While talking big spending, Beruff gets extension on filing disclosure forms

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carlos Beruff
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carlos Beruff

Manatee County developer Carlos Beruff’s bid for U.S. Senate certainly got more challenging with Republican Marco Rubio’s re-entry into the race.

Beruff, a pal of Gov. Rick Scott, has already plunked down $5 million of his own money — with the promise of spending as much as $15 million more to win the Republican nomination Aug. 30.

But just around the time he was boosting the personal price tag on spending, Beruff also was asking — and received — an extension from the U.S. Senate on the deadline for filing his financial disclosure forms.

The documents are anticipated because they could provide a window into whether Beruff has the cash-flow needed to compete with Rubio, whose jump-started campaign has drawn the backing of much of Florida’s Republican establishment and GOP Senate leaders.

Although dollars will follow the return of Rubio, a Beruff spokesman said Monday the candidate isn’t worried.

“He has said we’ll have the resources needed to win,” said Chris Hartline, a Beruff spokesman.

Beruff has until July 31 to file his disclosure forms.


Trump card: Marco Rubio challenger Carlos Beruff says he’s ‘100%’ for Donald Trump

Carlos Beruff says he's "not ashamed of Donald Trump," while Sen. Marco Rubio last week called a Trump presidency "worrisome."
Carlos Beruff says he’s “not ashamed of Donald Trump,” while Sen. Marco Rubio last week called a Trump presidency “worrisome.”

Florida Republican voters favored Donald Trump over Marco Rubio by 46-to-27 percent margin in the March 15 presidential primary.


So it’s not surprising that Rubio’s challenger in the Republican Senate primary — homebuilder and Gov. Rick Scott “good friend” Carlos Beruff — is hoping to emulate the Trump model in his bid to unseat the incumbent.


Rubio launched his Senate re-election bid last week by calling a Trump presidency “worrisome” and otherwise distancing himself from the presumptive GOP nominee. Beruff responded today with a full-frontal embrace of Trump.


“Donald Trump is a businessman with real-world experience who’s looking to shake up the status quo in Washington. So am I,” Beruff said today. “The career politicians in Washington are always afraid to lose power and candidates like Trump and myself challenge their authority. It’s no surprise that Marco Rubio and others are shying away from supporting Donald Trump.

“I’m happy to take Marco Rubio’s slot at the Republican National Convention because I’m not ashamed of Donald Trump as our nominee. Trump is motiving voters across Florida and the country who have felt ignored by the Republican and Democratic establishment alike. He’s looking to shake up Washington and I’m behind him 100%.”



High court’s striking of Texas abortion law rattles Florida

High court ruling on Texas abortion law rattles Florida
High court ruling on Texas abortion law rattles Florida

The U.S. Supreme Court’s striking down of a Texas abortion law Monday is certain to send shock waves through Florida, where lawmakers modeled new clinic standards after the troubled provision.

Like Texas, the Florida law which takes effect July 1, requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Justice Stephen Breyer, writing for the court majority, concluded the requirement places a “substantial obstacle in the path of women” seeking an abortion.

The Florida measure, though, doesn’t go as far as the Texas law in forcing clinics to upgrade their facilities to ambulatory surgical centers, including new regulations on buildings, equipment and staff.

Instead, the Florida law imposes new licensing and reporting requirements for clinics, that don’t seem to be directly addressed in the high court’s ruling.

Another provision of Florida’s law will be reviewed this week by a federal judge in Tallahassee. Planned Parenthood is challenging the measure’s ban on public dollars going to organizations that perform abortions – even if the service is only part of their overall mission.


Write-ins include mom, dad, friends of candidates; Shelley Vana irked

Chief Deputy Property Appraiser Dorothy Jacks (left) and Palm Beach County Commissioner Shelley Vana will be joined by a write-in candidate in the 2016 race for property appraiser.
Chief Deputy Property Appraiser Dorothy Jacks (left) and Palm Beach County Commissioner Shelley Vana will be joined by a write-in candidate in the 2016 race for property appraiser.

Port of Palm Beach commission candidate Joseph Anderson has recruited his father to run in his race as a write-in candidate. Port Commissioner Jean Enright enlisted her mother as a write-in — for the third time. Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher got a friend to run in her race as a write-in so the election would be Aug. 30 rather than Nov. 8.


Property Appraiser Gary Nikolits, retiring after six terms, is supporting Jacks.
Property Appraiser Gary Nikolits, retiring after six terms, is supporting Jacks.

Palm Beach County Commissioner Shelley Vana, a candidate for property appraiser against Dorothy Jacks, is crying foul over the fairly commonplace practice after Jacks’ biggest supporter, retiring Property Appraiser Gary Nikolits, recruited a friend to enter the race as a write-in last week. Charles H. Stahman‘s candidacy means the election for appraiser will be in August rather than November.


Vana says she doesn’t mind the earlier election date, but finds the write-in maneuver “very sketchy” on the part of Jacks and Nikolits.


“How do you file papers for someone to run against you? Really?…They’re trying to manipulate an election,” says Vana.


Click here to read the whole story — including what’s behind partisan and nonpartisan write-in strategies — in this week’s Politics column.



Michael Steinger’s $15.1 million net worth tops Palm Beach County legislative candidates

Democratic state Senate candidate Michael Steinger ($15.1 million net worth), Republican state Rep. Bill Hager ($10.8 million) and Democratic state Rep. Irving Slosberg ($8.3 million in 2014)
Democratic state Senate candidate Michael Steinger ($15.1 million net worth), Republican state Rep. Bill Hager ($10.8 million) and Democratic state Rep. Irving Slosberg ($8.3 million in 2014)

Trial lawyer Michael Steinger, a Democratic candidate for state Senate who put $200,000 of his own money into his campaign last month, pegs his net worth at $15.1 million — the highest of any state House or Senate candidate in Palm Beach County.


steinger disclosureCandidates are required to fill out a financial disclosure form when they qualify for office in Florida. The qualifying period closed at noon Friday.


Steinger, seeking the north-county District 30 Senate seat, lists assets that include a $10 million Palm Beach Gardens home and $5.2 million worth of partnerships in the Steinger, Iscoe & Greene law firm and other law firms.


At least seven other legislative candidates in Palm Beach County list a net worth of more than $1 million. They are:


• State Rep. Bill Hager, R-Boca Raton, who was re-elected without opposition: $10.8 million.


• A financial disclosure report for state Rep. Irving Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, is not posted on the Florida Division of Elections website for Slosberg’s campaign in Senate District 31. When he ran for re-election in 2014, Slosberg listed a net worth of $8.3 million.


• State Rep. Kevin Rader, D-Delray Beach, who is running for state Senate District 29: $5.4 million.


• Roth Farms President Rick Roth, a Republican candidate in state House District 85: $5.1 million.


• State Rep. Mary Lynn Magar, R-Tequesta: $2.5 million.


• State Rep. Lori Berman, D-Lantana: $2.2 million.


• Businessman Ron Berman, a Republican running in Senate District 30: $1.8 million.


Emily Slosberg, a political consultant and attorney running as a Democrat for her father Irving Slosberg’s seat in state House District 91: $1.5 million.




Orlando shooting victims remembered at Historic Capitol


Florida’s Historic Capitol has become the latest site to memorialize those killed in the massacre at the Orlando nightclub Pulse.

Gov. Rick Scott joined Cabinet members Friday in setting up 49 Florida state flags on the old Capitol lawn, with each also bearing a photograph of one of the 49 people killed in the shooting earlier this month.

The display will remain for 49 days.

“The memory of this horrific tragedy will never be forgotten, as well as the legacies of each of the 49 victims. While we can never completely heal from the pain of such loss, we continue to be reminded of each life taken in Orlando and their individual impact on so many,” Scott said.


Slosberg challenging Clemens for Palm Beach County Senate seat, as qualifying ends

Slosberg, checking his qualifying status on his smartphone

Rep. Irv Slosberg

Boca Raton Democratic Rep. Irv Slosberg jumped into a state Senate race against incumbent Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Atlantis, in the final moments of candidate qualifying Friday.

Slosberg had been poised to take on another House member, Rep. Kevin Rader, D-Delray Beach, for an open Palm Beach County Senate seat. But Slosberg said he made the switch because the seat held by Clemens includes more voters from his current House district.

New, court-ordered Senate district boundaries have changed the dynamic of this year’s qualifying, which ended at noon.

Line of candidates as qualifying deadline neared

Candidates queue as qualifying deadline neared.

Slosberg said that his home is in Senate District 29, where Rader and Mindy Koch, president of the Democratic Club of Boca Raton and Delray Beach have filed as candidates.

But Slosberg said his legislative office is in District 31, where he will now face Clemens and Emmanuel Morel, active with the Haitian Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches, in the Aug. 30 Democratic primary.

No Republican has filed in either local Senate race.

“I was having a lot of difficulty deciding,” Slosberg said, adding, “at the end of the day, the constituents won out.”

Slosberg’s daughter, Emily, who earlier withdrew from a state Senate race, has filed to replace her father in the House District 91 seat, where former Rep. Kelly Skidmore is also running, along with write-in contender Kelley Howell.

“This isn’t my seat, this isn’t Jeff Clemens seat…it’s the people’s seat,” Irv Slosberg said.

Slosberg’s maneuvering may have been the most notable on a closing day that saw a handful of candidates line up at the state Elections Office to beat the qualifying deadline.

The last contender submitted his papers just seconds before noon.

Christopher Duncan, a Palm Bay Democrat, filed to run in a crowded field for a Space Coast Senate district seat after abandoning earlier plans to run against U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, a Rockledge Republican.

Duncan, who has been blind since 2012 following a battle with glaucoma, said he had been getting “a lot of misinformation…but I expect it with the territory.”

“We’re here,” Duncan said, after qualifying.

Secretary of State Ken Detzner at close of candidate qualifying
Secretary of State Ken Detzner at close of candidate qualifying


Todd Wilcox drops GOP Senate bid, will support Marco Rubio

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Todd Wilcox in Boca Raton last year.
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Todd Wilcox in Boca Raton last year.

Combat veteran and defense contractor Todd Wilcox is dropping his Republican bid for U.S. Senate and backing Sen. Marco Rubio.


That sets up a Republican primary between Rubio and homebuilder Carlos Beruff, who has slammed Rubio as a political opportunist and who got a semi-endorsement from Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday.


Wilcox initially said he’d remain in the race when Rubio, who had said he was leaving the Senate, announced Wednesday he would seek re-election. But he changed course in a statement this morning.


“As a leader, I have always taught my team that changing course after devising a plan doesn’t mean you give up on the mission, it just means you have to find a new path. So today, with a clear understanding of the impact that recent changes have had in this race, that’s just what I’m going to do,” Wilcox said in a statement this morning.
“With all that is at stake, I have decided to end my campaign for the United Senate and support Marco Rubio in his bid to keep this seat in the Republican Party. Senator Rubio and I don’t agree on everything. We’ve travelled different paths, but I respect his grasp of the challenges we face and I appreciate the reality that he, as the incumbent, is best positioned to defeat either Patrick Murphy or Alan Grayson in November. We cannot allow either of these liberal Democrats to carry on the disastrous policies of the Obama administration – Floridians deserve better,” Wilcox said.


Beruff issued this statement:


“I wish Todd Wilcox and his family well. His service to our country and the time and effort he put into the campaign trail are a testament to his character.

“But now, the choice is clear. The voters of Florida can reelect Washington’s candidate, who has consistently failed to do the job they hired him to do and won’t commit to serving a full six-year term. Or they can make a change. I’m not a politician. I’m a businessman who wants to bring a business mindset to the problems facing our country and our state. It’s simple. Do you want a Senator who puts politics and their own ambition first? Or do you want a Senator who puts Florida first?”





State Senate candidate Michael Steinger’s law partner Gary Iscoe opens House campaign

Personal injury lawyers Michael Steinger (left) and Gary Iscoe have both opened Democratic campaigns for the Florida Legislature.
Personal injury lawyers Michael Steinger (left) and Gary Iscoe have both opened Democratic campaigns for the Florida Legislature.

Personal injury lawyer Michael Steinger opened a well-financed Democratic state Senate campaign last month and on Thursday one of his law partners, Gary Iscoe, opened a Democratic campaign for the state House seat of Rep. Bill Hager, R-Boca Raton.


It was one of several late surprises as Florida’s candidate qualifying deadline looms at noon today.


Follow PostOnPolitics.com and @gbennettpost on Twitter today for all the late-breaking developments.


While Iscoe opened his campaign for the state House District 91 seat on Thursday, as of this morning he had not yet paid the $1,781.82 fee to qualify for the ballot, according to the Florida Division of Elections website.


State Rep. Irving Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, a perennial man of mystery during qualifying week, has not yet qualified for the District 29 state Senate race. Two other Democrats — state Rep. Kevin Rader, D-Delray Beach, and Boca-Delray Democratic Club President Mindy Koch — have qualified for the seat.


As of this morning, no candidates have qualified to run against state Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Atlantis; state Sen. Joseph Abruzzo, D-Boynton Beach, who is running for the state House District 81 seat; Tax Collector Anne Gannon;Clerk of Courts Sharon Bock and school board members Chuck Shaw and Frank Barbieri. If they remain unopposed at noon, they will automatically win re-election.



With Congress on recess (again), Scott digs into state treasury for Zika dollars

Gov. Scott to spend state dollars on zika virus
Gov. Scott to spend state dollars on zika virus

With Congress now on recess still without a deal on dollars to fight the Zika virus, Gov. Rick Scott dug into state coffers Thursday and vowed to spend $26.2 million on response and prevention efforts in Florida.

The Republican-led House and Senate likely will likely not renew attempts at resolving differences until after returning to the Capitol after July 4. Both sides are looking to spend less than the $1.9 billion proposed by President Obama — back in February.

Scott, though, turned most of his criticism toward the White House.

“On June 1st, I called on President Obama’s administration to immediately provide items to prepare for the possible spread of the Zika virus,” Scott said. “This included requests made by more than 25 counties, cities and mosquito districts across Florida.

“Today, we have more than 40 entities with requests that are in excess of $19 million. It is clear that we can no longer afford to wait on the federal government,” he added.

The $26.2 million in state money will go toward mosquito abatement, training technicians and enhancing lab work. Scott also wants to acquire Zika prevention kits from the Centers for Disease Control.

Florida is among the leading  states with more than 200 cases of the Zika virus — contracted by victims traveling outside the state.

While Zika causes a relatively short-term, flu-like illness among most people, it can cause severe birth defects when contracted during pregnancy. Among Florida’s cases are 40 pregnant women.