Monday, October 18, 2010

Whitmore, DiSabatino hold on to large spending leads

Bradenton Herald reporter Tim Wolfrum reports on the latest campaign finance reports in the races for two seats on the Manatee County Commission:
The elections office also released the latest campaign finance reports for county races Monday.

As expected, the Republican candidates in the county commission races extended their huge spending leads over their Democratic counterparts.

In the District 4 race, Republican Robin DiSabatino spent $12,013.56 during the period from Sept. 25 to Oct. 8. That’s more than three times as much as Democrat Roger Galle ($3,950.16) has spent on his entire campaign.

Almost half of DiSabatino’s recent spending, $5,793.48, went to Political Ink, a direct-mail company out of Alexandria, Va. Overall, DiSabatino has spent $107,445.99 on the primary and general election. Galle was unopposed in the Democratic primary.

In the countywide District 6 race, incumbent Carol Whitmore, the Republican, spent $16,060.36 during the most recent two-week period, almost nine times what Democrat Sundae Knight ($1,792.54) has spent on her entire campaign.

Unfortunately for Whitmore, $2,500 of her expenditures came from donation refunds she didn’t have to make. Whitmore made five refunds of $500 each to donors who had supported her in the primary as well as the general election. The maximum donation is $500.

“Since I didn’t have an opponent in my primary, I was told by my CPA (certified public accountant) that I couldn’t take duplicate donations after the primary. That was wrong,” Whitmore said after checking with Sweat’s office.

Whitmore also spent a considerable amount, $11,261.57, with Political Ink since Sept. 25. She has spent $65,813.88 to date.
 Read the campaign finance reports, including lists of donors, here.

District 67 and District 68 House candidates invited to debate

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference has invited the District 67 and District 68 House candidates to a debate set for 6:30-8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 20, at the Bradenton Central Library, 1301 Barcarrota Blvd. W.

Among those confirmed for the debate are District 67 candidates Democrat Z.J. Hafeez, Republican Greg Steube, and no party candidate John Studebaker.

In the District 68 race, David "Watchdog" Miner has confirmed he plans to attend. Miner is running with no party affiliation.

District 67 incumbent Ron Reagan is term-limited and cannot seek re-election. Likewise in District 68, incumbent Bill Galvano is term-limited.

District 67 covers all of East Manatee and a portion of Hillsborough and Sarasota counties. District 68 covers west Manatee.

The public is invited to Wednesday's debate.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bill Clinton to stump for Kendrick Meek in St. Petersburg

Some Democrats reportedly want Kendrick Meek to drop out of the race for U.S. Senate in order to improve Charlie Crist's chances of beating Marco Rubio in the Nov. 2.

Just don't count former President Bill Clinton among those Democrats.

Meek and Clinton, who almost 10 years after leaving office is still called on to lend his political aura to office seekers, are set to appear Tuesday at a campaign rally in St. Petersburg for the underdog Democrat, and again on Wednesday in Orlando.

"I am honored to have President Clinton rally Floridians behind my campaign for U.S. Senate once again. It's time to take a stand and I am proud to stand with President Clinton," Meek told the St. Petersburg Times.

The St. Petersburg event will be at the USF St. Petersburg Campus Activities Center Core, 131 Sixth Ave. S. Door open at 10:45 a.m.

The events are free and open to the public, but reserved tickets can be obtained by calling (9877) 354-6335 or going to

Early voting starts Monday for Nov. 2 elections

MANATEE -- Early voting for the Nov. 2 general election starts Monday in Manatee County and will run Mondays through Sundays until Oct. 31.

The voting place at the county elections office, 600 301 Blvd. W., #118 will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays; and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

To ask questions, call the elections office at (941) 741-3823 or visit the supervisor of elections website.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Buchanan outspending Golden by more than 10-to-1

The 13th Congressional District is seen by many observers as "solidly Republican," and that is not belied by the latest campaign finance reports filed by incumbent Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, and Democratic challenger James T. Golden.

Reports, which were due today to the Federal Elections Commission, show that as of Sept. 30, Buchanan had outspent Golden by a more than 10-to-1 margin -- to be precise, $925,977.07 spent by Buchanan vs. $90,288.59 spent by Golden.

The margin is even larger when you look at how much cash the respective candidates have on hand heading into the final month of the campaign.

Buchanan reported almost $1.17 million in cash on hand.

Golden had just under $9,500 in the bank.

Buchanan added to his cushion by collecting more than $118,000 in contributions between July 1 and Sept. 30.

During the same period, Golden raised  more than $24,000 in contributions.

For more details on Buchanan's campaign finance reports, go here.

For Golden's reports, go here.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Marco Rubio plans Bradenton stop on Friday

MANATEE — Republican senatorial candidate Marco Rubio has a stop planned 4 p.m. Friday at Republican campaign headquarters at 602 3rd St. E., Bradenton.

The public is invited. For more information, call 714-0619.
In addition, Rubio and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani are scheduled to make a campaign stop in Sarasota 8:15 a.m. Saturday. The public is invited to the free rally at Bayfront at Island Park in downtown Sarasota.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

'The Terminator' endorses Charlie Crist for Senate

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this afternoon tweeted his endorsement in the U.S. Senate race in Florida, picking his fellow governor, Charlie Crist, over his fellow Republican, Marco Rubio:
I endorse Gov @ for Senate. Great leader, works with both parties, and our country needs someone like him in DC right now.

Friday, October 8, 2010

League of Women voters to hold campaign finance event

The League of Women Voters of Manatee County on Monday will sponsor a talk on campaign finance reform.

" With the Supreme Court ruling in January that allows corporations to spend freely on federal campaigns, the influence of big-money contributions is growing," a news release states.

The guest speaker will be Ben Wilcox, former executive director of Common Cause of Florida. He will discuss
 the latest changes to the rules, the impacts they will have on state and federal elections, and how the system should be changed, according to the release.

The program will held from noon to 1 p.m.  at the Unitarian Fellowship Hall, 322 15th St. W., Bradenton.,  The program is free and the public is encouraged to attend.

A brown bag lunch will take place from 11:30 am to noon. The program will be rebroadcast on METV. For more information, call (941) 729-9248.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Manatee commission candidates to debate Oct. 19

The Federation of Manatee County Community Associations on Oct. 19 will host a candidates forum for the two county commission seats on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Scheduled to attend are District 4 candidates Robin DiSabatino, a Republican, and Roger Galle, a Democrat; and at-large candidates Carol Whitmore, the Republican incumbent, and Sundae Knight, the Democratic challenger.

After the candidates make presentations, attendees will be able to ask questions of the candidates.

The forum will be at 6:45 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Manatee County Central Library, 1301 Barcarrota Blvd.

For more information, call (941) 792-5477 or visit the federation's website at

Friday, October 1, 2010

Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance hosts a bipartisan fundraiser to fight Amendment 4

The local opposition to Amendment 4 -- the "Hometown Democracy" measure on the Nov. 2 ballot -- are gearing up for the final month of the campaign with a fundraiser next week in Lakewood Ranch.

Here's the press release:
Politicians from both parties are scheduled to speak out against Amendment 4 at a Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance fundraiser on Thursday, October 7th at the Concession. Expected speakers at the event include Representative Keith Fitzgerald, Senator Mike Bennett, and Representative Ron Reagan.

“Defeating Amendment 4 is critical to everyone in the state of Florida,” said Craig Cerreta, chairman of the LWRBA governmental affairs committee. “Leaders from both political parties agree that the passage of this amendment would cripple Florida’s economy and cost thousands of jobs. It will be like hanging up a sign on the state of Florida that says ‘DO NOT DO BUSINESS HERE.’ We are having this fundraiser to show solidarity across party lines to defeat this amendment and to help raise awareness about how detrimental it could be to our state.”

The fundraiser will be from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. at the Concession Clubhouse, located at7700 Lindrick Lane Bradenton, 34202, and will include wine tastings and hor d’oevres by Sean Murphy. There is a $50 minimum contribution at the door and sponsor recognition with a $100 contribution. Anyone interested in attending should register at
 For more on the opposition to Amendment 4, go here.