Sun Sentinel: LGBT Democrats recommend choice for governor

The Dolphin Democrats, the party’s LGBT political caucus in Broward County, is leaning toward Andrew Gillum for governor.

It’s a “recommendation,” not an “endorsement.” And it results from a relatively small straw poll of voting members at the organization’s July meeting.

In local primary contests, the Dolphins endorsed two primary challengers, giving thumbs down to two incumbents currently serving in the state House of Representatives.

In the statewide primaries, official endorsements won’t come until the end of July when the LGBTA Democrats from around the state meet in West Palm Beach.

Still, a signal of support from the Dolphin Democrats, one of the party’s most active political groups in Broward is something each of the five Democrats for governor sought.

In recent weeks Gillum, Jeff Greene, Gwen Graham, Chris King and Philip Levine made pilgrimages to Wilton Manors, the de facto gay capital of South Florida, to appear before meetings of the Dolphins, the state LGBTA Democratic Caucus, and the Broward chapter of the Women’s March Florida. A key to winning a straw poll involves the campaigns making sure supportive members turned out.

At the July 11 Dolphins meeting, Gillum received 18 votes, Graham received 9, Greene got six and Levine got 4.

The group made official endorsements in several legislative primaries:

  • Saima Rais Farooqui, who is running against state Rep. Kristin Jacobs in the 96th District, which takes in all or parts of Coconut Creek, Coral Springs, Margate, Parkland and Pompano Beach.
  • Paulette V. Armstead, who is challenging state Rep. Patricia Hawkins-Williams in the 92nd District, which takes in all or parts of Deerfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Lauderdale Lakes, Margate, North Lauderdale, Oakland Park, Pompano Beach and Tamarac. The group’s website identifies Armstead as the Dolphins vice president.
  • Andrew Dolberg, one of five Democrats seeking the party’s nomination in the hotly contested 98th House District, which is an open seat being vacated by state Rep. Katie Edwards-Walpole. The district takes in all or parts of Davie, Plantation, Sunrise and Weston.
  • State Sen. Gary Farmer in the 34th Senate district. He’s being challenged by former state Rep. Jim Waldman, who came in third in a three-way primary in the district in 2016, and is seeking the nomination again this year. The district is most of Broward east of Interstate 95.
  • State Rep. Jared Moskowitz over challenger Imtiaz Ahmad Mohammad in the 97th District, which takes in all or parts of Coral Springs, Plantation, Sunrise and Tamarac.
  • Javier Estevez over Ross Hancock in the 105th state House District. The district has some of of Miramar plus a large section of northwest Miami-Dade County and part of Collier County. “As a proud member of the LGBTQ community I promise to fight to bring full equality to Florida and to never be silent. I won’t let you down,” Estevez wrote on Twitter.

Endorsements in contested Democratic primaries require a two-thirds vote of the members, Dolphins president Scott Herman said. Candidates complete questionnaires and can appear before the group’s members.

The Dolphins also endorsed Emma Collum, who is running for state House in the 93rd District, which includes all or parts of Deerfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Lighthouse Point, Oakland Park, Pompano Beach, Wilton Manors, Hillsboro Beach, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea and Sea Ranch Lakes.

Collum is the only Democrat in the race.

The organization has also endorsed several incumbent judges who are being challenged in nonpartisan elections and candidates for open judgeships.

The judicial contests are nonpartisan elections held on Aug. 28, the same day as the primary. Unlike party primaries, open only to registered Democrats or Republicans, all voters can participate in the judicial contests.

In circuit court races, the organization endorsed Ernest Kollra (incumbent), Shari Africk-Olefson, Stefanie Moon, Susan Alspector, Richard Brian Kaplan, Dan Casey and James Curry.

In county court races, the Dolphins recommended Corey Cawthon, Robert Diaz (incumbent), Michael Davis (incumbent), Jackie Powell, and Robert Lee (incumbent).

Endorsements from organizations that review the contenders are especially prized by judicial candidates, whose contests don’t carry party labels and about whom voters don’t have much information.

By Anthony Man

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BREAKING: EMILY's List has endorsed me!

I have huge, exciting news:

EMILY's List—which works to get pro-choice Democratic women elected at every level of government, has endorsed me and our campaign!

Here’s what Geri Prado, their Senior Director of State and Local Campaigns said:

"Emma Collum is a community leader fighting for women and families across Florida. In the state House Emma will continue to advocate for economic opportunity, livable wages, and equality for all Floridians. EMILY's List is proud to stand with her."

I’m proud to be endorsed and stand for better representation of our district. Thank you, EMILY's List!

Will you join EMILY's List in supporting the campaign? Please make a donation here today if you’re able.

I love you all so much for everything you’re doing to help us win this seat.

- Emma

Stopping Trump’s Supreme Court pick

The worst case scenario has happened.

Trump’s second appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court will turn it into one of the most conservative Supreme Courts in our lifetime.

LGBTQ equality, abortion access, voting rights, presidential abuse, corporate influence, campaign funding, gerrymandering, and healthcare are all at stake unless we can delay and shift this pick to someone more moderate.

As a candidate, I have always stood by a woman’s right to privacy and autonomy. That is why I'm proud our campaign earned the endorsement of Ruth’s List, a major progressive force for women’s rights.

Can you help us out with a quick contribution? The battle lines are being drawn, and we need you on our side. Donate here to support the fight!

This November, the Florida State Legislature can serve as a check against Supreme Court decisions that roll back protections for our environment, voting rights, and reproductive rights.

Please help me win this Florida House seat, so we can fight back and protect the rights of everyone who are now at risk: Give whatever amount you can to support. All contributions make a difference.

Stopping Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and other Republican Senators from confirming Trump’s nomination to the Supreme Court is going to be critical these coming weeks.

Thank you,

- Emma

Sun Sentinel: Broward Democrat gets huge infusion of cash for state House race

S. Donald Sussman, a wealthy hedge fund manager, philanthropist, and mega-political donor, has dramatically shaken up a contest for the Florida House of Representatives in northeast Broward.

Sussman gave a $200,000 contribution to support the campaign of Emma Collum, the Democratic candidate in the northeast Broward 93rd District state House of Representatives race. Sussman, a resident of Fort Lauderdale, and lives in the district.

The contribution is so-called soft money, because it is too large to go to a Collum’s state House campaign account.

Just how significant is $200,000? Collum described it as providing “some jet fuel” to help her candidacy.

Through June 22, the most recent reports filed with the state Divison of Elections show she’s raised $101,000 in cash and another $3,000 of in-kind donations of goods and services.

Chip LaMarca, the Republican running for the same seat had raised $262,000 in cash and $10,300 of in-kind contributions.

Kelly Milam, a no party affiliation/independent candidate raised $2,200 in cash and in-kind donations.

Collum, a lawyer who was active in organizing the Women’s March on Washington the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, said her position in favor of gun safety legislation got her on Sussman’s radar. “After a really pleasant conversation, he said ‘I want to bridge the gap’” she faced financially.

“I’ve been running this race as a grassroots candidate. I always knew it would be very challenging for me to outraise a Republican candidate,” she said. “I always knew we were in the running.”

Collum said she hopes it shows others that her campaign “is a very viable candidacy.”

It could also serve as an incentive for Republicans, for whom winning the election is a high priority.

The 93d District is currently represented by state Rep. George Moraitis, R-Fort Lauderdale, who can’t run again because of term limits. It is the only district in the Florida Legislature held by a Republican living in Broward County.

LaMarca, currently a county commissioner, decided not to seek re-election so he could run for the House seat.

The district includes all or parts of Deerfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Lighthouse Point, Pompano Beach and Wilton Manors.

The district’s voters are 36 percent Republican, 35 percent Democratic and 29 percent no party affiliation/independent.

Sussman is the founder of the founder of Paloma Funds and New China Capital Management. He’s also a philanthropist and is on the boards of Carnegie Hall and the news organization ProPublica.

Sussman is also a major contributor to Democrats. Forbes reported he was one of the top 20 donors to Hillary Clinton’s super political action committee. The Washington Post reported in October 2016 that Sussman had given a total of 21 million to the top super PAC supporting Clinton, putting him “on track to be the Democratic nominee’s biggest political backer” of her 2016 campaign.

He also contributed $250,000 to the Patriot Majority PAC, which spent $640,000 on behalf of U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, when she faced a 2016 primary challenge from Tim Canvoa.

In December 2015, Sussman bought a home on Harborage Isle Drive in Fort Lauderdale for $27.5 million, which set a price record in Broward County. A week after the closing, he paid $8.3 million for the home next door and said he planned to tear down the property and build a sculpture garden.

By Anthony Man

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Florida Politics: Game changer: Emma Collum lands $200K ‘angel donation’ in HD 93 race

The odds just got a whole lot better for Emma Collum‘s bid to flip House District 93.

Collum’s campaign said Friday that an “angel donor” has stepped in with a $200,000 soft-money donation, instantly erasing the fundraising gap between her and her Republican opponent, Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca.

On Saturday, Florida Politics learned that the donor was hedge fund manager S. Donald Sussman, a resident of HD 93 and significant Democratic benefactor making a total of $40 million to various Democratic super PACs affiliated groups.

In 2016, The Washington Post reported that Sussman — founder of the Paloma Fund — gave $21 million to Priorities USA, the top super PAC supporting Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid.

“It’s very odd to be giving millions when your objective is to actually get the money out of politics,” he told The Post at the time. “I am a very strong supporter of publicly financed campaigns, and I think the only way to accomplish that is to get someone like Secretary Clinton, who is committed to cleaning up the unfortunate disaster created by the activist court in Citizens United.”

Collum’s campaign manager Mike Dunn said of the donation: “This is an extraordinary day for Emma. Just days after becoming the Democratic nominee she now has equal funds to compete toe to toe with Chip LaMarca. In a district that Charlie Crist won, and in a year that Democratic women are winning across America, Emma is in the perfect position to turn this district blue.”

Collum, a small-business attorney and the president and founder of Women’s March Florida, had already found plenty of success landing endorsements, including a recent one from the Florida Young Democrats. She’d also had some decent success on the fundraising trail — as of June 22, she’d raised more than $100,000 for her campaign and had more than $40,000 in the bank.

Until today, however, LaMarca was far and away the fundraising leader. He’s reeled in more than $260,000 for his campaign since he entered the race in October and had $224,000 in the bank at the end of last week.

But that $184,000 disparity is no more, and HD 93 has now cemented its place among the most flappable state House seats in 2018.

In 2016, Moraitis defeated Democrat Ken Keechl, a former Broward Commissioner, 54-46. That was the closest spread since the seat was redrawn ahead of the 2012 elections, and it came on the same day Donald Trump carried the district by a point.

But that win was helped along by Moraitis’ incumbency and his threefold fundraising advantage. In 2018, the GOP won’t have either of those advantages and if the “blue wave” hits, the Republican oasis that is HD 93 could easily turn blue.

By Drew Wilson

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Proud to be your Democratic Candidate

It’s official — I am qualified and on the ballot for HD93!

Thank you to everyone for the support that made this possible. I am honored to be your Democratic candidate for the November midterm election (we have no primary).

To help us get ready, we are having an extremely critical fundraising drive to close out the quarter. Can we count on you to chip in? Our goal is to have 50 additional contributions by midnight, June 30th.

Broward needs a representative who will fight to protect local priorities like expanding access to affordable healthcare, protecting our environment, and passing commonsense gun reform. We also must do much more to support our students, teachers, and schools which are currently facing a $13.6 million budget shortfall.

This Florida House seat has now become one of the best flip opportunities for Democrats in Florida. Come on board and let’s take this to the finish line so we can win this race:

Please be one of the 50 donations we need to help us close out the quarter. We only have one week left.

I am so grateful to all of you,

- Emma

NBC6: Local Groups to Hold 'March to Keep Families Together' Event in Homestead

Numerous local organizations will protest against the Trump administration's immigration policy in Homestead on Saturday as part of the nationwide March to Keep Families Together.
The local event will take place in Homestead on Saturday at 4 p.m. beginning at the corner of 288th Street and 137th Avenue.

Organizations involved in the protest include the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, the Florida Immigrant Coalition, Rise Up Florida and Woman's March Florida.

"I have no doubt this kind of outrage and this kind of passion will lead thousands of people who will be at the Homestead facility who will be fighting to make sure their voices are heard and that these children are reunited with their families," Emma Collum, president and founder of Women's March Florida, said.

"What we are seeing is cruelty," Collum added.

People who wish to get involved can reach out to Women's March Florida via email at
Watch the NBC 6 video, including Emma, here:




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What are they hiding in Homestead, Florida?

Florida Senator Bill Nelson is not being allowed inside the new child detention center in Homestead, Florida.

This facility, which was recently equipped with beds to house 1000 kids, is denying access to reporters, the public, and even top lawmakers. It's outrageous, cruel, and unusual behavior by a whole administration.

By now, you may have seen the heartwrenching images or heard the audio of children — including kids aged four and under — who are being torn from their parents at the border because of Trump’s new “zero tolerance policy.”

There is no way we are going to allow a facility like this to operate near Broward, or anywhere in the country for that matter.

Please join me at the March To Keep Families Together on June 23rd from 4pm-7pm.

I will also be attending the Rally To Oppose Trump’s Family Separation Policy on June 24th from 2pm-4pm.

GOP stances on healthcare, gun safety, climate change, and immigration — are hurting people, and are exactly why we need to win the upcoming midterm election.

Thank you for fighting with us to make a difference. Your support and assistance are critical.

- Emma Collum

Thank you again for all your help!

Thank you so much for supporting our end-of-month May fundraiser!

One year ago today, I officially started this campaign to flip the last red seat in Broward County. It’s crazy to think about everything that has happened in our community and at the national political stage since then. It's been a trying and challenging time for many of us.

However, I couldn't be prouder of my decision to jump in this race to fight for the people of Broward. To help them get jobs, start small businesses, access affordable healthcare, and receive education in cutting-edge areas like STEM fields.

In the last year, we've also fought hard to pass common sense gun reform, protect the environment, and stop this administration and Florida legislature from further damaging woman's reproductive health rights.

We still have a long, tough road ahead of us as we get ready for the midterm election, so I'm definitely going to need you involved and by my side as much as possible. Looking forward to working with you to make Broward a safer and better place for everyone.

Thank you again for all your help — have a great weekend!

- Emma

P.S. If you did not get a chance to contribute last month, you can help us get June started off well! Donate here if you can.

Hope you're having a good Memorial Day

TODAY is Memorial Day, a time for us to remember the many soldiers, firefighters, and police officers who lost their lives while in the line of duty.

Remembering these brave souls are important because they laid down the ultimate sacrifice one could ever offer. Not only giving their own lives but creating permanent and irreparable fissures in families and friendships.

Since the American Revolution, approximately 1,350,000 American soldiers have been killed in military engagements. Most of this bloodshed occurred, however, during America's Civil War – which pitted countrymen and brothers against each other in what was the bloodiest combat in this nation’s history.

Even at a time when politics is driving and dividing the nation more than any time I can remember, I think it is important to emphasize how important it is we work on repairing these existing and widening divisions.

Memorial Day is a chance for us to put aside our political differences because we are all going to have to give a little extra to fix our fraying government in these coming years.

Have a good rest of the day — looking forward to working with you in the months ahead.

- Emma