CAMPAIGN TRAILER Notes from campaigns and elections in the news, October 18, 2012


The Public Education Defense Fund, a group affiliated with the Florida Education Association, received $750,000 from national teachers’ union organizations between Sept. 29 and Oct. 12, newly filed records show. The fund has received a total of $2.25 million this year, with much of the money going to fight two proposed constitutional amendments on the November ballot. The fund this month sent $250,000 to a group opposing Amendment 3, which would place new limits on state tax revenue. Earlier, it provided $1 million to a campaign to defeat Amendment 8, which would repeal part of the state constitution that bans public aid to faith-based organizations — a change the FEA fears could help lead to taxpayer-funded vouchers to send children to religious schools.

A major trial lawyers political committee collected $146,737 between Sept. 29 and Oct. 12, bringing its overall total this year to nearly $1.26 million, according to newly filed campaign-finance reports. Florida Justice PAC, which is affiliated with the Florida Justice Association, received $25,000 during the most-recent period from the South Florida firm of Steinger, Iscoe & Greene and received another $20,500 from the Jacksonville firm of Terrell Hogan.

A political committee headed by Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff collected $88,000 between Sept. 29 and Oct. 12, as the Fort Lauderdale Republican is locked in a tough election fight, newly filed records show. Bogdanoff is chairwoman of the committee, known as “Creating Possibilities,” according to information on the state Division of Elections website. It has raised $262,500 this year, with contributions during the most-recent period including $25,000 from The Geo Group, Inc., which backs privatizing state prisons and other facilities. Bogdanoff is running this fall against fellow Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Boca Raton, in District 34. Updated fund-raising totals for the personal campaign accounts of Bogdanoff and Sachs had not been posted on the state Division of Elections website Thursday afternoon.
State Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, raised $44,475 in campaign money between Sept. 29 and Oct. 12, including an infusion of $30,000 from the state Republican Party, newly filed records show. Fresen, who also received contributions from companies and groups ranging from Koch Industries to the Florida Manufactured Housing Association, reported an overall total of $224,550. Fresen’s opponent in House District 114, Coral Gables Democrat Ross Hancock, raised $1,990 during the two-week period, giving him an overall total of $7,635.

Former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist was talking up President Obama on Thursday, serving as a surrogate for the Democratic president by praising the White House’s stimulus, which Crist said got Florida through the recession. “Because of what the president and his team had come up with, we were going to be able to retain our teachers, our firefighters, law enforcement officers – I mean, it really was going to keep Florida moving in a direction where we wouldn’t fall through the cracks,” Crist said on a conference call with reporters Thursday. Gov. Rick Scott, Florida’s current Republican governor, meanwhile talked about the need for some help from the White House. “We’ve reduced regulation.  We’ve streamlined permitting processes.  We’re focused on the two areas our families know is important to them, education and jobs,” Scott said. “And so we need a federal partner who’s going to do the same thing we’re doing to make sure the American economy does better than any other economy around the world.”

The president’s re-election campaign said late Thursday that First Lady Michelle Obama will campaign for the president Monday in Broward County. Democrats typically win Broward County easily, but turnout in Florida is expected to be crucial with polls showing the race very close here. The First Lady’s lunchtime appearance Monday is at Broward College in Davie.

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