Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 22, 2014

Posts in "Florida"

October 6, 2014

Democrats Aim to Boost Black Turnout With Radio in Florida

Democrats Aim to Boost Black Turnout With Radio in Florida

Southerland is a vulnerable House Republican. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A Democratic outside group will start airing a radio ad targeting Rep. Steve Southerland II, R-Fla., in his high-stakes race against Democrat Gwen Graham in the 2nd District.

According to information provided exclusively to CQ Roll Call, Ocean Champions, a conservation group that backs Democratic candidates, will begin a $64,000 buy Tuesday that will run 1,300 radio spots in the final month of the campaign. The group will release another spot later in the month.

The contest is one of the cycle’s most competitive, and the race is rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. On Monday, both campaigns released varied internal polling.

Full story

Dueling Polls Released in Battleground House Race (Updated)

Dueling Polls Released in Battleground House Race (Updated)

Southerland is a Florida Republican. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 12:07 p.m. | A new internal GOP poll showed Rep. Steve Southerland II had a six-point lead last week over his Democratic rival, attorney Gwen Graham.

Southerland had the support of 45 percent of respondents, while Graham had the backing of 39 percent, according to the congressman’s campaign polling memo, a copy of which was obtained by CQ Roll Call.

The pair are locked in a heated battle for Florida’s 2nd District, based in the Panhandle area.

Full story

How One Vulnerable Republican Responds to the ‘War on Women’

How One Vulnerable Republican Responds to the War on Women

Southerland is one of the House GOP's most vulnerable incumbents this November. (Abby Livingston/CQ Roll Call)

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. — It took Republican Rep. Cynthia M. Lummis 16 hours to travel from western Wyoming to the Florida Panhandle on Sept. 26 to campaign for her embattled colleague, Rep. Steve Southerland II.

How One Vulnerable Republican Responds to the War on WomenLike other women in her conference, she is spending this pre-election recess fanning out over the country to help House Republicans in competitive races, especially men struggling through what Democrats have deemed the GOP’s “War on Women.”

“I spent the entire day — a long day — traveling, and it means a lot to me to be here for Steve, because I want to serve with him,” Lummis said in a interview here recently week, surrounded by veterans at a small gathering before a Women for Southerland rally.

Southerland faces a fierce re-election fight against Democrat Gwen Graham, an attorney and Florida political scion, in the 2nd District, a region that includes Tallahassee and stretches to the Gulf of Mexico coastline.

Southerland, in particular, has struggled with female voters. Earlier this year, his supporters hosted a male-only fundraiser with an invitation that read, “tell the Misses not to wait up.” Southerland responded to news reports on the event by comparing the event to a lingerie shower.

That’s in part how, on Sept. 27, a handful of female Republican officeholders descended upon Panama City Beach. Besides Lummis, Rep. Martha Roby drove that morning from her home in Montgomery, Ala., with her young daughter to attend the rally. Former Arkansas first lady Janet Huckabee was also in attendance.

Full story

October 1, 2014

Florida Family Legacies Clash in Critical House Race

Florida Family Legacies Clash in Critical House Race

Florida's 2nd Congressional District pits two families against each other. (Abby Livingston/CQ Roll Call)

ST. GEORGE ISLAND, Fla. — Former Florida first lady Adele Graham does not entertain the word “if” in polite conversation, at least when discussing the political future of her daughter Gwen. It’s only “when.”

The wife of ex-Florida governor and senator Bob Graham treats doubt that Gwen Graham will oust Republican Rep. Steve Southerland II with a gentle arm pat and tone of voice usually reserved for obscenity or wearing white after Labor Day.

The Graham family has summoned the force of its political operation behind its eldest daughter to ensure its 50-year Florida political win streak does not end in November. But while the Grahams spent three decades dominating statewide politics, the Southerland family also has deep ties in the district.

“When Grahams run, Grahams win,” the candidate tells her supporters at a Saturday afternoon meet-and-greet on this north Florida coast barrier island.

Florida Family Legacies Clash in Critical House Race

But this is a tough district and environment for any Democrat, even a political scion. President Barack Obama’s plummeting approval rating make it that much harder this year for House Democratic candidates to gain traction.

Southerland and Mitt Romney each carried Florida’s 2nd District by 6 points in 2012. And geographically, this seat has more in common with Alabama than Miami.

To combat that reality, a Southern Democrat must create an outsized personal brand that will help voters forget any association with the president.

Full story

September 30, 2014

Ex-First Lady of Florida Fires Back at Congressman

Ex First Lady of Florida Fires Back at Congressman

It's hard being the parents of a political candidate. Former Sen. Bob Graham and his wife Adele Graham in 2004. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

ST. GEORGE ISLAND, Fla. — Former Florida First Lady Adele Graham is not happy with her daughter’s political rival, Republican Rep. Steve Southerland II.

Graham and her husband, ex-Sen. Bob Graham, have been a pervasive presence on the campaign trail in support of Democratic attorney Gwen Graham’s bid to unseat Southerland in his 2nd District in the Florida panhandle.

Full story

August 22, 2014

Judge OKs New Florida Congressional Map for 2016

A state judge upheld the Florida legislature’s newly revised congressional map Friday, ruling the redrawn House districts should apply to the 2016 elections.

“The 2014 elections will have to be held under the map as enacted in 2012,” Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis wrote in his ruling, siding with Florida lawmakers who argued that applying new district lines to this election cycle would create chaos.

The ruling allows the Aug. 26 primaries to continue as scheduled. Even so, the new map makes minor changes to the state’s House districts and will likely have a minimal effect in 2016 on the congressional delegation, where House Republicans currently outnumber Democrats 17 to 10.

Full story

August 15, 2014

Revised Election Schedule Submitted in Florida Map Case

Revised Election Schedule Submitted in Florida Map Case

Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., represents one of the seven districts affected by the proposed new map. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Florida Secretary of State submitted an alternative election schedule Friday to a state judge who is considering whether or not a redrawn congressional map should apply to the midterms.

According to Secretary of State Ken Detzner, should the new map apply to this cycle, the earliest possible primary date for the seven districts affected by the new map would take place on March 17, 2015. The general election would follow on May 26, 2015. Full story

August 11, 2014

Florida Legislature Approves New Congressional Map

Florida Legislature Approves New Congressional Map

Mica's district was altered slightly in the newly passed Florida congressional map. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Florida Legislature approved a new congressional map Monday evening and sent it to the governor’s desk, although it’s still unclear whether the new House district boundaries will past muster or take effect for the 2014 elections.

The newly passed map only makes minor changes to the congressional districts and is not expected to alter Florida’s congressional delegation, where House Republicans currently outnumber Democrats, 17 to 10.

There are a number of ways the redistricting chaos could end, but the clock is ticking down to the Aug. 26 primary. Next week, a judge will rule whether the new lines are acceptable, and when voters will head to the polls.

Lawmakers returned to Tallahassee last week under a judge’s order to redraw the Sunshine state’s congressional districts. In July, Circuit Judge Terry Lewis ruled two districts violated the state constitution, which prohibits drawing districts to favor a political party or incumbent.

Full story

August 6, 2014

4 End-Game Scenarios for the Florida Map Chaos

4 End Game Scenarios for the Florida Map Chaos

Corrine Brown is not happy with Democrats who would like a new Florida map. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s back to the drawing board for Florida lawmakers, who must return to Tallahassee this week for a rushed redraw of the state’s congressional map.

On Friday, Circuit Judge Terry Lewis issued an order setting an Aug. 15 deadline for the legislature to redraw the map and for state officials to develop a revised election schedule. A trial on the proposed map and schedule will take place on Aug. 20, with a ruling expected the following day.

The special legislative session, scheduled to start Thursday, comes nearly a month after a state judge ruled two congressional districts violated the state constitution, which prohibits drawing districts to favor a political party or incumbent.

The Florida primary is scheduled for Aug. 26, so it’s still unclear whether the new congressional map would take effect for the 2014 election cycle. Full story

July 29, 2014

Congressman Says Gwen Graham’s Dad ‘Not on the Ballot’

Congressman Says Gwen Grahams Dad Not on the Ballot

Southerland faces a tough re-election in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Steve Southerland II, R-Fla., said he isn’t buying the hype around his opponent, attorney Gwen Graham, the daughter of Bob Graham, a former senator and governor.

“The Grahams aren’t from Northwest Florida,” Southerland said in a recent sit-down interview with CQ Roll Call. “They’re a South Florida family.”

“We respect the Graham name,” the two-term Republican continued. “We respect greatly the governor’s service and the senator’s service, but unfortunately, he’s not on the ballot.”

National Democrats have touted Graham as one of their best recruits this cycle, saying she’ll be able to close the deal with voters in Florida’s 2nd District, thanks in part to her father’s legacy. Southerland’s re-election is quickly becoming one of the most competitive House races in the country, and it’s ratedTossup/Tilts Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Democrats also boast Graham is better equipped than their 2012 nominee, Al Lawson Jr. Southerland disagreed. Full story

June 4, 2014

Florida Redistricting Trial to Conclude Wednesday

Florida Redistricting Trial to Conclude Wednesday

Jolly represents a legally controversial district in a Florida redistricting trial. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A congressional redistricting trial in Florida was scheduled to conclude Wednesday afternoon, the results of which could force the legislature to redraw the district boundaries before November, throwing current congressional campaigns into chaos.

“I don’t think there’s any congressional campaign here that’s discounting that possibility,” said one Florida Democratic insider, who requested anonymity to speak candidly about the ongoing case.

The issue in the trial, known locally as Florida’s “Game of Thrones,” is whether the GOP-led Legislature violated the state’s new Fair Districts Amendment during redistricting following the 2010 U.S. Census. A verdict is expected by the end of the month.

Full story

May 22, 2014

Tom Steyer’s 2014 Targets Start With Four Senate Races

Tom Steyer, the Democrats’ financial answer to the Koch brothers, has set his sights on specific Senate and gubernatorial races to spend the $100 million he’s earmarked for the midterm elections.

His super PAC, NextGen Climate Action, aims to promote candidates who support action to mitigate the effects of climate change. It was active in last year’s elections for Virginia governor and a vacant Senate seat in Massachusetts.

The group has now targeted the competitive Senate races in Colorado, Iowa, Michigan and New Hampshire, and the Florida, Pennsylvania and Maine gubernatorial contests. It will back the Democratic candidate in each case. Full story

May 5, 2014

House Democrats Boost David Jolly Challenger

With a recruit now on board, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has named Florida’s 13th District to its Red to Blue program, with an “Emerging Races” designation.

Democrats shocked House race observers as the Florida filing deadline closed May 2, unveiling Col. Ed Jany as the party’s candidate to challenge Republican Rep. David Jolly. Because of a voter registration issue, Jany will appear on the ballot as an independent — but, Jany has the full backing of the DCCC and no other Democrat is running.

“In just a few short days in the race, Colonel Ed Jany’s campaign has already generated enthusiasm among Pinellas County voters, and his strong start and the fundamentals of this district have earned him a spot on the Emerging Races program,” DCCC Chairman Steve Israel said in a statement.

The DCCC uses the Red to Blue program’s Emerging Races designation to highlight “candidates and districts that are making themselves competitive by running smart campaigns which are becoming increasingly competitive,” according to its website. Israel recently named Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., as chairwoman of the Red to Blue program. Full story

April 22, 2014

Self-Funding Republican Wins Primary in Race to Replace Trey Radel

Businessman Curt Clawson won the Republican nomination Tuesday night in the Florida special-election race to replace former Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., and he is now likely to be the district’s next member of Congress.

Clawson won with 38 percent of the vote, with 95 percent of precincts reporting at the time the Associated Press called the race. Finishing behind him were state Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto with 26 percent and state Rep. Paige Kreegel with 25 percent.

He will now face Democrat April Freeman in the June 24 special, where Clawson is heavily favored. Full story

April 21, 2014

Republicans Spend Millions on TV in Primary for Trey Radel Seat

Republicans Spend Millions on TV in Primary for Trey Radel Seat

Radel resigned from Congress earlier this year, prompting a special election for his seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans have spent millions ahead of Tuesday’s special primary to replace former Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla. — and the 19th District television airwaves show it.

Three of Radel’s potential successors boast at least $1 million in airtime behind each of their efforts — both from their own campaigns and outside groups boosting them. It’s a staggering number for an otherwise under-the-radar primary in a special election.

The spending leader is businessman Curt Clawson, who has loaned $2.65 million of his own funds to his campaign, according to his most recent campaign fundraising report. But outside groups have helped two other GOP candidates, state Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto and former state Rep. Paige Kreegel, stay in the game.

Whomever wins the GOP primary on Tuesday is all but certain to carry the seat in the June 24 special election. The race is rated Safe Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Here’s a look at how much campaigns and outside groups have spent on television in the race, according to two GOP media buying sources monitoring the race. Numbers are approximated. Full story

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