Friday, July 29, 2011

Rep. Buchanan: Boehner bill gets support overnight`

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan made a little bit of news this morning during an appearance of "Morning Joe" when he said that House Speaker John Boehner debt ceiling plan had acquired additional support overnight.

Watch Buchanan here:

Monday, July 25, 2011

Romney is leading in fund-raising in Manatee-Sarasota.

Mitt Romney leaves a fund-raiser at the Sarasota Yacht Club last month. (Bradenton Herald photo.)

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has raised almost as twice as much campaign cash in Manatee-Sarasota for his 2012 presidential campaign as has President Barack Obama, and almost two and a half times as much as his Republican rivals combined.

Romney's popularity in the region -- and his fund-raising prowess -- are revealed in reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission through June 30.

Romney has proven especially popular in the 342x Zip Code region, which covers Manatee-Sarasota, raising a total of $109,100. Only two Zip Code regions in South Florida and in the Jacksonville area have been more lucrative for Romney, according to the FEC.

In Florida, Romney has raised more than $1.49 million, more than any other candidate -- including Obama. (To see Romney's local donors, go here.)

The president has raised almost $1.15 million in Florida, including $66,208 from donors in Manatee-Sarasota. (To see Obama's local donors, go here.)

Other Republican candidates trail far behind in their fund-raising in Manatee-Sarasota. (To see their local donors, click on the links)

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has raised, $15,100; U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, $14,768; former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, $6,600; businessman Herman Cain, $4,000; U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann, $2,750; and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., $500. Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson has raised $2,100 in Florida but none in Manatee-Sarasota.

In all, presidential candidates have reported raising a total of $219,026 in the 342x Zip Code region.

Statewide, donors have contributed more than $3.25 million through June 30. Only donors in California, New York and Texas have proven more generous.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Buchanan pays off campaign debt to himself

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan raised more than $750,000 in campaign contributions during the second quarter of 2011 -- more than enough for his campaign to pay off debt owed to Buchanan, according to records filed with the Federal Elections Committee.

The reports, which were due to the FEC on July 15, show that between April 1 and June 30, Buchanan's campaign paid Buchanan more than $643,810, reducing to zero the amount of debt being carried by his campaign.

The the payoff of the loan is just one indicator of how Buchanan, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, has used his own money to finance three previous campaigns for the House.

He also continues to demonstrate fund-raising prowess that would prove beneficial if he seeks statewide office, such as a U.S. Senate seat.

During the second quarter, Buchanan raised $754,122 in contributions -- more than $235,000 from individuals; and the rest from political action committees. In addition to paying off the debt, Buchanan's campaign reported spending almost $227,000, according to the filings.

As of June 30, Buchanan's campaign had almost $802,000 in cash on hand.

To view Buchanan's filing in detail, go here.


So who are Buchanan's biggest donors?

One measure is provided by, ranks businesses, organizations, etc. based on how much their employees and any affiliated political action committees donate to a candidate. At the top are employees of Youth Services International, a Sarasota-based operator of youth detention centers, with employees donating a total of $18,400.

Others in the Top 5 include Universal Healthcare, American Family & Geriatric Care, SunTrust Banks; New York Life Insurance; Sarasota Conservation Foundation; and Tervis Tumblers Co. (Several other organizations were tied for No. 5 on the list.)

View the Top 20 list here.

Democrats target Buchanan with robo-calls on debt ceiling

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, is one of six Florida Republican members of the U.S. House being targeted by Democrats with a series of robo-calls as lawmakers try to reach a deal on raising the nation's debt ceiling.

The St. Petersburg Times' The Buzz blog reports:
Six Florida Republican members of Congress are being targeted in Democrat-paid robo calls as the negotiations over raising the debt ceiling continue to frustrate both sides.
“Hi, this is Travis calling on behalf of the DCCC. Congressman Daniel Webster and Speaker Boehner would rather our economy default just to protect tax breaks for Big Oil companies and billionaire jet-owners," a voice says on the call facing the Orlando lawmaker. "Republicans quit negotiating with President Obama on raising the debt ceiling."

The other Florida targets are Reps. C.W. Bill Young, Vern Buchanan, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Allen West and David Rivera. All voted last week for the "cut, cap, balance" budget plan. The DCCC robo call campaign targets 60 Republicans nationwide, and the DCCC said President Obama won 83 percent of the districts in 2008.

Democrats and Obama say the House GOP is unreasonable and have accused Republicans of playing political games. Republicans, of course, say the same thing about the Democrats.

Are you going to run for Senate, Vern?

Asked Saturday at a Sarasota National Cemetery event if he's considering a run for U.S. Senate, local U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, had this to say: "I'm focused on the job I got."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ex-partner broadens civil suit against Vern Buchanan

The owner of a car dealership whose business relationship soured with Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., said he has voicemails, emails and other proof the congressman would have reimbursed employees who donated to his campaign.

Sam Kazran, who partially owned Hyundai of North Jacksonville with Buchanan, said in court filings this week that he had been “caught in some political war to which he has no desire to be involved in.” And he appealed to the Federal Election Commission to pursue Buchanan for the campaign violations, not him.

See the full story from the Bradenton Herald's new Washington correspondent, Erika Bolstad .

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Galvano adds to his campaign warchest

With no opponent in sight, Florida Senate candidate Bill Galvano continues to add to his campaign warchest.

In the three months that ended June 30, Galvano, a former member of the Florida House, raised almost $22,500 in cash and in-kind contributions to his campaign for the District 21 seat in the Senate. That brings his total take so far to $248, 459.38, according to filings with the Florida Division of Elections.

Factor in more than $87,100 in reported expenses, and Galvano's campaign has more than $161,300 -- an amount sure to give any possible challengers pause, even if the election is more than a year away.

Among the list of donors to Galvano during the second quarter of this year were former state Sen. Ed Price; Manatee County commissioners Larry Bustle, John Chappie, Michael Gallen and Carol Whitmore; Manatee County Property Appraiser Charles Hackney; former Manatee County commissioner Pat Glass; Walter Presha, CEO of Manatee County Rural Health Services; Manatee County School Board members Julie Aranibar, Robert Gause and Harry Kinnan; and Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston.

Other local legislative candidates were less active in the reporting period ending June 30.

Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, reported $4,100 in contributions during the second quarter, and spending nothing. He has $15,100 in the bank, according to his filings.

Rep. Greg Steube, R-Bradenton, reported receiving no contributions during the second quarter, and spending almost $1,262, according to his campaign finance report. Because of prior contributions, Steube, the incumbent in House District 67, has about $13,000 in the bank.

Rep. Ray Pilon, R-Sarasota, reported receiving more than $1,400 in contributions. He currently has about $6,000 in his campaign account, according to the Division of Elections.

Boyd, Steube and Pilon were first elected in 2010, and none has yet drawn a challenger for next year's election.

State Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, reported no contributions in the second quarter of the year, but he did report more than $2,600 in spending. He has almost $3,300 in his account, according to the Division of Elections.

His Republican opponent, Sharon Russ, has reported raising $150, according to the Division of Elections.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Lakewood Ranch High teacher running for Manatee school board

 Robert Moates

Lakewood Ranch High School teacher Robert Moates has filed to run for the District 2 seat on the Manatee County School Board. The seat, which will next be decided in the November 2012 general election  is now held by Harry Kinnan.

Moates, 39, teaches economics and American government at Lakewood Ranch High School, according to the school's website.

A Manatee High School graduate, Moates has taught in the county for nine years. He attended Jessie P. Miller and Oneco elementary schools and W.D. Sugg Middle School, Prior to that he worked in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Florida Legislature and ran political campaigns, according to his campaign's Facebook page.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman in Sarasota on Saturday

Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman will campaign Saturday in Sarasota.

His visit will include a private fundraiser and a public "meet-and-greet" rally from 3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 4880 Fruitville Road, Sarasota.

Huntsman is a former governor of Utah and former ambassador to China.

For more details, read this.