Jose Felix Diaz

Biden backs Taddeo in Miami-Dade special election

-zpwMHaG_400x400Former Vice President Joe Biden, a darling of the working-class crowd, has thrown his support behind Annette Taddeo, a Democrat vying for an open Miami-Dade County state Senate seat against Republican state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz.

Biden’s backing comes days before Tuesday’s special election, where early voting is underway. More than 24,000 ballots already have been cast through the mail, according to the Miami-Dade County elections office website.

“We have a real shot to elect a strong Democrat and proven leader, Annette Taddeo to the state senate. If you believe we need stronger schools, protect access to affordable healthcare and stronger communities then you need to make your plans to vote for Annette Taddeo,” Biden said in a press release issued by Taddeo’s campaign Thursday.
Taddeo, who was Congressman Charlie Crist‘s running-mate in Crist’s unsuccessful bid for governor three years ago, said she is “thrilled” to have Biden’s support for her “people-powered campaign.”
Scott set the special election date in the Senate District 40 race earlier this year after former state Sen. Frank Artiles was forced to resign from his seat following a profanity-laced and racially tinged outburst at a private club near the Capitol.

Another Fla Dems-backed TV ad starring Trump

Florida Dems are unleashing a TV ad using the man who is sure to become Democrats’ most popular whipping boy — President Donald Trump — in the battle for an open Miami-Dade County state Senate seat.

Democrat Annette Taddeo and Republican Jose Felix Diaz are duking it out over SD 40 after emerging as the winners in last month’s special election primaries. The redrawn Senate seat became available when former state Sen. Frank Artiles, a Republican, was forced to step down after a profanity-laced and racially charged outburst at a private club midway through this year’s legislative session.

The ad, released in English and Spanish in the district where 75 percent of the population is Hispanic, links Diaz — a supporter of the president who once appeared on his TV show, “The Apprentice” — opens with Taddeo watching the now-infamous clip of Trump slamming a bad guy in a WWF stunt.

“Families are too busy to worry about this drama,” Taddeo says, after turning off the TV.

She later alleges that “Jose Felix Diaz supports Trump’s every move,” highlighting services for seniors and coverage of pre-existing medical conditions that would be lost if Trump gets his way and kills the Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare.”

The Florida Democratic Party announced the launch of the ad not long after national Dems said they intend to fork over $150,000 in the SD 40 race.

Yesterday, state Democrats released an ad tying former St. Petersburg mayor Rick Baker to Trump. Baker is trying to unseat incumbent Democrat Rick Kriseman.

National Dems one-up GOP in SD 40 race

taddeoThe Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee is putting up $150,000 to support Annette Taddeo in the Miami Democrat’s general election match-up against former state Rep. Jose Felix “Pepi” Diaz.

The national Democratic committee highlighted the SD 40 special election as a “Spotlight Race,” and made the pledge after Taddeo handily defeated Ana Rivas Logan in a primary late last month.

“With Annette in the Florida Senate, Democrats will be one step closer to taking back the chamber in 2018,” DLCC Executive Director Jessica Post in Thursday’s announcement. “The Spotlight Races platform will highlight Annette to the national progressive community and help future supporters get to know her and her campaign. We will employ DLCC programs and lessons learned from our previous wins this year to ensure Annette’s campaign has a winning strategy in place, access to the best data, and an expansive field plan. DLCC is proud to stand with this community leader as she fights to protect Democratic values at the state level.”

The big bucks from the DLCC overshadow the $100,000 the organization’s Republican equivalent — the Republican State Leadership Committee — announced it has earmarked  to get Diaz elected.

SD 40 is one of a handful of true swing seats. Democrats have a slight edge in voter registration, but the district is almost evenly split between Republicans, Dems and voters with no party affiliation.

 

National Republicans dump $100k into SD 40 race

15027495_10154291214996888_8486441146648769022_nFresh off last night’s special primary election victory, former state Rep. Jose Felix “Pepi” Diaz got a six-figure boost from the national Republican State Leadership Committee.

Diaz trounced Alex Diaz de la Portilla, a former Senate majority leader who spent 16 years in the Legislature, in yesterday’s special election for Senate District 40, garnering nearly 58 percent of the votes cast in the GOP primary. Diaz de la Portilla captured about 27 percent of the vote, and Miami lawyer Lorenzo Palomares finished a distant third, with less than 17 percent.

On Wednesday, the RSLC announced it is steering $100,000 to the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee to help Diaz in his Sept. 26 special election face-off against Democrat Annette Taddeo, who handily defeated opponent Ana Rivas Logan in yesterday’s primary.

“Diaz has been a tireless advocate for Floridians during his tenure in the state House and will continue this work when he joins the state Senate in September. The citizens of the 40th Senate District know Diaz will fight for lower taxes, smaller government and more economic freedom when they send him to Tallahassee in the fall. We are looking forward to helping him keep his district under Republican leadership and are ready to assist him with whatever resources he needs during his general election,”  RSLC President Matt Walter said in a press release.

Diaz has served on the board of the RSLC’s “Future Majority Project,” according to the release.

The special election for the Southwest Miami-Dade County seat comes after former state Sen. Frank Artiles was forced to resign in April following a racially charged and expletive-laced tirade at a private club near the Capitol.

The Senate district is one of a handful of true swing seats in the Senate. Although Democrats hold a slight edge in voter registration, the Southwest Miami-Dade County district is almost evenly split between Republicans, Democrats and voters with no party affiliation.

Dems are hoping to recapture the seat, previously held by former state Sen. Dwight Bullard. Artiles ousted Bullard in November, after the district’s boundaries were redrawn.

Senate Dems: Screw Georgia!

After urging fellow Democrats last week to be clear about why they “suck significantly less” than Republicans, Sen. Jeff Clemens is using last night’s Democratic losses in Georgia and South Carolina to drum up support for a critical special election in Miami.

“Georgia?! Screw that, we can actually WIN in Florida,” the subject line in an email sent by Clemens, a Lake Worth Democrat who’ll take over as minority leader next year, reads.

Clemens, in charge of raising money for Senate races, pointed out the differences between Senate District 40 — now open after former Sen. Frank Artiles, a Republican, was forced to resign earlier this year — and the  congressional seat.

The Georgia race, reportedly the most expensive in history, was viewed nationally as a referendum on President Donald Trump.

“I know we’re upset. But if we spend our time worrying about a Congressional seat we normally lose by 20-30 points, we’re missing the real fight. The seats Dems lost last night were aspirational. They were seats no Democrat was supposed to win, we overperformed, etc. blah blah blah ad nauseum ad hominim expecto patronous,” Clemens wrote. “Whatever. Here’s the bottom line. Now is NOT the time to give up. Not when we have winnable races that matter.”

expecto patronum Clemens’s missive should delight Harry Potter fans.

The wizard invoked the “expecto patronous” (“I await a protector”) incantation to protect himself from Dementors.

Clemens goes on to advise that Democrats can win the Miami Senate seat, which Hillary Clinton carried last year.

“The most important thing about last night was it was proof that Dems can challenge almost any seat, if they have the following:

  • A belief by Democrats well outside of the district that this race mattered and was winnable (as evidenced by the massive contributions to the campaign).
  • Intense amounts of volunteerism, both inside and outside of the state.
  • A willingness from both the campaign and the GA Democratic party to put differences and convention aside and have fun while winning.

Here at Flip Florida, we believe these are lessons that have direct application to SD40 here in Florida.”

The keys to winning, Clemens concludes, are money, “sign ups, likes and followers,” and one other thing not usually included in fundraising pitches —- “love (We just need it … Makes campaigning easier).”

Democrats Annette Taddeo and Ana Rivas Logan will face off in the special election primary on July 25. On the Republican side, state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, former state Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla and lawyer Lorenzo Palomares are vying for the chance to replace Artiles, who was forced to step down after a vulgar tirade at a private club in Tallahassee. The special general election for the Miami-Dade County District 40 seat is slated for Sept. 26.

Gambling stalemate over slots?

About a dozen pari-mutuel lobbyists were huddled inside Rep. Jose Felix Diaz’s suite late this afternoon, as the clock winds down on the legislative session without a gambling deal in hand.

The biggest issue dividing the two chambers?

That’s an easy bet — slots.

The Senate wants to allow the lucrative machines in eight counties — Brevard, Duval, Gadsden, Hamilton, Lee, Palm Beach, St. Lucie and Washington — where voters have approved the one-armed bandits for local tracks or frontons.

The House, meanwhile, continues to balk at what they view as an expansion of gambling, and left the referendum counties out of its plan. Diaz, R-Miami, didn’t include the expansion of slots in an offer he made to the Senate Wednesday.

The Senate’s chief negotiator on the gambling deal, Bill Galvano, late Friday called the issue of the referendum counties “the elephant in the room,” implying that the House has to move on slots or there’s no deal.

The Florida Supreme Court last year heard arguments in a case focused on whether facilities in the counties can add the machines without the express permission of the Legislature. But Thursday after Thursday, when the court opinions are released, has gone by without the highly anticipated decision.

Galvano said late Friday evening he’s waiting for a “substantial” offer from his counterpart.

“They understand that that’s an important issue for us, here in the Senate,” Galvano, R-Bradenton, said.

Galvano said all of the counties need to be included in the plan because “that’s when you’re going to run into problems, if you cherry-pick, constitutionally.”

Galvano, who takes over as Senate president after next year’s November elections and who was instrumental in crafting a gambling deal with the Seminoles in 2010, acknowledged that the House has a more conservative approach toward gambling than the Senate.

“They want to make sure, as we’re resolving these court issues, that we’re retracting at the same time. So I’m open to how they want to make their offer, and if they have a more aggressive way of buying back permits, that’s great. We’ll consider it,” he said. “At the same time, (the issue of the referendum counties) that’s the elephant in the room. So we either need to know that that’s a non-starter for them or we can have a negotiation over that.”

Posted by Dara Kam