State Rep. Lori Berman confirms she’ll run for Clemens’ Senate seat

Four Dems to watch in upcoming special Senate District 31 election (clockwise from top left): former state Rep. Irving Slosberg, state Rep. Lori Berman, state Rep. David Silvers, Delray Beach Mayor Cary Glickstein.

State Rep. Lori Berman, D-Lantana, confirmed today that she will abandon a Palm Beach County commission bid to run in a special election to replace state Sen. Jeff Clemens, the Atlantis Democrat who abruptly resigned Friday after admitting to an extramarital affair with a lobbyist.

Former Democratic state Rep. Irving Slosberg has also said he’ll run for Clemens’ former seat. Delray Beach Mayor Cary Glickstein is considering the race and Democratic state Rep. David Silvers is another strong possibility.

Gov. Rick Scott has not yet set a date for the election to replace Clemens in Democrat-leaning Senate District 31, which is generally east of Florida’s Turnpike from Lake Worth to Delray Beach.

Berman’s announcement statement notes that only 13 of Florida’s 40 Senators are women.

Said Berman: “We’re in the midst of a watershed moment in the struggle for women’s rights across this country and one of the key motivators in my decision to do this is our state’s need for a champion on issues ranging from pay equity to healthcare and reproductive rights to freedom from sexual harassment and workplace discrimination. My message is simple: now more than ever, women need a strong voice in the Florida Senate.”

Berman, facing House term limits next year, had opened a 2018 campaign for a Palm Beach County commission seat and was the leading fundraiser in the commission District 2 race. Four other Democrats — Alex Garcia, Emmanuel Morel, Sylvia Sharps and Gregg Weiss — are running for that seat. At least one other Democrat, attorney Dodger Arp of West Palm Beach, is weighing the race now that Berman is leaving.

State Rep. Lori Berman mulls run for Clemens’ Senate seat; Abruzzo out

Four Dems to watch in upcoming special Senate District 31 election (clockwise from top left): former state Rep. Irving Slosberg, state Rep. Lori Berman, state Rep. David Silvers, Delray Beach Mayor Cary Glickstein.

Facing House term limits in Tallahassee, state Rep. Lori Berman, D-Lantana, launched a 2018 campaign for an open Palm  Beach County commission seat in May and raised $76,672 through the end of September.

But Berman now appears likely to abandon her commission campaign and run instead in a special election for the District 31 state Senate seat that suddenly became open on Friday when Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Atlantis, abruptly resigned after admitting to an extramarital affair.

Look for Berman to announce her plans Monday.

Former Democratic state Rep. Irving Slosberg, who lost a 2016 primary challenge to Clemens, has already said he plans to run in the not-yet-scheduled special election to fill Clemens’ Democrat-leaning seat.

Delray Beach Mayor Cary Glickstein said he is “going to take a serious look” at the special Senate race as well.

And don’t rule out Democratic state Rep. David Silvers, though Silvers on Friday night said it was too early to make a decision.

State Rep. Joseph Abruzzo, D-Boynton Beach, a former state senator, was also mentioned as a potential District 31 candidate, but said today he will not run.

Within 3 hours of Clemens’ Senate resignation, Dem says he’s running

Four Democrats to watch in Senate District 31: Former state Rep. Irving Slosberg says he’s running, Delray Beach Mayor Cary Glickstein says he’s looking, state Reps. Joseph Abruzzo and David Silvers say it’s too soon to contemplate.’

That didn’t take long.

Less than three hours after Atlantis Democrat Jeff Clemens resigned from his state Senate seat after admitting to an extramarital affair, former state Rep. and 2016 Clemens primary rival Irving Slosberg said he will run in the special election to replace Clemens.

UPDATE: See the latest on who’s in, out in District 31

Voters in Florida Senate District 31 will choose a replacement for Democratic Sen. Jeff Clemens, who resigned Friday.

Clemens, who had been in line to become Senate Democratic leader next year, announced his resignation a few minutes after 5 p.m. after Politico reported in the morning that he’d had an affair with a lobbyist.

“I’m in,” Slosberg told The Palm Beach Post at 7:26 p.m. on Friday.

Gov. Rick Scott has not yet set a date for a special election to replace Clemens in Senate District 31, which runs from Lake Worth to Delray Beach generally east of Florida’s Turnpike. Democrats hold a 46.6-to-24.1 percent registration advantage over Republicans in the district.

Slosberg could have company in a special Democratic primary.

Delray Beach Mayor Cary Glickstein, who recently announced he won’t seek re-election in the upcoming March municipal election, said he’s “going to take a serious look” at the Senate District 31 seat.

Two Democratic state House members — Reps. Joseph Abruzzo and David Silvers — are also worth keeping an eye on. Both said Friday that it’s too soon to consider a campaign.

Slosberg gave up his state House seat last year to challenge Clemens in a Democratic Senate primary. Clemens won with 52.3 percent to 32.4 percent for Slosberg while Emmanuel Morel got 15.2 percent.

Irving Slosberg is the father of state Rep. Emily Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, who ran for her dad’s old seat last year.

 

Democrats defeat Trump ‘Apprentice’ to flip GOP Senate seat in Miami

Democrat Annette Taddeo campaigning with Charlie Crist in 2014 in West Palm Beach when she was Crist’s running mate in the governor’s race. Taddeo won a special Senate election in Miami on Tuesday. (Lannis Waters/The Palm Beach Post)

Democrat Annette Taddeo won a special state Senate election in Miami on Tuesday over state Rep. Jose Felix “Pepi” Diaz — a former contestant on Donald Trump‘s The Apprenticeto capture a seat that had been held by the GOP.

In a district that voted for Hillary Clinton, Democrats highlighted Republican Jose Felix “Pepi” Diaz’s ties to President Donald Trump.

As is often the case in special elections, the winners sought to give the contest significance beyond the boundaries of the district where it took place.

“Taddeo Trumps GOP, Dems winning again!” said a fundraising email late Tuesday night from state Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Atlantis, who is in line to become Senate Democratic leader in 2018, on behalf of the Democratic Senate Victory committee.

Although Republican Frank Artiles won the 2016 general election race for the seat before resigning in April, Senate District 40 voted for Hillary Clinton by a wide margin.

Democrats ran ads linking Diaz to Trump.

“If you were asking for the Democrats to draw up a candidate that had links to Trump you couldn’t do any better than someone who actually appeared as a contestant on The Apprentice. He was also an early Trump endorser. So Pepi Diaz is going to have to live with Trump’s anti-immigrant policies, his anti-health care policies, and those aren’t particularly popular in Miami,” Clemens said in August.

 

 

Democrats inject Donald Trump into two Florida races

Democrats are running TV ads in St. Petersburg and Miami linking Republicans to President Donald Trump.

Democrats who hoped nationally watched special congressional elections in Kansas, Montana and Georgia would deliver rebukes of President Donald Trump came away disappointed.

Now two races in Florida — a nonpartisan mayoral election in St. Petersburg and a special election for a state Senate seat in Miami — have revived Democratic hopes that Trump and his slumping approval ratings will be an albatross for Republican candidates.

In St. Petersburg, where polling shows former Mayor Rick Baker leading current Mayor Rick Kriseman, the Florida Democratic Party this week began airing TV spots that put Baker, who is a Republican, on an “extreme team” with Trump, Florida Gov. Rick Scott and former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. The same ads link Kriseman, a Democrat, to former President Barack Obama, former VP Joe Biden and U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg.

Seven mayoral candidates are on the Aug. 29 St. Petersburg ballot. If no candidate gets a majority, the top two finishers square off on Nov. 7.

Democrats are also playing the Trump card ahead of a Sept. 26 special election in Miami to fill the Senate District 40 seat of former Republican Sen. Frank Artiles, who resigned in April. The special election pits Democrat Annette Taddeo against Republican state Rep. Jose Felix “Pepi” Diaz, who was once a contestant on Trump’s The Apprentice.

Republican Artiles won the district by 10 points in November and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio edged Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy in the district, but Democrats have a slight registration edge and Democrat Hillary Clinton beat Trump there by 16 points.

Democrats launched an ad in English and Spanish this week that shows a selfie of Diaz and Trump and says the Republican “supports Trump’s every move.”

State Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Atlantis, in line to become Senate Democratic leader next year, says there are “a lot of other issues” besides Trump in District 40, but Diaz presents a special anti-Trump opportunity.

“If you were asking for the Democrats to draw up a candidate that had links to Trump you couldn’t do any better than someone who actually appeared as a contestant on The Apprentice. He was also an early Trump endorser. So Pepi Diaz is going to have to live with Trump’s anti-immigrant policies, his anti-health care policies, and those aren’t particularly popular in Miami,” Clemens said.

A victory for Donald Trump and Brian Mast in Georgia

Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, campaigned last month for Karen Handel in a high-stakes special House race in Georgia. (from the Twitter account of Karen Handel)

President Donald Trump is gloating on Twitter — and why not?

A special Georgia congressional election billed as a referendum on Trump’s presidency was won by Republican Karen Handel by nearly 3 points in a suburban Atlanta district over Democrat Jon Ossoff.

It was the most expensive House race in American history — far surpassing the $29.6 million spent by candidates and outside groups for the 2012 Palm Beach-Treasure Coast race in which Democrat Patrick Murphy unseated Republican Rep. Allen West.

» RELATED: Karen Handel cracks GOP’s glass ceiling with win

Trump celebrated on Twitter on Tuesday night.

“Well, the Special Elections are over and those that want to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN are 5 and O! All the Fake News, all the money spent = 0,” the president declared.

Republicans have won four special House elections since Trump took office — Handel’s victory and a South Carolina race Tuesday; a Montana victory last month and one in Kansas in April. Democrats retained a heavily Democratic seat in a June 6 California race between two Democrats.

Trump invested significant political capital in the Georgia race — appearing at a fundraiser for Handel in April and tweeting his support Tuesday morning. The 6th District seat has been solidly Republican, but Democrat Ossoff got 48 percent in a crowded April 18 election to nearly win the seat outright and fuel Democratic optimism about repudiating Trump. Because Ossoff didn’t get a majority, he and second-place finisher Handel faced each other in Tuesday’s runoff.

U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, also had some prestige riding on the race. Mast campaigned for Handel last month.

Trump hails ‘great win in Montana’ as apologetic body-slammer goes to Washington

President Donald Trump applauds Thursday night’s Montana victory by Republican Greg Gianforte. (Trump official White House portrait; Gianforte by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump is overseas on a five-nation tour, but he’s tuned in to politics back home.

“Great win in Montana,” Trump told reporters in Italy today without being asked, according to pool reports. The president was reacting to Thursday night’s special U.S. House election win in Big Sky Country by Republican Greg Gianforte.

Gianforte faces misdemeanor assault charges after reporter Ben Jacobs of The Guardian says the Republican “body-slammed” him when he tried to ask him a question Wednesday night. Gianforte apologized to the reporter in his victory speech Thursday night.

“When you make a mistake, you have to own up to it,” Gianforte told his supporters at his election night rally in Bozeman. “That’s the Montana way.”

Saying he was “not proud” of his behavior, he added, “I should not have responded the way I did. For that I’m sorry. I should not have treated that reporter that way, and for that I’m sorry, Mr. Ben Jacobs.”

As is often the case with special elections, the statewide Montana race (Montana, with fewer registered voters than Palm Beach County, has only one at-large U.S. House district) was viewed by many as an early referendum on Trump’s presidency. Trump won Montana by 20.6 percent over Hillary Clinton in November. But Montana isn’t a uniformly red state. While Trump was cruising to victory, Gianforte lost the governor’s race by 3.4 points to Democrat Steve Bullock.

Rep. Brian Mast visits Georgia for Handel-Ossoff race; a Trump priority

Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, joined Rep. Will Hurd, R-Tex., in campaigning for Karen Handel in a high-stakes special House race in Georgia. (from the Twitter account of Karen Handel)

U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, was in Georgia on Saturday to campaign for Republican Karen Handel, who faces Democrat Jon Ossoff in a special June 20 House election that has shattered spending records and drawn the attention of President Donald Trump.

On Armed Forces Day, decorated Army combat veteran Mast was joined by Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, a former undercover CIA officer in the Middle East and South Asia, at a Handel campaign event.

Rep. Brian Mast, right, at an event for Georgia Republican candidate Karen Handel on Saturday. (photo from Handel campaign)

“It was a great honor to have both Congressman Brian Mast and Congressman Will Hurd in Georgia today as we honored those who have served and are still serving in our nation’s military,” said Handel in a statement released by her campaign. “These men understand the difference between talk and commitment, between intention and results. They were tested and they continued to persevere and it would be an honor to serve side by side with them in Congress.”

Handel and Ossoff are vying to replace Tom Price, who left the Georgia 6th District seat to be Trump’s secretary of Health and Human Services.

The seat has been solidly Republican, but Democrat Ossoff got 48 percent in a crowded April 18 election to nearly win the seat. Because Ossoff didn’t get a majority, he and Handel — who finished second with 20 percent — will compete in the June 20 runoff.

As it became clear Ossoff had a chance to win the seat outright in the April 18 election, Trump recorded a robocall and tweeted against Ossoff in hopes of forcing a runoff. Trump also attended a fundraiser for Handel when he was in Atlanta for an NRA convention last month.

The Handel-Ossoff is the most expensive House race in history, Politico recently calculated, with candidates, parties and outside groups topping $29.7 million in spending. The previous record was $29.6 million for the 2012 race in which Democrat Patrick Murphy unseated Republican Rep. Allen West for the Palm Beach-Treasure Coast seat that Mast now holds.

 

 

 

Today: Trump pouring political capital into Georgia congressional race

President Donald Trump has slammed Georgia Democratic congressional candidate Jon Ossoff on Twitter and in automated phone calls ahead of today’s special election.

With Democrat Jon Ossoff threatening to win a traditionally Republican congressional seat in the Atlanta suburbs in a special election today, President Donald Trump has recorded a phone message and unleashed his Twitter feed to try to hold the seat for the GOP.

 

Eighteen candidates, including 11 Republicans, are seeking the seat that Newt Gingrich once held and that Republican Tom Price easily won in November before stepping down to become Trump’s secretary of Health and Human Services. If no candidate gets a majority, the top two finishers will compete in a runoff.

 

Trump and Republicans are hoping to hold Ossoff below 50 percent, figuring the GOP has a better chance in a runoff.

 

“A runoff will be a win,” Trump tweeted Monday night.

 

This morning, Trump took to Twitter again to blast Ossoff, saying he’d be “a disaster in Congress.”

 

Trump-backed Republican wins close race for deep-red Kansas congressional seat

President Donald Trump made a Twitter appeal for Kansas Republican Ron Estes on Tuesday.

In a Kansas race that drew national attention as the first congressional election since President Donald Trump took office, a Republican backed by Trump pulled out a closer-than-expected victory in a normally solid GOP House district on Tuesday.

 

Republicans were nervous about the race as it became clear that Democrat James Thompson was running close to Republican Ron Estes in a district that Trump won by 27 points in November and Mitt Romney carried by 26 points in 2012.

 

Estes ended up winning with 53 percent of the vote in Kansas District 4.

 

Trump recorded a robocall for Estes in the campaign’s final days and took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to promote him.

 

“Ron Estes is running TODAY for Congress in the Great State of Kansas. A wonderful guy, I need his help on Healthcare & Tax Cuts (Reform),” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.

 

 

Estes will fill the District 4 seat of Mike Pompeo, who resigned to become Trump’s CIA director. Pompeo won the seat by a 60.6-to-29.6 percent margin over his Democratic challenger only five months ago.

 

Another nail-biter for the GOP and Trump comes next week in Georgia, where polls suggest Democrats have a chance to win a suburban Atlanta district once held by Newt Gingrich. Georgia’s 6th District seat is vacant because Republican Tom Price stepped down to be Trump’s secretary of Health and Human Services. Price was re-elected with 61.7 percent of the vote in November.