Monday, October 29, 2012

Vice President Joe Biden campaigns in Sarasota on Wednesday

Vice President Joe Biden is set to campaign in Sarasota on Wednesday.

Doors for a Obama-Biden "grasssroots event" open at 9 a.m. at the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, 291 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

Free tickets, which are required, can be picked up from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday; and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Payne Park, 2050 Adams Lane, Sarasota; or Newtown Estates Park, 2800 Newtown Blvd., Sarasota. Both locations are across the street from early voting sites.

Parking for the Wednesday event is available at the Van Wezel lot behind the auditorium. Carpooling is encouraged. voting sites.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

In new ad, Congressional candidate Keith Fitzgerald promises 'a new tone'

Keith Fitzgerald has gone to air with a new television ad offering what he says is a "positive" message about the need to reform Congress -- starting locally with electing him over U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota.

Here's the ad:

An accompanying news release from Fitzgerald's campaign was harsher:

Sarasota, FL — The Fitzgerald campaign is on the air with a new positive ad: Let’s Clean Up Congress. Now. 
To reduce the debt, cut the deficit and strengthen the middle class we need to reform Congress — and changing Congress starts by changing your Congressman. 
This is the second television ad from the Fitzgerald campaign. The first was a minute-long spot comparing Buchanan’s history of investigations for ethics violations to Fitzgerald’s reputation of supporting bipartisan reforms. 
The facts are clear on Congressman Buchanan’s history of corruption:-   Witness Tampering: The House Committee on Ethics is still probing a separate series of charges that Buchanan attempted to procure a false affidavit from a witness testifying about allegations of a straw-donor scheme. — The Hill -  Campaign Finance Felons: A Tampa real estate developer and an accountant with ties to U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan pleaded guilty in federal court just weeks ago for their roles in illegal contributions to the Republican Party of Florida and Buchanan's campaign. — Tampa Bay Times -  Pay-to-Play Politics: Buchanan filed a bill to create a $400-million tax break for NASCAR after attending a fund-raising event and receiving more than $10,000 from NASCAR — Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sen. Bill Nelson endorses Keith Fitzgerald for Congress

Here's the press release from the Keith Fitzgerald for Congress campaign:

Senate candidate Connie Mack endorsed his fellow Congressman Vern Buchanan for re-election on Wednesday. 
“Congressmen Buchanan and Mack both vote for unbalanced budgets, fight to privatize Medicare, and support redefining rape,” Keith Fitzgerald said. “They make a perfect pair.” 
Buchanan, who has been mascaraing as a moderate, votes partisan with his party more often than Mack in the dysfunctional Tea Party Congress, according to 
Senator Bill Nelson, who in 2006 carried 57 percent of the vote in Sarasota, offered his own Congressional endorsement on Wednesday. 
"Keith Fitzgerald will be a strong voice in the U.S. House of Representatives for helping the middle class and protecting the promises we have made to our seniors,” Senator Nelson said. “I look forward to working with him to continue the fight for Florida's families." 
Nelson is the latest in a succession of moderate statesman to back Keith Fitzgerald.  On Saturday, former Senator Bob Graham and Governor Charlie Crist appeared together in Sarasota to endorse Fitzgerald.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Keith Fitzgerald disputes Vern Buchanan's claim that he is bipartisan (UPDATED)

For update, see below.

Keith Fitzgerald on Tuesday disputed Rep. Vern Buchanan's claims to be a bipartisan standard-bearer. Here is the news release from the Fitzgerald campaign:
To distract voters from his record of partisanship in the dysfunctional Tea Party Congress, the Buchanan campaign touted support from less than .001 percent of his district’s registered Democrats. 
Congressman Buchanan continues to claim he is a moderate in the extremely partisan Congress, but the facts show otherwise: 
-   Buchanan votes with his party 94% of the time - Congressional Quarterly Vote Study-   Buchanan votes with Tea Party leader Eric Cantor 89% of the time -   Buchanan votes to the right of Tea Party hero Allen West – National Journal 
And in 2010, when incumbent Congressman Buchanan was running toward the right, he told a local Tea Party group “We pretty much agree on everything.” 
“Buchanan is part of the problem in Washington,” Keith Fitzgerald said. “Democrats and Republicans both know cleaning up our economy starts with cleaning out Congress.” 
Buchanan also touts his election (by his fellow Republicans) to co-chair the Florida Congressional delegation. But the Democratic co-chair, Congressman Alcee Hastings, was recently quoted by the Orlando Sentinel as having said, “It is apparent by their actions and inactions that our Republican colleagues have absolutely no interest in working together as a delegation.” 
Congressman Buchanan is masquerading as a moderate because his opponent Keith Fitzgerald has a proven record of working with Republicans and Democrats. More than 60 percent of the legislation Fitzgerald sponsored had a Republican cosponsor and he was recognized by the Sarasota Herald-Tribuneas a legislator who “grasped the practical aspects of politics and labored to build bipartisan coalitions while remaining true to his principles.”

UPDATED, 3:25 p.m. EDT --

The Buchanan campaign responds.
"As Nancy Pelosi's rubber stamp, Keith Fitzgerald is the last person in the world who should be talking about bipartisanship," said spokesman Max Goodman.  "He supports Pelosi's failed economic agenda including the wasteful stimulus, ObamaCare, the $700 billion raid on medicare, and amnesty -- even going so far as to say illegals often make better workers than Americans."

Conan O'Brien to Florida: The election could depend on you

With tongue firmly planted in cheek and with truth-telling that might make you cringe, late-night TV comedian Conan O'Brien pays tribute to Florida and the role it may play in deciding the outcome of the presidential election:

Monday, October 22, 2012

35 'prominent Democrats' endorse Rep. Vern Buchanan

The Vern Buchanan campaign on Monday played up what it says are the congressman's bipartisan credentials, releasing the names of 25 "prominent Democrats" who have endorsed Buchanan and pointing to a Washington publication's report showing Buchanan is one of the most bipartisan members of Congress from Florida.

"We need more folks like Vern in Washington -- people with real world experience creating jobs and opportunity," said Democratic Bradenton Beach Mayor John Shaughnessy, in a news release issued by the Buchanan campaign. "I'm proud to endorse his re-election to Congress."

Buchanan's Democratic opponent in the Nov. 6 election also has tried to play up his bipartisan credentials. Over the weekend, former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist was in Sarasota to help raise money for Fitzgerald's campaign. Crist, a former Republican, now identifies himself as an independent.

Also, the Buchanan campaign noted that Congressional Quarterly, which analyzes lawmakers' voting records, had found rated Buchanan "as one of the most bipartisan members of the Florida delegation."

The local Democrats -- a list that includes numerous current and former elected officials -- who have endorsed Buchanan are:

Beth Waskom, attorney, Sarasota.
John Shaugnessy, mayor, Bradenton Beach.
Pat Morton, commissioner, Holmes Beach.
Hal Lenobal, former  mayor, Longboat Key.
Jim Costa, firefighter, Bradenton.
Calvin Perry, Bradenton.
Jane T. Hasse, Sarasota.
John D. Burns, retired, Sarasota.
Meg Kestenbaum, Sarasota.
Adria Kayser, school guidance counselor, Sarasota.
Lydia Gonzalez, retail, Sarasota.
Ashley Carson, Sarasota.
Ryan Carson, real estate agent, Sarasota.
Robert Morey, Osprey.
Tammy Hillard, executive assistant, Sarasota.
Joshua Dreyfus, medical facility, Sarasota.
Brenda Carlton, attorney, Venice.
Robert Bruce Carlton, shipping, Venice.
Westanna Carlton, student, Venice.
Jean Ford, retired, Venice.
Susan Kenyon, nonprofit, Sarastoa.
Carol Brinkley, North Port.
Stan Sabok, business owner, Bradenton.
Linda Cavalieri, business development, Sarasota.
Teresa Schneider, North Port.
Jennine Anderson, administrative staff, Manatee Schools, Bradenton.
Meikka Mixon, hospitality management, Sarasota.
Gene Mixon, small business owner, Nokomis.
Steve Odegard, retired Navy, Sarasota.
Bette Mooney, Bradenton.
Bill Bonnett, Brussells.
Dale Decamp, Ellenton.
Jean Farquharson, Bradenton.
Walter Smith, Nokomis.
Gloria Palmer, Parrish.

The identifying information was provided by the Buchanan campaign.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Joe Biden campaigns in Sun City Center

Bradenton mayoral candidate Richard O'Brien likes the new Riverwalk but ...

Bradenton mayoral candidate Richard O'Brien used the dedication of the renovated Riverwalk on Thursday to take a shot at the incumbent, Wayne Poston, and the timing of the project. Here's O'Brien's news release:

The campaign to elect Richard OBrien for Mayor of Bradenton applauds Realize Bradenton, the Downtown Development Authority, City staff, volunteers and the Ambassadors who worked hard to make the Riverwalk opening a success. The new renovation to our waterfront adds activities and ‘destination’ charm as a first step of many in improving our City. Mr. OBrien and his family joined the hundreds of people that came out to experience and enjoy Bradenton’s newest attraction. 
Mr. OBrien has had some criticism of the project, aside from the costs, in the timing of this grand opening. It seems too much of a coincidence that after almost five years of no improvement activity around the city that all of these improvements would arrive just before the mayoral election. In light of the fact that the Mayor undemocratically extended his term an additional year, this timing cannot be a coincidence. 
The Mayor has benefited from what amounts to a $15 million campaign war chest on the voters’ credit card. A few examples of expensive projects conveniently timed right before election time: the $6.2 million Riverwalk, $7.5 million baseball seat improvements at McKechnie Field, and $1 million for the promised Pink Palace project. The record shows practically no activity for the first 4 years of his term. The Mayor’s attempt to convince voters that he is working to improve the City, by borrowing money from them and spending it for media opportunities just before the election, shouldn’t fool the voters of Bradenton. 
While the Riverwalk will likely benefit the public, Bradenton needs new leadership from someone who is more fiscally responsible and won’t wait years to begin city improvements.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Storify: Vern Buchanan vs. Keith Fitzgerald in debate

Video of Vern Buchanan-Keith Fitzgerald debate shows how bitter it was

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, and his Democratic challenger Keith Fitzgerald clashed on various issues related to the issues and to their respective ethics Thursday morning during a debate co-sponsored by the Bradenton Herald, METV and Bay News 9.

You can watch it here:

I was tweeting during the debate. You can read the tweets @mrmasferrer.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Manatee County Commission candidates Bustle, Holmes to face off in Parrish

Manatee County Commission candidates Larry Bustle and Corie Holmes are scheduled to appear at a forum  Thursday in Parrish.

The forum, hosted by the Parrish Civic Association, is set to start at 7 p.m. at the Parrish Community Center, 7006 122nd Ave. E.

Bustle is the Republican incumbent in District 1, which includes the Parrish area. Holmes is the Democratic nominee.

New Buchanan ad slams Fitzgerald for his support of Obamacare, likely vote to make Pelosi speaker (UPDATED)

Check below for the update.

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan has released a new TV spot that attempts to saddle Democratic challenger Keith Fitzgerald with the prospect of Rep. Nancy Pelosi again being elected speaker of the House.

Here's the spot:

Here's the press release from the Buchanan campaign:

SARASOTA -- The Buchanan campaign launched anew TV ad today highlighting Democrat Keith Fitzgerald's support for the failed economic policies of Nancy Pelosi, including Medicare cuts, tax hikes and the wasteful $800 billion stimulus. The ad also scolds Fitzgerald for running a relentlessly negative campaign that has been knocked by the media for "misleading" ads and by a local charity for "dishonestly" attacking Buchanan. If elected, Fitzgerald's first vote in Congress would be to elect Nancy Pelosi as speaker. 
The ad highlights Fitzgerald's public support for the Affordable Care Act, which according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office raided $716 billion from Medicare to pay for ObamaCare.  A recent study confirmed that Sarasota and Manatee counties will be among the hardest hit in the nation by Medicare cuts contained in the President's national health care law.  ObamaCare also includes at least 20 new taxes or tax increases on American families and employers. 
Fitzgerald also publicly endorsed the failed economic stimulus which cost taxpayers $278,000 for every job created. 
Nancy Pelosi has donated $14,000 to Keith Fitzgerald's campaign.

UPDATED, 1:15 p.m. -- The Fitzgerald campaign responds with its own press release :
The Buchanan campaign is operating in an alternate reality, where Keith Fitzgerald has cut Medicare and Vern Buchanan supports the middle class.

Here on earth, the facts are simple:

- There’s only one candidate in this race who’s voted to cut $716 billion from Medicare and that’s incumbent Congressman Vern Buchanan.

- There’s only one candidate in this race who’s voted to cut Medicaid funding for nursing homes, and that’s incumbent Congressman Vern Buchanan.

- There’s only one candidate in this race who’s voted for unbalanced budgetsand that’s incumbent Congressman Vern Buchanan.

- There’s only one candidate in this race who’s sponsored a bill to redefine rapeand that’s incumbent Congressman Vern Buchanan.

- There’s only one candidate in this race who’s under investigation by the House Committee on Ethics and that’s incumbent Congressman Vern Buchanan.

Instead of defending his record, Congressman Vern Buchanan spends time in Washington raising money from special interests and producing new misleading ads attacking Keith Fitzgerald.

In the Buchanan campaign’s next trip to earth, hopefully Vern will stop by Sarasota and Manatee counties to explain his votes against the middle class.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Keith Fitzgerald out-raises Vern Buchanan by almost 2-1 in past 2 months

Keith Fitzgerald raised almost twice as much in campaign cash as Rep. Vern Buchanan during the most recent reporting period, according to disclosure reports filed with the Federal Elections Committee.

Between July 26 and Sept. 30, Fitzgerald collected almost $402,000 in contributions, bringing his total haul so far to more than $1.36 million.

In the same period, Buchanan raised almost $216,000, for a total raised of  more than $1.76 million -- of which almost $125,000 has been refunded to donors.

Buchanan still holds a larger amount of cash-on-hand -- more than $1.1 million to Fitzgerald's $497,000.  Buchanan's total includes $250,000 he loaned his campaign.

Fitzgerald was buoyed by the latest reports, which were due to FEC on Monday.

“I’m humbled by the support we have received from thousands of Floridians,” Fitzgerald said in a news release. “Our campaign has the resources and voter enthusiasm to beat incumbent Congressman Vern Buchanan.”

Buchanan's campaign said its latest filings reflects strong support for Buchanan in the newly drawn 16th Congressional District. It noted that a recent public poll showed Buchanan holding a 17-percentage-point lead over Fitzgerald.

"Vern's agenda to create jobs, restrain spending and strengthen Medicare has resonated with the people of the 16th District," said spokesman Max Goodman, in a news release. "We are humbled and grateful for the tremendous outpouring of support for Vern's re-election."

Fitzgerald has demonstrated an ability to remain financially competitive with Buchanan, one of the wealthiest members in Congress and one of the House GOP's top fund-raisers.

That  prowess earlier earned promises of substantial help from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. However, in recent weeks the DCCC has canceled plans to buy television ads designed to boost Fitzgerald's campaign.

One Washington publication wrote this week that the Buchanan-Fitzgerald race is one where Democrats' chances of winning have "waned "-- an assessment that was trumpeted by the Buchanan campaign.

Other political handicappers watched closely in Washington have rated the race as one Buchanan is favored to win.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Republican environmental group endorses Vern Buchanan for Congress

ConservAmerica, a national grassroots organization of conservation-minded Republicans, is pleased to endorse Congressman Vern Buchanan for re-election to the House from Florida's 16th District. 
"Congressman Buchanan is a practical businessman who is willing to rise above partisanship to safeguard our quality of life and to find balanced environmental and energy solutions," ConservAmerica President Rob Sisson said. 
"Congressman Buchanan understands the economic benefits that a clean environment brings to his Gulf Coast district and to America overall," ConservAmerica Vice President for Government Affairs David Jenkins said. "During his career in the House, he has fought to protect Florida's Gulf Coast and its tourism-based economy from the risks of offshore oil drilling. He has led efforts to stop Cuba from drilling in waters only 50 miles from Florida’s coast." 
Congressman Buchanan has authored legislation eliminating liability limits for oil spills.
"Conservatives believe that individuals and organizations should be fully responsible for their actions. Congressman Buchanan's bill would require oil companies to take full responsibility for oil spills and not shift costs to taxpayers," Jenkins said. 
"Vern Buchanan has called for a balanced energy plan that would give America more energy choices and provide much-needed competition for oil in the transportation energy market. He understands the importance of efficiency as the foundation of any truly conservative energy policy, and accordingly supports strong motor vehicle fuel economy standards," 
ConservAmerica Vice President for Policy Jim DiPeso said.
"Congressman Buchanan is an independent conservative leader who has served his district, Florida, and the country well. We urge voters in the 16th District to return Vern Buchanan to the House for another term," Sisson said.

Former Fitzgerald spokeswoman slams Keith Fitzgerald, Vern Buchanan

Determined to have the last word about her recent firing as spokeswoman for the Keith Fitzgerald congressional campaign, Ana Maria Rosato has again taken to her blog to chide both Fitzgerald and U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, for missing the point about the writings that got her in trouble.
Rather than discuss the Republican War on Women and how fundamentally different Republican Congressman Vern Buchanan and Democratic candidate Keith Fitzgerald are when it comes to women's health, these two candidates are warring over  . . . me and my blog posts in the Spring on my own personal website.

Yeah, a strong, intelligent, articulate woman who speaks fluently, comfortably, and publicly about the sexual politics of the Republican War on Women must be pretty scary for some folks.

Yeah, a strong, intelligent, articulate woman who speaks fluently, comfortably, and publicly about the sexual politics of the Republican War on Women must be pretty scary for some folks.
Below you'll find links to the three pieces that apparently resonated so much lest the Republican campaign would have left my blog alone. Those pieces are 1) Do Republicans Hate Sex?, 2)Republicans: The Vatican's American Inquisitors,  and 3) Catholic Bullies and their Blackmail Beatitude.

Yes, I took on the Catholic Church. I grew up in a large CatholicItalian family, and my mother always said never to confuse her religion with the Church. So I don't.  

Yes, I took on the Catholic Church. I grew up in a large CatholicItalian family, and my mother always said never to confuse her religion with the Church. So I don't.
Republican Congressman Buchanan's campaign became apoplectic. The audacity for me, a woman who grew up in a working class family and far away from the kind of wealth Mr. Buchanan possesses, a woman like me talking about sexual politics in a manner that is effective. You know -- with humor and satire and forthright truthfulness. 
Well, that congressional race needs a frank and truthful discussion that highlights the vast differences between the Democratic and Republican candidates especially when it comes to women and our health. That will provide much needed information that will permit the voters — women as well as the men who love and respect us with a real yard stick against which to measure each man running for Congress. Armed with real information regarding the opposing values that the Republican and Democratic candidates in this race embrace, voters can cast their ballots accordingly to which ever  values regarding women and our health. 
Unfortunately, these two campaigns have decided to focus on me and my redolent manner of communication. Redolent — you know, hot, strong, and spicy like the New Orleanian cuisine with which and culture in which I grew up and still reside.
Read the whole thing here.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Local Sierra Club president to endorse Keith Fitzgerald for Congress

Allison Chin, president of the Manatee-Sarasota Sierra Club on Monday will endorse Keith Fitzgerald in his bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan. Here is the press release from the Fitzgerald campaign:
Keith Fitzgerald will hold a roundtable discussion with members of the Manatee – Sarasota Sierra Club to discuss green job, energy and the Environment. Following the discussion,Sierra Club President Allison Chin will offer her endorsement of Keith Fitzgerald to represent the 16th district in Congress. 
WHO:            Keith Fitzgerald, candidate for Congress
WHAT:          Manatee – Sarasota Sierra ClubWHEN:          Monday, October 15th, 9:30 a.m.– 10:30 p.m.
WHERE:        2815 Proctor Road, Sarasota, FL 34231
Working with former Republican Governor Charlie Crist, Keith Fitzgerald led the way to banning oil drilling near Florida’s coast. Fitzgerald believes America’s path to energy independence should use an “all of the above” approach of traditional energy and new cleaner sources of energy. Moving toward clean-energy solutions will not only benefit our environment, but will provide needed jobs in our 21st century economy.  

Jeb Bush endorses Vern Buchanan for Congress

Jeb Bush (AP photo)

U.S. Vern Buchanan on Friday matched his Democratic challenger Keith Fitzgerald in endorsements from from former Republican governors of Florida -- albeit Buchanan's comes from a former chief executive still proud to call himself part of the GOP.

Three days after the now-independent Charlie Crist endorsed Fitzgerald, his immediate predecessor has endorsed Buchanan, the congressman's campaign announced Friday.

Here is the news release from Buchanan's campaign:

SARASOTA, FL – U.S. Representative Vern Buchanan, R-FL, announced today that former Florida Governor Jeb Bush has endorsed Buchanan for re-election. 
“I have known Vern Buchanan as a businessman and a Congressman,” said Gov. Bush.  “He is honest, independent, and fighting every day in Washington to grow the economy, create jobs, control spending and strengthen Medicare.  We need more people like Vern Buchanan in Congress -- a self-made businessman, not a career politician.  He is working for you.” 
Jeb Bush is a highly sought after political leader.  The popular former Governor is often praised for his intellect, candor and stability. 
“Jeb Bush is one of Florida’s most respected public servants and policy makers,” said Buchanan.  "He is a principled leader whose steady leadership helped reform the state’s education system and improve the economy.  I am honored to have Jeb’s endorsement.” 
The Washington Post calls Bush “a successful two-term governor, with a record of reform and a inclusive attitude when it comes to courting voters and governing.” 
Politico notes that “More than three years after he left the governorship,Bush is still one of a handful of national Republicans who are frequently called on for political and policy advice.” 
Florida’s 16th District is comprised of all of Sarasota County and most Manatee County.  Bush won 59.37% percent of the vote in Sarasota and Manatee counties in his last election. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fitzgerald's spokesman tells Buchanan's campaign manager to quit 'misleading' voters

In the latest salvo in an increasingly bitter back and forth between U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan and Democrat Keith Fitzgerald, the challenger's new communications director, Matt Harringer, this afternoon sent the following email to Buchanan's campaign manager, Sally Tibbetts.

The bottom line may go something like this: Tell your boss to quit lying about my boss.

Harringer got the job after Fitzgerald fired his first communications director after it was learned that Ana Maria Rosato had written on a private blog several posts highly critical of Republicians, Catholics and others.

In response, Buchanan's campaign has been relentless in demanding that

Read it for yourself below the fold.

Keith Fitzgerald says Vern Buchanan's negative ads show his 'lack of character' (UPDATED x 2)

See below for update.

U.S. Vern Buchanan's campaign has hammered away at Democratic challenger Keith Fitzgerald about his former communications director for longer than the few days between when Ana Maria Rosato was hired and fired, relentlessly raising questions about what the hiring of a woman who had written viciously about Republicans and other groups on a private blog says about Fitzgerald's judgement and character.

On Wednesday, Fitzgerald fired back with his own assault on Buchanan's character with a video of him speaking directly to voters in the 16th Congressional District.

"He’s too scared to discuss the issues," Fitzgerald says of Buchanan on the video. "But this election isn’t about staffer’s personal blog, it’s about backbone. And Vern has shown he lacks backbone completely."

WatchFitzgerald's video here:

UPDATED, 1:30 p.m. -- In a new salvo against Buchanan, Fitzgerald is accusing the congressman of possibly breaking federal law:
Sarasota, FL - Vern Buchanan is desperate to distribute his dishonest, misleading ads — even if it means invading voters’ privacy and possibly breaking the law. 
Voters across Sarasota and Manatee counties have spotted men tampering with their mailboxes and are reporting finding DVDs of a disingenuous attack ad produced by the Buchanan Campaign without postage. 
Not only is this a serious invasion of privacy for the constituents of the 16th district, but it is also a violation of federal law. “There’s no telling how low my opponent will go to protect his job.” Fitzgerald said. “Vern Buchanan can’t go a week without validating he is just too corrupt for Congress.” 
Several of the voters who have received the DVD have contacted the United States Postal Service Inspector General to file complaints. The complaints could lead to investigations by the Postal Service or United States Attorney’s Office. Corrupt Congressman Buchanan is no stranger to federal investigations — he’s already been in hot water with the U.S. Justice Department, F.B.I., I.R.S. and is currently under investigation by the House Committee on Ethics.
UPDATED, 2:30 p.m. -- In response, Buchanan's campaign has launched a new website,, which features the video.

"Professor Fitzgerald's ludicrous and hysterical reaction convinced us to launch a new website featuring the video and broaden it for television," said spokesman Max Goodman, in an e-mail. "It's the video Fitzgerald doesn't want you to see, but the voters deserve to know that Fitzgerald refused to condemn these hateful, bigoted remarks that insult half the people in our district."  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Vern Buchanan releases new ad on Medicare

The Vern Buchanan for Congress campaign on Tuesday released a new ad that it says contrasts the congressman's views on Medicare with those of his Democratic challenger Keith Fitzgerald.

Watch it here:

National Democrats shift money away from Fitzgerald-Buchanan race

A year ago, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the political arm of the Democratic caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives, heartily endorsed Keith Fitzgerald's bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan from Congress. They promised his money and other support, naming him as key to Democrats' efforts to re-gain majority control of the House.

Nine months later, what do national Democrats think of Fitzgerald's chances?

It might be helpful to follow the money -- right out of the race and to other Democratic candidates with better chances of winning on Nov. 6.

The Roll Call newspaper on Monday reported that the DCCC had shifted to other races money it had planned to spend Oct. 23-29 on advertising in support of Fitzgerald. The newspaper said the Fitzgerald-Buchanan race was one that appeared to be a "steep climb" for Democrats.

The DCCC had already canceled planned ad buys for earlier in the campaign.

The bad news for Fitzgerald comes on the heels of a prominent political handicapper listing the race as "favored Republican," and a new independent poll that showed Fitzgerald trailing Buchanan by 17 percentage points.

Roll Call has rated the race as "likely Republican," and has written this about the race:
Allegations of ethical impropriety against Buchanan originally made this race look like it might be competitive, even though the district favors the incumbent. But those allegations didn’t really pan out, and now Buchanan looks in good shape to come back to Congress. 
He came out a big winner in redistricting: He got to keep almost all of his current constituents in his newly numbered seat. And with no wave breaking for Democrats, he appears to have the resources and the campaign infrastructure to handily beat his opponent, former state Rep. Keith Fitzgerald (D).

Monday, October 8, 2012

Former Gov. Charlie Crist to endorse Keith Fitzgerald for Congress

Charlie Crist (AP photo)

Gov. Charlie Crist on Tuesday will endorse Keith Fitzgerald's bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan in the Nov. 6 election, according to Fitzgerald's campaign.

The former Republican governor, who in 2010 lost an independent bid for U.S. Senate after the GOP nominated now-Sen. Marco Rubio, is set to appear at a news conference in Sarasota to endorse Fitzgerald, according to a news release.

Crist has been rumored to be considering launching a new campaign to re-take the governorship in the 2014 election, maybe as a Democrat. Crist last month heartily endorsed President Barack Obama during a speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

Fitzgerald, a New College political science professor, is challenging Buchanan, R-Sarasota, in the 16th Congressional District. A prominent political handicapper last week rated the race as "favored Republican," after earlier listing it as "leaning Republican."

Also, a new independent poll taken Oct. 3-4 showed Buchanan with a 17-percentage-point lead over Fitzgerald.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Vern Buchanan launches new attack on Keith Fitzgerald (UPDATED)

Updated, 5:45 p.m. -- For Keith Fitzgerald's response to the ad, see below.


Following up on the rapid departure of Keith Fitzgerald's spokeswoman after some of her earlier writings came to light, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan is keeping the pressure on his challenger with a new that can be summed up like this: What does his hiring of Ana Maria Rosato say about Fitzgerald's character.

Watch the ad here:

Here is the news release on the ad from the Buchanan campaign:
SARASOTA -- U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan today released a new ad calling on congressional candidate Keith Fitzgerald to denounce the hate-filled remarks by the Democrat's top spokesperson. Fitzgerald's deafening silence has outraged Republicans AND Democrats alike in Southwest Florida.

On Monday, Fitzgerald was forced to fire his newly-hired communications director for publicly blogging that all "Republicans hate women, immigrants, African Americans, firefighters, police officers, teachers, citizens who vote for Democrats, the poor, the middle class, anyone but each other. Republicans simply hate...hate...hate." But when asked by the press on multiple occasions if he agreed with his spokesperson's comments, Fitzgerald "refused" to comment.

Democrat Holmes Beach Commissioner Pat Morton said Tuesday that Fitzgerald should "immediately denounce" the hate-filled rant, saying "it has no place in politics."

Manatee County Republican Chairwoman Kathleen King also scolded Fitzgerald for his refusal to address the issue: "As a Republican woman, Catholic, and longtime resident of this community, I am outraged and appalled at the hate-filled rants by Fitzgerald's spokeswoman about our citizens," said King.

"Fitzgerald's spokeswoman has insulted half the voters in Florida's 16th District with her offensive tirade. The obvious question is why Fitzgerald hired her in the first place and whether he agrees with her statements."

Roll Call and National Journal both downgraded Fitzgerald's chances of winning less than 48 hours after the latest implosion to the Democrat's campaign.

Ad placement and buy to be determined....
Here is Fitzgerald's response:
"The people of the Suncoast deserve better than what they are getting from Vern Buchanan. Today, Congressman Buchanan sunk to a new low in negative politics. Afraid to debate on the real issues facing the district, like protecting Medicare, creating jobs, and reducing the deficit, Congressman Buchanan is resorting to the sleaziest tactics this community has ever seen. Congressman Buchanan ought to be ashamed and embarrassed to call himself a member of Congress."

In response, Max Goodman, a spokesman for Buchanan, said:
"Stop deflecting and start explaining, Mr. Fitzgerald. ... Do you agree with your spokesperson's vile and offensive comments or not? The people of this District deserve to know where you stand."

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Democratic state attorney candidate John Torraco hits TV with new ad

John Torraco, the Democratic candidate for 12th Judicial District state attorney, has released his first television campaign ad.

"The 30-second spot, titled “Accountability”, focuses on the need for change due to the low conviction rate in the 12th Judicial Circuit (Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto Counties," a campaign news release states.

“We are excited to get John’s winning message out to the voting public,” said Mark Benoit, Torraco’s campaign manager, in the release “Just as John is getting the most out of his 1998 truck – with close to 350,000 miles on it – he will get the most mileage out of tax payers’ dollars by increasing the conviction rate, keeping violent criminals behind bars, targeting white collar crime and corruption, and prosecuting those who seek to scam our seniors.”

The ad will air on broadcast and cable systems throughout Manatee, Sarasota and DeSoto counties, according to the campaign.

Torraco faces Republican Ed Brodsky, currently an assistant state attorney, in the Nov. 6 election.

Watch the ad here:

Monday, October 1, 2012

Keith Fitzgerald spokeswoman resigns after anti-Republican sex podcast is revealed

Updated, 3:11 p.m. -- Ana Maria Rosato has resigned as communications manager for Democratic congressional candidate Keith Fitzgerald's campaign, after it came to light that she had produced a podcast in which she harshly criticized Republicans about their views on sex. Fitzgerald's campaign manager, Adam Scott, confirmed the resignation.

"She is no longer with the campaign," Scott said in the statement.

Rosato last week said she had joined the campaign as of Sept. 27.

Before Scott's statement was released, Rosato had declined to comment on the podcast, referring questions to the campaign.

The offending podcast has been removed from her website, but you can listen to it here.

Keith Fitzgerald's new campaign spokeswoman may just be the one to introduce some sass into his bid to unseat Vern Buchanan from Congress

In a podcast produced before she joined Fitzgerald's campaign last week as his communications director, veteran Democratic political operative Ana Maria Rosato asked, 'Do Republicans hate sex?'

She answers in language that's mostly too racy and too saucy for this blog.

"Today's 'Grand OB/Gyn Party' is obsessed with sex, mainly ensuring that the rest of us have the same apparently miserable sex lives that they themselves endure," Rosato says on the podcast. "Just look at them, do they look happy? Do they look like they are being romanced and courted? Do they look like they have happy, fulfilling, fabulous-can't-wait-to-get-my-honey relationships?

"Nope. They sure seem like a cranky, irritable miserable lot to me. They ain't getting any lovin', and they damned sure spend a lot of time devising ways to prevent the rest of us from having happy lives and in particular happy sexually fulfilling lives."

From there, it gets unprintable.

A link to a YouTube version of the podcast began arriving in email boxes Monday morning.

Born and raised "about an hour east of New Orleans," Rosato, whose career includes a stint with Tennessee Planned Parenthood,  describes her website, Sassy Political Insights, like this:

"Written in a scathing style redolent of the region’s famous cuisine — hot, strong and spicy, Sassy Political Insights provides a marvelously sane — and fun — lens through which to view the Republican Party’s push to bring the Taliban’s backwoods, backwards Stone Age of a miserable life to our homes, right into our bedrooms, and even deep inside of our bodies."

You can listen to her podcast on the sexual proclivities of Republicans, here.