Latest News From Along the Campaign Trail
WILL MCBRIDE WON'T CHALLENGE GRAYSON: Republican Will McBride decided last week he will pass on challenging the suddenly untouchable Rep. Alan Grayson (D) for Florida's 8th Congressional District. McBride, who lost to then-Rep. Katherine Harris in the 2006 U.S. Senate primary is one of several Central Florida politicos to decide they want no part of a race against the newly high profile Grayson, who suggested earlier this year that the GOP health care plan amounted to having sick people die quickly. McBride told Washington-based newspaper Roll Call last week that the time isn't right for his family for him to make a run at Grayson.
DNC TARGETING YOUNG, ROS-LEHTINEN: The Democratic National Committee said Tuesday that it has a target on Republican U.S. Reps. Bill Young and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen as part of a group of Republicans in swing districts who voted against the health care bill this past weekend. Young and Ros-Lehtinen were identified as GOP members whose districts voted for President Obama last year. The effort will mostly include efforts to pump up local voters, press releases and local events, but also may include putting some money into advertising, the DNC said in a release. “...You have to think to vote against health insurance reform in a Congressional District won by President Obama just a year ago could be a political death knell at a time when Americans are clamoring for solutions to vexing issues like health care," said DNC National Press Secretary Hari Sevugan.
ANOTHER ROONEY IN CONGRESS?: Attorney Brian Rooney, the brother of Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., has jumped into an increasingly crowded GOP primary in Michigan, seeking to take on Democratic Rep. Mark Schauer next year in the Democrat-leaning district that includes the Battle Creek and Jackson area west of Detroit.
CLUB FOR GROWTH BACKS RUBIO: Ending months of speculation, the Club for Growth formally endorsed Marco Rubio on Monday over Gov. Charlie Crist in Florida's U.S. Senate race. "Marco Rubio is the real deal, one of the brightest young stars in American politics today, and a proven champion of economic liberty," said Club President Chris Chocola, a former Indiana congressman. "He is a dynamic spokesman for the principles of limited government and economic freedom, and he will make a fantastic senator." The conservative, anti-tax club last week released a TV spot ridiculing Crist for supporting President Obama's economic stimulus package -- backing the Florida governor is trying to distant himself from. The Club cited Crist's stimulus move, along with his proposing a state cap-and-trade measure aimed at energy conservation, and signing into law a $1 billion cigarette tax hike as reasons for choosing Rubio.
SINK RETURNING MORE ROTHSTEIN MONEY: Democrat Alex Sink is returning another $4,000 in campaign contributions from accused Ponzi scheme lawyer Scott Rothstein, whose political largesse has turned into a liability for many contenders. Sink earlier earmarked as tainted cash the $2,000 she’d collected from Rothstein, his wife, law firm and a company he controlled, AAMM Holdings at an Aug. 27 Fort Lauderdale fund-raiser. But a further review uncovered another $4,000 from other Rothstein-related companies. “These are very serious allegations,” the Sink campaign said in a statement Tuesday. “The campaign is returning or donating to charity any contributions from Mr. Rothstein, his wife, his law firm, and his other corporate entities. “If it becomes clear that others were involved in this matter, it’s our intention to return those contributions as well,” the campaign concluded. Federal authorities accuse Rothstein of bilking investors of millions of dollars by selling shares in phony legal settlements. Rothstein, who has been a major Republican fund-raiser, recently gave the Florida Democratic Party $200,000, which officials say the party will return. Gov. Charlie Crist’s U.S. Senate campaign is returning $9,600 in contributions from Rothstein, while the Republican Party of Florida, which accepted $140,000 from Rothstein for 2010 campaigns, also is planning to return those funds once an account is set up to compensate potential victims.
MARGOLIS QUIETLY RUNNING FOR SENATE: Not much has been heard from former Sen.Gwen Margolis since she announced she was running to replace attorney general candidate Dan Gelber in the state Senate. Gelber, of course, had taken Margolis’ seat after she agreed to step aside to let him seek the seat after he was term-limited last year. Well, she’s back – fund-raising, at least. Margolis will be accepting checks at a Dec. 9 fund-raiser in downtown Tallahassee during the Legislature’s next round of committee hearings. The event will undoubtedly be among a flurry of cash-calls occurring that week as lawmakers press to bolster their treasuries as another fund-raising quarterly deadline looms. Margolis, 75, was inducted into the state’s Women’s Hall of Fame last spring and could become the first Florida lawmaker to serve in parts of five decades if elected. Although Rep. Richard Steinberg, D-Miami Beach, and former Sen. Ron Silver of North Miami Beach have both eyed the decidedly Democratic Gelber seat, both have indicated they don't want to take on Margolis. “She’s like a racehorse,” said Rep. Luis Garcia, a fellow Democrat from her Miami Beach hometown. “She hears the bell and she’s off running.”
ROTHSTEIN: ALL WILL BE MADE RIGHT: Bob Norman's Daily Pulp Blog in the Broward-Palm Beach New Times on Monday got video of under-investigation fundraiser Scott Rothstein having a martini and vowing to “make it right.” Rothstein is under federal investigation in connection with what has essentially been described as a Ponzi scheme and making off with his law firm's money. Rothstein is one of the biggest political fundraisers in the state. Norman caught up with Rothstein at the Capital Grille in Fort Lauderdale and whipped out the flip camera as Rothstein was greeted by staff as if he is a celebrity. Rothstein says to an unidentified person that people make mistakes but he's going to make everything right. Asked by Norman how he plans to do that, Rothstein replies, “I'm not answering any questions, Bob, but I'm gonna make it right.”
BRONSON HELPING GREG STEUBE: Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Bronson will be in the Bradenton-Sarasota area Tuesday night for a fundraiser for House candidate Greg Steube, a Republican running for the District 67 seat being vacated by term-limited Rep. Ron Reagan, R-Bradenton. Steube faces Jeremiah Guccione, Robert McCann and Marie Nisco in the GOP primary. The host committee for the Steube fundraiser at the Polo Grill in Lakewood Ranch, includes the outgoing incumbent, Reagan, as well as Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Sarasota, and Steube's father, Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube.
CANDIDATE FORUM: Democratic attorney general candidates Dave Aronberg and Dan Gelber, along with little-known U.S. Senate candidate Kevin Burns and agriculture commissioner candidate Rick Minton will be at a forum sponsored by the Escambia County Democratic Party on Wednesday. The forum, at Washington High School in Pensacola at 7 p.m local time Wednesday, will also feature longshot gubernatorial candidate Michael Arth, and representatives of Alex Sink's campaign for governor and Kendrick Meek's U.S. Senate campaign.