The race: Democratic primary for governor
The claim: A 30-second TV spot where Jeff Greene accuses Gwen Graham of not being a true environmentalist because she voted for the Keystone Pipeline and is “threatening the Everglades by building a huge mega-mall there.”
The analysis :Yes,a“huge mega-mall.” Not a tiny mega-mall, you understand. Or even a medium mega-mall. This one is huge
and mega. It kind of is. The American Dream mall would be one of the biggest in America, complete with an indoor water and snow park. Because that’s what South Florida needs … snow.
But Graham’s not “building” it. And it’s not in the Everglades or even alongside it. Her family’s company owns some of the land. And it’s several miles east of the Everglades in a part of town that’s
already so developed there are asphalt and mining companies on one side and a country club and Carrabba’s Italian Grill on the other.
In fact, the Everglades Trust (a pretty good judge of what threatens the Glades) says the mall is less damaging than the mining that might otherwise be allowed under current zoning. And the Everglades Trust endorsed Graham over Greene and the other Democrats.
But the ad is accurate when it says Graham voted for the controversial Keystone Pipeline. She was among 28 House Democrats to vote for it back when she served in Congress. Graham said she viewed the pipeline as less environmentally destructive than other options. Regardless, the ad is right about that.
The verdict: Mixed Malarkey
The race: Democratic primary for U.S. House District 9
The claim: A mailer from Alan Grayson accuses Darren Soto of “DINING WITH DC LOBBYISTS!” while Hurricane Irma was ravaging Florida. The analysis: This piece seems to try to use deceit by date. Irma hit Orlando on Sept. 11. Soto says his Washington fundraiser was Sept. 7 — and that he was back in the district by Sept. 8. As evidence, his campaign offered up office schedules, Facebook photos and even a boarding pass from an American Airlines flight to Orlando. (He enjoys AAAdvantage Gold status, by the way.)
When I asked Grayson’s campaign what was up, a spokesman argued that the mailer doesn’t specifically claim Soto was in D.C. on the precise day the storm hit (again, Sept. 11), but rather that Soto was in D.C. “during the state of emergency” — which Rick Scott declared on Sept. 4.
Except Grayson’s mailer has a big red arrow pointing to the date of Sept. 11 that says: “The DAY Hurricane Irma hit Central Florida!” right under the claim that “Darren Soto abandoned us when we needed him most.” The verdict: Major Malarkey
As a parting gift, I wanted to highlight what might be the most malarkey-filled mailer I’ve seen anywhere in Florida. It hit mailboxes in Tampa where a shady PAC accused a GOP candidate for the county commission of hanging out with “liberal friends.” As evidence, the mailer shows a photo of Republican Todd Marks standing with … wait for it … Barack Obama !!!! There’s just one little detail: It’s a wax figure of Obama. Marks had someone snap the photo when he was goofing around at a wax museum in Vegas — as explained in the Tampa Bay Times piece: “Mailer slams GOP candidate for posing with a smiling Obama. But he’s a wax Obama.”
The verdict: Moldable malarkey