Posts Tagged ‘Gwen Graham’

Report: Gwen Graham transfers $250K to state political committee

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Former Rep. Gwen Graham appears to be laying the framework for a 2018 gubernatorial bid.
POLITICO Florida reported Tuesday that Graham moved $250,000 from her congressional account, Graham for Congress, to Our Florida, a state political committee created on Feb. 2. State records show the money was given to Our Florida on Feb. 3.
Records show the committee’s chairwoman is Stephanie Toothaker, an attorney with Tripp Scott. According to POLITICO Florida, she served as special counsel for former governor and Sen. Bob Graham, the former congresswoman’s father.
The Tallahassee Democrat announced she would not run for re-election after one-term in Congress after her seat was redrawn to favor Republicans. She’s long been listed as one of several likely Democratic gubernatorial candidates, along with Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and attorney John Morgan.
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum has already announced his run. So has Chris King, an Orlando area housing investor.
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Bob Buckhorn says post Donald Trump, he’s not sure what the American people are looking for

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

Bob Buckhorn says his decision not to pursue a run for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2018 was mainly predicated on two factors – the fact that he did not want to be away as his 15-year-old daughter spends her last few years at home, and the fact that he loves being Mayor of Tampa more than he could imagine running for statewide office for the next 18 months.
But lurking below is his realization that what he would be selling may not be what Florida voters were interested in buying next year.
“I would have been running on the fact that I was qualified, that I had managed large institutions, that we had a track record of accomplishments, that we were not particularly partisan, but I don’t know if that really matters anymore,” the mayor told reporters who gathered at City Hall for a press conference at 9 a.m. on Thursday.”I don’t know what the American public is looking for in their elected leadership. It is a disconcerting time in our country, and for those of us who aspire to lead, it’s the most unusual time that I’ve seen in thirty years.”
Buckhorn was referring of course, to the electoral earthquake that resulted in Donald Trump winning the presidency last fall over the woman he campaigned hard for in Florida (and even outside of the state), Hillary Clinton. 
Although the mayor’s decision today was expected, his trajectory about being a candidate went through an evolution in the past few years.
Based on his successful leadership in leading Tampa out of the Great Recession of the last decade as well as his outsized personality, Buckhorn has been prominently listed as part of a bench of Democratic candidates for statewide office for several years now. That speculation went into overdrive after he created his own political action committee (One Florida) in December of

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Tampa officials reacts to Bob Buckhorn’s decision not to run for Governor

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

Bob Buckhorn’s decision not to run for Governor is eliciting plenty of reaction in Tampa. Many people say they are not surprised Buckhorn has chosen not to pursue a path to the top political job in Florida.
“Am I the only one who felt he wasn’t heading in that direction?” asked City Council woman Yolie Capin.
“I truly believe that he made the right decision, because he has not demonstrated over the past six months that he had a keen interest in running for governor,” said Councilman Frank Reddick.
Alluding to the fact that he has done little over the past year to travel around the state to get to know Democrats in way that potential candidates like Gwen Graham and Philip Levine have, Reddick said,”I think his chances of winning would have been very, very slim. So I think he did the right thing to wait this out.”
“While I absolutely believe that the State of Florida needs a course correction and a new direction, the timing for me and my family would be a challenge,” the Mayor said in his statement issued out shortly after 5 a.m. Thursday. “As the father of two daughters who are 15 and 11, the all consuming task of running for Governor would cause me to miss the milestones in their lives that I could never get back.”
“Although I’m not surprised, I’m a little sad that we won’t have a representative from Tampa running for Governor,” said Councilman Mike Suarez. “I would have loved to have seen him go out and talk about the vision that he’s been able to put together in Tampa for the rest of the state.”
“I think that Mayor Buckhorn should be commended for putting the interests of his family and the City of Tampa first,” said Councilman Harry Cohen. “Being Mayor is more than a full time job and the continued success of much of what is

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Gwen Graham denounces new travel ban

Monday, March 6th, 2017

Former Democratic U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham condemned President Donald Trump’s second attempt at a travel ban in a Monday afternoon Facebook post.
“Everyone who cares about America’s safety and security should oppose this latest Trump attempt at a travel ban,” she said. “And everyone who cares about America’s safety and security should call on Donald Trump to finally start listening to intelligence and military experts like the the ones who briefed me when I served on the House Armed Services Committee.”
Graham added that the revised executive order, issued Monday, “won’t make America safer or more secure, but a better-informed president sure would.”
The new travel ban is largely the same as the original ban issued about a month ago, though immigrants from Iraq are no longer barred from entering the country in the new ban, cutting the number of countries down to six, all predominantly Muslim. The new order also removed a provision that explicitly protected religious minorities.
Graham’s opinion echoes a statement put out earlier in the day by U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist as well as the opinion of Florida voters, who disapprove of the ban by a 51-44 margin.
Graham held Florida’s 2nd Congressional District from 2015 until the beginning of this year, but opted not to run for re-election after the district was redrawn to favor Republicans.
The former lawmaker announced last year that she was thinking about running for governor in 2018, a position her father, former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, held for two terms.
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Email Insights: Adam Putnam political committee brings in more than $2M in February

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

The political committee backing Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam says it raised more than $2 million in February, bring total contributions to more than $9 million.
In an email  to supporters from Justin Hollis, the chairman of Florida Grown, said the committee raised more than $2.25 million in February 2017. Hollis said that one-month fundraising haul brought total contributions to the committee, which is expected to fuel Putnam’s 2018 campaign, to more than $9.4 million.
“Support for Adam’s Florida Grown PC is not only evident through fundraising, however, it’s also seen on social media platforms,” wrote Hollis. “More than 170,000 people follow Adam on Facebook, while Phil Levine has just 44,000, Bob Buckhorn has just 17,000, Gwen Graham has just 13,000 followers and the newly announced gubernatorial candidate from the Capital City Andrew Gillum has just under 17,000.”
Gillum formally announced his 2018 bid Wednesday; while Levine and Graham have both indicated they are mulling a bid. Buckhorn is also believed to be considering a run.
Putnam is expected to run in 2018. House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Sen. Jack Latvala are believed to be considering a run.
Hollis went on to say that behind the scenes, the Florida Grown team is “working hard, traveling the state and building relationships.”
 
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Jack Latvala raises nearly $1M in February

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Sen. Jack Latvala’s political committee had one of its strongest fundraising period to date, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in February.
Florida Leadership Committee, Latvala’s political committee, raised at least $870,083 during the one-month fundraising period, according to contribution data posted to the committee’s website. That number is expected to rise to more than $1 million when final numbers are calculated and reported to the state later this month.
That one-month fundraising haul boosts total contributions to the committee to more than $7.7 million.
Top contributors during February included FCCI Services, Altria Client Services, The Voice of Florida Business PAC, Mednax Inc., LEMA Construction & Developers, Broadview Realty, Equestrian Sport Productions, Costa Nursery Farms, and Southeast QSR.
The big fundraising month comes as rumors have been circulating that Latvala is mulling a 2018 gubernatorial bid. The Clearwater Republican can’t run for re-election in 2018 because of term limits, but earlier this month told the Tampa Bay Times he considering a run for governor.
A prolific fundraiser, the February numbers mark one of the biggest fundraising period the committee has reported since 2013. State records show the committee raised $487,625 in February 2015, the next largest haul posted on the state’s campaign finance website.
Latvala is one of several Republicans believed to be considering a run in 2018. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Richard Corcoran are often mentioned as possible contenders.
On the Democratic side, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum made it official this week, announcing he plans to run for governor. State records show he filed his paperwork Tuesday, and he formally announced his run Wednesday. Gwen Graham, Philip Levine and John Morgan are also considering a run.
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Philip Levine invited to testify in Senate hearing

Monday, February 27th, 2017

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine has been invited to testify at a hearing held by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
In a letter dated Feb. 24, committee chair and South Dakota Republican Sen. John Thune invited Levine to testify in the hearing, titled “Connecting America: Improving Access to Infrastructure for Communities Across the Country.”
Thune said the hearing would focus on the infrastructure needs of communities across the country, and that the committee is looking for testimony “on the policies required to help move people, goods and information safely and efficiently.”
The hearing is set for 10 a.m. Wednesday.
During his tenure as mayor, Levine has overseen the rollout of a free trolley service for Alton Road and West Avenue residents affected by road construction, and is exploring constructing a light rail that would connect Miami Beach to the mainland.
Levine, a Democrat, is eyeing a run for governor in 2018. Though he has not yet made an official announcement he did launch a new political committee and also hired U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist’s former campaign manager.
If he were to enter the fray, he would likely have to square off against former congresswoman Gwen Graham, attorney John Morgan and, possibly, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum in the Democratic primary.
 
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Philip Levine launches political committee, hires Matthew Van Name

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine appears to be inching closer to a 2018 gubernatorial bid, launching a political committee earlier this month and hiring staffers to help coordinate a statewide tour.
Levine launched All About Florida earlier this month. State records show the Miami Beach political committee filed its statement of organization on Feb. 10.
Levine has hired Matthew Van Name to work for the political committee. Van Name recently served as U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist’s campaign manager and was formerly the Florida political director of the Service Employees International Union.
The news of Van Name’s hiring comes just one day before Levine is schedule to deliver remarks at the annual Cornerstone Award Breakfast sponsored by the Central Florida Urban League. Levine is expected to discuss his vision for Florida’s future.
Often mentioned as a 2018 contender, the rumor mill picked up in January when he announced he would not seek another term as Miami Beach mayor. In video, the Democrat said he looked forward to figuring out ways to “best to serve my community and my state; how to make Florida a 21st-century leader in the world economy.”
Around the same time, Christian Ulvert, one of Levine’s advisers, said the mayor would begin traveling the state to “listen to Floridians on how best to serve the state he loves.”
He is expected to make an announcement this spring about “his plans for continued public service.”
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‘Not that he’s running for anything’: Andrew Gillum visits Jacksonville

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum drove east on I-10 for a hastily arranged a Jacksonville roundtable event on Wednesday.
But, as an organizer said, it’s “not that he’s running for anything.”
Of course not.
And Gillum echoed that point.
“I ain’t here to make news today,” Gillum said, about “what comes next.”
Of course not.
Why would anything come next?
****
In all seriousness though, Gillum is traveling like a candidate. Walking like a candidate. And talking like a candidate.
But he’s not a candidate.
And when we asked the 38-year-old Democrat, one who was first elected to office soon after her graduated from FAMU (Go Rattlers!), if he had a timetable for deciding whether or not to throw his hat into a ring that could include Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, and former Tallahassee Rep. Gwen Graham, he said he had “no clue” about when or if he would decide to run.
Gillum has been linked to other bigger-stage candidacies before: there was talk of him getting into the 2016 primary race against Corrine Brown in Florida’s 5th Congressional District, but nothing came of it.
If Gillum is to get into the race for Florida Governor, though, he hinted during his remarks Wednesday to a few dozen Jacksonville Young Democrats what his timetable might be.
Gillum discussed an “18 month view of engagement,” one that would be central to his strategy of going beyond supervoters to reach those voters who may have participated in one out of the last eight election.
We’ve seen this before on the national level.
Former President Barack Obama brought Hope and Change to a set of those voters in 2008.
Current President Donald Trump ran up margins with “silent majority” blue-collar white voters with his own change persona, expanding the voter universe even as Trump’s Democratic, Green, and Libertarian opponents were unable to make their own cases

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John Morgan had a different kind of stump speech for Tallahassee

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

Orlando trial lawyer and possible gubernatorial candidate John Morgan was a study in highs and lows Thursday as he spoke to Tallahassee’s Capital Tiger Bay Club.
In wide-ranging remarks, Morgan – who said he still hasn’t decided on a 2018 run – pinballed between self-deprecating fat jokes and curse-word spiked anecdotes, and more serious musings about social good and the nature of God.
“There is more right about America than wrong,” he said at one point. “And there is more right about you than wrong. And there is more good about all of you, when we get to know each other, than bad.
“My politics is like my religion; I’m not the most religious guy,” he went on. “I do believe in God, I do pray to God … but I don’t ever pray to the God with a big long beard up in the clouds. The God that I pray to, the God that I talk to, lives in you, and lives in you, and lives in you. That’s where God is, that’s what I was told.”
Indeed, it seemed the only thing the 60-year-old Morgan did not touch on was the perfect ratio of Jack to Coke.
Morgan, a champion of Florida’s medical cannabis movement whose face is on ubiquitous billboards, TV ads and bus placards across the state, announced he was thinking about a run for governor late last year. He hasn’t even decided under which party.
Those expecting surprises from the maverick counselor were disappointed: Morgan repeated many themes he’s sounded recently, including the need to raise the minimum wage, ending the war on drugs and questioning what he called a “war on teachers.”
“Do you know what they make?” he asked. “They don’t make (scratch). And they work like crazy. But, all of a sudden, they’re the enemy?”
The real enemies, Morgan said, are charter school proponents

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Bob Graham: daughter Gwen Graham hasn’t told him her plans yet

Friday, January 13th, 2017

Like much of the rest of Florida, former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham said he’s waiting to hear what his daughter former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham will decide about running for governor.
The younger Graham has been talking about it for months, and even told FloridaPolitics.com that she wants to run for governor of Florida in the 2018 election, a job her father held while she was in junior high. But she also said she would not make that decision until after she left office as a member of the U.S. Congress. She’s also dealing with the health of her husband Steve Hurm, who is being treated for prostate cancer.
Her last day in Congress was last week.
“She’s only been out of office for a few days. And she’s thinking about what to do. She’ll let her friends and I hope parents know when she makes the decision,” the former senator said told FloridaPolitics during a stop in Orlando Friday. “She hasn’t closed the book yet.”
Regardless of when she does, the elder Graham expressed strong interest in the 2018 gubernatorial election cycle, particularly because of the issue of protecting Florida’s natural resources – a passion he and his daughter have shared. He said he’s been very concerned about what recent administrations.
“Over the last few years we’ve had a very distinct orientation towards the role of government in lives of Floridians. I’ve been particularly concerned about the role in protecting the natural resources that distinguish Florida,” he said.People are going to essentially have a referendum on the question of is this the way we want it to be permanently, or are we going to go back to a government we had at the end of the 20th century? That will be a very significant and with long-duration impacts, that decision Floridians will make.”
The post

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Neal Dunn nails one-handed catch, makes New Year’s resolution for D.C.

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

While most New Year’s resolutions revolve around eating better or getting healthy, newly elected Republican Congressman Neal Dunn seeks to make some more far-reaching changes.
“Hitting the gym is nice and all,” Dunn, a Panama City orthopedic surgeon, says in introducing a 30-second Facebook video posted Friday. “But my New Year’s resolution is to be the strongest conservative voice for you in Congress.”
“Well it’s that time year again … and everybody’s making their New Year’s resolutions … Hitting the gym … or eating healthy,” he says, each punctuated by a barbell pump and a perfectly executed one-handed apple catch, shown in slow motion.
Dunn, who will take the place of Gwen Graham in Florida’s 2nd Congressional District this week, then lays out his conservative priorities for once he officially becomes a member of Capitol Hill: “I’m going to be protecting the Second Amendment. I will appeal Obamacare. I will stand up for veterans.”
“I may not hit all of the CrossFit sessions with Speaker [Paul] Ryan,” he adds, “I will be a conservative voice for you in Washington.”
Dunn won his race for the CD 2 by about 67 percent of the vote against Democrat Walt Dartland. The North Florida District came out of redistricting with a more Republican lean, forcing Democratic incumbent Graham to decline a bid for re-election. She will instead be a likely candidate for governor in 2018.
The 115th Congress is scheduled to convene Tuesday, where new members, including Dunn, will be sworn in.
 
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Infamous dates: The moments that shaped Florida politics in 2016

Friday, December 30th, 2016

Everyone expected Florida to play an important role in politics this year.
And why wouldn’t they? Presidential hopefuls hailed from here; the state’s electoral votes were coveted; and its Senate race could have determined control of the U.S. Senate.
But just like many predictions in 2016, some of the prophecies for Florida’s outsized role on the national stage fell flat. Many believed a Sunshine state politico would be a presidential nominee (not quite right) or that the election would hinge on its 29 electoral votes (close but no cigar). And that much anticipated battle for the U.S. Senate? It fizzled out before the first vote was even cast.
Here are the dates that really mattered in Florida politics this year. And some of them might just surprise you.
Jan. 20 — Florida Senate says it won’t appeal redistricting decision — A years-long battle over the state’s political lines came to an end in January, when Senate leadership announced it planned to let the court-ordered maps go into effect. The Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald reported the four-year legal battle cost Florida taxpayers more than $11 million. The new maps threw a wrench in the 2016 election cycle, with all 40 of Florida’s state Senate seats on the ballots. While many believed the new maps could boost Democrats chances in 2016, that didn’t quite pan out.
Feb. 20 — Jeb Bush ends 2016 presidential bid —  All signs pointed to Jeb Bush being the front-runner for the GOP nomination. The son and brother of two presidents, the former Florida governor racked up a massive war chest and plenty of big-name endorsements. But Bush couldn’t make headway in a crowded field of Republican hopefuls and was often on the receiving end of then-candidate Donald Trump’s attacks. After a sixth place finish in Iowa and a fourth place finish in New

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Adam Putnam political committee brings in more than $2.3 million in 2016

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam raised more than $2 million in 2016, boosting his war chest ahead of a likely 2018 gubernatorial bid.
State records show Florida Grown, Putnam’s political committee, raised more than $2.3 million through Nov. 30. The committee has raised more than $6.3 million since February 2015, according to state campaign finance records.
Records show Florida Grown spent nearly $1.4 million in 2016, including at least $240,000 for political consulting and $51,450 for advertising and advertising design work.
Putnam is one of several Republicans pondering a 2018 gubernatorial bid. While he hasn’t formally announced his plans for 2018, many consider Putnam to be the man-to-beat in what will likely be a crowded Republican field.
Former House Speaker Will Weatherford announced on Dec. 22 he decided against a 2018 bid, saying his role in the 2018 gubernatorial election “should be as a private citizen and not as a candidate.”
“My focus right now is on raising my family, living out my faith, and growing my family’s business,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to supporting Republican candidates that share my conservative convictions and can keep Florida headed in the right direction.”
But Weatherford is far from the only Republican considering hoping in the race. House Speaker Richard Corcoran is believed to be considering a run, and a recent Gravis Marketing poll conducted for the Orlando Political Observer tested how Attorney General Pam Bondi, CFO Jeff Atwater and former Rep. David Jolly would fare on the ballot.
The field is expected to be just as crowded on the Democratic side. Former Rep. Gwen Graham, the daughter of former governor and Sen. Bob Graham; John Morgan, an Orlando trial attorney and top Democratic donor; Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine; Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn; and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer are all considering a run.
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Adam Putnam political committee brings in more than $2.3 million in 2016

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam raised more than $2 million in 2016, boosting his war chest ahead of a likely 2018 gubernatorial bid.
State records show Florida Grown, Putnam’s political committee, raised more than $2.3 million through Nov. 30. The committee has raised more than $6.3 million since February 2015, according to state campaign finance records.
Records show Florida Grown spent nearly $1.4 million in 2016, including at least $240,000 for political consulting and $51,450 for advertising and advertising design work.
Putnam is one of several Republicans pondering a 2018 gubernatorial bid. While he hasn’t formally announced his plans for 2018, many consider Putnam to be the man-to-beat in what will likely be a crowded Republican field.
Former House Speaker Will Weatherford announced on Dec. 22 he decided against a 2018 bid, saying his role in the 2018 gubernatorial election “should be as a private citizen and not as a candidate.”
“My focus right now is on raising my family, living out my faith, and growing my family’s business,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to supporting Republican candidates that share my conservative convictions and can keep Florida headed in the right direction.”
But Weatherford is far from the only Republican considering hoping in the race. House Speaker Richard Corcoran is believed to be considering a run, and a recent Gravis Marketing poll conducted for the Orlando Political Observer tested how Attorney General Pam Bondi, CFO Jeff Atwater and former Rep. David Jolly would fare on the ballot.
The field is expected to be just as crowded on the Democratic side. Former Rep. Gwen Graham, the daughter of former governor and Sen. Bob Graham; John Morgan, an Orlando trial attorney and top Democratic donor; Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine; Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn; and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer are all considering a run.
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Adam Putnam political committee brings in more than $2.3 million in 2016

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam raised more than $2 million in 2016, boosting his war chest ahead of a likely 2018 gubernatorial bid.
State records show Florida Grown, Putnam’s political committee, raised more than $2.3 million through Nov. 30. The committee has raised more than $6.3 million since February 2015, according to state campaign finance records.
Records show Florida Grown spent nearly $1.4 million in 2016, including at least $240,000 for political consulting and $51,450 for advertising and advertising design work.
Putnam is one of several Republicans pondering a 2018 gubernatorial bid. While he hasn’t formally announced his plans for 2018, many consider Putnam to be the man-to-beat in what will likely be a crowded Republican field.
Former House Speaker Will Weatherford announced on Dec. 22 he decided against a 2018 bid, saying his role in the 2018 gubernatorial election “should be as a private citizen and not as a candidate.”
“My focus right now is on raising my family, living out my faith, and growing my family’s business,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to supporting Republican candidates that share my conservative convictions and can keep Florida headed in the right direction.”
But Weatherford is far from the only Republican considering hoping in the race. House Speaker Richard Corcoran is believed to be considering a run, and a recent Gravis Marketing poll conducted for the Orlando Political Observer tested how Attorney General Pam Bondi, CFO Jeff Atwater and former Rep. David Jolly would fare on the ballot.
The field is expected to be just as crowded on the Democratic side. Former Rep. Gwen Graham, the daughter of former governor and Sen. Bob Graham; John Morgan, an Orlando trial attorney and top Democratic donor; Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine; Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn; and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer are all considering a run.
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Will Weatherford opts out of 2018 gubernatorial bid

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

Will Weatherford is taking a pass on 2018.
The former House Speaker said Thursday he won’t run for governor in two years, saying his role in the 2018 gubernatorial election “should be as a private citizen and not as a candidate.”
“My focus right now is on raising my family, living out my faith, and growing my family’s business,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to supporting Republican candidates that share my conservative convictions and can keep Florida headed in the right direction.”
First elected to the Florida House in 2006, Weatherford quickly rose to a leadership. He was selected to serve as House Speaker for the 2012-14 legislative session, during which time he was one of the youngest Speakers in the country.
He used his time in office to advocate for education reform, lower taxes and free-market health care. And in 2014, he led the charge to push through legislation that allowed children of immigrants in the country illegally to pay in-state tuition rates at state universities.
Weatherford left the public sector at the end of his term in 2014, choosing to spend more time with his growing family. He and his wife, Courtney, have four children — Ella Kate, Molly, Madelyn, and William, who was born in September 2014.
But almost as soon as he left office, the chatter began about his next step. He was often mentioned as a potential 2018 contender, and earlier this year indicated he was considering a run.
“I tell people I’m not running towards it, but I’m not running away from it,” he told the Tampa Bay Times in May. “I’m really focused on our company and our business. My guess is sometime after the election I’ll have to make a decision internally.”
Weatherford is the managing partner of Weatherford Partners, a venture capital and consulting firm he founded

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Will Weatherford opts out of 2018 gubernatorial bid

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

Will Weatherford is taking a pass on 2018.
The former House Speaker said Thursday he won’t run for governor in two years, saying his role in the 2018 gubernatorial election “should be as a private citizen and not as a candidate.”
“My focus right now is on raising my family, living out my faith, and growing my family’s business,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to supporting Republican candidates that share my conservative convictions and can keep Florida headed in the right direction.”
First elected to the Florida House in 2006, Weatherford quickly rose to a leadership. He was selected to serve as House Speaker for the 2012-14 legislative session, during which time he was one of the youngest Speakers in the country.
He used his time in office to advocate for education reform, lower taxes and free-market health care. And in 2014, he led the charge to push through legislation that allowed children of immigrants in the country illegally to pay in-state tuition rates at state universities.
Weatherford left the public sector at the end of his term in 2014, choosing to spend more time with his growing family. He and his wife, Courtney, have four children — Ella Kate, Molly, Madelyn, and William, who was born in September 2014.
But almost as soon as he left office, the chatter began about his next step. He was often mentioned as a potential 2018 contender, and earlier this year indicated he was considering a run.
“I tell people I’m not running towards it, but I’m not running away from it,” he told the Tampa Bay Times in May. “I’m really focused on our company and our business. My guess is sometime after the election I’ll have to make a decision internally.”
Weatherford is the managing partner of Weatherford Partners, a venture capital and consulting firm he founded

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Will Weatherford’s decision enhances, not removes, future options

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

I think Will Weatherford’s just-announced decision not to run for governor in 2018 merely delays the inevitable. I believe he will be Florida’s governor eventually, and that will be a good thing.
Weatherford, the Land O’Lakes Republican, is a smart, articulate, center-right conservative in the Jeb Bush tradition. He has a strong legislative resume, including a turn as House Speaker. At age 37, he also is young enough that he can afford to wait eight years, which is another way of saying “Merry Christmas, Adam Putnam.”
The sea certainly does seem to be parting among Republicans for Putnam to make his move on the governor’s mansion. Florida CFO Jeff Atwater has shown no appetite for the job. Attorney General Pam Bondi is more likely targeted for a job in Washington.
Weatherford would have been a formidable challenger, but says his top concern right now is family.
He has four children – the oldest is 8, the youngest is 2. Last year he and his brothers Drew and Sam launched Weatherford Partners, a venture capital group, and serves as managing partner. Tellingly, he did not fall into the Republican conga line in the presidential race. He said he did not vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.
His decision to sit out the governor’s race this time removes a lot of drama, for sure. Weatherford and Putnam are pals, but so were Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio and we saw how that went.
If Weatherford had gotten into the race, it could have gotten bloody for Republicans. Having two candidates as strong and well-known as Putnam and Weatherford could have split the party, but what this does is increase the likelihood of a Putnam coronation for the nomination.
It allows Putnam to stay low-key for the next year or so, stockpiling cash and support while waiting for the

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Husband’s cancer is a factor in Gwen Graham’s decision to run for governor

Friday, December 16th, 2016

Democratic U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham says she wants to run for governor, and she plans to run for governor. But there’s one very important factor that’s weighing on her decision: her husband has cancer.
“Every part of me wants to run for governor, that’s what I feel passionate about, that’s what I know I need to do for the state of Florida, but things happen in life that could take me off that path. I hope not,” Graham said Wednesday evening while conducting her last “work day” as a congresswoman — helping sell Christmas trees at an outdoor stand.
The work days were a signature of her father Bob Graham‘s time as Florida governor and a U.S. senator. Like her father, she spends time experiencing different jobs as a way to reach out to constituents and voters.
She decided not to seek a second term in Congress after the Florida Supreme Court ordered new congressional districts be drawn so that don’t favor incumbents or political parties. Graham’s district became far more Republican and she decided to explore a 2018 run for governor rather than risk re-election.
She sounded a lot like a candidate when talking with reporters outside the Christmas tree stand, saying she plans to campaign in all 67 counties and discussing her campaign strategy. But she said she’s waiting to see how treatment progresses on her husband Steve Hurm‘s prostate cancer.
“He absolutely wants me to run. He’s very supportive of that and I couldn’t do it without him by my side,” she said. “I wouldn’t do it without him by my side.”
Republican Gov. Rick Scott is leaving office in 2019 due to term limits. Among other Democrats believed to be considering a run are Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and trial lawyer John Morgan. Republican Agriculture Commissioner Adam

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Gwen Graham shifts Christmas Trees, offers health advice to men

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

Gwen Graham spent her last workday as a congresswoman at a Christmas tree stand in Tallahassee, helping customers select trees to take home — and reflecting on her time in Washington and plans to run for governor.
“Are you that Gwen?” one customer asked.
She was, engaging in a campaign tactic that propelled her father, Bob Graham into the governor’s office in 1978 and later the U.S. Senate, and helped send his daughter to Washington.
“It’s a real opportunity to know people on a different level than you might if they just came to talk to you in your office or met you in Costco or something,” Graham said.
Underlining her point, a man wearing a UPS polo shirt showed up to wish Graham well. She’d worked with him slinging packages him last Christmas, Graham said.
As for her future, Graham said she fully intends to seek the governorship but that the timing of her announcement would depend on the health of her husband, Steve Hurm, a Tallahassee lawyer. He’s due at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa Wednesday for evaluation of Stage IV prostate cancer.
“Every part of me wants to run for governor,” Graham told reporters. “It’s what I know I need to do for the state of Florida. But things happen in life that might take me off that path. I hope not.”
Hurm has been encouraging her to campaign. “I wouldn’t do it without him by my side,” she said.
Presuming Graham does run, she’ll make campaigning her day job until Election Day on Nov. 6, 2018, she said. She plans to keep her existing team together, including Julia Woodward, her chief of staff and campaign manager during her run for Congress.
Of leaving Congress after a single term (having been redistricted into an overwhelmingly Republican seat), she said the experience was “bittersweet.”
“The opportunity in Washington to work

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Andrew Gillum is “real deal” for governor, supporters say

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

The push to draft Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum to run for governor has picked up two more supporters.
Mayor Lauren Poe of Gainesville and Mayor Eric Jones of West Park hopped on the bandwagon Thursday.
Gillum, a 37-year-old Democrat, has been the capital’s mayor since 2014. He first was a city commissioner, the youngest person ever elected to that body.
“As mayors from across the state of Florida, we know the importance of having a governor who understands the needs of our cities,” Poe and Jones, both Democrats, said in a joint statement. “We believe that Mayor Andrew Gillum’s nearly 14 years of local government experience will be a huge asset as the next governor of our state.
“We have admired Andrew’s innovative, inspired and forward-looking leadership,” they said. “He created a jobs program to help young people find quality work, and he has developed unique ways to make it easier for entrepreneurs to start businesses.
“Under his leadership, Tallahassee was named one of the top cities nationwide to receive designation as a TechHire community by President Obama’s White House, allowing residents to train for the jobs of tomorrow’s economy,” the mayors added. “In short, Mayor Andrew Gillum is the real deal.”
The jockeying for the 2018 governor’s race already has begun; current GOP Gov. Rick Scott is term-limited.
On the Democratic side, outgoing Congresswoman Gwen Graham, also of Tallahassee, has announced she is considering running. Other names mentioned include Democratic mayors Bob Buckhorn of Tampa and Philip Levine of Miami Beach.
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam so far is the most likely Republican candidate to announce a run for 2018.
Gillum’s star has been rising steadily, especially after disclosures that his name was on a short list to be running mate to then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
He also flirted with running for the newly redrawn, Democrat-heavy 5th Congressional District that stretches from Jacksonville to Gainesville.

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Email Insights: Republican Governors Association takes aim at Gwen Graham

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

The 2018 gubernatorial race has officially begun — even though none of the likely candidates have filed paperwork to run.
In an email Thursday, the Republican Governors Association blasted outgoing Rep. Gwen Graham, one of several Democrats considering a 2018 run. The association said Graham’s office hasn’t responded to Freedom of Information Act requests made by the Republican Governors Association.
According to documents provided by the Republican Governors Association, the organization requested all documents related to Graham Companies, real estate and development projects in Florida, and the “American Dream Project” in Miami. The request was made in October; and in an email Thursday, the RGA said the documents would “give voters valuable insight into how she conducts her congressional office.”
“When it comes to transparency, Gwen Graham says one thing, but does another. Graham says she believes that Florida families deserve full transparency, but as her actions have demonstrated, she only believes in full transparency until it could impact her quest for political power,” said Jon Thompson, the director of communications for the Republican Governors Association, in a statement. “Graham should immediately release her congressional records so that Florida voters know exactly how she was using her influence as a Washington politician to benefit her political ambitions.”
Graham has resigned from the board and said Thursday she has no involvement in the project mentioned in the FOIA request.
“As the RGA probably already knows, I voluntarily resigned from the company’s board when I was elected to Congress, and I have no involvement with this project,” she said in a statement. “We are 23 months away from the Governor’s election in Florida, and there will be plenty of time for the RGA to engage in this petty nonsense and partisan attacks. For the rest of 2016, I’m focused on finishing the job I was elected to

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Mitch Perry Report for 11.18.16 — John Morgan for the people?

Friday, November 18th, 2016

What the hell do you have to lose?
That was, of course, Donald Trump‘s rather crude appeal to black voters in our last national nightmare of a campaign that mercifully concluded 10 days ago.
But that line could be one offered to Florida Democrats, in the wake of the movement to get John Morgan to run for governor in 2018. And the Orlando-based attorney, major Democratic Party fundraiser and grandaddy of medical marijuana released a statement Thursday indicating he’s not dismissing the idea out of hand.
“Before I go down this road any further I need a lot of time to think about it. There are obvious drawbacks and hurdles,” he admitted. “But the initial response in the form of phone calls, emails, and social media postings has been overwhelming. It is humbling.”
No doubt.
Morgan went on to say that unlike any other serious candidate, he doesn’t need to begin raising money to build up this statewide name ID. As he inimitably put it: “Politicians have to sing for their supper. Not me.”
The “for the people” populist says he he’l be jetting off to Maui and St. Bart’s “for the winter with my family” before he decided on deciding anything anytime soon.
Some populist, eh? Well, though there is only one Trump, one of the shibboleths that he may have shattered is that people can be persuaded a wealthy candidate can speak directly to their hearts and minds, and not be hypocritical in doing so.
Personally, I’m hoping that Gwen Graham, Bob Buckhorn, and Philip Levine all compete against Morgan for the 2018 nomination, and may the best person win.
Lord knows it would be interesting …
In other news …
Politics is still all local, and it ain’t over yet. Tampa City Council District 7 candidates Jim Davison and Luis Viera shared endorsement announcements.
Now’s also the time where people who want to be local or state

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For the Governor? John Morgan says he has ‘much to think about’ before making decision

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

John Morgan isn’t closing the door on a 2018 gubernatorial bid.
Morgan said he has been overwhelmed by calls for him to run for governor in 2018, but said he needs “a lot of time to think about it” before going down that road.
“I greatly appreciate the outpouring of support and love this week,” he wrote in a lengthy post on Medium. “But I have much to think about and do before I jump into a decision of this magnitude.”
The push to draft Morgan, an Orlando trial attorney, to run for governor began earlier this week. In an email to United for Care supporters earlier this week, Ben Pollara, the campaign manager and a Miami-based political consultant, encouraged Floridians encourage Morgan to run.
“I don’t care whether he runs as a Democrat, Republican, Communist or Klingon, I want John Morgan to be Florida’s next Governor. I want John Morgan to be MY next Governor,” said Pollara in the email. “Tell John: We need you in Tallahassee. We need a Governor who is truly, For The People.”
Morgan said he has a “pretty clear vision of what Florida’s next governor should do,” and outlined a series of issues — including decriminalizing marijuana and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour — he’d like to see tackled. He also said he’d like to see the positions of lieutenant governor and agriculture commissioner abolished.
And Morgan said there’s no rush for him to jump in the race. While other candidate might need to jump in the race early to raise money and build name recognition, Morgan is well-known throughout the state and would be able to “largely self-fund any campaign.”
“These campaigns begin too early and drag on too long,” he wrote. “I could start in 2018 with plenty of time to make my case to The People of

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Mitch Perry Report for 11.17.16 – Will there be a Democrat ready to challenge Nancy Pelosi?

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

If it were up to Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic House Caucus would be voting for their leadership later today, where she would win another term as House Minority Leader, since there is no opposition to her leadership role.
Not yet, anyway.
In an ominous note for the 76-year-old Representative from San Francisco’s Pacific Heights, dozens of rank-and-file lawmakers at a closed-door meeting earlier this week called on her to delay leadership elections for a couple of weeks.
Although their chances to retake the House last week were always slim, the Democrats did underperform in House races, and the question now is – can the opposition get behind one candidate by the time they do sit down to vote on leadership on November 30?
As of now, only Ohio Representative Tim Ryan from outside of working-class Youngstown has emerged. “Who is the leader that can go into those Southern states, who is the leader that can go into the Midwestern states and begin to pull those voters back in our corner?” Ryan told the Wall Street Journal. ho hasn’t officially decided to run. “A guy like me—it doesn’t have to be me—a guy like me could go into the Southern states, and we need someone who can go into every congressional district.”
There are also reports that New York Representative Joe Crowley is also interested in running against Pelosi.
The last time Pelosi was as vulnerable was in the aftermath of the 2010 midterms, when the Democrats were “shellacked” in the words of Barack Obama.
Working in Pelosi’s favor is her formidable reputation as a fundraiser. She has raised a reported $568 million for fellow Democrats since taking over as House Democratic leader in 2002. Representing San Francisco is literally a turnoff for the same Democrats who worry that the party has become a party of professionals and not the working class. The

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Joe Henderson: Facing many hurdles, Bob Buckhorn could make a good governor

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

The rebirth of downtown Tampa brought inevitable speculation that Mayor Bob Buckhorn might parlay it into a shot at the governor’s mansion in 2018. The job obviously has appeal for someone like Buckhorn, who likes a big stage and challenge.
Asking him to tip his hand about a possible run, though, has proved to be a necessary but ultimately fruitless endeavor.
As he told Mitch Perry of FloridaPolitics.com Wednesday, “Like a lot of people who are contemplating the future, you have to sort of sift through the carnage of last Tuesday and see what the landscape is, see whether or not there’s a path for victory for Democrats there, whether I’m the guy that can carry that torch, that I can inspire people to follow my lead.”
He then added, “ultimately it’s gotta come down to whether in my gut whether this is something that I want to do.”
Oh, I think a big part of him wants to do it. I also believe Democrats have a path to victory in the race to succeed Rick Scott. Whether Buckhorn can lead his party down this road and win is another question, though.
I like Buckhorn. I like his style. I like what he has done as Tampa’s mayor. I like his determination. I have known him for a long time, dating to his days on the Tampa City Council in the 1990s. I think he would make a good governor.
Whether any of that matters won’t be decided for a while and Buckhorn has a lot of hurdles to overcome, starting with his own party. U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham from Tallahassee has all but declared her intention to run, and high-profile attorney John Morgan might get into the race as well.
Graham is the daughter of one of Florida’s legendary politicians, former Governor and U.S. Senator Bob

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Gwen Graham still not satisfied after receiving DEP records regarding Mosaic sinkhole issue

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

Tallahassee Democratic Representative Gwen Graham is speaking out critically about the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, after she reviewed public records regarding the massive sinkhole that developed at Mosaic’s New Wales in Polk County in late August.
“Unless there are records that were not produced as required by law, the disclosures show an alarming lack of communication among state regulators about a threat to the health and safety of Florida families and our environment,” said Graham in a statement. “I am very concerned that we had a watchdog agency asleep at the wheel.”
In late August, a 45-foot wide, 300-foot deep sinkhole opened up at Mosaic’s New Wales plant in Polk County, emptying 215 million gallons of contaminated water into the Floridan Aquifer. It was stunning news when it was released to general public – weeks after the incident occurred.
Since that time, Graham, a potential 2018 gubernatorial candidate, has persisted in demanding that the DEP and the governor’s office turn over all electronic communication relating to the toxic sinkhole. After weeks of delay, she is now in possession of those records, but says they don’t convey much information.
The emails show that before the sinkhole was revealed in September, nearly all of the electronic communications regarding the incident were email exchanges between the DEP and Mosaic employees. A review of the records from the governor’s office and DEP (which can be read here) contained  few internal communications between state employees concerning the sinkhole before it became public. And Graham notes that while there were while ” several” emails from the governor’s office about her questions, there aren’t any “demonstrating concern” over the sinkhole and DEP’s response or examining potential solutions to the problem.
The public information release also includes many emails sent to the DEP from concerned citizens, both in Florida and around the country. There’s also a request from an aide to now District 19 state Senator Darryl Rouson contacting the governor’s office to

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A rundown of the real winners and losers from Florida’s general election

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

Yesterday’s slate of general elections in Florida certainly provided a list of winners and losers, and I’m not just talking about the candidates. Here is my list of the real winners and losers coming out of Tuesday.
Winners
Rick Scott — The Naples Republican was an early backer of the president-elect, comparing Trump’s rise to his own 2010 gubernatorial run and even penning an op-ed way back in January that Trump captured “the frustration of many Americans.” No doubt he’s taking notes for his own rumored 2018 U.S. Senate bid.
Blaise Ingoglia — Republicans keep their majority in the Florida House and Senate. Rubio easily re-elected to a second term. And Florida helps send Trump to the White House. It’s a good time to be the head of the Republican Party of Florida.
Joe Gruters — The Sarasota GOP chairman stood by Trump through a series of controversies, and will go down as one of his most loyal supporters. Bonus: He cruised to victory in House District 73, crushing his Democratic opponent.
Brian Ballard — It took him three tries to find his winning horse, but what a bonanza is now in store for him. The president-elect of the United States of America is his client, for goodness’ sakes. The only question now is to which country does Ballard wish to serve as Ambassador.
Susie Wiles — Does she know how to pick them? Wiles was an early supporter of Trump, even taking over his Florida operations. Like Gruters, she’ll go down as one of his most loyal supporters.
Roger Stone — All in on Team Trump from Day One. He issued an ominous warning in early October about the WikiLeaks dump. Did he have inside info? Maybe. But his prediction of a Trump presidency was on point.
Steve Crisafulli — The outgoing House Speaker dedicated much of his time to helping Trump in Florida, raising money for the president-elect and helping bring Trump to the Space Coast for campaign rallies. Could

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Steve Hurm battling cancer, wife Gwen Graham announces

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

Tallahassee lawyer Steve Hurm, general counsel to the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and husband to U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, is battling stage 4 prostate cancer, she announced.
Graham, who has openly discussed her interest in running for Florida governor next year, announced Hurm’s condition at a presidential rally in Tallahassee that featured Vice President Joe Biden campaigning for Democrat Hillary Clinton Monday, and again in a campaign communique she sent to supporters Tuesday morning.
“My husband, Steve, was recently diagnosed with cancer. Our friends, family, and community have been incredibly supportive as he fights back against the disease. We can’t thank everyone enough for their love and support,” Graham stated in an email campaign update that included a picture of a balding Hurm and her getting ready to vote.
Hurm is a former police officer who went back to school and stayed in college all the way through law school, and has practiced law both privately and in various capacities for the state, including as a counsel for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
In both the Biden rally and the email, Graham praised Biden for turning his own family cancer battles into his “Cancer Moonshot” initiative, aimed at making a cancer cure as high a scientific priority for the government as was a manned flight to the moon in the 1960s. Graham also used both occasions to urge people to support the Democrats who back more medical research, such as Cancer Moonshot.
“I had made the decision that I would be very personal talking about this because if we, in our experience, can help anyone, or if we, in our experience, can put a focus on the importance of medical research into a host of illnesses we suffer from,” we should, she said. “The cost associated with research is so insignificant compared with the cost associated

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