Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lakewood Ranch Republicans host candidate forum

LAKEWOOD RANCH — The Lakewood Ranch Republican Club meets for a fundraiser 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday at Gold Coast Eagle Distributing, 7051 Wireless Court.

Political candidates expected to attend include:

Bill Galvano, Candidate - Florida Senate, District 21
Rep. Jim Boyd, Candidate - State Representative, District 68 (incumbent)
Rep. Greg Steube, Candidate - State Representative, District 67 (incumbent)
Rep. Ray Pilon, Candidate - State Representative, District 69 (incumbent)
Sheriff Brad Steube, Candidate - Sheriff (incumbent)
Bill Waldron, Candidate - Sheriff
Larry Bustle, Candidate - County Commission, District 1 (incumbent)
Vanessa Baugh, Candidate - County Commissioner, District 5
John Colon, Candidate - County Commissioner, District 5
Betsy Benac - Candidate - County Commission, District 7 -  At Large
Robert Moates, Candidate - School Board, District 2
Bob Gause, Candidate - School Board, District 4 (incumbent)
Linda Schaich, Candidate - School Board, District 4
Mike Bennett, Candidate - Manatee Co. Supervisor of Elections
Jane von Hahmann, Candidate - Manatee Co. Supervisor of Elections
Ed Bailey, Candidate - Manatee Co. Supervisor of Elections
Peter Lombardo, Candidate - State Attorney, District 12
Ed Brodsky, Candidate - State Attorney, District 12

Cost $50, which includes appetizers, wine and beer. RSVP: or 941-359-0796.

'American Idol' star Syesha Mercado to play fund-raising concert for candidate Edward Bailey

"American Idol" finalist and former Bradenton resident Syesha Mercado will be in town April 11 to help raise money for brother-in-law Edward Bailey, a Republican candidate for Manatee County supervisor of elections.

Bailey, formerly the president of the Manatee County NAACP, is a recently-appointed trustee serving on the State College of Florida board.

Syesha, the sister of Bailey's wife, Xtavia Bailey, will be flying in from California for the occasion, Edward Bailey announced.

The singing sensation is expected to serve as an honorary host, along with other host committee members: Manatee County Sheriff W. Brad Steube; former Palmetto Police Chief Garry Lowe; Col. John Saputo; builder and SCF Board Chairman Carlos Beruff; Jonathan Fleece; Dr. Craig Trigueiro; Misty Servia; and the Eurice family.

The fundraiser is scheduled for 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 11 at: Gold Coast Eagle Distributing, 7051 Wireless Court in Lakewood Ranch. Information, contact Barry Edwards, 727-459-4562 or email Bailey at

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Jeb Bush says Marco Rubio would be best choice for vice president

Romney-Rubio in 2012?

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Wednesday endorsed Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination, and said Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, would be the best choice to be his running mate.

Bush told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that Rubio -- who has disavowed any interest in being vice president -- is "dynamic, joyful, disciplined and principled."

"He is the best orator of American politics today, a good family man. He is not only a consistent conservative, but he has managed to find a way to communicate a conservative message full of hope and optimism," Bush said.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Rep. Greg Steube has good reason to skip special session

State Rep. Greg Steube, R-Bradenton, has been excused from the Florida Legislature's special session this week because he's getting married this weekend.

The lawmaker was among those on a list of 15 members of the state House of Representatives and seven state senators excused from the start of today's legislative session on reapportionment.

Steube, 33, a son of Manatee Sheriff Brad Steube, wrote: "I respectfully ask for an excusal on March 14, 2012 ... due to my wedding on March 17."

Steube said his fiancee is Jennifer Retzer, of Sarasota.

He added that House members are driving or flying into Tallahassee today, but then are going right back out, since it is the Florida Senate that has serious work to do on its redistricting maps. The governor called the special session after the Florida Supreme Court invalidated 8 of 40 Senate districts; the court OK'd the House's redistricting plans.

-- Sara Kennedy

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

LeMieux to visit Sarasota for fund-raiser

Republican U.S. Senate candidate George LeMieux will visit Sarasota for a fund-raiser.

Here is the press release with the pertinent details:

U.S. Senate Candidate George LeMieux to Host Fundraiser in Sarasota
 Sarasota, Florida – GOP U.S. Senate candidate George LeMieux will make a campaign stop in downtown Sarasota for a private fundraiser at the Marina Towers Penthouse of Katie and Jesse Biter on Wednesday, March 28th from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm.

The event is hosted by Commissioner Joe Barbetta, Senator Nancy Detert, Bob and Linda Long, and Representative Ray and Kathleen Pilon. Guests are asked to give a minimum contribution of $500 to attend and $2,500 to attend a VIP photo reception.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact Ann Marie Bravo at 954-761-1542  or Rochelle Dudley at 727-204-0184.

Keith Fitzgerald fund-raiser set for Siesta Key

A surefire way for Keith Fitzgerald to remain competitive in his bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan is to continue to raise money from supporters.

He may not be able to match Buchanan, one of the wealthiest members of Congress and one of the GOP's most able fund-raisers, dollar for dollar but all he has to do is to raise enough to create at least the perception that he is a viable candidate. Once he does that, perhaps momentum can carry him to the next level and victory.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee think Fitzgerald is well on his way, identifying the likely Buchanan-Fitzgerald contest in the fall as one of its priorities as it works to try to win back majority control of the House of Representatives.

Fitzgerald clinched the DCCC's support after he reported in January that he had received more than $224,000 in contributions between early October, when he announced for the race, and Dec. 31.

Buchanan reported almost $1.3 million in contributions during the same period -- illustrating why it is critical why Fitzgerald not let up on his fund-raising.

Fitzgerald surely will add to his coffers at a fund-raiser set for Friday on Siesta Key.

A reception is set for 5 to 7 p.m. at the home of Nick and RoseMarie Generalovich.

You can send your RSVP to Julia Gill at

Monday, March 12, 2012

A list of what passed, what failed at the Florida Legislature

The Herald/Times Tallahasee bureau has the scorecard:
Some bills that passed and failed in the 2012 session. Bills must be approved by Gov. Rick Scott.UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION (PASSED) 
Renames the state’s unemployment compensation system to "Reemployment Assistance," and provides more than $800 million in tax relief to businesses. (SB 1416/HB 7027)BUSINESS REGULATIONS (PASSED) 
Removes some continuing education requirements and decriminalizes agency rules for barbers and auctioneers, among other state-regulated professions. (SB 762/HB 517)EMPLOYEE TIPS (FAILED) 
Allowed an employer to guarantee a minimum wage for tipped employees, while reducing wages to employees who make enough in tips to earn the minimum wage. (SB 2106)TIMESHARE RESALES (PASSED) 
Cracks down on timeshare resellers, increasing penalties for fraud. (SB 1408/HB 1001)E-VERIFY (FAILED) 
Required every employer to use an E-Verify program to prove that workers are not illegal immigrants. (SB 1638/HB 1315)
Read the whole thing here.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Romney is leading the race, and has the bruises that prove it

Ever since his decisive win in the Florida primary on Jan. 31, Mitt Romney has looked like the most likely to win his party's nomination when Republicans gather later this summer in Tampa. The delegate count doesn't lie.

But you wouldn't know it from the cuts and bruises and scars left on Romney by the subsequent contests, including Tuesday's "Super Tuesday" primaries and caucuses.

Romney remains the front runner in the delegate count and the winner so far of most of the "make-or-break" contests -- like New Hampshire, Florida, Michigan and Ohio -- but the chattering class in Washington and on the cable TV networks this morning are focused more on the toll the GOP "war of attrition" is taking on Romney.

The bottom line: For reasons of personality, politics and class, and his rivals' unwillingness to give up the ghost, Romney has been unable to close the deal -- raising Republican worries about whether Romney will be capable of challenging of President Barack Obama in the fall.

Romney may well end up the nominee, but many Republicans, who have seenObama's fortunes rise as the GOP fight goes on, are worried about at what cost.

Politico offers an example of what observers are saying about the state of Mitt Romney after Super Tuesday:

BOSTON — Mitt Romney’s weaknesses show no sign of going away. 
He struggles in the South and with evangelical voters. He’s not conservative enough. He loses among rural voters and with voters down the economic scale.
All of his flaws were on full display Tuesday as he failed to wrap up the GOP nomination on an evening when it was within his grasp. 
Romney’s still likely to be the GOP nominee. But Super Tuesday demonstrated again that getting to Tampa is going to prove longer and costlier than he and his advisers had hoped — a predicament that has Republicans increasingly anxious and President Barack Obama’s high command downright gleeful. 
What worries Republicans is that the cost of the extended primary season isn’t just financial, but also can be measured in the impact of the beating Romney is taking from, and administering to, his GOP rivals: plunging poll numbers with independent voters and a focus on issues that won’t help the party recapture the White House. 
Romney supporters have begun talking openly about the bruising the front-runner has received.
“This is kind of a painful chapter,” said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.). “There is a point at which we’re going to have to conclude if we’re going to win in the fall we have to get behind a nominee and start focusing on our real opponent.”
“While they’re duking it out and beating each other up a little bit, I think there’s pros and cons that you’re hearing about in the media and so it dampens enthusiasm a little bit,” conceded Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, noting that “nobody’s really laid much of a glove directly on President Obama.”

Monday, March 5, 2012

Florida Democrats up their attacks on Rep. Vern Buchanan

Representative Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., left, retrieves his jacket from his SUV as he arrives at  a Sarasota residence for a fundraiser for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) hosted by Buchanan on Saturday. (MCT Photo/Brian Blanco)

Read more here:

From Erika Bolstad, the Bradenton Herald's correspondent in Washington, D.C.:
Democrats are doubling down on their criticism of U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, who faces investigations by the IRS, the FBI, the House Ethics Committee, and recently saw a Federal Elections Commission inquiry come to a close. 
They're singling out the Florida Republican's participation this past weekend in a fundraiser with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who traveled to Sarasota for an event in an exclusive neighborhood. 
The Florida Democratic Party released a web video entitled "Will The GOP Stand with Buchanan?" It's made up mostly of news clips about the investigation. 
One of the richest members of Congress, Buchanan heads up fundraising for the National Republican Congressional Committee. Its aim is to hold onto the GOP majority in the House of Representatives. 
Buchanan, who represents mostly Sarasota and Manatee counties in Congress, called in some of his own local donors to help Boehner raise money for House Republicans running this year. The fundraiser is something of an annual tradition for the two -- Boehner appeared last year at a fundraiser at the same home to help raise money for Buchanan's reelection.
Read Bolstad's report on Boehner's visit to Sarasota here.