2022 Midterm Election
Charlie Crist Rips DeSantis During Voting Rights Tour Stop in Orlando
ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – US Congressman and Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist’s statewide Voting Rights Tour stopped in east Orlando to discuss Florida GOP’s road blocks on democracy.
“Doesn’t seem like the governor’s an expert on elections,” Congressman Crist quipped as he opened the conversation on voting rights with the roundtable guests. “And that’s really a concern.”
“Democracy’s a precious thing,” he continued. “It’s only because of our form of government that we have the opportunity to choose our leaders at the ballot box, but only if the ballot box is respected, and you’re respected.
“…We have a governor and legislature…that feel like they want to make it more difficult for folks to mail in their ballots, or even get their mail-in ballot…putting in road block after road block to make it that much more difficult to exercise…a precious right, the right to vote. It really is the foundation of everything we want to do and accomplish in our state, our communities, to lift all people, and this just makes it harder to do that and they know it, and that’s why they’re doing it.”
He also pointed out, “…you’re used to hearing efforts like this in other countries that are unlike America, and it’s happening right here in Florida…”
The event was hosted by Alianza for Progress, a Puerto Rican and Hispanic advocacy group with statewide support. Florida State Representative Travaris L. McCurdy (D-Orlando) introduced Congressman Crist and criminal defense attorney Ryan Yadav moderated the conversation.
Other roundtable speakers included Jasmine Burney-Clark, founder and consulting director for Equal Ground Action Fund and Education Fund, Equal Ground’s Faith Outreach State Director Pastor Marcus McCoy, Jr., Allison Lee, Equal Ground’s Orange County Coordinator, and two concerned voters: paralegal Kiana Vazquez, speaking from the Hispanic perspective (as a Puerto Rican), and a senior voter, Valerie Baker, a pastor and retired nurse who is also a military veteran.
Both Kiana and Valerie thanked Crist for the executive order extending voting hours he signed as then Republican governor of Florida.
Crist spent much of the conversation answering questions about the For the People Voting Rights bill and discussing ways to take action on statewide voting policy should Crist win.
State Rep. McCurdy shared his frustrations with the majority-Republican legislature’s it-is-what-it-is approach. He noted that several important bills were drafted in criminal justice reform and other areas, but “we can’t get anything done, we can’t get anything heard, we can’t bring any money home, we can’t get any projects funded because they control everything.” He added, “They told us blatantly on the floor; their response was three words–because they can. And that’s dangerous…”
In response, Congressman Crist described a scenario in which he wins the 2022 election and would advocate for McCurdy, threatening the use of a veto pen in the worst case scenario that a Republican state representative has a bill equally important to him or herself, but wouldn’t hear McCurdy’s.
Monday’s Orlando stop was Crist’s second stop on his Voting Rights Tour. Earlier in the day, his first stop was in Tampa. Today’s tour leg includes a stop in Gainesville at 10am EST and a 2pm stop in Tallahassee.
Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org
2022 Midterm Election
Voters Question Unemployed Rita Harris’s $10,000 Campaign Loan
ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – Jennifer “Rita” Harris nabbed the victory in Tuesday’s primary, defeating incumbent State Rep. Daisy Morales by eight percentage points (just over 1,000 votes).
Despite that, heated conversations have continued on social media even in the aftermath of the election, and some concerned voters pointed out Rita Harris’s $10,000 campaign loan in the final two weeks of the election. According to Harris’s campaign financial reports with the Florida Division of Elections, she (under the misspelled Jennifer Harris with the typo “Jennider”) loaned her campaign $10,000 on August 12, 2022, despite having what the Orlando Sentinel reported as a $78,000 IRS tax debt.
Some comments also rehashed the contribution by Harris’s adult daughter, who is listed as unemployed on the report and as a dependent in Harris’s tax forms (included in Harris’s financial disclosure), but donated $1,000 to Harris’s campaign.
As an aside, other campaign donations include her husband’s $1,000 donation as well as $1,000 from Valeo Cloud Consulting, a company for which her husband is a partner.
More concerningly, Harris has loaned her campaign money several times, but for whatever reason alternated between listing herself as Rita Harris and Jennifer Harris and bounced between using her campaign PO Box and her personal address for each. She didn’t assign the PO Box address for one name and the home for the other, she mixed the addresses between both names. Additionally, while most of the donations have her listed as “Not Employed” or “Candidate,” there’s one $50 loan on April 5, 2022, in she’s described as “Writer.” This is a contrast to her touting herself as a housewife and, as she explained to the Orlando Sentinel in a recent article, doesn’t receive a paycheck from her husband’s company, Harris Cloud Consulting, for which she named herself as CEO on her LinkedIn profile.
Campaign’s Quiet Corrections
Florida National News reached out to the Rita Harris campaign via email at 4:04pm Thursday for clarification, but received no response. (The screenshot above were taken earlier in the day.) Interestingly enough, after revisiting the Florida Division of Elections site to review Harris’s reports again at 6:30pm, Florida National News discovered that the names were corrected to Jennifer Rita Harris (except the June 15, 2022 donation for $275 which is listed as Jennifer Harris), the occupation for all five donations are now listed as “Candidate” and all of the donations have been corrected to reflect that they’re loans instead of just checks.
This still begs the question: Where did Harris get the $10,000 from? All eyes and negative comments flew at State Rep. Morales after she announced her $50,000 campaign loan. Scrutiny is no respecter of persons–at least it shouldn’t be, and has been over the course of the HD 44 race.
2022 Midterm Election
Orlando Sentinel Endorses Angel Perry for Florida House District 36
SANFORD, Fla. – The Angel Perry campaign announced today that the Orlando Sentinel has endorsed the Republican candidate in her bid for Florida House District 36.
Perry’s campaign priorities include following and protecting the Constitution, including keeping the Second Amendment intact; protecting and paying our first responders well, creating more programs for our veterans so that they can live out their days in success and prosperity, creating more opportunities for small businesses to thrive, and transparency and accountability for all elected officials.
Perry has a chance to make history with a November win–it would make her the first African American Republican woman from Central Florida to be elected to the Florida House. She has two Republican opponents in the August 23rd Republican primary for House District 36: Richard Santos and Rachel Plakon.
The Orlando Sentinel lavished cautious praise in their endorsement of Perry.
“Angelique “Angel” Perry has her eyes on the prize. Her positions are every bit as conservatively dogmatic as Plakon and Santos. And her calm demeanor and focus could make her a formidable presence in Tallahassee, where she’d bring a welcome fresh perspective on the challenges facing Florida in the coming two years. That’s not to say we agree with her, because there are few areas where we do… If voters want solid Republican ideology, free of baggage and uncertainty, she’s the best choice.”
“For too long the government has done nothing but in-fighting while the work of the people is not getting done,” Angel Perry said in her press statement. “I don’t have to reach across the aisle–my record shows I can work with all viewpoints without compromising my beliefs.
“We the people mean everyone together. There is no way forward without that. A left-leaning newspaper’s endorsement of a right wing conservative is proof in the pudding and I am very grateful for the Orlando Sentinel’s endorsement.”
For more information, visit angel4florida.com.
2022 Midterm Election
State Representative Daisy Morales Pumps $50K into HD 44 Campaign
ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – State Representative Daisy Morales’s re-election campaign announced today she has added $50,000 to her campaign coffers in addition to incoming donations.
The campaign plans to make media ad buys over its final few weeks leading up to the August 23rd primary.
According to the most recent campaign finance reports on the Florida Division of Elections website, Rep. Morales’s campaign now sits at approximately $62,000 cash on hand after expenses while her primary opponent Jennifer “Rita” Harris has approximately $11,800 in campaign funding after expenses.
“I wanted to have a war chest available to me,” Rep. Morales said in the campaign press release. “I have an eight-year track record of winning elections in Orange County, having won four of them and defeating nine opponents who had more endorsements and greater funding than I did. I have name recognition countywide thanks to the strong relationships I’ve built in the community, and a track record of working across the aisle in Tallahassee to get key legislation signed into law.”
Rep. Morales touched on some of her campaign priorities in the press release, and continued to beat the drum about her track record.
“Inflation, our current affordable housing crisis, healthcare and public safety are still the most pressing issues on voters’ minds. I’ve already sponsored and co-sponsored dozens of key bills addressing these challenges that will benefit Floridians and have been signed into law by the governor.”
One such legislation is House Bill 13, the taxation bill Rep. Morales sponsored with Rep. Mike Gottlieb, which was moved into the bigger Taxation Bill, CS/HB 1707, which she co-sponsored. This taxation bill provides the largest tax cut in Florida’s history. It increases the property tax exemption for residents who are widows, widowers, blind persons, or disabled persons from $500 to $5,000, reduces sales taxes and expands several tax holidays. The governor signed the bill into law in May.
In a recent interview with FNN News, Rep. Morales expressed another major reason for the extra campaign funding boost. She wants to continue her work in Tallahassee in order to draft her Active Shooter Alert bill again, especially after another deadly shooting–this one taking place in downtown Orlando Sunday, injuring seven people.
The Active Shooter Alert would function similar to the Amber, Silver and Purple alerts that come through on cell phones, alerting Florida residents of an active shooter that is on the move, which would allow for people to find safety before the shooter can cross state lines into Florida or get close enough in a city or township to cause massive damage. “Gun violence is a huge problem, and the Active Shooter Alert is at least one solution that can save lives.”
Morales highlighted the urgent importance of the Active Shooter Alert shortly after the mass shooting in Atlanta, killing Asian massage parlor employees. The shooter, who is in custody, had originally planned to travel to Florida after his carnage in Atlanta had he not been apprehended. She sounded off on it again after the disgruntled shooter in New York City was apprehended.
Morales’s list of campaign priorities is long, but she said she’s ready to take them on.
“Real change takes time,” she said, “And I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues in Tallahassee to make even more tangible improvements to Floridians’ quality of life.”
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