Sunshine State News Blogs

Three members of the Florida Cabinet -- Attorney General Pam Bondi, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and CFO Jeff Atwater -- will be taking the “ice bucket challenge” to help raise funds to combat ALS. In recent weeks, the ALS Association has raised more than $13 million, in part due to viral videos of people dumping buckets of ice water on their head, then challenging others to do the same.

The Florida Cabinet members will be taking the challenge on Tuesday at the Old Capitol in Tallahassee to help the Florida chapter of the ALS Association.

“The ALS Association Florida Chapter is the only organization in our state solely dedicated to caring for people with Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” Alissa Gutirrez, a spokeswoman for the Florida chapter of the ALS Association, said. “We hope people will designate the Florida chapter as their ALS charity of choice by going to”
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Gov. Rick Scott will be kicking off a new statewide tour focused on transportation this week, starting the first leg in Jacksonville on Monday.

"Let's Keep Florida Moving" will be focused on Scott's $41 billion, Five-Year Department of Transportation work plan, which is centered on investments to expand a variety of transportation in the Sunshine State, including airports, sea ports, state road networks, and the space industry.

Scott honed in on making Florida a hot spot for tourism and business. 

"In Florida, we are proud to be a worldwide destination for business and tourism," said Scott. "I am committed to keeping Florida moving by creating strategic investment opportunities to expand our state’s transportation system."
The tour will make stops in Daytona, Fort Myers, Miami, Panama City and Tampa. 
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Among Rasmussen Reports' latest surveys comes more bad news for America's ailing newspaper industry -- that is, its newsprint versions: A sizable number of newspaper subscribers say they have dropped their subscriptions in the past five years.

The new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 56 percent of American adults still prefer reading the printed version of the news to reading it online, but that's down from 69 percent five years ago.

One-in-three Americans (33 percent) prefer reading the online version of the news, up from 24 percent in May 2009. Eleven percent are undecided. See the survey question wording here.

The national survey of 1,000 adults nationwide was conducted Aug. 11-12 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percent, with a 95 percent level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research LLC. See methodology.
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On Friday, Gov. Rick Scott said 2,100 new private-sector jobs were created in July. The unemployment rate stayed at 6.2 percent, the same as June.

Scott noted on Friday that more than 620,000 jobs had been created in the private sector since he took over from then-Gov. Charlie Crist at the start of 2011. Despite spending most of his political life as a Republican, Crist is the favorite to win the Democratic primary later this month which will determine who takes on Scott in November.

“Florida’s private sector created more than 2,000 jobs for Florida families in July, bringing total private-sector job creation since December 2010 to 620,300,” Scott said on Friday. “Every new job positively impacts a family, and today’s announcement is more great news for Florida families looking to live the American dream in the Sunshine State. Florida continues to see positive job growth highlighting our economic recovery, so let’s keep working to make sure every Floridian who wants a job can get one.”
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All Aboard Florida is drawing the concern of U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla.

Posey wrote the comptroller general of the United States on Thursday, demanding the Government Accountability Office (GAO) launch a study to see how viable All Aboard Florida’s plan is to connect Orlando to Miami by high-speed rail.

“It is my understanding that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) – an operating entity of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) – will soon issue a determination about providing a loan through the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing program (RRIF) to All Aboard Florida (AAF),” Posey wrote on Thursday. “Serving in the Florida Legislature, and now in Congress, I have consistently opposed taxpayer subsidies for rail initiatives. I am therefore concerned about the potential exposure to taxpayers of all such projects including, but not limited to, the AAF application.

“It is also my understanding that the GAO conducted a review of the Xpress West high-speed rail loan application when it was before the DOT in 2013,” Posey continued. “It was reported that the Xpress West proposal was rejected due to concerns about the viability of the loan following the GAO review. I believe it is well-advised to have similar reviews for all significant loans where taxpayers are on the hook for any potential losses. As such, it is prudent for the GAO to evaluate the specific application by AAF.

“I write to request that the GAO conduct a review of AAF similar to the GAO review conducted for Xpress West, examining the potential risk and cost to taxpayers, the nature of such a loan including possible interest rates that would be appropriate for this particular loan, and whether or not private financing could be sustained for this project,” Posey concluded. “We have a duty to protect taxpayers, and this evaluation will help us uphold that duty.”
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A Florida pastor will be joining a once-and-possible future presidential candidate in a trip to Israel in the days to come.

Pastor Doug Bankson of the Victory Church World Outreach Center in Apopka will be joining religious and social conservatives, including former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., in heading to Israel on Sunday for a three-day trip. Besides preaching in almost every state and around the globe, Bankson has served as president of the Apopka Ministerial Alliance and chaired the Apopka City Chamber of Commerce.

Bankson, Santorum and their group will head to Israel to show American support for that nation during the current crisis in Gaza and to offer prayers for peace. Most of their time will be spent in Jerusalem. They are scheduled to meet with Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the United States.
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Many American voters don't think the president is working harder than they are, and even more voters believe Congress isn't working too hard, either.

According to a new Rasmussen Reports poll, 43 percent of likely U.S. voters say President Barack Obama isn't working harder than they are. Almost the same percentage of voters (42 percent) say the president works harder than they do. 

When it comes to Congress, voters are overwhelmingly convinced Congress isn't working harder than they do. Over three-quarters of likely U.S. voters -- 76 percent -- say they don't believe Congress is working harder than they do. Only 10 percent think the average member of Congress works harder than they do. 

Most voters think Congress members spend a little too much time on vacation -- 70 percent say Congress members spend too much time on vacation. Only 16 percent disagree.

The survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted July 29-30. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence. 
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Former Gov. Jeb Bush, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Associated Builders and Contractors of Florida and the Florida Trucking Association announced on Thursday they opposed Amendment 2, a proposed state Constitution amendment expanding medical marijuana in the Sunshine State.

Bush said on Thursday Amendment 2 would hurt efforts to lure tourists to Florida.

“Florida leaders and citizens have worked for years to make the Sunshine State a world-class location to start or run a business, a family-friendly destination for tourism and a desirable place to raise a family or retire,” said Bush. “Allowing large-scale, marijuana operations to take root across Florida, under the guise of using it for medicinal purposes, runs counter to all of these efforts. I believe it is the right of states to decide this issue, and I strongly urge Floridians to vote against Amendment 2 this November.”

Mark Wilson, the president and CEO of the Florida Chamber, took aim at trial lawyer John Morgan who has been the point man behind efforts to get Amendment 2 on the ballot.

"Normally we focus on creating jobs, improving education and making Florida more competitive, but this is the type of business Florida can do without," said Wilson.  "I find it curious that the largest funder of this push to legalize pot is a personal-injury trial lawyer firm, yet such measures are overwhelmingly opposed by Florida's medical and law enforcement community. Florida voters are smart and when the facts are on the table, I believe they will say no to drugs in Florida."  

Wilson noted the proposed amendment offered immunity to many participants involved in raising, using, selling and transporting medical marijuana, calling it a “red flag.”

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Gov. Rick Scott said on Thursday he was backing sending more than $806 million to six projects to improve transportation across Florida.

 “Our economy is strong and growing,” Scott said. “Because of our growth, we were able to secure more than $10 billion for transportation projects, which is the largest transportation funding ever in Florida history. Today, we’re proud to announce that with this historic funding, we will advance more than $806 million in critical transportation projects across Florida. These projects will enhance our infrastructure to support commerce, decrease commute times and make our roads safer for families.”  

Scott is backing sending $95 million to expand and rebuild SR 30/US 98 in Bay County, $179.5 million to expand I-295/SR 9A around Jacksonville’s Southside, $89.5 million to add lanes to I-75 in Hernando County, $255 million to expand I-95 in Daytona Beach, $32.7 million to add lanes to US 51 in Charlotte County and $155 million to expand SR 821 in Miami-Dade County.
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Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, a potential Republican presidential hopeful in 2016, waded into Florida politics on Thursday, announcing that he was backing three incumbent Republicans currently serving in Congress -- U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart and U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen -- and throwing his support to Miami-Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo who is running against U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla.

Bolton made his endorsements through a PAC and super-PAC which bear his name. So far, those PACs have raised $4.5 million and have more than $3 million in the bank.

As he offered his endorsements on Thursday, 2016 was clearly on Bolton’s mind.

“Going into 2016, the importance of succeeding in Florida can’t be understated,” said Bolton. “I’m committed to helping Florida Republicans win this November so that come 2016 we’re able to create the change America needs.”
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On Wednesday, from his perch on the U.S. Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., called on Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to cool down the rhetoric against Israel. Last month, Erdogan said Israel has "surpassed Hitler in barbarism" with its actions in Gaza.

"(Israelis) have no conscience, no honour, no pride,” Erdogan said. “Those who condemn Hitler day and night have surpassed Hitler in barbarism.”

While Erdogan said Turks should not engage in anti-Semitic activities, two congressmen from Florida -- U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla. -- condemned the remarks at the end of July. The two congressmen co-chair the Congressional Hellenic Israel Alliance.

Rubio followed suit on Wednesday with a letter to Erdogan.

“In response to thousands of rocket attacks on Israel launched by Hamas and other terrorist organizations from Gaza, Israel instituted a naval blockade to prevent items that could be used to support these attacks from entering Gaza by sea,” Rubio wrote. “The intent of the measures is to protect Israel, while still allowing humanitarian aid into Gaza.

“I encourage you to take all appropriate measures to keep these organizations from provoking a confrontation with Israeli forces and violating this blockade,” Rubio added. “A publicity stunt by Turkish organizations in 2010 led to the regrettable loss of life, and it would be irresponsible for your government not to take measures to avoid a similar outcome this time.”

Rubio targeted comments Erdogan made earlier this month.

“I was thus deeply troubled by your comments at a campaign event on August 3rd comparing Israel’s recent actions to Nazi Germany’s genocidal campaign against Jews and other minorities with the statement ‘Just like Hitler, who sought to establish a race free of all faults, Israel is chasing after the same target,’” Rubio wrote. “Such deplorable comments and anti-Israel views have become increasingly common among senior Turkish officials and severely undermine our mutual interest in collaboration to address the common challenges our nations face.”
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The wheels on the bus go round and round as they carry former Gov. Charlie Crist on a three-day statewide tour focused on restoring cuts to Florida's education system. 

Crist kicked off his "Restore the Cuts" tour in Tallahassee on Wednesday, where he will ride around in a school bus, vowing to restore $1.3 billion in public school funding he says was slashed as a result of Gov. Rick Scott. 

"We don’t have a revenue problem," Crist said in Tallahassee. "We have a priority problem. The priority needs to be education."
Crist also attacked the governor for cuts to the Bright Futures scholarship program.

“You know the disappointment that Rick Scott has been,” said Crist. “He’s cut so much from education – $1.3 billion. There's no way you can do that and have a bright future for Florida."

The bus tour will make stops in Jacksonville Wednesday, Orlando and Tampa on Thursday, and will end in Miami on Friday.
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An ad released Wednesday is pitting former governor Charlie Crist against his running mate Annette Taddeo over the trade embargo with Cuba.

In the ad, Crist speaks to a crowd, touting the importance of lifting the trade embargo with Cuba. In contrast, Taddeo says she does not believe Florida should be doing  business with Cuba.

View the ad below:
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Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Adrian Wyllie will be showcasing his new running mate -- businessman Greg Roe, who has spent more than 30 years in the insurance industry -- at campaign stops in Largo on Wednesday and Clearwater on Thursday. Wyllie is spending August touring craft breweries across the Sunshine State.

"Political wisdom would say I should be looking for a person from the right geographical region or a certain demographic," Wyllie said when he announced Roe being added to the ticket on Monday night. "However, I decided to choose the right person to serve the people of Florida instead. Insurance, property, flood and especially health insurance, is going to be vital in the upcoming years and something that will be tasked upon us should we win this election. I am honored to have someone who can address these important issues as my running mate."

"I am proud to stand behind Adrian Wyllie," Roe insisted after being named. "I am honored to join this team and send out a strong message that the people are fed up with the two-party system. We are just getting started."

The Wyllie campaign doubled down on its support of Roe on Wednesday.

"We are excited to have Greg Roe as the lieutenant governor choice,” said Danielle Alexander, Wyllie’s campaign manager, on Wednesday. “I believe he brings a lot to the campaign and we could not be happier with the choices Floridians now have to address the issues facing all of us."
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The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) launched a television commercial on Tuesday taking aim at Gwen Graham, the Democratic candidate challenging U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., in November. The ad attempts to link Graham to Beltway liberals including U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

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“Gwen Graham is trying to deceive voters into thinking she is focused on North Florida,” Katie Prill, a spoksewoman for the NRCC, said on Tuesday. “In reality, Gwen has taken thousands of dollars from Nancy Pelosi and has promised to be complacent in the battle against bad policies like Obamacare. One thing is very clear – Gwen Graham’s liberal politics are not the North Florida way.”

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International law and human rights professor William Schabas, a critic of Israeli leaders, has been named to lead a U.N. committee looking at the current conflict in Gaza. In recent years, Schabas has called for the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israeli leaders like Benjamin Netanyahu and Shimon Peres.

The appointment drew the fire of U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., the chairwoman of the House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, who called out the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for tapping Schabas.

“It’s repulsive that the U.N. Human Rights Council has appointed Schabas to head this investigation,” Ros-Lehtinen said on Tuesday. “There isn’t even a pretense of the desire for a fair and balanced judgment by the UNHRC; the verdict has already been decided before the panel will even convene its first meeting. Schabas has repeatedly called for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be prosecuted for war crimes and is a well-known critic of Israel. Worse, he has failed to denounce Hamas for what it is: a terrorist organization that uses innocent Palestinians as human shields against Israeli strikes, despite Hamas being labeled by the U.S., EU and others as such. The appointment of such an unhinged and one-sided critic of Israel ensures that this so-called inquiry will amount to nothing more than a kangaroo court and another exercise in anti-Israel bashing by the corrupt United Nations.”
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It's only Tuesday, but the Republican Party of Florida's mission this week seems to be firing back at NextGen Climate's latest ads against Gov. Rick Scott.

NextGen Climate, a political committee backed by California billionaire Tom Steyer, released two ads bashing the governor -- one of which criticized Scott for connections to Duke Energy, saying both the governor and the Florida Legislature allowed Duke to bill Floridians for $3.2 billion in higher electric rates to pay for two failed energy plants.  

The party's newest ad, called "Crist's Giveaway," says it was former Gov. Charlie Crist who let the energy plants fail, signing a law to "help Duke [Energy] get billions." The ad then goes on to say Scott stopped Crist's "giveaway" and protected ratepayers under SB 1472, which according to Law 360 attempted to rein in utility companies' access to consumers' pocketbooks. 

"Steyer is propping up Crist’s campaign by flooding Florida’s airwaves with defamation and deception," said RPOF Chair Leslie Dougher. "But Steyer should be blaming Crist – not Gov. Scott – for making it easier for utilities to pick Floridians’ pocketbooks."

"Crist's Giveaway" will be running in the Tampa media market, where the NextGen Climate ad is currently showing.

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The support for Blaise Ingoglia's campaign keeps on coming. Ingoglia's latest endorsement? The Associated Industries of Florida Political Action Committee, which gave him the thumbs up in his bid for state representative in HD 35, which covers most of Hernando County.  

Ingoglia wasn't the only one to be endorsed by AIF at the end of July -- many others snagged its support as well, most of them being Republicans.

All of these candidates have showcased their commitment to the success of our great state in terms of growing our economy, expanding our job base and positioning Florida as the No. 1 state to conduct business," said AIF President and CEO Tom Feeney. "We are pleased to support these candidates and encourage our members and all Florida voters to do the same.”

“AIF is known as ‘The Voice of Florida Business’ because they understand and represent the principles of well-being and free enterprise that encourage economic growth and development -- putting our families back to work," said Ingoglia. "I look forward to working with them to lessen burdensome government regulations that threaten job creation efforts throughout Hernando County and our state."
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The special session is done.

The Florida House gave final approval Monday to a new congressional redistricting plan, preparing to send the map back to Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis. The House voted 71-38 to approve the map, after the Senate voted 25-12 earlier in the day to pass it. The votes quickly ended the special session, called after Lewis last month ruled that a map approved in 2012 violated anti-gerrymandering requirements in the Florida Constitution. Sunshine State News will carry the News Service of Florida's full story.
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Moving to quickly end a special legislative session, the Florida Senate on Monday voted 25-12 to approve a new congressional map, according to the News Service of Florida. The move came after Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis last month ruled that a map approved in 2012 violated anti-gerrymandering requirements in the Florida Constitution.

The Florida House continued to consider the revised map Monday afternoon.

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Associated Builders and Contractors of Florida, the largest commercial construction association in Florida, released its list of 2014 legislative endorsements on Monday.

In a written statement, ABC said, "As the leading voice for the industry, we feel it is our duty to engage in the political and legislative arenas to help drive the critical initiatives that impact our members, their jobs and their families. Therefore, and after conducting candidate screenings and interviews throughout the state, ABC of Florida is now proud to release our complete list of endorsed candidates ..."

Congressional Races:

District 1: Jeff Miller (Primary and General Election)
District 2: Steve Southerland (General Election)
District 3: Ted Yoho (Primary and General Election)
District 4: Ander Crenshaw (Primary and General Election)
District 6: Ron DeSantis (General Election)
District 7: John Mica (Primary and General Election)
District 8: Bill Posey (General Election)
District 10: Daniel Webster (General Election)
District 11: Rich Nugent (General Election)
District 13: David Jolly (General Election)
District 15: Dennis Ross (General Election
District 16: Vern Buchanan (General Election)
District 17: Tom Rooney (General Election)
District 18: Patrick Murphy (General Election)
District 26: Carlos Curbelo (Primary and General Election).

Florida Cabinet

Governor: Rick Scott
Attorney General: Pam Bondi
Chief Financial Officer: Jeff Atwater
Commissioner of Agriculture: Adam Putnam.

State Senate

District 6: John Thrasher (Primary and General Election)
District 10: David Simmons (General Election)
District 16: Thad Altman (Primary and General Election)
District 20: Jack Latvala (Primary and General Election)
District 22: Jeff Brandes (General Election)
District 24: Tom Lee (Primary and General Election)
District 30: Lizbeth Benacquisto (Primary Election)
District 32: Joe Negron (Primary and General Election)
District 34: Ellyn Bogdanoff (General Election)
District 36: Oscar Braynon, II (Primary and General Election).

State House

District 1: Clay Ingram (General Election)
District 2: Mike Hill (General Election)
District 3: Doug Broxson (Primary and General Election)
District 5: Brad Drake (Primary and General Election)
District 6: Jay Trumbull (Primary and General Election)
District 8: Alan Williams (Primary and General Election)
District 9: Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda (Primary Election)
District 10: Elizabeth Porter (General Election)
District 11: Janet Adkins (General Election)
District 12: Lake Ray (General Election)
District 15: Jay Fant (Primary and General Election)
District 16: Charles McBurney (Primary and General Election)
District 17: "Doc" Renuart (General Election)
District 18: Travis Cummings (General Election)
District 21: Keith Perry (General Election)
District 27: David Santiago (General Election)
District 28: Jason Brodeur (Primary and General Election)
District 29: Scott Plakon (General Election)
District 30: Scott Sturgill (Primary and General Election)
District 31: Terri Seefeldt (Primary Election)
District 35: Blaise Ingoglia (General Election)
District 36: Amanda Murphy (General Election)
District 38: Danny Burgess (General Election)
District 39: Neil Combee (General Election)
District 40: Colleen Burton (Primary and General Election)
District 41: John Wood (General Election)
District 42: Mike LaRosa (General Election)
District 44: Eric Eisnaugle (Primary and General Election)
District 50: Tom Goodson (Primary Election)
District 51: Steve Crisafulli (General Election)
District 53: John Tobia (Primary and General Election)
District 54: Debbie Mayfield (General Election)
District 58: Daniel Raulerson (General Election)
District 59: Ross Spano (General Election)
District 63: Shawn Harrison (General Election)
District 64: James Grant (Primary and General Election)
District 65: Chris Sprowls (Primary and General Election)
District 66: Larry Ahern (General Election)
District 67: Chris Latvala (Primary and General Election)
District 68: Bill Young II (Primary and General Election)
District 69: Kathleen Peters (General Election)
District 72: Ray Pilon (General Election)
District 74: Richard DeNapoli (Primary Election)
District 75: Ken Roberson (General Election)
District 76: Ray Rodrigues (General Election)
District 77: Dane Eagle (Primary and General Election)
District 78: Heather Fitzenhagen (General Election)
District 79: Matt Caldwell (Primary Election)
District 81: Kevin Rader (Primary Election)
District 82: MaryLynn Magar (General Election)
District 84: Rob Siedlecki (General Election)
District 88: Bobby Powell (General Election)
District 89: Bill Hager (General Election)
District 93: George Moraitis (General Election)
District 94: Bobby DuBose (Primary Election)
District 95: Hazelle Rogers (General Election)
District 96: Steve Perman (Primary and General Election)
District 100: Ben Sorenson (Primary and General Election)
District 103: Manny Diaz Jr. (General Election)
District 105: Carlos Trujillo (General Election)
District 108: Michael Hepburn (Primary and General Election)
District 110: Jose Oliva (General Election)
District 111: Bryan Avila (General Election)
District 112: Daniel Diaz Leyva (General Election)
District 114: Erik Fresen (General Election)
District 115: Michael Bileca (General Election)
District 116: Jose Felix Diaz (General Election)
District 118: Frank Artiles (General Election)
District 119: Jeanette Nunez (General Election).

 ABC of Florida represents more than 2,000 general and specialty contractor, associate and supplier members throughout the state. 

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Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal will be making a trip to Florida in September to keynote the Republican Party of Florida's annual Victory Dinner, according to a press release.

Jindal, who has served as governor of the Pelican State since 2008, said he was excited to headline the Sept. 13 event, which will be held at Disney’s Grand Floridian in Lake Buena Vista.

“I look forward to standing with my fellow conservative leaders in Florida to share the progress we have made in Louisiana, and highlight the transformation of Florida’s economy under the leadership of Gov. Scott and the Florida Legislature," he said. 

Party Chair Leslie Dougher gave the thumbs up to Jindal. 

"Gov. Jindal encompasses what we, the grassroots, care most about – putting conservative principles into play and getting results," she said.
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As the battle of the attack ads continues in the Florida governor's race, former Gov. Charlie Crist's campaign released a new ad on Monday accusing Gov. Rick Scott of being "too shady for the Sunshine State."

The 30-second ad spot claims Scott has ducked the truth in every job he's ever had, honing in on the governor's work as founder and CEO of Columbia/HCA amid an investigation of Medicare fraud. The ad also attacks Scott over cuts to education, raising property taxes and for "giving massive tax breaks to corporations."

View the ad below:
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A new ad hitting television airwaves this week is firing back at NextGen Climate over a recent ad attacking Gov. Rick Scott for ties to an oil drilling company. 

NextGen Climate, which is backed by liberal billionaire and environmental activist Tom Steyer, attempted to throw mud on Scott over the environment in two separate ads. One of the ads, called "Fountain," says Scott "drank from a fountain of campaign cash" from an oil driller Dan A. Hughes Co., which threatened drinking water for 7 million Floridians. 

The Republican Party of Florida's newest ad, "Fiction," claims Scott held the polluter accountable, with the Department of Environmental Protection fining Dan A. Hughes $25,000 for "unauthorized actions," for using an "enhanced extraction procedure," similar to fracking, without a permit. The ad also says Scott shut down the company's wells. 

"Fiction" also takes a shot at former Gov. Charlie Crist, who has been accused by the party of jet-setting across the state on private planes owned by polluters.

The ad will be running in Fort Myers and the West Palm Beach area, where the "Fountain" ad is currently showing.

View the ad below:
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Attorney General Pam Bondi is asking the 3rd District Court of Appeals to put a hold on ruling on two gay marriage cases until the U.S. Supreme Court can make a ruling on similar cases in other states. 

In a briefing filed with the court late Thursday, Bondi requested a freeze on two cases -- one in Monroe County, the other in Miami-Dade County -- where judges found Florida's 2008 ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.

Requests have been filed in cases from Utah and Oklahoma, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on whether states can define marriage as between a man and a woman under the Constitution. 

"Despite the vigorous policy and legal debates surrounding same-sex marriage, there is little disagreement about this: If the United States Supreme Court holds that states must sanction same-sex marriage, then Florida's contrary laws must fall,'' Bondi wrote. "And if the United States Supreme Court holds that states may choose, then plaintiffs' contrary legal claims must fall, and it would be up to Florida's voters to effect any change. Either way, this appeal would be over, and it would end without consuming any further taxpayer resources and without burdening Florida's judiciary." 

Same-sex marriage has been making headlines in Florida in recent weeks, after a Monroe County judge ruled in July that the state's ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional. Three other judges in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties also ruled the ban is unconstitutional. 
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On Friday, the two committees charged with drawing up new congressional districts in the Florida Legislature voted to support a new map which changes the lines in seven congressional districts in the northern part of the state. The House Select Committee on Redistricting voted on party lines while the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting passed the map unanimously.  

With the special session continuing next week, the Legislature appears set to meet Leon County Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis’ Aug. 15 deadline to draw new maps.

“In response to the rulings issued by Judge Lewis, the House Select Committee on Redistricting has produced and passed a congressional map that we believe addresses the court’s stated concerns,” said Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Lutz, the chairman of the House Select Redistricting Committee. “Our map impacts only seven congressional districts: 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11 and 17. The House’s proposed map significantly improves the overall visual and mathematical compactness of the impacted districts and better follows geographical boundaries where feasible while maintaining the minority communities’ ability to elect a candidate of their choice in District 5, as required by the law.  

“We have a better map today to offer the Florida House for its approval next week,” Corcoran insisted. “I want to thank the committee for their thoughtful work.  If approved, the map will be effective after the 2014 elections. This map completes our drawing duty, and it also protects the integrity of the more than 1 million absentee ballots that have already been mailed to Floridians, including the tens of thousands of ballots sent to our service men and women. While these brave men and women are protecting our freedoms abroad, the Florida House will continue to fight to protect the integrity of their vote here at home. We maintain our strong objection to any attempt to disrupt the election process currently under way and will work to defend the validity of the votes Floridians have already and will cast.”

But the new maps do not satisfy the League of Women Voters who launched the lawsuit. The League of Women Voters teamed up with Common Core stressing their opposition to the maps, specifically how U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown’s, D-Fla., district is mapped out. This fight appears ready to continue even after the Legislature votes on the new maps next week.
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Jim Martin, the chairman of 60 Plus Association, a national conservative seniors group with 800,000 members in the Sunshine State, jabbed Crist over seniors' issues on Friday.

"By his own words, Charlie Crist thinks that seniors losing their doctors under Medicare Advantage, which was slashed by $300 billion to fund Obamacare, is 'great,'” Martin said. “He thinks 300,000 Floridians having their health plans canceled by Florida Blue due to Obamacare is just fine. You know what Florida seniors think is great?  A governor not named Charlie Crist.

“Sending Charlie Crist back to the governor's mansion would be hazardous for Florida seniors,” he added. “Obamacare is causing devastation for seniors who are losing their doctors, losing their Medicare Advantage benefits and seeing their premiums increase – yet Crist, in his own words, thinks all of this is ‘great.’ And after he raised taxes on Florida’s seniors and their families by $2.2 billion, Crist won’t rule out raising taxes again. Governor Scott has lowered the cost-of-living and improved the quality of life for retirees who live in the Sunshine State, and we can’t afford to go back.

"Charlie Crist remains a 'clear and present danger' to Florida seniors if he again comes anywhere near the governor's mansion,” said Martin. “He's proven himself a shameless opportunist willing to switch teams and switch positions to keep his name in the spotlight and his face on TV. He doesn't know the facts about the devastation that Obamacare is causing Florida seniors and he can't tell the truth about his own flip-flopping positions on the issues."
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From his seat on the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla., said on Friday that he backed airstrikes launched against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) forces in northern Iraq.

But Crenshaw criticized President Barack Obama’s handling of ISIL and called for more outreach from the White House about long-range plans in Iraq.

“The president’s decision to authorize targeted military airstrikes in Iraq is appropriate under the current circumstances,” Crenshaw said on Friday. “However, we are once again plagued by a lack of leadership, and no long-term course strategy from President Obama for dealing with the threat that ISIL poses to this region and beyond. He must inform Congress and the American public about every step of this mission and, most importantly, lay out the plan for its completion. My thoughts and prayers are with the U.S. forces who are leading these operations.”
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Two years after he was the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate, former Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico is launching a legal challenge to the Commission on Presidential Debates for excluding him from the debates. Johnson is expected to refile his challenge in Washington, D.C., in the coming days and he continues to work with political reform groups like his Our American Initiative and the Free and Equal Elections Foundation. 

“Polls are showing the majority of Americans are identifying themselves as ‘independents’ and that majority needs to be free to hear from all candidates, especially those candidates that truly represent the new majority,” said Johnson, “I will continue to fight to ensure that liberty demands a place in all presidential debates.”

Johnson has left the door open to running for president as a Libertarian again in 2016.
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U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., is one of the leading Republicans in Congress when it comes to international affairs, from her time leading the House Foreign Affairs Committee and now chairing the House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee. Ros-Lehtinen made the media rounds on Thursday night, appearing on CNN and supporting President Barack Obama authorizing airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) forces in northern Iraq.

Ros-Lehtinen continued that theme on Friday. She released a statement on Friday morning supporting the airstrikes even while she criticized the Obama administration for waiting too long to launch them:

“Conducting military airstrikes against ISIL is a good step toward preventing this brutal terrorist group from expanding its reach in Iraq and possibly into neighboring countries, but this action from the White House is long overdue. For months, the Iraqi government has pleaded with the administration to get engaged in Iraq and provide air support to combat the menacing threat of ISIL that is now endangering Erbil.

“The Kurds have been reliable allies of the U.S. in Iraq, and are outgunned, so they need our support to fight back against ISIL, which continues to threaten the lives of religious minorities as Christian towns are being overrun and Iraqi Christians are being forced to choose between being executed or renouncing their religion and converting to Islam. Just like we should have acted in Syria long ago, millions of people in Iraq are suffering and are looking to the United States for help and we must answer the call to prevent a possible genocide.

“The U.S. must take all appropriate and necessary measures to prevent the threat of ISIL from spilling over to neighboring countries like Jordan and Lebanon that can cause further destabilization in the region and to protect the national security interests of the United States of combating terrorism.”
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