Crowds gather for 11 a.m. Hillary Clinton rally at Palm Beach State

 

Bruce Bennett/The Palm Beach Post
Bruce Bennett/The Palm Beach Post

LAKE WORTH — More than an hour before Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was set to speak at 11 a.m., crowds were filling in the floor of the gymnasium at Palm Beach State College, west of Lake Worth.

They lined a barrier in front of the podium where Clinton will speak, while others filled bleachers behind the rostrum and beneath a stored-away basketball hoop assembly.

Before doors opened at 9 a.m., lines wound around the sprawling campus. Youngsters, millennials, retirees and people in wheelchairs stood, wearing signs and buttons with the candidate’s “H” icon or signs saying “Love trumps hate,” a dig at GOP challenger, and part-time Palm Beacher, Donald Trump.

Patricia Ortiz-Guittierez of Delray Beach, an immigrant from Colombia, stood with his nephew, MIchael Ortiz of Coconut Creek in Broward County, who was voting for the first time — and already had, by mail,

“America is a country that welcomes everybody,” she said, taking a shot at Trump’s immigration stances. She’s a citizen, and already has voted as well.

For the last few days, Trump and Clinton have been criss-crossing the state, a critical battleground in the Nov. 8 presidential election.

On Tuesday, as Clinton worked a crowd in Broward County, Florida GOP chair and State Rep. Blaise Ingoglia was hammering her on reports that premiums for the Affordable Care Act are shooting up.

“On the heels of Obamacare premiums increasing at an average of 25%, Secretary Clinton’s visit to the Sunshine State will be a stark reminder of how big government policies like Obamacare will continue stifling our economy, restricting small business expansion and killing jobs,” he said.

GOP, Democrats still nearly even Thursday in mail-in voting statewide

Each day, the statewide numbers come in for those who have submitted mail-in ballots, or at least requested them. And it continues to show a nearly even split between Republicans and Democrats. In Palm Beach County, where many more registered voters are Democrats, that’s how the mail-in numbers skew as well.

Here’s the Florida Division of Elections box score through Thursday morning:

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Republicans, Democrats still close statewide in mail-in ballots

With Election Day a little less than two weeks away, those who have submitted mail-in ballots, or at least requested them, continues to show a nearly even split between Republicans and Democrats statewide. In Palm Beach County, where many more registered voters are Democrats, that’s how the mail-in numbers skew as well.

Here’s the Florida Division of Elections box score through Wednesday morning:

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Haven’t registered to vote? Today really is it

votingYou got an extra week to register to vote for the Nov. 8 election, but now your time really is up.

The Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections closes its books at the end of business today.

A federal judge last week extended the registration period by six days due to the disruption and damage caused by Hurricane Matthew.

Many people already have not only registered to vote, but have submitted mail-in ballots. Here’s the Florida Division of Elections box score through midday today:

 

Republican Democrat Other “No Party” Total
FLORIDA
Vote-by-Mail Outstanding 940,566 919,720 56,494 442,736 2,359,516
Vote-by-Mail Submitted 265,683 259,883 17,457 96,880 639,903
PALM BEACH COUNTY
Vote-by-Mail Outstanding 41,346 72,210 4,279 26,934 144,769
Vote-by-Mail Submitted 6,732 11,807 740 3,371 22,650

 

To see a sample ballot for your races, or for more information, contact the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections at 561-656-6200 or visit www.pbcelections.org.

Florida mail-in ballots close as Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton election nears

More parties look to join federal lawsuit over voter registration deadline.

Election Day is three weeks away, and Florida’s role in the presidential race is well-documented. Some people aren’t waiting to  Nov. 8. More than a half-million already have voted by mail.

While the ballots won’t be opened and counted until election day, the political breakdown offers some hints about the result.

Here are some early numbers from the Florida Division of Elections:

So far, statewide, 2.43 million mail-in ballots are outstanding. The party breakdown is pretty even: 981,771 Republican, 941,157 Democrat. Another 58,105 are “other” and a whopping 446,413 are “no party.”

Of 513,089 ballots already turned in, the split’s nearly the same: 210,707 Republican and 210,734 Democrat, with 14,359 “other” and 77,289 “no party.”

The breakdowns are especially interesting this year because many Republican leaders have hesitated to endorse their nominee, Donald Trump, in his race against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

In Palm Beach County, 19,827 ballots are outstanding. Of those, 5,898 are Republican, 10,357 Democrat, 658 “other” and 2,914 “no party.”

Of the 141,341 ballots already submitted in the county, 40,864 are Republican, 70,504 Democrat, 4,139 “other” and 25,834 “no party.”

Voters are choosing candidates for president as well as state, county and local offices. They also will be voting on a proposed 1-cent surcharge to the county’s 6 percent sales tax to pay for roads, bridges and schools. Early voting runs from  Oct. 24 through Nov. 6. The deadline to ask that a vote-by-mail ballot be mailed to you is 5 p.m. Nov. 2.

To see a sample ballot for your races, or for more information, contact the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections at 561-656-6200 or visit www.pbcelections.org.

Statewide Rep Dem Other NPA Total
Vote-by-Mail Not Yet Returned 981,773 941,157 58,105 446,413 2,427,448
Voted Vote-by-Mail 210,707 210,734 14,359 77,289 513,089
Palm Beach County Rep Dem Other NPA Total
Vote-by-Mail Not Yet Returned 5,898 10,357 658 2,914 19,827
Voted Vote-by-Mail 40,864 70,504 4,139 25,834 141,341

 

 

Clinton backers bake, endure Trump taunts before rally

Donald Trump couldn’t have planned it better.

Hundreds of Hillary Clinton supporters jammed outside the entrance of the Sunrise Theater in Fort Pierce Friday, baking under a broiling sun and enduring taunting chants from Trump backers as they waiting to enter for a Clinton campaign rally.

Elected officials, reporters and Clinton supporters waited to be screened by a handful of U.S. Secret Service agents. Meanwhile, Trump supporters penned them in, chanting: “Trump, Trump, Trump!” “Lock Her Up! Lock Her Up!” And, “Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi!”

Eventually, campaign staffers came to the front entrance and escorted reporters and elected officials through to the inside of the theater. It would take longer for Clinton’s supporters to make it through.

“We’re doing the best we can,” an exasperated Clinton staffer said.

Clinton supporters waiting to enter the Sunrise Theater in Ft. Pierce. (Wayne Washington/The Palm Beach Post)
Clinton supporters waiting to enter the Sunrise Theater in Ft. Pierce. (Wayne Washington/The Palm Beach Post)

 

Bondi on alleged Trump U. pay-for-play scheme: ‘I would never, ever trade any campaign contribution…for some type of favor’

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump walks in the rain with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi as they arrive at a campaign rally in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump walks in the rain with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi as they arrive at a campaign rally in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi sought to damper Tuesday the firestorm swirling around her accepting a $25,000 campaign check from the Donald J. Trump Foundation shortly before announcing she would not act on complaints involving Trump University.

Trump this month paid a $2,500 fine to the IRS for the illegal contribution from his charitable foundation to Bondi’s political action committee during her 2014 re-election campaign.

But the larger question of whether the event fits into a pay-for-play scheme Democrats are advancing this campaign season caused Bondi to address reporters before a Cabinet meeting at the Capitol.

“I hate that this is taking away from all the things we could be doing to help people,” Bondi said, adding she is proud of her department’s work on consumer protection, human trafficking and child safety.

Although a growing number of Floridians have come forward saying they lost money or were dissatisifed with the for-profit, unaccredited Trump University, which closed in 2010, Bondi insisted her office had only fielded one complaint — and that did not lead to an investigation.

As a result, Bondi added, she had no second thoughts when asking Trump to contribute to her re-election campaign in 2013. Still, her office at that time said it was reviewing allegations in a lawsuit against Trump University that was filed by the New York attorney general’s office, accusing the school of fraud in its real estate seminars.

Bondi’s predecessor, Attorney General Bill McCollum, also a Republican, had earlier received 22 complaints against Trump University but did not act on them, she pointed out Tuesday.

Speaking of the high volume of consumer complaints brought before her office, Bondi defended her decisions.

“These attorneys do their job…if there’s one that’s very serious, we’re going to look at it,” Bondi said.

Bondi also deflected questions about whether she felt her credibility had been damaged with Floridians and whether she would consider resigning before her final two years in office were up.

“I would never, ever trade any campaign contribution…for some type of favor to anyone,” Bondi said, adding that Trump gave significant contributions to Democratic and Republican candidates.

Trump went on in 2014 to host a fund-raiser for Bondi at his Mar-A-Lago estate in Palm Beach and the attorney general, who has endorsed Trump for president, spoke at last summer’s Republican National Convention.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and a separate federal class action civil lawsuit in California alleged that Trump University —  largely owned by Trump himself — defrauded consumers by as much as $35,000 each with promises of a real estate investing education that they either did not receive or found to be worthless.

Former Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott also received $35,000 from Trump three years after his office dropped a 2010 proposed lawsuit over the real estate school.

Trump in Miami: Why won’t Hillary give news conference?

IMG_4486
Eliot Kleinberg/Post Staff

DORAL — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump didn’t take a break to golf while the Democrats hold their national convention this week.

 

Just hours after Hillary Clinton Tuesday night became the first woman ever nominated as a major party candidate for president, the businessman and part-time Palm Beacher tore into her, her campaign, and her staff during a 1-hour gathering Wednesday morning with reporters at his Trump National Doral golf resort west of Miami.

The first words out of his mouth: that Clinton now has gone 235 days without any kind of news conference. That couldn’t immediately be verified.

Trump did not say anything about the possibility that he’ll have to come to federal court in a $6 million lawsuit by members of his Jupiter country club. He did take a question about the massive algae crisis in the Treasure Coast, but only to say he’s aware of it and concerned about it and wants to find out what’s causing it.

 

Trump said he’s not sure if it was Russia that hacked Democratic National Committee emails that he says prove the DNC gamed the election in favor of Clinton and she “knew about it,” something Clinton has denied. He said the emails contained comments so offensive that, had he said them, “I’d have had to drop out of the race.”

He did quip that perhaps the Russians can find the 30,000-plus emails by then-Secretary of State Clinton that she was unable to produce.

Trump said he doesn’t have major investments in Russia. He did say that several years back he bought a home in Palm Beach County for $40 million and sold it to a Russian for more than $100 million, and that’s the extent of his dealings with Russia.

He dismissed the idea that the Russians did it to help him win but did say that “a President Trump will be so much better in relations with Russia. Couldn’t be worse.”

To read more, go later to mypalmbeachpost.com.

 

 

Trump plans press briefing this morning near Miami

The Trump Factor?

DORAL — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, fresh off his own convention last week and a private fundraiser Tuesday night at his Trump National Doral golf resort west of Miami, holds a press briefing this morning at the resort.

It’s the first public remarks by the businessman and part-time Palm Beacher since Tuesday night’s formal nomination of his opponent, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, although Trump posted several of his traditional Twitter tweets.

The Palm Beach Post is staffing the briefing, which starts at 10:30 a.m. To read more, go later to mypalmbeachpost.com.

 

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.

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.