ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – Karla Hernández, Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Florida, held a press conference outside of Orlando City Hall to announce the campaign’s Latinas For Choice tour Wednesday morning.
Hernández was joined by five progressive activists, including Orange County School Board Member Johnna Lopez, State Representative Anna Eskamani and former State Representative District 48 candidate Samuel Vilchez Santiago.
The following Orange County Hispanic women elected leaders did not attend Hernandez’s Latinas for Choice announcement:
- Florida State Representative Daisy Morales
- Orange County District 3 Commissioner Mayra Uribe
- Orange County District 4 Commissioner Maribel Gomez Cordero
- Orange County District 5 Commissioner Emily Bonilla
- Orange County Property Appraiser Amy Mercado
- Orange County Soil & Water Conservation District Supervisor Raquel Lozano
While the campaign tour is just launched and in its infancy, the press conference showcased a humble beginning in terms of support for a major support. It appeared that no Spanish-speaking news outlets were present to cover the announcement. Local media outlets WESH 2, WFTV Channel 9 and Florida National News were the outlets present.
Two of the six individuals at the podium being men, and one being a young student. The total number of Latinas, then, was three–if the young lady is included in the count.
However, there may be a reason for that.
New Poll Shows a Different Priority Among Latino Voters
The Palm Beach Post reported findings from a recent poll which showed that 70% of Florida Hispanics oppose making abortion illegal, but it’s not their biggest issue. According to the Post, a large majority of Florida Hispanic voters believe it’s wrong to make abortion illegal, even if it goes against their personal beliefs. Here’s the breakdown of what Hispanic voters in the poll feel are “the most important issues that elected officials should address”:
- Inflation/rising cost of living (53%)
- Crime/gun violence (38%)
- Jobs/economy (36%)
- Healthcare (21%)
- Climate/environment (16%)
Abortion, at 15%, tied with a lack of affordable housing/high rents and Social Security and Medicare.
When asked about this during the press conference, Hernandez assured that Charlie Crist, assuming he’s elected governor in November, would prioritize legislation addressing the top three priorities listed in the poll. Watch the livestream of the full press conference above.
PHOTOS: The Complete 25th Don Quijote Awards Winners List
ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – The Don Quijote Awards, presented by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando and Prospera, is Central Florida’s premier business awards gala with good reason.
The black-tie gala, which celebrates the Hispanic business community by recognizing small business owners as well as business and community leaders who help propel the Hispanic business community forward, filled Epcot’s Showplace Pavilion with well over 1,000 formally dressed attendees for its 25th anniversary Saturday.
The prestigious ceremony recognizes companies and individuals in six categories:
- Hispanic Business of the Year, 5 Years or Less
- Hispanic Business of the Year, Over 5 years
- Professional of the Year
- Excellence Award
- Hispanic Community Champion (this award is given to a non-Hispanic who avidly works to support and strengthen the Hispanic community)
- Lifetime Achievement Award
The 2022 Don Quijote Award Winners
Hispanic Business of the Year, 5 Years or Less: Guacamole Mexican Grill
Hispanic Business of the Year, Over 5 years: SkyBuilders USA
Professional of the Year: Luis Nieves-Ruiz, Economic Development Director, East Central Florida Regional Planning Council
Excellence Award: Former State Representative Bob Cortes,
Senior Government Affairs Administrator, Seminole County Sheriff’s Office
Hispanic Community Champion: Dr. James Michael Burkett, President, Florida Technical College
Lifetime Achievement Award: Modesto Alcala,
Senior VP of Global Restaurant Development and Placemaking for Universal Creative at Universal Parks & Resorts
Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | email@example.com
VIDEO: Morales Campaign Drops Rita Harris’s F-Bomb-Laced Tirade Targeting Bernie Sanders and Progressive Supporters
ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – The Daisy Morales campaign released a video over the weekend of opponent Jennifer “Rita” Harris‘s profanity-laced tirade against U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and his progressive supporters on Harris’s Medium blog account.
Harris has deleted the account.
The Morales campaign brought the receipts in this press release, with screenshots from Harris’s Medium blog account and various Facebook posts.
Morales’s campaign pointed out the irony of Harris’s attack on Sen. Bernie Sanders and his supporters and her current backing by the progressive arm of the Democratic Party, United for Progress, Ruth’s List Florida, and other progressive groups.
The Morales campaign slammed Harris in the press release saying “she cannot be trusted, is unfit to serve in public office, and isn’t safe around children younger than 13 years old when it comes to vulgar language, dubbing herself a “part time a**hole” on her Medium blog account (which, by the way, has now been taken down).”
Harris’s Medium post, “Be Gone Bernie Sanders, and Take Your Little Bots Too,” attacks Bernie Sanders and his progressive supporters with a slew of profanities. The campaign warns that viewers will need earbuds to view the video, which is an almost seven-minute voice-to-text read-along of the blog post.
The Morales campaign continued its attack, followed by several screenshots of Harris’s Facebook posts containing F-bombs: “Tallahassee lawmakers are expected to represent the people of our districts and the state of Florida with dignity and respect. Not everything has to be a vulgar attack. Anger must be controlled. And Harris seems to have a lot of it—minus the control.
“Her social media posts are riddled with F-bombs, whether they are friendly or contentious.”
The Morales campaign ended the video drop by saying, “This is the real Jennifer “Rita” Harris.”
The Morales Campaign Triples Down on Harris’s Business Background
Following the video drop, the Morales campaign again highlights Harris’s business background, referring to the Orlando Sentinel’s most recent article with Harris finally opening up about her business background.
The press release says in relevant part:
“If all that wasn’t enough, Harris isn’t forthcoming about her business background. She kept that information from the voters and from the media. Her campaign never listed her business background, and the voters have a right to know. She admitted herself to the Orlando Sentinel in a recent article that she only lists herself as a CEO of her husband’s company, Harris Cloud Consulting, on LinkedIn “for networking purposes.” Why is that deception necessary? There’s nothing wrong with being a housewife promoting your husband’s company on his behalf.
“It turns out Harris Cloud Consulting isn’t the first company she’s been listed as the CEO for. She was the CEO of Kronos Unlimited, LLC, a failed business dissolved by the State. This looks like a pattern. She’s essentially a fake CEO. It’s also interesting that the Orlando Sentinel learned of her deception after they endorsed her.
“If she’s being deceptive here and now, what’s to stop her from doing it in Tallahassee? What else is she being dishonest about? (Besides the work address for one of the companies they registered in Florida using a non-Florida address and zip code.)”
Morales Campaign Also Doubles Down on Lack of Vetting on Harris
“All of this foolishness speaks loudly to the lack of a real background check on the part of the people and organizations endorsing Harris, like the Democratic establishment and high profile Democrats like Charlie Crist, State Attorney Monique Worrell, State Senators Victor Torres and Jason Pizzo, and School Board Member Johanna Lopez, just name a few,” said Rep. Morales in the press release.
“There are Democratic candidates in other Florida races that organizations and elected officials have had to rescind their endorsements from because they failed to do their research. State Rep. Anna Eskamani warned Florida Democrats of that recently concerning the Ag Commissioner race.”
Rep. Morales went on to say that Harris’s titles as Orange County Democratic Party Vice Chair and founder and former President of the Democratic Women’s Club of South Orange County don’t exempt her from a thorough background check, saying that even those running for US President have to undergo rigorous scrutiny. “It seems like in this race, many turned a blind eye to Harris’s history.”
Morales ends the press release by expressed gratitude for “the concerned voters that brought this to my campaign’s attention.”
State Rep. Daisy Morales Announces a Half-Million Dollars in Assets in Amended Campaign Financial Disclosure
ORLANDO, Fla. (August 18, 2022) – State Representative Daisy Morales‘s campaign released a statement announcing a half-million dollars in assets reported in a recently amended full and public disclosure of financial interests.
Much like in her clapback against the Orlando Sentinel, Rep. Morales had a lot to say. The first portion of the long statement appears to answer the questions bubbling through Rita Harris circles about Rep. Morales’s recent $50,000 campaign loan after the Orlando Sentinel released its commentary last week.
Rep. Daisy Morales issued the following statement:
“Let me be clear. Concerning my campaign’s recent $50,000 loan, I have an existing line of credit with a local bank, which I’ve had for years. It’s that simple. My 2021 campaign financial disclosure reflected an error which has been amended to reflect approximately $507,000 in assets.”
The Morales campaign provided the images below of her copies of her 2021 amendment, which she has sent up to Tallahassee.
She also furnished and referenced a copy of her financial disclosure amendment from 2020.
“However, for anyone wanting to know if I’m worth $50,000, all you have to do is see the attached financial disclosure that accompanies this statement, which is from 2020.
“My total assets in the 2020 campaign financial disclosure are in excess of $170,000 and my net worth is over $66,000, so my ability to loan my campaign $50,000 was already public.”
According to Rep. Morales, the Orlando Sentinel was still pressing her on the homestead exemption, despite her explanation in her response to the newspaper, so she reiterated her answer in today’s statement.
“Concerning the home for which my adult son, a disabled military veteran, has a homestead exemption, he alone has the exemption. The Orange County Property Appraiser’s Office confirms that. I co-own the property with him, but I don’t live there.”
Rep. Morales pointed out the lack of scrutiny of her opponent’s finances, most notably her tax debt.
“That said, I still find the lack of concern for my opponent’s financial issues strange. Jennifer “Rita” Harris’s campaign financial disclosure revealed $178,000 in federal tax debt and yet there is no outrage. And that’s just the tax debt—not even mentioning all of her other debts. But all eyes are on my assets.
“Remember, assets mean ownership. Debt means financial mismanagement and irresponsibility. Which is worse?
“I loaned my campaign funding from a line of credit available to me due to good financial stewardship. Harris is swimming in debt and loaning money to her campaign as well, sinking even deeper in the debt. Harris’s adult daughter, who is listed on Harris’s tax forms as a dependent (included with her campaign financial disclosure), donated $1,000 to her campaign but she is listed as not employed in the financial report. How can an unemployed dependent donate $1,000 to a campaign? Where would that money come from? But again, not a word has been said about this.
“No one finds it strange that on her campaign financial disclosure, she’s listed as a housewife, and yet on two different LinkedIn accounts, she’s listed as CEO and sales executive of her husband’s current company on one account and as a writer on the other; and, according to the Florida Division of Corporations, she’s listed as the CEO of a failed business (Kronos Unlimited, LLC.). Which is it, then? Housewife or business owner? Unemployed, self-employed, or employee?
“Again, Harris has been given a pass on not being transparent about this, but United For Progress PAC and her campaign are slamming me for not being transparent? I was a federal employee working for the U.S. Government for 24 years and have served as an elected official for the past eight years—over 30 years of public service.”
UFP PAC Flips on Morales After Endorsing Her in 2020
United For Progress, for its part, seems to have turned on Morales.
Morales’s statement comes on the heels of UFP PAC’s mailers on Rita Harris’s behalf casting doubt on Morales’s finances. The organization endorsed her in the 2020 general election after she defeated its endorsed primary candidate Samuel Vilchez Santiago.
And as it turns out, Rep. Morales was the UFP PAC’s only endorsed Florida House candidate who won the general election year, and by the largest margin of the four. The other three fellow Hispanic candidates–two of which were Democratic incumbents, lost to Republicans, flipping at least two of the seats.
UFP PAC-Endorsed State Representative Candidates in 2020
- Endorsee Dolores Guzman (D-27) lost to Webster Barnaby (R): 56.2 percent – 43.8 percent
- Endorsee Cindy Polo (D-103) lost to Tom Fabricio (R): 54.2 percent – 45.8 percent
- Endorsee Josh Lopez lost to Mike Giallombardo (R) (HD 77, open seat): 64.3 percent – 35.7 percent
- Endorsee Daisy Morales won against Jesus Martinez (HD 48, open seat): 65.3 percent – 34.7 percent
A High Profile Example
Morales even harkened back to the nationally visible Stacy Abrams Georgia gubernatorial race to prove her point about the lopsided scrutiny in her own race.
“Stacy Abrams, the black candidate for governor in Georgia in 2018, was forced to address the media about her $50,000 IRS tax debt. They put her finances under a super-fine microscope, and even after she answered the media’s questions, she was still being slammed. Harris, a Caucasian candidate in this race, has an IRS tax debt that is more than triple what Abrams owed, and she’s being given a pass. I, a Puerto Rican incumbent, have ZERO tax debt and am being grilled about my assets. Even with good credit, I’ve been put under the microscope and judged harshly. The level of hypocrisy in this race is unreal.
“The lack of due diligence into Rita Harris’s background will prove harmful to Florida voters, the members of the Florida Legislature, and the people and organizations that endorsed her.
“Harris wants to go to Tallahassee and use Florida taxpayer dollars to bail her out of her federal tax debt.”
A Desperate Democratic Party
The 2022 Florida midterm election has seen Democrats scrambling for seats and ravenously attacking each other, but the Democratic party, in its desperation to keep or gain seats it lost, doesn’t seem to be vetting its candidates in any strict way.
In an investigative piece on the highly contentious Democratic primary for Agriculture Commissioner, the West Orlando News revealed that candidate Ryan Morales has a past riddled with election law violations and aggression against others, mugshot and all. WON noted, “It appears that the Florida Democratic Party has all but given up on vetting their candidates.”
Rep. Morales closed out her long statement with a “so there” ending.
“This statement is meant to clear up any misinformation that has been reported by the Orlando Sentinel, United For Progress PAC and others with regards to my campaign’s $50,000 loan. Holding candidates for public office accountable works both ways.”
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