of his political life as a Republican, Crist is the favorite for the Democratic nomination to challenge Gov. Rick Scott.

The new ad counters Crist’s claimed that “we saved the jobs of 20,000 teachers” by noting “3,000 teachers lost their jobs under Crist.” The ad also questions Crist’s record on property taxes, school funding and raising the minimum wage.

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With former Gov. Charlie Crist, the favorite for the Democratic nomination to challenge Gov. Rick Scott in November, calling for raising the minimum wage, Republicans pushed back against him on Tuesday.

Earlier this week, Crist’s campaign launched a television ad in which the former governor says he would raise the state's minimum wage if elected.

Scott’s team sent out Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera on Tuesday to hit Crist not only on the minimum wage, but the economy as well.

“Charlie Crist must have a bad case of amnesia,” Lopez-Cantera said. “While he claims to be a champion of raising the minimum wage today, it was Crist who voted against it before he became governor. What’s worse was Crist’s neglect of our economy that led to 832,000 Floridians seeing their wage drop to $0.00."
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The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) unveiled its third and last round of “Young Guns” on Tuesday. Launched by U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., in the 2008 election cycle, the NRCC classifies “Young Guns” as top contenders to defeat incumbent Democrats or pick up open congressional seats.

The latest round of “Young Guns” does not include any additional Republicans from Florida, meaning Miami-Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo, who is running for the GOP nod to take on U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., is the only “Young Gun” in the Sunshine State. That’s good news for U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., a freshman in a competitive district who has six Republican primary foes.

The latest “Young Guns” are French Hill and Bruce Westerman in Arizona; Rod Blum, Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks and David Young in Iowa; Ryan Zinke in Montana; Lee Zeldin, Nan Hayworth, Elise Stefanik and John Katko in New York; and Will Hurd in Texas.

“Candidates that reach ‘Young Gun’ status have met a series of rigorous goals that will put them in position to win on Election Day,” said U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., the chairman of the NRCC. “Our job as a committee is to help elect Republicans to office that will serve as a check and balance on the Obama administration. These 11 candidates will fight to stop the harmful consequences of Obamacare, grow the economy, and get Washington’s spending under control. As the November elections approach, I am confident that these candidates will continue to work hard for their communities and bring common-sense principles to Congress.”

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The Florida Police Chiefs Association (FPCA) endorsed Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi for a second term on Tuesday, pointing to her record on public safety, fights against human trafficking, efforts against drugs and leading efforts to crack down on pill mills.  

“Attorney General Pam Bondi has always demonstrated her commitment to law enforcement and the safety of our citizens,” said Jupiter Police Chief Frank Kitzerow, the president of the FPCA. “We look forward to her continued leadership and support.”

The FPCA is the fourth largest state Police Chiefs Association in the country and is composed of 750 of the state's top law enforcement executives.

"Based on her record, Attorney General Pam Bondi is the clear choice for re-election as Florida's top law enforcement officer," said Amy Mercer, the executive director of the FPCA. "The Florida Police Chiefs are proud to support her."
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One of Florida Senate President Don Gaetz’s, R-Destin, top staffers will be joining the Florida Medical Association (FMA). On Tuesday,  FMA Executive Vice President Timothy Stapleton announced that Chris Clark, who has been a staffer for Gaetz for eight years rising to chief of staff, will start as senior vice president of public affairs for the FMA on July 21. Clark also worked as an aide to former Gov. Jeb Bush.

"To say that we are excited about adding Chris to our team would be an understatement," said Stapleton. "Chris is one of the most respected and well-liked people in Tallahassee.

"It is rare to find someone who has a sophisticated understanding of the political process as well as in-depth knowledge of public policy," added Stapleton. "Chris is one of the few people who has mastered both politics and policy.

"Chris has over 16 years of experience working in both the executive and legislative branches of Florida government," Stapleton said in conclusion. "We look forward to bringing his expertise in governmental affairs to the FMA where he will help us achieve our goal of making Florida the best place in the country for physicians to practice medicine."
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Florida Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, the chairman of Gov. Rick Scott's re-election committee, came out swinging at former Gov. Crist on Monday. Crist, the favorite for the Democratic nomination despite spending most of his political life with the GOP, released his first television ad on Monday.

"It's fitting that Charlie Crist's first campaign ad is called 'Sunshine' because he only wants to be around during good times,” Thrasher said, noting Crist did not seek a second term but instead ran for the U.S. Senate. “When times were tough here, Charlie instituted tax increases and teacher layoffs. Then he ran away. We need four more years of Gov. Scott's steadfast leadership and job creation. The sun has set on Good Time Charlie's time in elected office."
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