Frank Torres, Orlando Freelance Reporter

Archive for April, 2012|Monthly archive page

Adams vs. Mica: Campaigns will be as different as candidates themselves

In Uncategorized on April 30, 2012 at 1:54 pm

The Republican primary in the 7th Congressional district has been receiving national attention recently, and for good reason.

Fellow House Representatives John Mica and Sandy Adams are lining up their campaigns in Florida CD 7, and it’s going to get very personal, very quickly.

The long-time Rep and Transportation chairman vs. the popular Freshman and former state Rep who’s never missed a vote.

Establishment Republicans vs. Tea Party Conservatives

Old School Tradition vs. New School Energy and Enthusiasm

and it’s going to put friends and operatives who, would normally be standing side by side, on opposite teams. Oh, and you will eventually have to pick a side. If not an active role, then at the polls where you’ll cast a vote that will actually make the region weaker when, one of these lawmakers lose.

You might already be feeling the heat. Like last week, when mail from both campaigns hit my home on the same day.

There is a good chance you received mail from the campaigns last week

The strategy and tactics utilized by both campaigns have been as different as the candidates themselves.

Sandy Adams has been on the trail almost non-stop. When she’s not in Washington, she’s pushing a message of urgency and uncertainty to the voters. Holding serious discussions that conditions in the country can get worse if the situation in Washington isn’t stabilized. She’s proud of her background that saw her overcome personal tragedies and values that have allowed her to be where she is now.

She’s also quick to point out she’s defeated wealthier campaigns before.

Adams will have to do it again, and in addition to the smaller things like qualifying by petition (there was one in the envelope). She’ll have a dedicated volunteer corp that will walk sun-up to sun-down for her. Whenever she’s not at an event personally, her campaign manager can be seen talking to voters and party leaders.

John Mica’s message and strategy is going to have the same tone that it’s always had. He’ll recite improvements in the district. He’s going to promote the important appointment he has in Washington that has him playing a role in how America moves. He’s proud of Sunrail and will roll out a full list of accomplishments that occurred on his watch.

Mica will also enjoy a hefty fundraising advantage. He’s got some of the best consultants in the (407) and will be able to run an aggressive campaign through mail and possibly on television.

Both campaigns are quick to point out why they’re running in the same district. They both feel a connection to the 7th and will use maps, facts, and personal history to convince you.

Last week, in the previously mentioned mailer, Adams called Mica a personification of all that was wrong” officially taking the first direct attack on her opponent. She’s also enjoyed the support of bloggers who written scathing pieces against him.

It’s only going to get worse and will be painful political theater to observe.

Monday Morning Political Headlines: Boehner likes Rubio, Portman, Daniels for VP

In Uncategorized on April 30, 2012 at 12:34 pm

It’s Monday! Get up!

Today, we’ve got the Speaker of the House suggesting Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Ohio Senator Rob Portman, and Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels for Vice President.

Portman is my projected pick, Rubio is my preferred pick, and I can’t see Daniels accepting a VP bid and if Romney wants someone that could step into the job if need be, he could still chose NJ Governor Chris Christie and give his ticket some much needed likeability.

WKMG Local 6: Boehner names potential VP picks

Orlando Sentinel: ‘Abogado William’ says he’s running for state Senate

CF News 13: Romney shakes up the strategy, tones down rhetoric

WOFL Fox 35: (AP) Boehner Says Obama ‘Picking Fights’

WFTV 9 Eyewitness News
: Suddenly Someone: Finding fleeting political fame

WESH 2: (CNN) Clinton Criticizes Romney At Obama Event

Portman is a great Senator and might deliver OH but doesn't add much more to the ticket.

Sunday Morning Political Headlines: Public Schools, White House Correspondence Dinner

In Uncategorized on April 29, 2012 at 1:52 pm

It’s going to be a beautiful Sunday and we’ve go some good material this morning.

Friday, I attended the Orlando Sentinel Florida Forward Panel featuring Superintendents Bill Vogel and Ron Blocker. It was a great discussion about public schools and the challenges ahead. There is a column that pulls some of the points from that panel below.

Enjoy your day! Back to work tomorrow!

CF News 13: Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs on Political Connections

WKMG Local 6: Flashpoint (VIDEO) Elections examined on ‘Flashpoint’

Orlando Sentinel: Beth Kassab- Public Schools Must Do Better at Selling Themselves

WOFL Fox 35: Fla. Supreme Court says Legislature can OK slots

WFTV Eyewitness News 9:Romney, Secret Service, GOP: Obama mocks them all (AP)

WESH 2: Romney To Appear With Possible VP Pick Ayotte (CNN)

Saturday Morning Political Headlines: Scott Vetoes Tuition Raise, Red Light Cameras

In Uncategorized on April 28, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Happy Saturday! Great events going on all over Orlando.

Governor Rick Scott’s latest trend of breaking big education news on Friday afternoon continued this week, when the Scott vetoed tuition hikes at state universities. This should be popular with perspective students who might otherwise leave the state for education.

Red lights cameras are also in the news again. If we’re going to use these things, they have to function properly.

These two stories lead off your Saturday morning headlines. Have a great day!

WFTV 9 Eyewitness News: (VIDEO) 9 Investigates: Are red light cameras doing more harm than good?

Orlando Sentinel
: Florida Gov. Scott vetoes lifting of tuition cap at UF, FSU

WOFL Fox 35: Scott vetoes Florida university tuition bill

WKMG Local 6: McCain vs. Palin in Indiana Senate race (CNN)

CF News 13: Marco Rubio fined for improper contributions

WESH 2: Obama Touts Education, GOP Talks Budget In Weekly Addresses (CNN)

Florida Watchdog: Connie Mack IV, FL’s not-so-inevitable U.S, Senate candidate

In Uncategorized on April 27, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Here is an article from Florida Watchdog that used my analysis:


By Yael Ossowski | Florida Watchdog

MIAMI — The past few months haven’t been kind to the fourth-generation Cornelius Harvey McGillicuddy.

The four-term Fort Myers Republican congressman, better known as Connie Mack IV, was once considered the conservative favorite in the race for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson.
But fresh questions about the congressman’s voting record and lackluster campaign fundraising have put the victory speeches on hold — for now.

Mack is joined in the GOP primary fight by former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, retired U.S. Army Col. Mike McCalister of Plant City, and conservative activist Marielena Stuart.

LeMieux is best known for being chief of staff for former Gov. Charlie Christ, who also appointed LeMieux to the Senate seat in the wake of Mel Martinez’s resignation in 2009.

Despite endorsement from key groups in the state, including the Tea Party of Florida and the American Conservative Union, as well as former Gov. Jeb Bush, Mack has been unable to bring in any significant contributions.

As far as the numbers are concerned, the congressman is having a hard time keeping up with a candidate who officially bowed out of the race nine months ago — Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos of Melbourne.

Federal Elections Commission records show Haridopolos raised $3.5 million last year and still has $1.4 million on hand, while Mack raised $2.2 million and LeMieux collected $2 million.

But the Mack’s troubles do not end there.

According to records obtained by POLITICO, Mack has missed 41 percent of all House votes in the 2012 session, making him the top House delinquent seeking Senate office this year, and an easy target for his primary opponents.

“If Connie Mack the Fourth isn’t doing his job in the House, why would Floridians promote him to the Senate?” asked LeMieux in a statement.

Both the Mack and LeMieux campaigns failed to return calls to Florida Watchdog.

A sense of entitlement

No matter how heated the primary battle however, Mack has consistently focused his attacks on Nelson, the incumbent.

In a radio ad released Tuesday, Mack hit Nelson on his “stubborn refusal” to accept the Keystone Pipeline System, a key campaign issue for Mack, who started a petition in favor of the pipeline on his website. Keystone would be a network of pipes that would bring oil from Canada to various spots in the United States.

Christian Robinson, a spokesman for the Nelson campaign, told Florida Watchdog that the radio ad is entirely “fictitious, and is from someone who makes untrue statements about his own energy positions.”

The Nelson campaign pointed to an earlier finding by PolitiFact, a fact-checking website run by the Tampa Bay Times, which rated Mack’s earlier statements on oil drilling as “Pants on Fire.”

Frank Torres, a political consultant in Orlando for Central Florida News 13, laid down the political perspective for Florida Watchdog.

“Bill Nelson has to feel pretty good about the way things are going right now,” Torres said. “There is a huge lack of enthusiasm for the Republican candidates right now, and it truly is a microcosm of the broader presidential race.”

Torres said that Nelson remains a weak incumbent, just like President Obama at the national level, but Republicans have struggled to generate any significant interest or excitement on their side.

“There aren’t any other easy names to turn to now — Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater declined and the others have their problems — Connie Mack just because of his sense of entitlement and George LeMieux because of his ties to Charlie Christ,” Torres said, adding that Mack will “most likely” end up the GOP candidate.

“But one thing remains certain. This race will really depend on what happens in the presidential run. As Barack Obama goes, Bill Nelson goes. As Mitt Romney goes, so goes Connie Mack,” Torres said.

Friday Morning Political Headlines: Scott latest Orlando Stop, Mica-Adams Opinion

In Uncategorized on April 27, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Happy Friday! It’s been a great week in Orlando. I had a chance to attend the local party meeting last night and campaign season was in full swing! We had gophers from the opposing party, mainstream media and candidates or reps from almost every campaign. I’m excited.

Yesterday Governor Rick Scott was in Orlando touring local schools and meeting with local media. It’s only April but the John Mica/ Sandy Adams race is getting tense and sides within the party are being taken as we move into May.

Here are your Friday morning political headlines:

WOFL FOX 35: (Video) Scott talks education & the stand your ground law on Good Day

Orlando Sentinel: Scott Maxwell- In John Mica vs. Sandy Adams, it’s record vs. rhetoric

WESH 2: Gov. Rick Scott To Decide Tuition Bill

CF News 13: (AP) In speech, Biden attacks Romney on foreign policy

WFTV 9 Eyewitness News: (AP) Judge: Fla. worker drug testing unconstitutional

WKMG Local 6: Speaker: Difficult to do Rubio’s immigration bill

Herman Cain Campaigns with Todd Long in Orlando

In Uncategorized on April 26, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Former GOP Presidential frontrunner and Conservative favorite Herman Cain was in town Wednesday to campaign with his friend and Congressional candidate Todd Long.

The Godfather’s Pizza founder and Presidency V Winner gave a brief press conference across the street from the Amway center and took time to speak with supporters. He predicted victory for Orlando (the Magic won 102-95) and took in the game with Long after the event.

Todd Long is running in the newly drawn 9th Congressional district. This is the seat former Controversial Representative Alan Grayson has declared for. Long is an attorney, author, and radio show host.

He faces opposition from former State Rep. and Osceola Commissioner John “Q” Quinones, School Board member and Army Vet Julian Melendez, and Businessman Mark Oxner in the GOP primary.

Cain held a brief press conference before heading into the Amway Center

Todd Long with former GOP frontrunner Herman Cain

Thursday Morning Political Headlines: Newt, Voter “Reg” and Stand Your Ground,

In Uncategorized on April 26, 2012 at 1:24 pm

The weekend has almost arrived. The last 24 hours have been pretty busy with Mitt Romney‘s Pop Culture Clash and Newt Gingrich suspending his campaign. Former GOP frontrunner Herman Cain was also in town (more on that later).

Today we’ve got stand your ground, more on Gingrich, and even some Rick Perry stories.

Here are you Thursday morning political headlines.

WKMG Local 6: Panel to discuss Florida’s ‘stand your ground’ law

Orlando Sentinel: Third-party groups are registering voters — very carefully

CF News 13: Mayor Jacobs goes Princess Leia in new Star Wars Celebration promo

: Rick Perry Endorses Mitt Romney(Newscore)

WFTV 9 Eyewitness News: Rubio elevating profile amid VP speculation

WESH 2: Gingrich Tells Romney He Will Back Him (CNN)

The Texas Governor endorsed Perry Wednesday.

Mayor Teresa Jacobs/Princess Leia promotes Star Wars Convention

In Uncategorized on April 26, 2012 at 2:59 am

Well, you can’t accuse Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs of not having a sense of humor.

That is Mayor Jacobs in a Princess Leia costume promoting the Star Wars Celebration 6 at the Orange County Convention Center.

As strange as it might seem to some, this is a bankable event that generates revenue to the region each time it’s held.

With all of the controversy around renovation for the Citrus Bowl, as well as other projects that depend on successful events like these, every municipal leader should have been in this ad.

That includes Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer who might have been able to pull off an Emperor cloak. Perhaps they’re saving that for the new Performing Arts Center which at this point, looks like an incomplete Death Star.

The DPAC construction site

Maybe we can watch Cats in this.

Tuesday Knocks Newt Out. Gingrich to Suspend Campaign

In Uncategorized on April 25, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Newt Gingrich’s campaign is finally down for good.

After a run that saw his candidacy come back from the dead twice, the former speaker of the house will suspend his campaign next Tuesday, after losing all five primaries to GOP frontrunner and eventual nominee Mitt Romney last night.

First was his campaign meltdown that saw the majority of his staff resign. Citing Gingrich as difficult to work with and facing a substantial deficit in the polls, a mass exodus occurred that had many believing that was the end of his young campaign.

That was last summer

Second was his lack of traction with the voters. Other frontrunners came and went and many were asking why he was still in the race.

That was last fall.

Gingrich would revive his efforts during the televised debates where he gained ground in the polls not by attacking his opponents, but the moderators and mainstream media. One memorable moment was when he slammed CNN’s John King over questions about his marital past.

That would lead to Gingrich’s rise to the polls. He became Mitt Romney’s biggest competitor and won the South Carolina Primary. And along with his anger directed at the media, he touted a positive past with Reagan and working with Bill Clinton during his time as speaker.

Then came Florida and it all came to a grinding halt.

Gingrich wanted a Moon Base in 8 years. His act of aggression during the debates got old and he was slammed by Florida Senator Marco Rubio, for his immigration attacks on Mitt Romney. He lost by double digits and it was mostly down hill from there.

His only other victory would come in his home state of Georgia. He would lose the other Southern Evangelicals to Rick Santorum and the path to victory became hazier.

He laid off a third of this staff and started using language that set the foundation for today’s an exit. Delaware was his last hope and was lost last night, along with the other four states. He was mathematically eliminated long before that.

There’s hardly any reason to worry about Newt.

Despite massive campaign debt, Gingrich will likely go back on the speaking circuit and write another book. His price per appearance will likely go up and he’ll be out of the woods in no time.

If there is one aspect of this announcement that Newt Supporters can find solace in, it’s that he fought as long as he could and demonstrated that biting back at the media from time to time can be effective energizing a conservative base.

Gingrich's campaign came back from the dead twice and he was a frontrunner at one point