Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Pass the $16 Billion Tax Then Ask Questions

Tampa, Fl
From: Eye On Tampa Bay
Posted by: Sharon Calvert

Originally Posted: MONDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2018

After the $16 Billion Vinik funded rail tax passes, the Vinik bailed out Tampa Bay Times is now asking questions they should have been asking before the election.

The Times began asking what happens to the 10 year $812 million road funding plan the county commissioners had already voted to fund. The Times made endorsements in county commission races and they somehow "forgot" to ask any of the commission candidates this question. They did not ask any sitting commissioner before the election either.

We could not find an online version of yesterday's Times article so a scanned copy of the print version is below.

Times article
The title is misleading and information is wrong in this article.

There are no guarantees that funding from the 10 year road funding plan will not be diverted. The 30 year tax will raise an estimated $280-$300 MILLION in the first year. The state of FL estimates the sales tax will raise $300 million in 2019. Using the same growth rate the MPO used in their 20 year 2040 long range plan, the tax will generate at least $16 Billion over 30 years and probably more. $9 Billion is totally wrong because that is what the MPO's 2040 long range plan stated 4 years ago would be raised with a one percent tax over 20 years not 30 years.

The 10 year transportation funding plan was implemented beginning in FY2017 to fund road improvements and new road capacity using the existing growing county budget.

The Times reported back then that the 10 year road funding plan was put in place by a Board policy voted on by the county commissioners - with no guarantees or obligations for future boards to oblige by the policy.
...plan required maintenance and safety improvements will be first in line. 
Murman, though, worried Higginbotham’s plan would turn into a “shell game.” Without dedicating money first to transportation, she said, there was no guarantee future boards would oblige Thursday’s decree. 
“The new plan has more flexibility but it has less certainty,” Murman said.
There was no ordinance passed or any authoritative decree passed that forces future boards to abide by any of it. Future boards can change or amend Board policies or simply eliminate them.

Remember the 30 year Community Investment Tax (CIT)? Promises were made and promises were broken by a future Board.

Could all or any of those hundreds of millions of tax dollars get freed up for other things like a billion dollar baseball stadium? Freed up for other pet projects?

Or are those funds still be needed to fund new road capacity?

The $16 billion All for Transportation rail tax has prohibitions and limitations on funding new road capacity and provides ZERO dedicated funding for new road capacity. The fact is the only time additional automobile lane capacity is ever mentioned in the $16 billion rail tax charter amendment is to enforce the prohibition of funding them.

Now newly elected Democrat county commissioner Mariella Smith admits it. Smith said that funding is needed for road widening projects that are not covered by the [$16 Billion] tax.
Newly elected county commissioner
Mariella Smith comment in Times article
The Times endorsed Smith and they somehow "missed" asking her these questions. Smith was publicly silent on the massive tax hike during her campaign and said it was an issue for "voters to decide". But Smith knew there was an issue that the $16 Billion rail tax did not fund the needed new road capacity. She failed to speak up and inform countywide voters and taxpayers that road widening and new roads would have to be funded elsewhere.

The Times also endorsed the newly elected countywide commissioner Democrat Kimberly Overman. They "missed" asking her anything either. Overman publicly supported the $16 Billion rail tax. Overman has been a member of the Hillsborough MPO's Citizens Advisory Committee for several years. She knew the MPO's 20 year 2040 long range plan included a billion dollars of dedicated funding to new road capacity in its one percent sales tax funding scenario. She knew there was no dedicated funding for new road capacity in the 30 year rail tax and she also failed to inform countywide voters and taxpayers that new road capacity must be paid for elsewhere.

How much overlap is there between what was already funded for 10 years and what the tax hike is funding? Does anyone even know?

All for Transportation sold the $16 Billion tax hike as fixing the transportation issue in Hillsborough. Did voters expect to pay both the $812 million AND the $16 Billion?

If the $812 million transportation plan must fund new road capacity because new road capacity funding was intentionally left out of the $16 Billion rail tax, those who supported the rail tax have some explaining to do.

Brian Willis, a spokesperson for All for Transportation, has also been on the Hillsborough MPO's Citizen Advisory Committee for years. He was President of the local transit lobbyist organization Connect Tampa Bay (that was suddenly disbanded in 2016 after it was publicized they never filed their federally required tax returns).

Willis knew the MPO's talking points of a $9 Billion transportation needs backlog was not just needs for locally funded transportation projects. That backlog included improvements to interstates, state and federal roads and bridges, needs of the airport authority, the port authority and the expressway authority which are not funded by a local sales tax. Willis knew the MPO's 2040 long range plan included a billion dollars dedicated to new road capacity over 20 years yet his $16 Billion tax hike did not include a penny of dedicated funding to new road capacity over 30 years.

There is now $16 Billion of new local tax dollars available over 30 years for a $9 Billion backlog of projects that are not all locally funded. This massive tax hike can fund all the transportation costly wants, not just transportation needs. Now Willis states the massive $16 Billion tax hike was always intended to be an additional resource.

That is outrageous and shows disrespect for the taxpayers of Hillsborough County.

If there is no authoritative decree in place, county commissioners will make changes to previous decisions. The Times reported two days after the rail tax passed: Hillsborough commission pulls out of MacDill ferry plans, citing new transit sales tax hike.

Ironically, commissioner Pat Kemp, who supported the $16 Billion rail tax and has been a big supporter of the ferry project, was the lone NO vote.

HART will now be handed $7-8 BILLION. If Kemp, who has been sitting on the HART Board, does not think HART can handle the $50 million ferry transit project, how does she think HART can handle multi-billion dollar rail projects?

The Tampa Downtown Partnership now wants to hand off to HART the funding of the Downtowner, the electric shuttle that operates through the Channel District, River Arts District, UT and recently expanded to Tampa Heights. The Downtown Partnership, who was willing to pay for this service that benefitted downtown, now wants county taxpayers to pay for their convenience.

Taxpayers in unincorporated will be picking up the tab for costly rail/transit projects and other transit services in Tampa that has less than 1/3 the population of unincorporated. Those taxpayers also pay 2/3 of all property tax revenues to HART.

Yet the $16 Billion rail tax intentionally excluded dedicating any of the 30 year tax to much needed new road capacity in growing unincorporated Hillsborough.

The Times knew about the 10 year $812 million road funding plan yet failed as journalists to ask questions about it before the election.

Because the Tampa Bay Times Was All In for All For Transportation.

Get the rail tax passed, then ask questions.
Posted by Sharon Calvert at 11:28 AM 

This post is contributed by EYE ON TAMPA BAY. The views expressed in this post are the blog publisher's and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher of Bay Post Internet.

Cross Posted with permission from: Eye On Tampa Bay

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

St. Petersburg Fl

Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
In Search of Robin
We watch, some in joy, some in fear, as all we believe in seems to be fading away.
No matter where you find yourself this Thanksgiving, at home with family, in a Starbucks, alone in an apartment, far away serving your country or in the arms of a loved one take comfort in these words from Abraham Lincoln:
It is the duty of nations as well as of people to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God; to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord.

We know that by His divine law, nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world. May we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people?

We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown.

But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father Who dwelleth in the heavens.

Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation, October 3, 1863
We may not always agree, but know this I will always love you.
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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

FDP, Choice of Chris King Torpedoed Gillum Candidacy

Andrew Gillum

Tampa, Fl
Tampa Bay Beat
By Jim Bleyer
You must win before you can govern.
Easier said than done, especially it seems for progressives.
Andrew Gillum, who exploded onto the national political scene with a meteoric victory in the 2018 Florida Democratic gubernatorial primary, was the immediate favorite to win it all on Nov. 6.
He had a clear, consistent message, an overwhelmingly favorable state press, a charismatic personality, serious momentum, and faced U. S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, easily the weaker of the two Republicans who fought for the nomination.  I don’t believe anyone would have come within a parsec of beating Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam who was being groomed as Florida’s chief executive for at least eight years.
The stars aligned but only briefly.  Gillum’s role as favorite evaporated within the first week of the general election campaign and the blame falls squarely on the candidate—not ballot counting snafus, not an FBI investigation, not racial innuendo employed by the opposition.
The ex-mayor of Tallahassee made two fateful decisions:  choosing fifth-place primary finisher Chris King, a philosophical clone, as his running mate and allowing the incompetent, impotent Florida Democratic Party to co-opt his campaign apparatus.
Gillum’s primary win was nothing short of spectacular.  He embarked on that campaign with far less name recognition than former Miami Beach mayor Phil Levine or Gwen Graham, daughter of former U.S. Senator and two-term governor Bob Graham  Worse, his effort was financially challenged at the start so gaining name recognition appeared Herculean in scope.
But Gillum assembled a group of incredibly astute operatives who choreographed the primary effort from cramped offices on the fringe of the Florida A & M University campus.  Everything, including scheduling, message, and communications, went nearly flawlessly.
While Levine and Graham relied on piles of money and a legacy name to boost their respective candidacies,  Gillum issued meaningful, detailed policies and criticized the positions of Rick Scott, Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis and other high-profile Republicans.
Levine in the past allied himself with Donald Trump in criticizing the media; Graham’s voting record in Congress during her two-year stint as a public servant was undeniably abysmal. Gillum took to the offensive against the heavily favored duo, capturing valuable air time on national cable news shows.
The tide began to turn. Heavy Democratic hitters Tom Steyer and George Soros poured significant contributions into the Gillum campaign.  Steyer provided a ground army of NextGen volunteers to register Millennials and the coming-of-age Reform Generation.
Meanwhile, Democratic state party power brokers split their allegiances in the primary between Levine and Graham.  The Tallahassee mayor was virtually ignored until he surged in the last three weeks of the campaign.  Even then, he garnered virtually no support from the so-called corporate wing.
Following Gillum’s spectacular “upset,” he chose to break up the band, allowing the woefully inept Florida Democratic Party to usurp the campaign.  It was plagued with mistakes from the start.
A new communications director with no social media skills took over.  Gillum’s Facebook pages that during the primary were saturated with policy positions and the documented hypocrisy of his opposition, became recruitment vehicles for street corner sign wavers and house-to-house canvassers—all internal functions.
Worse, the army of unpaid adult volunteers was cast aside in favor of paid gunslingers that every two years go to the highest bidder.  The fervor and knowhow just weren’t there.
Unfathomably, Gillum wasted time in sparsely populated rural areas where Democrats are as rare as a smooth Florida election.  Dateline Gillum listed places such as Flagler County and Putnam County instead of vote-rich Republican strongholds such as Marion and Brevard.
It was reminiscent of Hillary Clinton spending the last months of her 2016 campaign in Georgia, Arizona, and Texas.
Then there is Bernie Sanders.  Bringing him into Florida during the primary to galvanize progressives boosted Gillum enormously.  On the other hand, campaigning alongside the country’s most recognizable socialist four days before the general election could not have been more ill-conceived when your opponent  is trying to hang you with the “socialist” label.
I reached out to the Gillum campaign when I became aware that Sanders was scheduled.  The response: he will energize young voters.  Lame.
There’s more: the injudicious use of surrogates and the overemphasis on DeSantis’ associations.  The FDP brand, true to form, crashed and burned in a statewide race, this time with the optimum candidate.
Then there’s Chris King, a fellow progressive who finished fifth and last in the Democratic primary with a dismal 2.5 percent of the vote.  Gillum named King as his running mate but he brought nothing electorally to the table except hailing from the I-4 corridor.
The DeSantis team was a lot shrewder.  With the selection of State Rep. Jeanette Nuñez, the GOP gained advantages in gender, ethnicity, and legislative experience.
And who the hell vetted King?  After he lost a student body election in 1999, King said the Harvard Crimson newspaper unfairly made an issue of his religion and cost him the student-body election.
“I was nailed to the cross,” King told reporters at the time. “And most of the editorial staff that was so hard on me, the vast majority were Jewish.”
King admitted he made the statement and that it was wrong.  But the damage was done. Calling out DeSantis for hobnobbing with white supremacists and anti-Semites not only had no impact, but smacked of hypocrisy after the King revelation. 
Cross Posted with permission from: Tampa Bay Beat

This post is contributed by Tampa Bay Beat. The views and opinions expressed in this post are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of Bay Post Internet or the publisher.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

30 Year Rail Tax Passes With Big Claims But Little Public Scrutiny

Tampa, Fl
From: Eye On Tampa Bay
Posted by: Sharon Calvert

Good public policy requires healthy debate, plenty of scrutiny, input from diverse stakeholders, and almost always results in some compromise.

That is not how the $16 Billion rail tax hike charter amendment policy passed Tuesday was created.

We remember how FDOT's TBX interstate expansion plan was stopped. The StopTBX urbanists group felt that FDOT was ignoring them. StopTBXers were outraged that FDOT was dictating a plan that was not acknowledging their concerns.

The vocal StopTBX crowd demanded FDOT stop TBX and do a plan reset to engage the entire community. Engaging the entire community would require compromises to be made. One of the compromises they are pursuing is to tear down 10 miles of I-275 from downtown Tampa to Bearss Avenue and replace it with a street level boulevard with a train.

StopTBXers caused the delay of much needed interstate improvements in Hillsborough County.  The FDOT interstate improvements funds that we already paid for that were going to be used in Hillsborough County went to Orlando/Central Florida for their interstate expansion.

Ironically, the StopTBX urbanists did not have the same outrage about All for Transportation's $16 Billion rail tax hike charter amendment having no community engagement. Ensuring diverse stakeholders have input to a costly major transportation plan must only apply to them.

At Tampa Bay Business Journal's Business of Transportation event held a couple of weeks ago, All for Transportation spokesperson Christina Barker admitted the tax hike was written by a few people over drinks.

The already written tax hike plan was sold to wealthy special interests and downtown developers, who will benefit, to bankroll getting it on the ballot.

There was no deliberative process regarding a $16 Billion tax hike. There were no public hearings and there was no community engagement. There was no outreach to diverse stakeholders as evidenced by the NAACP who said they were never engaged. They came out opposing the tax hike.

All for Transportation provided no ability for county constituents to provide input to "their" policy and no ability to discuss any compromises. All for Transportation provided no ability for anyone in Hillsborough County to offer any alternatives for how transportation could be funded.

All for Transportation had "their" tax hike plan and that was it - no compromises allowed!

The result is Hillsborough County has a 30 year transportation policy dictating how $16 Billion will be spent that went through a $4 million marketing campaign blitz to voters. It was vetted by no one.

All for Transportation conducted a marketing campaign so dishonest that we did not find the word "tax" on any of the 13 glossy mailers we have they dumped in voters mailboxes everyday.

Instead, All for Transportation deceptively called their tax hike a "plan" to reduce congestion and accidents without ever mentioning that it was a 1% tax hike that raises the county sales tax rate by 14%. They cited no evidence that their $16 Billion tax plan would reduce traffic congestion.

Local media refused to scrutinize the tax hike. They were too busy cheer leading for the tax hike and giving All for Transportation free earned media attention.

The transportation sales surtax is governed by Florida Statute 212.055 that governs discretionary sales surtaxes. The statute, referenced throughout the 5 pages of the charter amendment rail tax referendum, states:

Section 1 of 212.055 is titled CHARTER COUNTY AND REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM SURTAX and provides governance for the transportation sales surtax.

Section (d) states:
(d) Proceeds from the surtax shall be applied to as many or as few of the uses enumerated below in whatever combination the county commission deems appropriate
Hillsborough County is a Charter county governed by a Home Rule Charter
 so is the county charter synonymous to county commission in this statute? Legal minds can answer that.

But All for Transportation put the tax hike on the ballot as a charter amendment to totally bypass your duly elected officials. The intentions of the 5 pages in the charter amendment was not only to get the tax hike passed. It was to take away decision making powers of your county commissioners regarding how new billions of a countywide tax will be spent on transportation for 30 long years. 

All for Transportation gleefully advertised that your duly electeds would not have their fingers in the tax hike's cookie jar. They touted that your electeds are not the decision makers for where the new billions would be spent.

All for Transportation's $16 Billion tax hike ties the hands of future county commission decision making regarding transportation for three decades.

But they also intentionally tied the hands of taxpayers because there is no ability to change anything without going through another charter amendment referendum.

Their touted Independent Oversight Committee of unelected appointees are accountable to no one. They can only oversee that funds are spent in the allocated spending percentages dictated in the tax hike. They can't change anything.

If this 30 year tax hike does little to nothing to reduce traffic congestion as All for Transportation claimed in their glossy mailers, creates congestion havoc with 450 miles of road diets and bike paths no one uses, and becomes a transit fiscal failure, the only recourse is repealing it through another charter amendment.

But when the 30 year tax hike gets front loaded with debt to pay for the huge upfront capital costs of rail projects, the tax hike can probably never be repealed.

All for Transportation intended it that way. The intent of their 5 pages of regulations was to make it as difficult as possible to ever change "their" plan. Thirty years is a very long time to prohibit making changes.

In addition, HART, Hillsborough County's transit agency, has its own governance Charter under Florida Statute 163.567 as a sovereign special taxing district. HART has its own appointed Board, including two gubernatorial appointees.

Florida statute 212.055 section 2 of the section (d) we referenced above states:
Remitted by the governing body of the county to an expressway, transit, or transportation authority created by law to be used, at the discretion of such authority….
The charter amendment mandates handing HART at least $7-8 Billion of the total $16 Billion or more that will be raised from the tax hike over 30 years. Th tax hike dictates how those funds must be used.

HART is mandated to spend at least 35% of the $7-8 Billion they get (which is over $2.6 Billion) on costly trains/transit. HART has no discretion and they have no ability to reallocate any of the transit restricted funds. Transit restricted funding is absurdly recession proofed and locked in for 30 years no matter what.

The $7-8 Billion for HART is in addition to the ad valorem property tax assessment that taxpayers in all of Hillsborough County currently pay for except Plant City residents.

Plant City is not a member of HART and residents there do not pay the property tax assessment. Plant City residents will now be forced to pay for transit but they are not currently a member of HART.

This charter amendment tax hike did not swap out the property tax assessment for the massive sales tax hike.

Taxpayers in unincorporated, city of Tampa and city of Temple Terrace are now being double dipped by HART. But Plant City residents are not.

All for Transportation apparently did not care about double dipping taxpayers because they included nothing in their charter amendment to address it.

With the billions being infused into HART, we are sure that an analysis done by HART would confirm they no longer need the ad valorem property tax.

In the interests of both fairness and HART no longer needing the ad valorem tax revenues, the HART Board should immediately reduce HART's ad valorem millage rate to zero so no property taxes are collected.

This massive tax hike was sold on "fairness" to everyone in the county so the HART Board must  ensure that does occur.

The Hillsborough MPO's current 2045 planning is now a moot point. Their 2045 plan is now set and their long range planning locked in for the next 30 years. The decision making powers of the MPO Board for how these new billions of taxpayer funds will be spent for 30 years has been taken away.

The hands of the MPO Board, that consists of county and municipal electeds, HART, the airport, the port authority and the expressway authority, are tied for 30 years. This Board cannot change the mandated spending allocations dictated in the charter amendment no matter what.

The MPO is locked into the mandated funding allocations of the charter amendment. The MPO's long range scenario planning is locked in with the funding allocations of the charter amendment tax hike.

How will the MPO be able to do any future scenario planning?

Hillsborough MPO will be stuck in the past. Pasco and Pinellas should not get stuck there too. Another great reason to not regionalize the MPO by merging Pasco, Pinellas and Hillsborough into one MPO.

The $16 Billion charter amendment tax hike was a power grab by the All for Transportation downtown crowd of transit advocates to usurp decision making powers of duly elected county commissioners and HART, a sovereign transit agency.

Public policy pushed rammed through multi-million marketing campaigns rather than made through careful and inclusive deliberation is risky business that can result in unintended consequence.

All for Transportation's 30 year massive rail tax and all their lofty claims of reducing traffic congestion in Hillsborough County was not created by any governing entity.

And the little secret All for Transportation did not reveal, is that no one can be held accountable for any failures of "their" plan.

Because there is no one to hold accountable.

Posted by Sharon Calvert at 2:18 PM 

This post is contributed by EYE ON TAMPA BAY. The views expressed in this post are the blog publisher's and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher of Bay Post Internet.

Cross Posted with permission from: Eye On Tampa Bay

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Florida Senate vote recount

What is going on in South Florida?

St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.

From The Rick Scott Campaign:
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Yesterday, Governor Rick Scott made a statement regarding election results. The Governor's remarks as prepared for delivery are below. See the lawsuits that were filed in Palm Beach and Broward Counties today HERE and HERE.

"Late Tuesday night, our win was projected to be around 57,000 votes.

By Wednesday morning, that lead dropped to 38,000.

By Wednesday evening, it was around 30,000.

This morning, it was around 21,000.

Now, it is 15,000. 

On election night, Broward County said there were 634,000 votes cast.

At 1 am today, there were 695,700 ballots cast on election day.

At 2:30 pm today, the number was up to 707,223 ballots cast on election day.

And we just learned, that the number has increased to 712,840 ballots cast on election day.

In Palm Beach County, there are 15,000 new votes found since election night.

So - It has been over 48 hours since the polls closed and Broward and Palm Beach Counties are still finding and counting ballots – and the Supervisors – Brenda Snipes and Susan Bucher  - cannot seem to say how many ballots still exist or where these ballots came from, or where they have been.

The people of Florida deserve fairness and transparency and the supervisors are failing to give it to us.  

Every Floridian should be concerned there may be rampant fraud happening in Palm Beach and Broward Counties. And the Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes has a history of acting in bad faith.

As you will recall, a judge ruled just this year that the office violated both state and federal laws by illegally destroying ballots in 2016.

In 2016, Brenda Snipes’ office posted election results half an hour before polls closed – a violation of election law. That same year, her office was sued for leaving amendments off of ballots.

In 2014, Brenda Snipes’ fellow democrats accused her of individual and systemic breakdowns that made it difficult for voters to cast regular ballots.

All Floridians should be concerned about that.

Palm Beach County is also refusing to provide information to the public. And they are illegally refusing to allow official party representatives into the ballot counting area and forcing people to stand behind a glass wall with limited visibility and no ability to hear what is going on.

This is a clear violation of Florida law – and we have just filed a lawsuit.

Both Broward and Palm Beach Counties have failed in their duty to follow Florida law which requires that vote by mail and absentee ballots are accounted within 30 minutes of polls closing. Further, Palm Beach County has failed to update the Department of State since 10:19 am yesterday. This is in complete violation of Florida law which requires updated reports every 45 minutes until results are completely reported.

We’ve all seen the incompetence and irregularities in vote tabulations in Broward and Palm Beach for years. Well…here we are again.

I will not sit idly by while unethical liberals try to steal this election from the people of Florida. 

Senator Nelson hired one of Hillary Clinton’s lawyers from D.C., and the first thing he did was tell reporters that he is here to win the election. He did not say that he wants a full and fair election or even an accurate vote count. Here are some other things he has said.

In 2010: When his democratic client in Minnesota was leading by 8,000 votes, he said the lead was 'insurmountable.'

In 2014: When his democratic client in Virginia was leading by 12,000 votes, he said there was 'no precedent' for a successful recount. He also said that recounts 'really only happen where you are talking about dozens or a few hundred votes separating the candidates.'

In 2013: When another one of his democratic clients in Virginia was leading by only 165 votes, he said that recounts 'do not tend to change the results.'

In 2016: When his democratic client in North Carolina was leading by 10,000 votes, he called it a 'close but significant margin' that would be 'insurmountable.' He also called on the opponent to 'graciously concede' rather than waste taxpayer money on a deficit that could not be overcome.

Again in 2016: When his client Hillary Clinton had lost the presidential race, he wrote an article highlighting that the margin of 10,704 votes in Michigan quote 'well exceeds the largest margin ever overcome in a recount.'

Now, he is here to try to steal the election, and to try to thwart the will of the voters of Florida.

Every day since the election, the leftwing activists in Broward county have been coming up with more and more ballots out of nowhere.  We all know what is going on.  Every person in Florida knows exactly what is happening. Their goal is to keep mysteriously finding more votes until the elections turn out the way they want.

And when that fails, they will file a bunch of lawsuits in order to try to overturn the will of the voters.

There are 67 counties in Florida, only these two counties are involved in these shenanigans. There are NO OTHER COUNTIES – REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT- that are trying to steal this election, or who are still finding ballots. 

Some believe that this is simply rank incompetence. THAT IS CLEARLY TRUE.

BUT it would also be naïve to not realize that they could be trying to overrule the will of the voters of Florida.

Tonight, I am asking the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate this immediately and I am considering every single legal option available.  

No rag tag group of liberal activists or lawyers from D.C. will be allowed to steal this election from the voters in the state of Florida.

I am proud to be the next Senator from the State of Florida and look forward to going up there and making Washington work for all Americans."

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