The Sunshine Summit, last weekend’s gathering of the Republican grassroots in Orlando, brought together 14 of the 15 candidates currently competing for presidential primary votes, along with most of the Senate candidates.
Unlike the events of the last two cycles in 2007 and 2011, which featured both televised debates and straw polls, this was mostly a candidate showcase – each was given 20 minutes to make their case. The extreme number of candidates this time, and the fact that Florida does not vote until March 15 – after 26 states will have already assigned their delegates, probably reduced attendance at the event. Still, there were upwards of 1000 in the hall, and the media presence was considerable. CSPAN covered the event live, and lots of recognizable on-air personalities could be seen roaming the halls.
External events played a role in what transpired, as reaction to the Paris attacks on Friday were integrated into the Saturday speeches, or in the case of Chris Christie, dominated their remarks. And the Democrat debate on Saturday night offered a unique opportunity to compare all of our contenders to Hillary Clinton and her two pesky sparring partners.
All the candidates remarks can be seen streaming on CSPAN.
After watching all the debates and attending the Heritage Action Event in South Carolina (with 10 of the candidates), I thought I had a good idea of the dynamics of the race and who was on my short list. That said, I left Orlando with a few new insights.
1. The outsiders have captured the imagination of large portions of the Republican base, even at an event comprised mostly of “insiders”.
As an event sponsored by the Republican Party of Florida, with a large number of blue-badged party officials in attendance, I expected a great deal of support and enthusiasm for the “favorite sons” Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, and less for the outsiders Trump, Carson, Fiorina, and (some would say) Ted Cruz. This was clearly not the case.
While Jeb and Marco have strong support, it was the outsiders who were the rock stars.
Ted Cruz laid out the red meat with a flourish and hit all the hot buttons from Obamacare to the border, the Iran deal, a flat tax, and support for Israel, to thunderous applause.
Donald Trump, avoiding any criticism of his rivals this time, took on illegal immigration (need a Dream Act for Americans), winning again, incompetent leaders, and suggested that college students should be taught about the first amendment. The response was widespread and overwhelming.
Ben Carson, after a quiet start discussing his upbringing, lit into an extensive litany of all the things he would do if he wanted to “destroy America” – all of which Obama has put into motion. His was the most complete and devastating attack on the incumbent President of all the candidates and the crowd responded with enthusiasm.
Carly Fiorina, the last speaker of the event, focused on the Paris attacks, the feckless and dangerous foreign policy of Obama/Clinton, and what she would be doing about ISIS. It seemed like Margaret Thatcher channeling Winston Churchill and left no doubt that she would be a serious and effective commander-in-chief. The response was loud and enthusiastic.
2. Almost all of the Republican contenders are displaying the vision, determination, skill and experience that could believably repair the damage that 7 years of Obama have wrought. Clinton is clearly not in the same league with these people, in spite of her over 25 years on the national stage, and tenure as Senator and Secretary of State.
One thing that has become obvious to many people is that there are many kinds of relevant experience besides being an elected official. The office of President is a unique job, unlike any other, and it takes a generalist to oversee a diverse set of tasks, a communicator to inspire the country and lead it in a positive direction, and a visionary to see our potential as a people and set the wheels in motion to carry us forward. Governors, Senators, Business Leaders – all have skills that are relevant to the job, and all of the candidates now in the race have been successful in their lives and bring serious qualifications and abilities to the table.
Some would say that the terrible state that the country is in – anemic growth, unsustainable debt, corruption at all levels, an abdication of world leadership – is a result of professional politicians and insiders (lobbyists, big donors, etc) having screwed everything up. Hillary Clinton, who is unarguably the stereotype of all those things, would represent more of the same, as could be seen on the debate stage in Des Moines. It was apparent in Orlando that our candidates (to a greater or lesser extent), reject the status quo and will lead the country in a different direction.
3. The weeding out process is going to be long and arduous, as very few of these contenders can be counted out, despite their current standing in the polls.
Until the first delegates are selected in the Iowa caucuses on February 1, the polls will be unreliable, as most likely voters appear to be making tentative selections. Many people, until they have to commit, will lean to the candidate that meets their ideological goals, appears to speak “for them”, says the “right things”, or wins debating points. When the rubber meets the road though, issues of electability, consistency, honesty, ethics, contrast with the Democrat candidate, and other issues will rise in importance. As this year is unusual in the number of candidates and the widespread dissatisfaction with elected officials, predictions are hard.
Some weeding out has already begun, as few would expect Lindsey Graham or Jim Gilmore to become the nominee, and two candidates have already left the race. But all the rest have ardent supporters and judging by the enthusiastic response at the summit to most of the candidates, there are many “acceptable alternatives”. It is truly a deep bench.
Palm Beach County is a Democrat stronghold. We all know that. With 43% of the registered voters (versus 28% for the Republicans), Democrats hold all of the county-wide offices except Property Appraiser, all of the Congressional seats, and about 70% of the county legislative delegation. In spite of those demographics, the County Commission does not usually behave in an overtly partisan way.
It was curious then, and unseemly, that Democrat County Mayor Shelley Vana, term limited on the commission but running for that lone Republican seat of Property Appraiser, would decide to propel the commissioners into one of the most divisive issues of all – illegal immigration and President Obama’s expansion of DACA and DAPA by (most would say) his illegal executive order.
The proposed resolution in support of the order, also asked Florida Attorney General Bondi to withdraw Florida from the 26 state lawsuit seeking to nullify the Obama overreach.
The 27 members of the public that spoke on the issue were mixed – 13 in favor of the resolution and 14 against. Those in favor seemed to be those who would seek to benefit from additional amnesty, as many had individual stories of coming to this country and having a hard time working, going to school, etc. Those against primarily focused on the rule of law and that we cannot ignore the laws that we do not like.
Many PBCTP members and friends turned out against the proposal, including Janet Campbell, Marion Frank, Pam Wohlschlegel, Lynn Scherer, Victoria Theil and Barry Carson, as well as CD18 candidate Paul Spain. Virginia Savietto, a Democrat candidate for House district 87 (which is 31% Hispanic) spoke in favor.
This highly divisive issue should never have been brought before the Commission, and Vana cited a county Hispanic Democrat group for requesting it. Republican Steven Abrams, highly critical of the county stirring up something for which it has no jurisdiction, moved to table the resolution indefinitely, which was seconded by the other Republican Hal Valeche. Three of the Democrats joined them in opposing the resolution including Priscilla Taylor (although she strongly supports President Obama), and Mary Lou Berger (who does support a path to citizenship for illegals). Mellisa Mckinlay voted against it but praised those from the immigrant community who came forth to speak for the record. Only Paulette Burdick and Mayor Vana voted for it. Mayor Vana did not like the “tone” of the debate. “What I saw here wasn’t very good,” she said.
Once again, the voices of the people made a measurable difference. Thanks to all who spoke at the meeting, called the commissioners, or sent email.
For Wayne Washington’s recap in the Palm beach Post, see: Immigration proposal begets raucous commission meeting
Received by PBCTP via email:
On behalf of Dr. Carson’s publisher, Sentinel, we wanted to let you know Dr. Ben Carson is coming to Florida from November 1-5 to sign copies of his new book A MORE PERFECT UNION: What We The People Can Do to Reclaim our constitutional Liberties. We would love your help to get the word out.
In A More Perfect Union, Dr. Carson applies his common sense approach to the Constitution, demonstrating why a proper understanding of the Constitution is essential in dealing with today’s most controversial issues – from gun control to gay marriage. He believes America is facing a constitutional crisis because too many of politicians and judges ignore the common sense in our founding document. Our founding fathers didn’t want a permanent governing or ruling class of professional politicians. They wanted a republic, in Lincoln’s words, “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” A country where any farmer, small-business owner, manual laborer, or doctor could speak up and make a difference, and the Constitution provided a simple, concise roadmap to make that dream a reality.
Dr. Carson believes America’s best days are ahead, but contends these serious issues must first be resolved with reason and compromise from both sides of the political aisle.
The details for his local Florida stops are below.
Boca Raton, FL
Thursday, November 5
17800 Congress Avenue
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Thursday, November 5
Barnes & Noble
2051 North Federal Highway
The Florida primary election for all but the Presidential race is on August 30 – about 11 months from now. Even so, there are already 12 candidates (9 Republicans and 3 Democrats) that are competing for the CD18 seat currently held by Patrick Murphy. Six of them came together at Abacoa this week for a PBC Tea Party candidate forum hosted by channel 5’s Michael Williams.
With the good sized, occasionally boisterous crowd, and a series of policy oriented questions from the moderator which challenged their conservative bona fides, it was good practice for these candidates as they launch their campaigns, and practice is important. Two of the candidates – Carl Domino and Paul Spain, ran for Congress in the last cycle, and Carl has 8 years of experience as a state legislator. These came across as polished and extremely prepared for whatever was thrown at them. The relative inexperience of the others was clearly in evidence as they stumbled over straightforward questions, but they all have a rationale for their candidacy and are quick enough to learn from their mistakes. At this point in the cycle, any of the six could emerge as the likely nominee.
The questions covered a lot of topics, including if they would shut down the government over Planned Parenthood or the debt limit, their tax plans, what in the budget they would cut, the 2nd amendment, the conflict in Syria, and social issues such as the definition of marriage. Many of the answers were within expected parameters for a Republican primary, but there were some unique positions that stood out.
Brian Mast, the highly decorated Army veteran who is campaigning with energy and spirit and does not let his combat injuries hold him back, cast many answers from a military perspective, and listed fixing the VA as a top priority. He favors a “fair tax” (on consumption) of around 10% of GDP, would avoid shutting down the government over the budget or debt ceiling, and would favor means testing for Social Security and Medicare.
Carl Domino, the veteran Tallahassee lawmaker, would fight harder on the budget, casting a government shutdown as a political decision by the President in response to the Congress’ authority to set spending priorities. He favors a Congressional limit on regulations based on the level of financial burden imposed, a modified flat tax, school choice as a way of attracting Hispanic and minority voters, limiting benefits to Congressmen and introducing term limits.
Marc Freeman, a Boca Raton doctor, would avoid a government shutdown as irresponsible. He would work to “simplify” Washington – pointing to Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank as complicated rules that should be eliminated, and believes that “no able bodied person should be on the dole.”
Paul Spain, who ran against Lois Frankel in CD22 last cycle, would never again raise the debt limit, believing the government doesn’t ever “really” shut down and there is plenty of revenue to pay the interest on the debt. Individual agencies should be frozen. His tax plan is similar to Donald Trump’s, with 3 rates and an exclusion below $30K. He was the only one to suggest (rightly) that Democrats favor open borders to increase their voting base.
Rebecca Negron, Martin County school board member, would deal with the budget by not replacing government workers as they leave, and hopes to avoid “government by crisis” when spending bills are always up against a deadline. Her top priority is to kill the department of Education which brought us Common Core. Prior to sending troops to the middle east, she would want to see a plan (something current administration lacks).
Rick Kozell, a Jupiter attorney with experience working for lawmakers in Washington, including Senators George LeMieux and Tom Coburn, opposes raising the debt limit and rejected the premise that raising the limit or shutting down the government were the only choices. He would work to roll back the regulatory state that is crushing small business and favors a flat tax. He opposes sending ground troops to the middle east “at this time”, and favors an immigration plan with guest workers but no citizenship path.
The moderator, Michael Williams, hosts the Sunday show on channel 5, “To the Point”. In my view, on his show he is pretty fair and balanced in the way candidates and issues from both sides of the political spectrum are treated. He was heckled by the audience at times during this event though, as some thought he was favoring some candidates over others in time allotment, and others rejected some of the premises of the questions. He did frame several questions with “the tea party believes…” – such as that we are all dependent on Medicare and Social Security and thus are hypocrites for calling for spending cuts. Of course that is something which comes natural to our liberal friends in the media and it did not really detract from the event. Most would admit that the “tea party” is not monolithic in thought, and generally driven by concern for the country as opposed to narrow self-interest.
A Sunday brunch at Abacoa – not the typical time for a chapter meeting, but a good time to get to know Florida Senate candidate Ron DeSantis.
First elected to Congress in 2012, Ron represents Florida district 6, a coastal district stretching from south of Jacksonville to New Symrna Beach, and certainly has tea party roots. He was a frequent visitor to 912 and tea party groups throughout the state before his election, and visited us in Abacoa in February 2012. See: Ron DeSantis on the founding fathers’ views versus the administration’s
As a Congressman, Ron has been an active member of the Freedom Caucus led by Ohio’s Jim Jordan. This group of 40 or so Conservatives have been instrumental in pushing House leadership towards doing what they were elected to do, and it was caucus member Mark Meadows of North Carolina’s “motion to vacate the chair” that has led to Speaker Boehner’s resignation.
Now running for the Republican Senate nomination against Representative David Jolly and Lt. Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantero and others, if successful he will likely face either our own Patrick Murphy, or Orlando’s Alan “Die quickly” Grayson.
At the meeting, Ron was introduced by CD18 candidate Rick Kozell, who explained the importance of retaining this seat now held by Marco Rubio, and described Ron as someone who “walks the walk”.
Much of his remarks concerned the issues of today as they are seen in the House. The Iran deal for example, which was recognized as an Obama capitulation long before it came to a vote was a bad deal that opponents Murphy and Grayson both voted for – putting party unity over national security.
He talked about the size and power of government, which has made the counties around Washington DC the richest in the nation, and how it can corrupt even those who go there hoping to make a difference. All Congressman take an oath to “protect and defend the Constitution” he said, but when the President shreds that document and works to make Congress irrelevant, members of his party cheer.
In Ron’s view, the resignation of Speaker Boehner was not brought about by elected officials, but by the pressure of the 72% of Americans who dissapprove of the leadership in both the House and Senate. This has to change and his advice to the new Speaker would be to set measurable goals for the first 100 days to restore Congress as a co-equal branch of government. A good leader will put legislation on Obama’s desk and dare him to veto it – and rally public opinion against the President and his party if he does. Congress should use the tools at their disposal – the power of the purse for example, and pass no more continuing resolutions that just continue the policies put in place by Harry Reid.
Ron took a lot of questions from the audience, ranging from immigration to the Pope’s visit, how Congress works and ways to increase voter turnout (“let the people know that their vote will COUNT this time”.)
There are many days left before the 2016 election, but judging by the positive response from this crowd, Ron is off to a great start.
Some Pictures at the event:
- SOE Candidate Christine Butler and husband CD18 Candidate Paul Spain
- CD18 Candidate Rick Kozell introduces Ron DeSantis
- Wellington Leader and Ted Cruz Booster Marion Frank
- Mercedes Garcia gives the invocation
- Barbara, Mickey and Joe
Invites you to attend its monthly meeting
on Tuesday October 6, 2015
Faith Family Freedom Center
500 NE Spanish River Blvd.
Suite 29 & 30
Boca Raton, Fl 33431
Please RSVP below; no meal is served with this meeting.
Christine Butler is the former Chairman of the Broward Republican Party (2014-2015), Vice Chairman (2012-2014) and Chairman of Congressional District #23 serving on the RPOF State Executive Committee in 2015.
Christine is an attorney in private practice in Boca Raton, serving Palm Beach and Broward Counties, and a Certified Public Accountant. She specializes in corporate law and business transactions and has years of experience working with both national law and accounting firms serving clients from Miami-Dade to Palm Beach.
Prior to her law career, she worked as an Audit Manager/CPA with a Big 4 Accounting Firm. Christine has also served on the Boards of non-profit organizations.
She has been a resident of South Florida for 40 plus years and is a graduate of Florida Universities, including the University of Miami School of Law, where she served on Law Review. She now resides in Jupiter with her husband.
Alex Freeman’s law enforcement career spans over 22 years, which includes his previous position as Major of Police for the Riviera Beach Police Department since 1993. Those who know Major Freeman understand why police work is such a natural life calling for him. He is passionate about helping others and believes that because he has been richly blessed, he should give back to the community which includes work with local, regional and national organizations.
Major Freeman’s leadership style and commitment to serve the citizens of Riviera Beach led him to serving in every major section there is in the police department, just to name a few:
- Lieutenant of Professional Standards
- Lieutenant of the Investigation Section
- Staff Inspection Commander
- Public Information Officer (PIO)
- Executive Assistant to the Chief of Police
- Commander of Police
- Major of Police
Major Freeman is a former member of the Palm Beach County Association of Chief’s of Police, Florida Chief’s of Police and National Association of Black Law Enforcement Executives(NOBLE). Major Freeman is a Member of Northside Kiwanis Club.
Major Freeman is a graduate of Barry University where he earned a B.S. degree in Public Administration. Major Freeman is a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. Major Freeman took his career ambitions to yet another level in 2008, when he graduated from the University of Louisville College of Art and Science, Department of Justice Administration with a certification in upper level Command Officer Development Course(SPI).
In 2002, Major Freeman was named Officer of the Year by Victim Service of Palm Beach County for his dedicated service to the Citizens of Palm Beach County. Mr. Freeman’s wife, Tocia is his soul mate. They have two children D’Angelo and Alexis.
Christine Butler, candidate for county Supervisor of Elections
Paul Spain, Candidate for Congressional District 18
Christine is the former Chairman of the Broward Republican Party (2014-2015), Vice Chairman (2012-2014) and Chairman of Congressional District #23 serving on the RPOF State Executive Committee in 2015.
Christine is an attorney in private practice in Boca Raton, serving Palm Beach and Broward Counties, and a Certified Public Accountant. She specializes in corporate law and business transactions and has years of experience working with both national law and accounting firms serving clients from Miami-Dade to Palm Beach. Prior to her law career, she worked as an Audit Manager/CPA with a Big 4 accounting firm. Christine has also served on the boards of non-profit organizations. She has been a resident of South Florida for 40-plus years and is a graduate of Florida universities, including the University of Miami School of Law, where she served on Law Review. She now resides in Jupiter with her husband.
Paul Spain is a driven innovator and fresh face in Florida public policy. He is ready to ensure that the interests of District 18 are protected in Congress. Paul is an advocate for better fiscal practices and renewed ideals for education. Spain will dedicate the time and energy to attain results for the citizens of District 18.
A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, Paul has a lifetime of community service including Chambers of Commerce, Kiwanis Club, a current member of the College of Financial Planning with Advanced Planning Certifications (AAMS, CRPS), and a member of Maggie’s List, which promotes and supports efforts by women to hold public office. He is the father of two and has three grandchildren.
Wednesday October 7, 2015
Hurricane Grill and Wings
4075 Florida 7, Lake Worth, FL 33467
No Charge for Meeting
Last week in Greenville, South Carolina, Heritage Action hosted a Presidential Candidate Forum at which 10 of the Republican candidates participated. Unlike the two cable news debates, this event avoided pitting the candidates against each other, and actually focused on policy.
Stretching from 4:00 in the afternoon to after 9:00pm with only a short break, each candidate was given about 20 minutes on stage, with questions provided from a panel of Heritage Sentinels and CEO Michael Needham. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley closed each session by providing a personal story about the candidate and asking them to expand on it. What came across was an in-depth look at their positions on issues, and a sampling of their human side – some that have not been seen before on the campaign trail.
From this unique format, a very good contrast can be found, and it is worth at least sampling the video from the candidates you are interested in. Links to those segments on the Heritage Action youtube channel can be found below.
Although all of the candidates were enthusiastically received by the audience of about 900 sentinels on the floor and over 10,000 more in the stands of Bon Secours Wellness Arena, two candidates really stood out.
Ted Cruz rallied the crowd with the theme of “don’t elect a President to manage the decline of America”, and was clearly the policy favorite with talk of judicial retention elections, a flat tax, and “breaking the cartel”. But it was Carly Fiorina, when asked by Governor Haley what her most difficult job as a leader has been, who spoke from the heart about the anguish that comes from having to fire a close associate who, although competent and a satisfactory performer, proved to be ethically challenged and could no longer be trusted. Her answer revealed a very admirable mix of courage, compassion and loyalty to the goals of the enterprise.
Following is a brief synopsis of the major points made by the candidates, in order of their appearance. Click on their picture to see the Heritage video of their segment.
We have eyes to see and ears to hear – please let us use them!
Florida Representative (CD6) and Senate Candidate Ron DeSantis
105 Barbados Drive, Jupiter, Florida
Sunday: September 27, 2015
Start 1:00 pm – 3:00
The Palm Beach County Tea Party was in attendance at the FreedomWorks event on 9/12 in Orlando FL, along with over 2500 patriots from all around the country. FreedomWorks was founded to fight for liberty and has brought together some of the best and brightest minds of the liberty movement. They have expanded their ambitions from a free-market think tank to a service center for the grassroots freedom movement across the whole country, encompassing Tea Parties, 9-12 groups and Conservatives.
Their urgent mission right now is to grow the “Freedom Caucus” in the House of Representatives. In order to be a part of the “Freedom Caucus” members must show that they consistently uphold conservative values, such as defunding Obamacare, balancing the budget, securing our borders, ending taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, supporting the VA and most urgently trying to replace Speaker John Boehner with Mark Meadows. Some of the Freedom Caucus members were at FreedomWorks and spoke to the crowd. They included Ted Yoho, John Fleming, Ron DeSantis, Mark Meadows, Tom Massie and Tim Huelskamp. The frustration was palpable coming from the Congressmen about not being able to get done the things they campaigned for because the House and Senate leadership, namely John Boehner and Mitch McConnell have decided to cave on every important issue so they can appear to get along better with the Obama administration. After getting a huge majority in the House and a slim majority in the Senate, things are actually worse than when the Democrats ran the Senate. We have a Republican leadership problem and the only way to fix that is to change the leadership.
A straw poll was taken at the event. All ticket holders could vote for their first and second choice for President. Our very special guest speaker, Glenn Beck read the winners at the conclusion of his speech. At first Glenn said that Donald Trump had won the straw poll. After the audience booed, he said he was only kidding. Donald Trump came in third place with 8%, Dr. Ben Carson in second place with 12% and Ted Cruz was the run away winner with 41%. It it true that Glenn Beck’s audience, Tea Partiers and 9-12ers are more conservative than the average Republican voter, so it came as no surprise that Ted Cruz was the big winner.
We left the event pumped up with enthusiasm. The speakers gave us some hope that Boehner may be replaced within the next few weeks, as there may be enough votes in the House to turn it around. Not so much in the Senate. There are really only 2 definite votes in the Senate to remove McConnell, that being Ted Cruz and Mike Lee. We need better Senators in the next election.