<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - Miami Political News and South Florida Politics]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/politics http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida http://www.nbcmiami.com en-us Fri, 19 Dec 2014 03:04:54 -0500 Fri, 19 Dec 2014 03:04:54 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Politician's Ex-Staffer Pleads Guilty to Accepting $7,500 Christmas Card Bribe]]> Thu, 04 Dec 2014 13:37:26 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/generic+bribe+bribery+generic+money+changing+hands.jpg

The former chief of staff for a Chicago alderman pleaded guilty Thursday to accepting a $7,500 cash bribe in exchange for obtaining the alderman's letters of support for a license to sell alcohol in their ward.

Curtis V. Thompson, Jr., former chief of staff for Ald. Howard Brookins (21st), accepted 75 $100 bills in a Christmas card from an individual he believed wanted to open a convenience store. The individual was actually a witness in an FBI undercover investigation.

Thompson, 63, faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Thompson was arrested in February after a complaint was filed in a federal investigation that began in 2012. On Oct. 9, 2013, the FBI informant handed Thompson a note offering the $7,500 bribe in return for a letter of support for his liquor license form the alderman, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. After seeing the note, Thompson nodded his head and said, "Okay. I understand."

Two more meetings followed in October and November 2013, during which the informant offered a $12,000 bribe, officials said. After the third meeting, Thompson prepared two letters of support on the alderman's letterhead and signed the alderman's name.

After the informant agreed to pay the bribes, he was handed a letter from the alderman which read, "Please allow this letter to serve as my full support for a 7-Eleven convenience store ... This store will be a welcomed addition to [my] community and those that patronize the area for shopping and convenience needs. As well as wine and spirits (alcohol)."

Photo Credit: Ronen Boidek, Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Court Clears Way for Same-Sex Marriage in Fla.]]> Wed, 03 Dec 2014 21:58:58 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Gavel13.jpg

A federal appeals court has refused to extend a stay on a ruling that struck down Florida's gay marriage ban, in a decision that means tgay couples could begin marrying as early as Jan. 5.

The 11th U.S. Court of Appeals denied a request by the state to extend the stay past Jan. 5, saying it will consider the state's appeal of the ruling that found the ban unconstitutional on an expedited basis.

The ruling from three-judge panel means that barring any action from the entire court or from the  upreme Court, same-sex marriages could begin early next year in the state of Florida.

Because the original ruling came from a federal court, it supercedes the rulings in state courts.

The case came to the 11th Circuit after U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ruled in August that the Florida gay marriage ban was unconstitutional.

He stayed his decision while the state appealed his ruling, but that stay expires on Jan. 5.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi had asked the appeals court to keep the state’s ban intact while other appeals were completed. Her office said it was reviewing the decision.

<![CDATA[Supreme Court Asked to Block Document Release]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 19:19:48 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/174197278.jpg

Attorneys for a Republican political consultant have turned to the U.S. Supreme Court in their effort to block the release of emails and documents from Florida's redistricting process.

Lawyers for Pat Bainter and his Gainesville-based firm Data Targeting filed an emergency petition on Thursday to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas asking that the documents remain sealed until at least February.

The documents were cited by a circuit judge as a reason why he ruled this summer the GOP-controlled Florida Legislature violated a state law that says congressional districts cannot be drawn to favor any political party or incumbent. State legislators were forced to hold a special session in August to redraw the districts although the changes won't take effect until the 2016 elections.

But the emails and documents have remained sealed as lawyers paid by the Republican Party of Florida have asserted that disclosing them would violate First Amendment rights and trade secrets.

The state Supreme Court earlier this month ruled that the documents should be released to the public and chastised the consultants for not raising First Amendment questions until six months after the documents were first requested.

Justices on Thursday reaffirmed that decision, although they said they would agree to keep the 538 pages of documents sealed until Dec. 1 in order for an appeal to be filed.

Justice Barbara Pariente said that time had come to release the information.

"This court has unanimously concluded that the documents and testimony must be unsealed, and the public's right to view these materials that the trial court relied on in rendering its final judgment has been delayed long enough," Pariente said in a concurring opinion.

However, in their petition to Thomas asking for an emergency stay, Bainter's lawyers contended they would be harmed if that happened.

"Absent a stay, documents and testimony that contain the names, contact information and internal deliberations of people with whom the applicants associated to advance shared political values would suddenly be revealed," states the filing. "Fear of being caught in a litigious dragnet would stifle speech. Loss of anonymity would do the same."

The filing asks Thomas to keep the documents secret until at least February when an appeal must be filed, or until the legal dispute is finally resolved by the federal courts.

Media organizations, including The Associated Press, had asked in a friend of the court brief to the state Supreme Court for the documents to be released.

Lawyers who represented the groups challenging the districts said the records will reveal the "shadow process" they said existed between the consultants and the Legislature.

Voters in 2010 passed the "Fair Districts" amendment. The League of Women Voters of Florida and other groups that sued contended that the congressional map adopted in 2012 violated these new standards.

Judge Terry Lewis in July agreed there was enough evidence to show that consultants helped manipulate the process and ruled that two districts were invalid. Legislators in August adopted a new map that alters seven of the state's existing 27 districts and shifts nearly 400,000 voters in central and north Florida.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Vetta]]>
<![CDATA[GOP Governors Discuss Next Move on Immigration Fight]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 18:54:09 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/rgameeting102014.jpg

As President Barack Obama made final preparations to his announcement on deferred action on immigration, GOP governors were in Boca Raton registering in vivid language their protest.

The GOP governors were in Boca for a Republican Governor’s Association meeting. The governors, many of which are looking at running for president in 2016, wasted no time in issuing strong condemnations of President Obama.

“The president is violating the U.S. Constitution,” said Texas Governor-elect Greg Abbott, who is considering suing the president over the planned executive action.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said Obama had the opportunity to do something with Congress when he was first elected, but squandered that opportunity.

“He had enormous majorities in Congress and campaigned in 2008 to the Hispanic community all across this country that he was going to deal with this issue and he refused to deal with it and instead decided that he wanted to do Obamacare.

The U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform bill last year dealing with many of the issues both sides champion. However, the House of Representatives never allowed the bill to come to a vote, even though whip counts from both sides of the political aisle predicted it would have passed.

With no bipartisan Congressional action coming, Obama is expected to issue executive orders Thursday night that will protect up to 5 million more undocumented immigrants from deportation. The executive actions will benefit multiple groups and expand visas for high-skilled workers, while also reorienting resources to help secure the border.

The Justice Department released a memo for the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Counsel to the President which said that all of the expected Presidential actions Thursday are permissible under the current laws.

Former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey also said Thursday that despite the calls by some governor’s to sue the president over the executive action, the lawsuits would likely not succeed.

“I don’t think any lawsuit to stop what the president seems inclined to propose would be successful,” Mukasey told Fox News. “There is something called the political question doctrine, that basically courts apply when they want to stay out of a controversy between the other two branches of government, and they would apply it here.”

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[City Council Race Ends in Tie]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 12:25:46 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Padilla-McCann-Chula-Vista2.jpg

The razor-thin race for a Chula Vista City Council seat has ended in a tie, two weeks after Election Day, San Diego County officials say.

John McCann and Steve Padilla each won 18,450 votes for the District 1 seat, according to Wednesday's last tally from the San Diego County Registrar of Voters. The registrar reports there aren't any other provisional ballots left to be counted that could break that tie.

Ultimately, it will be up to the city of Chula Vista to determine who takes the seat.

Padilla said his campaign is pleased with the results from the provisional ballots.

“We’re just focused on making sure every vote is counted,” Padilla said.

However, McCann told NBC 7 on Wednesday he believes what he called "dirty politics" played a role.

“We had over 900-point lead and every day it seems to continuously vanish. Obviously it raises some questions,” McCann told NBC 7.

The registrar's office will begin making sure all the votes are accurately counted ahead of the Dec. 2 deadline for certifying results.

While Chula Vista is be the second-largest city in San Diego County, the city council race came down to the narrowest of margins as the final 1,000 county-wide provisional ballots were counted Wednesday.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

<![CDATA[Panthers Snap Skid With Four Goals]]> Tue, 11 Nov 2014 22:21:45 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/458681976.jpg


The Florida Panthers finally returned to the win column on Tuesday with a 4-1 win over the San Jose Sharks.

A three-game losing streak had held the Panthers without a victory since November 1st. With the win, the Panthers are now 5-4-4 on the season and have 14 points. The win also evened up Florida's record at BB&T Center where it is now 3-3.

The Panthers put two goals on the board in the first period and they came less than two minutes apart from each other. Jimmy Hayes and Aleksander Barkov each picked up their second goal of the season. Hayes' score was assisted on by Vincent Trocheck and Jussi Jokinen. Barkov meanwhile got a helping hand from Scottie Upshall and Tomas Kopecky.

In the second period, Derek MacKenzie also notched his second goal of the season with an assist from Aaron Ekblad. The fourth and final goal was scored in the third period off the stick of Tomas Fleischmann. Eklblad also assisted on that one as did Shawn Thornton.

After sitting out their last game, Roberto Luongo was back in the net for the Panthers and it was a welcome sight. His backup Al Montoya had a rough game filling in but Luongo did a good job in his return. The goalie saved 21 of 22 chances. The one goal for the Sharks came in the third period with Florida up four at the time.

Sean Bergenheim missed another game with a lower body injury while Dmitry Kulikov was scratched with a knee injury.

Florida will stay home for a game against the New York Islanders on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[2 U.S. Senators Meet with Alan Gross in Cuban Jail]]> Tue, 11 Nov 2014 22:40:52 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/alan+gross1.jpg

Two United States senators, Arizona Republican Jeff Flake and New Mexico Democrat Tom Udall, met with jailed American contractor Alan Gross in Havana, Cuba, on Tuesday.

Gross told the two senators that he "wants to go home," Sens. Flake and Udall told NBC News.

They said their meeting lasted about two hours, and the conversation with Gross was "positive." Both said they plan to talk with Cuban authorities about negotiating for his release.

Gross has been held in a Cuban prison on a 15-year sentence for allegedly bringing communications equipment into Cuba while he worked as a subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development in 2011.

Gross, 65, has served four years of his 15-year prison sentence. His family has said he has lost more than 100 pounds and suffers from chronic pain, and that his mental health is also deteriorating.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[George W. Fuels Jeb Speculation]]> Mon, 10 Nov 2014 19:09:12 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP787051363500.jpg

The speculation surrounding a possible Jeb Bush candidacy for president continued to swirl Monday as former President George W. Bush told NBC’s “Today” show that he hopes his brother does make a run in 2016.

“This man has a vision and can articulate it,” Bush said. “He’s good, he’s really good. He also can give a speech, a complete speech, in Spanish.”

The last point could be critical as Republicans will look to capture more of the Hispanic vote that President Barack Obama captured nearly 70 percent of in 2012. Still, the thought of another Bush in the White House, or even a Bush versus Clinton race for president, is not appealing to some.

“There will be a lot of ‘too many Bushs’ and he understands that,” Bush said. “I understand that too, of course they said that about me…I don’t think it has anything to do with me, I think it really has to do about him.”

George W.’s talk on the Today Show came just a few weeks after Jeb’s son, George P. Bush, said he believes its “more than likely Jeb will run” for president in 2016. The former Florida governor quickly walked back the remarks and said no final decision will come before the end of the year.

Justin Sayfie, who was part of Jeb’s administration in Florida, said the decision will be more about just being president.

“The biggest challenge for anybody thinking about it is the personal toll it takes, the family toll it takes,” Sayfie said. “You have to be someone that is truly, seriously committed to it because it is a life commitment for sure, two years running, and then possibly eight years serving.”

Bush’s biggest selling point might be his Florida roots. The quadrennial swing state could tilt Republican for the first time in eight years if its former governor made a run for the White House in 2016. Bush has said multiple times he will decide by the end of 2014 on a potential run.

One potential hurdle for Jeb would be the more conservative right turn the Republican Party has taken in the last two elections. While Jeb would likely be extremely popular with establishment Republicans, he might not be conservative enough to appease Tea Party voters and other conservative groups.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Impact with Jackie Nespral - November 9, 2014]]> Mon, 10 Nov 2014 10:39:33 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/impact+logo.jpg Impact with Jackie Nespral - November 9, 2014]]> <![CDATA[Weary Rivals in SoCal Race Hopeful]]> Thu, 06 Nov 2014 11:15:14 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/DeMaio-Peters-June-Primary.jpg

The long, divisive road to the 52nd Congressional District seat stretches on for its two weary candidates, incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Peters and former San Diego city councilman Carl DeMaio, as officials prepare Thursday to start counting around 46,000 still-uncounted ballots.

Exhausted by a late election night that left DeMaio leading by just 752 votes, both candidates are trying to put a positive spin on the numbers.

“This is a historically bad night for Democrats, turnout historically low, and the fact that we're even close is a miracle. I think we're going to win this thing," Peters said at a news conference Wednesday evening.

The initial surge of results had DeMaio in the lead, but as the late ballots came in Tuesday night, the trend was in favor of Peters.

But DeMaio was just as confident that his campaign will come out on top.

“I believe when all votes are counted, we will prevail, and I will have the honor of being San Diego’s voice in the U.S. Congress,” he said at a Wednesday morning news conference.

The San Diego County Registrar of Voters says there were 36,000 mail-in ballots and 10,000 provisional ballots from the 52nd District to be counted, and all were sorted Wednesday.

On Thursday, the counting starts on those 46,000 ballots. Both candidates are sending representatives to make sure each vote is counted correctly.

The registrar is expected to release more numbers Thursday evening, and a final winner should be announced Monday.

But even after the ballots were cast, the biting comments remained.

When asked if he is prepared for a recount in the event of a very close final tally, DeMaio replied, “After what Mr. Peters has done in this campaign, I wouldn’t be surprised by anything.”

Peters’ response later in the day: “I think the campaign's over now. We can get past the hard feelings, stop whining. You know, let's just count the votes."

With nothing to do but wait, both candidates had time to reflect on their contentious campaigns and their plans for the future.

DeMaio will be hopping a plane to Washington, D.C., next week to attend the Congressional freshman orientation.

“What I emphasized last night was that my candidacy hopefully is the beginning of the Republican Party becoming more inclusive, of us getting past labels and putting people in boxes,” the gay candidate said.

While DeMaio zeroed in on reforming his own party, Peters said his focus will be reaching across the aisle in the now Republican-led Congress.

"Well the middle is my territory. I don't think there's enough of us who want to be in the middle,” he said. “I think one of the problems with Congress is it's so polarized and what I offer is a promise that I will always work with anybody."

Voters will continue to watch the results of the race closely, but the end of election season brings one thing both sides can be thankful for: no more political ads.

<![CDATA[Exit Polls: Mixed Feelings on Crist, Scott]]> Tue, 04 Nov 2014 21:10:04 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Decision+2014+NBC+6.jpg

A majority of Florida voters had an unfavorable view of incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott and believe Democratic challenger Charlie Crist switched parties for political expediency, according to data from preliminary exit polling conducted in Florida for The Associated Press and the television networks.

A majority of voters disapproved of how Scott responded to health care reform, the polling showed. While a majority of voters had a favorable view of Crist, 6 in 10 say the former GOP governor switched parties to win elections rather than to reflect his own beliefs. Overall, Florida voters expressed worry about the economy and overwhelmingly believe the nation is on the wrong track.

Here are some highlights of voters' views from Tuesday's elections based on the exit-polling interviews:

WHO LIKED CRIST: Crist appealed to blacks, Hispanics, moderates and younger voters. African-Americans supported Crist over Scott by an almost 8-to-1 margin, and Crist's support among Hispanics was almost 20 points higher than it was for Scott. In fact, Scott's support among Hispanics dropped by around a dozen points compared to the 2010 gubernatorial race. Crist also appealed to voters under the age of 40, and also voters who identified themselves as "moderate." Voters in South Florida and central Florida preferred Crist over Scott, as did voters in cities.

WHO LIKED SCOTT: White voters overwhelmingly supported Scott. While senior citizens supported Scott, the incumbent governor lost support among late middle-aged voters compared to the 2010 gubernatorial election. Scott's appeal to voters who identify as "independent" also dropped by about 10 percentage points compared to four years ago. Voters without a college degree favored Scott over Crist, as did voters earning more than $100,000 a year and Catholic and Protestant voters. Voters in the Panhandle and along Florida's Gulf Coast preferred Scott over Crist, as did voters in the suburbs and rural areas.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Although 60 percent approval is needed to pass, support for the medical marijuana amendment crossed racial, economic and educational boundaries. It appealed to voters from all racial and ethnic backgrounds, income levels and educational attainment. Democrats and voters who identify as independent also supported the proposed amendment. The only voters who opposed legalizing medical marijuana were senior citizens and Republicans.

TOP ISSUES: Florida voters are worried about the economy. By a 3-to-1 margin, voters said they are worried about the direction of the nation's economy than not worried about it, and the economy was their top issue of concern. By a 2-1 margin, voters approve of the U.S. military action against ISIS in Syria and Iraq than disapprove. Florida voters are evenly split on whether the state should recognize same-sex marriage, and a plurality of voters believe health care reform went too far.

2016 PRESIDENTIAL RACE: With two native sons, being talked about as possible Republican presidential candidates in 2016, Florida voters were less than enthusiastic about their running. About half say Jeb Bush would not make a good president, four in 10 say he would, and the state's junior senator, Marco Rubio, fares about the same, with half saying he wouldn't be a good president while just under four in 10 say he would.

The survey of Florida voters was conducted for AP and the television networks by Edison Research. This includes preliminary results from interviews conducted as 1,861 voters left a random sample of 33 precincts statewide Tuesday, as well as 773 voters who voted early or absentee and were interviewed by landline or cellular telephone from Oct. 24 through Nov. 2. Results for the full sample were subject to sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points; it is higher for subgroups.

<![CDATA[FIU Expansion Approved by Miami-Dade Voters]]> Wed, 05 Nov 2014 12:00:54 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/090514+florida+international+university+generic+fiu.jpg

Miami-Dade County voters approved a plan from Florida International University that would let the school expand onto part of the fairgrounds on 107th Avenue in Miami-Dade County.

With 62 percent of the precincts in Miami-Dade County reporting, the yes vote garnered 65 percent support, while the no vote came in at 35 percent.

“The voters have spoken and they have said ‘Yes’ to FIU,” said FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg. “We are thankful for the support of Miami-Dade voters, including FIU students, alumni, faculty, staff and the entire FIU family. We also would like to thank the county commission and Mayor Carlos Gimenez and his staff for their hard work and the vision they have shown for the future of FIU and Miami-Dade County.”

The vote allows FIU to expand onto 64 acres in Tamiami Park that are occupied by the Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition.

In a statement, the youth fair president and CEO, Robert Hohenstein, congratulated FIU and said "we remain open to a resolution that would provide for the continued long-term success of our community's Youth Fair and our Fair Exposition business and would allow FIU to fulfill its goals."

Under the plan voted through by the county commission earlier this year, the county will have to find another site for the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair. FIU said in a press release that it will work with the county to find a suitable new location for the fair.

FIU said no county money will be used for the expansion work.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Tot Wants to Vote ]]> Wed, 05 Nov 2014 08:35:20 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/195*120/Xavier+cries+p1.jpg

Xavier is only 3 years old.

He cannot legally vote for another 15 years. 

But Xavier is passionate about the democratic process. 

The tyke went with his mom, Erica Hallman Nagy to vote this morning near Grande Reserve Elementary in Yorkville, Illinois, and was visibly upset over the fact that he can't cast a ballot -- or get one of those stickers.

Just when it seems like Xavier is coming to grips with his lack of a role in choosing his elected officials, his mom drops a bombshell. 

"Did you know there's people out there who can vote that just don't?" she says.

Information about derelict voters is too much for Xavier to handle, and the kid loses it. 

The moral of this story: Go vote -- it's important and you get stickers. 

<![CDATA[Connecticut's Last Dry Town No More: Vote Reverses Alcohol Ban]]> Tue, 04 Nov 2014 22:18:31 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/beer+bottles+generic+edit.jpg

Voters in the Connecticut town of Bridgewater made the historic decision Tuesday to end prohibition and reverse an alcohol ban in the state's last dry town.

Some residents have bars in their garages but the affluent town, which is home to actress Mia Farrow and a large weekend population of people from New York City, currently does not have a restaurant aside from a village store with a delicatessen.

The question arose last winter when Bridgewater faced the prospect of losing its only school and began searching for a way to breathe life back into the community.

Today, Bridgewater residents passsed the measure allowing alcohol sales at restaurants by a vote of 608 to 226, according to First Selectman Curtis Read.  Absentee ballots still needed to be counted Tuesday night.

The question on the ballot read:

"Shall the Town of Bridgewater adopt the following ordinance: The town of Bridgewater shall allow the sale of alcoholic liquor in all establishments operating under restaurant or café permits only between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday; between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 midnight on Friday and Saturday; between the hours of 12:00 noon and 10:00 p.m. on Sunday; and between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 a.m. on New Year's Eve?"

Businesses with restaurant or café permits will now be allowed to sell liquor between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m., Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday and between noon and 10 p.m. on Sunday, as well as 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. on New Year's Eve.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Minor Voting Issues Reported in Broward, Miami-Dade]]> Tue, 04 Nov 2014 18:36:05 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/110414+Herman+and+Muriel+Elkind.jpg

Only minor issues were reported at some South Florida precincts Tuesday as Election Day 2014 got under way.

In Broward, the Plantation Acres Improvement District race was not on a ballot for one precinct, Broward Elections Public Services Director Mary Cooney said.

"You know, I thought, 'Well, that's a big mixup,'" said Jennifer Nieset, who is running for commissioner in Plantation Acres

The race was on the ballot for the other two precincts in the district, and new ballots were delivered to the other precinct and the issue was "corrected very quickly," Cooney said.

In both Broward and Miami-Dade, some voters said they showed up to vote only to learn their polling place had changed.

At the West Kendall Regional Library, Herman and Muriel Elkind said they were told their precinct had changed. They said they've voted there for the past 12 years.

"We live around the corner practically, we have to go to another library to vote," a frustrated Herman Elkind said.

But some didn't blame their respective elections departments.

"It's more my fault than their fault," said voter John Peloso.

Miami-Dade Chief Deputy Supervisor of Elections Christina White said voters were notified of any changes.

"Some voters from this location were impacted by reprecincting earlier this year," White said in an email. "As such, all voters were notified by mail with a new Voter Information Card and a follow up reminder letter that included map and photograph of the new location."

Cooney said Broward voters were also notified of any changes.

"We have sent out cards to every one of our voters since we did the reprecincting," said Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes. "The information was out there many times in many different forms."

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[South Florida Voters Weigh Options on Election Day]]> Tue, 04 Nov 2014 15:43:54 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/110414+voters+west+park.jpg

While many voters in Miami-Dade and Broward had their minds made up as polls opened for Election Day 2014, some were still undecided.

Polls opened at 7 a.m. in both counties with Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Democrat Charlie Crist essentially tied, according to recent polls.

In Doral, some voters like Patricio Moreno were still on the fence. Moreno said he was going with Crist, while others, like David Pinto, said he was voting for Scott.

"Well, I think he's a good fit for the state," Pinto said of Scott.

"They're all the same," said Eloy Reyes, who said he'd make his pick in the voting booth.

Polls opened mostly without issues, though some voters who went to the wrong voting location complained that they weren't notified that their precincts had changed.

Officials from the Miami-Dade and Broward elections departments said voters were notified with new voter information cards that were sent by mail.

Aside from the governor's race, voters were also deciding on Amendment 2, the state's medical marijuana initiative and one of the most talked-about choices on the 2014 ballot in Florida.

At Lauderhill City Hall Tuesday, Theresa Brown said she voted yes on Amendment 2, based in part on the treatment for her son's irregular heartbeat.

"It helps his heart beat, he has a normal heart beat now, when he had a slow heart beat and well now it’s normal," Brown said.

For Maureen McMurty, she voted yes for Amendment 2 because of her family members who are battling cancer.

“I have family members that are extremely sick with cancer so they can not be in so much pain and be able to eat," she said.

But another woman voted no and says she's educated on the topic.

"I'm in the nursing field," said the woman, who didn't give her name. "It doesn’t do anything, trust me, it doesn’t.”

Lloyd Ruskin also voted no, saying the medical pot will fall into the wrong hands.

"We have people that get over the counter drugs, prescription drugs from doctors and they turn around and sell it to somebody else. They’re going to do the same thing with medical marijuana, that’s the way I feel," he said.

Amendment 2, like the other amendments, need 60 percent of the vote to pass.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Conn. Gov., GOP Challenger Debate]]> Mon, 03 Nov 2014 16:09:17 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/malloy+foley+chaz+and+aj+debate.jpg

While Connecticut's Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy and Republican challenger Tom Foley may have hugged it out before their last debate at the request of radio hosts Chaz and AJ, their battle for the governor's seat remains fierce a day before the election.

The debate started in Milford at 8:30 a.m. and aired live on "Chaz and AJ In The Morning" on rock radio station 99.1 PLR.

Just a day after unaffiliated gubernatorial candidate Joe Visconti announced that he is suspending his campaign, Foley said he welcomed the unaffiliated candidate's support.

"This is about guns," Malloy said in response Visconti's endorsement of Foley, referencing Foley's opposition to new gun control legislation in the state.

Answering the opening question about jobs in Connecticut, Malloy touted his job creation record but admitted the state workforce has been reduced by about 1,000 people since he took office.

Malloy said he has "no plans to eliminate future workers," but added that there is "always the possibility that the use of technology will allow us to do things more effectively."

Foley promised not to cut state workers' jobs and vowed to lower car and property taxes.

"People are feeling the big squeeze," he said. "I'm not happy and most people I'm talking to aren't."

After Foley criticized Malloy for tax hikes and spending increases, the incumbent defended his administration's decisions, saying he and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman have budgeted responsibly. Malloy explained that he didn't cut the budget because it would have led to job losses, hospital closures and police and fire layoffs.

The governor also said he plans to reinstitute tax cuts on prescription drugs if re-elected.

"We've weathered tough storms and human tragedies. I'm asking for your vote," Malloy said.

With a day to go before the polls open, a new Quinnipiac University poll shows Malloy pulling support from 47 percent of likely voters to Foley’s 44 percent. Seven percent remain undecided. The results were released soon after Visconti suspended his campaign and endorsed Foley.

“Contrary to conventional wisdom, independent candidate Joe Visconti’s last minute exit from the governor’s race doesn’t look like it will help Republican Tom Foley,” said Douglas Schwartz, director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, in a statement.  

This is the second time the two candidates are in a battle for the governor's seat. In 2010, Malloy defeated Foley in the general election after a heated race.

Chaz and AJ closed the debate by having Malloy and Foley participate in a more light-hearted battle – Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots.

Malloy's blue robot quickly defeated Foley's red one. The radio personalities quipped that when they asked the candidates to play four years ago, the winner of the game ended up also winning the election.

Monday's gubernatorial debate was the last before the polls open Tuesday.

National party leaders are maintaining a presence in the state in the hours leading up to one of the closest governor's races in the country.

President Barack Obama rallied support for Malloy in Bridgeport on Sunday, while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will appear in Windsor Locks alongside Foley this evening.

More Decision 2014 coverage is available here.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>