Here is Steve Precourt’s Complete Memo Slamming Ketcham and Jacobs on OOCEA Leadership

This morning former State Representative Steve Precourt slammed Orlando Orange County Expressway Authority Board Chairman Walter Ketcham and Mayor Teresa Jacobs for their actions during their search for a new Executive Director. He also goes on to write that there is a massive an 80 million dollar budget shortfall that conflicts with current plans for development.

Precourt accuses them of “Backdoor Dealings” and says the Board has been “Completely Leaderless”. He also says that they never wanted him to have the job and that their behavior costed him and his family.

The Orlando Sentinel broke the story this morning (that write-up HERE).

Precourt isn’t alone in his lack of confidence in Ketcham and Jacobs. Board Member Marco Pena had this to say “I am shocked and disgusted by Ketcham’s actions to retain power and those of Mayor Jacobs in playing a shell game to move money around that will lead to toll road increases. These concerns need to be investigated and financials audited immediately to protect toll payers and the citizens of Orange County.” Pena voted to give Precourt the job before the board offered him a month to month agreement which he ultimately turned down.

The entire memo is full with important allegations. Because of that, I’ve published it in it’s entirety below. For those in a hurry the heaviest portions are in bold print.

I’ll keep an eye on this ongoing fight for you, as the story develops.

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February7, 2014

Chairman Ketchum:

Please accept this letter as my closing communication as OOCEA Executive Director, in fulfilling my duty to the people of Central Florida. While my time there was brief,the issues we dealt with are serious and require documentation and follow up by the Authority. I identified five pressing issues that demand immediate Board attention:

1) Innovation Way– As I discussed with you and the other Board members in your briefings, the proposed agreement as it now stands, that I had the Board delay action upon, will have a severely negative impact on the finances of the Authority. The costs to the Authority for this interchange have increased almost $20 million from previously programmed costs. I advise revisiting the terms of this agreement. Per my OOCEA staff, this item was rushed on the agenda just prior to my starting work, at the request  of Orange County staff, under the premise that failing to do so would hold up a major land use  amendment transmittal. Senior County staff  later relayed directly to me  that there was  no potential  delay, therefore  no  need to  rush. A  previous version  of this agreement  had the County contributing a fair share  of   almost $6 million due to the need for local access, and to increase the development potential of adjacent properties. However the most recent version of this  agreement had the County  contributing only $500,000,  thus shifting a  significant burden to toll  payers that should likely have been paid by the developer or y he County. I was advised that the County  wanted to redirect this money towards incentives to bring other businesses to Central Florida. Whatever the case may be, jeopardizing the good credit of this authority and removing capacity for future road construction is not good policy, and using OOCEA toll payer funds to give to private businesses is a terrible precedent.

2) All Aboard Florida Funding Shortfall – The All Aboard Florida agreement that you and the Board approved under Mr. Crumit’s direction has a requirement that OOCEA fund a $58 million line item, that staff indicated internal financial plans and models show OOCEA does not adequately have the resources to satisfy.Further, staff  indicated that OOCEA will  not be able to make  this payment at  closing without either seriously negatively impacting the work program, possibly delaying  the Wekiva  Parkway, or drawing down  reserves that  are required  to  bolster the Authority’s bond ratings, to keep borrowing costs low. I was advised that  Mr.  Crumit contended that he  had a “side  deal” wherein someone, possibly the FDOT, a  private developer or All Aboard Florida, would fund this shortfall. In my brief  due diligence  I found no  document or agreement to this effect. As  such, the OOCEA is the only party contractually bound to  fund this  as of  now,  and  barring a  goodwill contribution  from  the above,  you   must  begin preparations to handle this pressing obligation. Combined,  the  Innovation  Way cost increases and  All Aboard Florida budget shortfall  account  for $78  million  in  nprogrammed commitments.  I have  also  been  made  aware of  additional  right-­of-­way acquisition cost  shortfalls  that may  total  tens  of  million  more dollars. It is imperative  that a plan  be  developed to  deal with  these costs,  as the  implementation of  the major  projects in  the  Authority  Work  Program,  so critical   to our  economy here in  Central  Florida, is likely to be  severely negatively  impacted.

  3) Back office/CCSS  Consolidation -­‐  Under your direction and as the Executive Director for OOCEA, I voted on the short listing process for the CCSS. I do not believe this will negatively impact the process but you should be aware and confirm that is the case given the specifics of my departure.

4) SB 230/Central Florida Expressway Legislation – The Board’s absence in taking a position on this issue has potentially done extraordinary  damage to the Authority. Specifically, your failure to communicate with Senator (David) Simmons a consensus Board position, and concerns that proposed language related to the Osceola County Expressway Authority could allow them to remain independent, jeopardizes the very idea of a regional authority.

5) OOCEA Senior Leadership – During the process of my selection as Executive Director, your actions as chairman, the Mayor’s comments about EEOC policy and the intervention of the State Attorney have sufficiently clouded the hiring process to a point that I  recommend you  start over from  the beginning, but  act  diligently. Your actions  and conscious  delay  of  the  process, along with  Mr. Crumit’s termination of  the Chief  Financial Officer  prior  to his  departure,  have left  the ship  completely leaderless  for many  months during  a  critical time  in  the  Authority’s history.First hand I have seen that morale is damaged at every level of the OOCEA, and a full-­‐time leader must be brought in free from collateral damage. I would also  offer the following  important  recommendations moving  forward:

A) Comprehensive External  Audit of OOCEA  Financials  –  The  Board should  immediately  retain and empower an  outside auditor to  come in  and fully  understand the  funding  commitments  and capabilities   of the  Authority. I  had hoped to be able to help the Authority avoid raising tolls.  It appears that  what you’ve  done over  the  last  year or  so  has now  boxed  you into  either  raising tolls   automatically  as  you   have already voted  to  do, or  delaying  projects that  are crucial  to  our  economy  and  to   which  you  have already  committed  the Authority  – and perhaps both.  Absence  of  a  disciplined  management  approach  and a  lack of   institutional   control, combined with  a lack  of information  as to   the  xtent of  these  commitments  led  you   to  this  point. I   would  advise  getting real  clarity  on the  issue before further  damage is  done.

B) Obtain an  All  Aboard Florida  Deal  Summary –  The  Board  must  be provided with a comprehensive “road map” of  expenditures and  commitments the  Authority has  made as  it relates  to  this  important and  valuable project.  I  have  never seen  or  been  involved  with a major project so lacking in  summary documentation  and analysis  of  the  comprehensive  deal. Despite my many  requests  to various  staff  members  and  your  consultants,  I  received  nothing  even  approaching such a list. General Counsel Passiatore jokingly  referred to  it  as “Max  Crumit’s Rubik’s  Cube, existing only  in his  head”. Unfortunately  this description, combined  with the  possible “side  deal”  to substitute  $58  million in  other  people’s money  for  money  to  which  OOCEA is contractually  obligated, paints  a terrible  picture  of  a lack of    management discipline, institutional  control,  transparency and accountability  to toll payers,   citizens, bond  rating agencies and the bondholders. 

C) Immediately update  the 5 Year  Work  Program  – The lack  of leadership  over  the  last 6  to  8 months has allowed  the annual  update of  the  work  program to  languish. You  must have  a  financially  feasible  work program  to  guide the  Authority’s  efforts, financial  plans   and investments.  This lack  of  leadership is  contributing to  the instability  in the  overall financial  plan. Finally,  I  would like  to comment  on your  actions  related to  my  hiring  as the  Executive  Director. First,  the manner  in  which  the  job search  was  managed was  embarrassingly bad  for   the Authority  on   many  levels. One only  has to  count the number of  news articles  and broadcasts much  less read  or see  them  all, to  get a  feel for the  problem.  You  joined  the  mayor in  supporting  Max  Crumit  as director,  who  oddly  enough would  have  been  unqualified  to  be  rehired by  the Authority  under the  qualifications  that  you  set forth  in  the hiring  process.  You then   allowed  candidates  to be  shortlisted  and  vetted that  did  not meet  the strict  interpretation of  those qualifications. You   further  made  those  qualifications  an issue   in  my hiring,  even  after  you  had  months  earlier personally  told   me  that I’d  make  a fine  Executive  Director for  the  Authority if  I  applied.  Your actions led  me  down a  road that  you  must have  known  was  a dead  end.  The hiring  process dragged  on far  too long.  You let months  go by when nothing  happened. Morale at  the Authority  was damaged, deals  weren’t completed, the CFO has  not  been  replaced,  the Work  Program Update has  lapsed, deadlines  were missed  and the  opportunity  to constructively  participate in a discussion of  the future of  the Authority  with   the  legislature  has  perhaps    been  lost.  After  a majority  of the  Board voted  in support  of  me  (whom  I  believe  that  in this process and in general have been  trying  hard to do the  right thing) you  negotiated with  me  in   what appears to be  bad  faith.  After  sealing  a final  and  binding  employment agreement  with me,  noting  to the  Board that  we  had  “successfully  negotiated a  contract”, having me  start at  the  Authority  and  formally act  as Executive  Director for  several days including handing  over full  access to  staff,  consultants  and all  sensitive  information,  you  then proposed an amendment to my  employment agreement substantially altering  and repudiating  the  agreement and terminating  my  employment.  This has  damaged my  family. We  spent  a large amount in legal  fees to establish a  blind trust  and  negotiate the  employment  agreement  you later repudiated. I  walked away  from  my final session  in the  legislature, forfeiting  almost a  full  year’s participation.  Those  are  opportunities  and  costs to  us that are wasted.  More  egregious than all of the above  though,  appears  to  be  your backdoor dealings. In comments   you made  to me,   and  which I subsequently  confirmed  through others, you indicated that  you worked  with  the State  Attorney in    advance on his letter  to the  Authority. You  claimed to  have “crafted”  the Ashton letter  with  him,  attacking my employment  and using me  as  a pawn  in  requesting the Board  hold off on  changes in leadership (meaning  as  you   said  to  keep  you  as Chairman), and  to hang  a  cloud over  my employment  as  negotiated.  I could only  surmise that your intent was to lay the  groundwork  to dismiss me in   short  order. This  behavior is   morally and  ethically wrong, as   well  as wrong on so many  other levels. The  people of  central  Florida deserve to  know these things, and   I believe  deserve  much better.

Respectfully,

Steve Precourt P.E

Precourt pulled no punches in his memo to the Expressway Board

Precourt pulled no punches in his memo to the Expressway Board

 

Florida State House District 30 Race 2014 – Frank’s Notes

Florida House 30 Changeable 1-14

These are my professional notes and research on the 2014 Florida State House District 30 Race. Dated From most recent developments working back.

7-17-14: Bob Cortes won the Casselberry Chamber of Commerce Straw Poll. KCD was present. Sturgill was not. Story HERE.

7-15-14; Stugill broughtin $12.6K between June 1st and July 4th and spent $8686.

7-15-14: KCD brought in $10020 between June 1st and July 4th and spent $6875. Donors include big beverage, unions, lobbyists. Major expenditures include campaign office rent, petition collectiors. FDP also gave her some money for payroll.

7-15-14: Cortes raised $670 and spent $6376 between June 1st and July 4th.

7-11-14: There was a candidate forum at Tiger Bay today with these two candidates participating and KCD in attendance. Tiger Bay has an uncertain media policy so, I could not cover.

7-3-14: Cortes had a plane flying over Red, Hot, and Boom, and had staff working the crowd. Sturgill had sign presence but I couldn’t spot any of his people.

6-27-14: Former House 49 Candidate Jesse Phillips has joined Bob Cortes’ campaign. Story HERE

6-26-14: Cortes won his 3rd straight straw poll last night at the Seminole County Republican Executive Committee Hob Nob. I actually thought that might have been Sturgill’s room counting his supporters that might have gone, but that wasn’t the case.

6-25-14; Cortes won the East Side Hob Nob Straw Poll last night. You can read that HERE.

6-22-14: I preview this race with the final field. You can read that HERE

6-20-14: The field is set it will be Sturgill vs Cortes in the GOP Primary with KCD waiting in the general.

6-17-14: Cortes won the first straw poll of the season at the SCYR Hob Nob. Story HERE

5-23-14: Seminole County Tax Collector Ray Valdes endorses Cortes. Read about it HERE.

5-22-14: Cortes scheduled a fundraiser for next week. You can read about it HERE.

5-21-14: Longwood City Commissioner Brian Sackett endorsed Sturgill. I didn’t get a release so I couldn’t write about it.

5-19-14: Cortes qualified by petition. Write-up HERE

5-13-14: Regulations prevented KCD from fundraising in April. She continued her frugal ways spending only $1700. She’s raised 112K for the campaign with about 95K on hand.

5-13-14: Cortes raised $4110 with the donations from his colleagues in the towing industry, retirees and other individuals making contributions. He spent $1328. Mostly on postage.

5-13-14: Sturgill raised $2775. Notable donors include the CEO of Fairwinds. He spent $3385. Mostly on Media and Consulting. He’s raised about 58.1K for the campaign and has about 34K on hand.

5-7-14; Bob Cortes is now the Mayor of Longwood. The first Hispanic Mayor in Seminole County. I did a release about it HERE

5-6-14: Sturgill has been endorsed by Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett. I didn’t get a release so I couldn’t write about it. Now it’s stale.

4-24-14: Sturgill was apparently endorsed by Winter Park Mayor Ken Bradley. I didn’t get a release, so I couldn’t write about it. Now it’s stale.

4-11-14: Sturgill had a solid March with 8.4K raised. He only spent $1800. For the campaign he’s raised 55.4K and has about 34K on hand. His major donors include 6K in 1K donations from rehab centers and medical facilities. He spent about $1800 on media and consultant fees.

4-11-14: Cortes raised $1300 in March. He’s raised 72.6K for the campaign and 45K on hand. No notable donations. He only spent $99 bucks for the month.

4-11-14: KCD raised $6975 in March. She’s raised 112K for the campaign and has about 97K on Hand. Big March donors include a 1K donation from big labor, and about 8 $500 donations with at least 2 from big beverage and other Democrat friendly organizations. Her first expenditure in 3 months was 1500 on consultants.


3-10-14
: Karen Castor-Dentel hasn’t spent a dime on her campaign in two months. That’s bizarre. She did raise about 8K in February. FDP gave her $1,825 in campaign labor in-kind, so there is still some movement on her end. Most of her haul were individual donations of $500 or smaller. She’s raised about 105K for the campaign with about 90K on hand. More than both of her possible opponents combined.

3-10-14:Cortes banked about 5K for February with 1K donations coming from a PAC and a Waste Disposal Service in GA. There were also large donations by his colleagues in the towing industry and property developers. He spent about $2300 with $1500 of that going to consultants. He’s raised about 71.3K (with a 25K self loan) and has about 48K on hand.

3-7-14: Sturgill raised a solid 10.2K and having the best month of fundraiser so far in his campaign. It looks like he was able to tap that lucrative Tallahassee money. His haul featured large donations of $500 or more from various lobbies and PACs including 5 checks for 1K. He spend $3500. Mostly on consultants and software. He’s raised about 47K for the campaign with about 27K on hand.

3-1-14: Cortes had a healthy turnout at his campaign walk today. About 18 people from what the photos displayed.

2-20-14: Cortes has been endorsed by Seminole County Commissioner Bob Dallari. Better to bundle these smaller endorsement from municipal offices like he did with the Casselberry City Commission to pitch as a bigger story. Still, it’s one more elected official in his corner. I still wonder why the majority of SCREC and OCREC aren’t behind him though. These endorsers need to work the phones and get more non-elected officials on his side or else they’re not really any good.

2-19-14: Sturgill released a web vid today. I did a full write up. Read it HERE

2-15-14: Cortes was endorsed by the entire Casselberry City Commission. Read about it HERE

2-10-14: Karen Castor-Dentel won the January money chase with about $6200 raised. She didn’t spend a dime. There was a lot of money from big labor as well as some PAC and Beverage industry donations. 37 Donations. 7 large donations from $500 and up. 25 small donations of $100 or less. About 12 from within the district. She’s raised 97.2K for the campaign and has about 83K on hand. In a swing district like 30, this is going to be a thing for whichever Republican faces her in November.

2-10-14: Cortes raised $2075 in January and spent $1677. 11 donations. Most within the district. 4 Large donations of $500 or more. 6 small donations of $100 or less. It’s his lowest monthly haul for the campaign but still has raised twice as much on hand as Sturgill. The majority of his expenses was for consultants in Tally. He’s raised about 66K for the campaign with about 45K on hand.

2-10-14: Sturgill raised $4450 with large contributions by property management, lobby and medical connections. 12 donations. 4 large donations of $500 or more. 4 smaller donations of $100 or less. He spent $4884. 3K on a mailout and 1K on consultants. He’s raised 36K with about 20k on hand.

1-28-14: Sturgill announces endorsement from Oakland Commissioner Joseph Patrick “Hap” McMullen

1-10-14: Sturgill raised $2800 in December and spent $1500. He’s raised about 32.2K and has about 21K of it on hand. No notable donations.

1-10-14: Cortes banked $2,450 in the quiet fundraising month of December and spent $1,144. He did have a fundraiser early on in the month but it looked like it didn’t cost him anything or lead to a big haul. He holds steady with about 64K in the bank with about 40K on hand.

1-4-14: Caught the 2nd half of Sturgill’s radio hit on WORL 660 AM. The part I did catch was a discussion on Presidential politics. He did get a chance to tell voters where they could information about his campaign.

12-26-13: INTERVIEW REQUEST: I’ll be starting my candidate interviews in January. This is a 5 questions segment done over email. Interested candidates can reply to this request by emailing torres.fjr@gmail.com or by calling me at 386-334-4492

12-15-13: David Dwyer announced on Social Media today that he was resigning from the race. Full story and slide update to come. Attempting to contact Dwyer to see if he will endorse Cortes or Sturgill

12-11-13: Cortes’ fundraiser seemed well attended. Headcounts from photos on social media lead to an estimated 50 to 70 in attendance. UPDATE: Cortes called to clarify there were over a 100 there last night.

12-11-13: Did a wrap on November fundraising. you can read that HERE.

12-10-13;- KCD raised $9125 for the month of November. There was a lot of PAC money in their from beauty, pharmaceutical, beverage, and grocery interests about 3k. And some love money from her well connected family. The majority of her haul continues to be from outside of the district.

Let’s break down the numbers. 30 donations. 1 from inside the district. 14 large donations of $500 or higher. 11 small donations of $100 or less.

She spend about $2600 this month on an ngp expense reimbursement.

Altogether she’s about 85k for the campaign with about 71k on hand. She is still the money leader.

12-10-13: Cortes’ consultant put out a really silly release claiming victory for the month of November with his haul of $4050. It also claimed to had raised 90k for the year but didn’t mention that a large fraction of that was a personal loan. That is an omission that really bends the truth. I guess you have to justify payroll.

12-10-13: Business owner and Soil and Water committeeman Scott Sturgill posted $2,825 for the month of November. $2000 of that were from health care contacts. There was a $250 dollar donations from possible congressional candidate Col David Smith. 14 donations. 5 large donations of $500. 9 small donations of $100 or smaller. Approximately 5 from within the district.

He spent only $728 dollars last month on consultants. He’s raised 29,467 for the campaign with about 20k of that on hand.

12-10-13: Longwood commissioner and Business owner posted $4,050 for the month of November. Donations consisted of larger contributions from Law firms, property developers, and a colleague of Cortes’ from the towing industry. There were a lot of smaller donations or “love money” from family and friends as well. 30 donations. 2 large donations of $500. 20 smaller donations of $100 or less. Approximately 23 from inside the district.

He spent only 342 on internet expenses. He’s raised $61,7k for the campaign, anchored by a self loan of 25k, and has about 43k on hand. He’s also got a fundraiser scheduled for this evening.

12-8-13: Candidates Peter Vivaldi FL CD 9, Edward DeAguilera FL Sen D-9, and Com. Bob Cortes FL House 30 attended the Don Quijote awards last night and this photo has been making the rounds on social media.

11-30-13: Both Cortes and Sturgill put out last minute fundraising “asks” to supporters on Social Media.

11-25-13: KCD was at the Obamacare townhall last night. She arrived a few minutes late and was relatively quiet throughout the entire meeting. There were no opposing views presented so, there really wasn’t much for her to do or say.

11-22-13: Scott Sturgill got an endorsement from State Rep. Dennis Baxley today. I did a piece on it, you can read it HERE

11-22-13: David Dwyer never posted any numbers last month. I’m only hearing rumors over why that could be. Will monitor and update.

11-15-13: Scott Sturgill announced this event on FB

11-13-13: Bob Cortes banked $11,125 to win the fundraising push for October. The Majority of his donations were from a variety of businesses including Health Care, Property Development, and Contractors. He’s raised about 57k for the campaign and has about 40k on hand. Breaking down the numbers for the month, he received 36 donations, 16 donations of $500, 12 small donations of $100 or less with approximately 10 donations from within the district.

11-12-13: Castor Dentel raised 10k in October, putting her on pace for a big quarter. She only spent 744 of it, mostly on her website. Disney kicking in big bucks, $1500 that I can see. Former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio donated a $500 to her campaign. Her treasurer donated $250. $500 from Centurylink. Some more money from her Educator Colleagues. 51 Donations. 12 Donations of $500. 32 small donations of $100 or less. Approx 15 from inside of the district.

11-11-13: Sturgill posted $3,107 but was upside down for the month because of expenses from the fundraiser for the last quarter, which he raised 12k. No big names on the report, a lot of the donations were from local businesses. 17 donations. 3 donations for $500, 10 donations of $100 or less. Approximately 8 from D30.

11-11-13: Because of new reporting rules, I’m going to post 1 article with all 4 candidates for better content. “Candidate X raises 500 in October” is kind of lame,

11-8-13: ISSUES ALERT- The push to have Stand Your Ground Changed/Repealed failed yesterday. Expect this to be a frequent question on the campaign trail. The controversial measure is still popular statewide but pockets of D30 still support a change.

11-5-13: Saw Sturgill participating in a Businessforce Political Panel with a couple of elected officials and candidates from other races, including Virginia Whittington from OC County Commission Disrict 6 and Greg Jackson from OC County Commission District 2.

10-30-13: Social Media Reach to Potential Voters. Facebook Likes: Castor-Dentel 534 Likes, Sturgill 454, Cortes 367, Dwyer 97. Twitter Followers: Castor-Dentel 552, Sturgill 106, Cortes 76, Dywer 3,

10-21-13: Cortes announces “Puerto Rican Style Christmas Evening” Fundraiser on 12-10-13, to be held at the Historic Longwood Community Building.

10-19-13:Cortes was out at the Cranes Roost Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration. Whoever wins the primary will have to tap into that group of voters to beat KCD.

10-14-13: Both Castor-Dentel and Scott Sturgill were mentioned in an article about GOP fundraising dominance. You can read that article HERE

10-13-13: Both Cortes and Sturgill attended the Gunter rally in Pasco County yesterday. They met with major elected officials like Speaker Weatherford and AG Bondi. Sturgill stayed and manned the phone bank for a while after the rally. You can read the whole story on the deployment HERE.

10-10-13: Bob raised 10k this quarter. It was the first time he was outraised by Sturgill this campaign. He’s still got the overall money advantage but with the Tally Fundraisers, I was expecting a higher number. He says he hit his number. but there were also a lot of expenditures again this quarter. He’s still got a little cushion but he needs more. Let’s break down the numbers. One name that stuck out on the report was John Maingot, his fellow member on the Longwood Commission. This creates almost a 2 on 2 on the commission with Durso and Bundy supporting Sturgill. Read my write-up HERE

Lets look at the numbers. 84 total contributions. 8 maximum contributions of $500. 58 small donations of $100 or less. Approximately 27 from outside of the district.

10-10-13: Scott brought in 12,025 for the quarter. He’s going to have to do better. He’s got some key personalities from the community on his side but he’s going to have to ask them to work for him if he’s going to catch Cortes. His expenditures are also %50 of what he’s brought in this quarter. You can read my write-up HERE. Let’s break down the numbers.

58 Donations. 11 Maximum Contributions of $500. 28 Donations of $100 or less. Approximately 25 from outside the district.

10-8-13: Karen Castor-Dentel bringing in a haul for the fundraising quarter of $28,305 which brings her total tally just short of 70k with about 60k on hand. A lot of familiar names on KCD’s money list, including her Sister and Congresswoman Kathy Castor, former CFO and Gubernatorial Candidate Alex Sink, and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer‘s Superpac. Also, every notable Democratic activist in the region donating as well as healthy donations from Florida Hospital, Traffic Camera Companies, and other corporate “Whale Donors”.

139 Donations. 21 Maximum Contribution of $500 Dollars. 36 small contributions $100 or lower. Approximately 67 from outside the district.

10-3-13: Had the chance to speak with Bob Cortes today, when asked about his fundraising haul from the last quarter he replied “We hit our numbers and we’re really happy with it”

10-2-13: Sturgill put out a survey today on FB to gauge the concerns of the voters. A proven tactic that usually reinforces a candidate’s existing platform.

10-1-13: Dwyer making some noise on Social Media today, with this post on FB

Accusations about residency are common in the State House Races. I’ll talk to each candidate when I get the chance.

If I’m guessing right, the formula Dwyer used to come to that conclusion, then there could be something there. However, you’ve got to consider if Cortes and Sturgill are renting inside the district.

9-30-13: Castor-Dentel put out a final call for donations before the fundraising on FB. “Dear Friends, Today is a crucial deadline in campaign fundraising and I have a number of opponents lining up to challenge me next November.www.karencastordentel.com. If you can help me before midnight tonight, I’ll stand a better chance to continue to fight for education, economic development and the environment.Any amount will help! Please go online to show your support and contribute

Don't Let Banner Red

9-30-13: Bob Cortes had a busy day. Like every other candidate running in a race right now, he put out a call for donations before the fundraising quarter ends. He is expected to have a big haul with a couple of Tally fundraisers held for him.

He was also endorsed by Ex Governor of Puerto Rico Luis Fortuno. This is likely the major announcement he hinted at last week. In Hispanic circles it’s valuable but the nod he’s already gotten from fellow Republican State Representatives in the surrounding districts are even more so.

9-29-13: Sturgill put out a fundraising call on Orange and Seminole County Young Republican pages. Hopefully this doesn’t become a trend. If other candidates see this, it could open the door for dozens of other candidates to post and drown out informational content those pages provide.

9-28-13: Spoke to Cortes for a second at an event last night and he teased important news to be released this week. We’ll keep an ear to the ground.

9-26-13: Scott Sturgill endorsed Edward DeAguilera in his State Senate 12 race. We’ll see if he’s coalition building to try and capture some of the Hispanic vote. It probably doesn’t mean that much but I’ll be looking to see if DeAguilera does the same. Here is the link to the endorsement HERE.

9-24-13: Reports from Tally have a Castor-Dentel fundraiser taking place this afternoon. No names or graphics. One last fundraising push before the quarter ends.

9-22-13: David Dwyer’s Campaign Website is up Votedaviddwyer.com it will be added to the Elections Tracker.

9-22-13: Sources close to this race inform me that State Senator Alan Hays was unhappy being on the host committee for the Tally Cortes Fundraiser. At first I dismissed it as gossip but on the latest flyer for the event, Hays has been replaced with State Senator Aaron Bean. Update: I asked BC about this and he said he had authorization from Hays and it was a simple mix-up. The name switch was known by everyone involved.

9-17-13: KCD has a fundraiser in downtown Orlando. If it wasn’t such a busy day, I would have done a full post. The theme is a “Women and Wine” and the features an all female hosting comittee with Castor-Dentel’s Mom, Betty, and State Senator Geraldine Thompson. The flyer is below.

Castor Dentel Fundraiser

9-16-13: Got to watch Karen Castor-Dentel at the State Legislative Delegation Meeting, downtown Orlando today. KCD asked a lot of follow up questions and made an informal agreement with OCPS School Board Chair Bill Sublette to invite him into the education discussion in Tally to secure more funding for education.

9-11-13: Got a hold of Dwyer, had a short phone conversation and posted his campaign announcement HERE

9-11-13: Republican David Dwyer filed to run last week. Working on an announcement post waiting for calls to be returned.

9-9-13: Cortes announces big fundraiser in Tally. I really want to see the money numbers from the next quarter, not just for the amount race but to see where the loyalties are in this race. Cortes has the momentum at this time but not everyone has united behind him yet. Some are still loyal to Sturgill. My full post on the Cortes Fundraiser HERE

9-7-13: The Florida Democratic Party didn’t do Karen Castor Dentel any favors with it’s leadership releasing two key operatives responsible for helping House candidates get elected after transparency oversight. KCD has enough of a challenge getting re-elected without and problems with the state party doesn’t help. (Full post HERE).

9-4-13: A brief look at the Sturgill’s Fundraising numbers show a lot of “love money” from known individuals. The real truth teller will be when the next campaign finance reports come out. Sturgill recently held his campaign kickoff and the donations from that event will reveal who’s really in who’s corner in this important race.

8-31-13: The Orlando Sentinel (story HERE) is reporting that Longwood could be the only city in Seminole County to raise taxes this year. This could be a potential problem for BC in a Republican primary running for a position in a body that hasn’t raised taxes in years. BC is against the increase but two of his fellow Commissioners have endorsed SS. I’ll see if the increase happens and if it does, keep an eye out if SS uses it against BC in the race.

8-29-13: SS sets a goal on FB for 10k in donations in 10 days. I’ll be tracking his process. Jennifer Sullivan in District 31 is also doing a similar mini campaign and is close to reaching her mark.

8-28-13: Some Social Media noise today. SS thanked everyone for attending his kickoff fundraiser last night in Heathrow and BC crossed 200 FB followers. KCD silence continues.

8-25-13: CF News 13 aired that story today. The majority of it featured BC as he was the only one who could make the interview. SS was mentioned. KCD declined to comment on the story

8-14-13: Went into CF News 13 today to talk about the aggressive early campaigning during this race. We touched on the KCD sending out walkers, BC aggressive fundraising and Endorsement Spree. We talked about SS potential role in the attack mailer and his efforts to stop Cortes’ momentum. Story will air throughout the week.

8-8-13: While doing Campaign Finance Research, I discovered that Belita Grassel donated 100 to Karen Castor-Dentel in her Florida House District 30 race as listed on KCD’s finance reports. Grassel is a newly announced Republican candidate in district 31 primary.

8-6-13: BC announces BBQ Fundraiser with Hosting Committee including 6 State Reps (Precourt, Tobia, Nelson, Brodeur, Santiago, Workman), As well as OC Commissioner Pete Clarke, Kissimmee Commissioner Wanda Rentas and Osceola Commissioner John Quinones as well as several other municipal leaders. Noted that date of fundraiser is the same as YR Annual in Orlando.

8-6-13: SS- Sturgill announces Kick-Off Fundraising Reception for Florida House 30 Race. My post HERE

8-1-13: BC posted photos from his fundraiser on FB. VIPs in attendance include. Former Congressional Candidate Julius Melendez, Current Congressional Candidate Jorge Bonilla, Kissimmee City Commissioner Wanda Rentas, former State House Candidate Marco Pena as well as some other political operatives.

8-1-13: NOTE OPENED

Introduction: The race to be the State Representative for Florida’s 30th House District will be one of the most hotly contested in the state. Incumbent Democrat Karen Castor-Dentel won the seat last November by defeating Republican Scott Plakon and while the Obama Campaigned played a huge part in delivering victory for her last November, her seat could withstand the higher Republican turnout of a mid-term and the party wants to keep that seat. She had a stronger session than most. The Maitland School Teacher saw the Governor’s education push deliver pay raises, and more budget money for her colleagues. The Parent Trigger Bill was also defeated. Castor-Dentel campaigned heavily against it after being elected. This will be another exciting race to watch.

It was also the first race in the area with a serious primary.

Longwood Commissioner and Small Business owner Bob Cortes (Cortes Towing) jumped into the race and aggressively started fundraising with much of the funding coming from his friends in the towing industry and personal loans. He also started racking up the endorsements from multiple sitting State Representatives to include Stephen Precourt, Jason Brodeur, David Santiago, John Tobia, and Ritch Workman. As well as Orange County Commissioners Pete Clarke and Jennifer Thompson. All of this came just over 6 months after the last election cycle ended. Cortes had essentially moved the timeline up 6 months to get the jump on any primary opposition.

Enter Water and Soil Committeeman and fellow Small Business Owner (CEO of Durable Safety Products) Scott Sturgill. Sturgill entered the race already behind due to Cortes’ early start. Falling behind in fundraising and with a lot of key endorsements already taken, Sturgill has had to be the aggressor. He touted the endorsements of Cortes’ two fellow Longwood Commissioners (Butch Bundy, Joe Durso) and has been attacking Cortes on Social Media by pointing out that he lobbied the Volusia County Commission for a Tow Rate Increase. Sturgill has also been linked to an attack mailer on Cortes with over a year to go until election day.

Chances of another Republican jumping into this primary are slim. Cortes has the resources, but Sturgill does have relationships in the community that could put him on the same level.

Websites:

Karen Castor-Dentel
Scott Sturgill
Bob Cortes

Get Your Message Out Banner! Blue

Marco Pena appointed to Orlando Expressway Authority

Yesterday afternoon, Florida Governor Rick Scott appointed Florida Hospital Department Director and former State House Candidate Marco Pena to the Orlando Expressway Authority.

Here is the write-up from Governor Scott’s office.

Peña, 33, of Orlando, is the director of growth strategy for Florida Hospital. He currently serves on the Puerto Rican Leadership Council, Rotaract of Metro Orlando, and UCF College of Business Alumni Board. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida and master’s degree from the University of Minnesota. He fills a vacant seat and is appointed for a term beginning July 15, 2013, and ending January 3, 2017.

Last year, in an uphill battle, Pena lost in Florida House District 49 to Rep. Joe Saunders who benefited from the large turnout for President Obama in the left leaning district.

Pena has a strong, positive reputation in the community and hasn’t ruled anything out for the future.

Pena was appointed to the Expressway Authority Board by Governor Scott

Pena was appointed to the Expressway Authority Board by Governor Scott

Get Your Message Out Blue

Joe Saunders beats Marco Pena in Florida State House 49 Race.

Democrat Joe Saunders has defeated Republican Marco Pena in the Florida State House 49 race.

Instant Analysis:

The Battle for UCF was just that. A political battleground that contained thousand of college student votes, student voters which tend to vote Democrat and that was evident in this race. Saunders used his fundraising skills to activate those younger voters and win this race. Pena isn’t done, you’ll see him run again in another contest. Many party leaders believe that he exceeded expectations for a Republican in that race.

Week in Review: Early voting ends, Hurricane Sandy, Detestable Anti Castor-Dentel Mailer

It is your week in review. The final one before Tuesday’s election. We’ve got the effects of Hurricane Sandy on the election, early voting has finished, and a nasty ad mailer gets to voters. Here we go!

Florida Politics with Frank Torres and here we are just 48 hours out from the election. This is your last week in review, before Tuesday night, and man it has been an exciting ride, we’ve got a lot to cover, let’s get to it, unfortunately, the week started with Hurricane Sandy slamming into the northeast, my thoughts go out to all of those effected by the storm, it certainly had an effect on the Presidential campaigns, both campaigns stopping for a couple of days out of respect for those that were effected by that terrible disaster, the hot topic seems to be, how did it effect the Presidential campaigns? Did it slow Mitt Romney’s momentum heading into this week. He was closing the polls in some of the swing states, he is actually up in Florida 1 to 5 points, depending on what polls you look at, he has to win Florida, the math does not work without us. President Obama was up north surveying the disaster, did this paint Obama, did this frame Obama, as a leader America can turn to during a disaster, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie throwing some high praise at the President over how he’s handled that disaster, so that is the big question, will this have overall effects on the outcome.

Moving into some of our other races, Florida Congressional District 10. Congressman Dan Webster against former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings, the Bloomberg money bomb, New York Mayor Mike Blooberg donated 1.1 million dollars to after Dan Webster, no doubt that is a lot of money to air ads, Webster is up in polling by a few points but withing the margin of error, over Val Demings in that district, it is going to be a very close finish, an external factor effecting Florida Congressional Dsitrict 10.

Florida Congressional district 9 Todd Long vs. Alan Grayson, you know I got no love for Alan Grayson, his thing this week is that he’s had this race locked up for weeks, a very cocky, a very confident, a very arrogant, stance at looking at the race, the layout does favor him, leans Democrat, a heavy Hispanic population, so we’ll see how that works out. Todd Long is a good candidate, I urge you to take a look at him. Especially, in a partisan gridlock environment that we have in Washington right now. I’m not certain Alan Grayson is the answer.

Moving on to some of the other state House races. Florida District 30 Scott Plakon vs. Karen Castor Dentel, a very, very ugly turn of events heading into this weekend, with a mailer hitting mailboxes, linking Castor Dentel to convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky from Penn State. Jerry Sandusky the disgraced coach from Penn State. A convicted child molester on a mailer hitting mailboxes, indefensible was the word that Scott Plakon used, everybody has disavowed this thing. A terrible, terrible, mailer, I think it’s disgusting and a very sad statement on politics in Florida when you would try to make that connection, to the voters, so close to election day. that race is going to be very close, that is a team battle, Republicans want to help Plakon secure that seat, Democrats see it as a stepping stone to perhaps bigger things in Tallahassee. We’ll see how it all plays out.

Florida State House 49. Marco Pena vs. Joe Saunders, in a race that has received the title of the most important state house race in Florida. The battle for UCF, what a great region to represent in Tallhassee. I can certainly see where that billing comes from. Events in that race, Marco Pena rolling out an endorsement from Roberto Clemente Jr. that got decent pop in the media this week, we’re going to see where that race goes on Tuesday, once again both candidates are getting support from both of the parties, everybody is getting involved.

Florida State House District 47, Linda Stewart against Dr. Bob Brooks, there have been these rumors of poll numbers, giving Stewart a double digit edge, in this race in what is suppose to be a Republican leaning district, we’ll see how this works out but I haven’t seen the polling, any formal polling, it could be a very clever tactic, it’s certainly pushing the buzz, pushing the race in the direction of Linda, Stewart, it’s all about controlling the message, and controlling the conversation as far as the race goes, we’ll keep a close eye on that one.

Also, the big radio push this week. Comes in the Orange County Tax Collector’s race, Jim Huckeba trying to notify the voters, they are not voting for the late Earl K. Wood, tragically Earl K. Wood passed away late last month, Scott Randolph will be taking his place on the ballot, Jim Huckeba trying to get that message out that a vote for Earl K. Wood, is not a vote for Earl K. Wood. Huckeba hopes to merge the Tax Collector’s office with the County Comptroller’s office, should he be elected, in a move that would save tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars, so an interesting turn of events in that race, these substitute candidates are all over the place. The Florida state House race between Eileen Game and Mike Lerosa, who took Mike Horner’s spot, so these substitute candidates really throw the voters off, We’ll see what the effects of those are on Tuesday.

But, here we are 48 hours away, we’ve got last minute stops by both campaigns, we’ve Paul Ryan tonight in Panama City, tomorrow the man himself Mitt Romney will be in Sanford, for a last minute drop in with Central Florida voters as the rest of the voters head to the polls on Tuesday, Michelle Obama will also be in town stumping for voters, so both campaigns heading into election night, the controversy over early voting, how much time should voters have to early vote has been a big topic, regardless of the outcome on Tuesday expect this one to come up again, there was a last minute extension granted from 1 to 5, you can go to certain precincts in the county to vote. Make sure to check before you head out. So, two days are left, we’re in the air, I know everyone we’ll be glued to their tv’s on Tuesday night to see how these races are played out. I’m Frank Torres and I’ll see you next time.