Frank Torres, Orlando Freelance Reporter

Archive for January, 2012|Monthly archive page

CF News 13: Florida Decides Poll – Voters pick Romney to take on Obama

In Uncategorized on January 29, 2012 at 7:21 pm

This Florida Decides Poll has been getting a lot of national coverage. Mason-Dixon partnered with 13, Bay News 9, The Tampa Times and the Miami Herald to deliver these numbers that have Mitt Romney pulling away from Newt Gingrich. Take a look.


Your choice could determine who will take on President Obama this November, and it could be Mitt Romney’s race to lose.

A new exclusive News 13 Florida Decides Poll offers a better idea of who’s in the best position to win the Florida primary on Tuesday and take on Obama.

Jump to: Complete Poll Results

Newt Gingrich has seen his early lead vanish in Florida, now Mitt Romney appears poised to claim victory this Tuesday.

Romney leads Gingrich by 11 points, 42 to 31 percent. Rick Santorum is a distant third at 14 percent. Ron Paul, who has not campaigned in Florida, comes in with 6 percent. The X factor – 7 percent responded as undecided, meaning they haven’t picked who they’ll vote for yet.

“Central Florida, the I-4 corridor, could be perhaps the most important group of voters in the country,” said News 13 Political Analyst Frank Torres.

“It’s a bellwether for how the rest of the state will go,” described News 13 Political Analyst Jeremiah Jaspon.

That poll also breaks down how Central Florida from Tampa to Daytona would vote. Those results show the race a little tighter.

Mitt Romney with a 7 point lead over Gingrich, 40 to 33 percent. The others are essentially the same when comparing I-4 to the rest of Florida.

Among Mitt Romney’s biggest supporters are Florida Hispanics. Taking into account just those surveyed for our poll, 52 percent said they would vote for Romney compared to 28 percent for Gingrich. That’s a 24 point difference. Rick Santorum and Ron Paul poll in single digits.
Taking on Barack Obama

Who stands the best chance of beating President Obama in November?

A News 13 Florida Decides poll shows voters think Mitt Romney would beat Obama in a head to head match up if the election were held today.

After the GOP candidates finish targeting each other, they’ll turn their attacks to the president.

“Florida alternates, red, blue, red, blue. Who knows what it will be this year,” said Torres.

Republicans badly want to win back the White House, and they’ll vote for the man they think stands the best chance against Obama.

Romney edges the president by 4 points, with 8 percent still undecided.

“It’s vital the president spend a lot of time here and makes sure the economy moves forward in Central Florida,” said Jaspon.

Newt Gingrich did not fare as well against Obama.
Poll results have him losing to the president by 9 points, 50 percent to 41 percent, with 9 percent undecided.

“They understand that if we get anyone but Romney, it will be a cakewalk for re-election for the president,” said political analyst Jaspon.

Why? Because Newt is high on himself. He is blunt and forward. If he is the nominee, he is a liability for Republicans of saying something that could turn off independent voters,” explained political analyst Torres.

What about the attacks being leveled by Gingrich and Romney against each other?
News 13’s poll asked what people thought about Newt Gingrich and his work as a consultant for Freddie Mac.

Fifty-two percent had a negative view compared to just 28 percent with a positive view, and 20 percent weren’t sure.

Match that up against people’s view of Mitt Romney and his work as CEO of Bain Capital:

Seventy-four percent of people viewed that as positive and only 13 percent responded negatively. Thirteen percent weren’t sure.

“I think the rhetoric coming out of the Republicans right now is scaring away the independent voter,” said Torres.

Those so-called “cannibalistic” Republican attacks are serving the president well at this point.
When the GOP does finally select a nominee, the war for I-4 votes will be pivotal in the race for the White House.

The telephone survey of 800 registered Florida voters — all likely to vote in the general election — was conducted Jan. 24-26 for the Tampa Bay Times, Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald, Bay News 9 and Central Florida News 13. The poll was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, a nonpartisan, Jacksonville-based company. The margin of error overall is 3.5 percentage points.

This poll released last night shows Romney pulling ahead

CF News 13: In final Florida debate, GOP candidates get extra aggressive

In Uncategorized on January 28, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Coverage from CF News 13 on he debate held in Jacksonville on Thursday night.

By Adam Longo


The sunshine state provided the battleground in the growingly aggressive fight to win the GOP nomination to take on President Barack Obama in the fight for the White House.

The four Republican candidates faced off in Jacksonville in a live debate, the last one before voters head to the polls for Florida’s primary next Tuesday.

Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney seemed to overpower throughout the two hour debate.

Their back and forth sparked attacks and pointed questions.

Political Analysis

News 13 political analysts Jeremiah Jaspon and Frank Torres were on hand to offer some insight into who came out on top

“I think they’re going to be talking about Romney and how strong he portrayed himself tonight, he really deflected all of Gingrich’s attacks and actually he came at Gringrich pretty strongly in my opinion, I think Romney won the night tonight,that’s what they’re going to be talking about,“ said Jeremiah Jaspon, Democratic political analyst

“I think in the morning you’ll hear a lot of Mitt Romney. you know being on the attack, going after Newt Gringrich with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Also, you know the questions over Mitt Romney’s expenses, those mutual funds that came up so many times and investments. A lot of things along those lines that’s what you’ll be hearing about in the morning,” said Republican political analyst Frank Torres.

In the News 13 studios, representatives from Republican candidates offered to further the message from each one.

Bertica Cabrera Morris from the Mitt Romney Campaign
Richard Crotty, from the Newt Gingrich Campaign
Sunny Rinker, from the Rick Santorum Campaign.

An invitation for a representative from the Ron Paul campaign was not responded too.

The representatives addressed a heated moment between Romney and Gingrich about immigration.

Gingrich answered yes to moderator Wolf Blitzer saying Mitt Romney was the most anti-immigrant candidate.

Representatives respond

“That’s simply inexcusable. And actually, Senator Marco Rubio came to my defense and said that ad was inexcusable and inflammatory and inappropriate. Mr. Speaker, I’m not anti-immigrant. My father was born in Mexico. My wife’s father was born in Wales. They came to this country.The idea that I am anti-immigrant is repulsive! Don’t use a term like that,” responded Romney.

“The answer from Governor Romney was fabulous. I thought he clarified the position that he has, I thought he did quite well in not allowing Congressman Gingrich to run all over him in this issue. Look at the track record that Governor Romney has. In his campaign alone with me with all of the people that are advising him, we’re all from all over the world,” said Cabrera.

“His father being born in Mexico, Mitt Romney’s father George Romney ran for president of the United States which you can’t do unless you were born in the United States. That would tell me that he was born on a military facility in Mexico would be my guess. I don’t know what the situation there is, but as you talk about the immigration issue it occurs to me that candidates tend to be more interested in talking about each commercials and the attack ads on each other than the substance of the issue and I believe that Newt Gingrich has best articulated a position that’s a compassionate one,” said Crotty.

“What I do appreciate is the fact that Senator Santorum is the product of a grandfather who came here because he wanted to make a better place for his son. Senator Santorum’s father to come. I really appreciate that and the fact that he is a product of someone who came to this country legally and went through the process and I just think it’s a real telling picture of him and where he’s coming from,” said Rinker.

The Debate

Each of the candidates needed to make their mark.

Newt Gingrich trying to regain lost ground.
Mitt Romney trying to solidify his lead.
Ron Paul and Rick Santorum fighting to stay relevant.

“The bigger issue here is, these two gentlemen who are out distracting from the importance by playing petty personal politics. Can we set aside that Newt was a member of Congress and used the skills that he developed as a member of Congress to go out and advise companies, and that’s not the worst thing in the world, and that Mitt Romney is a wealthy guy because he worked hard and he’s going out and working hard, and you guys should leave that alone and focus on the issues,” said Rick Santorum.

Santorum came out swinging after Romney and Gingrich traded barbs on housing.

When the talk turned to space, Ron Paul had an interesting suggestion.

“Congressman Paul from Texas, the space program very important there, as well. Where do you stand on this?” asked Blitzer.

“Well, I don’t think we should go to the moon. I think we maybe should send some politicians up there sometimes,” said Paul.

Housing has been the hot topic for the front runners.

Romney and Gingrich went back and forth on who worked with and invested in failed housing lender Freddie Mac.

“The governor has cheerfully — the governor has cheerfully attacking me inaccurately and he knows it. The contracts we released from Freddie Mac said I would do no consulting, wrote in, no — I mean no lobbying, none. But this is a more interesting story. We began digging in after Monday night because frankly I’d had about enough of this. We discovered to our shock, Governor Romney owns shares of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Governor Romney made a million dollars off of selling some of that. Governor Romney owns share — has an investment in Goldman Sachs, which is today foreclosing on Floridians.

So maybe Governor Romney in the spirit of openness should tell us how much money he’s made off of how many households that have been foreclosed by his investments? And let’s be clear about that,” said Gingrich.

Romney responded:

“My investments for the last 10 years have been in a blind trust, managed by a trustee. Secondly, the investments that they’ve made, we’ve learned about this as we made our financial disclosure, have been in mutual funds and bonds. I don’t own stock in either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. There are bonds that the investor has held through mutual funds.”

Romney landed a number of attacks on Gingrich aiming one directly at Gingrich’s big speech on space in Cocoa Wednesday.

“We have seen in politics, we’ve seen politicians — and Newt, you’ve been part of this, go from state to state and promise exactly what that state wants to hear. The Speaker comes here to Florida, wants to spend untold amount of money having a colony on the moon. I know it’s very exciting on the Space Coast.

In South Carolina, it was a new interstate highway, and dredging the port in Charleston. In New Hampshire, it was burying a power line coming in from Canada and building a new VHA hospital in New Hampshire so that people don’t have to go to Boston.

Look, this idea of going state to state and promising what people want to hear, promising billions, hundreds of billions of dollars to make people happy, that’s what got us into the trouble we’re in now. We’ve got to say no to this kind of spending,” said Romney.

Your Discussion

In a live discussion with readers on, a question from Todd asked our political analysts who they thought was the best person to represent the Republican party in the November election.

Torres responded with “While it’s not an endorsement, you’ve got to look at the candidates that can attract the indies. (sic) Romney is the most moderate of the group.”

Jaspon replied “I would agree Frank. That is why we see AFSCME running adds comparing Romney to Rick Scott.”

The candidates slugged it out in Jacksonville for the last time before Tuesday's primary

Eric Lasso Announces Candidacy For Orange County Commissioner, District 3

In Uncategorized on January 26, 2012 at 2:39 pm

This morning, financial planner Eric Lasso announced he is running for Orange County Commissioner District 3. Lasso has been very active in the community over the last couple of years and was a finalist for the D3 job before Governor Scott appointed current commissioner John Martinez.

District 3 has had difficulty finding stable leadership over the last couple of years. First the arrest of Mildred Fernandez, followed by the unpopular appointment of Independent Lui Damiani by then Governor Charlie Crist who defected from the Republican party to become an indy himself. When Scott was elected, he appointed fellow Republican Martinez.

Lasso joins Damiani, Lydia Pisano, and others in what is shaping up to be one of the most exiting local races this year.

A fiscal conservative who will restore integrity back to the office of the Commissioner, get District 3 back to work and be a leader guided by principles

Earlier today, Eric Lasso announced his candidacy for Orange County Commissioner, District 3. Eric is a Certified Financial Planner™ and owns his own financial planning firm in Orlando, FL. A third generation Floridian and Hispanic American, he was one of the leading nominees for the recent appointment to the District 3 seat. He has decided to run because District 3 is in need of leadership at one of the county’s most crucial times. He has come up with an innovative plan, his 3-4-5 plan, which details how he will restore integrity back to the office of the Commissioner, get District 3 back to work and be a leader guided by principles.

“After careful consideration I have decided to run for Orange County Commissioner, District 3. For over 600 days there hasn’t been an elected Commissioner of District 3. I plan on restoring integrity back to the office of the Commissioner, getting District 3 back to work and being a leader guided by principles. I encourage District 3 citizens to view my website for more information”

Eric Lasso is running for Commissioner of Orange County District 3

Photos: Mitt Romney in Ormond Beach

In Uncategorized on January 24, 2012 at 12:16 am

It was a beautiful Sunday night in Volusia county, and supporters cheered for GOP Presidential Mitt Romney as he kicked off the Florida leg of his campaign.

Coming off a rough week that saw him take second place in South Carolina, Romney took aim at frontrunner Newt Ginrich, calling him a failed House Speaker, and flawed leader. His was accompanied by his wife of 42 years, Ann and introduced by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. Occupiers tried to crash the event but, were quickly shooed away.

It was a great evening to be outside and it’s hard to imagine a better start for the Romney campaign to rebound in the Sunshine State.

They turned out early for the Romney rally in Ormond Beach Sunday night

Romney being introduced by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi

Romney talked Policy, Obama, and Gingrich

It was hard to imagine better conditions on Sunday night

The venue was at capacity

Romney took his time after the event, taking laps along the crowd line and doing interviews

CF News 13: Santorum, Romney hit Florida in pre-primary rallies

In Uncategorized on January 23, 2012 at 2:20 am

CF News 13 had team coverage of the Mitt Romney Rally in Ormond Beach, Sunday night. Here is the write-up.

Don't forget to check out Political Connections every Sunday on Central Florida News 13

By Greg Pallone and Scott McDonnell, Team Coverage


Spotlight on Florida, with South Carolina’s primary in the books and a week and a half left for candidates to criss-cross the state, trying to convince voters that they are the candidate to beat President Obama.

Mitt Romney, looking to put South Carolina behind him, is expected to appear in Ormond Beach this afternoon at a rally. Romney is visiting Allstar Building Materials, the same business John McCain visited during his 2008 campaign.

On Saturday night Newt Gingrich won the primary pundits predicted Romney would win. Meanwhile, Rick Santorum was declared the winner in the Iowa Caucus via recount. That contest had originally gone to Romney. He needs Florida to help him pick up some of the momentum he lost this week, according to political analyst Frank Torres.

“Newt with that big win in South Carolina, last night, has the momentum, Gingrich has the momentum, Mitt needs to hit the ground running,” Torres said. “Mitt has the resources to run a large statewide campaign here in Florida.”

Romney is also hoping that releasing his tax returns this coming week will help boost his image among skeptical voters. The issue proved detrimental in the SC primary.

Santorum, meanwhile, finished third in the SC primary, but he says his part in the race is not over by a long shot.

Supporters say Santorum is the only true conservative who has a chance to beat President Obama in November.

Talking to those supporters outside a restaurant in Coral Springs, Santorum made it clear — he needed Florida to help him succeed.

“If you are looking for the real conservative, the Reagan model,” Santorum said. “The answer is standing here before you. I need your help and support.”

Santorum will be in Lady Lake on Monday.

Left: Mitt Romney in Ormond Beach. Right: Rick Santorum in Coral Springs.

Orange County Young Democrats President Jason Henry to run for Florida House of Representatives

In Uncategorized on January 20, 2012 at 12:38 am

It has been a busy day for politics in Central Florida. The President’s visit, Rick Perry jumping out of the GOP primary (what a rough end to that campaign), and it turns out Rick Santorum did win Iowa…go figure.

The show goes on and the state house races are starting to heat up. Today, we’ve got another announcement. Jason Henry, President of the Orange County Young Democrats has declared for district 39. D39’s current incumbent Geraldine Thompson, is termed out and seeking the hotly contested State Senate seat in District 19.

I asked Henry why he was running and here’s what he had to say.

“I am choosing to run now because I am a husband, a father and I am not happy with the direction this district is headed in. I want to help shape and mold the future for my daughter and future grandchildren.”

He also sent out this formal release.


ORLANDO, Fla – Orange County Young Democrats President Jason Henry has decided to run for the Florida State House in District 39.

“District 39 is missing two key components: Leadership and vision. Current and past representatives have failed the district and we are experiencing the results of their failures. There is consistently high unemployment numbers, economic decay and a deficiency of business opportunities.”

As chairman of the Orange County Young Democrats Jason has worked locally on issues of voter suppression, engaged the community through political education and held local leaders accountable for deficient actions toward the community.

“Like many Floridians I am tired of the ineptitude of our local and state leadership. We have seen the inability of our politicians to work together on behalf of the people as evidenced by their continued cuts to education and health programs that help the underprivileged. It is time for an injection of new leadership and I am committed to providing a new vision for our community.”

This campaign is a referendum on the futile leadership by those who represent us in Tallahassee.

“I believe in the people of this community and respect their desire for a new way forward. Dr. Martin Luther King once said that ‘We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.’ I will always have eternal hope that is seeped in love and sacrifice. I will bring that same passion and optimism to serve the great people of this great district.

As the Pine Hills community gears up to celebrate the opening of the new Evans High School on Saturday, January 21st, Jason will join the community in the parade to observe the opening of the new high school.

“Join me in my quest for change for the people of District 39. We cannot afford more of the same by entertaining old ideas and inept want to be political figures. The people of District 39 deserve better.”

To find out more about Jason’s campaign you can visit his website


He joins Reverend and Businesswoman Pam Powell, as well as others, in the Democrat leaning district.

Jason Henry has declared his candidacy for Florida House District 39

Rogue Gallart Announces Candidacy for Florida State Senate District 19

In Uncategorized on January 18, 2012 at 10:54 pm

Hello readers! Things are going great at CF News 13 and here is hoping that things are even better in all of your lives.

Rogue Gallart has announced his candidacy for State Senate D19. He issued the following release, in what is shaping up to be one of Central Florida’s more exciting races.



Orlando – Rogue Gallart, President of the Central Florida Disability Chamber of Commerce (CFDC), announces his candidacy for the Democratic Florida State Senate for District 19 today.

Under Gallart’s leadership, the CFDC provides information and education on business creation and growth across the entire State of Florida, specifically designed for the needs of people with disabilities.

Gallart was instrumental in developing the Youth Entrepreneurship Program, which educates Central Florida Youths on entrepreneurship as a career path. It also fosters opportunities for students to gain work based experiences in leadership, developing interpersonal skills and management.

“Innovation and growth of entrepreneurship lies with the proper education of our youth of today. Education is a progressive discovery and should never be taken for granted,” says Gallart.

Gallart’s nonprofit career began at The Center for Independent Living (CIL), as the Director of Advocacy and Legislative Affairs. He began the Business Advisory Council, a division of CIL focused on improving employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. Under his direction, the council grew to include several hundred local businesses.

Gallart currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Beacon Network, an organization dedicated to diversity inclusion in the workplace. He also serves on the Board for the Greater Orlando Business Leadership Network. Gallart is a member of the Executive Committee for the Hispanic Office for Local Assistance.

“These are challenging times, people are downhearted about government, and too many Floridians are still out of the work. We need to focus on job creation and we need to push forward to get results. It’s time for a fresh start.” said Gallart.

Primary elections will be held on August 14, 2012. For more information on Rogue Gallart’s campaign visit

Rogue Gallart announced his candidacy today.


Gallart joins former Orange County Commissioner Linda Stewart, termed out State Rep Geraldine Thompson, and Victoria Siplin, wife of current incumbent Gary Siplin.

A Special Announcment. Joining CF News 13 Political Team!

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2012 at 3:07 am


This blog is going on a long break.

I’ve accepted a position as a political analyst for CF News 13 during the 2012 election cycle. It’s a terrific opportunity and one I’m looking forward to.

That means no blogging. It’s about giving their viewers all of my time to provide exceptional analysis, they can’t find anywhere else. It’s about being on your “A game”, every segment.

This is a great thing. Television reaches a vast and diverse audience and if you’re in Orlando or Tampa, you’ll get a great election year experience with access to resources that aren’t available here. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

It's going to be an exiting year for political analysis on television

It’s only temporary. I’ll be back and will be a better politico for it. This means a better, and more informative read in the future.

This blog will stay up. There will still be photos from events when I get the opportunity to take them.

My one request from the greatest readers in Orlando? Follow me to CF News 13 on Brighthouse networks. I promise to make it worth your while.

I’ll see you back here in a few months, and thank you. Thank you, so much!!

I'll miss you guys. Please watch me on News 13 in Orlando for the best political analysis in the region!

Romney needs validating victory in New Hampshire tomorrow.

In Uncategorized on January 10, 2012 at 1:04 am

Before we get started, did you happen to see the Steelers/Broncos game last night?

Wow! A Bears fan is writing this post but, I gotta tell you, Tim Tebow is the best thing to happen to the NFL this year.

Everyone was cheering for Tebow last night. What a game.

Anyhow, back to politics.

The New Hampshire Primary is tomorrow and it’s wont have the high drama from last night. In fact, everyone is already looking towards South Carolina, where several candidates will be making their last stand. Before possibly withdrawing.

Yes, Mitt Romney is all set for victory and why not? He’s put in the time in the Granite state. He owns a home there, was the Governor next door, and has had boots on the ground for sometime now.

I do look at the latest poll numbers though, and wonder if it’s going to be as big of a victory as he expects or even wants. He stole Iowa and now defeat in NH is unlikely. A political BCS points system might come into effect, when the experts analyze his win. The College National Championship is on right now by the way.

Romney needs to throttle the second place finisher. He’s LSU matching up against Miss. st or Rice. Paul or Santorum shouldn’t finish close in this contest.

If Romney doesn’t win big tomorrow, you know how we are. “Are there cracks in Romney’s campaign armor?’ “Is the nomination in jeopardy?” “How can we shake thing up here in Florida?”

Speaking of Florida. Attorney General and personal crush Pam Bondi endorsed Romney yesterday. That means the former Governor sweeps the cabinet. Is Governor Rick Scott next?

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi endorsed Romney on Sunday

So, yeah… Romney can’t win by a few points tomorrow. He needs a healthy margin victory. If not, you know how we are…

It will be the end of the Mitt Romney campaign! Ok, maybe not, but it will leave the door open for someone else to walk through in South Carolina. Just like the overtime rules let Tim Tebow run away with the win last night.

Mitt Romney needs to cover the spread in NH

Who Won the NBC Facebook Debate on Meet the Press from New Hampshire? 1/8/12

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2012 at 1:15 am

Instant Analysis:

For the second time in 10 hours, candidates for the GOP Presidential nomination debated in NH. Fatigue was present in the eyes of these 6 hopefuls but, they continued their trend of strong debating from last night. Gregory for all of the flack he takes week to week on Meet the Press, did much better than the silly questions moderators of ten hour ago. No one really “stepped in it” this morning but, we’ll try to break down the winners and losers.


Rick Santorum: Santorum does much better with less candidates on stage and when he gets the opportunity to elaborate on his positions. He’s got the swagger of a contender now, sparring with Ron Paul, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney. Speaking of Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney: Did you see him put Santorum in check during the first ten minutes of the debate? He called out Santorum who was grimacing during his replies and took on all attackers. Once again he the “pinata at the party”. Often, we forget how Romney can assert himself and take control of a conversation. Most importantly, he made it through both debates with out a major flub that could cost him New Hampshire.

Rick Perry: What?! I know what you thinking. Follow me here. Rick Perry wasn’t debating to a New Hampshire crowd in attendance. He was talking to the voters in the state where he’ll make his last stand and that is South Carolina. In a pretty moderate dialouge, Perry went far right and complimented the Tea Party movement and painted himself, in the brightest shade of red possible. He also continued to spin his “oops” meltdown in a lighthearted manner.

Jon Huntsman: I mentioned the moderate dialogue in the last paragraph and in one of the more emotional moments of the debate, Huntsman defended his service as Ambassador to China under Barack Obama and mentioned his two sons currently serving overseas. He flourished when talking about bi-partisanship in Washington but, still showed fiscal restraint, complimenting the Ryan plan. Is he going to get the nomination? Probably not, but this debate was one of the finer moments of his campaign.


Ron Paul: Paul must learn to stay away from Santroum during these things. Every time the spotlight shines on Paul’s foreign policy views, it gets awkward. He was also read some unflattering numbers by the moderator concerning his effectiveness in passing legislation.

Newt Gingrich: While it’s entertaining having negative Newt back. He’s making the same mistake of going after the moderators too often, even when there is nothing there. He lagged on face time and didn’t leave an impression that will lead to gains in the polls.

Well, the candidates need to learn from these debates and find some time for rest before the final sprint towards the primary on Tuesday. For one or two of them, it might be the last contest they make it to.