TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida’s 2018 midterm election is one of the most important in years. The governor’s office and all three Cabinet seats are open, Republican Gov. Rick Scott is challenging three-term Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, several congressional seats will be competitive and Floridians will vote on 13 proposed constitutional amendments, ranging from property tax cuts to banning greyhound racing. The following are items of political interest from the past week:
NELSON STRIKES BACK! WELL, SORT OF
Republican Gov. Rick Scott has bombarded Florida’s airwaves television ads as he tries to unseat three-term Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. He’s spent about $11 million on eight ads and is hammering the point that Nelson began his political career in 1972.
But Nelson’s campaign finally launched a counterattack.
Well, sort of.
Nelson released an online-only ad. It’s called “Stars,” and among the images is a small boy stomping on a pump that shoots a toy rocket in the air, followed by an actual rocket blasting off into space.
In a way it’s an unintentional metaphor for the campaigns thus far: Scott rocketing off while Nelson begins with a tame pop.
___...TWITTER WARRepublican U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz got in a Twitter spat with his primary opponent in one of the few congressional races around the state where an incumbent is facing a serious challenge from within his party. Challenger Cris Dosev started it by criticizing Gaetz for inviting Charles C. Johnson to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address. Johnson, among other controversies, has been labeled a Holocaust denier by the Anti-Defamation League.“Didn’t you lose by like 16 points the last time you ran against me? President Trump likes winners. That’s why he isn’t supporting you,” replied Gaetz, who won the crowded 2016 primary in this western Panhandle district with only 36 percent of the vote.Gaetz’ response came on Memorial Day. Dosev, a former Marine officer who served in Iraq, made note of it, tweeting that while “President Trump was laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, @mattgaetz busied himself by hurling insults at a veteran on Twitter.”___BIDEN WEIGHS INFormer Vice President Joe Biden endorsed Democratic U.S. Rep. Darren Soto’s re-election bid.That normally would be a yawner, given Soto is in a safe Democratic Orlando-area district. But Soto is being challenged by former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, who held the seat before an unsuccessful Senate run two years ago. The fact that Biden is jumping into the primary is sign that winning a second term won’t be a cakewalk for Soto.___GOOD TIMES: GILLUM ENDORSED BY LEARDemocratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum picked up a celebrity endorsement for gubernatorial campaign. Television producer Norman Lear tweeted out a video asking people to support “a dude I know that I’m crazy about.”“He’s a tall, great-looking black guy and a great friend. I couldn’t admire him more,” the 95-year-old Hollywood icon said. “Governorship is his goal, and I think