Across Florida
What's happening on other political blogs?

Newt Gingrich’

Casino King Adelson doubles down on Florida GOP

Friday, August 10th, 2012 by John Kennedy

Las Vegas casino king Sheldon Adelson double-downed on his $250,000 contribution to Gov. Rick Scott’s political committee by giving the same amount to the state’s Republican Party in June, according to campaign finance reports released Friday.

Adelson, who financed Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign and recently contributed $10 million to a political action committee backing presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney, was among the top individual donors to the state party over the past three months, records show.

Adelson’s check to the party was posted June 4. A day later, the same amount went to Scott’s Let’s Get to Work political committee, records show.

The Florida Republican Party collected $9 million between between April 1 and Thursday, bringing its total to almost $12 million for the year. It’s also a big bounce-back from  the year’s first quarter, when the party which controls the governor’s office, Legislature, Cabinet, and a majority of Florida’s congressional seats pulled in its lowest contribution total in three years.

The Florida Democratic Party raised almost $2.2 million in the latest report, bringing its total to about $3.1 million for the year.

Adelson, though, clearly sees Florida as ripe for casinos, with the entire gambling industry emerging as a potent player this election cycle. The Seminole Tribe, whose compact with the state would be effectively nullified by the approval of non-tribal casinos, also steered $250,000 to the state Republican Party.

The tribe also pushed $5,000 toward the state Democratic Party, records show.

The Republican-ruled Legislature has long been split on gambling — with the House overwhelmingly opposed and the Senate mostly tolerant of expanding card rooms, slot machines and the arrival of street corner internet cafes.

But the industry cash flowing to the state Republican Party also is only part of the picture.

Political committees guided by GOP legislative leaders also have been on the receiving end of big money from the industry, which then gets converted into campaign mailers and TV spots flooding Florida households as election season deepens.

Senate prez Haridopolos – Romney backer – ‘low-keying it’ on election night

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 by Dara Kam

After helping secure the state’s national prominence in selecting the GOP presidential candidate by moving up the primary, Senate President Mike Haridopolos said he’ll be watching the election returns at home with his roommate, Senate budget chief JD Alexander, tonight.

“I’m low-keying it. I’ve been high-key enough in getting this early election,” Haridopolos, a Mitt Romney supporter, said during his weekly Q-and-A with reporters this afternoon. “Despite a lot of anger from some folks even in my own party…I think it clearly has come up aces for us.”

Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney and political groups supporting the candidates have spent about $25 million on campaign ads, Haridopolos said, and the early date has helped fire up Republican voters, more than 600,000 of whom had already cast their ballots before today’s election. Florida Republicans gave up half their delegates in the winner-take-all election by moving the date up and breaking national GOP rules.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the returns tonight, and I expect Mitt Romney to win,” Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, said.

Rick Scott: Gingrich has to win Florida to stay in the game

Monday, January 30th, 2012 by Dara Kam

Gov. Rick Scott told FOX Business Network today that tomorrow’s Sunshine State GOP primary could be make-or-break for Newt Gingrich, trailing Mitt Romney in recent Florida polls by double digits.

“It looks like Florida is going to choose. It’s going to be tough, I think it will be hard on Newt, if he doesn’t win Florida, to go forward, because Governor Romney has a good campaign going from the standpoint of good organization and he’s raised a lot of money,” Scott told FOX Business Network’s Follow the Money host Eric Bolling in a show to be aired at 10 p.m. tonight.

Scott hasn’t endorsed any of the candidates in the primary, but he’s talked up Romney in recent interviews, praising the former Massachusetts governor’s business acumen and opining that Latino voters prefer Romney to the twice-divorced and admitted former lady’s man Gingrich because Romney is a family man committed to his wife.

Tomorrow’s election defining the GOP nominee is exactly what Republican lawmakers hoped for when the moved Florida’s primary up from its previously scheduled date, incurring the wrath of national GOP leaders. State Republicans are being punished by losing half their delegates to the GOP convention, and because of the early date, Florida is now a winner-take-all-delegates match.

Scott also told FBN that the winner needs to sell his jobs plan – as Scott himself did (with the help of his own $73 million) in his gubernatorial campaign – to Floridians.

Romney, who with Gingrich and “Super-PACs” on both sides have traded nasty ads, has done a better job of getting his message out, Scott told Bolling.

“I hope it has nothing to do with the negative ads. But somebody, one of these two, is going to go out there and really sell that they’ve got a better jobs plan than the other one. That’s who I think is going to win tomorrow,” Scott, who will vote in Leon County tomorrow morning at 8 a.m., said. Unlike most of his predecessors, Scott has registered to vote with his new address at the governor’s mansion.

Asked if he was leaning toward endorsing Romney, Scott remained coy.

“I’m not leaning,” he said.

Gov. Scott: Latinos like Romney family values

Sunday, January 29th, 2012 by Dara Kam

Once the anti-establishment candidate, Gov. Rick Scott is full of praise – without officially endorsing – Mitt Romney, who’s garnered the support of some of the Sunshine State’s top GOP insiders.

Scott has defended Romney’s business background and today told CNN‘s Candy Crowley that Hispanic voters prefer the former Massachusetts governor because of his family values.

Scott’s comments come as Romney and Newt Gingrich sweep the state hoping to nail down the all-or-nothing convention delegate prize on Tuesday’s primary, with a lot of the focus on the state’s Latino voters crucial to the GOP primary.

This morning on CNN’s State of the Union, Crowley asked Scott about a recent poll show Romney outstripping Newt Gingrich among Hispanic voters by 49-23 percent.

“Look, the Latino vote cares about family. I mean, if you look at Gov. Romney’s family, he’s been very successful. He’s built a great family, very committed to his wife,” Scott said. “He’s somebody that’s been successful in life. So I think if they look at his background, it’s what they want. They care about their families. They care about, you know, somebody that’s been successful in business. That’s what they care about. So I think that’s part of what his attraction to the Latino vote.”

Gingrich’s campaign recently yanked a Spanish-language ad accusing Romney of being “anti-immigrant” after U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio blasted scolded the former speaker of the House over the ad.

And Romney scored one of his best lines on the thorny immigration issue during Thursday night’s debate in Jacksonville after Gingrich said Romney’s immigration stance would result in rounding up grandmothers who’ve lived for years in the country illegally.

“Our problem isn’t 11 million grandmothers,” Romney said. “Our problem is 11 million people getting jobs that many Americans, legal immigrants, would like to have.”

With recent polls showing Romney surging in the polls on Florida, Scott told Crowley “it sure looks like Gov. Romney’s going to win” and again said the candidates should be discussing their jobs plans instead of trading barbs.

Scott lauded Romney’s business background but did not say whose jobs plan he prefers.

“They all have plans,” he said.

Senate prez Haridopolos on GOP primary: ‘Feels good to be right’

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012 by Dara Kam

With all eyes on Florida in the GOP presidential race, Senate President Mike Haridopolos might have been justified saying “I told you so” about the Sunshine State’s early Republican primary next week.

The legislature moved Florida’s primary date up from its originally scheduled date to Jan. 31 over the objections of state and national GOP leaders. Haridopolos and others wanted to elevate the state’s role in determining the eventual nominee.

With Newt Gingrich surging in the polls after unexpectedly trouncing Mitt Romney in South Carolina, Florida could be “the lynchpin to one person winning” the race, Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, said.

“Every once in a while it feels good to be right,” Haridopolos, a Romney backer, said this morning. “It was a risk, don’t get me wrong. But we thought it was a good risk. Clearly the eyes of the nation if not the eyes of the world are on this…I think it’s a good thing.”

And national coverage of the candidates stumping around sunny, mild-climed Florida may help solve some of the state’s budget problems as well, Haridopolos said.d

“This is like free advertising for our state and it wasn’t Visit Florida that had to pay the tab,” Haridopolos said.

Watching candidates “in their shirt sleeves” in sunny Florida may prompt Northerners to consider relocating their businesses to or visiting Florida, Haridopolos, a former New Yorker, said.

“So I think it’s been a jackpot,” Haridopolos said. “And I think we’re in the place where we deserve to be.”

Florida is the bellweather state in the general election and deserves to be so in the primaries, Haridopolos said, after the lesser-known candidates have been weeded out in Iowa and New Hampshire.

I love these kind of competitions – except when I’m in races. I like the ones where no one runs against me. It’s a lot more successful,” the former U.S. Senate candidate joked. “But to be serious. I think it’s good. I think this will elevate our candidate.”

Gingrich picks up future Senate President’s support, Romney backers say Perry departure no biggie

Thursday, January 19th, 2012 by Dara Kam

Rick Perry’s departure from the GOP presidential race is almost certain to help Newt Gingrich in the Sunshine State’s upcoming primary as many of Perry’s conservative supporters – including the next Florida Senate president – defect to the former Speaker of the House.

But how much that matters depends on how well Gingrich, distrusted by many tea party activists, performs in South Carolina this weekend, Republican legislative leaders say.

Senate President-Designate Don Gaetz, a Perry backer, said he’s leaning towards Gingrich, not because the Texas governor has endorsed his former opponent, but because he, like many others, believes Gingrich would handily outshine President Obama in debates.

“I’ve respected Newt Gingrich for years,” said Gaetz, R-Niceville. Gaetz said he’s read Gingrich’s books and met with the historian on several occasions, “more than just casually.”

But, he said, “I’m happy with either Romney or Gingrich but I’m leaning toward Gingrich,” although “I can support Romney and support him with enthusiasm.”

Gingrich’s performance in South Carolina will influence how relevant Florida will be in determining the Republican candidate, some political insiders, including Gaetz, say.

The outcome of Florida’s winner-take-all-delegates primary could whittle the race down to contest between Romney and Gingrich or crown Romney as the all-but-inevitable nominee.

“It’s important for Florida to be relevant. So for parochial reasons, I hope that the contest goes on through the end of January at least because I want Florida to be important in selecting the Republican nominee,” Gaetz said. “So Gingrich would have to do well in South Carolina to keep hope alive among those who are unsatisfied with Romney.”

Perry dropping out of the race may have little impact on Florida voters, said Sen. John Thrasher, a former chairman of the Republican Party of Florida and Mitt Romney supporter.

“I don’t think it makes a lot of difference. I think Newt’s where he is. I think Gov. Romney’s where he is. Most people still believe Gov. Romney’s the best choice, particularly in Florida. He’s got an incredible organization. He’s got a lot of troops on the ground all over the state. I think he’s got the resources to really put forth his message by Jan. 31,” Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, said.

Perry made the right decision, Gaetz said.

“There comes a point when you look around and you realize that it’s hopeless. And I think that Gov. Perry has gotten to that point,” he said.

Bondi to co-host GOP presidential debate

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011 by Dara Kam

Bondi with Fox News correspondent John Roberts

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi will co-host the GOP presidential debate on Fox News this weekend, according to a press release distributed by the Republican Party of Florida this morning.

Bondi, a Fox fave who often appeared on the news channel as a legal analyst before her election in January and a frequent guest star since, will join fellow Republican attorneys general Ken Kuccinelli of Virginia and E. Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma on former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s show Saturday night at 8 p.m.

Bondi is leading the charge in the multi-state federal health care lawsuit, launched by her predecessor Bill McCollum, now before the U.S. Supreme Court. Undoing the health care law is among the GOP presidential wannabes’ top campaign pledges.

“This forum is an excellent opportunity to engage each of the candidates in a candid conversation about issues that are important to voters in our state and across the nation,” Bondi said in the press release. “This will be a historic election, and I am excited to play a part in helping voters gain a better understanding of candidates’ beliefs on fundamental issues such as constitutionalism and the role of government.”

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum have all agreed to participate in the forum, according to the release.

Dems target Romney in TV ad as ‘two men trapped in one body’

Monday, November 28th, 2011 by Dara Kam

Democrats unleashed an attack ad – “Trapped” – targeting Mitt Romney in his bid to unseat President Barack Obama. The movie trailer-style TV ad portrays Romney’s political career as “the story of two men trapped in one body” and directs viewers to a longer, online ad entitled “Mitt v. Mitt”

The ads characterize the former Massachusetts governor “for what he truly is: a flip-flopper, a candidate without core beliefs, and someone who’s simply without conviction,” Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz told reporters on a conference call this morning.

“The American people appreciate that there are many different points of view in our diverse nation. That is something that people expect. They just don’t expect one candidate to espouse all of them,” Wasserman Schultz, a Congresswoman from Weston, said.

Democrats are feverishly portraying Romney, in Florida on fundraising sweep tonight and tomorrow, as inconsistent in an effort to peel off support from conservative GOP voters with six weeks until Republicans begin choosing their nominee. They’re targeting Romney although recent polls show Newt Gingrich at the top of the GOP pack.

The DNC ad, showing contradictory clips of Romney on health care and abortion, is running in Albuquerque, N.M., Raleigh, N.C., Columbus, Ohio, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee and Washington.

“From the creator of `I’m running for office for Pete’s sake,’ comes the story of two men trapped in one body,” the ad says.

The four-minute video, entitled “Mitt versus Mitt,” also includes clips of Romney reversing his positions on issues.

Perry’s ‘oops’ moment gives Scott pause

Friday, November 18th, 2011 by Dara Kam

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s nationally televised “oops” moment – where the GOP presidential contender could not remember one of the three government agencies he would do away with – prompted Gov. Rick Scott to be extra-careful during his first sit-down with The Palm Beach Post editorial board yesterday.

Scott told The Post this afternoon that he thought of Perry’s gaffe during some tough questioning from newspaper’s ed board.

“I had three points I was going to make and I thought, ‘Oh boy. I hope I remember the three.’ It was funny,” Scott said, smiling.

But not as funny, to the governor at least, as a temporary lapse by editorial writer Jac VerSteeg, whose name Scott could not recall.

“Then the guy sitting next to Randy (Schultz), he forgot his third point. That was funny,” Scott said.

Like Perry, each of the GOP candidates have had to contend with flubs, especially when they appear to be gaining ground in the race. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich – the latest leader of the pack – is fighting off criticism over his relationship with Freddie Mac, the federally-backed (and GOP whipping post) mortgage institution. Read what Gingrich had to say about the issue yesterday in Jacksonville.

Given the degree of exposure the candidates are getting, it’s not surprising their flaws are being exposed, Scott said.

“We have eight candidates. They are able to get their message out. With all these debates, there’s a lot of focus on it. So I think it’s positive that Americans get to learn a lot more about these candidates,” Scott said.

Newt Gingrich corrects Occupy Wall Street protestors in Jax

Thursday, November 17th, 2011 by Dara Kam

GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich drew loud cheers for his head-on – but polite – response to a few Occupy Wall Street protestors who briefly interrupted a tea party town hall in Jacksonville this afternoon.

Earlier, Gingrich told the crowd he shared the protestors’ anger about the nation’s financial mess but said that local officials should film them and deal harshly with any protestors who are violent towards people or property.

Near the end of his hour-and-a-half event, a few protestors interrupted Gingrich, shouting “We are the 99 percent!”

That elicited boos from the tea party crowd but the former U.S. House Speaker quickly used the opportunity to garner even more support.

Speaking directly to the protestors, Gingrich told them to wait.

“There’s no such thing as 99 percent in America,” he said. “We are 100 percent Americans.”

Gingrich – on the rise and on the defensive – in Jax today

Thursday, November 17th, 2011 by Dara Kam

With his popularity on the rise, conservative iconoclast Newt Gingrich will address a tea party crowd at The Landing in Jacksonville this afternoon.

The event takes place as Gingrich is on the defensive for his relationship with Freddie Mac. Bloomberg News reported this week that the former U.S. House Speaker earned at least $1.6 million over nearly a decade as a consultant for the beleaguered government-backed mortgage company. His GOP opponents in the presidential primary have hammered Freddie Mac for its role in the mortgage meltdown and the mortgage giant has symbolized for conservatives government overreach.

Gingrich himself has blamed Freddie Mac for the housing collapse.

Meanwhile, Gingrich’s star is on the rise among GOP voters, according to two recent national polls. One poll found that Gingrich has the best chance among GOP voters to defeat President Barack Obama next year. And another showed Gingrich’s popularity jumped 8 points from last month, trailing Mitt Romney by just two percentage points and making the race a statistical dead heat.

The First Coast Tea Party event in Jacksonville begins at 2 p.m. and was moved to riverfront site because of “the size of the event,” according to the Zamar Conference Center, where the gathering was originally scheduled, website.

County GOP Chairman Dinerstein hopes Gingrich, Palin don’t get nomination

Friday, May 27th, 2011 by George Bennett

Palm Beach County Republican Chairman Sid Dinerstein says presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich, who headlined the local GOP’s annual Lincoln Day dinner in February, has “viability issues” after slamming the Paul Ryan Medicare plan as “radical” and “right-wing social engineering” and then backtracking on the criticisms.

And Dinerstein says Gingrich or Sarah Palin as the party’s 2012 nominee would distract efforts to defeat President Obama.

“If Newt Gingrich or Sarah Palin, who I like, were our nominees, then instead of the election being a referendum on the president, which is what we need it to be, it would be a referendum on them, which is what we don’t need it to be. And Republicans have to be sophisticated enough to make this election a referendum on the president,” Dinerstein said Thursday night before a Boca Raton Republican Club dinner.

Palin has been looking a lot like a candidate lately.

“I’m hoping that she doesn’t get in the race. I am a fan. She falls under the ‘Life’s not fair’ category that I have. But, yes, I don’t want her in the race,” Dinerstein said.

Dinerstein is neutral in the presidential primary, but he’s never been shy about prognosticating. Back in April 2007, Dinerstein said that eventual 2008 GOP nominee John McCain was “yesterday’s candidate” and Mitt Romney lacked “traction” while enthusing over Rudy Giuliani‘s prospects in Florida.

Latest pension overhaul shows how political wind has turned against unions

Sunday, April 10th, 2011 by John Kennedy

The municipal pension rewrite now advancing in the House — and headed to the Senate Budget Committee next week — has a history rooted in Republican politics, having emerged as a payback to unions that supported Gov. Jeb Bush in 1998.

But the political wind in Tallahassee has shifted sharply this spring.

And for Florida’s police and fire unions, one-time allies are now enemies, with the pension overhaul the latest in a series of what labor sees as union-busting moves by the GOP leadership.

“Did we go too far? Yeah, maybe we did,” said Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, who as House Speaker in 1999 led the legislation sought by Bush. “But we were pretty flush back then. We can’t afford this now.”

As for Bush, he’s apparently changed, too. In January he and presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich co-authored an op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times. In it, the pair urge that states consider declaring bankruptcy to reorganize their troubled finances.

Why do they need to take such a drastic step?

To get out from under sweetheart pension deals for greedy unions, the former deal-maker turned reformer now writes.

‘Experienced citizen’ Gingrich: Power to the people in 2012

Friday, February 25th, 2011 by George Bennett

Gingrich in West Palm Beach Thursday night


If he runs for president, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told reporters Thursday night it’ll be a “citizen-led and citizen-focused effort.”

Gingrich, 67, was a Republican congressman for 20 years and House speaker for four, but he bristled at the suggestion he might be viewed as an inside-the-Beltway establishmentarian.

“I don’t know of anybody who thinks the Contract With America was inside-the-Beltway,” Gingrich said before his Palm Beach County GOP Lincoln Day speech at the Kravis Center.

“I think you’re allowed to be an experienced citizen. You don’t have to be a permanent amateur. Incompetence and lack of knowledge is not necessarily a good base for the presidency,” Gingrich said.

In his speech, Gingrich hinted at an unconventional, outside-the-Beltway campaign.

(more…)

Gingrich says Florida home to four potential 2012 veeps

Thursday, February 24th, 2011 by George Bennett

WEST PALM BEACH — Former House Speaker and potential 2012 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, arriving at tonight’s Palm Beach County GOP Lincoln Day dinner, says several Floridians could end up on the Republican presidential ballot next year.

“Florida has two and maybe three potential vice presidential candidates right now, maybe four if you count Jeb Bush,” Gingrich said. He mentioned Sen. Marco Rubio, U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation and Gov. Rick Scott.

Gingrich says he’ll announce his presidential plans within a few weeks.

Asked about Florida’s 2012 primary date, Gingrich said Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina should be the first states to hold 2012 presidential primaries or caucuses. After that, he said, “it’s up to Florida. At that point Florida has to negotiate with the RNC.”

The Republican National Committee wants Florida to move its primary from January to March.

Gingrich discusses presidential decision, 1995 shutdown before tonight’s speaking gig

Thursday, February 24th, 2011 by George Bennett

Nobody wants a government shutdown, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says as a March 4 deadline looms for Congress and President Obama to agree on spending levels to keep the government running.

But Gingrich — a potential 2012 presidential candidate who will keynote tonight’s Palm Beach County GOP Lincoln Day dinner — says the 1995-96 shutdown with which he’s associated wasn’t the disaster it’s made out to be.

“It worked in public policy terms because we got four straight balanced budgets,” Gingrich said Wednesday in a brief interview with The Palm Beach Post.

Gingrich also said he’s within a few weeks of announcing whether he’ll run for president in 2012.

(more…)

Road to the White House? Gingrich to headline Feb. 24 county GOP dinner

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011 by George Bennett

Former House Speaker and potential 2012 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich will keynote the Palm Beach County Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Day dinner on Feb. 24 in West Palm Beach. The $195-a-plate affair at the Kravis Center is the local GOP’s main money-raising event.

Newt Gingrich backs Holly Benson for attorney general

Thursday, August 19th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich endorsed Holly Benson in a tight three-way GOP primary for attorney general today.

“The next Attorney General of Florida will have to take the lead on the lawsuit challenging Obamacare,” said Gingrich said in a press release issued by Benson’s campaign. “In my opinion, there is no one more qualified to do this than Holly Benson. So today, I am proud to endorse Holly’s candidacy for Florida Attorney General.”

Benson, a former state House member who also served as secretary of both the Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the Agency for Health Care Administration, received the endorsement of conservative biggie Gingrich the day after primary opponent Pam Bondi nailed down the support of Tea Party idol Sarah Palin.

“It is a true honor to have the former Speaker’s support of my campaign,” Benson said in a statement. “Newt has been at the cutting edge of conservative policies, leading not only a conservative banner but also leading our party to victory after decades of being the minority in Congress. He is a true conservative icon, and I am proud to have his endorsement.”

The GOP opponents are battling to prove their conservative stripes with their endorsements. Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp has the support of Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly, considered the matriarch of the modern conservative movement and conservative activist John Stemberger, head of the Florida Family Policy Council.

Florida political tweeters
Video: Politics stories
Categories
Archives