Wednesday Morning Political Headlines: POTUS opens lead in Florida

Good Morning.

Today we’ve got multiple polls that show President Barack Obama widening his lead in Florida over GOP nominee Mitt Romney. What was a 1% or 2% lead two weeks ago has extended to a 10 point advantage in some polls. That lead is being attributed to the 47 percent tape, the ill received comments on Libya and a failure to get his message to resonate with voters.

This story leads your Tuesday morning political headlines.

WESH 2: (Video) Commissioner, Disney lobbyist exchanged messages before sick pay vote

WKMG Local 6: (Video) Poll: Support for Obama increases in Fla.

WFTV 9 Eyewitness News: Some question whether or not State Rep. Horner will resign his House seat

WOFL FOX 35: (AP) Romney, Obama descend on battleground Ohio

CF News 13: New poll shows Obama with big lead in Florida, swing states

Orlando Sentinel: Sentinel Exclusive: Orlando allows nightclub to open despite fire hazard

Romney needs to make up ground in the debates next week.

Matt Falconer is back and he wants to take on Precourt in New FL House D44

In 2010 the Orange County Mayor’s race featured 4 very different personalities. The honest and calculating, eventual winner Teresa Jacobs. The savvy and calm Commissioner Bill Segal and, the sincerity and friendliness of Commissioner Linda Stewart.

Then there was businessman Matt Falconer and here’s one of his verbal gems.

“The reason Pine Hills isn’t getting any money is because my opponents have spent all of it, in the Emerald city (Orlando) on (performing) art centers”

He brought an “Economics for Dummies” book to a televised debate. He attacked on blogs, radio, social media, and television. His battle against Sunrail made him the Tea Party favorite for that race.

When he was defeated there was no doubt he would be back. He continued to attack Mayor Jacobs’ policy and stayed active on the Tea Party scene. Oh, he was going to run again it was only a matter of time and opportunity.

Today, he announced that he was going to run for Florida House. In the new District 44.

That’s Rep Stephen Precourt’s expected seat. Fellow State Rep. Eric Eisnaugle also lives in the district. Here is an excerpt of the release from the Orlando Sentinel story.

Matthew Falconer’s rock solid conservative resume and strong support of conservative and tea party groups will pose a serious challenge to the incumbent, Representative Steve Precourt, so much so that Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford called Matthew Falconer yesterday to inform him the Speaker is backing Precourt.

This race will be a classic case of a citizen candidate against the establishment and determine if the conservative groups, including the tea party, have enough grass roots strength to defeat the well-financed establishment candidates.

“While I do not consider myself the frontrunner by no means am I a long shot. We the people have always outnumbered the group called the establishment, we just never had the tea party to level the playing field.”

“It is time to restore faith in government and I hope to lead that effort in the Florida House.”

Much like he did in the Orange County Mayor Race, Falconer is shaking things up. The reception has been hostile. No, the reception has been brutally hostile.

Precourt has the support of his colleagues in Tallahassee

In addition to Will Weatherford supporting Precourt, House Speaker Dean Cannon removed Falconer from the Government Efficiency Task Force. A post Falconer was proud to serve on.

Falconer-Letter-02-24-12-SIGNED1

Stone cold and straight-forward. Classic Dean Cannon.

Then there was this letter from Ormond Beach State Rep Fred Costello. Who’s running against Craig Miller for Congressional District 6.

Hi Matt!
I just read Sayfie Review.
Congrats on your continuing interest to enter the arena to save taxpayers’ money!
As you may recall, I contributed to your mayoral campaign because (even though we don’t always agree on every issue) I like your focus on saving taxpayers’ money!
However … I am a huge fan of Representative/Chairman Steve Precourt!
I have been honored to serve with him on the Finance & Tax Committee which he chairs.
So I know his values.
He is conservative!
He has earned my ongoing support!

So why am I bothering to email you?
I have NO idea who else is in your new House District (or if the Supreme Court will require us to change the lines) now or in the future … but as I understand it, Chair Precourt only has two more years before he is termed out.
I am quite confident Chairman Precourt will do well in the upcoming election as he has an excellent conservative record and has also earned the respect of folks who are in positions to help him raise significant campaign funds.
He will be a most formidable opponent!
Therefore, I respectfully suggest you consider talking with Chairman Precourt (I’ll be happy to set it up if that would be helpful) and IF he is not aware of anybody else he is already supporting for 2014, you could announce that you will seek the seat in 2014 and agree with him to record your votes on 2012-2014 bills so he can see how you would have voted and therefore hopefully you will be able to earn his support when the 2014 race begins. (Notice I did NOT encourage you to make a “deal” … I don’t like endorsement “deals.”)

Please realize I am not saying you are not/will not be a great candidate.
I’m just saying there is a fabulous candidate who has earned my/our support.
And btw, I’m confident you don’t want another “loss” on your record.
Fred Costello

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So, much like he did in the Orange County Mayor race. Matt Falconer is making noise and this was just the announcement.

Can he win? He’s got a puncher’s chance

Falconer can hustle with the best of them and his team was canvassing every weekend in 2010. Precourt ran a good ground game as well, and will certainly have the fundraising advantage.

The conservative culture between the two camps could not be further apart. Falconer’s loyal Tea Party following vs. Precourt’s traditional conservative crowd

It’s going to be fascinating to watch.

Matt Falconer's announcement was a bold statement against Florida House Republicans

Lemieux Doubles Down on Mack Attack, Concerned with Character

On a Friday afternoon phone call with Florida Bloggers, Former Senator George Lemieux reiterated his concerns with GOP rival Connie Mack IV past.

“I believe that we’re operating under a case of mistaken identity that the fourth is the first” referring to Mack’s famous family name.

Lemieux also brought up Mack’s past concerning earmarks, an issue hot off of the national debate stage, where Rick Santorum woke up the “boo birds” Wednesday, defending legislation that included earmarks. He also cited a history of violence with Mack’s past, bringing up incidents involving the Congressman.

“I firmly believe that if he were to win the nomination he would have a very difficult time winning the election. With this 20 year rap sheet Connie Mack couldn’t get a job as a police officer, a teacher, as a bank officer. So, why in the world should we elect him to the United States Senate” Lemieux said on Friday.

When asked if this would come down to Mack’s past vs. Lemieux’s past relationship with former Governor, and Republican turned Independent Charlie Crist, Lemieux said it was about “putting the best players on the field” through a critical vetting process. He also reminded those on the call, that he endorsed current Senator and GOP rising star Marco Rubio, the day after Crist left the party and Mack didn’t do so until several weeks later.

I asked if there were any plans for a formal debate, where both candidates would be on stage at the same time, and so far nothing has been set. Lemieux went on to say he welcomed the opportunity and would discuss these issues “any time and any place”

The one takeaway from the race this week, has been Mack’s silence. I would like to see more aggression from his campaign. He’s been raising dollars and stumping for Mitt Romney but, one sided conversations like these aren’t working now, and they won’t work against Bill Nelson in a general election.

Lemieux launched an aggressive campaign attacking Mack's character this week

Sun Sentinel Article:Hispanos claves para la victoria de Romney

Hi guys! I hope this post finds you well!

Had a talk with Carolina Salazar from El Sentinel who was working with the Sun-Sentinel on an article about the Romney win in Florida and the Hispanic Vote. A special thanks to her and the good people over there!

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Buscan al que pueda vencer a

A pesar de su retórica anti inmigrante y de haber llegado en desventaja tras su derrota en Carolina del Sur, el pre candidato republicano Mitt Romney se impuso entre los votantes de Florida — con la ayuda de los hispanos.

De acuerdo con las primeras cifras electorales, los votantes hispanos —que representan el 22.5 por ciento del electorado de Florida —apoyaron en un 53 por ciento a Romney frente al 30 por ciento que favoreció a Newt Gingrich.

“Los resultados no sorprenden”, dijo Darío Moreno, profesor de ciencias Política de la Universidad Internacional de Florida. “El electorado hispano se ha vuelto más diverso y le importa otros asuntos más allá de Cuba”.

Por su parte, Frank Torres, analista político de la Universidad Florida Central en Orlando, donde hay una gran concentración de puertorriqueños, opina que Romney ganó porque aparenta ser más moderado.

“Los puertorriqueños ven a Romney más hacia el centro y más digno de confianza y también respondió a preguntas el estatus de Puerto Rico, lo cual le interesa al corredor de la I-4″.

Los puertorriqueños, que ahora son el segundo grupo más grande de hispanos en Florida, son vistos como el “swing vote”, electores que pueden cruzar líneas partidistas a la hora de sufragar.

Tanto los puertorriqueños como los cubanos no tienen problemas de inmigración (los primeros son ciudadanos por nacimiento y los segundos están favorecidos por la ley) y por lo tanto el tema no es importante para ellos. Les interesa más la situación económica, la creación de empleos y, en el caso de los republicanos, el candidato que pueda derrotar al presidente.

“No hay duda de que los hispanos votaron por el que puede ganarle a Barack Obama”, dijo Alex Penelas, ex alcalde del condado de Miami-Dade, quien opina que los cubanoamericanos también votaron pensando en la economía.

Para hispanos de otras nacionalidades, Romney también es favorecido.

“Es el mejor preparado para levantar la economía, impulsar los negocios y por eso que los hispanos votamos por él”, dijo Fabio Andrade, colombiano y presidente de Americas Community Center de Weston.

Los expertos señalaron que Romney también se benefició del respaldo de algunos líderes del estado, como los representantes Ileana Ros-Lehtinen y Mario Díaz-Balart, así como el hermano del segundo, el ex representante Lincoln Díaz-Balart.

“Los hispanos no somos una comunidad de un sólo tema” expresó Ros-Lehtinen. “También nos importa la economía, la falta de empleos, el alto costo de la vida, el desplome del mercado de viviendas y la necesidad de tener un presidente que verdaderamente crea en menos impuestos, menos regulaciones gubernamentales y mejores iniciativas para las pequeñas empresas”.

En las primarias del pasado martes, los electores se volcaron hacia el candidato que parecía contar con mayores recursos económicos para financiar la marejada mediática. Romney gastó más de $14 millones frente a los $3 millones de Gingrich.

Pese a su derrota, Gingrich, quien cuenta con el apoyo de la rama más conservadora del partido, ha prometido seguir adelante con su candidatura.

La contienda continuará el sábado en Nevada y durante la semana próxima en Colorado, Minnesota y Maine. Tras un descanso de dos semanas la contienda sigue en Michigan y Arizona. El 6 de marzo habrá un “súper martes”, que será menos “súper” que otros años, ya que sólo coincidirán las primarias y caucus de 10 estados, entre ellos, Massachusetts, Ohio y Virginia.

“El Partido Republicano ya sabe que el voto latino es muy importante, y no va a repetir los errores que cometió en 2008. Aprendieron la lección. Van a poner más dinero y van a hacer un mayor esfuerzo para llegar a la comunidad”, dijo Jennifer Korn, directora ejecutiva de la organización de activistas Hispanic Leadership Network.

Según el Departamento estatal de elecciones, un total de 1,669,653 republicanos votaron en las primarias del martes y de ellos 775,000 lo hicieron por el ex gobernador de Massachusetts.

La convención republicana será en agosto en Tampa.

Carolina Salazar colaboró con esta historia que también se completó con información de agencias de noticias.

Photos: Mitt Romney in Ormond Beach

It was a beautiful Sunday night in Volusia county, and supporters cheered for GOP Presidential Mitt Romney as he kicked off the Florida leg of his campaign.

Coming off a rough week that saw him take second place in South Carolina, Romney took aim at frontrunner Newt Ginrich, calling him a failed House Speaker, and flawed leader. His was accompanied by his wife of 42 years, Ann and introduced by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. Occupiers tried to crash the event but, were quickly shooed away.

It was a great evening to be outside and it’s hard to imagine a better start for the Romney campaign to rebound in the Sunshine State.

They turned out early for the Romney rally in Ormond Beach Sunday night

Romney being introduced by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi

Romney talked Policy, Obama, and Gingrich

It was hard to imagine better conditions on Sunday night

The venue was at capacity

Romney took his time after the event, taking laps along the crowd line and doing interviews