Republicans targeting Nelson with billboard on algae bloom

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is hoping to tie anger about the toxic algae bloom that has fouled waters in the Treasure Coast to U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat the GOP wants to knock off when he seeks re-election in 2018.

Starting today, commuters driving past Interstate 95 at 10th Avenue near exit 64 will see a billboard urging them to “TELL BILL NELSON: Do more to fix Florida’s algae crisis.”

Nelson authored legislation that was passed into law in 2014 to direct $82 million for research into the causes and control of algae blooms and to give additional resources to communities affected by them.

The senator has also sponsored legislation that would, for the first time, pave the way for states and local communities hit hard by algae blooms to get federal assistance.

That legislation passed the Senate’s Commerce Committee in May. The Senate’s GOP leadership will determine when it is brought to the floor.

Nelson, first elected to the Senate in 2000 after a stint in the U.S. House of Representatives, could face Gov. Rick Scott in what would be an expensive, all-out battle Democrats can’t afford to lose if they have any hope of recapturing a majority in the Senate.

The GOP is already at work softening up Nelson.

“After 40 years in Congress, Bill Nelson has only reinforced his ineffectiveness as a lawmaker,” NRSC Communications Director Katie Martin said. “Floridians deserve a senator who will win the fight to fix the algae crisis, and decades have proven that Bill Nelson isn’t the man for the job.”

An algae outbreak curdled sections of the St. Lucie River in 2016, damaging businesses and angering residents who blamed Lake Okeechobee discharges for the smelly bloom.

State lawmakers passed a plan this year that would have the state store water south of Lake Okeechobee as a means of eliminating the discharges and, they hope, the algae spread.

For his part, Nelson is aware he has a political target on his back.

His campaign sent out a fundraising pitch Thursday mentioning Scott and President Donald Trump.

“CNN has ranked Florida’s Senate race as one of the most competitive races in the country next year,” the campaign pitch read. “And just last week, Gov. Rick Scott and Donald Trump met in New Jersey to begin plotting their campaign against Bill Nelson.”

The campaign said “a generous group of donors has stepped up big time and has offered to MATCH every donation we receive this week.”

“With Trump personally recruiting Scott to be his rubber stamp in the Senate, we CANNOT afford to waste this extraordinary opportunity to have your donation DOUBLED – making every dollar you give go TWICE as far – but time is running out.”

The donation match ended on Friday, but Nelson’s fight for re-election is only just warming up.

Scott backs Trump, tourism and business groups in State of State

Gov. Rick Scott

Florida Gov. Rick Scott expressed his happiness that Donald Trump was elected president and backed a pair of controversial tourism and business agencies in his State of the State address Tuesday.

Speaking to a joint meeting of the state House of Representatives and Senate at the opening of this year’s legislative session, Scott made no mention of the opioid and heroin epidemic that has ravaged families in Palm Beach County and throughout the state.

Palm Beach County officials said they were pleased by aspects of the governor’s speech but were disappointed he did not mention the opioid epidemic.

The governor’s support for Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida puts him on a collision course with some state legislators, who have criticized those agencies as havens of waste and corporate welfare.

Check with http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com later today for more on this story.

Donald Trump at the top of the Palm Beach County ballot? Is this rigged?

presrace-postDonald Trump has suggested the Nov. 8 election is rigged, but here in Florida, his critics might say the same thing.

After all, on ballots statewide and in Palm Beach County, the part-time Palm Beacher and Republican presidential nominee is at the top of the ballot. It’s not alphabetical. It’s not even alphabetical by party.

The answer: President’s not the only race. All down the ballot, each race has something in common: Republicans are listed first.

So what gives?

It’s all legit, according to the Florida Division of Elections. The answer lies in Section 101.151(2) of Florida Statutes.

It calls for the ballot to list picks in this order: “nominated by the political party that received the highest vote for Governor in the last general election of the Governor in this state, followed by the names of other candidates for President and Vice President of the United States who have been properly nominated.”

The most recent gubernatorial vote was of course, in 2014, when Republican Rick Scott was reelected. That puts the GOP ticket of Trump and Mike Pence first, followed by Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine, and then candidates from smaller parties.

Small crowd protests Trump rally near Miami

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses the crowd during a campaign rally at the Sharonville Convention Center July 6, 2016, in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)
(John Sommers II/Getty Images)

DORAL — Their numbers small, their voices at times drowned out by flights arriving at nearby Miami International Airport, and their target well ensconced out of earshot at his own club, about two dozen protestors stood and sweated and shouted Tuesday afternoon outside Trump National Doral golf resort west of Miami.

Several blocks away, far past a guard house,  Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump was set to hold a  private, no-press fundraising reception and dinner.IMG_4485

The businessman and part-time Palm Beacher isn’t done this week with Miami. Wednesday morning, he’ll hold a press availability in a ballroom inside the same club that hosted Tuesday night’s fete.

Not on hand: Gov. Rick Scott.

Announcements of the event list an organizing committee that includes the governor, who has endorsed Trump and who spoke for him at last week’s GOP convention in Cleveland. But Melissa Stone, Scott’s political spokeswoman, said Tuesday he never was set to attend; he had a conflict from the start.

More than likely, Trump was inside the property Tuesday long before protestors started straggling in around 4:30 p.m.

Standing in the wilting sun and outnumbered by reporters most of the time they were there, they held one sign in English bearing the now well-known “Love trumps hate” and another saying in Spanish, “no one is illegal.” A life-size Trump cutout had a voice bubble saying “Who’s a racist? This guy.” One sign asked Trump in Spanish, “How much did they pay you?.”

Trump had hoped Tuesday to hold a roundtable with Hispanic leaders but wasn’t able to make it happen, his campaign said. That event, set for July 8 at Miami’s legendary Versailles restaurant, was canceled at the last minute  because of the previous evening’s assassination of five police officers in Dallas. The campaign tried to reschedule it for Tuesday,  but wasn’t able to synchronize with all the leaders on short notice. Trump’s campaign said he will try again at another date.

 

LIVE CONVENTION COVERAGE

Follow Post politics reporter George Bennett and digital editor Kristina Webb as they report live from this week’s Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Follow them at PostonPolitics.com and on Twitter @gbennett and @kristina-webb.

Trump Miami Hispanic event off again; fundraiser still set for Tuesday night

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses the crowd during a campaign rally at the Sharonville Convention Center July 6, 2016, in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)
(John Sommers II/Getty Images)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s roundtable with Hispanic leaders, set for July 8 at Miami’s legendary Versailles restaurant and then rescheduled for Tuesday, is off again, a campaign spokeswoman said.

The businessman and part-time Palm Beacher had canceled at the last minute July 8 because of the previous evening’s assassination of five police officers in Dallas.

This time around, campaign spokeswoman Karen Giorno said late Monday, the campaign had tried to make the event happen but wasn’t able to synchronize with all the leaders on short notice. She said Trump will try again at another date.

Trump still is set to appear Tuesday, along with Gov. Rick Scott, at a private, no press, fundraising reception and dinner at Trump National Doral golf resort, west of Miami.

There’s a chance protestors will show.

“I wouldn’t be surprised,” Giorno said. “Anywhere he goes there’s protestors. They’re not going to get on property if they do.”

 

LIVE CONVENTION COVERAGE

Follow Post politics reporter George Bennett and digital editor Kristina Webb as they report live from this week’s Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Follow them at PostonPolitics.com and on Twitter @gbennett and @kristina-webb.

 

DOJ gives $500K to FDLE to defray Orlando terror costs

The U.S. Department of Justice has approved $500,000 in funding to offset law enforcement costs associated with the Orlando massacre, Gov. Rick Scott announced Friday.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement had requested $2 million in emergency Justice Assistance Grant funds for the city of Orlando and for Orange County, whose law enforcement agencies responded to Sunday’s mass shooting.

Scott, who said President Obama did not call him in the days after the shooting, said FDLE is working with the Justice Department to get an additional $1.5 million.

“We appreciate the federal Department of Justice granting $500,000 in funding to support Orlando law enforcement as they continue this ongoing investigation,” the governor said. “We are incredibly proud of the hard work and ongoing dedication displayed by our courageous law enforcement officers and first responders this week, and we are doing all we can to support their efforts. I look forward to DOJ quickly providing the remaining $1.5 million so we can ensure the city of Orlando and Orange County have every resource they need to assist their community.”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott
Florida Gov. Rick Scott