With six years in office under his belt, Republican incumbent Dean Cannon of House District 35 may face his toughest campaign yet. Despite being voted speaker-elect if he wins, his opponent, Democrat Amy Mercado has made the District 35 race one of Florida’s elections to watch this year. Scott Maxwell, a political columnist for the Orlando Sentinel, wrote this of the political novice: “For the first time, the Republican power broker from Winter Park has a serious, credible challenger — one whom [an Orlando consultant] describes as ‘the best candidate I’ve ever worked with.’”
Originally from New York, Mercado has lived in District 35 for about 13 years. She made a name for herself during Pres. Obama’s campaign while she was involved with Orlando 4 Obama. Mercado said the biggest issues she wants to tackle first are education, health care and government spending, although she did not provide any specific strategies she plans to use.
Many people may see Mercado’s lack of political experience as a disadvantage in this race, but Melissa Lopez, the campaign manager, said their campaign doesn’t it view it that way.
“She’s not a politician,” Lopez said. “That’s what we bring to the table.”
After the Florida Senate passed the highly dispute Senate Bill 6 (but before Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed it), Amy Mercado, the Democrat opponent facing Speaker-elect Dean Cannon for House 35, released this reaction video. According to a blog written by Jerry Waxman, a candidate for the Orange County School Board, Mercado joined protesters outside Rep. Cannon’s office on March 30. She was calling voters to tell their House representatives and Gov. Charlie that they oppose the bill affecting teachers’ performances and paychecks.
A few weeks ago, the Dean Cannon camp, the incumbent for House District 35, posted the following video on Youtube and his website and it definitely helps give the campaign a younger look. It showcases different volunteers canvassing the neighborhoods and working at the headquarters. All the volunteers showcased in the video are young adults and current or recent college students, and it’s definitely targeting a specific audience…
After facing opposition from his own state on the controversial topic of lifting the ban on offshore oil drilling, Rep. Dean Cannon has received some surprising back-up. On March 31, Pres. Obama announced an expansion of offshore oil and gas exploration because “it was the right call given the nation’s voracious thirst for energy and the need to produce jobs and keep American businesses competitive.” This new policy lifts a 20-year-old ban on drilling along coasts other than the Gulf of Mexico. According to a USA Today article, Obama said he would “limit any oil and gas drilling off the coast of Florida to no closer than 125 miles from the shore.”
In a Palm Beach Post video interview, Cannon commented on Obama’s new plan and shared how “encouraged” the big announcement made him feel about Florida’s drilling. He also said that he hoped it would help those opposing his bill to reconsider their position on it.
After a failed attempt at lifting the ban on offshore oil drilling last legislative session, Rep. Dean Cannon-R of District 35 said that a similar bill will face the house in two weeks. According to the Tampa Bay blog, Cannon expects the House bill to say that it would prevent “any visual impact to our beaches,” not disrupt military activity and search for improvments in technology.
Cannon’s opponent Amy Mercado said she opposes pursing offshore drilling for fear of what it would doto Florida’s enviornment and tourism industry. She said she felt the money and time they would spend on exploring and drilling for oil would be better used researching alternative energy sources.
According to an Associated Press article, Amy Mercado, running for the House seat in District 35, filed an elections complaint against incumbent Dean Cannon last Wednesday.
Mercado is claiming that the $655,000 transfer Cannon issued from the RPOF into the Florida Liberty Fund last month was illegal. (After issues with frivolous spending from the party’s chairman, Cannon withdrew money from their account and moved it to a political committee he created.) In the complaint, Mercado says the Florida Liberty Fund should be considered a leader ship fund, and she names Cannon, the RPOF former Chairman Jim Greer and party Treasurer Joel Pate. It goes on to state that they violated the law “by maintaining (a) leadership fund comprised of any moneys contributed to the RPOF which are designated to be used at the partial or total discretion of Speaker-designate Cannon.”
In Florida Electors and Elections Code Section 106.295, a leadership fund is defined as “accounts comprised of any moneys contributed to a political party, directly or indirectly, which are designated to be used at the partial or total discretion of a leader.” A leader is a defined as” any person designated by a political caucus of members of either house to succeed to any such position,” such as the speaker of the house. In Florida, these funds are prohibited, and no leader can accept any leadership funds.
According to the articles, “Mercado cites a statement Cannon spokesman Andy Palmer told the Times/Herald that ‘moving this money to the CCE was part of his plan for securing success in the 2010 election.’”
– Christina McGinley
Rep. Dean Cannon of House District 35 has always put a big focus on education, according to his campaign, and he reaffirmed that it would remain an important issue for him if re-elected in an Orlando university speech last week.
Cannon spoke to a group of about 50 at the University of Central Florida on Friday, and he covered issues facing universities, early voting on college campuses, health care for students and opportunities for non-U.S. citizens to receive college educations.
Cannon has represented UCF’s district since 2004 and will be speaker of the house if he wins the election. According to the article and the campaign, Cannon has been involved with the university throughout the years. Christopher Hudson, central Florida field director for House campaigns, said Cannon was involved with getting UCF’s new medical school approved.
“I think if you ask any of the elected officials of central Florida, the medical school is really the future of Central Florida,” Hudson said.
Below is a clip from Cannon’s speech on Friday.
– Christina McGinley
Dean Cannon, the District 35 incumbent and House speaker-designate, recently withdrew $655,000 from the Republican Party of Florida bank account after hearing about the extensive spending sprees of the party’s former chairman and executive director, Jim Greer and Delmar Johnson.
Last month, both officials were forced to resign after records revealed a secret fundraising deal and frivolous tabs charged to the RPOF account.
According to an Orlando Sentinel article on Monday, Cannon helped raise that money for the party, and he transferred it to a separate political committee, the Florida Liberty Fund, as he was becoming suspicious at the end of last year. A political strategist for Cannon said in the article that Cannon moved the funds, which are supposed to help with statewide Republican campaigns, because he “no longer had faith that the party would spend it as it was intended.”
When a party’s own members can’t trust how it’s run, that can translate to voters not trusting its candidates.
Will this experienced Republican’s fiscal instincts be enough to convince his Democrat majority district that a vote for the other side can be trusted? Or will his party’s constantly scrutinized reputation put the voters’ faith in his opponent Amy Mercado?
- Christina McGinley