Former Massachusetts Gov. and current GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced he was adding to his list of endorsements by Florida lawmakers today. In all, Romney added 24 lawmakers today — two state senators and 22 House Republicans.
“They are champions for the taxpayer, fighting for the middle class that has been hit so hard by President Obama’s failed economic policies,” Romney said in a press release announcing the endorsements. “Their hard work in Tallahassee will help put many Floridians back to work. I’m excited to work with them to bring my message of reduced spending and fiscal restraint to Washington.”
Romney already had the support of 12 Florida legislators — six from each chamber — including the next three men scheduled to be speakers of the House. Here’s the list of the new endorsements released by Romney’s office:
- State Senator Nancy Detert, R-Venice
- State Senator Garrett Richter, R-Naples
- State Representative Doug Broxson, R-Tiger Point
- State Representative Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island
- State Representative Marti Coley, R-Marianna
- State Representative Fred Costello, R-Ormond Beach
- State Representative Jose Diaz, R-Miami
- State Representative Jim Frishe, R-St. Petersburg
- State Representative Eduardo “Eddy” Gonzalez, R-Hialeah
- State Representative Ana Rivas Logan, R-Miami
- State Representative Charles McBurney, R-Jacksonville
- State Representative Larry Metz, R-Yalaha
- State Representative Peter Nehr, R-Palm Harbor
- State Representative Bryan Nelson, R-Apopka
- State Representative Jeanette Nunez, R-Miami
- State Representative Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes
- State Representative Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples
- State Representative Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City
- State Representative Ray Pilon, R-Sarasota
- State Representative Stephen Precourt, R-Orlando
- State Representative Lake Ray, R-Jacksonville
- State Representative Patrick Rooney, R-West Palm Beach
- State Representative John Tobia, R-Melbourne
- State Representative Mike Weinstein, R-Jacksonville
A mysterious Florida group with a strange – and broad – mix of interests is getting attention in Washington for setting up what may be the first corporate Super PAC though a national group that watches money and politics says the group’s filing appears to have several problems.
A few campaign finance watchers, and the Washington Post, noticed earlier this month when the group appeared to become the first corporate Super PAC. Those are the new political committees – officially known as “independent-expenditure only committees” – that can raise unlimited corporate and union money to do advocacy that isn’t directly coordinated with candidates. The groups were made possible by a couple of recent court decisions.
The new Florida Super PAC was formed by something called Deep Sea Burial, which is affiliated with another group called American Phoenix. The groups’ president, Michael Benjamin, was quoted in the Washington Post last week saying that the PAC plans to put as much as $5 million into state and federal elections. The campaign finance watchdog group the Center for Responsive Politics notes in its Opensecrets.org blog today that there are several possible problems with the group’s filing, raising the possibility it may not be legally allowed to sponsor a Super PAC. But even more intriguing is the group’s apparent list of interests. Today, the American Phoenix website simply says it wants to give “power back to the people” and “end corporate rule.” And the website for Deep Sea Burial is about just that – “carbon neutral burial” at sea. But an earlier version of the site, according to Opensecrets, also said its aims were banning circumcision, eliminating red light cameras, banning absentee voting and to “classify the killing of Sikhs in Pakistan in 1947 as a genocide” and overturning the North American Free Trade Agreement. And in an earlier interview with the Sunlight Foundation, Benjamin said the group advocates for legalization of drugs and prostitution, declaring Islam as a hostile political party and requiring homeowners associations to be put to a vote every five years.
ABC News has Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus saying it is certain that Florida will not be forgiven for holding its early Republican primary and jacking up the whole calendar.
“There is no coming back. There is no kumbaya that’s going to happen. They’re going to lose half of their delegates,” Priebus says on the video that’s linked to from the ABC page.
Daytona Beach News-Journal reports today on some real-world consequences from the new election law that makes it harder to register to vote: “The teacher who heads up New Smyrna Beach High School’s student government association could face thousands of dollars in fines. Her transgression? Helping students register….”
Florida Republican Congressman Vern Buchanan, a member of the House Ways & Means Committee, has filed a bill that could lead to big tax savings for NASCAR racetracks.
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune also reports that Buchanan has received contributions from officials with Daytona Beach-based International Speedway Corp. Here is a link to the Herald-Tribune story.
Civil rights legend William Stetson Kennedy went to a St. Johns River Water Management District meeting in 2009 to voice his opposition to a proposed water treatment plant.
But Kennedy was denied an opportunity to speak. That has spurred a legal fight — now at the 5th District Court of Appeal — about the public’s right to speak at public meetings. Kennedy died earlier this year, but the dispute could eventually go to the Florida Supreme Court.
Here is a link to a Daytona Beach News-Journal story about the issue.
Former Florida Congressman Mark Foley resigned five years ago in a scandal about sexually explicit Internet messages.
But in a story about the campaign funds of former congressmen, The Hill reports that Foley still has $1.2 million in his account. Here is a link to the The Hill story.
Three Florida residents were nominated by President Obama for various White House appointments, all of which need Senate confirmation. The White House sent to the Hill the nomination of Alfredo J. “Freddy” Balsera, to be a Member of the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy for a term expiring July 1, 2014. Balsera is founder and managing partner of Balsera Communications in Coral Gables. Wendy M. Spencer was nominated to be Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service. Spencer has been CEO of the Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service, which administers Florida’s AmeriCorps Programs, among other things. She has also served as director of the Florida State Park Service. Also, the White House sent the Senate the name of Robert E. Whitehead, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service from Florida, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Togolese Republic.
Morning political read
There’s a new presidential poll out on the presidential race in Florida from Poughkeepsie, N.Y.-based Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.
From National Journal’s Hotline On Call:
“Florida holds its primary ten days after South Carolina, and the NBC News-Marist poll shows that Cain and Romney are — at this moment — leading the rest of the field by a significant margin. Cain, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, is at 32 percent, leading the former Massachusetts governor by just a point. Perry is back at eight percent, followed by Paul and Gingrich at six percent. Eleven percent of Sunshine State primary voters are undecided.
In Florida, which will award 29 electoral votes to its winner, Obama has just a two-point lead on Romney, 45 percent to 43 percent, among registered voters. He posts larger leads on Cain (six percent) and Perry (eight percent).”
The Marist poll was done Oct. 10-12 and surveyed 2,225 registered voters. The margin of error was plus or minus 2.1 percent.
ATWATER BACKING ROMNEY: The St. Petersburg Times’ Adam Smith reports this morning that Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater is supporting Mitt Romney in the GOP presidential primary.
“From his time working in business, Mitt Romney understands that our country can’t continue spending more than we take in,” Atwater said. “As governor of Massachusetts, he balanced the budget with a Democratic legislature and without raising taxes. He will offer the critical leadership our country needs in the White House. I am proud to support Mitt in his campaign.”
BUCHANAN PROBE AGAIN
An investigation into campaign fundraising for U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan won’t go away. Now, the Department of Justice is investigating whether the Sarasota Republican directed a former business partner at a Jacksonville car dealership to have workers make campaign contributions and then paid them back. Buchanan was just recently cleared by the Federal Election Commission, which looked into the same thing. Buchanan’s campaign said it is confident he will again be cleared.
U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw is one of four congressmen who took a trip to Africa earlier this year that’s under scrutiny by Roll Call.
Debbie does deep South
Or more politely, how will DWS play in Mississippi