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Crist scores Robert F. Kennedy endorsement

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010 by Dara Kam

In the midst of chatter about whether U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek should drop out of the U.S. Senate race, Gov. Charlie Crist nailed down the endorsement of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Crist, a lifelong Republican who turned independent to avoid running against Marco Rubio in the GOP primary, will appear with Kennedy in Deerfield Beach this morning to make the endorsement announcement.

Crist first hooked up with fellow environmentalist Kennedy at Crist’s climate change summit three years ago.

Dem Sink nails down police endorsements

Thursday, September 9th, 2010 by Dara Kam

The state’s top two law enforcement groups – the Fraternal Order of Police and the Police Benevolent Association – have thrown their support behind Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, the Democrat in the governor’s race.

According to Sink’s campaign, it’s the first time the FOP has endorsed a Democrat for governor in 16 years. Their last pick? The late Gov. Lawton Chiles in his 1994 re-election campaign. Sink’s campaign also says it’s been two decades since both law enforcement organizations a Democrat for governor.

Sink’s duties as the state’s chief financial officer include acting as Florida’s fire marshal.

Former Fla GOP chairman Slade endorses Dockery

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009 by Dara Kam

Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Tom Slade is backing Sen. Paula Dockery in her challenge against Attorney General Bill McCollum for governor.

Slade, who served as chairman from 1992-2000, is an unabashed critic of his own party and carries a considerable cachet among GOP insiders.

“McCollum is a nice guy, but I think he would be better in the U.S. Senate, where I think his skills are better suited. But I think Paula would do a better job of being governor. She’s got the kind of tenacity you need, and she’s got the knowledge,” Slade said in a press release.

Slade’s backing of Dockery, considered an underdog early in the race, comes as state GOP leaders gather in a secret session tomorrow to try to reunite their splintered party.

Several county leaders have asked for Chairman Jim Greer’s ouster and criticized what some call his heavy-handed tactics, including efforts to quash primary races and premature endorsements of McCollum and Gov. Charlie Crist. Crist is running against former House Speaker Marco Rubio, a GOP conservative sweetheart, for U. S. Senate.

Aronberg snags Fraternal Order of Police endorsement in Dem AG primary

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009 by George Bennett

Aronberg

Aronberg

The state Fraternal Order of Police is endorsing state Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, in the 2010 Democratic primary for attorney general.

Aronberg is running against state Sen. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, for the Democratic nomination to succeed Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum, who’s running for governor. GOP candidates for AG include Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp.

fop-starSays FOP Florida President James Preston: “Dave Aronberg’s history of commitment to public service, and his legislative record of giving special attention to the area of public safety has earned this valuable endorsement. His experience as an assistant attorney general and his leadership in the Legislature as an advocate for public safety and on behalf of law enforcement make him a perfect fit to serve as Florida’s next chief law enforcement official…We are confident in the leadership that Dave Aronberg will bring to the office of Attorney General.”

Deutch says he’s already raised more than $100,000 for special congressional race

Monday, October 19th, 2009 by George Bennett

Deutch: piling up early money, endorsements

Deutch: piling up early money, endorsements

UPDATED with a comment from Lois Frankel below.

WEST PALM BEACH — Appearing with a dozen Democratic elected officials a few blocks away from potential rival Lois Frankel’s office, state Sen. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, said his congressional campaign has already topped $100,000 in contributions since setting up a campaign web site late Thursday.

Deutch is running for the seat of U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Boca Raton, who last week announced he’s stepping down in January to head the nonprofit Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Cooperation.

Deutch’s campaign today announced endorsements from 16 elected Democrats. Most of them stood behind Deutch outside the Palm Beach County Governmental Center this morning. The endorsers include County Commissioner Burt Aaronson, who said he gave “a lot of thought” to running for Wexler’s seat.

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Endorsement pile-up: 15 Palm Beach County elected Dems back Deutch for Congress

Monday, October 19th, 2009 by George Bennett

Fifteen elected Democrats from Palm Beach County are slated to appear this morning with state Sen. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, to show their support for his special-election bid for the congressional seat of think tank-bound U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Boca Raton.

The event will take place at 11:30 a.m. outside the Palm Beach County Governmental Center — a block or so away from the office of West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel, who’s considering entering the congressional race herself.

In addition to Frankel, the other big question mark is Broward County Mayor Stacy Ritter.

Read the list of Deutch’s endorsers after the jump…..

(more…)

Aronberg’s sheriff-palooza continues with AG endorsement from Glades County’s Whiddon

Thursday, September 17th, 2009 by George Bennett

Whiddon: third sheriff to back Aronberg for AG

Whiddon: third sheriff to back Aronberg for AG

Glades County Sheriff Stuart Whiddon is endorsing state Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, in the Democratic primary for Florida attorney general. Whiddon joins Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw and St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara in backing Aronberg, who faces state Sen. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, in the primary for Florida’s top lawyer’s job.

Said Whiddon, in a statement released today by Aronberg’s campaign: “Dave fits the mold of an ideal Attorney General….previous experience already working in the office as assistant AG, a track record of getting consumer protection laws passed, even experience at the federal level fighting terrorism by going after money laundering operations…no one else can offer Floridians that kind of background and dedication to the job.“

Rubio picks up Senate endorsement from Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite

Thursday, September 17th, 2009 by George Bennett

Former Florida House Speaker and Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Marco Rubio picked up the endorsement of U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Brooksville, today — doubling his endorsement total from Florida’s congressional delegation.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Pensacola, has also endorsed Rubio, who faces an uphill GOP primary against Gov. Charlie Crist.

“In the Senate, Marco will stand up for Florida’s taxpayers, not with President Obama and dangerous big government spending,” Brown-Waite said in a reference to Crist’s support for the Obama-backed $787 billion stimulus package. With Rubio running to the right of Crist, Brown-Waite called Rubio a “consistent, principled conservative.”

Wellington Councilman Priore interested in Santamaria’s seat — but only if it’s open

Sunday, September 13th, 2009 by George Bennett

Priore: interested if Santamaria isn't

Priore: interested if Santamaria isn't

With Democratic Palm Beach County Commissioner Jess Santamaria remaining enigmatic on his 2010 reelection plans, Republican and longtime Wellington Councilman Carmine Priore says he’d consider running for Santamaria’s western District 6 seat if it’s open next year.

That’s potentially good news for a local GOP that hasn’t been able to recruit a District 6 candidate. The bad news: Priore says he’ll cross party lines and support Santamaria if the incumbent runs again.

Santamaria: no announcement til Jan. or Feb.

Santamaria: no announcement til Jan. or Feb.

Santamaria says he’ll announce in January or February whether he’s running. Meanwhile, attorney Elissa Pearl has opened a Democratic campaign in District 6.

Pearl and Santamaria recently met for the first time.

“Our philosophies are similar and it appears that we care about the same things,” said Pearl after the hourlong sit-down in the commissioner’s office.

Santamaria, 72, called the 37-year-old Pearl “a good person” with “a young person’s idealism. We need people like that.” But Santamaria said a commissioner’s job is tough and complicated.

Pearl: had first meeting with Santamaria

Pearl: had first meeting with Santamaria

“My question is, (for) Elissa Pearl or anybody else, do they really have the background, the experience, the education, the training, the psychological framework to handle all of these variables on a day-to-day basis?” Santamaria said. “My first impression is, she’ll have a lot to learn.”

Pearl lives just outside District 6, which irks potential GOP candidate Priore. If Santamaria doesn’t run, Priore said, he’d consider the race because “I wouldn’t want to leave the door open to someone that doesn’t live in our area.”

* * *

Burdick: paid staff on hold

Burdick: paid consultants on hold

Pleased with the grass-roots volunteer organization for her 2010 Democratic campaign for county commission, school board member Paulette Burdick has put paid consultants Eric Johnson and Neil Schiller on hold — at least temporarily. Burdick is running against state Rep. Mary Brandenburg, D-West Palm Beach, in a Dem primary to succeed term-limited Commish Jeff Koons.

Johnson: consultant and Wexler aide

Johnson: consultant and Wexler aide

Burdick paid $1,000 in June for the consulting expertise of Johnson, who’s also chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Boca Raton, and who works with Schiller on several local races.

“My idea was she didn’t need them,” said Palm Beach Democratic Club President Elna Laun, an unpaid Burdick backer and adviser. “I think I was one of many” offering that advice, Laun said.

* * *

Benacquisto: lining up Lee supporters

Benacquisto: lining up Lee supporters

Both GOP District 27 state Senate candidates — Wellington Councilwoman Lizbeth Benacquisto and former state Rep. Sharon Merchant — are from Palm Beach County, but about 60 percent of the GOP primary voters are in Lee County.

In the scramble for Lee County support, Benacquisto will be in Fort Myers Friday for a fund-raiser whose hosts include state Rep. Trudi Williams, R-Fort Myers, Lee County Commissioner Frank Mann, school board member Elinor Scricca and longtime Property Appraiser Ken Wilkinson.

Aronberg’s sheriff-palooza continues with Mascara endorsement in AG race

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009 by George Bennett

State Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, has picked up the endorsement of St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara in Aronberg’s quest for the Democratic attorney general nomination. Aronberg, who’s running against state Sen. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, in the primary, unveiled an endorsement from Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw a few weeks ago.

Says Mascara: “Dave Aronberg and I share the same commitment when it comes to law enforcement…zero tolerance for anyone who preys on any Floridian, young or old. We need someone in that office who wants to be Attorney General to protect the public from serious crimes including consumer fraud. “

Sheriff Ric Bradshaw (D) to endorse Republican Atwater for CFO

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009 by George Bennett

Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw will formally endorse state Senate President Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, for chief financial officer at an event Thursday, Atwater’s campaign says.

Bradshaw is one of the most influential Democratic elected officials in Palm Beach County, though his office is nonpartisan and he has never been much for red/blue distinctions. Atwater and state Rep. Pat Patterson, R-DeLand, are the only candidates in the CFO race so far.

Bradshaw’s statement: “Through his years of service, Jeff Atwater has been an effective leader and a strong voice for Florida’s Sheriffs. He has made certain the men and women of law enforcement have the tools they need to keep our communities safe. I am proud to be a supporter of his campaign and, more importantly, honored to call him my friend.”

Greer: No one knew Martinez would quit until he quit

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 by Dara Kam

chairman_greerGov. Charlie Crist and top GOP officials didn’t know of U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez’s decision to resign early until the senator issued a press release on Friday, Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer told reporters this morning.

“There is no one who actually knew the event was actually going to take place until immediately prior to or immediately surrounding that statement,” Greer said.

Although rumors that Martinez would step down early circulated for more than six months prior to his resignation, Greer said Martinez repeatedly assured him he was not quitting. Sort of.

“He would say, ‘No I’m not resigning. Tomorrow,” Greer said.

And despite speculation that Martinez quit early to make it easier for Crist to succeed him, Greer said the senator quit to spend more time with his family and not to help the governor.

(more…)

Florida Senate endorsement blowout in Merchant-Benacquisto primary

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009 by George Bennett

If you’re a Republican member of the Florida Senate and you haven’t taken sides in the Sharon Merchant-Lizbeth Benacquisto District 27 GOP primary, you’re in the minority.

Former state Rep. Merchant today launched her campaign for the West Palm Beach-to-Fort Myers seat and announced that she’s been endorsed by nine members of the Senate. Two of her backers — Sens. Paula Dockery of Lakeland and Alex Villalobos of Miami — stood with Merchant as she made her announcement at her family’s equipment rental business in West Palm Beach.

Benacquisto, who entered the race last month, has endorsements from eight Senators.

So 17 of the 26 Republicans in the Florida Senate have already taken sides for a primary that’s nearly 14 months off. Merchant and Benacquisto are vying for the seat of Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, who’s running for attorney general.

Read the endorsement lineups after the jump…..

(more…)

Senate leadership pileup for Benacqusito (cont’d)

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 by George Bennett

State Sen. Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, became the eighth Republican Senator to endorse Wellington Councilwoman Lizbeth Benacquisto’s bid for the District 27 seat, Benacquisto announced.

Haridopolos is in line to become Senate president in November 2010. Current Senate Prez Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, has endorsed Benacquisto, as has previous Senate President Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie, and Majority Leader Alex Diaz de la Portilla.

Republican Sharon Merchant, expected to launch her own Senate campaign Wednesday, has endorsements from three Republican Senators.

District 27 is now represented by Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, who is running for attorney general.

Sen. Dockery to visit WPB for Senate hopeful Sharon Merchant

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 by George Bennett

State Sen. and potential GOP governor candidate Paula Dockery of Lakeland will be in West Palm Beach Wednesday morning when former Republican state Rep. Sharon Merchant makes “a major political announcement.” West Palm Beach City Commissioner Kimberly Mitchell will also be on hand.

Merchant has said she’s running for the state Senate District 27 seat of Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, who’s running for attorney general. In addition to Dockery, Republican Sens. Nancy Detert of Venice and Alex Villalobos of Miami have said they’ll back Merchant.

Another Republican, Wellington Councilwoman Lizbeth Benacquisto, has already launched a campaign for the seat. She’s backed by seven GOP Senators: President Jeff Atwater of North Palm Beach, Majority Leader Alex Diaz de al Portilla and Sens. Michael Bennett, Garrett Richter, Ken Pruitt, Don Gaetz and Andy Gardiner.

Broward appraiser Parrish to endorse Aronberg in AG race

Thursday, June 25th, 2009 by George Bennett

Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Parrish today will endorse state Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, in the Democratic primary for attorney general, an Aronberg campaign adviser says.

Aronberg and state Sen. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, are the only announced Democrats in the AG race, which means both have similar South Florida bases for their statewide campaigns. That could be a problem for them if former state Sen. Rod Smith of Alachua enters the Democratic primary.

Gelber recently ventured into Aronberg’s turf to pick up an endorsement from Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon. Aronberg returned the favor by snagging an endorsement from Miami Beach City Commissioner Noah Wolfson, who’s hosting a fund-raiser for Aronberg this month.

Senate endorsement smackdown update: 2 more for Benacquisto

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009 by George Bennett

Wellington Councilwoman and Republican state Senate hopeful Lizbeth Benacquisto announced two more endorsements from Republican Senators today: Michael Bennett of Bradenton and Garrett Richter of Naples.

Benacquisto

Benacquisto

For those keeping score, that’s seven of the 26 Republicans in the Florida Senate backing Benacquisto, who’s running for the District 27 seat that Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, is leaving to run for attorney general.

The other five Senators to endorse Benacquisto are Senate President Jeff Atwater of North Palm Beach, Majority Leader Alex Diaz de la Portilla of Miami, Ken Pruitt of Port St. Lucie, Don Gaetz of Niceville and Andy Gardiner of Orlando.

Former Republican state Rep. Sharon Merchant of Palm Beach Gardens, who says she’s running but hasn’t opened a campaign yet, has already lined up endorsements from three Republican Senators: Nancy Detert of Venice, Paula Dockery of Lakeland and Alex Villalobos of Miami

Senate endorsement smackdown in Benacquisto-Merchant race

Thursday, June 18th, 2009 by George Bennett

There are 26 Republicans in the Florida Senate. So far, at least seven of them have taken sides in the emerging GOP primary battle between Wellington Councilwoman Lizbeth Benacquisto and former state Rep. Sharon Merchant of Palm Beach Gardens for the seat of Democratic Sen. Dave Aronberg, who’s running for attorney general.

Benacquisto has a fund-raiser in Tallahassee next week with five state Senators on the host committee: President Jeff Atwater of North Palm Beach, Majority Leader Alex Diaz de la Portilla of Miami, Don Gaetz of Niceville, Andy Gardiner of Orlando and soon-to-retire Ken Pruitt of Port St. Lucie.

Merchant has not formally opened a campaign, but Republican Sens. Nancy Detert of Venice and Paula Dockery of Lakeland say they’ll be on her team. Many insiders also predict that Sen. Alex Villalobos of Miami, who was defeated by Atwater in a GOP leadership struggle, will take sides with Merchant against Atwater’s favored candidate. Villalobos couldn’t be reached today.

Gannon backs Gelber in AG race over local Sen. Aronberg

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009 by George Bennett

Snaring an endorsement from his rival’s back yard, state Sen. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, announced today that he has received the support of Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon in the Democratic primary for attorney general.

Gannon is a former Democratic legislator who served with Gelber in the state House from 2000 to 2006. She also served in the Palm Beach County legislative delegation with state Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, who’s running against Gelber in the Democratic AG primary.

“I served with Dan Gelber and he is the definition of a leader,” Gannon said in a statement released by the Gelber campaign. “He has the unique combination of force and personality that brings people together and empathy to be able to understand the needs and struggles of everyday Floridians.”

Ballot flap, Boca jolt, union mystery…

Monday, March 16th, 2009 by George Bennett

It depends on what the meaning of “received” is.

Find out how the recent one-vote Palm Beach mayor’s race could end up setting statewide precedent. Plus: Is the vaunted Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce losing its mojo? What’s U.S. Rep. Ron Klein’s explanation for not cosponsoring Big Labor’s top congressional priority? Will Art Argenio and Joe Negron — the Frazier and Ali of Treasure Coast Republican politics — beat each other up again?

Read about it here.

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