Florida Democrat announces retirement from Congress

Florida Congressman Ted Deutch announced today that he will not seek reelection. His decision not to run is likely to set off a mad scramble, especially among Democrats in this Palm Beach/Broward district, to replace him.

Deutch, 55,  was a member of the Florida Senate from 2006 to 2010. He replaced Congressman Robert Wexler who resigned in 2010. 

The Palm Beach/Broward congressional district is heavily Democratic and is expected to remain so,after the Florida Legislature completes work on congressional redistricting later this month.

Here is the statement from Deutch:

"After serving the public for more than 15 years, I have decided I will not seek re-election this November. Public service was instilled in me by my father who earned a Purple Heart in the Battle of the Bulge, and it has been a tremendous privilege to serve the people of Palm Beach and Broward Counties in Congress since 2010. I am incredibly grateful to my constituents for their support and friendship.
"In my seven terms in Congress, I have worked hard and tried to find common ground. I’m proud of my work to make our communities safer from gun violence, strengthen social security and protect our most vulnerable seniors, and ensure Holocaust survivors can live in dignity. I’m proud of the many bipartisan ways we’ve come together - to provide resources for those battling eating disorders, to help seniors at risk of fraud, and to combat climate change. And in a dangerous world, I’ve worked with my colleagues to fight terrorism and rogue regimes like Iran, and to support our military and veterans, including securing recognition for heroic World War II, Korea, and Vietnam heroes who had been denied the honor they deserved.

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Will Donald Trump wind up in the coat closet?

By Brian E. Crowley

Some years ago, a New York Times photographer was at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee to cover an event.  As he was walking through the building he noticed a portrait hanging in the back of the coat closet. It was a portrait of a man who was once a leader of the Democratic Party. He was the nominee for president twice. He was a former governor of Illinois from a prominent political family.

Adlai Stevenson II.

Coat Closet


Odds are that few of the folks working at the DNC remembered Stevenson. 

Here is a description of him from Wikipedia:

Noted historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., who served as one of his speechwriters, described Stevenson as a "great creative figure in American politics. He turned the Democratic Party around in the fifties and made JFK the United States and the world he was the voice of a reasonable, civilized, and elevated America. He brought a new generation into politics, and moved millions of people in the United States and around the world."[2] Journalist David Halberstam wrote that "Stevenson's gift to the nation was his language, elegant and well-crafted, thoughtful and calming."[3] His biographer Jean H. Baker stated that Stevenson's memory "still an expression of a different kind of politics - nobler, more issue-oriented, less compliant to the greedy ambitions of modern politicians, and less driven by public opinion polls and the media."

Stevenson was the party's presidential nominee in 1952 and 1956. He lost both times to Republican Dwight Eisenhower. He later was our United Nations Ambassador.

So how did this prominent member of the Democrat Party wind up in the coat closet at DNC headquarters?

Continue reading "Will Donald Trump wind up in the coat closet?" »

A bit of Jeopardy for Visit Florida, Joe Biden and more

In Episode 7 of High Tops and Politics Brian Crowley and Mary Anna Mancuso chat about Visit Florida, Joe Biden, Andrew Gillum, plus someone in Jeopardy, this week's High Tops Award, and much more. 

High Tops and Politics - Mister Geppetto did what?

In Florida politics you can run but you can't hide.

High Tops and Politics chases it all from Tallahassee to Mar-a-Lago as only veteran political journalist Brian Crowley and political strategist Mary Anna Mancuso can do.

Join us for our often amusing run through the Sunshine State.

Episode 6 - A problem with Starbucks and cellphone? Will Florida drones be wearing badges? Are Florida elections safe? Is the GOP undermining local government? This week's High Tops Award, and much more.


High Tops and Politics - The Mystery of the Double Knot

In Florida politics you can run but you can't hide.

High Tops and Politics chases it all from Tallahassee to Mar-a-Lago as only veteran political journalist Brian Crowley and political strategist Mary Anna Mancuso can do.

Join us for our often amusing run through the Sunshine State.

Episode 5 - Should Florida take on Alexa? Donald Trump's favorite Bush. Do Florida voters matter? Roxie gets moxie. The mystery of the Double Knot. This week's High Tops Award, and much more.


Ron DeSantis quits, Rick Scott looks shameful


By Brian E. Crowley

Florida Republican nominee for Governor, Ron DeSantis just announced that he is quitting Congress immediately so he can run full time for governor. In fact, his resignation is even more than immediate. He is time warping the effective date to Sept. 1.

As a low rung member of Congress, his impact there was minimal but that is not unusual for members in their first years on the Hill. DeSantis, with enormous help from President Trump and Fox News, easily knocked out Republican establishment favorite Adam Putnam in the GOP primary.

Now, we are in the early stages of what will be a blistering general election between arch-conservative DeSantis, and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum who swings hard left. 

Meanwhile, Governor Rick Scott demonstrated what a soulless state leader is has been in a video of him talking to felons asking for a return of their voting rights.  Florida and Scott in particular were skewered Sunday night on HBO's Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

Oliver is not only funny and merciless, but as he often does, he closely examines an important issue and gives his audience something to think about. In this case, he urged viewers to vote to restore felon voting rights in November.

It is a must watch video. If nothing else, watch Scott, who wants to replace Democrat Bill Nelson in the U.S. Senate, at about the 6:45 mark. No matter how you feel about the issue, every Floridian should be embarrassed by Scott's callousness. His lack of compassion is chilling.



Are Florida Republicans leaderless?

Hatchet135 copy

Jimmy Buffett seen singing with Bob Graham

Skits graham and buffett

By Brian E. Crowley

Sometime during the early 1980s. then Gov. Bob Graham, always a bit of a ham, decided he would pretend being Jimmy Buffett during the annual Tallahassee press corps skits. As Graham warbled away, the real Buffett came on stage dressed as if he was Florida's governor.

Now, Buffett is campaigning for Graham's daughter Gwen who is a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor. She is the third Graham to take a shot at the governor's mansion. Her father won two terms, plus three in the U.S. Senate. Her grandfather l0st his bid to be governor in 1944.

Whether Buffett can bring any votes to Gwen Graham is doubtful....but for his fans, it is certainly entertaining.


Will tonight's Florida Democratic Debate make any difference?

By Brian E. Crowley

Her voice on the phone sounds quite serious. She is a Democrat. She will vote in the primary for governor. She is confused, not sure for whom to vote.

One of the best things about Florida's Democratic primary is that there are five interesting candidates for governor. One of the worst things about Florida's Democratic primary is that there are five interesting candidates for governor.

Well, I say, there's Gwen Graham, Andrew Gillum, Chris King, Phil Levine and Jeff Greene. Who? she says. I go over the list again.

She ponders each of them, asking questions. I give neutral answers. She eliminates a couple of them and says she is going to do more research. The primary is August 28. She has time.

This is not an unusual moment. Many of the folks who will vote in the Democratic primary are clueless or confused or both about the candidates. Few have the fervor of a Trump Republican. These voters may loathe Trump, and they are certain to loathe Congressman Ron DeSantis (the increasingly likely GOP nominee) but they lack a deep connection to anyone in the Democratic field.

Tonight, the five Democratic candidates will participate in a statewide debate being aired from the studios of WPBF-25 in West Palm Beach. It will be broadcast by other stations around the state. Is this the moment that will make a difference? Is this the moment when Florida Democrats, after months of being indifferent, find the leader of their party? 


Many Democrats will remain indifferent. Many will not bother to vote in the primary. Many will continue to complain about Republicans in general and Trump-lovers in particular. Many will accept the eventual Democratic nominee grudgingly.

And that is the mistake Democrats have too often made during the past 20-years of GOP dominance in the state.




Charlie Crist needs a nap




Poor Charlie Crist. The Florida Congressman couldn't sleep a wink last night.  Of course Crist's reason for not sleeping was a tad different than Frank Sinatra's song would suggest. Sinatra didn't have to worry about "Trumpcare."

So here's what Democrat Crist is sending out in an email:

I was up all night thinking about the score of Trumpcare 2.0, friend.

850%. That's the estimate of how much insurance premiums would rise for elderly, poor people over the next decade. That's shameful. I’m incredibly disheartened that my colleagues in the House put politics over people -- and I’m going to do everything I can to stop it.

 Will you help me show my colleagues how many of us are against this horrendous bill? Sign my petition right now.

 Trumpcare 2.0 is un-American. We need to look out for each other -- not rip away health care from 23 million people.

Thank you,

 Sent from my iPhone

Continue reading "Charlie Crist needs a nap" »

Gwen Graham announces endorsements for her campaign for Florida governor

Gwen GrahamYes weary folks, the 2018 campaign has been well underway for months. Why it is enough to inspire one to jump for joy because one can never get enough of Florida politics.

Gwen Graham, former congresswoman and daughter of former Gov. Bob Graham (and 3 term U.S. Senator)....would like you to know this:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, Gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham is announcing endorsements from South Florida Representatives Emily Slosberg (Delray Beach), David Silvers (West Palm Beach), Kristin Jacobs (Coconut Creek), Evan Jenne (Hollywood), and Richard Stark (Weston).

"I'm honored to have the support of these South Florida representatives, each of them a respected leader in his or her own right. Working together, we'll move Florida forward for young Floridians, our environment, and our economy, " Graham said.

Representative Emily Slosberg, vice chair of the Florida Young Democrats, said, "As a mother of three, Gwen Graham is passionate about tackling the issues that affect my generation. As governor, she'll work to make college more affordable and accessible, protect our land and water for future generations, fight the very real threat of climate change, and build an economy that provides real opportunity for young Floridians. Gwen Graham will be a governor for our generation and the next."
Representative David Silvers, a small business owner, said, "Gwen believes we need to build a state that works for small business and home-based business owners, not just the largest corporations. On her Workdays, she gains firsthand experience learning about the challenges and opportunities entrepreneurs face. As governor, she will build an economy that creates growth and opportunity for businesses of all sizes."

Representative Kristin Jacobs, who served on a White House climate change task force under President Barack Obama, said, "Gwen Graham will place protecting our land and water at the forefront of her agenda. Gwen is a progressive who understands the urgent threat climate change and sea level rise pose to our state and will work with the legislature to shift Florida from fossil fuels to renewable energy. She is the environmentalist's candidate in this race."

Representative Evan Jenne, an advocate for consumer protection, said, "To give Floridians more economic freedom, we need a governor who will stand up to insurance companies and protect Florida homeowners. Under Gwen Graham’s progressive leadership, we can build a state that puts consumers — not corporations — first."

Representative Richard Stark, an advocate for increased education funding, said, "To reach our state's full potential, we need to make sure our students are reaching their full potential. As governor, Gwen will end the lottery shell game and invest in education to ensure every Florida student is college or career ready."

Graham has previously announced endorsements from Congressman John Lewis, State Senator Darryl Rouson (St. Petersburg), Rep. Barbara Watson (Miami Gardens), Rep. Lori Berman (Lantana), Rep. Amy Mercado (Orlando), St. Pete Council Chair Darden Rice, Tampa City Councilman Mike Suarez, Leon County Commissioners John Dailey and Kristin Dozier, and Leon County Soil and Water Supervisor Tabitha Frazier.    

Gwen Graham becomes third Graham to run for Florida Governor




Former Congresswoman Gwen Graham today became the third member of her family to run for Florida governor.  Her father, Bob Graham, was governor from 1979 to 1987. He then served in the U.S. Senate from 1987 to 2005.  He ran for president in 2003 but dropped out after nine months.

Gwen Graham's grandfather, Ernest "Cap" Graham, a state Senator, ran for governor in 1944. He was defeated.

Graham's announcement was long expected and she joins a growing field of Democratic and Republican candidates.

Below is the campaign release about her announcement:

Declaring, "We do not have time for typical politics, because this is the time to paint Florida’s future in sharp lines, and bold colors," Gwen Graham announced she is running to serve as Florida's next governor, Tuesday morning.

With her family by her side, Graham said, after almost 20 years of a enduring a state government with the wrong priorities for the wrong people, she would renew Florida's education system, environment and economy.

Citing her experience as a working mother, PTA president and school board official, Graham said she is determined to end the lottery shell game diverting funds from Florida schools and high-stakes testing.  

Graham announced her campaign next to Miami Carol City Senior High, where she spent a full Workday alongside educators teaching students, the previous day. The high school was where her father, former Governor Bob Graham, performed his first Workday in 1974.

“As governor, I won’t just criticize this culture of teaching to the test. I will end it,” Graham said. “Because high-stakes standardized testing has led us to one-size-fits-all learning. Yet our children, parents and teachers are not one-dimensional. Our children, parents, and teachers are not standardized. I will work with the legislature – and do whatever it takes, including using the governor’s line-item veto to end high-stakes testing.”

She also shared her vision for Florida's economy and environment. Graham called for Florida to raise the minimum wage, provide paid sick leave, invest in infrastructure, and diversify Florida's economy.

Continue reading "Gwen Graham becomes third Graham to run for Florida Governor" »

Florida Democrats decide to use Frank Artiles resignation to raise money

Old skits


Tasteless? Perhaps. A little too quick on the draw? Possibly. But none of that is stopping Florida Democrats from turning the resignation of Florida Sen. Frank Artiles into a fundraising opportunity - just a couple of hours after he resigns.

Will it work?

Here's the pitch:

BREAKING NEWS (via<[email protected]>

Developing: state Senator Frank Artiles resigns over racist attacks.

Friend: Moments ago, racist state Senator Frank Artiles resigned from his seat, setting up a HIGHLY competitive special election.

Here’s the thing: Nationwide, we’ve seen Democrats make BIG gains in ruby-red districts during special elections. If we want to flip this seat, we have to bring that same enthusiasm to this special election.

HERE IS WHAT WE NEED: We need to raise another $10,000 into our Special Election Rapid Response Fund before midnight tonight. Can you click here and donate $2 now?

Donate $2 now

Donate $25 now

Donate $50 now

Donate $100 now


This race will be the first major election that Floridians face since November’s disastrous results.

If we’re able to deliver a big win and take this seat back, it will send a crystal clear message that Floridians aren’t going to stand for Donald Trump and Frank Artiles’s extreme, racist right-wing agenda.

Chip in now:

Thanks for all you do,


Can Hillary Clinton drag Patrick Murphy over the finish line

Not likely but possible. That's the short answer as to whether Congressman Patrick Murphy's dismal campaign can be saved by Hillary Clinton.

Murphy's campaign has been a bit of mystery. When Murphy believed that incumbent U.S. Senator Marco Rubio would keep his word to not run for a second term if he lost his bid to be president, it was naive. Rubio's life is about politics and while the Republican clearly is disappointed by the inertia of Senate, leaving public life was never a real possibility.

Without Rubio in the race, Democrats believed Murphy had an excellent chance to win against whoever would be the GOP nominee. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Senate Majority PAC, were prepared to spend heavily in support of Murphy.

But like a bicycle tire with a slow leak, Murphy's campaign seemed to go flat shortly after Rubio shocked no one by saying he wanted to stay in the Senate.

Rubio has remained comfortably in the lead in public polls. Real Clear Politics polling average gives Rubio a 4.2 point lead. One gets a hint of what internal Democratic Party polls are saying by the fact that the DSCC  and the Super Majority PAC (led by Sens. Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer) have pulled out of Florida claiming the state is too expensive (it wasn't less expensive when they planned to support Murphy).

There have been missteps. Rubio challenged Murphy to six debates. Murphy should have accepted immediately and insisted that debates start that week. Instead, he turned it into a debate about debates saying he wanted Rubio to commit to a 6-year term.

Murphy's team loves the 6-year term argument. It has become a central point of their campaign. Perhaps there are voters who care but not many. Running for higher office in the middle of one's term is well, part of American politics. Few will be shocked if Rubio runs for president again in 2020.

Murphy's exaggerated resume landed him in deep trouble. In June, CBS4 investigative reporter Jim Defede nailed Muprhy for claiming he worked as a CPA when he did not and for starting a small business which in fact it is not that simple.

This was fall on your sword time. Instead, Murphy and his team counterattacked. It didn't work and kept the story alive. And handed Rubio a campaign message to use against Murphy.

Continue reading "Can Hillary Clinton drag Patrick Murphy over the finish line" »

Florida Democrats eat their young



Jeff Clemens, a candidate for the Florida senate, Patrick Murphy, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, and Gwen Graham, a likely future candidate for governor, represent the future to many Florida Democrats, a party that desperately needs a future.

But as often happens among Democrats, little is done to groom the new kids. Instead, Florida Democrats would rather squabble among themselves as sometimes aging politicians decide elected office is better than golf.

A little history.

Florida’s Democratic Party died in 1998. It remained on life support for a few years but voters in subsequent elections pulled the plug. Today, the party is a mess of parochial interests with much chatter about returning to its old glory but little idea how to get there.

During the 20th Century, Floridians elected just three Republicans to be governor – Claude Kirk (1967-71), Bob Martinez (1987-1991) and Jeb Bush who would end the 20th Century taking the keys to the mansion in January 1999.

The only other interruption to Democratic reign was Prohibition Party governor Sidney Catts who ran a hateful anti-Catholic campaign and described African-Americans as being part of an “inferior race.” He was governor from 1917 to 1921.

Democrats, who also ruled most of 19th Century Florida politics, controlled Tallahassee during the period of 1900 to 1999 for 87 years. Today, Florida Democrats are largely irrelevant. They have little influence in Tallahassee and even less in Washington.

During its 20th Century reign, the Florida Democratic Party fought it out in the primaries and took a nap during the general election when often hapless Republicans were slaughtered. Conservatives, liberals, moderates all found a fraction of the party they could call their own. It was a party where North Florida Democrats looked with great suspicion on South Florida Democrats – and it was equally true in the reverse.

It was a party of personality – Napoleon Broward, Doyle Carlton, Spessard Holland, Claude Pepper, Bill Gunter, LeRoy Collins, Reubin Askew, Bob Graham, Lawton Chiles, and others.

DonkrToday, the party is one of petty fiefdoms, petty rivalries, and petty politics. It is often hapless in its attempts to confront Republicans who brush them aside like pesky gnats. So desperate for political success, the party rented it soul to Charlie Crist when the former Republican governor got kicked out his party and decided to run for governor as a Democrat. Now, he is running for Congress in Democratically favored St. Petersburg district.

Florida Democrats, rightly so, get love and attention during presidential election years when the state’s otherwise red glow begins to get a purple hue.

What they don’t notice is that national Democrats are lavishing even more love on independents who really decide where Florida’s 29 electoral votes will go.

So while Democratic activists can get all giddy about Hillary Clinton, they may want to save some energy for what really matters to the future of the party – the down ballot races. Here, Democrats have some interesting choices to make on August 30.

Continue reading "Florida Democrats eat their young" »

Obama asks for money for Patrick Murphy

You just know this is going to tick off the easily tick-offable Alan Grayson. President Barack Obama has signed a fundraising email for Grayson's senate campaign rival Patrick Murphy.

This comes on the heels of Vice President Joe Biden campaigning for Murphy. One of these two Democrats will face the winner of the Republican primary - incumbent Marco Rubio or political newbie Carlos Beruff.

Here's the email:


Friend -- I’m emailing today to tell you why I’m with Patrick Murphy.

Patrick's a strong progressive who's fought special interests on behalf of working families -- and won. In Congress, he’s also fought to strengthen Medicare and Social Security, stand up to the NRA for gun violence prevention, and protect a woman’s right to choose.

With all that's at stake, we need Patrick Murphy in the Senate. But he’ll need your help to get there.

Will you please join me in standing with Patrick and contribute $5 so he can meet his $50,000 goal before the FEC pre-primary deadline, tomorrow at midnight?

Patrick stands up to Republicans on behalf of our shared values. It's why they're attacking him. They know he can win in November and help Democrats retake the Senate, and they’ll spare no expense to defeat him.

We need you on our side to fight back. Can you step up and chip in to help Patrick meet his goal before tomorrow’s big deadline?

I count on Patrick Murphy. You can too, friend.

Thank you,
Barack Obama


Hillary Clinton in Florida Monday and Tuesday

Hillary Clinton brings her campaign for president to Florida today and Tuesday with stops in St. Petersburg, Kissimmee and Miami.

From the campaign:

Today she will tour 3 Daughters Brewery, a small business in St. Petersburg. Later that day, at jobs rallies hosted by the Florida Democratic Party in St. Petersburg and Kissimmee, Clinton will outline her plan to make the biggest investment in good-paying jobs since World War II during her first 100 days in office.

On Tuesday, August 9, Clinton will be in Miami to tour a local health care clinic to raise awareness about the public health threat of Zika virus.

Congressional candidate Bob Poe says in video he has HIV

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Bob Poe, just released a video where he talks publicly for the first time about being  HIV positive

A former state Democratic Party chairman, Poe, 61, says in the video that he was first diagnosed with HIV 18 years ago. Poe is running in Central Florida's 10th congressional district.

Poe also gave an extensive interview to Watermark magazine. It is worth reading. 

You can see the video here.

Where JFK once thrilled Palm Beach would President Trump do the same?

By Brian E. Crowley

On the 1960 British Pathé newsreel, the headline says "Kennedy talks strategy with Congress leaders." Palm Beach was used to its Kennedys but not like this. For the first time, this quiet island whose residents valued privacy as much as wealth, was becoming the center of world attention.

In one of his first post-election meetings, John F. Kennedy summoned his newly elected vice president, Lyndon Johnson, and congressional leaders to discuss his plans after his inauguration. It would be the first of many visits to the Kennedy home on the island of 6,000 residents by national and world leaders. The north end island Kennedy home was now the Winter White House. 

Now, more than a half century later, Palm Beach is again a political spectacle. Only this time, the Winter White House could be Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago. If JFK was of the Mad Men generation, Trump is a Twitter-boomer. If JFK brought youthful vigor to the island and willingness to blend, Trump stormed the island, determined to bend it to his will.

JFK brought glamour. Trump brought New York attitude and new money glitz. And while old Palm Beach may cringe, Trump is there to stay whether he wins or not.

The Kennedys arrived in Palm Beach when family patriarch Joseph Kennedy bought a home there in 1933. There were 1,700 residents. The island, like much of Florida, was segregated. But it was much more than a division of whites and blacks. It was a division of Jews and Gentiles, the extraordinarily wealthy and the lower classes.

Joe was a member of the then notoriously segregated Everglades Club which excluded minorities, Jews, and anyone who simply didn’t measure up to their elite standard.

By the time his second son was elected president, Palm Beach’s population had climbed to more than 6,000. The island remained deeply segregated and attitudes had changed little from when Joe Kennedy first bought a home there 27 years earlier.

JFK made frequent trips to Palm Beach during his presidency. One Kennedy home video, shows Kennedy playing in the family pool with his very young children Caroline and John Jr. JFK is seen tossing a ball to a pair of dogs running beside the pool.



Palm Beachers still like to see old black-and-white pictures of the First Couple going to St. Edwards Catholic Church, JFK holding press conferences, and the children at play.

Five years before Donald Trump arrived in Palm Beach, attorney Allen DeWeese had been arrested by Palm Beach Police for jogging shirtless. The town council had passed an ordinance declaring jogging shirtless to be indecent exposure. Violators faced up to 60 days in jail or a $500 fine.

In court, the town argued that it had a right “to protect the beholder of unsightly displays.”  A judge tossed out the arrest calling the ordinance not only unconstitutional but “silly.”

Palm Beach may have lost the case but not its belief that every aspect of living on the island must be regulated. From the height of a resident’s hedges to the types of companies allowed to do business there, the town is ever alert for the smallest infraction.

New businesses are suspect. They must prove that most of their customers will be people who live there. Some fought the opening of a Starbucks fearing that it would attract outsiders.

When Trump arrived in 1985, islanders soon found out he would have little regard for the town’s many rules and regulations.

Continue reading "Where JFK once thrilled Palm Beach would President Trump do the same? " »