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2012 Congressional campaigns’

Back at you: Frankel challenges Jacobs to play nice in U.S. House race

Monday, June 25th, 2012 by Dara Kam

Congressional hopeful Lois Frankel said she’ll debate her Democratic opponent Kristin Jacobs before the Aug. 14 Democratic primary.

But in return, she’s asking Jacobs, a Broward County Commissioner, to agree to play nice in the U.S. House District 22 campaigns. The winner of the contest between the two women will face off against Adam Hasner, a former state House representative who also served as House majority leader, in November.

Earlier today, Jacobs’ campaign manager asked Frankel to reconsider her refusal to participate in a Palm Beach Post/WPTV Channel 5 debate scheduled for July 12. The debate was canceled after Frankel said no.

In her response, Frankel agreed to a debate (Jacobs wants four before the primary election) without saying when. Then she made her own request.

“As I’m sure you know I have always debated my previous opponents- and I expect that we will debate as well.
However, with all the critical issues facing South Florida and our nation as well as the dysfunction of the Republican-led House of Representatives, we need to be concerned first and foremost about sending a Democrat to Congress from this seat. I’m sure you agree that has to be the most important outcome of this election cycle.

To that end, I am joining with both the Palm Beach and Broward Democratic County Chairs in calling for a positive primary campaign. I pledge to run no negative commercials against you, send no negative mailings
or any other kind of communications if you simply do the same. Voters are tired of the same old slash and burn campaigns, and we do not need to give Adam Hasner and his extremist allies any comfort from a needlessly divisive Democratic primary,” Frankel wrote, adding that she would be happy to work with Jacobs’ campaign to set up a debate date.

Kristin Jacobs challenges Lois Frankel to debates in U.S. House race

Monday, June 25th, 2012 by Dara Kam

A July 12 pre-primary debate planned by The Palm Beach Post and WPTV Channel 5 between Broward County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs and former West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel won’t happen because Frankel refused to participate.

But Jacobs, the underdog in the Democratic race for the U.S. House District 22 seat, is pressuring Frankel to change her mind.

Jacobs’ campaign manager Marcia Monserrat sent Frankel’s campaign chief Greg Richardson a letter today asking for four debates before the Aug. 14 primary. The winner of the Democratic race will face off against Republican Adam Hasner. The seat, now held by U.S. Rep. Allen West, was redrawn and is now a Democratic-leaning district that encompasses parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties. Jacobs is asking Frankel for two debates in each county.

Frankel, a former state representative who also served as the state House Democratic Leader, has been in the race longer and is sitting on a much fatter war chest. While she refused the invitation to debate on July 12, Frankel hasn’t ruled out another date before the primary election.

“It’s time for Democratic voters to see the candidates side-by-side and hear where we stand on the issues,” Jacobs said in a press release. “Voters deserve to know about the key differences between the candidates. That’s why I’m calling for a total of four debates, two in each county, so that people can hear from the candidates about the issues that matter most.”

Al Lawson to make another bid for Congress

Thursday, February 9th, 2012 by Dara Kam

Veteran Tallahassee legislator Al Lawson, a Democrat, intends to run for Congress again, this time with the help of the GOP.

“Big Al” said he is going to make another stab at the Congressional seat now held by U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, a tea party Republican who ousted long-time Democratic Congressman Allen Boyd in 2010.

After being termed out of the Senate in 2010, Lawson lost in a brutal primary by about 2,000 votes to Boyd, who held the seat for 16 years before losing to Southerland.

But the maps drawn by the Republican-dominated legislature, slated to be voted out of the Senate this week and sent on their way to Attorney General Pam Bondi and ultimately the courts for review, may give Lawson (and other Democrats) a leg up against the incumbent from Panama City.

Five GOP-leaning counties that helped Southerland get to Washington – Okaloosa, Walton, Dixie, Lafayette and Suwannee – will no longer be in the District 2 North Florida seat if the maps withstand Department of Justice scrutiny and expected legal challenges.

Lawson said one of the reasons he’s running again is because he didn’t like what Southerland said after Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot last summer. Southerland suggested his $174,000-a-year Congressional salary wasn’t worth the safety risks and the time away from his family and funeral home business.

“Throughout my political career, I’ve always fought hard for workers, for economic development and jobs for this district. And this Southerland complained about his $174,000 salary that was taking away from his business,” Lawson, who served in the Florida House and Senate for nearly three decades, said in a telephone interview. Lawson said he intends to formally file to run for the seat next week.

“He seems to be more concerned about the tea party than concerned about his distict where you have high unemployment, and people need somebody to fight for them in Congress. I have a 28-year history of doing that and it’s something the people need,” Lawson said. “I just need to retire him. And let him go back to the funeral home business.”

Lawson could face another veteran state lawmaker in what may be a crowded primary. Nancy Argenziano, a former Republican who switched to become an independent, wants to run as a Democrat for the seat. But she can’t because of a provision included in an election law (controversial for other reasons) approved by lawmakers last year and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott in June. That provision bars candidates from switching parties one year before the qualifying period for the general election begins, meaning the candidate must be registered in the party for nearly 18 months before the 2012 November election. Argenziano, who served in both the state House and Senate and also as the chairwoman of the Florida Public Service Commission, is challenging that part of the election law in court.

State Rep. Leonard Bembry, a Greenville Democrat and Boyd look-alike, also intends to run for the seat.

Argenziano sues state over election law

Friday, December 9th, 2011 by Dara Kam

Nancy Argenziano, a lifelong Republican and former state lawmaker who also served as chairwoman of the Public Service Commission, has sued the state over a sweeping election law now being challenged in court for different reasons.

Argenziano wants to run as a Democrat against incumbent U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland in a Panhandle district that includes Tallahassee, where Argenziano lives.

But she can’t because of a provision included in the election law approved by lawmakers earlier this year and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott in June. That provision bars candidates from switching parties one year before the qualifying period for the general election begins, meaning the candidate must be registered in the party for nearly 18 months before the 2012 November election. The old law precluded candidates from switching parties six months before the general election.

The provision is unconstitutional, Argenziano’s lawyer Janet Ferris – a former Tallahassee judge – argued in a lawsuit filed in Leon County, because the Florida Constitution “prohibits any law from imposing unnecessary and unreasonable disqualifications on those who wish to seek office.

Argenziano switched her GOP party registration to the Independent Party shortly before the law went into effect this summer, she said. But if she had opted to register with no party affiliation, or “NPA,” she would not be in the fix she is in now.

Requiring a candidate to declare their party affiliation nearly 18 months before the election is “preposterous,” the fiery Argenziano told reporters at a press conference this morning.

“It is tantamount to requiring party declaration before even the full extent of the incompetence and deceit of the changing candidate slate is revealed and works to deprive a person of the ability to confront that deceit and incompetence at the most fundamental level, which is to oppose them on the ballot,” Argenziano said.

Southerland, a Republican, ousted long-time U.S. Rep. Allen Boyd, a Democrat, in November 2010.

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