The Sun-Sentinel editorial board endorsed Sen. Bill Nelson (D), calling him a “workhorse, not a showhorse.” It described his “solid, dependable support for the causes most vital to the people of this state: Protecting the air and water from pollution and near-shore oil drilling. Expanding health care and ensuring coverage for pre-existing conditions. Working often with his Republican colleague, Sen. Marco Rubio, for Florida’s common good.” (Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel)
DONATIONS. Nelson’s campaign intends to donate the money it received from former Sen. Al Franken’s (D) super PAC to charity.
“After Franken was accused of sexual misconduct in November of last year, a wave of Senate Democrats vowed to donate to charity the money they had received from Franken's PAC. Multiple Florida news outlets in November and December cited a Nelson campaign spokesman saying the campaign would donate money it had received from Midwest Values PAC, Franken's organization, although those statements didn't specify the exact amount of the contributions the campaign intended to donate.”
“Records from the Federal Election Commission show that Nelson's campaign received a total of $20,000 -- $10,000 in the 2012 election cycle and $10,000 in the 2018 cycle. Just a few days after the initial allegations against Franken emerged, Nelson's campaign donated $10,000 to "5,000 Role Models of Excellence Project," a program that helps "at-risk boys" in Miami-Dade County through mentoring. However, the campaign did not donate the other $10,000 from the 2012 cycle as of Saturday morning.”
Nelson has since announced that the campaign will donate funds from the PAC from both the 2018 and 2012 cycles. (CNN)
ENDORSEMENT. Service Employees International Union Florida announced its endorsement of Nelson on Friday. (Orlando Sentinel)
HOMEOWNERS. While Gov. Rick Scott (R) has campaigned on the strength of the state’s economy, the rate of homeownership has fallen in Florida.
“According to the latest figures, 64.1 percent of Florida households owned homes in 2017, slightly above the current national average but down from the state’s 66.3 percent average of the past 34 years. ...Before the housing collapse, the record high was 2007, when 72.4 percent of Florida households were homeowners.” (Sarasota Herald-Tribune)
STRAINED. The relationship between Scott and Nelson has been tense for years.
Nelson, when asked about his professional relationship with Scott: "It’s been strained. It started off strained when he refused to take $2.4 billion for high-speed rail [in 2011], and we would have been the showcase for the nation. ... That would have been built within a few years long ago, and now he’s saying he wants high–speed rail, but it’s not high-speed rail. High-speed rail is what was proposed down the middle of I-4, 80 miles an hour.”
“At the time, Scott called the project ‘a boondoggle,’ ‘irresponsible’ and ‘a risk.’” (Daytona Beach News-Journal)
RED TIDE. “In a letter Thursday to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Scott urged creation of a Florida Center for Red Tide Research and reestablishment of the Florida Harmful Algal Bloom Task Force. He also called for seeking a funding increase next year from the Legislature for research, as the current outbreak has persisted for 10 months and is believed to have caused the deaths of thousands of fish, manatees, sea turtles and dolphins.”
Environmental advocates believe the action is more of a political stunt than real action.
Executive director of Florida Conservation Voters Aliki Moncrief: “I feel like we’re getting to the point where the red tide is getting worse, now it’s all the way up to Pinellas, Tampa Bay and the Panhandle, it’s reaching epic proportions. To me, he’s doing it [taking the steps] for his own self-serving reasons, which is trying to fool, to trick Florida voters that he’s going to do something as a U.S. senator.” (Orlando Sentinel)
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"Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is scrutinizing how a collection of activists and pundits intersected with WikiLeaks, the website that U.S. officials say was the primary conduit for publishing materials stolen by Russia, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Mueller’s team has recently questioned witnesses about the activities of longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone, including his contacts with WikiLeaks, and has obtained telephone records, according to the people familiar with the matter."
"Special Counsel Robert Mueller is expected to issue findings on core aspects of his Russia probe soon after the November midterm elections ... Specifically, Mueller is close to rendering judgment on two of the most explosive aspects of his inquiry: whether there were clear incidents of collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, and whether the president took any actions that constitute obstruction of justice." Mueller has faced pressure to wrap up the investigation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, said an official, who would receive the results of the investigation and have "some discretion in deciding what is relayed to Congress and what is publicly released," if he remains at his post.