Scott drops $3.2 million on TV this week in “dogfight” against Nelson

Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan told us this morning that incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson “is in for a dogfight” against Rick Scott, the Republican outgoing governor who’s trying to oust the veteran senator.

Judging by the amount of money Scott’s campaign dropped on TV ads this week alone, Morgan’s characterization of the race may be an understatement.

According to Scott’s camp, they dropped $3.2 million on TV spots this week alone — including on two Spanish-language ads as the governor relentlessly woos Hispanic voters.

That brings to $8 million the total Scott’s campaign has spent on television in a little more than a month since he announced his entry into the race.

The latest ad, “Cambiar,” focuses on Scott’s pledge to “change” Washington.

We did notice that the two Spanish-language ads feature some of the same stars, but no matter.

A second ad, “Presente,” tambien en español, highlights Scott’s efforts to aid Puerto Ricans in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

The third ad relies on an English-speaking cast of characters who blast Nelson for, well, being too much of a Democrat and “voting the party line.”

Which is a bit odd, since — until this year, when he supported a school-safety measure that included some gun restrictions — Scott had never been viewed as a politician who was known for bridging the partisan divide.

 

John Morgan: “If I was Bill Nelson, I’d be worried”

IMG_0124Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan held court with reporters moments before a hearing in a lawsuit he initiated kicked off Wednesday morning.

Morgan is a political rainmaker who largely bankrolled the constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana in Florida and was overwhelmingly approved by voters nearly two years ago.

Morgan, who had toyed with the notion of running for governor, spoke about his decision to stay out of the governor’s race.

“I’ll tell you. To run for governor, you’ve got to be done making money. And I’m not done making money. Or you have to be a professional politician. And I’m not a professional politician,” he said.

Morgan said he spoke yesterday with Philip Levine, the former Miami Beach Miami who is a contender in the Democratic primary for governor.

“I told him he’s lucky I’m not in ‘cause I would win in a landslide,” Morgan said, adding that he didn’t know which Democrat would capture the nomination.

“All I know is I’ve never known any governor that’s ever done anything for any of us. Ever. So it’s not a job that I really think I’d be good at every day. I’m better at this,” he said, standing outside the courtroom.

Morgan also said he supported House Speaker Richard Corcoran’s decision to stay on the sidelines in the governor’s race.

Morgan said Corcoran visited him a few weeks ago.

“I said, look, here’s the deal. It’s all about money. And if you don’t got the money, you can’t run. I said at the end of the day, questions answer themselves. And I think the question was answered for Richard Corcoran when the money froze up,” Morgan said.

While Corcoran is a friend and someone he would have helped, Morgan said the Land O’ Lakes Republican made the right choice.

“I think he made the right decision because I think he would have gotten beat and I think he knew he was going to get beat. And if I’m going to get beat, I don’t like to go to my own ass-kicking,” Morgan said.

Morgan also had what appeared to be a dim view of incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s odds against challenger Rick Scott, who’s finishing his last year as governor.

“I think Sen Nelson is in for a dog fight. I think he’s got to get busy. You cannot underestimate this Rick Scott. He is a methodical, Eveready bunny, a bald-headed Eveready bunny who just never stops. He’s focused, and he’s got the money, and he’s got the message, and if I was Bill Nelson, I’d be worried,” he said.

 

Hammer: YETI stuff too expensive to blow up!

IMG_5658(1)It’s no secret to Truth or Dara followers that the National Rifle Association and Texas-based YETI are in a shoot-out over the high-dollar cooler-maker’s decision to abandon the national gun-rights group.

The decision prompted NRA supporters and Second Amendment advocates to turn to social media sites to launch an all-out assault on YETI, using the #BoycottYETI campaign, pics of YETI coolers turned into port-a-potties and videos of folks blowing up pricey YETI supplies — the coolers range from $200 to more upwards of $1,200 — in retaliation.

So it might come as a surprise that NRA Florida lobbyist Marion Hammer, a former president of the national gun lobbying-group, sent out an alert urging gun owners to drop their assault on YETI equipment.

“Don’t blow up your Yeti cooler. Don’t shoot your Yeti cooler full of holes. Don’t chain your Yeti cooler to the back of your pick-up truck and drag it down the highway. Don’t glue a toilet seat to Yeti cooler. Don’t hang your Yeti cooler in a tree and beat it with a baseball bat,” Hammer wrote in an email alert .

We’re not sure if Hammer’s message was meant to add to the bag of tricks already employed by disgruntled YETI owners.

But the Tallahassee-based great-grandma advised unhappy NRA folks to convert their YETI into a statement.

“Put a big ‘I stand with the NRA Foundation’ sticker on your YETI cooler and keep using it. They cost too much money to destroy to make a statement. Let a sticker make your statement,” she wrote in the alert.

By our kitchen-table standards, she’s right.

YETI coolers start at $200, and can run upwards of $1,200 for boaty brand-conscious buyers.

The NRA will be handing out stickers to cover YETI labels in Dallas at its annual convention in Dallas this weekend. The stickers will be available at the “NRA Foundation Wall of Guns” raffle, according to Hammer’s alert.

President Donald Trump is expected to attend the convention.

 

 

Ho-hum. Chamber endorses Scott.

Surprise, surprise.

Days after the U.S. Chamber of Commerce rolled out a six-figure ad buy to attack Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, the Chamber — along with the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the political committee affiliated with the Jacksonville Chamber —  endorsed Republican Gov. Rick Scott in his bid to unseat the veteran Florida Democrat.

Scott’s campaign declared that “this is the first time in Florida history that local, state and national Chambers of Commerce have come together to announce a joint campaign endorsement.”

The announcement is the focus of Scott’s day, according to the schedule distributed by the governor’s office.

His office schedule simply lists “staff and call time (via phone)” at 10:35 a.m., while the campaign is holding events today in Jacksonville and Orlando for a “major announcement.”

By Jim Turner.

YETI spin doesn’t sit well with Marion Hammer

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We’re not bored with the NRA-YETI feud yet.

NRA Florida lobbyist Marion Hammer, a former president of the national gun-rights group, gave us a little more detail about the intensifying battle between hipster cooler company YETI and the National Rifle Association.

According to Hammer, YETI cut off its affiliation with the NRA Foundation in response to the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, which left 14 students and three staff members dead.

The massacre prompted demands for stricter gun laws and calls for companies to cut off their affiliation with the NRA.

Last month, YETI — whose coolers were coveted by NRA supporters at banquets and auctions — did that, sparking a social media backlash and a #BoycottYETI movement.

Here’s what Hammer told us this morning about the origin of the spat:

“YETI severed ties with the NRA and is now engaging in damage control after a backlash from many of its customers. In early March, YETI refused to place a previously negotiated order from NRA-ILA, citing ‘recent events’ as the reason – a clear reference to the tragedy in Parkland, Florida. YETI then delivered notice to the NRA Foundation that it was terminating a 7 year agreement and demanded that the NRA remove the YETI name and logo from all NRA digital assets, as well as refrain from using any YETI trademarks in future print material. While YETI is trying to spin the story otherwise, those are the facts.”

YETI fires back at NRA over sponsorship shoot-out. Hammer: Shame on you again!

YETI-COOLER-01-800x416With social media posts of folks shooting up their YETI mugs and coolers, or repurposing them for less sanitary activities, the Texas-based company responded yesterday to attacks from gun owners.

The flap started after YETI withdrew its discounting and sponsorship for the NRA Foundation, a non-profit that’s focused on youth and education programs, according to the gun-rights group.

YETI’s decision sparked an outcry from NRA supporters, who quickly launched a #BoycottYETI social media campaign.

But, yesterday, YETI released a statement saying the NRA’s statement issued on April 20 was “inaccurate.” And the company denies it targeted the NRA, saying it had eliminated “a group of outdated discounting programs” for the NRA and “number of other organizations.”

The company also took issue with the NRA’s accusation that YETI had abandoned its commitment to helping young people enjoy the great outdoors.

“Nothing is further from the truth. YETI was founded more than 10 years ago with a passion for the outdoors, and over the course of our history we have actively and enthusiastically supported hunters, anglers and the broader outdoor community. We have been devoted to and will continue to directly support causes tied to our passion for the outdoors, including by working with many organizations that promote conservation and management of wildlife resources and habitat restoration,” the company said.

Here’s the YETI statement, issued on Twitter yesterday:

A few weeks ago, YETI notified the NRA Foundation, as well as a number of other organizations, that we were eliminating a group of outdated discounting programs. When we notified the NRA Foundation and the other organizations of this change, YETI explained that we were offering them an alternative customization program broadly available to consumers and organizations, including the NRA Foundation. These facts directly contradict the inaccurate statement the NRA-ILA distributed on April 20.

Further, the NRA-ILA stated in that same public communication that “(YETI) has declined to continue helping America’s young people enjoy outdoor recreational activities.” Nothing is further from the truth. YETI was founded more than 10 years ago with a passion for the outdoors, and over the course of our history we have actively and enthusiastically supported hunters, anglers and the broader outdoor community. We have been devoted to and will continue to directly support causes tied to our passion for the outdoors, including by working with many organizations that promote conservation and management of wildlife resources and habitat restoration. From our website to our film footage and from our social media posts to our ambassadors, YETI has always prominently featured hunters pursuing their passions. Moreover, YETI is unwavering in our belief in and commitment to the Constitution of the United States and its Second Amendment.

YETI’s response only seemed to inflame the already red-hot NRA.

Marion Hammer, the NRA’s Florida lobbyist, blasted the Austin company for “calling us liars” in an alert issued this morning.

“Perhaps the people writing YETI’s damage control statements are not talking to the people who enforced YETI’s decisions and refused our orders. We had even offered the YETI Roadie in one of our sponsorship levels for 2018 – which we’ve had to cancel,” Hammer wrote. “We told you the truth.”

Here’s Hammer’s missive:

“If it wasn’t bad enough that YETI dropped The NRA Foundation as a client, now they’re calling us liars because we informed our members and friends of their actions.

The NRA Foundation has over 1,100 “Friends of NRA Committees” around the country. These committees host banquets and auctions that are attended by hundreds of thousands of guests each year.  These events raise funds to support charitable causes and programs.  The NRA Foundation supports the needs of  youth programs for education, safety and training, as well as law enforcement needs, shooting ranges and conservation programs.

For many years we have purchased coolers from YETI for our auctions. We have auctioned off many thousands of YETI coolers each year. YETI recently dropped The NRA Foundation as a client.  Not only would they not take our orders for more coolers, they forced us to cancel orders already in the system that they said they would not fill.

Three days after we notified you of YETI’s decision to drop The NRA Foundation, YETI issued their prepared statement in which they admit they dropped us but claim they simply eliminated the discount program and dropped other (unnamed) organizations as well.  That’s news to us.

Perhaps the people writing YETI’s damage control statements are not talking to the people who enforced YETI’s decisions and refused our orders. We had even offered the YETI Roadie in one of our sponsorship levels for 2018 – which we’ve had to cancel.

We told you the truth.

YETI’s attempts at damage control is to say our statement is not accurate.  Shame on you again YETI.  You know you made a mistake.  A big one. Now you must live with your mistake.

Graham grabs endorsement of progressive ‘trailblazer’ Tammy Duckworth

30789731_6102639375688_7819687006950129664_nWe don’t usually highlight endorsements, but this one caught our attention because, after all, the male-dominated U.S. Senate changed its rules to allow U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth to bring her new baby, Maile, onto the Senate floor. (She got her a jacket so the newborn could conform with Senate protocol.)

baby clothes

Plus Duckworth, a wounded war veteran and Purple Heart recipient, is a rock star among progressive Democrats, so her endorsement of former Congresswoman Gwen Graham, for what it’s worth, could be considered a coup in a heated Democratic gubernatorial primary. Especially if the Illinois senator campaigns for Graham in Florida.

Graham’s announcement of the endorsement carries on with an all-about-Trump theme (remember her first digital ad?), with both women bashing the president.

“No one is better equipped to defend Florida against Donald Trump and his harmful policies than Gwen Graham,” Duckworth said in the press release. “She will take on Trump to defend the Affordable Care Act and expand healthcare for Florida families. Gwen will protect Florida’s waters from Trump’s dangerous oil drilling plans. And she will put people — not special interests — first by passing an increased minimum wage.”

Graham, who last year nailed the endorsement of  New York U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and who served with Duckworth during Graham’s brief stint in Congress, called the Illinois senator “one of the toughest women I know” who “sets an incredible example for all Americans.”

“As governor, I will fight with her to take on Donald Trump and fight to expand healthcare, protect our environment, and defend Floridians from his bullyish attacks,” Graham said in the release.

The endorsement of the lefty Duckworth could give Graham — who’s been criticized by progressives for being too conservative — a nudge in a heated primary. Both Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who has has captured support from some progressives, and Orlando entrepreneur Chris King, bashed Graham for her congressional voting record during last week’s debate, which is certain to be an issue throughout the coming months in the match-up — also featuring former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine — to replace outgoing Gov. Rick Scott.

That’s probably why this morning’s announcement includes Duckworth bragging on Graham’s tenure in the House.

“Serving together in Congress, I saw Gwen fight for our shared progressive values. When Republicans tried to repeal Obamacare, Gwen voted to save it. She defended a woman’s right to choose and sponsored legislation to improve healthcare for mothers and babies. And after the devastating shooting at Pulse, Gwen took on Paul Ryan to demand a vote on common sense gun safety legislation,” she says in the release.

Here’s the full announcement:

On the heels of releasing her first digital ad slamming President Donald Trump, Gwen Graham is announcing support from U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth, a progressive trailblazer leading the charge against Trump in Congress.

“No one is better equipped to defend Florida against Donald Trump and his harmful policies than Gwen Graham,” Duckworth said. “She will take on Trump to defend the Affordable Care Act and expand healthcare for Florida families. Gwen will protect Florida’s waters from Trump’s dangerous oil drilling plans. And she will put people — not special interests — first by passing an increased minimum wage.”

“Serving together in Congress, I saw Gwen fight for our shared progressive values. When Republicans tried to repeal Obamacare, Gwen voted to save it. She defended a woman’s right to choose and sponsored legislation to improve healthcare for mothers and babies. And after the devastating shooting at Pulse, Gwen took on Paul Ryan to demand a vote on common sense gun safety legislation”

Duckworth, a Purple Heart recipient, and Graham served together in Congress. Together, they fought for progressive values, to defend women and to support our country’s veterans.

“Senator Duckworth is one of the toughest women I know. She sets an incredible example for all Americans, and I am honored to have her endorsement,” Graham said. “As governor, I will fight with her to take on Donald Trump and fight to expand healthcare, protect our environment, and defend Floridians from his bullyish attacks.”