Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tickets available for Obama campaign appearance in Tampa

You'll need a ticket to see President Barack Obama during a campaign stop Friday in Tampa, but unlike at many other campaign events, you won't have to open your wallet.

The president Friday will appear for a rally at the Dale Mabry Campus of Hillsborough Community College, 4001 Tampa Bay Blvd. An exact time wasn't provided, but the Obama campaign said doors to the college gymnasium would open at 1 p.m.

You'll need to obtain a free ticket to attend. Starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday, they will be available at the following locations:

Obama for America-Florida Ybor City Office 1702 N. 14th St., Tampa.

 OFA-Florida St. Petersburg Office 951 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.

OFA-Florida Riverview Office 11215 Bloomingdale Ave., Riverview.

OFA-Florida Wesley Chapel Office 29141 Chapel Park Dr.. Wesley Chapel.

For more information on how to obtain tickets, visit the Obama campaign website.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Jim Boyd, Bill Galvano among millionaires running for Florida Legislature (UPDATED)

An earlier version of this post included incorrect information about the candidates' holdings.

They are not quite part of the 1 percent, but their respective career successes have made Jim Boyd and Bill Galvano among the wealthiest candidates running this year for the Florida Legislature.

In all, about 90 legislative candidates, including Boyd and Galvano, can accurately be called "millionaires," according to an analysis by the Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau of financial disclosure reports filed with the Florida Division of Elections.

The wealthiest local candidate is Boyd, R-Bradenton, the owner of a Bradenton insurance company now seeking a second term in the Florida House. His net worth -- assets minus liabilities -- is almost $3.237 million..

Galvano, a Republican former state representative seeking a seat in the Florida Senate, is worth almost $1.5 million.

The net worths for other legislative candidates in Manatee were:
  • Adam Tebrugge, a Democratic attorney challenging Boyd, $406,500.
  • Paula House, a Democratic attorney opposing Galvano, $242,104.
  • State Rep. Greg Steube,, R-Bradenton, a Bradenton attorney, $63,700. 
  • Robert McCann, a physician and attorney running an independent campaign challenging Steube, $684,000.
  • State Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, who is unopposed for re-election, $50,000.
To review the financial disclosure forms,including detailed information about the candidates' assets and liabilities, visit the Florida Division of Elections website.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Nine questions about the Manatee County election ballot

A look at who qualified last week for the Manatee County election ballot, whether for the primaries on Aug. 14 or the general election on Nov. 6, leads to these questions:

1. Which of the three Manatee County Commission incumbents on the ballots faces the best chance of being unseated?

You can forget John Chappie -- he is running unopposed for re-election.

But the other two, Larry Bustle and Joe McClash -- who share little in common other than they are military veterans serving on the commission as Republicans -- face challengers in the GOP primary.

As of March 31, Bustle had raised more than $94,000 in campaign contributions, and his GOP challenger, Nathaniel Leonard, had not reported any fund-raising activity. The winner of the primary will face in the general election, Democrat Corie Holmes.

However, the fortunes are reversed for McClash, the longest-serving member of the commission who did not file for re-election until mid-February. He reported $1,500 in contributions, as of March 31, while challenger Betsy Benac, a former county government planner who now works for the Benderson development company, had raised more than $48,000 -- including from some of the same developers backing Bustle.

(Bustle also donated $100 to Benac's campaign.)

The winner of the primary will face two write-in candidates, Scot Findlay and Thomas Dell, in the general election.

2. Can Paul Sharff win a seat on the Manatee County School Board if he doesn't actively campaign?

Sharff, perhaps he best known of the four candidates because of  his prominent role in business and Republican  politics, says he won't actively campaign for the seat being vacated by Harry Kinnan because he figures his three opponents will want to talk too much about his well publicized financial woes -- as if that is entirely irrelevant for a candidate trying to get elected to the board of directors of a  $598 million enterprise.

3. Can a Manatee County school teacher get elected to the school board, even when two of the other candidates might have better name recognition?

Sharff's name recognition may be rivaled in local politics by that of attorney Dave "Watchdog" Miner, a perennial candidate who this year is running for the same seat as Sharff.

The race, the result of which will go a long way to shaping the future direction of the school district, also features two Manatee County school teachers -- Robert Moates, who teaches government and economics at Lakewood Ranch High School; and William Chaltis, who teaches math at Palmetto High School.

As of March 31, Moates was the only one to report any financial activity by his campaign, raising more than $15,000 in contributions.

4. Can Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston win an election in which Bill Evers is not his opponent?

Poston ousted then-mayor Evers in 1999, and then fended off challenges by his predecessor in 2003, and again in 2007, when he won re-election by 23 votes.

This time, Evers is sitting out, giving two fairly prominent figures  in local politics a clear crack at the mayor.

Poston this time faces a two-headed political foil -- City Council member Marianne Barnebey and Richard O'Brien, a USF professor and chairman of the Manatee County Democratic Party.

5. Can a current or former elected official get elected to another job?

Several races on the ballot feature current or former elected officials trying to get elected to higher or lower office -- including at least two who lost their previous jobs in prior elections.

The crowded race for Manatee County elections supervisor features two veteran elected officials, state Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, who couldn't run for re-election to the Senate because of term limits; and Jane von Hahmann, who in 2008 lost her bid for re-election to the Manatee County Commission to Chappie. (They face two other Republicans, Edward Bailey and Richard Bedford, in the GOP primary.)

And in Manatee County Commission District 5, former Bradenton City Council member James Golden, who lost both his bid for re-election and subsequent race for Congress, is seeking the Democratic nomination against Frank Archino. (The winner will face the winner of the GOP primary, Vanessa Baugh or John Colon.)

Other elected officials trying for higher office include Barnebey and former state Rep. Bill Galvano, who is running for the Senate.

6. Can someone from Lake Placid, Fla., who filed to run at almost the last minute beat a veteran politician from Bradenton who has raised more than $378,000 in contributions, in a newly drawn Senate district in which more than 60 percent of the voting age residents live in Manatee County?

Galvano sure hopes not.

7. Who is more likely to keep his job, Manatee Sheriff Brad Steube or his son, state Rep. Greg Steube?

Sheriff Steube's fate will be decided in August, in a "universal" primary against fellow Republican William Waldron. (The primary is "universal" because even non-Republicans will be able to vote, since there isn't a Democratic, independent or write-in candidate.)

Rep. Steube in November will face independent candidate Bob McCann, who was one of the rivals Steube beat in the 2010 Republican primary.

8. Later this summer, will it be possible to watch television without hearing the names "Vern Buchanan" or "Keith Fitzgerald?"

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, has reserved $4 million in TV ad time for his re-election effort, while the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has reserved $2.5 million in the Tampa Bay market -- with presumably a bulk of that likely to be used to benefit Democratic challenger Keith Fitzgerald.

9. Who is Michael Daugherty and why should we care about the seat he is seeking?

Daugherty is running unopposed for re-election to a seat on the board of directors for perhaps one of the least known, but most vital agencies key to a comfortable life in Manatee, the Manatee County Mosquito Control District.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Bill Galvano picks up Democratic opponent for Florida Senate seat

From the Bradenton Herald's Sara Kennedy:

Former Republican state Rep. Bill Galvano has picked up a Democratic opponent, Paula House, of Lake Placid, in the newly-created Florida Senate District 26, according to the Florida Division of Elections’ website.

Galvano, 46, a Bradenton attorney, served eight years in the Florida House but could not run for re-election in 2012 because of term limits.

“I really, really don’t know who she is, we’re going to continue to run a campaign like we have been,” Galvano said Friday. “This is an important year, we believe our platform is what’s necessary to bring economic prosperity back to the area, especially since our district encompasses so much.”

Galvano said 60 percent-plus of his newly-drawn district is in Manatee County, adding, “I’m very strong in Manatee, I’ve represented the area eight years.”

The district also covers a small percentage of southern Hillsborough, all of DeSoto, Hardee, and Glades counties, and parts of Charlotte and Highlands counties.

His Democratic opponent, said she, too, is an attorney, and that the Senate race is her first try at elected office.

“I’m real excited because this is a wonderful area of the countryside; the connection I think between Glades, DeSoto, Hardee and Highlands County are just so clear in terms of open spaces and farming and ranching interests, it will be interesting to see how they mesh with the coastal interests, which I am anxious to learn more about.”

“This new district is a fun challenge,” added House, 62, who said she has been a prosecutor, worked at the state Department of Education, and is a former public school teacher and a big supporter of public education.

“I’m looking to be a representative, and as a representative, I think you need to get to know the concerns of the people in your district, and what their issues are,” she added.

“No matter where you are, I think you’re at risk if you don’t get that,” she said.

In other races, state Reps. Jim Boyd and Greg Steube, both R-Bradenton, both have opponents: Boyd is facing Democrat Adam Tebrugge in District 71, while Steube’s opponent is Bob McCann, listing No Party Affiliation, in the Florida House of Representatives’ District 73.

In another district that includes part of Manatee County, Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, is running unopposed.

In Sarasota, Republican state Rep. Doug Holder will face Democrat Andrew Saltman in House District 74.

Republican Ray Pilon will face two opponents, Democrat Liz Alpert; and Write In candidate Jan Douglas Legacy, in House District 72.

Bradenton gets 3-person race for mayor; Groover Bryant unopposed in Palmetto

From the Bradenton Herald's Miriam Valverde:

Three candidates have qualified for the Bradenton mayoral race.

Incumbent Wayne Poston, in office since January 2000, is being challenged by Ward 2 Councilwoman Marianne Barnebey and Richard O’Brien, chairman of the Manatee County Democratic Party.

Travis W. Holliday, who had announced his bid for Bradenton mayor, did not qualify for the race, according to the Supervisor of Elections office. Nancy Bignell, assistant supervisor of elections, said Holliday did not submit any required documentation.

Bradenton’s Ward 2 seat is being contested by Gene Brown, George E. Mendez, and Binnie N. Williams. The position became vacant following Barnebey’s bid for mayor. She is expected to resign from office in January before newly elected officials are inaugurated, regardless of the mayoral race outcome.

Ward 5 incumbent Harold E. Byrd, Jr. and Ward 1 incumbent Gene Gallo are running unopposed.

Palmetto's Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant was the only listed candidate running for the position.

Palmetto's Ward 1 Commissioner Charles Smith is being challenged by Carolyn L. Higdon.

Commissioner-at-large Tamara Cornwell is running unopposed.

Alan Zirkelbach, Palmetto's other commissioner-at-large. is not running for re-election.  Jonathan L. Davis and Eric F. Gilbert are running for the seat.

Several write-in candidates qualify for elections in Manatee

Several write-in candidates have qualified to run in the November elections in Manatee County.

The qualifying period ended at noon Friday. As of 12:30 p.m., the write-in candidates, according to the supervisor of elections website include:

-- Annamarie D. Riethmiller, who is running for clerk of the circuit court. She is challenging incumbent Republican R.B "Chips" Shore, who is running unopposed in the GOP primary.

-- Thomas Dell and Scott Findlay, who are running for an at-large seat on the county commission. Incumbent Republican Joe McClash and challenger Betsy Benac are running in the GOP primary.

--  Rodney 'Smokey' Smithley, who is running for supervisor of elections. Smithley had earlier announced he was running for the Republican nomination, but he has dropped that bid. Four Republicans and one Democrat have qualified to run in the race.

Other previously announced candidates have withdrawn their candidacies, including Alphonso Scott Junious, who had earlier launched an independent campaign for sheriff. His withdrawal means the winner of the Aug. 14 Republican primary -- incumbent Brad Steube or challenger William Waldron -- will be elected sheriff.

Junious dropping out means that non-Republicans will also be able to vote in the sheriff's primary.

"All registered voters will be allowed to vote and it should be that way because the office of the sheriff serves everyone in Manatee County, not just Republicans," Waldron said Friday.

Officials continue to update the relevant websites, but to see who has qualified to run in local races check the sites for either the supervisor of elections or the Florida Division of Elections.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

O'Brien taking a bus to officially start his campaign for Bradenton mayor (UPDATED)

UPDATED, 2:10 p.m. -- Check out Bradenton Herald reporter Miriam Valverde's story and photos about today's event.


Richard O'Brien will officially kick off his campaign to become Bradenton's mayor by taking his "mobile campaign headquarters" -- a London-built double-decker bus -- to city hall at noon Wednesday.

The bus, according to O'Brien, will make it possible for him to keep a campaign promise to visit every neighborhood in the city, as he seeks to unseat Mayor Wayne Poston.

“By visiting every neighborhood and listening to the voters I hope to bring a new vision and perspective to the office of the mayor,” O'Brien said in a statement issued by his Tampa-based political consultant. “My vision is to create jobs that will generate tax revenues resulting in a better quality of life for all the citizens of Bradenton.”

 “New energetic leadership is the prescription for success in City Hall. I am a hard worker who will always treat the job as a full-time position.” O'Brien, who lost a city council race in 2009, is a real estate investor and professor of political science at the University of South Florida Manatee-Sarasota.

A Bradenton native, O'Brien last year received the Bradenton Kiwanis "Game Changer Award" for chairing a‘Christmas in July’ event that provided school supplies and services to homeless children in the community.

He currently is the chairman of the Manatee County Democratic Party, although the Bradenton mayor's post is nonpartisan.

Also running for mayor in the Nov. 6 election are longtime city council member Marianne Barnebey and Travis W. Holliday. As of Wednesday morning, only Poston had officially qualified for the ballot. The qualifying period ends at noon Friday.

O'Brien's kickoff event at city hall in downtown Bradenton is set for noon.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Republicans open 'Victory Office' in Bradenton

The Republican National Committee has opened a "Victory Office" in Bradenton, one of 23 such offices in Florida.

The office is at 2601 Manatee Ave. W., Suite D.

A grand opening is set for 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, according to the local GOP's Twitter feed.

Here part of the press release, issued Monday, on the offices:

The Republican National Committee (RNC) today announced the official opening of 23 Victory Field Offices in Florida. These offices will coordinate the get out the vote operations for Governor Mitt Romney leading up to the November election. The RNC will work hand-in-hand with the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) and Mitt Romney for President at each of these 23 offices to ensure that Governor Romney defeats President Barack Obama in November and all Republicans on the ticket are successful on Election Day. 
This is the first round of offices the RNC will open in Florida and demonstrates the fast pace at which the Republican Party continues to cement a path to victory for Governor Romney in Florida.

More Manatee candidates qualify for election ballot

As of just after 9 a.m. Tuesday, several other candidates have qualified for the election ballot in Manatee County.

They include:
Clerk of the Circuit Court -- R.B. "Chips" Shore, incumbent, Republican.
County Commission, District 1 -- Larry Bustle, incumbent, Republican.
County Commission, District 3 -- John Chappie, incumbent, Republican.
County Commission, District 5 -- Frank Archino, Democrat.
School Board, District 4 -- Linda Schaich.
Sheriff -- Brad Steube, incumbent, Republican.
Supervisor of Elections -- Mike Bennett, Republican; Charles N. Williams Jr., Democrat.
Tax Collector -- Ken Burton, incumbent, Republican.
The qualifying period started at noon Monday and ends at noon Friday.

To see who else has qualified, check an earlier posting here and the supervisor of elections' website here.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Election qualifying under way in Manatee County

Several candidates for local offices in Manatee County have officially "qualified" for this year's elections.
As of just after 4 p.m., they include:
County Commission, District 1 -- Corie M. Holmes, Democrat.
County Commission, District 7 -- Joe McClash, incumbent, Republican.
Property Appraiser -- Charles Hackney, incumbent, Republican.
Sheriff -- William Waldron, Republican.
Mayor, Bradenton -- Wayne Poston, incumbent.
Bradenton City Council, Ward 2 -- George Mendez, Gene Brown.
Bradenton City Council, Ward 5 -- Harold E. Byrd Jr.
The qualifying period started at noon Monday, and will continue until noon Friday.

To see who else has qualified or otherwise served notice they are running, visit the supervisor of elections' website.

Manatee Democrats chair Richard O'Brien running for mayor of Bradenton (UPDATE)

Richard C. O'Brien, the chairman of the Manatee County Democratic Party, has filed to run for mayor of Bradenton, according to the Manatee County supervisor of elections website.

A political science professor at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, O'Brien in 2009 lost a city council race to incumbent Patrick Roff by a margin of 52 percent to 48 percent.

O'Brien joins three other announced candidates for the mayor's seat in Bradenton: incumbent Wayne Poston; city council member Marianne Barnebey; and Travis Holliday.

O'Brien, who has worked with several local nonprofits, declined to comment, saying he would be officially kicking off his campaign with an event at noon Wednesday outside Bradenton City Hall -- complete with an official campaign  double decker bus.

The ballot for Nov. 6 election will be set at noon Friday, when the candidate qualifying period ends.

The qualifying period starts at noon Monday.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Buchanan: Fund-raising will pay for most of his TV ads

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan has a well established track record of when needed, dipping into his personal wealth to help finance his political campaigns. Already this cycle and facing a vigorous challenge from Democrat Keith Fitzgerald, he has loaned his campaign $250,000.

The possibility of Buchanan needing to kick in even more was raised this week when his media adviser said the campaign had reserved $4 million in television ad time in Tampa Bay and Sarasota, starting Aug. 1. As of March 31, he had a reported $1.47 million in cash on hand, according to filings with the Federal Elections Commission.

On Friday, Buchanan told the Bradenton Herald's Sara Kennedy he expects he will be able to raise most of what he'll need for the advertising.

"We're going to look to raise most of it, it's our goal, so we're moving towards that," Buchanan said.