politics

John Raoux / Associated Press file photo

In a campaign email this week from the Friends of Ron DeSantis political action committee, Gov. DeSantis called for the nation’s leading infectious disease doctor to be fired and investigated.

What is the proposed Stop New Toll Roads Ballot Amendment?

Jul 26, 2021

The Florida Toll Road Expansion Ban Amendment also known as Stop New Toll Roads, will prohibit the construction or expansion of toll roads on conservation and rural lands. Toll roads, the ballot language says, "decrease the quality of life for all Floridians."

According to Chuck O'Neal, the chairman of the Florida Rights of Nature Network, toll roads divide wildlife corridors, destroy natural ecosystems, and, he explains, often place a burden on under resourced families.

News Service of Florida

The Republican Party of Florida hired a law firm that conducted a three-month investigation into sexual-harassment allegations involving party Chairman Joe Gruters but was “unable to substantiate the allegations and no accuser with firsthand knowledge was willing to come forward,” the party said in a statement Tuesday evening.

Ray Troncoso / WJCT News

Jacksonville City Councilman Reggie Gaffney has announced his 2022 candidacy for Florida State Senate.  

Florida House Republican members have released their first joint political ad amid uncertainty about how next year's legislative district maps will look.

The ad features several freshman members elected in swing districts and touts state leaders' stance against pandemic restrictions, including lockdowns, school closures and mask mandates.

BOB SELF / THE FLORIDA TIMES-UNION

Speculation is increasing that Democrat Donna Deegan will enter Jacksonville’s 2023 mayoral race following her formation of a political action committee (PAC) called Donna For Duval.

Priestly Jackson Eyes At-Large Council Seat, While Kimberly Daniels Files For District 10

Jun 15, 2021
BOB SELF / THE FLORIDA TIMES-UNION

After considering a run for mayor, Jacksonville City Council member Brenda Priestly Jackson said Monday she will seek election in 2023 to an at-large council seat, a plan that brought former state lawmaker and self-proclaimed "demon buster" Kimberly Daniels into what has suddenly become a wide-open race for District 10.

TALLAHASSEE --- As challenges to a new Florida elections law stack up, a case filed Monday in federal court alleges that part of the law placing requirements on voter-registration organizations is unconstitutional.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the groups HeadCount and the Harriet Tubman Freedom Fighters Corp., is the fourth challenge to the law, which was passed in April by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed in May by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

In this June 7, 2019 file photo, Nikki Fried, Florida's Democrat commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, speaks at a reception during the Florida Democratic Party state conference, in Orlando.
JOHN RAOUX / ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Orlando Sentinel recently reported that Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Nikki Fried’s fiance’ has a hemp business license through the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Lakesha Burton Wants To Be Jacksonville's First Black Female Sheriff

Jun 10, 2021
Burton
Lakesha Burton campaign

Lakesha Burton, a 22-year veteran of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, is the first candidate to announce a run to replace current Sheriff Mike Williams. If elected, Burton, a Democrat and current assistant chief at the sheriff’s office, would be the first Black woman to lead the office.

TALLAHASSEE --- With the theme “Never Tire,” Orlando Democratic Congresswoman Val Demings on Wednesday formally launched her campaign to try to unseat U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., in 2022.

The announcement was not a surprise: Demings last month said to “stay tuned” amid reports that she would run for Senate.

Former Florida COVID map manager Rebekah Jones announced via Instagram Tuesday she plans to challenge U.S House Representative Matt Gaetz during the 2022 election cycle. Hours later, in a separate Instagram message, Jones appeared to walk back her declaration. This comes a day after her Twitter account was suspended.

Civil rights lawyer Cecile Scoon has been elected to lead the League of Women Voters of Florida. She’s served as the vice president since 2018.

Scoon is the first Black woman elected to lead the league. Chosen in the midst of the global pandemic, Scoon says her goal is to increase communication across the state within the 30 different leagues spanning from Pensacola to Miami.

A voter casts his ballot
David J. Phillip / Associated Press

Florida’s new election law could make it harder for some candidates to get their names on the ballot.

DAYLINA MILLER / WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

An effort to make it easier to vote in Florida is underway following the state’s tightening of its voting rules this year.

Lori Hershey's Facebook page

Duval County Public Schools board member and former board chairwoman Lori Hershey is throwing her hat in the ring for Duval County’s District 16 state House seat, which is up for grabs in 2022.

Kriseman Says He Will Not Run For Congress

Jun 3, 2021

Rick Kriseman said he will not run for a seat on the U.S. House of Representatives when his second term as St. Petersburg mayor ends in January.

Kriseman made the announcement Tuesday in a social media post.

Lots of people post podcasts nowadays. But a political podcast by a young Tallahasseean is starting to attract followers from all over the world.

The young man's name is Dylan Tillman.

"I am 20 years old. I graduated from Tallahassee Community College and I'm going to transfer to a 4-year university, maybe Florida State or UCF. Maybe out-of-state. I'm not sure at this point, but I'm looking to pursue a degree in Political Science."

Political committees have filed three proposed constitutional amendments aimed at expanding voting in Florida, including a measure that would register people to vote when they get driver’s licenses and a measure that would allow people to register and vote at the same time.

The amendments were posted on the state Division of Elections website Friday.

One, by the committee Our Votes Matter, would automatically register eligible people to vote when they get driver’s licenses, unless they opt out of registration.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, touting her campaign as “something new” and saying she will fight the “rigged system” in Tallahassee, formally entered the 2022 race for governor on Tuesday.

Fried, an attorney and former medical-marijuana lobbyist who scored a narrow victory in 2018 to become the only statewide-elected Democrat, criticized Republicans’ two-decade hold on Florida government in a video announcing her gubernatorial campaign.

Governor Ron DeSantis signed the elections bill into law Thursday morning. A lot of the bill has similarities between what was signed earlier this year in Georgia. Stephen Fowler with Georgia Public Radio joined me to speak on the major points of the bill.

Drop Boxes:

Gov. Ron DeSantis is facing blowback from Democrats after he gave Fox's morning news show, Fox & Friends, exclusive access to his signing of a controversial elections bill Thursday morning.

Reporters say they weren't allowed into the signing, and they were told Fox News had an exclusive with DeSantis. Later in the day, during a different press conference in Panama City Beach, DeSantis elaborated on the choice:

Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday signed an elections overhaul that was one of the most-contentious issues of the 2021 legislative session, as opponents immediately filed a lawsuit alleging that the measure is unconstitutional.

Democratic state legislative leaders are speaking out against Gov. Ron DeSantis’s decision to lift local rules requiring mask-wearing and social distancing and a GOP-backed ban on businesses requiring vaccination proof.

After DeSantis declared local coronavirus-related restrictions "void," House Democratic Party caucus members blasted the decision during a call with reporters.

Chris O'Meara / Associated Press

More than a decade after walking away from the governor’s office, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist launched a campaign Tuesday to try to unseat Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2022.

Congressman Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg, is expected to announce Tuesday that he's seeking to recapture his former seat in the governor's mansion.

Crist, who was a Republican until 2012, has scheduled a news conference Tuesday morning in his hometown of St. Petersburg.

if Crist runs, some things will work in his favor -- and others won't, said Zac Anderson, political editor of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

The Republican-controlled Florida Legislature last week passed a bill that elections supervisors say will make it harder to vote.

SB90 passed the Florida Senate with a vote of 23-17 and the House, 77-40. Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to sign it.

The president of the Florida Supervisors of Elections, Craig Latimer, in a statement called the bill "an unnecessary call for election reform."

Florida Republican Lawmakers Pass Elections Overhaul

Apr 30, 2021

With time running out before the end of this year’s legislative session, Florida lawmakers signed off Thursday night on a controversial elections bill that would make it harder for voters to cast ballots by mail.

Florida boasted a largely issue-free election last year. Democratic State Rep. Tracie Davis, D-Jacksonville, asks why fix what’s not broken?

“This bill, this amendment is a slap in the supervisors of elections faces, after an election that you say, we say, was one of the best we’ve had," Davis, a former deputy supervisor of elections for Duval County, said.

Florida will gain an additional member of Congress in the U.S. House of Representatives (pictured).
Bill Clark / Pool file photo via Associated Press

Florida will become an even more powerful player in national politics, based on the latest census reapportionment numbers.

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