Richard Corcoran

Corcoran blames alleged sexual misconduct by veteran politicos on “entitlement mentality”

House Speaker Richard Corcoran made an appearance on C-SPAN this morning, again calling on Sen. Jack Latvala to resign from his post amid an investigation that he allegedly groped a high-level Senate aide.

Corcoran, R-Land O’ Lakes, has repeatedly said that Latvala, a Clearwater Republican who is running for governor, should step down, and he used his bully pulpit on the C-SPAN bus outside the Old Capitol resign to reiterate that demand.

Latvala has denied groping Senate Majority Leader Wilton Simpson’s chief district aide, Rachel Perrin Rogers, or any of the unnamed women who accused him of inappropriately touching them and making unwelcome comments about their bodies.

Corcoran, who is widely speculated to be considering a bid for governor next year, explained to the national audience that there are two separate investigations now ongoing into Latvala’s alleged wrongdoing. One of them could result in his ouster from the upper chamber, Corcoran said.

“It looks like they’re heading towards expulsion,” the House speaker predicted.

In a lengthy Q-and-A with reporters Monday, Latvala gave no indication that he was heading out the door.

“There’s one overriding principle here to me that’s important. And that is I didn’t do this stuff. So why should I quit and leave town and let everybody think I did it when I didn’t do it?” he said.

In Wednesday’s C-SPAN interview, Corcoran pointed out that a number of high-ranking celebrities — including Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose — were quickly stripped of their posts following accusations of sexual harassment or misconduct.

“But here we have elected officials, who you think would be held to a higher standard are still in office, still fighting,” he said.

When asked why the political world was different, Corcoran said: “There’s an entitlement mentality.”

Corcoran hammers Senate on ‘sanctuary’ cities

Watchdog PAC, House Speaker Richard Corcoran’s political committee — expected to help an anticipated run by the Land O’ Lakes Republican for governor in 2018 — is also a tool for pushing the Senate.

In a video sponsored by the political committee posted online Friday, Corcoran called on the Senate to pass a bill — up in the House on Tuesday — to crack down on “sanctuary” cities.

“It’s a national disgrace. It needs to stop,” Corcoran, a Land O’ Lakes Republican, says in the video. “I led the fight to pass a bill to punish sanctuary cities, restrict their funds, and require law enforcement to cooperate with federal authorities.

“It was called the ‘Rule of Law Adherence Act.’ Now we need to get the Senate to pass it.”

The House proposal (HB 9) goes before the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday morning. The appearance is the only stop for the bill, sponsored by House Public Integrity & Ethics Chairman Larry Metz.

The 21-page measure, in part, would bar local governments from having sanctuary policies, and would impose fines of up to $5,000 a day fines for each day a sanctuary policy was in effect. The legislation also directs law enforcement to support federal officials on immigration laws.

A similar measure in the Senate (SB 308) by Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, has been assigned to the Judiciary and Rules committees.

During the 2017 session earlier this year, the House approved a bill (HB 697) aimed at ensuring local governments support immigration-enforcement efforts. The Senate never head a similar measure.

By Jim Turner.

Biz recruitment spending: It’s all relative

Florida business recruitment leaders are trying to put together benchmarks to compare the state’s spending against competitors.

Members of the Enterprise Florida’s Business Development Committee on Monday said they intend to put together a list of staffing and spending in other states.

The will give Florida’s public-private agency the chance to see where it stands against North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, South Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama — states that have most often provided recruitment competition.

One committee member joked that “If you want to feel good, add Illinois.”

New York, meanwhile, was ruled out because of a spending disparity between the states.

As part of a March 13, 2017 study looking to make economic development more transparent in the Empire State, the Citizens Budget Commission noted that state and local governments in New York spend $8.6 billion annually through direct spending and tax expenditures.

Back in the Sunshine State, the state-by-state spending comparisons come as Enterprise Florida has been forced by state legislators to reduce its ability to offer direct business incentives to individual companies in favor of the “Florida Jobs Growth Grant Fund.”

The fund set up an $85 million pool of money for regional infrastructure and job-training programs to help entice businesses to Florida, and came after major infighting between Florida Gov. Rick Scott and fellow Republican House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who called the tax incentives to lure businesses to the state “corporate welfare.”

By Jim Turner.


Surprise! Corcoran disses DWS

House Speaker Richard Corcoran ridiculed Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz for asking Florida lawmakers to convene a special session to deal with a Confederate statue in the nation’s capital.

Corcoran, a Land O’ Lakes Republican who may be pondering a run for governor, called the Broward County Democrat “out of touch” for making the request.

The Legislature voted in 2016 to replace Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith, a figure who critics say has a tenuous connection to the state, during a nationwide backlash against Confederate symbols in the wake of the 2015 shooting deaths of nine African-American worshippers at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C.

The latest dust-up over the statue of the civil war general comes as cities throughout Florida engage in sometimes heated debate over what to do with Confederate monuments, an issue obviously highlighted by the events in Charlottesville last weekend.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King got into the fray yesterday, demanding that all Confederate monuments be removed.

Putnam hauls in cash but eats on the cheap ‘cuz he’s packing heat

20155766_10159004818580371_549381760493572209_nHow did Adam Putnam spend his July?

Apparently, doing the things you would expect from a candidate trying to position himself as a conservative GOP candidate running for governor, including a discount meal in the Panhandle because he’s got a license to carry a concealed weapon.

The result?

Putnam’s campaign reported Thursday that he’s raised $16.98 million through the end of last month, including nearly $1.3 million collected in July. The state agriculture commissioner has $12.3 million cash on hand through July, his campaign said.

Putnam’s fund-raising far outpaces his potential primary rivals, including House Speaker Richard Corcoran, state Sen. Jack Latvala and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, who — along with their supporters — are stepping up their efforts.

Amanda Bevis, a spokeswoman for Putnam’s campaign, said the new report shows Putnam’s “finance operation continues to gain strength.”

“But, more importantly, our grassroots momentum is gaining speed,” Bevis said. “Floridians are passionate about Adam Putnam’s willingness to fight for our freedoms and his ability to bring common sense, business smarts to our state’s capital.”

Putnam’s July campaign itinerary included fairly typical events, including attending the state’s “largest Independence Day” parade in Brandon, two GOP barbecues, two “Up and Adam” breakfasts, three fire house visits, two stops at Florida National Guard facilities and a clay shoot.

And as a sign he is not shying away from the criticism he invoked after declaring himself a “proud NRA sellout,” Putnam highlighted the fact that he had “concealed carry Wednesday” luncheon at the “Just the Cook” restaurant in Panama City, where concealed weapons licensees get a 25 percent discount.

“You pack the heat/We cook the meat,” a sign at the rustic facility, which is located in a marina, says. In a Facebook along with a photo of the sign, Putnam wrote: “My kind of place.”

Putnam is in charge of Florida’s concealed weapons licensing program, which has blossomed under his leadership.

Other July highlights cited by his campaign include Putnam’s visit to the Kennedy Space Center with Vice President Mike Pence. He was also endorsed by the Florida Associated Builders and Contractors, who represent some 2,500 small businesses in the state.

By Lloyd Dunkelberger.

Putnam draws fire for ‘pandering’ to the right over guns & ‘fake news’

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam continued a pivot to the right over the weekend, channeling what appeared to be the GOP gubernatorial candidate’s inner Trump even as Putnam drew fire from fellow Republicans for what one called “pandering to the NRA.”

Putnam tweeted a link Saturday to an online petition, launched by his campaign, condemning CNN for “fake news.”

“Aren’t you tired of the liberals taking fake news to new extremes? I am. Sign the petition to stop CNN,” Putnam tweeted on Saturday.

There’s no evidence that the news network has aired anything specifically about Putnam or the Florida Republican governor’s primary that could have raised Putnam’s ire.

Instead, the slam on CNN appears to be an attempt by Putnam to endear himself with Republican base voters and supporters of President Donald Trump, who collectively have been harsh and frequent critics of the news network.

It’s also a sign that Putnam, who has the highest name recognition in the gubernatorial field and has some $11 million in unspent campaign cash, is attempting to boost his conservative creds in anticipation of potential attacks next year from other GOP candidates who are almost certain to question Putnam’s record in Congress and as a two-term Cabinet member.

U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis and House Speaker Richard Corcoran, two prominent conservative Republicans, are raising money and have expressed an interest in joining the race to replace Gov. Rick Scott, who is leaving office because of term limits.

Moderate Republicans — including Sen. Jack Latvala, who’s mulling a run for governor — piled onto Putnam over the weekend.

The criticism came in reaction to a tweet from Putnam last week, who was responding to a column by Daniel Ruth of The Tampa Bay Times.

“The liberal media recently called me a sellout to the NRA. I’m a proud #NRASellout!” —Putnam (@adamputnam), tweeted.

Latvala, the powerful Senate budget chief who’s expected to make an announcement on Aug. 16 regarding a bid for governor, on Sunday took a Twitter shot at Putnam.

“I will never sell out to anyone, anytime,” Latvala tweeted, who posted a link to a Pensacola News Journal editorial critical of Putnam.

“This may be perfectly predictable behavior from a Republican vying to become Florida’s next governor. But it’s hardly a declaration of leadership or individualism,” the editorial stated.

Former Rep. Ray Pilon, a Sarasota Republican, joined in the Twitter chorus Monday morning.

“@adamputnam can’t tell you how shocked and disappointed I am in your pandering to the NRA and I am a lifetime member,” Pilon (@PilonForFlorida) tweeted.

Posted by Lloyd Dunkelberger and Jim Turner.

Motion in the ocean — Putnam, DeSantis at Lobsterfest

More than claws may be cracked when two potential Republican gubernatorial rivals show up at the Lobsterfest Dinner hosted by the Palm Beach County Republican Party next month.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, an announced candidate, and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, the Flagler County congressman who is considering a run, are scheduled to appear at the Aug. 17 event, which will be held at the tony Polo Club in Boca Raton. The GOP club is billing the dinner as the “premiere political event” of the summer.


Putnam is the frontrunner in the race to succeed Gov. Rick Scott, having amassed more than $11.6 million in unspent money through the end of last month. But supporters of DeSantis have started a political committee that could aid his bid, reporting $943,000 in cash.

Although billed by the Palm Beach Republicans as the “premiere political event” of the summer, several other potential GOP contenders for governor are not listed as attendees at this point, including House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate budget chief Jack Latvala, a Clearwater Republican who is supposed to announce whether he intends to join the gubernatorial fray on Aug. 16 (the day before the lobster event).

But with conservative political activist James O’Keefe, head of the Project Veritas group, as the guest speaker, the lobster dinner presents a perfectly pitched backdrop for a potential DeSantis-Putnam showdown, with the candidates maneuvering to win the backing of the most conservative voters in their party.

Also scheduled to appear at the event are two other prominent Republican leaders, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and U.S. Rep. Brian Mast. The $145 tickets can be obtained at

Posted by Lloyd Dunkelberger.