Trump rails on top Florida ally over Hurricane Maria flap

Trump rails on top Florida ally over Hurricane Maria flap

By Alex Isenstadt (Politico) – President Donald Trump is privately lashing out at one of his top allies, Ron DeSantis, angrily accusing the Florida Republican gubernatorial nominee of publicly betraying him. The president has told close associates in recent days that he views DeSantis — who won his Aug. 28 GOP primary thanks to Trump’s strong support — as profoundly disloyal for distancing himself from the president’s assertion that the Hurricane Maria death toll was inflated by Democrats for political purposes. “Ron DeSantis is committed to standing with the Puerto Rican community, especially after such a tragic loss of life. He doesn’t believe any loss of life has been inflated,” the DeSantis campaign said last week after Trump tweeted that “3000 people did not die” in Puerto Rico. Read...
University System of Georgia Announces creation of Georgia FinTech Academy

University System of Georgia Announces creation of Georgia FinTech Academy

University System of Georgia officials announced a statewide initiative Tuesday to create a talent pipeline for Georgia’s fast-growing financial technology (fintech) business sector. According to the announcement by Chancellor Steve Wrigley and the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, they are creating a hub at Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business for all 26 colleges and universities in the system to learn and train more students for careers in the financial technology industry. This, they say, is designed to address a labor gap in the state. Fintech is one of six sectors identified by Gov. Nathan Deal’s High Demand Career Initiative. A segment of the financial services industry, Fintech uses new technologies to lower the costs and decrease time of financial transactions. In Georgia, more than 40,000 people are employed in fintech, which generates more than $72 billion in annual revenue “When we released the College 2025 report, we meant what we said about preparing graduates with innovative approaches,” said Wrigley. “The Georgia FinTech Academy is an innovative response to the call from the fintech industry for more and better workers. With the strength of all 26 institutions of the University System of Georgia behind it, I believe fintech will see immediate results from this new program.” Officials say the Georgia FinTech Academy will prepare individuals to enter fintech or transition from another career through degree programs, executive and continuing education, and apprenticeships and internships providing the practical experience required by employers. Continued growth and expansion of Georgia’s fintech sector is predicated on meeting an escalating demand for talent, including producing 5,000 new hires by...
KY 6: Can the GOP hold the line against a female fighter pilot?

KY 6: Can the GOP hold the line against a female fighter pilot?

By Hastings Wyman – Third-term US Rep. Andy Barr (R) in Kentucky’s 6th District (Lexington, etc.) is facing a tough battle with retired US Marine Lt. Col. Amy McGrath (D), 42, the first female marine to fly an F-18 jet in combat. The contest is widely considered a toss-up, which is borne out by the latest poll, taken earlier this month by the New York Times. The survey showed Barr with a statistically insignificant lead of one point – 47% to 46%. The money chase shows the same close race. At the midyear Federal Election Commission reports, Barr had raised $3,169,000 with $2,778,000 cash-on-hand. McGrath had received $3,025,000, with $734,000 on hand (she had already spent heavily to with the primary). Barr and his allies have launched a series of tough attack ads that have had some effect. “She was ahead 50% to 43% in her own poll” several months ago, says Al Cross, veteran chronicler of Kentucky politics, but decreased some four points as a result of the attacks, which feature videos of her making impolitic statements at public events. “She has a loose tongue,” says Cross. One attack ad shows a clip of McGrath telling a fundraiser in Massachusetts, “I am more progressive than anyone in the state of Kentucky.” Cross adds that the attacks have not hurt her more because “She has an air of celebrity that somewhat insulates her from these attacks.” The attacks, says Democratic consultant Dale Emmons, “are directly out of Mitch McConnell’s play book. Scorched earth.” Laura Glasscock, editor and publisher of the Kentucky Gazette, says “I’m hearing she’s going to keep...
‘Mr. President. SHUT UP’: Florida Republicans pan Trump’s Puerto Rico conspiracy

‘Mr. President. SHUT UP’: Florida Republicans pan Trump’s Puerto Rico conspiracy

By Marc Caputo (Politico) – MIAMI — Florida Republicans are angered by President Donald Trump advancing a conspiracy theory casting doubt on Hurricane Maria’s estimated death toll in Puerto Rico. Even Trump’s two top Florida allies, Gov. Rick Scott and GOP gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis, disagreed with his insensitive comments. Exploding on Twitter two months before Election Day, Trump’s comments have the potential to intensify Boricua voter registration efforts and perhaps election turnout. And that, Republicans and Democrats say, could prove crucial in Florida’s hotly contested races for U.S. Senate and governor, which are essentially tied races. “3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much,” Trump wrote on Twitter, ignoring the fact that the island’s government paid for independent research to determine the death toll, which was impossible to measure after last year’s storm because it crippled every aspect of Puerto Rico’s government. Read...
Move over Georgia, the Sunshine State could now be ground zero for the 2018 elections

Move over Georgia, the Sunshine State could now be ground zero for the 2018 elections

Our neighbor to the south had a humdinger of a gubernatorial primary last month and it may end up directly impacting Georgia’s race for the governor’s mansion. After the votes were tallied in Florida, Congressman Ron DeSantis won the GOP nod handily with 56% of the vote – thanks in part to the bump he received from President Trump’s endorsement. The DeSantis victory was not a surprise given all the weight the President gave to his campaign. On the Democrat side, however, the primary result was a real shocker. Florida Democrats chose Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum despite his poor fundraising and dwindling poll numbers that persisted throughout most of the race. His downward electoral trajectory began to change in early August when Bernie Sanders endorsed the 39-year-old mayor. Liberal billionaire George Soros is reputed to have been in the Gilliam camp as well.  These two factors inhaled fresh life into the Gilliam campaign and enabled him to eke out a three-point win in a very crowded field of well-financed candidates. How much does this impact the Georgia governor’s race? Plenty. Georgia’s race, pitting Republican Brian Kemp against Democrat Stacy Abrams has been viewed as an election with national implications. Florida’s primary results could change that. The Georgia race has been couched in terms of a proxy war between Donald Trump’s brand of conservatism and resurgent liberalism. Brian Kemp embraced the Trump mantra and secured his endorsement in the final days of the July GOP run-off. Vice President Pence even came to middle Georgia to campaign for him. Likewise, Stacey Abrams has embraced far left progressivism and doesn’t care who knows it. National liberals...
Cruz vs. O’Rourke: Upset in the making?

Cruz vs. O’Rourke: Upset in the making?

By Hastings Wyman – “It will be the premier race in the whole country,” says University of Houston political scientist Richard Murray. The reelection of Texas US Sen. Ted Cruz (R), once considered a slam-dunk, is now a highly competitive contest between Cruz and US Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D). The latest average of five polls in July and August by Real Clear Politics showed Cruz with 45.8% to O’Rourke’s 41.4%. The most recent poll, by Emerson College in late August, showed Cruz with 39% to O’Rourke’s 38%. The money tells a similar story. As of June 30, challenger O’Rourke reported raising $23,648,000, slightly more than Cruz’s $23,467,000. Moreover, O’Rourke has thousands of $20 donors, who are now invested in his winning. “Cruz is taking it seriously,” says Murray. “He’s making deadly attacks on O’Rourke,” charging that he is out of touch with Texas values and has Hollywood backing, suggesting the Democratic candidate is more leftist than he likes to appear. “Cruz has pretty well solved his problems with self-identified Republicans,” says Harvey Kronberg, publisher of the Houston-based Quorum Report. “But he is wobbly with independents and Democrats… The odds favor Cruz because there are more Republicans in the state.” In an effort to boost Republican enthusiasm, and turnout, President Trump has agreed to come to Texas to campaign for Cruz. Observers aren’t so sure, however, that the Trump’s appearance will help Cruz. Murray says Trump is “probably not a help at all” to Cruz. And Kronberg goes further, saying, “The biggest problem for Cruz is a guy in the White House holding a grenade with the pin half-pulled.” (A...