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Obama-Romney Tied in Florida Poll

The survey shows that Florida is a toin coss on which candidate leads the presidential race.

A new Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald/Bay News 9 poll finds Barack Obama and Mitt Romney essentially tied in America's biggest battleground state, with 46 percent of likely Florida voters supporting the president, 45 percent backing the former Massachusetts governor, and 2 percent behind Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. Only 7 percent are undecided.

"A coin toss," Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker said. "Typical Florida."

Adding Marco Rubio to the Romney ticket would only marginally help Romney in must-win Florida. A Romney-Rubio ticket leads Obama-Joe Biden 46 percent to 45 percent in Florida.

Florida Recount Predicted

The New York Times' uber prognosticator, whose blog derives its name from the 2000 Recount, forecasts "Florida as close as can be. It projects the Nov. 6 result as Mr. Obama 49.5 percent, Mr. Romney 49.4 percent — an outcome that would be close enough to trigger another recount."

Sen. Bill Nelson Ahead of Connie Mack

Sen. Bill Nelson has a 47 to 42 percent lead over Rep. Connie Mack, according to the Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald/Bay News 9 poll.

Only 36 percent of respondents like Nelson and 12 percent did not recognize him, an encouraging sign for Mack who has name recognition due to his father.

“Nelson is vulnerable,” said Brad Coker of Mason-Dixon Polling & Research.

A Rasmussen poll came out Thursday that has Mack leading Nelson by a 46 to 37 percent margin.

Still, there is good news for Nelson in the latest poll. The senator holds a strong – 50 to 39 percent – lead with independents. He also holds a big advantage with women, leading Mack by a 52 to 37 percent margin.

In terms of region, Nelson is strongest in Southeast Florida, leading Mack by a 53 to 33 percent. Mack, meanwhile, is strongest in Southwest Florida, leading Nelson by a 55 to 38 percent.

NOW IT'S GETTING SERIOUS: Nelson's chief-of-staff, Pete Mitchell, officially takes charge of re-election campaign beginning today.

Weldon Winds Newspaper Endorsement

"A year ago, Republican candidates for U.S. Senate eager to take on Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson filled a stage. Now it's impossible to find two of them in the same room. The field weeded itself out, with the most promising possibilities never getting in the race and the others giving up or leaving for safer races. U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV of Fort Myers has the famous name, the endorsements, the PAC money — and questionable work habits, a sense of entitlement and an undistinguished record in Congress. Former U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon of Indialantic is a long shot, but he has more experience in Congress, a stronger record of accomplishments and a reputation as a more serious-minded lawmaker..."

MY TAKE: After declining its invitation to participate in the candidate debate it intended to host, the Times would endorse a tomato can before it recommended Mack.

Is Palin an RNC Wallflower?

Mitt Romney hasn't invited Sarah Palin to the Republican convention and the Tea Party is livid, Newsweek reports.

"What galls the Tea Party activists is the sense that Romney represents a lost opportunity for their agenda of less government, flatter taxes, and constitutional restraint. Facing a vulnerable president saddled with a bad economy and a crisis in the public sector, they feel stuck with a guy served up by Republican elites who speaks conservatism with an establishment accent. Worse, in this view, Romney seems incapable, or unwilling, to even defend himself, as the Obama campaign machine highlights his offshore bank accounts and his career at Bain Capital."

FLASHBACK: Palin’s PAC paid $4,500 to reserve space at Channelside Bay Mall in Tampa, near the site of the Republican National Convention, “suggesting that she plans to have an independent presence at the event separate from the formal proceedings,” according to Politico.

Is Gov. Scott a Liability for Romney?

Gathering in South Florida for their annual fundraising soiree, state Democrats made clear what they believe is their strongest argument against Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in Florida: Gov. Rick Scott, reports Brandon Larrabee of the News Service of Florida.

With Scott's poll numbers continuing to struggle and Florida a critical battleground in the November election, Democrats see the unpopular businessman governor as a uniquely powerful albatross against Romney, a former Massachusetts governor under fire for his time at the head of private equity firm Bain Capital as he runs against President Barack Obama.

"I think there's just a couple of words that speak to the current Republican brand and the way that we're going to present it, two words I'll use with some frequency tonight and for the rest of this campaign: Rick Scott," Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith said.

Smith and other Democrats bashed Scott at a press conference before the party's Jefferson Jackson Dinner at the Westin Diplomat Hotel here, an event a party spokeswoman said had drawn about 1,000 people and raised about $750,000. And the attacks on Scott and another controversial Republican, Congressman Allen West, continued through the dinner.

Wasserman Denies Interest in Governor's Office

Democratic National Committee Chair and U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz has dismissed a published report that she would consider a run for Florida governor in 2014.

“I’m running for re-election,” Wasserman Schultz said on Saturday. “I am going to work hard to earn my constituents’ support to represent them in the nation’s capital." ... “I am completely focused on re-electing Barack Obama and earning the support of my constituents,” she said. “That’s my sole focus.”

Floridians Aren't Feeling the Love for Rick Scott

After 18 months as governor, Rick Scott remains personally unpopular with a majority of Floridians, according to the Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald/Bay News 9 poll, reports Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times.

But despite voters' displeasure with Scott, they strongly support his efforts to rid Florida's voter rolls of noncitizens in this presidential election year.

The latest survey by the nonpartisan Mason-Dixon Polling & Research of Jacksonville shows that 51 percent of voters disapprove of Scott's job performance and 40 percent approve, with 9 percent not sure.

Scott's positive name recognition also remains low, with 29 percent of voters viewing him favorably, 37 percent unfavorably, 30 percent neutral and 4 percent with no opinion, despite his people-friendly work days, blitz of ceremonial bill signings and frequent visits to high-profile, cable TV shows.

Jeb Raising Mondey for Young Candidates

Former Gov. Jeb Bush will headline a fundraiser for Maverick PAC, the group founded by George P. Bush, the former governor’s son. The organization supports young Republican candidates.

FDLE TO PROBE EX-LAWMAKER, COLLEGE PRESIDENT LARS HAFNER

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will investigate whether State College of Florida President Lars Hafner forged signatures on documents, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported.

Hafner has been president of the college in Manatee and Sarasota counties since 2008. Earlier, he served 12 years as a Democratic House member from Pinellas County.

POLICY NOTES

>>>The Board of Trustees at Florida A&M University meets by phone Monday to discuss the recent decision by President James Ammons to resign. The board will discuss a transition plan for when Ammons leaves in October. Ammons stepped down in the midst of a series of problems that have come to light at the school, and in the wake of the death of a student in what was said to be a band hazing event.

>>>The Citizens Property Insurance Corp. Board of Governors meets to discuss rate changes for the upcoming year. The workshop will be the first detailed look at potential rates since newly appointed CEO Barry Gilway started his job.  Board members are looking at options to make Citizens' rates more actuarially sound and reduce the number of policies in the state-backed  program.

>>>The Florida Board of Education will hold a workshop that will include presentations about state finances and major cost drivers for the 2013-14 education budget.

>>>Florida's Board of Governors looks to have a bigger say in who gets selected campus president at UF and FAMU.

DEM VERN BUCHANAN OUTRAISES VERN BUCHANAN DURING Q2 IN CD 16

While the campaign of Vern Buchanan is touting its more than $2 million overall raised and more than $1.5 million in cash-on-hand, it's the fact that Democratic challenger Keith Fitzgerald out-raised Buchanan during the second quarter that is turning heads in Sarasota and Washington, D.C. Fitzgerald raised over $380,000 from April 1 to June 30, while Buchanan brought in $335,000.

A SURPRISING STRAW POLL IN CD 19

Lee County’s Republican Executive Committee’s meeting this week included a surprising straw poll, brief speeches by candidates, and fireworks.

In the straw poll, only REC members were allowed to vote; officers said 117 members were present. Not all candidates attended; those who did generally did better than those who did not.

The biggest surprise? Possibly Byron Donalds’ one-vote win, 35-34, in the congressional contest over Gary Aubuchon, who has some REC leaders in his camp. Chauncey Goss was third.

THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION'S LEGISLATIVE ENDORSEMENTS

The Florida Retail Federation enjoyed a successful 2012 legislative session, although one of its priorities - the equalization of online tax collection requirements -- was and continues to be stymied. The FRF expects to be an active player in the upcoming legislative elections and is endorsing a slate of candidates supportive of the retail industry.

Among the endorsed candidates are: Rob Bradley in SD 7, Dorothy Hukill over Frank Bruno in SD 8, John Legg over the field in SD 17, Jim Frishe over Jeff Brandes in SD 22, Mack Bernard over Jeff Clemens in SD 27, Ellyn Bogdanoff over Maria Sachs in SD 34 and Ron Saunders in SD 39.

The FRF did not issue an endorsement in SD 4 between Aaron Bean and Mike Weinstein or SD 24 between Rachel Burgin and Tom Lee.

As for the interesting endorsements made by the FRF in House races, it's supporting Michelle Rehwinkle-Vasilinda over Bradley Maxwell in HD 9, Jake Raburn in the GOP primary for HD 57 and Ana Rivas Logan in HD 116.

A full listing will be posted on SaintPetersBlog later Monday morning.

THE BEST LEGISLATIVE FUNDRAISERS

Candidates for the Florida Senate and Florida House of Representatives today filed their F1 campaign finance reports for everything raised and spent from April 1, 2012 through July 6, 2012. On 3 Public Relations performs an amazing public service putting all of this information in one place. On 3's Christina Johnson e-mailed us these highlights:

The Top 5 Senate Incumbents (Total Money Raised)

SD 01 / Don Gaetz / $632,350.00; SD 30 / Lizbeth Benacquisto / $542,465.56; SD 32 / Joe Negron / $503,665.00; SD 20 / Jack Latvala / $455,082.00; SD 06 / John Thrasher / $450,565.00

The Top 5 Senate Candidates (Total Money Raised)

SD 21 / Denise Grimsley / $756,880.77; SD 26 / Bill Galvano / $418,249.38; SD 04 / Aaron Bean / $372,352.07; SD 08 / Dorothy Hukill / $278,010.34; SD 18 / Wilton Simpson / $273,000.00

The Top 5 House Incumbents (Total Money Raised)

HD 29 / Chris Dorworth / $296,022.00; HD 116 / Jose Felix Diaz / $243,835.00; HD 37 / Richard Corcoran / $239,412.25; HD 115 / Michael Bileca / $238,250.00; HD 80 / Matt Hudson / $233,133.00

The Top 5 House Candidates (Total Money Raised)

HD 7 / Halsey Brashears / $152,689.23; HD 77 / Dane Eagle / $133,407.72; HD 97 / Jared Moskowitz / $127,473.00; HD 78 / Heather Fitzenhagen / $115,794.30; HD 47 / Bob Brooks / $110,100.00

STATE GOP HEAVILY INVOLVED IN LEGISLATIVE PRIMARIES

To a degree that is unprecedented, the Republican Party of Florida is taking sides in GOP primaries across the state in a big way, according to the most recent campaign finance reports, reports Matt Dixon of the Florida Times-Union. The party has given $2.2 million to influence legislative races, records show. It has contributed $318,609 directly to candidates who have a Republican primary opponent, and nearly $1.9 million to a group controlled by some of the Senate’s most powerful members that is also taking sides.

The help comes in the form of both direct contributions and help with polling and campaign staff.

At this point in a similar 2008 election cycle, the party had given less than $500,000.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “These guys are saying we are going to slit one another’s throats to see who can be president of the Senate.” -- Tom Slade, former Chair of the Republican Party of Florida.

BIG WINNER OUT OF SECOND QUARTER FUNDRAISING REPORT? MENTZER MEDIA SERVICES

(I)t appeared that one of the big winners in this year’s campaign is a Towson, Md. political consulting company, reports James Call of the Florida Current.  State records show Mentzer Media Services had collected nearly $400,000 from state Senate candidates.

Mentzer was formed in 1991 and has worked for Republican candidates running for offices from city hall to the White House. It was behind the 2004 Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign against John Kerry and produced ads opposing Jerry Brown when he ran for governor of California in 2010.  Senate President-designate Don Gaetz, R-Destin, retained the company for his fall campaign against Richard Harrison, a no-party-affiliate candidate.

“A candidate would want them on their side instead of working against them,” Sen. Mike Fasano said with a laugh. ... “A lot of times candidates will hire a consultant so their opponents can’t hire them,” he said.

ONE STAT TELLS YOU ALL YOU NEED TO ABOUT MONEY AND FLORIDA POLITICS

This one stat, courtesy of Aaron DeSlatte of the Orlando Sentinel, tells you all you need to know about Florida legislative campaigns:

A fund controlled by House Minority Leader Perry Thurston to help Democratic House candidates has raised just $15,000 since being created in January. By contrast, Thurston's Republican counterpart, incoming House Speaker Will Weatherford has raised $1.37 million this year for his own fund.

IN SD 4, MIKE WEINSTEIN HAS FUNDRAISING MOMENTUM, BUT AARON BEAN STILL HAS BANK

Rep. Mike Weinstein more than doubled what fellow Republican Aaron Bean raised in the race for Senate District 4 this quarter, but Bean still has more in the bank than Weinstein. Weinstein raised $72,635 in the second quarter while Bean just managed a bit under $31,000. But Bean, who has been running to return to the Legislature for several years, has raised far more overall than Weinstein – about $374,000 to about $185,000. Bean, of Fernandina Beach, also has just under $195,000 on hand, to Weinstein's $145,000. The winner of the Republican primary faces Democrat Nancy Soderberg.

TAMPA TRIBUNE ENDORSES LEGG, FRISHE AND LEE IN BATTLEGROUND STATE SENATE RACES

The relatively conservative editorial board of the Tampa Tribune is endorsing John Legg in SD 17, Jim Frishe is SD 22 and Tom Lee in SD 24.

Alex E. Cahn July 16, 2012 at 06:54 PM
I'm amazed that things are so close in the presidential race. Romney signed forms saying he was CEO and chair of Bain capital for several years after he now claims he had left. And if he really did leave, then why was the corporation still paying him $100,000 per year??? He has also only released one tax return (and one estimate) while both Obama and Biden released ten or more years of returns long ago. What is he hiding? Oh, and to top it off, Rmoney and his wife took a $77,000 tax deduction for their DANCING HORSE! Seriously. Anyone else here ever take a write-off for a dancing horse? Do we want as president someone who claims he wasn't working at a company that was still paying him $100K per year while closing factories and sending jobs to other countries??? Also, Obama inherited an economy that was losing more than 700,000 jobs EVERY MONTH, and we've now had at least twenty consecutive months of job growth. Not enough.. but at least it's growth! There's so many other reasons that Obama is better than anyone the GOP has these days, but I'll just add one more big one. Obama offered several compromises to reach a deal to cut the deficit, including offering $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in taxes on the richest of the rich. The GOP said no while attacking Obama and claiming he was the one refusing to compromise!!!
Samuel Clemens July 16, 2012 at 08:46 PM
One thing is certain, you sure do know how to repeat the talking points........cannot wait for the programmed "right" response.......baa baa Wake Up Obama=Romney
JS July 16, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Funny, wasn't Walker losing in Wisconsin right up until the polls closed and then CNN's Wolf Blitzer then pooped his pants when he saw the vote tallies? That was a priceless look on his face lol. Polls are meaningless anymore, especially with the media in one pocket or another.
Tonto July 17, 2012 at 03:29 AM
What about the Fake birth certificate, Fake draft card? Fake social security number? Oblamer is the last fake that should throw stones. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hPR5jnjtLo&feature=fvwrel - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxoVqMhuzTo
Lynda July 17, 2012 at 03:30 AM
Most polls had Walker leading by a comfortable margin. Money talked; common sense walked.
Lynda July 17, 2012 at 03:35 AM
Thanks for the info on state legislators and their fundraising. Florida's state government is the best money can buy! Now if we just had more info on who the buyers are.
Dee July 17, 2012 at 08:56 AM
I was not polled but here is a vote for Romney. I not dumb, stupid or brainwashed enough to vote for Obama.
JaaaaaaayBeeeeeeeeee July 17, 2012 at 11:18 AM
Dee, Your arguement for Romney is compelling ... the facts that you present here are so well presented that I will change my vote ... Thanks for posting.
Michael D. July 17, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Do you believe that Obama is the only major candidate using those tactics, both major parties do. You are just as brainwashed through the media. I'm sure that Fox News isn't making sure that the candidate/party they drop all that money on isn't going to be shown in a non-favorable light. Where the other one isn't. Both parties lie about their candidates and their record. Both have manipulated the system to get where they are. And shocking they are not the only two people running for president.
Carl Schrader July 17, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Thanks for sharing some great information in this post.
Yvonne Shaw July 17, 2012 at 04:04 PM
A strong vote for Romney! Why wouldn't someone take every Legal deduction???? So -he has a dancing horse which is therapy for his wife who has MS. Why not do everything possible to make her happy. He has the money which he has EARNED. Earned being the key word here.
Michael D. July 17, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Yvonne, other than what is being sold to you through the media. What do you know about Romney? Do you really know he "earned" all his money? I assume the money is making off campaigns are all "earned" according to you as well. Or the money given to him by Lobbysts is "earned"..... hang on that is "earned" by following what they ask him to do. And I'm not saying Romney is the only one, the above statements are for Obama too.
Lynda July 17, 2012 at 05:41 PM
I think the question of the Romney deductions is is more a question of patriotism. Contribute to your country for the services that made your financial success possible (even if you and your sons won't serve in the military). If a man runs for President for 6, 8 years, why can't he release his taxes for those years? What hasn't he had time to hide from voters? He hasn't had any other job except running for President so how has he "earned" his money? Frankly his money has been earning money so it is taxed at a much lower rate than wages. Good for him and his family, but don't pretend he actually did any work (as most of us know it) for his millions especially since all his investments have been in a so-called "blind trust" for years.
Dick Cheney July 17, 2012 at 06:28 PM
R Money - the candidate of the rich and those who are afraid of losing their precarious place in socioeconomic pecking order. Republicans have never supported any reforms that helped the working people. They were against social security, the voting rights act, medicare, and now affordable health insurance. Republican supporters are afraid of the demographic changes that are occurring in our country today. They are against immigration because they are against people of color and fear the loss of political power that will occur if these folks get the vote. The republicans want to purge voter rolls because they want to suppress the voting rights of citizens who typically vote for Democatic candidates. R Money is a hippocrite who passed affordable haelthcare legislation in Massachusetts and now is against it. R Money is a draft dodger who did not have the guts to fight for the U.S. but took a draft deferrment to convert the heathens in France to the cult of LDS. R Money worships at the altar of mammon. He is a tax evader who views supporting his country as a game in which the goal is to evade his responsibility. Like most Republicans, he wraps himself in phony patriotism that is only a cover that allows him to seek personal enrichment at the expense of working people who he is happy to fire. He is a job outsourcer whose 1st allegiance is to making money for himself and his family, everyone else in the country be damned.
S. Ripley July 17, 2012 at 06:40 PM
I never knew what blather meant until now.
Tonto July 18, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Oblamer should of AT LEAST run a successfull lemonade stand before trying to chew off overthrowing the United States with communism :)
JaaaaaaayBeeeeeeeeee July 18, 2012 at 11:09 AM
How Romney made his money ... the short version .... Venture Capitalist .... convince OTHER people to pool THEIR money ... none of his own. Buy a business in trouble. Strip it for all of its good, viable assets/affiliated companies and sell them immediately ... let the tatters that are left to coast down into oblivion, outsource those contracts to other companies (in other countries frequently ... ), making $$$$s off of them ... eventually take the company off life support and show the workers the door, stripping them of pensions (hey... no money left ... wonder why?) ... and pocket the money made in the dismantling process. All without investing any of his OWN money .... just milking others .... Bain Capital did this time and again. Romney stayed on with Bain years longer than he is claiming, and has flip-flopped on his answers here repeatedly. In the middle of it right now again. There is a huge push to PRIVATIZE many American institutions ... the push for charter schools, prisons, and the US Post Office. How many of you realize that the post office would be profitable RIGHT NOW, if not for a Bush-era requirement that they fund pensions 75 YEARS into the future (for people not even born yet!). No other company/institution has ever had to deal with anything of the sort! ... all a deliberate attempt to sink the USPS, and put it in private hands. How do you think that will work out when it becomes "for profit".
nobsclause July 18, 2012 at 12:01 PM
Ja.....Be.... you are on point, on EVERY point.
Tonto July 18, 2012 at 12:16 PM
http://www.rr.com/politics/topic/article/rr/1131/72030447/Sheriff_Arpaio_says_Obama_birth_certificate_is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hPR5jnjtLo&feature=fvwrel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxoVqMhuzTo
Michael D. July 18, 2012 at 01:43 PM
Most of the great politicans in our country were failed businessmen. Abraham Lincoln was the owner of a store and a manager of another that tanked horribly before moving to politics. He wasn't out of debt until just before being elected. Turn off your Fox News "No Spin Zone" and think for a moment. Are either of these men what we would consider "Great Americans"?

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