Fla’s 2018 election one of most important in years
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida’s 2018 midterm election is one of the most important in years. The governor’s office and all three Cabinet seats are open, Republican Gov. Rick Scott is challenging three-term Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, several congressional seats will be competitive and Floridians will vote on 13 proposed constitutional amendments, ranging from property tax cuts to banning greyhound racing. The following are items of political interest from the past week:
A TWITTER MYSTERY
Last weekend it appeared that Democratic U.S. Rep. Al Lawson was siding with President Donald Trump on some hot-button issues.
The personal Twitter account of the north Florida politician retweeted Trump twice, including a post attacking the ongoing probe into Russian interference in the 2016 elections as a “witch hunt.” The other complained about the nation’s trade policies.
Lawson’s opponent in this year’s Democratic primary quickly noticed. Former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown’s campaign said the retweets were proof “Lawson continues to show he is in the pockets of Donald Trump.”
But Lawson’s campaign said wait, it wasn’t us.
Lawson’s campaign manager, Phillip Singleton, said Lawson’s twitter account “was compromised.” Singleton said the passwords to the account were changed and they took “appropriate steps to ensure it does not happen again.”
Singleton said he didn’t know who was responsible for the retweets.
Brown did not accept the explanation.
“Years ago, Al Lawson hacked into right-wing, extreme Republican policies,” said Brown in a statement. “Try as he might, he can’t fall back on sad excuses after years of selling out Democratic values.”
WHO WANTS RECESS?
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and Gov. Rick Scott seem to keep taking shots at each other nearly every other day.
This week it was over vacations and work schedules.
Nelson got worked up after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he was cancelling most of the Senate’s time-honored August recess. The Kentucky Republican said he decided to shorten the summer getaway “due to the historic obstruction by Senate Democrats of the president’s nominees” and to work on must-pass spending bills.
But Nelson told reporters in Washington that McConnell’s move was “raw politics” at work. The decision to cancel recess means that Nelson will have less time to campaign.
Scott’s campaign responded on Twitter by saying: “Working Floridians don’t get to take the month of August off, and neither should career politicians.”
But Scott’s own schedule showed very little public activity in the middle of the week. That’s because Scott had left the state to hold a lunchtime fundraiser on Wednesday in San Francisco.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Just in case you forgot, there are other statewide positions on the November ballot other than governor and U.S. Senate. While the top two races are getting gobs of attention, all three Cabinet positions - attorney general, agriculture commissioner and chief financial officer - will also be decided.
Those races might start get noticed a little more as candidates begin to hit the airwaves. Republican state Rep. Frank White released his first television ad for his attorney general campaign, and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, who was appointed by Scott to fill an unexpired term, also is up on the air.
White’s ad seeks to stake his claim as a conservative in three-way primary with Rep. Jay Fant and former Judge Ashley Moody. In it, he says, “Liberal judges and elites threaten the constitution and mock our values.”
Patronis’ ad focuses on a bill he pushed for during the legislative session that will provide first responders with workers’ compensation coverage for post-traumatic stress disorder. It features families of victims and Scott praising him during a bill signing ceremony.
“Jimmy Patronis is the individual that we all admire,” Scott says. “You tell him a problem, he’s going to be there.”
MOM AND THE MEN
Former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, who has referred to the Democratic primary for governor as “Gwen and the men,” began airing her first television ad and pointed out something that the other candidates can’t claim.
“Everything I do is through the prism of being a mom,” she says.
And if folks didn’t already know, the ad also mentions that her father is Bob Graham, a former governor and U.S. senator.
The ad is running in the Orlando and Tampa markets only.