This column is a vehicle for a number of items in a bits-and-pieces, strictly opinion, sometimes irreverent format. Look for "Just Sayin'" to run once a week in this spot. Consider this a pilot.
President Obama endorsed a baker's dozen Democrats running for seats in the Florida Legislature. Good for them. See the list here. But conspicuous by their absence were Rep. Daphne Campbell in Senate District 38 and Sen. Dwight Bullard in Senate District 40.
Surely nobody believes the president could pick any of his 13 choices out of a lineup. Everybody must know this list of down-balloteers reached the White House via the Florida Democratic Party office. With maybe a little help from Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
So let's ask ourselves why Campbell and Bullard didn't make the cut. Here's my best guess, considering Campbell didn't return my phone call and Bullard says he has no idea but hopes it was just "an oversight."
Campbell is Haitian. If you're part of FDP leadership, Haitians are the moderates you want to exterminate. And they just can't seem to cleanse the party of Campbell, who is loudly antiabortion, which upsets progressives no end.
Plus, her life is messy to say the least. Before she ran for office, she operated a chain of group homes with her husband and son, where four clients died under strange circumstances and rodent droppings and dead roaches were found. (She has denied any wrongdoing.) Then there was a waterfall of tax liens filed against the family. It prompted the FDP to ask her to resign her House seat in 2012. Campbell's son Gregory was subsequently convicted of multiple charges of Medicaid fraud in 2013.
Here's what slays the party: Campbell soared to victory in the August primary over five opponents: well-funded first-time candidate Jason Pizzo, former Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Gongorra, teacher Don Festge, businessman Anis Blemur, and former North Miami Mayor Kevin Burns. They plain can't get her voted out. So, OK, the non-endorsement comes as no surprise there.
But Dwight Bullard? Why does Bullard get the shaft? I know the party was miffed because he "told on" Andrew Korge for bribing him to get out of the primary (Korge lost big). But Bullard is a huge Obama loyalist. It's all over his campaign website.
Surely it can't be because he supported Bernie Sanders instead of Hillary Clinton. (Can it, Debbie?) Bullard is in a tossup district. Do the Democrats really want to see Republican Frank Artiles, who is embarassingly outspending Bullard, win the SD 40 seat?
Then they must believe Bullard, a high school teacher, is actually as anti-semitic and pro-terrorism as Artiles paints him in campaign ads blanketing the airwaves. Come on, guys. Dwight Bullard? Pro-terrorism?
In May Bullard took a trip to the Middle East with members of the Dream Defenders, a group affiliated with Black Lives Matter. It was, he had hoped, an opportunity to learn.
But unbeknownst to him, he said -- and I always believed he had no idea until later -- his tour guide was affiliated with the anti-Israel BDS movement, a pro-Palestinian group linked with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Oh, and did I say, the party desperately wanted Ana Rivas Logan, a Republican-turned-Democrat and a Latina who was better at raising money than Bullard, to win in the primary?
For all or any part of that, Senator, get thee to Siberia. No presidential endorsement for you.
The Tax Return Bros
Donald Trump, Patrick Murphy. Two guys with a secret.
Actually, you just know they've got a lot of secrets in common. But the one the Tampa Bay Times exposed Friday is this: Neither wants to release his tax returns.
Funny, that. Because the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate has spent a lot of time and more than $1 million dumping on Trump as a strategy to beat Sen. Marco Rubio. Making the Trump-Rubio connection is about all he's got. But when push comes to shove, Patrick -- not Marco -- is the one cut from the same Donald cloth.
Murphy the hypocrite told the Herald he would spill his tax rate (32 percent), but he wouldn't release his actual returns. And as you know, Trump isn't going to release his until after Nov. 8, if at all.
How Whack Is Our Voting System?
According to the Pew Research Center:
- 24 million voter registrations -- one in eight -- are no longer valid, or are significantly inaccurate.
- More than 1.8 million deceased individuals are still listed as voters.
- Approximately, 2.7 million voters have registered in more than one state.
Meanwhile, researchers estimate at least 51 million eligible U.S. citizens are unregistered, or more than 24 percent of the eligible population.
Yet, we've got flocks of Democrats strutting around Florida like peacocks, clapping themselves on the back for making democracy whole. And so few real lawmakers calling for election reform.
Reach Nancy Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith