A billboard supporting Georgia Hiller, a candidate for District 2 Collier County commissioner, has been vandalized twice in the past week.
The sign, located on the corner of Airport-Pulling Road and Orange Blossom Drive, was changed to read “Georgia Hitler.”
“To be able to send such a hateful message with three strokes of a pen takes a great deal of contemplation,” Hiller told the Naples Daily News.
The sign has since been cleaned, but other candidates are worried that this might be a reflection of the community.
“If Naples residents are capable of doing this, then we all might be worse off than I thought,” said District 4 candidate Lavigne Ann Kirkpatrick. “Naples needs effective and empowering leadership guide us back into a welcoming community.”
After a series of interviews in March and April, the Greater Naples Better Government Council has chosen to support incumbent Fred Coyle over Lavigne Ann Kirkpatrick in the election for District 4 Collier County Commissioner.
The President of the GNBGC, Dave Trecker, made the announcement in a letter to the editor of the Naples Daily Newspaper on April 16.
Coyle’s experience was a deciding factor in the council’s endorsement, Trecker said.
According to the first quarterly campaign finance report of the fiscal year, incumbent Fred Coyle has raised more money than challenger Lavigne Ann Kirkpatrick.
From January 1st to March 1st, Coyle has received about $9,500 but has only spent about $2,200. In that same time, Kirkpatrick has only raised about $2,600 and had already spent about $2,000 by the end of that same quarter.
Both candidates have spent a majority of their money on advertising and the maintenance of their Web sites.
A possible reason for the difference is because Coyle had more than 60 contributors, while Kirkpatrick had less than 20.
“It isn’t how many people contribute to my campaign, it’s the kind of people who donate their time, efforts and money—that’s what is important,” Kirkpatrick said.
To date, Coyle and Kirkpatrick have raised about $61,000 and $18,000 respectively.
The recent senate bill 6, which grades teacher salary based on student performance, has dominated the legislature for the past three and a half months, and drawn ire from both parties. The Democratic party, with its historic defense of teachers union, has been particularly vocal in its opposition, and this trend has extended to the party candidates for attorney general, Dave Aronberg and Dan Gelber. Luckily, the controversy has granted a boon to the attorney general’s race: Aronberg and Gelber have made public statements in legislative session opposing the bill with articulated arguments that show their legislative and legal reasoning for opposing the bill. Even better, both Aronberg and Gelber’s speeches are on Youtube. Click on the links and decide for yourselves.
Author’s Note: While I sometimes wish it weren’t the case, I feel the need to preface posts like the one below with a couple quick reminders. For as long as there have been elections, there have been campaign contributions, and as it stands now, they are an accepted part of the American political system. There is nothing inherently corrupt about them; there is nothing inherently wrong with the idea that financially supporting a candidate who shares your interest is somehow wrong. In some cases, journalists and politicians put the cart before the horse when discussing campaign contributions, attributing votes to contributions, rather than contributions to votes. That said, the relationship between campaign contributions and the eventual positions that politicians take is important.
My previous post on Senate Bill 6 noted that Sen. Ronda Storms (R-Tampa) voted for it, along with the majority of Senate Republicans. Her primary opponent, Paul Phillips, was opposed. The bill, which would have adversely affected teachers unions and was accused of being a danger to public education as a whole, would have been a boon for private education and proponents of charter schools-interests that, as it turns out, have contributed a large portion of Storms’ re-election warchest.
Of the roughly $25,000 that Storms raised in the first quarter of 2010, around 20 percent was contributed by private education interests, like DeVry University and ATI, as well as K12 Management Inc., a company that runs charter schools in several states, and a personal contribution from Randy Proto, CEO of ATI. A full report on these numbers can be seen here. (It is difficult to contrast Phillips’ fundraising numbers to Storms’, given that he has only raised only $1,380 thus far.)
Placing these fundraising numbers in context lends a bit more credibility to the theory that these contributions were geared towards SB-6. In the last quarter of 2009, Storms raised around twice as much money-nearly $50,000. However, not a single dime of it came from education trade groups and the like-see this campaign finance report. The quarter before that was Storms’ biggest fundraising quarter ever-around $69.000, but only $1,500, or around two percent, was flagged as coming from education groups or companies.
Senate Bill 6, passed by the state legislature and vetoed less than a week ago by Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, was the source of heated controversy even among Republicans. Republican leaders in the legislature fought for it, but it was vetoed by Crist and was attacked by several prominent Republicans, including state senator and gubernatorial hopeful Paul Dockery (see her op-ed) before it was even voted on. As it has elsewhere, SB-6 has become a bone of contention in district ten’s GOP primary.
Incumbent Sen. Ronda Storms, a member of the Senate K-12 education committee, voted for the bill, standing alongside the Republican leadership in both chambers. Storm’s official member’s page on the Florida Senate’s website does not list a press release discussing her vote (her campaign site is under construction).
Storms’ primary challenger, Paul Phillips, is much more lukewarm to the idea. From his campaign facebook page:
“Dockery gets it right, in my opinion. Loss of local control and other relevant issues make SB6 and its counterpart a less than favorable option.”
It remains to be seen how prominent a role education issues will play in the primary, but at the very least, this is a clear distinction between the two candidates, in a race that has been light on specific points of disagreement.
When it comes to money in the District 66 state house race, Ben Albritton is the man to beat. According to the most recent fundraising quarter, which ended in March, he has raised $184,000 for his campaign to date. Over $15,000 of that money was raised in the first quarter of the year, which is over $10,000 more than any of the other candidates raised.
Albritton has been considered the agriculture candidate by some, and he has the green thumb and green dollar bills to prove it. Most of his overall contributions came from people in the agriculture and citrus industries, who have donated over $48,000 and over $54,000, respectively.
Despite concern that he will not be a good representative of Polk County voters because he lives in Hardee County, he received a lot of contributions from people living in Polk County cities. People from Lake Wales donated over $12,000, while those from Winter Haven gave over $11,000 and people from Lakeland contributed over $9,000 to the campaign.
“When you look at the fundraising, go and look at the people who are from Polk County. I don’t think it’s as much of an issue as they’d like it to be,” said Twyla G. Ely, Albritton’s political consultant, about the concern that Albritton will not be a good representative of Polk County residents
Albritton not only found support from the agriculture industry and Polk County voters, but from his family as well, who donated over $2,000 in personal and business donations. Benny Albritton, for example, donated $500 individually and $500 through his company, Benny Albritton Grove Services, Inc.
Following in lockstep with current Florida Attorney General Bill McCulloum’s legal battle to overturn President Obama’s recent legislative overhaul, AG candidate Pam Bondi has given her support to the state’s suit against the bill.
Labeling it as unconstitutional and based too loosely on the Commerce Clause, the former Tampa prosecutor believes that the health care legislation “infringes on the rights of our state sovereignty. “
In an op-ed piece submitted to “The Shark Tank,” Bondi lays out her reasons for opposing the bill.
This bill forces Americans to purchase health insurance against their will. It ignores decades of legal precedent and provides public funding for abortions. It initiates the first steps to a government takeover of our health care system. Finally, it imposes financial burdens so heavy and large that it is difficult to even imagine.
All signs indicate that if elected in November, Bondi will continue to carry on the state’s lawsuit, should it still be in play.
The rest of Bondi’s op-ed piece can be read here
Yet another Republican has thrown his hat into the ring to challenge freshman incumbent Debbie Mayfield (R-Vero Beach). Bradley Ward announced last week that he would be joining a race that already includes Mayfield and Art Argenio, two other Republicans, in what is shaping up to be a fight to carry the conservative torch for the next two years.
With every action and statement during his term as county commissioner, Javier Souto has asserted his role as a public servant of District 10.
“A public servant is defined by his accessibility, proven integrity, ethics, fiscal conservativeness and support for working families,” he said on his District 10 Web site.
Souto has been County Commissioner since 1993 and ran without opposition in 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006.
As commissioner, he serves as the Chairman for the Recreation, Culture and Tourism committee, which oversees tourism-related activities in the county. He is also a member of the Health, Public Safety and Intergovernmental, and the Housing and Community Development committees.
He has made several contributions as commissioner like securing $4 million to build an equestrian center at Tropical Park, authoring the Shannon Melendi Act to protect children from predators, obtaining playgrounds for toddlers at Banyan Elementary School and closing down every lingerie modeling studio and massage parlor in District 10, according to his official Web site.