Frank Torres, Orlando Freelance Reporter

Archive for September, 2011|Monthly archive page

Former Commissioner Linda Stewart running for State Senate 19

In Uncategorized on September 30, 2011 at 5:00 pm

The State Senate 19 Race is going to be fun to watch.

As reported by the Orlando Sentinel earlier today, Former Orange County Commissioner Linda Stewart has decided to run for the Florida State Senate in District 19. Gary Siplin is currently serving his final term there.

It was first reported by this blog that Linda Stewart was building a campaign team for a run at higher office but, did not disclose what office that was going to be.

Now entering, what is bound to be one of the more competitive races in the region. The two term Democrat joins a crowded field with members of her own party, that include Siplin’s wife Victoria and termed out State Rep. Geraldine Thompson.

Stewart came in 3rd in the Orange County Mayoral primary last year. Underfunded and running a grassroots campaign that saw her “Getting Out The Vote” on her caravan, Stewart did better than expected narrowly missing the cut for the runoff last November.

She’s an advocate for the environment and LGBT rights, as well as a favorite in the Hispanic community. Stewart brings a built in supporter base that should keep her competitive in this race.

Stewart has made the call to run for State Senate

Romney pushes Perry’s soft stance on immigration with “Thank You” Webvid UPDATE: Bachmann too

In Uncategorized on September 30, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Mitt Romney gets comparisons to Barack Obama all of the time.

You’ve got to believe that he doesn’t go from state to state having to answer questions about “Romneycare”, Massachusetts’ answer to health care that was the blueprint for the President’s plan or as many of you now know it as “Obamacare”.

One of his biggest critics? Texas Governor and fellow frontrunner Rick Perry who never fails to mention (or sometimes stutter) it on the national stage.

Well, now Mitt is on the offensive, this time attacking Rick Perry on his Texas policy that allows the children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition to Texas Universities. Check it out…

A pretty potent take on a fairly common tactic. Align your political adversaries with even more disliked adversaries. The ad’s music and layout has a Romney feel to it, high on substance low on style.

The memory of former Mexican President Vincente Fox thanking Rick Perry will stay with the voters.

It works…

Update: Bachmann joins attack against Perry: Michele Bachmann, not to be outdone by Mitt Romney has published her own video this morning. This one less formal and no mentions of Rick Perry, reiterates her stance on immigration.

Path to Victory? Bachmann Campaign rolls out plan after poor showing in Florida.

In Uncategorized on September 28, 2011 at 3:14 pm

There were two surprises at Presidency Five. One of course was Herman Cain’s shocking victory that’s currently fueling the “Cain Train”

The other was Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s 40 votes that put her in at the very back of the field. What went wrong? She was jockeying for first with Mitt Romney until Rick Perry entered the race and she hasn’t really done anything different or committed any severe debate goofs. You could argue that she didn’t invest anything in Presidency V but, the public reaction has been a cocktail of confusion and panic that’s got the country wondering if she is still relevant.

Her camp pushed out her path to victory last night. Her manager calmly what their approach will be moving forward and reiterates why she’s the best candidate. Here have a look.

at 3:44… Is that Florida?

Sir, sir…Florida, you haven’t mentioned how your going to take Florida.

I like Bachmann but why was Florida left out? Is it because we’re moving our primary date up? Even so, she just threw up a forty at Presidency Five and came in last. What kind of effort can we expect from her in the sunshine state. We know she can raise money here.

We get going strong in Iowa, she was born there.
Ok, you’re willing to let New Hampshire go.
Your playing to win in South Carolina…good,good.

Florida is on the slide but, not in the presentation.

The path to victory includes Florida but, how much of an effort? We’ll have to wait and see.

“999 is a Joke in your Town” Why Herman Cain is the wrong guy for the GOP

In Uncategorized on September 28, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Before reading the rest of this post, check out this video.

Conservative comfort food from the CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and Presidency V straw poll winner Herman Cain.

“If 10% is good enough for god, 9% should be just fine for the federal government”

Nice, I wish I would have wrote it but, as neat as Herman Cain’s story might be, he’s not the guy Republicans should nominate to take on Barack Obama. I’ll tell you why…

Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan wont go anywhere:Cain rolled out this plan right before his campaign was getting ready to code and it still did. Presidency V was the jolt to his campaign that’s keeping it alive, not the plan that would drop all taxes to 9%. Speaking of that, a 9% business flat tax? I’m surprised millionaires aren’t trying to jump on his bus while it’s still in motion. If business leaders thought that was possible, the Cain campaign wouldn’t be as strapped for cash as it is. He also says that 9-9-9 would get “Fairtax in the game”. This is pandering. Fairtax is 23% tax that takes the power away from the IRS and gives it to the consumer. How is that transition suppose to work. Assuming 9-9-9 get’s passed to begin with.

That dog won’t hunt either

How clean is the Godfather’s empire:Being a political outsider is refreshing but, how much do we really know about this guy? The good thing about other candidates having previously held office is that the dirty laundry has been aired and washed. What’s going to come out about Herman Cain in the middle of election season if he gets the nod? Has he accepted campaign contributions from the Dominos Noid? We haven’t found out yet, because no one has taken him seriously yet.

Are there any Noids in the Godfather's Pizza empire?

How does he hold up when attacked?:Sure, all of the king’s men are trying to put Rick Perry back together after his debate debacle last week but, when it’s time for Herman Cain to be the pinata, how is he going to hold up? We don’t know because none of the other candidates have attacked him, he hasn’t been attacked because no one has taken him seriously yet.

Herman Cain’s triumph in Orlando was great. I’m not taking anything away from his hard earned victory but, you guys are fooling yourselves if you believe this guy is going to be accepted by the mainstream. The majority of Republicans will wait for Rick Perry to get it together or “just take their cousin to the prom” and nominate Mitt Romney.

Cain’s got no shot.

Herman Cain has got a great story but he's wrong for the GOP

Naples Daily News: Bachmann, Cain get Naples financial support in GOP presidential race

In Uncategorized on September 27, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Last week, Mr. Wolford from the Naples Daily News game me a call and we talked about Cain (pre-Presidency V win) and Bachmann (pre-Presidency V disaster). We discussed the often overlooked, fundraising power in Naples.

They’ve been good to me down there and it’s always great to speak to them.


Friday, September 23, 2011

NAPLES — For Republican presidential candidates Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain, Naples is a buttress of financial support alongside other, much bigger, gold mines like Houston and Atlanta.

The small but wealthy Naples metropolitan area is home to pockets of staunch support for Bachmann, the Minnesota congresswoman, and Cain, the Georgia businessman, and their followers are showing it with their checkbooks, according to the most recent campaign finance figures.

Between the two candidates, Bachmann has pulled the most cash from here: $43,325, as of June 30, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. Only donors in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, in her home state, have given her more.

Cain is generating most of his contributions from Atlanta, followed by Houston, Dallas and then Naples, which has given $23,000 to that campaign.

Frank Torres, a political strategist in Central Florida, said money gushing from Naples is no surprise.

Campaigns “identify these pockets of potential, well-funded support,” he said. “Herman Cain has been making the rounds in Florida for quite some time.”

Cain visited Naples in June and was greeted by supporters, including radio show host Joe Whitehead and Barron Collier Cos. Chairman Lamar Gable, a Democrat. Bachmann was well-received at an August stop in Naples.

As national attention turns to Orlando this weekend for a mock primary, some Collier County Republicans say they are standing behind Cain and Bachmann, who have struggled recently in national and statewide opinion polls.

“I find (Cain) extremely refreshing,” said Lavigne Kirkpatrick, the state committeewoman on the county’s Republican Executive Committee.

She said she will vote for Cain as one of about 100 Collier County delegates in Saturday’s straw poll. Like other Republicans, Kirkpatrick said it is important to nominate someone who can beat President Barack Obama in next year’s election.

“I think he’s the only one that can beat Obama,” Kirkpatrick said. “I would really like to see Herman Cain debate Obama. I’d buy a front-row ticket to that.”

Both Cain and Bachmann have attracted support beyond the Republican mainstream.

Cain, who lacks any political experience, has the backing of many, like Kirkpatrick, who laud his outsider status and business success. And Bachmann is a favorite of the tea party movement, which she vowed to champion when she announced her candidacy in June.

“We do have a lot of Naples tea party people who really do like Bachmann,” said Barry Willoughby, founder of the Naples tea party organization, who said he still is undecided.

Other candidates are making money here, too, but their campaigns are hardly living off those earnings. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney drew $69,750 from Naples — a small fraction of a multimillion-dollar fundraising effort that has cashed in $2.9 million from New York City and Boston alone, according to the figures.

As potentially successful nominees emerge, Torres predicts Naples money will become even more earnestly sought.

“Expect the winner of the straw poll to become a frequent visitor of Naples,” he said.

One on One with Florida Governor Rick Scott

In Uncategorized on September 27, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Friday morning, I was granted a one on one interview with the Governor of Florida.

Governor Rick Scott who’s ran the entire gauntlet of opinion articles on this blog from soaring praise to policy slams. From silly jokes to complicated theories of his thought process, when leading the Sunshine State. All of these trends will continue but, after sitting down and talking to the guy for about 15 minutes, man to man, you’ve got to believe two things.

He wants Florida to be #1 and he’s not going to settle until we are.

During this interview we covered some different angles. It was important that we cover issues not always seen in the papers. It was a friendly interview. A year ago Rick Scott didn’t speak to one newspaper editorial board, I wasn’t about to play the jerk card and ruin a great opportunity to give you guys some quality content . From municipal commissioners all the way up to the state’s Governor, we should always encourage a professional and honest dialogue.

So, here you go. My interview with Florida Governor Rick Scott taken on Friday, September 23rd.

Thank you to Governor Scott and his team for this terrific opportunity.

Political Stocks: Who’s up, Who’s Down in O-Town (Post Presidency V Edition)

In Uncategorized on September 26, 2011 at 5:08 pm

I thought it would be fitting, to end an extremely successful Presidency Five convention with an edition of Political Stocks. It was an epic and awesome weekend so, let’s rank our GOP Presidential hopefuls.

Who’s up:

Herman Cain: Let’s get this straight. He earned his Presidency V victory. Tampa, Lakeland, Orlando, Daytona, up and down the I4 corridor. He made himself accessible to the delegates and he campaigned hard. He was one of the winners at the debate on Thursday night.

Did I think he was going to win? No, but few did.

His Presidency V speech on Saturday was brilliant and changed minds just before the votes were taken. He won by a landslide because he’s met a lot of the delegates. Presidency V was circled on his calendar this was the event that was going to push him into the serious conversation.

It has pushed him into the serious conversation….as a VP candidate.

The rest of the nation is still looking for the answer to President Obama. Cain’s victory raised his stock but the powers that be are still trying to find the candidate that is going to put the White House back in the hands of the GOP.

Chris Christie: After the debate on Thursday and straw poll numbers on Saturday, you can bet the New Jersey Governor has been getting some phone calls. Too late to jump in? I disagree. Donors are still holding their checkbooks and if the big man from Jersey wants a fair shake, he’s going to get one. No problems with poise here, Christie’s style ignores it altogether.

Would he still run?

Holding Steady:

Mitt Romney:Ah, the generic Republican candidate that in theory, beats Obama but no one likes. I don’t get it, his delivery is polished, he knows the issues and holds up well under pressure. There is Romneycare but he’s said a dozen times whats good for a state might not be good for the country. He should regain his frontrunner status but, he’s still a last resort date to the prom.

Who’s down:

The Field:Santorum, Huntsman, Gingrich, Paul, and even your neighbor’s dogs Gary Johnson. With the exception of perhaps Ron Paul the rest of the field is sunk and needs to ask themselves why they’re going to keep running. Is to try and get a VP nod? Gingrich is a popular hypothetical choice according to answer some gave at the debate last week. Or is it to sell books? Most of these guys already have books (another debate talking point) and get the speaking engagement money when they’re out of office.

Rick Perry: What the heck happened? This guy was on top of the world (and the polls) two weeks ago and now he’s a cold product. I thought his debate performance was mediocre but you guys must have thought much worse. Presidency V was suppose to be his show and instead delegates were jumping on the Hurri-Cain train and left him at the second place station with the rest of the losers.

2nd place doesn’t cut it for a guy with a hype machine this big. This needs to be fixed in a hurry. When he jumped in the race, Conservatives thought the Texas Governor was John Wayne. Now, he’s looking more like Quick Draw Mcgraw.

Is this the new image voters have of Rick Perry?

Michele Bachmann:
Want to know what I said when I heard the Minnesota Congresswoman and leader of the Tea Party Caucus in Washington only got 40 votes at Presidency V? “What the *expletive* was that?”

40 votes…let that sink in for a second. Bachmann took the Ames Iowa straw poll a few weeks back but she was born there. She didn’t participate or even invest that much in Presidency V but, the rest of the country doesn’t know that. The media is ready to call that campaign over.

She’s where her fellow Minnesota lawmaker, Tim Pawlenty was before he dropped out.


Some final words about Presidency V: What a terrific event and it was a blast to attend! From being able to go one on one with Florida Governor Rick Scott to meeting other journalists and writers from around the country, it was a rewarding experience, I was sad to see end.

A great job by RPOF and their team right here in Orange County, they made Orlando look great.

Who won the Florida GOP Straw Poll at Presidency Five? Herman Cain’s Shocking Win!

In Uncategorized on September 24, 2011 at 8:37 pm

The pizza man delivered in Orlando today.

The underdog, CEO of Godfather’s Pizza Herman Cain won the Florida Straw Poll at Presidency Five beating favored heavyweights like Mitt Romney and Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Herman Cain who, has spent weeks zig zagging the state and investing his time and campaign dollars proved exactly what Florida Governor Rick Scott said after reading the results. “It pays to be here”.

Cain performed well in the FOX News debate that was held in the same Orlando venue. He promoted his 999 plan, inspiring story of cancer survival, and steered clear of the battles the other candidates had during the most watched debate of the year.

Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann didn’t participate in Presidency V and Rick Perry’s Thursday night debate performance has many questioning his mettle. Ron Paul had the visual support in the Orange County Convention Center but, not the volume he needed to break from the pack. The rest of the field hasn’t been able to find any traction so far in their campaigns.

However, it wouldn’t be fair to say the other candidates lost this straw poll, Herman Cain won it and he did it with no money. Just hard work, a good story, and a kind word. You work hard you reap the benefits.

What’s next for the Herman Cain campaign? Did Orlando just light the fire that will shoot Herman Cain into the mainstream? Will it help his fundraising? Or will the rest of the country shrug and stick with their first choices? Is this the beginning of the end for one of the other candidates? What about Sarah Palin? Was this a demonstration of how wide open this race really is?

We came in looking for answers and we got more questions. Go figure.

The night belongs to Herman Cain and good for the RPOF delegates for recognizing which candidate worked the hardest to earn their vote. Showing up is what it’s all about. His words after the victory?

“The Herman Cain train is picking up steam”

In the end, it was Herman Cain's hardwork in the state that won him this important victory

The final percentages:
Herman Cain 37.11
Rick Perry 15.43
Mitt Romney 14.00
Rick Santorum 10.88
Ron Paul 10.39
Newt Gingrich 8.43
Jon Huntsman 2.26
Michele Bachmann 1.51

Florida Presidency 5 Straw Poll Ceremonies

In Uncategorized on September 24, 2011 at 7:34 pm

It’s been a great couple of days here at the Orange County Convention Center that has seen an exiting FOX News Debate, dozens of famous conservative leaders from all over the country speak, and now it’s coming to a close with the Presidency V Straw Poll Ceremonies. The explanation of the straw poll process is preparing to be read and in just a few minute the poll will be underway with thousands of delegates making their choice for the candidate they would like to see race against President Barack Obama.

Here are a few pictures from the ceremony:

Jennifer Carroll is doing a fine job hosting the festivites

Rick Santorum spoke of his hard fought legislative battles

Newt Gingrich says Marco Rubio will be on his short list of VP potentials

Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Michael Ertel

More pictures to come and don’t forget to check back for results!

The CPAC Fl U.S Senate Forum

In Uncategorized on September 23, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Update: Adam Hasner has won the CPAC FL straw poll. The former State Rep captured 34% of the vote. Coming in second was Mike McCalister with 30, George Lemieux with 24 and Craig Miller with 12.

Analysis:Hasner simply had the most passion in his speech today. He informed and inspired with a message that delivered conservative talking points, blended with a powerful call to action. The larger the crowd the better he sounds.

McCalister came in at 30% and he inspired but, he did it with sharp edged rhetoric that will turn off general election voters. He’s also high on poetry and low on percentages.

Lemieux played Republican easy listening to a crowd that wanted Tea Party speed metal. He’s still neck and neck with Hasner if you want to beat Bill Nelson.

Craig Miller needs to reinvent himself and get loud if he wants to stay relevant in this race.


All of the GOP candidates running in the primary to take on Senator Bill Nelson were on hand at CPAC Fl this afternoon. All 4 of their messages were refined from the debate downtown a few weeks back and all 4 were popular with the capacity crowd in attendance.

Hasner still the best speaker of the group

Lemieux's has a lot of boots on the ground here at CPAC FL and Presidency V

McCallister's rough delivery plays well with CPAC but, is he electable?

Miller calls his campaign a job interview with the people of Florida

A lot of Republicans are still undecided. I predicted that one would rise above the pack. They all brought their “A” game to CPAC, so they all rose a little.

Their still in a pack that will leave the voters undecided until they see more.