Tuesday, September 30, 2008

FL-21, FL-25: Good news for Martinez and Garcia campaigns

Here we are at five weeks to election day – meaning three weeks to start of early voting – and the momentum looks positive for the Raul Martinez and Joe Garcia challenges to the Diaz-Balart rubber-stamps.

Very proud, the Martinez campaign announced a promotion by one of the handicappers on Tuesday. No longer “lean Republican” to the Rothenberg Political Report, this race in FL-21 now is “Pure Toss-Up.”

” The race's inclusion as one of only ten races in the country ranked as ‘Pure Toss-Up’ signifies that this race is more competitive than ever,” the Martinez campaign said.

That doesn’t make it easy. Incumbent Lincoln Diaz-Balart has run an ad about as sleazy as they come, and Raul Martinez is asking donors to help in the stretch to Election Day. You can see how Miami’s Channel 10 skewered the ad in a post a few days ago on this blog.

And at Joe Garcia’s shop – also contending with gross distortions from Mario Diaz-Balart’s ads – they’re announcing good news from another of the handicappers, Real Clear Politics, which is calling the race in FL-25 one of the most competitive House races in the country.

This race, according to the Rothenberg Political Report (linked above), is still in the “lean Republican” category. But there’s yet another piece of good news for Joe Garcia. Mario DB is polling below 50%, which is a classic sign of trouble for incumbent members of Congress. If I recall correctly, this has been true for several months, so the incumbent has not done himself any good with his crummy ads (also linked in the same post as for Raul Martinez).

Here’s part of a statement from the Joe Garcia campaign:

A poll that was conducted by a non-partisan firm was recently released that shows Mario Diaz-Balart is only getting 45% support, and that Joe Garcia is polling within the margin of error. As you know, “polling under 50 percent generally spells trouble for incumbents.” [Rasmussen Reports, 9/22/2008].

This explains why MDB is running scared and has resorted to lying about Joe Garcia's record of fighting for Florida's families. The fact that a career politician like Mario Diaz-Balart is polling below 50% provides proof that South Florida is ready for a change. The poll also states that Joe Garcia's favorability is higher than Mario Diaz-Balart’s.

Don’t forget that Joe needs money, too.

Speaking of momentum, my favorite Congressional candidate, Annette Taddeo in FL-18 where I live, is advertising on radio and TV, so I expect her to start taking big bites out of incumbent Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Taddeo is getting help from the national Democratic Party establishment, having been promoted to the Red to Blue list of top Democratic challengers, and her internal polls have shown for months that the incumbent has meager support. Once voters see and hear the ads for Taddeo, they will realize there’s a powerful challenge and bid Ros-Lehtinen an unfond farewell.

Taddeo has been getting coverage in the Miami Herald and in the Florida Keys, so the word is getting out. Now it’s time to step on the gas, and that’s what the campaign is doing. You can pitch in with money and time. Sign up at Annette2008.com.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Meet the Patriot Corps Staffer Assigned to the Taddeo Campaign


Kento Azegami: "I am a sophomore at Portland State University, majoring in Political Science. I am happily engaged to my boyfriend Kyle. In 2004 I worked, as a campus organizer for the 21st Century Democrats Young Voter Project. I've interned with Basic Rights Oregon and worked as a lead canvasser for Larry Galizio for State Representative. I have served as President of the College Democrats of Portland State University and as the President of the Oregon Federation of College Democrats."

First Ad Up from Annette Taddeo

In Spanish:

Monday, September 22, 2008

Taddeo Not Happy About Bailout

They aren't happy.

We will not be forced into acting on a $700 billion bill without even examining what the bill does. The American people need protection so that this emergency does not turn into a boondoggle give-away to corporate insiders. Congress should send President Bush a bill that includes transaction standards, independent oversight, protections for homeowners, and constraints on excessive executive compensation.

The bill is inadequate because while doing nothing for homeowners, it gives the Treasury Department a blank check for Wall Street - it authorizes purchases "on such terms and conditions as determined by the [Administration]." There would be no guidelines, no standards, no conditions. The Treasury would be permitted to purchase assets at any price it wanted, even if it provided a huge profit to the same corporate entities that got us into this mess in the first place, entities like commercial banks, investment banking firms - even hedge funds -- that have acted recklessly or worse.

I oppose, and call on Ileana Ros-Lehtinen to oppose - the Bush Administration's proposed legislation giving the Treasury the power to spend up to $700 billion to buy "mortgage-related assets" from U.S.-based financial institutions, until the proposed bill is strengthened to protect homeowners, and to protect the American taxpayer from sweetheart deals, cronyism and outright waste.

Finally, if the bailout is to be expanded to cover foreign-headquartered companies, then our allies must share the burden. Unfortunately, after seven and a half years of Cowboy diplomacy and a war in Iraq based on lies, we have little if any leverage left with our allies. They have no desire and little incentive to help us in our moment of need. It is time for a new beginning.

Candidate Annette Taddeo and US Rep Hilda Solis on the economy

Video thumbnail. Click to play

Annette Taddeo, Democratic challenger in FL-18, and U.S. Rep. Hilda Solis, CA-32, address the economic crisis in remarks near downtown Miami. Building in background is office of Foreclosure Relief System.

Good prospects for three Democrats in South Florida congressional races

Joe Garcia, running in District 25, speaks at fundraiser on the key nature of Annette Taddeo's candidacy in District 18. He says she is doing the heavy lifting that will help him win and also help Raul Martinez in District 21.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cry foul: Lincoln Diaz-Balart won't debate Raul Martinez

Sorry, little mistake in the headline. Replace the word foul with fowl, for chicken. That should be the modifier for Lincoln Diaz-Balart, who's not up to the challenge of meeting his challenger in the debate arena.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Walk for Annette Taddeo: Red to Blue winner in FL-18

Terrific news for Annette Taddeo, our brilliant challenger against a Bush rubber-stamp in Washington. Taddeo now has full backing of the Democratic Party establishment’s Red to Blue program. It was leaked out today on The Politico and the Down with Tyranny blogs. This will mean more funding for her campaign against Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and equal footing with the other Democratic challengers in South Florida, Joe Garcia and Raul Martinez, who have been on the Red to Blue list for some time.

We all can help build momentum in this important race by canvassing for Annette Taddeo, who’s a multiple winner this week – certified also after winning a national contest among progressives to show whose backers would work the hardest.

First, the canvassing details. This event is primarily backed by the Democratic Hispanic Caucus of Florida but everyone’s welcome to join.

·         When:  1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday Sept. 14

·         Where: Little Havana, at the Ayesteran restaurant, 706 SW 27th Ave.

·         Who: Millie Herrera 305 972-4162

Thanks to the readers of this blog and those receiving Democracy For America-Miami-Dade newsletters and others who boosted Taddeo in the Blue America contest among nine progressive candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives.  

This is also a chance to introduce you to some nationally known blogs that were sponsors of the contest:  Down With Tyranny, Crooks and LiarsFiredoglake and Digby.

 The idea in the contest was to register an individual’s support for one of the nine candidates by making a donation of as little as $1 to that candidate. Taddeo, who made calls herself to backers asking for a buck (I know, I got one of her calls), came out ahead in this national contest and will receive over $15,000 including a $5,000 matching check from Rep. Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

The DCCC now also has promoted Annette Taddeo from the category of “Emerging Races” to the fully emerged status of the Red to Blue program. This will call for the long-reluctant Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, FL-20, to become a full backer of Taddeo’s campaign to unseat Ros-Lehtinen, whom Wasserman Schultz has been reluctant to oppose. 

This blog has been writing about this conflict for almost six months, and it will be a great relief to put this chapter behind us and step into a more unified final eight weeks of campaigning.

Here’s a link to the Taddeo campaign site with news of the Blue America win – nothing official yet on the DCCC Red to Blue program – and you can click on the Contribute button and do the right thing.

And a Florida footnote: also among those promoted from “emerging” to Red to Blue” is Alan Grayson, the Democratic challenger in FL-08. The incumbent is Rick Keller, who must now think his 53-47 margin in 2006 is looking pretty skimpy. The district is in central Florida including part of Orlando.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Deadline: Help Annette Taddeo on ActBlue

Have you given $1 to help Annette Taddeo? (More is fine, but $1 is OK.)


Our Democratic candidate in FL-18 is in a tight race to win this contest at ActBlue. Contest ends at 3 p.m. today!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Commentary in El Nuevo Herald points to defeat for Republicans in Congress

Thanks to the Joe Garcia campaign for finding and translating this opinion piece from El Nuevo Herald this past weekend. It concentrates on Joe Garcia's strong chances in the FL-25 race against Mario Diaz-Balart but is just as relevant to Annette Taddeo in FL-18 and Raul Martinez in FL-21: Florida "will not be an island" in the ocean of change coming on election day.

The entire piece is quoted hereunder, and this link goes back to the original Spanish.

It's not hard to guess why Mario Diaz-Balart prefers to avoid Joe
Garcia these days. He doesn't want to bump into him at social gatherings at the
Versailles Restaurant in Little Havana, much less on the radio, television or
here in the Herald. Things happen when, after so many years of a family holding
political power, all of a sudden, there is fatigue of the repeated speeches, the
passing of days, generational shifts or the moment of political realignment in
the country sounds several alarms that warn that the trendy word, change, is not
only coming to the White House, but to the Congress as well. And this is going
to happen to good ol' Joe.

Let's go piece by piece. Nepotism, regardless how nice the brothers of a
dynasty may be, creates antipathy, whether it be in Florida,California, Texas,
China or Vietnam. You also have to add that the same anti-Castro focus of the
‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, no longer resonates in 2008. On the contrary, there
is a boomerang effect, and you can no longer duck your head or use the same old
story that generated votes in the past. Cuban-American voters clearly want
change in their homeland, along with liberty and democracy, so they can once
again breathe the breeze that stayed behind in Havana's piers. There is no
disagreement on this issue, but alongside this exiled voting bloc, there is now
a new voter. There is the young Cuban American that was born in the United
States, and despite the love he may have for the grandparents and uncles he may
or may not have met, he has a different vision of the problem. His origins may
be in Cuba, but his school, university, wife, kids and future are in the United
States. His first language is English, and he almost doesn't understand the
rhetoric that dates back four decades of exiles talking about the death of the
tyrant or the fall of the regime.

These young Cuban Americans are affected by the drama of their peers, and
the nostalgia less than 90 miles from Florida, but what they're more interested
in is that a young politician, that speaks their language, is ready to solve
their daily problems here in the United States. This has been the focus of Mr.
Garcia's campaign. Aside from this generational dilemma, the Diaz-Balarts' and
Ms. Ros-Lehtinen's problem, is that their Democratic opponents for Congress have
surfaced while the country has been inspired by the optimistic change that
Barack Obama signifies. During such a political climate, the standard-bearers of
exile politics represent the exact opposite.

Some things happen when a candidate arrives that was born on Miami Beach;
has longer hair; is known for being a good guy; is linked to the University of
Miami; is well prepared; and close to various groups of Cuban Americans, prefers
to speak less about the 'Cuba libre' we all want, and focuses more on speaking
to voters, whose lives are committed to the country we live in, about
pocket-book issues and their daily lives.

I'm not sure if there will be a electoral dethroning of the congressional
Republicans, but what is felt in forums, letters to the media and in polls is
that change is not only a perception, but rather a real possibility, with a
candidate that shows personal respect toward his opponents and thinks they are
not efficient and that the time for another option is now. Certain things happen
when a veteran politician that follows the line of Diaz-Balart begins to
understand that we find ourselves in a year where China changes, and that
Florida will not be an island in this cry for change, and that's why he'll find
every possible excuse not to be in the same place where he may have to debate,
confront or analyze his rival. Joe Garcia is here to win.