Florida’s 2018 midterm election is one of the most important in years. The governor’s office and all three Cabinet seats are on the ballot; Republican Gov. Rick Scott is challenging three-term Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson; several congressional seats will be competitive; and Floridians will vote on several proposed constitutional amendments. The following are items of political interest from the past week.
IN NEW ADS: ALL ABOUT TRUMP
The dueling campaigns of Gov. Rick Scott and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson traded ads this week that dealt with President Donald Trump.
Nelson launched a new television ad that paints Scott, who was urged by the president to run for the U.S. Senate, as someone who will do whatever Trump asks him to do.
“When President Trump asks for something that’s good for him and bad for Florida, I know what I’ll do: I’ll say no,” said Nelson in the spot. “And we know what Rick Scott will do, he’ll say yes.”
The Scott campaign quickly responded with its own television ad that said Florida “needs a senator” who will work with the president.
“As for me, I’ll work with President Trump when he’s doing things that are good for Florida and America,” said Scott. “And when I disagree, I have the courage to say so.”
Scott’s decision to run an ad that mentions Trump comes after he has spent months distancing himself from the president.
In April, Scott skipped a Trump discussion of the tax-cut package in South Florida, heading out of state to raise money for his Senate campaign instead. In late July, Scott traveled on Air Force One with the president when he visited Florida. But the governor skipped Trump’s campaign rally held in Tampa, opting instead to hold a fundraiser in nearby Clearwater.
REMAINING MUM ON AMENDMENTS
Florida voters are being asked next month to sort out 12 separate constitutional amendments dealing with everything from vaping to property taxes and voting rights.
But don’t look for some of the state’s top politicians to help you sort out the ballot and whether to vote yes or no.
Gov. Rick Scott and the two main candidates running for governor have voiced opinions on only a handful of the measures on the ballot.
Both Scott and fellow Republican Ron DeSantis, for example, oppose Amendment 4, while Democrat Andrew Gillum strongly supports the measure. If passed Amendment 4 would allow most former prisoners, except for murderers and those convicted of sex offenses, to have their voting rights restored after they serve their sentences.
DeSantis has expressed concerns about Amendment 3, which would make it clear that only voters can approve new casinos in the future. Both Scott and Gillum have kept silent on the measure.
Scott has said he plans to vote for Amendment 9, a proposal put on the ballot by Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission that deals with both oil drilling and vaping. If passed, it would bar oil drilling in state waters and would make it clear that vaping is not allowed in restaurants and other indoor workplaces.
Neither DeSantis nor Gillum have taken a stance on the measure.
WHO’S COMING TO FLORIDA?
The final campaign push is coming up for the candidates and that includes bringing in outside help.
Democrats announced that former Vice President Joe Biden will headline rallies with both Gillum and Nelson next week just as early voting kicks off in several counties. Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker from New Jersey will be in Jacksonville on Saturday to campaign on behalf of Gillum. And he will also campaign with Nelson at college campuses in Jacksonville and Orlando.
But what about other well-known politicians?
Well, the Gillum campaign last month publicly announced that Hillary Clinton would help campaign with the Tallahassee mayor in South Florida. Yet Politico reported on Friday that Clinton is coming to help out with closed-door fundraisers and is not doing any public events.
President Trump, who boosted DeSantis’s campaign in the GOP primary against Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, so far has not announced any plans to campaign for the former congressman ahead of the Nov. 6 election.
Source: The Associated Press