The first TV ad for former Democratic U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham‘s gubernatorial bid debuts today with a $1 million buy in the Orlando and Tampa TV markets.
The 30-second spot highlights her status as a mom who was active in the PTA and as the daughter of former Florida Democratic Gov. Bob Graham. And while Gwen Graham has at least four rivals for the Democratic nomination, her ad has a general-election feel, urging voters to end two decades of Republican control of the governor’s mansion and Florida Legislature.
“Twenty years with one party running everything with all the wrong priorities,” Graham says in the ad. “The Florida Legislature have not taken Medicaid expansion, they have hurt education, they have used the lottery to reduce funding — but we’re going to take it back.”
Former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine leads several Democratic polls after spending about $10 million on TV ads since November. Winter Park businessman Chris King began spending more than $1 million on TV ads last month. A PAC supporting Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum bought ads last month accusing Graham of not being liberal enough. A fourth Democrat, Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene, entered the race this week and another Palm Beach County Democrat, former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, is expected to announce soon whether he will run for governor.
Public polls on the Florida Democratic gubernatorial race and internal polls that the campaigns choose to make public seem to agree on two points: Former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is ahead — but a large number of Democratic voters haven’t made up their minds as the Aug. 28 primary approaches.
Levine’s campaign released an internal poll today that says Levine leads the Democratic field with 30 percent, followed by former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham at 20 percent, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum at 12 percent and Winter Park businessman Chris King at 6 percent with 33 percent undecided. PPP conducted the poll of 583 likely Democratic voters last Monday and Tuesday. It has a 4 percent margin of error.
Gillum’s campaign released an internal poll recently that showed Levine at 20 percent and Gillum and Graham tied at 13 percent in an initial ballot test. That poll showed 52 percent of voters were undecided.
Levine’s poll shows him leading Gillum, the only black candidate in the race, by a 27-to-19 percent margin among African-American voters. The poll shows Levine leading Graham, the only woman in the race, by a 30-to-17 percent margin among female voters.
Former Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter says he expects to decide in early June whether to launch a campaign for governor with former Republican U.S. Rep. David Jolly as his running mate.
The deadline for candidates to qualify for the ballot is June 22. Four Democrats are running, but polls show a wide open race and Murphy and Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene have not ruled out making late entrances.
Murphy has been contacting potential donors and got an opinion from an attorney that nothing in Florida law prohibits a gubernatorial candidate from selecting a lieutenant governor candidate from a different party.
“Honestly I believe people are more interested in getting their problems solved than the politics of political parties,” Murphy told The Palm Beach Post today.
The poll also tested how Murphy would fare if he announced Jolly as his running mate. Jolly, a prominent critic of President Donald Trump, has been touring college campuses with Murphy to decry partisanship and governmental gridlock.
With Jolly as his running mate and Murphy described to respondents as “a different kind of Governor who would work together with reasonable Republicans in Tallahassee to set aside Florida’s old, partisan politics and get things done,” the poll found Murphy leading the Democratic field with 21 percent to 17 percent for Levine.
After the idea of a Murphy-Jolly ticket was floated, some Democrats questioned whether it’s legal for candidates from different parties to run together.
“There is no prohibition under the laws of the State of Florida on a candidate for the office of Governor from one political party selecting a candidate for Lieutenant Governor from another political party to run with them,” says a legal memo prepared for Murphy by Fort Lauderdale attorney Jason Blank.
The Iran deal was a landmark of former President Barack Obama‘s administration, but three Democrats in Palm Beach County’s U.S. House delegation — Reps. Alcee Hastings of Delray Beach, Ted Deutch of Boca Raton and Lois Frankel of West Palm Beach — opposed it in 2015. Former Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, who crossed the aisle to vote with Republicans on several issues, supported the Iran deal.
In a Forum Club of the Palm Beaches appearance two weeks before the Senate vote, Nelson called the Iran deal flawed but better than the alternative.
“Right now, if we walk away from the agreement, Iran can develop a nuclear weapon in two to three months,” Nelson said. “If we agree to this agreement, which has its flaws, at the very least they will not produce a nuclear weapon until after 10 years and probably after 15 years.”
Nelson also said that he was satisfied that if Iran tried to secretly develop a nuclear weapon “we would find it.”
Former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter would become the front runner for the Democratic nomination for governor if he gets in the race with former Republican U.S. Rep. David Jolly as his running mate to “get things done” in Florida, Murphy’s pollster says.
Murphy recently gave his OK to a poll testing his name against already-declared Democrats Andrew Gillum, Gwen Graham, Chris King and Philip Levine. With Murphy’s name in the mix, pollster Keith Frederick found former Miami Beach Mayor Levine leading the pack at 20 percent with Murphy and former Rep. Graham tied for second at 14 percent.
Conventional wisdom holds that Democrats win primaries by running to the left (and Republicans by running to the right). But when likely Democratic voters were asked about Murphy teaming up with former Republican congressman Jolly — and given a positive description of the ticket — Murphy leads with 21 percent, followed by Levine at 17 percent and Graham at 12 percent.
Here’s the way the Murphy-Jolly ticket was described, according to Frederick’s polling memo: “Some people are urging Patrick Murphy to run for Governor and pick David Jolly, a
moderate and independent former Republican Congressman, as his Lt. Governor running mate. They say it would be a clear sign Murphy would be a different kind of Governor who would work together with reasonable republicans in Tallahassee to set aside Florida’s old, partisan politics and get things done for the Florida. In this case, who would you vote for in the Democratic Primary for Governor?”
Two Palm Beach County Democratic figures – former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy and billionaire real estate investor Jeff Greene – are not ruling out making late bids for Florida governor.
Murphy, a two-term House member who lost a 2016 race for U.S. Senate, gave his OK to a poll that tests his name as a gubernatorial candidate with Democratic voters, a person familiar with the poll confirmed. The poll also floats the names of some potential candidates for lieutenant governor – including former Republican U.S. Rep. Dave Jolly, who has been touring college campuses across the nation with Murphy to discuss partisan gridlock and governmental dysfunction.
“Some supporters wanted to do a poll and I didn’t say no,” Murphy said in a text message to The Palm Beach Post this morning. “I certainly didn’t say yes to actually running!”
Greene, a Palm Beach resident who lost a 2010 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, told The Palm Beach Post he has concerns about whether the four Democrats now running for governor — Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, Winter Park businessman Chris King and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine — will have the money and message to win in November.
“I have definitely not ruled out getting into the race…I’m still looking at it. The filing date is not til June,” Greene said. The qualifying period for gubernatorial candidates ends at noon on June 22.
Greene said his experience as an “accidental educator” — he founded The Greene School in West Palm Beach because he wasn’t satisfied with public or private school options for his children — has given him insight into education that other candidates lack.
Greene’s net worth was estimated at $3.8 billion — about $700 million higher than his nearby Palm Beach neighbor, President Donald Trump — on the latest Forbes 400 list.
Greene noted that Florida Gov. Rick Scott‘s personal wealth helped him win close races in 2010 and 2014.
“If I did get involved I’d be able to get my message out and spend whatever it would take to get me over the top,” Greene said.
With two Democrats and possibly a Republican primary challenger eyeing his Palm Beach-Treasure Coast congressional seat, freshman U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, raised $887,637 during the first three months of 2018 and began April with $1.5 million in cash on hand — a solid figure but not as much as some past District 18 candidates at similar phases of their campaigns.
In 2014, the last time an incumbent defended the District 18 seat, Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy ended the first quarter with $2.2 million in the bank. He went on to easily win re-election over Republican Carl Domino.
In 2012, shortly after District 18 was created by the decennial redistricting, Republican Rep. Allen West had $3.3 million in cash on hand at the end of the first quarter and Democratic challenger Murphy — who went on to win the seat that November — had $1 million.
For 2018, Democrats Lauren Baer and Pam Keith have opened District 18 campaigns. And Gold Star mother Karen Vaughn said last week she’s considering a GOP primary challenge to Mast. Vaughn is expected to announce her decision this week.
Democrat Baer announced last week that she had raised more than $450,000 during the first quarter. She didn’t announce a cash-on-hand figure.
Federal Election Commission campaign finance reports for the first quarter aren’t due until Sunday, but candidates often release select figures ahead of time.
Former President Bill Clinton has been a frequent election-year presence in Palm Beach County and elsewhere in Florida — stumping for such Democrats as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Charlie Crist, Patrick Murphy, Lois Frankel and Kendrick Meek.
But 20 years after he survived the Monica Lewinsky scandal as president, Politico reports that Bill Clinton could be shelved for the 2018 midterms amid heightened awareness of sexual harassment and the desire of Democrats to draw a clear contrast with President Donald Trump on the issue.
Bill Clinton narrowly lost Florida to George H.W. Bush in 1992 (the last person to lose Florida but win the presidency), then carried the state in 1996. He’s become a popular figure in the Sunshine State, and particularly deep-blue Palm Beach County, since leaving office.
Former Republican U.S. Rep. Allen West, the fiery conservative who represented a Palm Beach-Broward congressional district for a single term from 2011 to 2013, is getting some mention as a potential 2018 U.S. House candidate.
West now lives in Texas, where his name has percolated in speculation about candidates to replace U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Tex., who announced this week he won’t seek re-election to a Dallas-area district.
“I didn’t move here to run for political office, but that’s some interesting news you just told me,” West told The Texas Tribune when one of its reporters informed him of Hensarling’s retirement.
West couldn’t immediately be reached for comment this morning.
Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. West was elected in 2010, knocking off Democratic incumbent Ron Klein during the tea party tsunami that year. In 2012, when his district was redrawn with a decided Democratic advantage, West switched to a more GOP-friendly Palm Beach-Treasure Coast District 18 but was defeated by Democrat Patrick Murphy.
Former U.S. Reps. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, and David Jolly, R-St. Petersburg, are embarking on a bipartisan speaking tour to address “Why Gridlock Rules Washington and How We Can Solve the Crisis.”
The pair will “pull back the curtain on Washington and shine a light on the inside reasons why D.C. is in a state of chaos and dysfunction,” according to an announcement today.
Scheduled dates so far: Sept. 12 at the University of South Florida in Tampa; Oct. 4 at Florida International University in Miami; Oct. 18 at the University of Miami in Coral Gables and Oct. 25 at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Additional stops could be added.
USF and The Tampa Bay Times are sponsoring the first 75-minute town hall-style event; other sponsors haven’t been announced.
Murphy, elected twice in a Republican-leaning Palm Beach-Treasure Coast congressional district, crossed the aisle on votes more frequently than most of his House colleagues. He gave up his seat in 2016 to pursue an unsuccessful challenge of Republican Sen. Marco Rubio. Murphy recently said he’s not running for office in 2018 but he’s only 34 and many expect him to re-emerge in Florida politics.
“Working across the aisle was a hallmark of my two terms in Congress, and the relationships I formed with members of both parties were invaluable. I look forward to joining my former colleague as we share our perspectives on ways we must work together to improve our broken political system,” said Murphy.
Jolly launched a 2016 Senate campaign as well but bowed out when Rubio decided to seek re-election after his presidential bid fizzled. Jolly then lost his House re-election bid to Democrat Charlie Crist after redistricting gave his district a Democratic slant. Jolly has maintained a high profile of late as a Republican critic of President Donald Trump.
“Even in times of great disagreement there are ways of finding common ground, there are opportunities for bipartisan leadership to solve some of our country’s toughest issues. I’m excited and proud to join my friend on a statewide tour to discuss how this can be accomplished in today’s hyper-partisan world of politics,” Jolly said.