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2022 Midterm Election

PHOTOS: Crist Pushes for Justice Reform, Gets Endorsement from 2018 Florida Gubernatorial Candidate

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L to R: Orlando city Commissioner Regina Hill, U.S. Representative and Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist, and State Attorney Monique Morell speak during a Justice For All roundtable in Orlando on Oct 10, 2021. Credit: Juan Carlo Rodriguez/Florida National News

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – US Representative Charlie Crist believes in the automatic restoration of rights for convicted felons as part of his proposed justice reform in his campaign for Florida governor, during a roundtable in Saint Marks AME Church in Orlando at noon on Monday, as part of his Justice For All policy tour.

Crist also won the support of Chris King, former 2018 gubernatorial candidate that later joined Andrew Gillum’s formula to take on Ron DeSantis. Gillum and King lost by 0.4% of the votes.

“(King) is a man of great integrity, a dedicated public servant,” Crist said. “I’m honored to receive this support.”

“This was a decision I made with my head and my heart. I think Charlie is an incredibly kind person, and I think that is going to be incredibly important for the next governor of Florida. I think he is incredibly hard-working, and there is a lot of hard work ahead to change Florida. (…) I’ve run against the forces of DeSantis and (Donald) Trump and they’re tough, and they’re reckless and they can be mean, but I believe Charlie is the type of candidate that has all the skills and gifts and name identification across the state that can take a message of hope and healing and take Florida in another direction.”

– Chris King, 2018 candidate for Florida Governor

King decided to support Crist over Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried, who faces Crist in the primaries, because he considers Crist not only able to win but to transform Florida.

“One reason why I supported Charlie is because he is dedicated… to be a champion for communities of color, to bringing justice across Florida. That is not who Ron DeSantis is, or has ever been. It’s why restoration issues, gun issues, mean so much. I believe Crist is going to be a champion for inclusion, equity, and justice for all,” King added.

Crist believes in the automatic restoration of rights for felons who have completed their sentence. During his term as governor of Florida 155,000 felons had their rights restored. “I’m probably more proud of that than I am of anything,” he said.

The announcement came the same day activist Desmond Meade got his rights restored.

He remembered that he was asked by a reporter during the 2007 campaign as a Republican, and after expressing his support he received many calls from GOP members criticizing his decision.

“I said that it all came down to one word: forgiveness. I believed in forgiveness then and I believe in forgiveness now,” Crist said.

The roundtable included State Attorney Monique Worrell, candidate for City Council Nicolette Springer, activists with the Florida Rights Restoration Council, and City Commissioners Bakari Burns and Regina Hill.

Hill reminded everyone that she was a convicted felon, having “bounced around” after serving in the military. Her records made it difficult to find a job or a house. “I was able to turn it around because there was a good Republican named Charlie Crist,” she said. “Thank God for being in that number, that Charlie Crist automatically restored my rights. Now the governor that came after him (Rick Scott) turned some of those automatic rights back, but thank God that I wasn’t turned back, and I was able to become a nurse for 25 years and be able to provide for my family.”

“All you need is one champion, one person that says yes,”, she added. “One person that says, no matter what your past is, we want to help your present.”

Worell reminded everyone that “we have to deal with the reality that our system is not fair and just, that our system treats people differently, that sometimes those differences are about race, are about gender, are about culture, but none of those things should dictate how those people should be treated within the criminal legal system.”

Worell said that the injustices she saw in the system were the reason she ran for office in the first place. She expressed her frustration on the “misappropriation of criminal justice reform and how it has been utilized as a talking point to bring inflammatory [views] towards criminal justice reform movement and the anti-police movement.”

“Those two are not one and the same and should not be discussed in the same context because it is perfectly aligned to want criminal justice reform and support law enforcement,” she said.

She pointed out that the United States has increased its incarceration rates by 300% but “has not eliminated crime.” “If incarceration is not the solution, then the solution is people,” she said.

View photos below.

U.S. Representative and Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist, center, speaks during a press conference, next to former 2018 Florida gubernatorial contender Chris King, who endorsed Crist as the 2022 Democratic candidate. Credit: Juan Carlo Rodriguez/Florida National News.

U.S. Representative and Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist, center, speaks during a press conference, next to former 2018 Florida gubernatorial contender Chris King, who endorsed Crist as the 2022 Democratic candidate. Credit: Juan Carlo Rodriguez/Florida National News.

Former Florida gubernatorial candidate Chris King speaks during a Justice For All roundtable in Orlando. Credit: Juan Carlo Rodriguez/Florida National News.

Former Florida gubernatorial candidate Chris King speaks during a Justice For All roundtable in Orlando. Credit: Juan Carlo Rodriguez/Florida National News.

State Attorney Monique Worrell, speaks during Florida gubernatorial candidate Congressman Charlie Crist's Justice For All roundtable in Orlando Monday, October 11, 2021. Credit: Juan Carlo Rodriguez/Florida National News.

State Attorney Monique Worrell, speaks during Florida gubernatorial candidate Congressman Charlie Crist’s Justice For All roundtable in Orlando Monday, October 11, 2021. Credit: Juan Carlo Rodriguez/Florida National News.

US Representative Charlie Crist listens as State Attorney Monique Worrell speaks during Crist's Justice For All roundtable in Orlando Monday, October 11, 2021. Credit: Juan Carlo Rodriguez/Florida National News.

US Representative Charlie Crist listens as State Attorney Monique Worrell speaks during Crist’s Justice For All roundtable in Orlando Monday, October 11, 2021. Credit: Juan Carlo Rodriguez/Florida National News.

Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill, speaks during Florida gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist's Justice For All roundtable in Orlando Monday, October 11, 2021. Credit: Juan Carlo Rodriguez/Florida National News.

Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill, speaks during Florida gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist’s Justice For All roundtable in Orlando Monday, October 11, 2021. Credit: Juan Carlo Rodriguez/Florida National News.

Pastor Darren Grey of the Saint Mark AME Church, speaks during Florida gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist's Justice For All roundtable in Orlando Monday, October 11, 2021. Credit: Juan Carlo Rodriguez/Florida National News.

Pastor Darren Grey of the Saint Mark AME Church, speaks during Florida gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist’s Justice For All roundtable in Orlando Monday, October 11, 2021. Credit: Juan Carlo Rodriguez/Florida National News.

Marquis McKenzie of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition speaks during Florida gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist's Justice For All roundtable in Orlando Monday, October 11, 2021. Credit: Juan Carlo Rodriguez/Florida National News.

Marquis McKenzie of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition speaks during Florida gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist’s Justice For All roundtable in Orlando Monday, October 11, 2021. Credit: Juan Carlo Rodriguez/Florida National News.

Orlando City Council candidate Nicolette Springer, speaks during Florida gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist's Justice For All roundtable in Orlando Monday, October 11, 2021. Credit: Juan Carlo Rodriguez/Florida National News.

Orlando City Council candidate Nicolette Springer, speaks during Florida gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist’s Justice For All roundtable in Orlando Monday, October 11, 2021. Credit: Juan Carlo Rodriguez/Florida National News.

U.S. Rep. and Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist speaks during his Justice For All voter restoration roundtable discussion at Saint Mark AME Church in Orlando, Florida Monday, October 11, 2021. Photo: Juan Carlo Rodriguez/Florida National News.

U.S. Rep. and Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist speaks during his Justice For All voter restoration roundtable discussion at Saint Mark AME Church in Orlando, Florida Monday, October 11, 2021. Photo: Juan Carlo Rodriguez/Florida National News.

Mario Hicks, a businessman and activist, had his rights restored during Charlie Crist's term as governor. He now owns a towing company and a restaurant. Credit: Juan Carlo Rodriguez/Florida National News.

Mario Hicks, a businessman and activist, had his rights restored during Charlie Crist’s term as governor. He now owns a towing company and a restaurant. Credit: Juan Carlo Rodriguez/Florida National News.

Orlando City Commissioner Bakari Burns speaks during U.S. Rep. and Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist's Justice For All voter restoration roundtable discussion at Saint Mark AME Church in Orlando, Florida Monday, October 11, 2021. Photo: Juan Carlo Rodriguez/Florida National News.

Orlando City Commissioner Bakari Burns speaks during U.S. Rep. and Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist’s Justice For All voter restoration roundtable discussion at Saint Mark AME Church in Orlando, Florida Monday, October 11, 2021. Photo: Juan Carlo Rodriguez/Florida National News.

2022 Midterm Election

Voters Question Unemployed Rita Harris’s $10,000 Campaign Loan

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Jennifer Rita Harris speaks during the Tiger Bay Club of Central Florida's candidate forum. Image: WESH 2 News (screen capture).

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.

Jennifer Rita Harris (right), her husband John and daughter Anissa. Photo: Facebook (Jennifer "Rita" Harris for FL HD 44).

Jennifer Rita Harris (right), her husband John and daughter Anissa. Photo: Facebook (Jennifer “Rita” Harris for FL HD 44).

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.

Source: Florida Division of Elections.

Source: Florida Division of Elections.

Source: Florida Division of Elections.

Source: Florida Division of Elections.

 

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.

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2022 Midterm Election

Orlando Sentinel Endorses Angel Perry for Florida House District 36

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Florida House District 36 candidate Angel Perry. Photo: Angel Perry campaign.

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.

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2022 Midterm Election

State Representative Daisy Morales Pumps $50K into HD 44 Campaign

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Photos courtesy of the Daisy Morales and Rita Harris campaigns.

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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