On Tuesday, we discussed the two known candidates for the Florida U.S. Senate’s Democratic Party, Congressmen Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson. Today, we will meet the three unknown candidates:
- Pam Keith – Labor attorney and former naval officer
- Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente – Businessman and political activist
- Reginald Luster –Attorney
Pam Keith was born in Turkey while her father was there working as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer. She served in the U.S. Navy and later as a labor attorney. As a political newcomer, Keith entered the race because she felt that she could do a better job than incumbent Marco Rubio.
“I don’t think it’s a good dynamic for the Democratic Party to offer a slate of insider millionaire candidates in a season where people are clamoring for outsiders,” she said. “That’s not a great lineup for us. I’m the party’s hope; I’m the one who can bring that outsider flavor, and that fresh, that new, that not-country-club, politics-as-usual flavor that Democrats claim to be about.”
One of her biggest issues is gun control. “Make it harder to give, rather than to get. That’s how you get reduction in guns on our streets.” She wants to limit the sale of AR-15 rifles.
Veteran’s issues, investing in clean and renewable energy, LGBT rights and immigration reform so people in the U.S illegally can have a path to citizenship are key issues to her campaign.
On Caring For Our Veterans:
Those who serve our nation in the armed forces are deserving of the utmost respect and care. It is a disgrace that we have so many veterans who are homeless, suffering from untreated illnesses and who suffer daily. Many have benefit claims that have languished for years, wait months for needed medical care or are neglected altogether.
Based on what I’ve seen of Keith, had she started on a smaller stage, she would quickly rise up. Starting in the state legislature or a Congressional seat would be a better option. Her biggest problem is lack of name recognition which translates to a difficulty in fund raising. The party has also chosen it’s candidate making this campaign even more of a challenge for her. Hopefully, she’ll come back and run for state legislature or a U.S. House seat in two years.
Watch Keith explain why she is running.
- Campaign site
- Pam Keith is Democratic underdog in Florida’s U.S. Senate Race – Miami Herald – May 29, 2016
- Democratic U.S. Senate Hopeful Pam Keith Shows No Signs of Slowing Down – 90.7 WMFE – August 9, 2016
Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente
Rocky De La Fuente is a businessman and political activist. In addition to being on the August 30th primary ballot for the Democratic Primary for U.S. Senate, he was a candidate on the 2016 Democratic primary ballot for U.S. President in a number of states. It looks like he will appear on the presidential ballot in some states, as well, for the November General Election representing the Reform Party USA. [source: Politics1.com]
His business interests included owning automobile dealerships and currency exchange locations in the United States and Mexico.
His National Issues page on his campaign site opens with FREEDOM: “Traditional politicians look at issues as being separate from one another and in a way that generally conforms to their party’s platform. Rocky De La Fuente looks at issues from a far more practical perspective: He knows the issues are interrelated, and he know [sic] that neither party has a monopoly on good ideas.”
Campaign issues listed in order from his site: Foreign Policy, Resource Policy, Education, Economic and Defense.
His Rocky2016 campaign site looks like it is interchangeable between his Presidential and Senate campaigns with the exception of a Florida Issues page that focuses on Jobs, Immigration, Environment, Education, Veterans, Security and Social Security and Medicare / Medicaid.
His position on the Second Amendment is gutsy in today’s environment especially where the NRA influence is so great. [From Rocky2016.com – Florida Issues – Security]
The issue of domestic security struck home with the recent mass murder committed in Orlando where I live. The senseless loss of lives and the targeted killings brought the horror and reality of terrorism to Florida. It is time to take a rational approach to securing our safety rather than a political one.
We need to revisit the issue of gun control. Times have changed, but our interpretation of the Second Amendment has not evolved with the times. We no longer live in a world in which a “well regulated Militia” can possibly be equipped with the same fire-power of the United States military “to the security of a free State” beyond the concept of a National Guard. It would be illogical to assert that every citizen had the right to “bear arms” in the form of a fully armed F-22 Raptor or by the possession of a nuclear arsenal. It is time to “get real.”
De La Fuente was featured in an article by humorist Dave Barry [link here]. If you base your voting preferences on candidates that were featured in a Dave Barry article, Rocky De La Fuente is your candidate!
At first thought, one would think the name Reginald Luster is not a common one. So be warned that when you Google the name, Reginald Luster – a story comes up from 2014 about a Reginald Luster that was convicted of killing his girlfriend in her FSU dorm room in 2012. What makes it more bizarre is that both live in Florida.
So I added the word “Senate” in my search to eliminate the other man.
Reginald Luster is a civil layer in Jacksonville and owns a real estate investment and management corporation. In 1994, he was appointed as an assistant U.S. attorney with the United States Attorney’s Office, Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville Division by U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno.
He believes that changes need to be made to eliminate partisan politics and work on issues that are important to Floridians and all Americans.
Luster, like Pam Keith, decided to run for the Senate because of the poor performance of Marco Rubio. “I am running to advocate and vote the interest of Floridians over partisan politics. In fact, incumbent Marco Rubio has rarely voted in the best interest of Floridians. He has simply voted his party’s agenda and that agenda conflicts with the interest of Floridians.”
Luster’s position after the Orlando shooting:
My thoughts and prayers remain with the victims and families of the mass shootings in Orlando as well as with the victims and families of our nation’s growing list of senseless shootings. We, the American people, must demand that Congress pass laws that protect innocent citizens from domestic terrorists who use military assault rifles to commit mass killings. We, the American people, must also demand that Congress pass laws that equip federal and state law enforcement officers with effective measures to prevent those type of weapons from getting in the hands of domestic terrorists.
However, the current party leaders in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House will not permit any debates and votes on proposed legislation that will protect citizens and assist law enforcement in preventing domestic terrorism. The rules in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House that prevent lawmakers from overriding the partisan politics of one lawmaker must be changed, allowing one-third of lawmakers to call for a debate and, ultimately, a vote on bills of great public importance. The rules in Congress must change to protect all Americans.
The issues he has listed on his campaign site are: Florida Economic Industries and Jobs, Florida Military Bases, Florida College and University Students, Floridians Voting Rights, Campaign Finance Reform, etc.
Luster is another candidate that I would love to see start within the state legislature or in his Congressional District. The problem is that Florida’s Democratic Party does not seem to seek out strong candidates to rise up within the state party. So, this year we have two strong options starting out at a state-wide race. Floridians would be better served to get them involved at the local and State Legislature level to introduce them to the voters. Unknowns like Keith and Luster don’t have a fighting chance at the state-wide level. Just look at the disparity in fund raising between Murphy and Grayson versus Keith, De La Fuente and Luster.
Say what you will about Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Senator Marco Rubio. They both started in the State Legislature and became rising stars before moving to the national stage. The party needs to focus on developing the talent at the local level.
Worse is what we discussed yesterday. The party tends to back candidates rather than letting the voters learn about each candidate and deciding at the ballot box. So strong candidates like Nan Rich got shut out in her run for governor in 2014, because the party establishment put all their effort behind Charlie Crist.
- Campaign site
- Luster Qualified to Run for U.S. Senate – The Miami Times – July 20, 2016
- Profile on League of Women Voters of Florida
Campaign dollars raised and spent
|Candidate||Raised||Spent||Cash on Hand||Debt|
|Patrick Murphy||$10,260,267||$3,569,008||$7,227,916||$ –|
|Alan Grayson||$ 2,513,300||$1,535,842||$ 484,371||$2,560,993|
|Pam Keith||$ 186,923||$ 204,433||$ 2,488||$ 75,317|
|Rocky De La Fuente||$ 71,000||$ 64,069||$ 6,931||$ 71,000|
|Reginald Luster||$ 18,607||$ 13,353||$ 5,253||$ 2,300|
Last Report: 30-JUN-2016
Source: fec.gov and opensecrets.org