Richard Corcoran

Gibson, Berman demand action on gun removal bill

gun-pistolSome Florida Democrats are demanding that House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron allow the vetting of legislation that wold allow family members or law enforcement officers to obtain court orders to temporarily remove guns from the homes of individuals who have demonstrated they are a danger to themselves or could be violent.

The call for the bills come in the aftermath of Wednesday’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, where 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz gunned down 17 individuals, including 14 teenagers.

Cruz had a highly troubled past prior to unleashing a hail of bullets from a semi-automatic assault weapon after being dropped off at the high school, from which he was expelled, by an Uber driver on Valentine’s Day.

Sen. Audrey Gibson and Rep. Lori Berman are asking that the bills (SB 530, HB 231) — which mirror a proposal pushed by U.S. Rep. Val Demings, an Orlando Democrat and former police chief — get a hearing before the legislative session ends on March 9.

“Now more than ever, these bills must be heard. The most recent shooting is unacceptable and too tragic to comprehend. It is time we step up and come together to act on meaningful gun safety reform,” Rep. Lori Berman, D-Lantana, said in a press release. “As a mother, my heart breaks for these families. There are no words to describe the horror of a child not returning home from school. Florida needs to set an example for the rest of the nation by not just demanding action but taking action.”

The legislation potentially could have prevented the Parkland tragedy had it been in place, the Democrats asserted.

“With so many mass shootings and the mantra ‘now is not the time to talk about gun control’ we will never have the discussion,” Gibson said in the release.

Pugilistic Corcoran lines up another one-on-one, this time with Negron

20180208_184947If Tuesday’s immigration debate between House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum isn’t enough to whet the appetite of capital city  political junkies, there’s another guilty-pleasure contest on the horizon.

Gillum, a Democrat who’s announced he’s running for governor, and Corcoran, a Republican who’s widely expected to enter the contest, will go mano a mano after a dust-up about sanctuary cities.

After he finishes sparring with Gillum, Corcoran will take on his upper-chamber counterpart, Senate President Joe Negron, on the basketball court.

The legislative leaders will go face off in a three-point contest at halftime of a charity basketball game set for Feb. 20 at Leon High School. The annual event gives Republicans and Democrats the opportunity to take out their hostilities on the b-ball court.

The event benefits the Children’s Home Society of Florida.

Tickets for the game — $5 — and more info are available here.

By Jim Turner and Dara Kam.


Poll: Voters meh on Fla guv race

Agriculture Commish Adam Putnam and Fox News darling Congressman Ron DeSantis are neck-and-neck, and former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham has a slight edge over former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, according to a new Mason-Dixon poll.

“Right now, the only things that are certain about Florida’s 2018 gubernatorial primaries are that the outcomes are far from certain, a lot of money is going to be poured into these two very competitive races and the voters are not fully tuned in,” pollster Brad Coker said in a press release announcing the poll results.

On the Democratic side in the race to replace Gov. Rick Scott, who’s term-limited out of office this year, Graham captured 20 percent of the vote, while 17 percent of Dems said they’re backing Levine. Ten percent of likely Democratic voters support Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, and 4 percent are behind Chris King.  And nearly half of likely Dem voters — a whopping 49 percent — are undecided.

On the GOP side, 43 percent of likely Republican voters haven’t yet made up their minds, the poll found. Statewide, 27 percent of GOP voters back Putnam, while 23 percent are for DeSantis. House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who hasn’t announced if he’s running yet, captured support from 7 percent of those polls.

The Mason Dixon Polling & Strategy survey of 500 likely Democratic voters and 500 likely Republican voters was conducted from Jan. 29 through Feb. 1. The margin of error was +/- 4.5 percent.

The current results largely reflect name recognition and none of the candidates appear to be hampered by high negative ratings from their party voters.

Here’s more from Coker:

It is interesting to note that both front-runners have leads that are smaller than their recognition advantages. Graham, the daughter of former Governor & Senator Bob Graham, has an 8-point name recognition margin over Levine, but just a 3-point lead.

Putnam, the only candidate to have run statewide, has a name recognition advantage of 7-points over DeSantis, but only a 4-point lead. Graham’s total recognition of 65% among Democrats is likely lower than many insiders would expect, but her father’s name has not appeared on the state ballot in 20 years. Putnam has only 63% recognition among GOP voters, as his position in the state cabinet is low profile.

Traditional expectations in primary elections based on insider baseball no longer apply in a growing and ever-changing state. As both parties have polarized, establishment backing is no longer a great advantage.

Teachers’ union ad sends Corcoran down the drain

Florida’s largest teachers’ union is taking to the airwaves to hammer the latest move by House leaders to tie major education policies to the state budget process.

Last week, the House Appropriations Committee approved a 198-page “conforming” bill, which is formally linked to the budget process, that has dozens of changes for the K-12 system. The bill — which includes a voucher-like plan that would let bullied children transfer to private schools — has a measure directly aimed at the teachers’ union, allowing the unions to lose their state certification if the membership drops below 50 percent of the bargaining unit.

This week, the Florida Education Association responded, announcing a media campaign that features  a 30-second spot slamming the House leadership and, in particular, House Speaker Richard Corcoran, a Land O’ Lakes Republican who may run for governor.

The spot, titled “The Swamp,” is expected to be aired on television channels in the Tallahassee market this week.

“Political insider Richard Corcoran has a plan to divert even more of our tax dollars to unaccountable private schools while slashing the pay of even our best teachers,” the ad says.

“His bully bill wastes more money on failed programs while our schools starve, and our children suffer,” the ad goes on.  “It’s time to drain the swamp…and we know just where to begin.”

The video, not so subtly, ends with a picture of Corcoran disappearing down a street sewer grate.

By Lloyd Dunkelberger.

Corcoran clan yawns while speaker crows

We’re not even sure where to begin.

House Speaker Richard Corcoran last video — pushed out by his political committee, Watchdog PAC — erased any remaining doubts for many about whether the Land O’ Lakes Republican is running statewide.

The ad was widely criticized for using scare tactics to promote one of the conservative leader’s top issues — banning so-called “sanctuary cities” in Florida.

Followers of Corcoran on Twitter may be even more certain about the speaker’s future as a gubernatorial candidate after this football-themed video posted on social media yesterday.

In the tongue-in-cheek video, Corcoran, his wife and their six children are huddled while Corcoran, apparently the team captain, tries to pump them up.

But his conservative cheerleading prompts eye rolls and complaints from his family members, who may be less leery of criticizing their dad/husband than GOP members of the House.

Here’s the beginning of the video:

“I know we’re down, but remember when we took on ethics reform?” Corcoran says in the huddle.

“Dad, stop already,” his young daughter gripes, drawing out the word “Dad” into three syllables.

But, not surprisingly, he doesn’t.

“Or when we took on the liberal special interests, and we cut taxes and spending?”

Another Corcoran kid hangs his head.

“We even took tax dollars from Pitbull!” Corcoran cheerfully boasts.

“But, Dad, I like Pitbull,” one of the Corcoran clan complains, as orchestra music swells in the background.

“Yeah, but he doesn’t deserve our tax dollars. It’s about doing, and not talking,” the speaker replies, prompting one of his kids to urge him to talk less and throw the ball.

The video ends as Corcoran asks, “What’s the greatest threat to your freedom and liberty?”

To which they despondently respond, “Big government and big corporations,” as they walk off the field.






Corcoran anti-sanctuary state video: “race-baiting” or simply red meat?

House Speaker Richard Corcoran’s political committee dropped a new video Monday that plays up his conservative creds, immigration-style.

The 30-second screed, entitled “Preventable,” dishes up a serving of GOP red meat by excoriating “sanctuary cities.”

The campaign-ish video might put to rest any (remaining) questions about whether the the Land O’ Lakes Republican intends to run for governor.

The video opens by alluding to the 2015 killing of Kathryn Steinle along Pier 14 in the Embarcadero district of San Francisco by depicting a bearded man in a hoodie pointing and firing a handgun at a woman walking the sidewalk of a suburban community.

A voice-over by Corcoran states: “A young woman, gunned down by an illegal immigrant who should’ve been deported but was protected by a sanctuary city.”

The video than fades to Corcoran, who is in his final House term and has said he’s waiting until after the Legislative session to make an announcement regarding his political future, who personalizes Steinle’s story.

When he heard of Steinle’s death, “I thought about my own daughter Kate,” Corcoran, a father of six, says.

“Incredibly, some Tallahassee politicians want to make Florida a sanctuary state,” a seemingly incredulous Corcoran, shown with his arm draped around Kate’s shoulders, says. “On my watch, Florida will never be a sanctuary state.”

The Republican-dominated House voted 71-35 on Jan. 12 in favor of a measure (HB 9) that would ban “sanctuary cities’ in the state. A similar version in the Senate (SB 308) has its first appearance before the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

Worth noting: A jury last month found Jose Ines Garcia Zanate not guilty of second-degree murder charges in Steinle’s death. Garcia Zanate said he found the gun on the pier and that it accidentally went off. Authorities confirmed the bullet ricocheted off the ground before striking Steinle.

The video drew  strong rebuke from the campaign of Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, a Democrat running for governor.

Gillum’s campaign spokesman Geoff Burgan, who called the video “race-baiting,” said it epitomizes “everything that’s wrong with politics today.”

“In the age of Trump, Corcoran is vilifying immigrants,” Burgan said in a press release. “It’s a vile ad that seeks to divide us against one another, and the Speaker ought to be ashamed of himself. Mayor Gillum is running a substantive, progressive campaign on the issues facing everyday Floridians, and we encourage the Speaker to do the same when he finally joins the race.”


By Dara Kam and  Jim Turner.

Hannity hearts DeSantis

An endorsement from President Donald Trump is probably the biggest coup for a Republican candidate trying to garner support from conservative, base voters in a statewide primary election.

But a resounding thumbs-up from conservative icon Sean Hannity is arguably a runner-up.

And that’s what U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis scored, with Hannity, who has a condo in Naples, telling the Palm Coast Republican, “You’re going to be my future governor, I hope,” during a radio interview.

DeSantis is facing up against state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, whose amassed a considerable campaign war chest as he serves up Florida OJ at his “Up and Adam” breakfasts throughout the state. House Speaker Richard Corcoran is toying with a run for governor, and former state Sen. Jack Latvala, a Clearwater Republican who is facing possible criminal charges after resigned last month amid investigations into sexual harassment, is still in the race.

Putnam’s made a noticeable pivot to the right as he gears up for the August primary. And we’re not usually keen about endorsements. But the support of Trump and Hannity could translate into considerable dosh and being onstage with Trump couldn’t hurt, either.