Sunshine State News Blogs
“Congresswoman Bachmann was tea party before there was a tea party, and after this year she will be missed in Congress,” Clawson said. “With a victory next Tuesday, we can continue the work she has started to protect our Constitution and restore fiscal integrity to Washington.”
Bachmann herself didn't offer any comments on the endorsement.
Clawson is set to face off against Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, and former Rep. Paige Kreegel in the primary election on Tuesday.
The winner of the primary is likely to win the June 24 special election, as the district is heavily Republican.
The attorney for the woman who accused Florida State University football superstar Jameis Winston of raping her is allegedly calling for the Tallahassee university to charge Winston under the school’s code of conduct policy.
Baine Kerr, a Title IX attorney representing the woman, told USA TODAY Sports he wrote a letter to FSU earlier this month stating his objections to their investigation of the rape and will be calling for Winston to be charged under the school's code of conduct policy.
"The university took the position that since he refused to respond to questions, they could not make any Title IX findings," said Kerr. "We have objected to that as impermissible reason to delay or terminate a Title IX sexual assault investigation because that would permit any charged party to thwart an investigation simply by refusing to answer questions."
Winston has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and has said the sex was consensual.
Earlier this week, the New York Times reported several flaws in the investigation conducted by the Tallahassee Police Department.
“The police did not follow the obvious leads that would have quickly identified the suspect as well as witnesses, one of whom videotaped part of the sexual encounter. After the accuser identified Mr. Winston as her assailant, the police did not even attempt to interview him for nearly two weeks and never obtained his DNA,” wrote Walt Bogdanich in the article.
“Neither Gov. Scott nor any former Florida governor has ever contacted President Gaetz about this issue,” read a statement from Gaetz's office. “Senators unanimously approved the Senate rules that govern bills not heard in Senate committees ... the president will follow the Senate rules."
Gaetz said Thursday he would vote against SB 1400.
Gov. Rick Scott announced Friday that Florida’s private sector created 20,900 jobs over the month in March.
Since December 2010, Florida has added 563,900 private-sector jobs.
According to a press release, Florida’s over-the-year job growth rate in March of 3 percent represents the fastest job growth rate since June 2006.
“March’s job creation number brings more good news for Florida families; this means that more than 20,000 more Floridians will be able to provide for their families," said Scott. "Businesses in the state are continuing to create jobs – a total of 563,900 jobs since December 2010. Our improving economy is evidence that our policies are working and we will continue to work until every Floridian that wants a job can get a job.”
Jesse Panuccio, executive director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, echoed Scott's sentiments.
“Florida’s economic turnaround continued in March, with significant growth in private-sector jobs, high job demand, and an increasing employment reflecting renewed confidence among job seekers," he said. "These positive trends are the result of sound economic policy in Florida.”
February private-sector job creation was revised up, to 34,400 jobs created, the largest one month gain since October 2010.
“Yesterday, newly disclosed emails from former IRS Exempt Organizations head Lois Lerner revealed that Lerner and other IRS officials discussed with the Department of Justice the possibility of using criminal prosecutions against conservative groups targeted by Lerner and the IRS,” DeSantis noted on Thursday. “The idea to use criminal prosecutions to squelch dissent had been proposed at a Senate hearing by Rhode Island U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse in April 2013. Prior to that hearing, the released emails show that Lerner, alluding to conservative-leaning tax-exempt groups, sent an email to her IRS colleagues in which she alerted them to the fact that the hearing would focus on what she called ‘the latest push to shut these down. One IRS prosecution would make an impact and they wouldn’t feel so comfortable doing the stuff.’ IRS officials met with DOJ officials to discuss this possibility.
“It is clear that the Department of Justice has a conflict of interest in the IRS matter,” DeSantis continued. “The DOJ has been conducting an ‘investigation’ under the supervision of a major Obama donor since May 2013, yet no prosecutions have been commenced and the department has leaked word to media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal that no prosecutions will occur. The appointment of a special prosecutor is clearly in order.”
“Americans believe strongly that the country is on the wrong track because of President Obama and Nancy Pelosi’s failed policies, like Obamacare,” said U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore, the chairman of the NRCC. “These impressive Republican candidates that have reached the ‘Contender’ status are exemplary of the new leadership needed in Washington, D.C., to turn our country around and provide a check and balance in Washington.
“I am confident that these candidates will continue to work hard for their communities and bring sound, conservative principles to Congress,” Walden added.
The six other Republicans included as “Contenders” are Lee Zeldin in New York, Ryan Costello in Pennsylvania, Torrey Westrom in Minnesota, Pedro Celis in Washington, Jeff Gorell in California and Dan Debicella in Connecticut.
“Florida provides the ideal location for a world-class aerospace company like Northrop Grumman, and we are thrilled that they have chosen to create jobs in Florida,” Scott said. “Today’s announcement of 400 new jobs in St. Augustine combined with 1,000 announced jobs in Brevard County mean more and more Floridians will have the opportunity to get a job. We must continue to focus on creating an opportunity economy where every Floridian who wants a job can get one.”
Republicans are already asking questions, especially after Bill Hyers’ short stint on the campaign at the end of last year.
“Eric Conrad, a casualty or deserter?” Republican Party of Florida Chairman Lenny Curry asked on Twitter. “Answer anyone?”
"What a 'giant step' forward for the Northeast Florida economy," said Crenshaw. "Dredging of the St. Johns River means more jobs, more trade, and more economic growth for the region; that's why I've stood 100 percent behind this project from day one. We've got a win-win that will grow the economy and create jobs for generations to come."
JaxPort, like other ports on the Atlantic seaboard, is looking to ready for larger vessels which will be hitting the region once the Panama Canal expansion is complete.
“I’m convinced that if we don’t get it done by the August break, the president, who is feeling a lot of pressure from having not done anything on immigration reform, will feel that he has to act through executive action,” Diaz-Balart told the Washington Post. “If he does that, the window for Republicans and Democrats to negotiate on this issue is closed until the next president.”
Diaz-Balart, a prominent backer of immigration reform, told the Washington Post that he believes the issue is not dead in the House yet.
The Georgia Legislature and Gov. Nathan Deal have made Georgia "the first state in the nation to find a safe, legal way to provide CBD oil to children who suffer seizures from severe forms of epilepsy," according to Sue Rusche, president and CEO of National Families in Action.
Some 12 to 15 states -- Florida included -- are being lobbied this year to legalize CBD oil products made in states that legalized marijuana for medical use. But few of these products have been tested for purity; none has been tested in animals to ensure they are safe to administer to humans. Rusche says certified labs that do test marijuana for contaminants are finding mold, mildew, pesticides, E. Coli, and other pathogens in it.
Georgia is the first state to reject the medical pot path and go down the research road. In addition to planned clinical trials, Georgia also may become the first state in the nation to create a statewide expanded access IND program through the Food and Drug Administration to provide a safe, legal pharmaceutical version of CBD. The Georgia bill outlines what that looks like.
"So far we have identified two tracks worthy of pursuit," Deal said. "Our most promising solution involves pairing GRU with a private pharmaceutical company that has developed a purified liquid cannabinoid currently in the FDA testing phase.
“The product contains no THC, which is the component in marijuana that intoxicates a user. The university would create a well-designed trial for children with epileptic disorders, and in order to serve as many children as we can, we would like to pursue a statewide investigational new drug program through a multicenter study that would allow GRU to partner with other research facilities across the state. We have talked with the pharmaceutical company to gauge interest, and the company is willing to continue those initial talks."
Have a look at all of Gov. Deal's remarks about the bill and the future of medical marijuana in Georgia.
Georgia Regents University expressed its excitement about the clinical trials.
“As the state’s academic health center encompassing a 154-bed children’s hospital, we have a responsibility to address the needs of families whose children are suffering," said Georgia Regents University President Ricardo Azziz. "We ... look forward to working with the state to establish clinical trials to research the benefits of treating epilepsy and other neurological conditions with cannabidiol oil.”
National Families in Action, a drug prevention and policy organization, has been teaching the public about the science of addictive drugs and working to prevent their industries from targeting children since it was founded in 1977. The organization has begun a Marijuana Studies Program.
Praising her as a “good friend,” Richter painted Benacquisto as a “dedicated” conservative.
“The Lizbeth I know is a person of integrity, a person of character and a person I trust,” Richter insisted. “Lizbeth is one of the most dedicated conservatives in the Florida Senate and works tirelessly for her constituents to get the job done. Isn’t that the type of person we want to represent us in Washington? I hope that you will seriously consider supporting Lizbeth with your vote on April 22nd. Every vote is extremely important in this special primary.”
Benacquisto takes on businessman Curt Clawson and former state Rep. Paige Kreegel in the Republican primary on Tuesday.
Four years ago it took a newspaper from New York City to show Floridians that U.S. Sugar and Charlie Crist were taking them for a ride on the Everglades land deal. Now the same newspaper -- the New York Times -- is back to tell us Tallahassee law enforcement either deliberately, perhaps even illegally, coddled FSU star athlete Jameis Winston, or the whole incompetent bunch of them embody Barney Fife amok in Mayberry.
Either way, however painful, Walt Bogdanich's stinging report in the Times Wednesday, "A Star Player Accused and a Flawed Rape Investigation," is a must-read. See for yourself, if you haven't already.
All kinds of wrongs were "committed" after a young woman claimed she was raped at a popular Tallahassee bar, Potbelly's, in December 2012 by Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston.
According to the Times, there was virtually no investigation at all, either by the police or the university.
The police didn't follow obvious leads that would have quickly identified the suspect and witnesses, one of whom videotaped part of the sexual encounter. After the accuser identified Winston as her assailant, it took the police two weeks to interview him and they never obtained his DNA sample even though they were asked to do so.
"The detective handling the case waited two months to write his first report and then prematurely suspended his inquiry without informing the accuser," the Times story said. "By the time the prosecutor got the case, important evidence had disappeared, including the video of the sexual act."
Jameis Winston, whose pattern of party behavior is chronicled in the story, won the Heisman Trophy just as the investigation ended.
And here we are, left to lick our wounds. The New York Times made us famous again.
“Thank you to our outstanding educators in Hillsborough County,” Scott said. “I am pleased to award them with more than $8 million, because of their hard work. Florida has a great education system that helps our students by preparing them for success in college and a career. We know that having a well-educated workforce is the best way to bring more jobs to Florida, and that is why, as governor, I have made education a priority.”
Benacquisto is currently running for Florida's 19th Congressional District after former U.S. Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., resigned.
The endorsement read:
"Lizbeth Benacquisto is a proven conservative with an unwavering commitment to the principles of our founders and to the sanctity of life. As the majority leader in the Florida Senate, she has taken on special interests and reined in the scope of government. She has cut taxes, balanced the budget and reduced job-killing regulations every year."
Benacquisto took to Twitter to express her gratitude.
"Honored to have your support!" she tweeted to the PAC.
Amazon is currently building two massive warehouses in Hillsborough and Polk counties, which will require the company to collect sales tax in the Sunshine State.
Amazon has not been collecting sales tax on purchases made in Florida until now.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, a top building official in Hillsborough County said construction on Amazon's 1.1-million-square-foot warehouse in Ruskin is already well under way and will likely start processing orders in time for the Christmas shopping season.
“Jessica Ehrlich was kicked to the curb by Washington Democrats but now that their golden child Alex Sink is out of the race, they are crawling back to Ehrlich with the same failed promises that hurt Sink last month,” said Katie Prill, a spokeswoman for the NRCC. “What Ehrlich still doesn’t understand is that her support for Nancy Pelosi and extreme policies like Obamacare is out-of-touch with Pinellas County families.”
"Gov. Scott’s humble beginnings are reflected in his determined focus to create more jobs and invest in education for all Floridians," said "Rick Scott for Florida" campaign chairman, Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine. "His own life story directly relates to the pursuit of the American dream, a journey which continues to set Florida apart as a leader in job creation throughout the country.”
View the ad below:
“As a legislator, Paige used his experience to make laws affecting health-care services more efficient and economical,” Alberta Kreegel wrote in the mailer. “He always fought to protect life and had a 100 percent rating with the Florida Right to Life organization. Anytime his conscience or the rights of his constituents were in conflict with what the political bosses wanted, he stood by his principles and the interests of his neighbors.”
Kreegel takes on businessman Curt Clawson and Florida Senate Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, in the primary on Tuesday.
SBA will be running robocalls to 45,000 voters in the district, from former Gov. Mike Huckabee, SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser and Penny Nance, the president of Concerned Women for America Political Action Committee.
“The voters of Florida’s 19th District are looking for an articulate and accomplished pro-life leader. State Senator Benacquisto has a record of fighting for the unborn and for women,” said Dannenfelser on Wednesday. “Lizbeth is one of many courageous women stepping up across the country to counter the deceptive ‘war on women’ attacks of the left. We are flexing the political muscle of the pro-life movement to put resources behind these candidates who have already proven themselves as strong defenders of life.”
Rich pointed to an encounter earlier this week between Crist and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera in which the former governor called for a debate with Scott. Noting that Crist continues to refuse to debate her, Rich demanded her shot first. Scott seemed to agree with her, telling the media on Tuesday that Crist should debate Rich and win the Democratic nomination first.
“A little arrogance?” Rich demanded on Tuesday. “Crist tells Lopez-Cantera he's got to debate the lieutenant governor candidate then says ‘Give me Scott!’ Why is he afraid to debate me?”
Rich is running a petition for Crist to debate her.
“I am pleased to announce a strong fundraising quarter as we continue to build momentum, and we are most grateful for the support of our contributors, over half of whom gave under $250, with over 90 percent of all those contributing living in the state of Florida,” Curbelo said on Wednesday. “In addition, half of our contributions came from residents of Congressional District 26.
“We have strong support from our home district and from national conservative leaders such as Governor Jeb Bush and others,” Curbelo added. “We are working every day to share our message of honest representation and ending the scandals and fraud that have plagued our district. We will fight against the irresponsible Garcia-Pelosi-Obama agenda that supports raising taxes by over 1.5 trillion dollars on Americans now, and continues to saddle younger generations with debt.”
“Our tax code now totals more than 73,000 pages,” Rubio noted on Tuesday. “This complicated and broken tax code continues to stand in the way of job creation and is a burden for millions of Americans and small businesses. Currently, our tax code punishes companies for investing profits back into their business – money they could be using to hire more people, to give their workers raises, and to expand their operations. This needs to be fixed. In order for a pro-growth America we need tax reform to simplify and fix the current complicated system. ... As it stands, the tax code has a stifling effect on our economy, but with your help we can elect a conservative majority this November and move forward with real reform.”
Rubio is collecting petitions for tax reform through his Reclaim America PAC.
Pat Andrews, who leads the Florida Eagle Forum, released the following statement on Tuesday:
"Rarely do conservatives in Florida's Congressional District 19 have an opportunity to send a strong leader to Washington. With the United States having a less-than-bright financial future ahead of us, it's more important than ever to choose leaders that have a history of inspiring vision and decisive implementation.
"After vetting all of the candidates and weighing their past history with their goals and performance as leaders, Curt Clawson is the only candidate with true measurable, leadership experience combined with a well-thought-out, executable plan for our country.
"Curt's plan has the elements that conservatives have demanded on both the state and federal level for years, but have seen little action from our elected officials. It includes reforming our corporate tax code to make America competitive; restoring budget discipline; giving flexibility to states for Medicaid; reforming our burdensome regulatory processes; and repealing Obamacare.
"Running a campaign is difficult, but if Curt's running of his campaign with integrity is any indication of how he will conduct himself in Congress, then the choice is crystal clear for Florida Eagle Forum. We enthusiastically endorse Curt Clawson to represent us as Florida's 19th District congressman."
Clawson weighed in with praise for Schafly and Eagle Forum.
"Having the support and recognition of a group so dedicated to the pro-life cause, reducing the size of government and having a strong national defense gives our campaign so much momentum to finish strong,” Clawson said. “I want to thank Phyllis Schlafly and Pat Andrews for their tireless dedication to the conservative movement and the pro-life cause and when elected, we will fight to protect those same values in Congress."
"While I am not running for office in 2014, I will keep an open dialogue with all of you and continue to seek new ways to serve," Sink insisted on Tuesday.
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) quickly moved in to weigh in on the news.
“Washington Democrats can’t even convince their die-hard career politicians to walk the plank this November,” said Katie Prill, a spokeswoman for the NRCC. “It’s obvious that Alex Sink stood zero chance of beating David Jolly this November and her decision not to run only proves that the 2014 midterm elections are going to be extremely rough for Democrats across the country.”
"If elected, I will continue to safeguard the rights of the unborn by way of pro-life policies,” Kreegel said on Tuesday.
Benacquisto unveiled her “A” rating from Florida Right to Life on Monday night.
In the video, Scott talks up his personal story, how he rose from poverty and how his own experiences shaped what he fights for in the political arena, especially job creation. The Scott campaign is already running television ads, including some of which showcase the governor’s personal story.
Scott is a top target for Democrats in November. Despite having spent most of his political life as Republican, former Gov. Charlie Crist is the favorite to win the Democratic nomination to challenge Scott.
The script of the RGA video is as follows:
I don’t know my natural father. My mom got remarried a year or so after I was born. My adoptive father had a sixth-grade education. They struggled for money. I grew up in public housing.
But I lived in America, and I had every opportunity there was.
Thank goodness for a mom that cared and pushed. It doesn’t matter what was going to happen. She was going to put food on the table, and I was going to succeed.
And we grew up in this country. I mean, in America, anything is possible. So I worked. My first job was I delivered TV Guides door-to-door, 50 copies a week. I made 4 cents a copy. First and second grade, something you’d never let your kids do today.
I ran for governor because I care about the future of our state. I care about the future of all of our citizens.
I think about my family. I think about my dad’s face when his car got repossessed. I think about my mom and how hard it was for her to put food on the table. And so I think about those families. If those families can do well in our state, everybody does well. It drives you to, every day, get up and say, “What can I do today that’s going to increase the chance that companies are going to hire more people in Florida?”
Balancing a budget is a lot of work. You don’t make a lot of friends balancing the budget. Almost 3 years as governor and nobody comes to my office and says, “Gosh, I think you should spend less money in an area,” but you’ve got to live within your means. You got to figure out, you’ve got to find efficiencies, you’ve got to find savings, you’ve got to measure all your agencies.
It’s insanity what’s happening in Washington. What new regulation, what new tax, what new attack, what new lawsuit will the federal government throw at Florida that will impact our ability to create more jobs?
Our citizens want jobs. They want to live their dream. The dream is not having government dictate what you get to do. The dream is not having the government tell you what job you’re going to have.
I want our state to be No. 1: the No. 1 place for your family to get a job, the No. 1 place for your children to get a great education. We’re going to have the jobs. We’re going to have the most growth.
My mom and my dad wanted something better for me, and I want people to have the same shot I had.
Republican governors are driving America’s comeback.
Benacquisto showcased her “A” rating from Florida Right to Life for her time in Tallahassee and vowed to continued fighting against abortion.
“As a mom, protecting life is my greatest priority and I am honored to receive an 'A' rating from Florida Right to Life,” Benacquisto noted late on Monday.
The ad aired Sunday on WCTV, a CBS Tallahassee affiliate station.
Crist's employer and large Democrat donor John Morgan said the airing was a mistake and should have been pulled.
"If it ran it was an error by the TV station," said Morgan. "All ads featuring Charlie were taken down the day he announced."
But the RPOF says TV ads being run by Morgan & Morgan featuring Charlie Crist are an unreported in-kind contribution that far exceeds the statutory contribution limit of $3,000 per person.
"It appears as though trial lawyer Charlie Crist continues to receive unreported help from his trial lawyer partners at Morgan & Morgan, but this shouldn’t come as a surprise," said RPOF Executive Director Juston Johnson. "Like the Morgan & Morgan billboards featuring Charlie, these TV ads are a clear violation of the law because, as a declared candidate, they qualify as a reportable contribution. Failing to report the TV ads is a clear breach of the law and a promise to work 'for the people.'"
Crist spokesman Eric Conrad brushed off the accusations, instead choosing to attack Gov. Rick Scott over a deposition in which he invoked the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution 75 times.
"Typical Rick Scott – attacking others -- in this case a small business for making an honest mistake, while he is allowed to plead the Fifth 75 times," said Conrad. "He is the last person who should be lecturing someone else for a mistake – especially one that was thanking law enforcement officers and firefighters for their work.”
Washington is desperate for outside leadership,” Paul said on Monday. “Curt Clawson is an outsider who will bring refreshing ideas to the halls of Congress. Today, I proudly stand with Curt Clawson in his quest to restore fiscal stability and common-sense government. Curt will stand with me in defending the Constitution. I urge the voters of Florida’s 19th Congressional District to send Curt to Washington. Our nation needs new leadership and the first step in the right direction would be electing Curt Clawson.”
"Having the leading voice for freedom, liberty and the United States Constitution in the United States Congress come on board our campaign cannot be overstated," Clawson said. "I am truly grateful for the support of Sen. Paul and if elected will join him in the fight to restore fiscal order in Washington. Simply put, this is the biggest day yet of this campaign.”