Posts Tagged ‘John Morgan’

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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Potential CFO candidate Jeremy Ring tells his story in Tampa

Friday, March 10th, 2017

Broward County Democrat Jeremy Ring isn’t an official candidate for Chief Financial Officer in 2018 yet, but he talked the part in one of his first ever appearances in Tampa on Friday morning.
Speaking at the Oxford Exchange as part of the Cafe Con Tampa weekly event, the former Yahoo executive introduced himself to the audience by humble bragging about his private sector background, describing himself as the first salesman for the internet search engine company when he started there as a 24-year-old (he’s 46 now).
But when he self deprecating about his lack of knowledge about politics when he first decided to run for state Senate in 2006,
“I had never been to Tallahassee,” he says. “I barely knew that Jeb Bush was governor of Florida. When I lived in Silicon Valley, Nancy Pelosi was my Congresswoman – I never heard of her (actually, Pelosi represents San Francisco, an hour north of Silicon Valley, which is located in Santa Clara County). All true. I was the least experienced candidate in the history of the state of Florida. ”
The meat of his message is on making Florida an innovative economy, a theme he campaigned on during his first run for office a decade ago. And he’s produced results.
In 2008, he helped create the Florida Growth Fund, which invests state and local pension funds in technology and high-growth businesses with a significant presence in the state, and the Florida Opportunity Fund, a multimillion-dollar program that directs investments to high- performing funds committed to seed and early stage businesses.
Ring says that Florida has one of the most  complete innovation “ecosystems” in the country, not that it’s something that many lawmakers know or understand.
“Most elected officials in Tallahassee will inspire you instead of becoming the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg, they’ll inspire you to be the next homebuilder or

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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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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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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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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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Implementation of medical marijuana amendment brings together unlikely allies

Friday, December 9th, 2016

With establishment lobbyists now representing it, the medical marijuana cause appears to have become—grab your pearls—respectable.
Florida for Care, the John Morgan-chaired group behind the state’s new medicinal pot constitutional amendment, has hired Brecht Heuchan and The Mayernick Group to advocate for its interests.
Heuchan, who says he voted against the amendment this November, has worked for Gov. Rick Scott’s Let’s Get to Work PAC. He’ll lobby the executive agencies.
“I didn’t want Florida to be like California but my vote was an ignorant one, as it turns out,” he said. “The amendment … will change thousands and thousands of Floridians’ lives and this can be done in a responsible way.”
The Mayernicks, GOP loyalists and experts in appropriations, have the legislative end.
Florida voters approved the initiative by 71 percent, well over the required 60 percent needed. That was two years after it missed passage by roughly 2 ½ percent.
“It’s rare you get to work on an issue that helps people cope with their medical condition and is supported by an overwhelming mandate of the voters,” Frank Mayernick said.
Now the work lies in how the amendment will work in practice.
State Sen. Dana Young, a Tampa Republican, will hold a workshop next Tuesday in her Senate Health Policy committee on “Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Medical Conditions,” a Senate schedule shows.
“There are many competing interests on the implementation (of medical marijuana),” lobbyist Tracy Mayernick said.
“We will be advocating for reasonable implementation that allows for adequate access, patient safety and affordability to the expanded patient population as well as a strong regulatory structure that meets the needs of law enforcement and communities across Florida.”

Just as important, cannabis as medicine is about to become big, even huge, business. 

A recent report says Florida will rack up over $1 billion in medical marijuana sales in the next three years. Soon, the Sunshine

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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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Orlando’s cornucopia of thanks runneth over for area leaders

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

As Orlandoans gather round dinner tables with family and close friends, let us start by being thankful that those of us who can be are there to gather.
Let’s give thanks for a community that found comfort, faith, and strength in each others arms during the dawn following our darkest day, and for the commitment that we all meant what we said when we pledged unity.
This year, 2016, has been one to test our strength and faith and it’s not over. Pulse. The rash of shootings and senseless murders on Orlando’s west side. Zika. The continued demise of Puerto Rico. The gator attack on the little boy at Walt Disney World. The heroin epidemic. The murder of Christina Grimmie. The harsh, divisive election campaigns.
So it’s a mixed cornucopia we see on the table this year, filled with abominations, but also with blessings. Central Florida’s political leaders will see the same, as they sort out who or what to really be thankful for.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer should give thanks to both the city’s rich and powerful and the un-rich and un-powerful advocates who do so much good through passionate determination, and all the close relationships he’s built with all of them over the years. With those bonds he was able to leverage a beyond-expectation community response to the Pulse nightclub tragedy; and put the focus on the proper aspects, law enforcement, fire fighters and paramedics, medical professionals, service providers, healers, hope. The more tedious road to longterm recover lays ahead, so he’s got to continue leveraging those ties. Meanwhile, he must give thanks for the increasing coolness of central Orlando and big projects going forward like Creative Village, the Lake Nona sports centers, and the airport expansion.
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs should give thanks that she and this community share a heart

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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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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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Take seriously the idea of John Morgan running for governor in 2018

Monday, November 14th, 2016

John Morgan for Florida governor?
Such a notion is not only not absurd, but it could, in fact, have surprisingly broad support across Florida.
I see it as one part Bernie Sanders, one part Donald Trump, and two parts bourbon. Doesn’t that sound like a cocktail Floridians would line up around the block to drink?
If you watched Morgan’s post-election press conference last Wednesday, you can get a taste of what a Morgan candidacy might look like.
He rejected as “not his fight” any future efforts to legalize marijuana in Florida, a natural question given his nearly four-year-long crusade to pass medical marijuana. But then he did something different and unexpected, pivoting to the topic of decriminalization and praising efforts by cities and counties to make marijuana possession a ticket-able, rather than arrest-able, offense.
Smart.
Floridians are in this weird place on marijuana reform where there is clearly no desire to legalize it here, but most believe sending people to jail for marijuana is insane.
I’m slightly paraphrasing, but this was my favorite Morgan moment from that presser, and the one that could be informative of what a run for governor could look like:
“If I were King of Florida,” he started out, and for some reason I pictured him in a paper crown from Burger King, “I would walk through the prisons and release everyone in there for possession alone. Everyone.”
He went on to praise Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer for passing such a law.
And it didn’t come up at the press conference, but one of Morgan’s other longtime causes is raising the minimum wage. People forget, but long before Morgan was Florida’s “Mr. Marijuana” he was the guy who gave big money to pass a constitutional amendment in 2004 raising the state’s minimum wage.
He’s made some noise about doing it again, this time to $15 an hour.
When John Morgan makes that sort of threat, you

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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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Backers release ‘intent’ statement for medical pot amendment

Monday, October 24th, 2016

The team behind this year’s medical marijuana amendment has released an 11-page “intent” memo for voters to “understand the purposes” of the initiative.
“Voters should vote for an amendment fully understanding the intent of the drafters,” said the document, obtained by FloridaPolitics.com on Monday. “Fostering voter understanding is the central purpose of this memo, and we do so by expressing the intent of the individuals who drafted the language.”
The proposed change, which will be Amendment 2 on the November general election ballot, seeks to create a state constitutional right to medical cannabis in Florida. An internal poll recently showed 74 percent support; amendments need 60 percent approval to pass.
In 2014, a similar amendment fell two points short of adoption, despite many polls showing it would pass in the weeks leading up to the midterm elections. Law enforcement groups, many in the drug treatment community, and several legislative leaders continue to oppose the initiative.
Generally, the 2016 amendment will allow people with debilitating medical conditions, as determined by a licensed Florida physician, to use medical marijuana. The amendment defines a debilitating condition as cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, and post-traumatic stress disorder, among others.
The memo was written by main amendment supporter and trial lawyer John Morgan, Dean Emeritus of the University of Florida law school Jon Mills, Drug Policy Alliance legal director Tamar Todd and Amendment 2 campaign director Ben Pollara.
The format of the memo is annotative, further explaining the proposed language, including “the limitations of this amendment.”
For instance, the analysis says the amendment “does not affect the current statutory prohibition on the operation of a vehicle, aircraft, train, or boat while under the influence of marijuana. The Legislature may pass additional laws regarding operating motor vehicles under the influence” of medicinal marijuana.
It “does not change federal law, under which marijuana is currently prohibited, but which the Justice Department has stated it

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John Morgan, Vote No on 2’s Jessica Spencer dispute each other’s facts on medical marijuana

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

Face to face, medical marijuana champion John Morgan and Vote No on 2 Policy Director Jessica Spencer did not agree even on the basic facts behind each other’s arguments.
In a debate televised on WESH 2 TV in Orlando over Florida Amendment 2, the medical marijuana issue on November’s ballot, Morgan, the Orlando lawyer who chairs United For Care, and Spencer spent much of their time disputing each other’s most fundamental arguments as false.
The amendment would allow for doctors to recommend marijuana for patents suffering from debilitating illnesses ranging from neurological conditions to cancer to chronic pain to end-of-life diseases, if the doctors conclude marijuana could help control the symptoms or reduce pain. With that written, formal recommendation the patients could receive state ID cards that could allow them to obtain marijuana from licensed dispensaries regulated by the state.
The amendment would need 60 percent voter approval in the Nov. 8 election to pass. A poll WESH commissioned and reported during the debate showed it is riding with 69 percent approval, with just 24 percent opposed and 7 percent undecided.
Spencer repeatedly insisted that the amendment is “de facto legalization” of marijuana in Florida, while Morgan repeatedly insisted that nothing in the amendment would allow for recreational use.
“When your argument is a blatant falsehood, I don’t know how to debate that,” Morgan said.
Morgan repeatedly insisted that medical marijuana works for patients suffering a wide range of conditions, while Spencer contended there was not enough science for the medical community to agree.
“He needs to be educated,” she said.
Spencer insisted that medical marijuana could be turned into candy, sold near schools and made attractive to children, while Morgan insisted the Florida Legislature and county and city governments have the power to prevent such abuses through regulation and would certainly exercise that power.
Morgan insisted that at

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Direct mail round up: Drug Free Florida mailers encouraging Floridians to “Vote No on 2” hitting mailboxes

Monday, September 19th, 2016

The campaign against Florida’s medical marijuana initiative is heating up.
Mailers from Drug Free Florida, the committee leading the charge against the 2016 medical marijuana initiative, are expected to hit mailboxes across the state today. The direct mail pieces are meant to encourage Floridians to “Vote No on 2” come November.
Drug Free Florida is hoping to repeat the success it had in 2014, when a proposed constitutional amendment didn’t receive the necessary support to become law. The 2014 amendment received 58 percent support, just shy of the 60 percent needed to become law.
The current proposal allows people with debilitating medical conditions, as determined by a licensed Florida physician, to use medical marijuana. The amendment defines a debilitating condition as cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, and post-traumatic stress disorder, among other things.
The mailer focuses on “the most talked about amendment on the ballot.” It highlights comments John Morgan, the chairman of the United for Care campaign, made in November 2014, after the ballot amendment failed.
In a 2014 press conference, Morgan said he should have reached out to more older people. At the time he said many of those voters “will be dead the next time we get to the elections. If you’re 86, sorry, won’t get to vote again, if you’re 16, you will.”
Drug Free Florida is playing up those comments in the new mailers, saying “John Morgan hopes senior citizens are dead (and can’t vote).”
“Death to old people isn’t what he said, but we all know it’s what he meant,” the mail piece reads. “After Amendment 2 was defeated for the first time in 2014, John Morgan told News 13: ‘The people who voted against this are the old people.’ But what ‘Mister Marijuana’ went onto say next is infuriating.”
The mailer then uses the remainder of the Morgan’s quote about the elderly.
The mailer

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John Morgan to host fundraiser for Hillary Clinton

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Orlando Democratic fundraiser and medical marijuana champion John Morgan is hosting Hillary Clinton for a fundraiser at his Heathrow home in Lake Mary on Sept. 21.
Morgan has long and deep ties with the Clintons, having thrown his first major fundraiser for Bill Clinton in the early 1990s, and a history of hosting events for other Democrats including President Barack Obama and Elizabeth Warren. He also hosted a fundraiser featuring Bill Clinton last spring.
Yet for all of this year he’s been focused on his latest drive to legalize medical marijuana in Florida, Amendment 2 on the Nov. 8 ballot. His late-in-the-season fundraiser for Hillary Clinton signals his confidence in the marijuana amendment, which has shown a comfortable lead in recent polls.
Admission costs a minimum of $2,700 a person, with various contributor levels going as high as $100,000 for anyone who wants to be a chair of the effort.
The donated money will be split between Hillary Clinton’s official campaign, Hillary For America, the Democratic National Committee and the state Democratic parties in 38 states, including Florida.
The post John Morgan to host fundraiser for Hillary Clinton appeared first on Florida Politics.

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