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Welcome To Florida Politics

Thanks for visiting. On a daily basis we scan Florida's major daily newspapers for significant Florida political news and punditry. We also review the editorial pages and political columnists/pundits for Florida political commentary. The papers we review include: the Miami Herald, Sun-Sentinel, Palm Beach Post, Naples News, Sarasota Herald Tribune, St Pete Times, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Tallahassee Democrat, and, occasionally, the Florida Times Union; we also review the political news blogs associated with these newspapers.

For each story, column, article or editorial we deem significant, we post at least the headline and link to the piece; the linked headline always appears in quotes. We quote the headline for two reasons: first, to allow researchers looking for the cited piece to find it (if the link has expired) by searching for the original title/headline via a commercial research service. Second, quotation of the original headline permits readers to appreciate the spin from the original piece, as opposed to our spin.

Not that we don't provide spin; we do, and plenty of it. Our perspective appears in post headlines, the subtitles within the post (in bold), and the excerpts from the linked stories we select to quote; we also occasionally provide other links and commentary about certain stories. While our bias should be immediately apparent to any reader, we nevertheless attempt to link to every article, column or editorial about Florida politics in every major online Florida newspaper.


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Previous Articles by Derek Newton: Ten Things Fox on Line 1 Stem Cells are Intelligent Design Katrina Spin No Can't Win Perhaps the Most Important Race Senate Outlook The Nelson Thing Deep, Dark Secret Smart Boy Bringing Guns to a Knife Fight Playing to our Strength  

The Blog for Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Truth Behind Scott's Latest Ad

    The Miami Herald exposes that the shill (Dean Kretschmar) featured in a massive anti-Crist ad buy attempting to tie Crist to Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein fails to mention that, before heading off to prison, Rothstein showered
    mostly Republicans, with tainted money that almost all of them returned after the scheme was exposed in 2009. Rothstein used his close relationships with Crist, other politicians, sports stars, and area religious and charitable leaders as an advertising tool to dupe investors.

    None of that context is in the ad cut by the 41-year-old Kretschmar. Repeating a disputed Rothstein claim that Crist sold judgeships, Kretschmar makes a series of omissions. . . .

    Kretschmar fails to mention that his Fort Lauderdale lawyer is William R. Scherer, a Scott donor and GOP operative. Rothstein once called Scherer a “mentor.” And Scherer also tried to help get a lenient sentence for Rothstein — the very man Scherer’s client trashes in the ad, which has run about 4,000 times in Florida at a cost of at least $2 million. . . .

    Scherer and his law firm have contributed at least $23,000 to Scott’s campaigns since 2010. Scott appointed Scherer to a JNC post in 2011. The next year, Scott appointed Scherer’s daughter, Elizabeth Ann Scherer, to a circuit court bench.

    Much more here: "Mystery man in Rick Scott attack ad unveiled, misleads about Charlie Crist and Ponzi scheme." See also "" and "".

    "Scott losing with women voters"

    "Facing potential problems among women voters, Gov. Rick Scott held a campaign event in Tampa on Tuesday aimed squarely at women, particularly women business owners." "Scott, losing with women voters, courts them in Tampa." See also "Scott lauds women's rally."

    "Big promises"

    "Contenders for governor keep making big promises."

    West's comeback

    "Having opened the door to an electoral comeback attempt in 2016, former U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., a favorite of the tea party movement and conservatives, is supporting Republican campaigns across the nation and drawing fire from Democrats as a result." "Fighting for Conservatives, Allen West Just Loves that Democratic Flak."

    Brain Trust

    "Florida Delegation Still Debating the Merits of Obamacare."

    Who's Worse?

    Kevin Derby: "Less than 50 days to go until the general election, both Gov. Rick Scott and his Democratic challenger former Gov. Charlie Crist are hitting Florida’s airwaves as they exchange shots on education and other issues." "Who's Worse for Education, Rick Scott or Charlie Crist? TV Attack Ads Fly." From the right: "Take a Closer Look at School Spending 'Cuts'."

    "Bondi fights to prevent lesbians’ divorce"

    "Attorney General Pam Bondi may be fighting to prevent same-sex couples from marrying in Florida, but she is also taking a legal position that has the effect of forcing gay couples who married elsewhere to stay married, lawyers in a Tampa case say." "Bondi fights to prevent lesbians’ divorce." See also "Democrats attack Bondi over gay-marriage fight."

    "Chicken Littles at the Florida Chamber of Commerce"

    Scott Maxwell worries that "the Chicken Littles at the Florida Chamber of Commerce have already begun fear-mongering" over amendment 1. "Florida's environmental Amendment 1 is popular — for good reason"

    Sorry Rick, but "employment in Florida tracks national conditions"

    Even the GOP dead enders on the Tampa Trib editorial board recognize that "State politicians are masters at taking credit for creating jobs and blaming rivals for losing them, so it’s easy to overlook how closely employment in Florida tracks national conditions." "Editorial: Seeing sunny sides of dreary economy."


    "Debbie Wasserman Schultz's Disastrous Summer."

    Scott's Appointment record is "shameful"

    The Miami Herald editors write that Scott has a "shamefully low" number minority appointments to the bench. The editors write that Scott's rationale is "insulting:"

    “What I’m focused on is making sure that the people I appoint understand that there are three branches of government and that they don’t get to legislate. They don’t get to pass laws, just like I don’t get to pass laws.”

    Really? Is he assuming black judicial candidates are deficient in that regard?

    "Filling the bench."

    Rubio struggles for relevancy

    "Eyeing 2016, Rubio pushes American strength abroad."

    "Too much testing"

    The Gainesville Sun editors: "With all the state-mandated tests being taken by Florida students, it is a miracle that there is any time left to teach." "Too much testing."

    Florida ranked behind only 2 states in rate of uninured residents

    "Twenty percent of Floridians lacked health insurance last year, down slightly from a rate of 20.1 percent in 2012. But the change was within the margin of error, rendering it insignificant."

    Florida ranked behind only Texas and Nevada in having the highest rate of uninsured residents in the nation. Texas had a rate of 22.1 percent and Nevada’s was 20.7 percent, but both those states showed improvement in lowering their rates year-over-year, unlike Florida. . . .

    Massachusetts had the nation’s lowest rate at 3.7 percent.

    Florida’s Republican-controlled Legislature last year decided against expanding Medicaid coverage to an estimated 1 million low-income Floridians under the federal health law.

    "Uninsured rate remains unchanged in Florida."

    Lazy? Really?

    "Faceoff: Is early voting convenient or just lazy?."


    "PolitiFact Florida found Joe Garcia’s statement about his Republican challenger Carlos Curbelo to be false." "Joe Garcia says Carlos Curbelo supports raising flood insurance rates."

    Crist may use executive orders to bypass Legislature

    "Charlie Crist says he believes there is 'a good argument' that a Florida governor could expand the state’s Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act through an executive order, without approval by the Legislature, and he might seek to do so if he’s elected governor." "Crist would consider bypassing lawmakers to expand Medicaid."

The Blog for Monday, September 15, 2014

Another (Old) Scott scandal

    William March: "Rick Scott won the Florida governor’s office in 2010 despite his history as head of a hospital chain that paid the biggest health care fraud fine in history, $1.7 billion, for cheating government programs that serve the elderly, the military and the poor."
    Democrats are trying to make that an issue again in the 2014 election.
    "But the 1990s scandal involving Scott’s company, Columbia/HCA, overshadowed another investigation, one into whether Scott and Columbia/HCA sought to rig the purchase of what then was the county-owned Tampa General Hospital."
    No charges were filed in the case despite a 1½-year investigation that involved a federal grand jury in Tampa. But that outcome never satisfied the man whose suspicions brought about the investigation, one of Florida’s most respected political and civic leaders, the late Fred Karl.
    "Scott’s Columbia/HCA case overshadowed TGH probe."

    Scott confident

    "Florida Republicans say that a victory by Gov. Rick Scott in November is within their grasp." "Florida GOP optimism grows as election approaches." See also "GOP Optimism Growing as Election Approaches." Meanwhile, "With early lead gone, Crist campaign tries to rebound."

    Rubio strives for relevancy

    "Sen. Rubio stresses border security."

    Poll shows Putnam only 5 points ahead

    "More than a few eyebrows across the state went up last week when Democrat pollster PPP released a poll showing Adam Putnam only 5 percent ahead of Democrat Thad Hamilton in the agriculture commissioner race. But, despite that slim lead, Putnam really isn’t in much peril against Hamilton."

    To be sure, Hamilton is a more serious candidate for Democrats than William Rankin who is running against Jeff Atwater in the CFO contest. Democrats like Charlie Crist, George Sheldon and Allison Tant have no problem featuring Hamilton at campaign events. That stands in sharp contrast with Rankin whose background is, at best, questionable. Hamilton served in the Army and worked for the federal Agriculture Department for years. He also chaired the Broward Soil and Water Commission. Hamilton is also the only African-American candidate running for statewide office in Florida this year.
    "Adam Putnam Needs a Big Win Over Thad Hamilton in November."

    Paradox of pot

    Marc Caputo: "Tallahassee’s conservative political establishment is about to embark on a multi-million ad campaign to kill a popular, proposed constitutional amendment for medical marijuana." "The politics, paradoxes and polling of pot in Florida." See also "Medical Marijuana Entrepreneur Taps Doctors, Including First in Florida."

The Blog for Sunday, September 14, 2014

Scott pushes "inequitable tax plans"

    The Tampa Bay Times editors: "In election season, tax break promises are as predictable as campaign signs. But the details of Gov. Rick Scott's $1 billion tax cut proposal are more piecemeal than most, and the measures could contribute to inequities in Florida property taxes and further tie the hands of local governments that most closely serve residents. Voters should not be fooled by vague promises of unrealistic tax cuts that would do more harm than good."
    Scott promised a potpourri of tax breaks on the campaign trail: a $120 million cut in the communication services tax; a $120 break on the $225 initial registration fee for cars; $200 million in sales tax holidays, which require families to spend money to save money; and a trio of breaks for Florida businesses — elimination of the manufacturing sales tax and the phase-out of both the business income tax and the sales tax on commercial leases.

    But most troubling is Scott's plan to ask the Legislature to seek voter approval to eliminate one of the tools local governments were able to rely upon to make it through the economic recession. Scott is calling for the elimination of the state's "recapture rule." That ensures that property owners who enjoy extraordinary breaks under the state's homestead or commercial property assessment caps don't forever have significantly lower property tax bills than neighbors who bought more recently. It's the one mechanism that makes a system that treats property owners differently based on when they buy a bit fairer.

    "Scott's inequitable tax plans."

    "Scott seldom appoints black judges"

    "After nearly four years, Gov. Rick Scott has appointed fewer African-Americans to Florida judgeships than either Charlie Crist or Jeb Bush did in the same period of time."

    Scott has appointed nine black attorneys to judgeships in nearly four years, according to data from his office. They include reappointments of three judges who hear job-related injury claims and four county judges who decide small claims and traffic cases.

    Only twice has Scott appointed black judges to the more prestigious trial court or circuit court, and both are in Miami-Dade: Eric Hendon and Rodney Smith in 2012. Thirteen of Scott's 14 choices for district courts of appeal judges are white and the other is Hispanic.

    "Florida Gov. Rick Scott seldom appoints black judges."

    Oops! Bondi, like Crist, is a Party-Switcher

    Will George Sheldon mimic the FlaGOP's attacks on Crist by attacking Bondi for being a party-switcher? Perhaps he should.

    Pam Bondi,

    Florida’s first female attorney general, a Republican, was a Democrat from 1984 to 2000, when Democrats controlled power in Tampa. Her late father, Dr. Joseph Bondi, a former mayor of Temple Terrace, was a Democrat until 2004. As an assistant state attorney in Hillsborough, Pam Bondi changed parties soon after her boss, Democrat Harry Lee Coe III, took his own life. “I have always been conservative,” Bondi said during the 2010 campaign when it emerged she had once been a Democrat.
    "Charlie Crist’s party-switch is not unusual in Fla. politics."

    Weekly Roundup

    Kevin Derby: "Political Bits and Pieces." See also "Weekly Roundup: Garnet, Gold and Green" and "Arrivals and Departures, Sept. 12, 2014."

    Really? Hunters can now use silencers

    "The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on Wednesday advanced a proposal that would remove a ban on silencers for rifles and pistols when hunting deer, gray squirrels, rabbits, wild turkeys, quail and crows." "State panel backs gun silencers for hunting."

    "Bondi has been an embarrassment to this state"

    Scott Maxwell: "Since her election, Bondi has been caught taking money from a wealthy celebrity she had been asked to investigate."

    She postponed an execution so that she could throw herself a fundraising party.

    She ousted two of her top foreclosure-fraud investigators.

    And she broke her word when she vowed to investigate a string of wrongful convictions.

    Basically, Pam Bondi has been an embarrassment to this state.

    And in Florida, that's really saying something.

    "Bondi played games with executions, convictions and donations."

    Bought and paid for

    "The company that paid for Texas hunting trips for Florida Republican leaders has a deal in the works to turn 67 square miles of agricultural land on the northwest edge of the Everglades into housing and businesses." "U.S. Sugar seeks OK for huge development after news it paid for GOP leaders’ trips."

    "Jobs and the economy the most important issues facing Florida"

    "Jobs and the economy remain the most important issues facing Florida, though they’re declining dramatically as the economy improves, according to a new survey of adults by the University of South Florida." "Job concerns linger in Florida, USF survey finds."

    A bit much

    "Former Palm Beach County Commissioner Burt Aaronson mentioned woman-punching football player Ray Rice Friday night while criticizing Gov. Rick Scott‘s policies as “an abuse to women” during a campaign rally for Democrat Charlie Crist." "Democrat Aaronson plays Ray Rice card to attack Scott on women."

    Half true"

    "NextGen ad says Rick Scott trying to ‘hide from’ donation related to drilling project."

    Charter madness

    "The Southwest Ranches suit said Pembroke Pines improperly approved the school, but Judge Thomas Lynch rejected the argument. The school was one of 19 new charter schools approved last fall." "Judge dismisses city's suit vs charter school."

    Going vegan

    "Going vegan was winning move for South Florida congressman."

    You gotta problem wit' dat?

    "The Citizens Property Insurance Corp. inspector general found no improprieties in how three former executives left for employment with private firms that have ties to the state-backed insurer." "Inspector General: former Citizens executives did not violate ethics rules."

    Grubbing for Flabaggers

    "Bondi appeals gay-marriage rulings."

    Flagler SOE kerfuffle continues

    "Kimberle Weeks knows how to play to an audience."

    The supervisor of elections had one at Friday’s much-anticipated Flagler County Canvassing Board meeting, of which she is a member. Twenty three people turned up–not including two cops, two attorneys, the four members of the board and five reporters–for what would normally not get an audience of more than one or two, if that.

    Weeks spent more time addressing the audience than conferring with her fellow-board members: Board Chairwoman Milissa Moore-Stens, George Hanns and Charlie Ericksen sat, stone-faced, through speech after speech that Weeks delivered, facing the audience, to repeat accusations of “interference” and lack of “respect” from Palm Coast and that the city was no complying with an agreement worked out before the election.

    "Elections Supervisor Weeks Scuttles Latest Attempt to Resolve Elections Conflicts in Heated Meeting."


    "Presidential Hopefuls Flock to Florida to Help Rick Scott and Charlie Crist."

    "Big promises"

    Aaron Deslatte reports that "state economists are cautioning Florida's housing-market failure still has some humps to get over. The state remains the national leader in 2014 for both the number of foreclosure filings and the rate of foreclosure."

    Thanks in part to over-construction of housing in the heat of the bubble, construction and financial services employment remains off its pre-recession peak. Housing construction this year is also off the 2013 pace so far.
    "Meantime, Scott has been on a two-week campaign barrage to tout an amorphous, $1 billion tax-cutting plan he says he'll unveil in more detail after the election."
    The cuts would appear to heavily tilt toward companies, cutting business and communications services taxes yet again. Scott has also pledged major dollars for environmental spending and increased classroom money.
    "Contenders for governor keep making big promises."

    Even Hillsborough

    "Hillsborough commission to revisit domestic partner registry."

    Southerland opens mouth . . .

    "Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.) was criticized last week for hosting a male-only fundraiser in March, with his opponent Gwen Graham's campaign calling the event 'offensive.' But Southerland laughed off the criticism to the Tampa Bay Times on Friday, comparing the event to a 'lingerie party.'" "Rep. Steve Southerland Wonders If His Female Opponent Has 'Ever Been To A Lingerie Shower'." "More: Finally! Steve Southerland Lobs 'Beltway Background' at Gwen Graham."

    Crist has principles . . . sides against clergy in charter school litigation

    "Charlie Crist is siding with the teachers union — not African-American ministers — over a new lawsuit that seeks to dismantle the state’s major school-choice program." "Charlie Crist sides with teachers union over black clergy in school choice program lawsuit."

    Meanwhile, the wingers whinge: "‘Bumper Crop of Litigation’ Threatens School Choice in Florida."

    "The whole thing is a crock."

    Nancy Smith: "Smart move by All Aboard Florida: Announce you've got a builder for billions of dollars in new "train sets," then watch how fast your business pals buddy-up and your opponents deflate like a Bazooka bubble. . . . But read the PR statement carefully. Plain as the nose on your face, the whole Siemens selection thing is a crock." "Siemens Announcement: Real or Ruse?."

    Will the haters picket a military base?

    "Obama to visit Centcom in Tampa on Wednesday."

    "Switching parties is a time-honored tradition"

    Crist haters overlook the fact that party switching is common in Florida:

    Govs. Claude Kirk and Bob Martinez; Attorneys General Jim Smith and Pam Bondi; U.S. Reps. Andy Ireland, Bill Grant, Charles Canady, Tillie Fowler and Tim Mahoney; and a very long list of state legislators, including Senate President Don Gaetz and former House Speaker Allan Bense, have all switched parties.
    "Crist isn’t Florida’s only party switcher; it’s pretty common." Steve Bousquet argues the GOP's case on this issue: "Switching parties is a time-honored tradition in Florida politics, but Charlie Crist is doing it at a time, at a level and in a way never before attempted. Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/09/14/4347301/charlie-crists-party-switch-is.html#storylink=cpy."

    Rivera ethically challenged

    "An ethics panel found former congressman David Rivera in violation of seven instances of ethics violations while he served as a state lawmaker in Tallahassee." "Panel rejects delay in Rivera case, asks judge to set penalties for ethics violation."

    Desperate GOPers try to make Morgan the issue

    "Republicans have tried to make Morgan, who hired Crist to join his law firm after Crist's first turn as governor, into an issue for the Democratic nominee." "Backroom Briefing: In Trouble with the Boss."

    The best Scott can do?

    Does Rick Scott really think this creep will appeal to Panhandle voters? "Chris Christie offered a morning crowd of Panhandle Republicans a taste of his and New Jersey’s in-your-face style." "N.J. Gov. Chris Christie catches Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign bus, slams Charlie Crist." See also "Christie stumps with Scott in conservative North Florida."

    "Act like a man"

    "Before David Rivera’s confidante was sentenced in a campaign-finance scheme on Wednesday, a federal judge had some advice from the bench for the former Miami congressman: Act like a man." "Federal judge calls out David Rivera, sentences Ana Alliegro to six months of house arrest."

    Libertarian may "swing the outcome"

    "Wyllie, 44, a former radio host and IT consultant from Palm Harbor, is taking the longest of long shots by running on the Libertarian Party ticket. But by virtue of a Florida's scorched-earth gubernatorial contest, he may just have a chance to swing the outcome." "Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Adrian Wyllie tries to get noticed."

    Jindal offers to throw in a free exorcism

    "Louisiana Gov. Jindal helping out Florida GOP."

    You remember "Bobby Jindal, the Exorcist." See also "Bobby Jindal’s Secret Past,."

    GOPers run wild

    "Buoyed by a significant cash advantage and polls that show Gov. Rick Scott either tied or leading, Florida Republicans on Saturday contended they are focused and ready for the November election."

    Members of the Republican Party of Florida met at one of World Disney World's most expensive resorts for their annual fundraising dinner. The sellout event that attracted roughly 800 GOP activists as well as prominent donors and lobbyists featured Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
    "Cash-rich GOP poised for November elections." See also "Florida GOP optimism grows as election approaches" and "Florida GOP makes final push for Gov. Rick Scott."

    Lobbyist inserts nose . . .

    "Ivory Tower Professors' Opposition to John Thrasher Is Why He Must Be FSU’s Next President."

The Blog for Wednesday, September 10, 2014

"Conservative Bad Girl" to be sentenced

    "The federal investigation into former Congressman David Rivera takes another major step Wednesday when his close friend and political ally is scheduled to be formally sentenced for her role in allegedly helping him break campaign finance laws." "Former Congressman David Rivera’s pal Ana Alliegro to be sentenced in campaign finance scheme."

    Amendment 2 Losing Ground

    "Amendment 2 Loses Ground in Poll; Minimum Wage Hike, Medicaid Expansion Gain."

    And then there's the actual divorce part

    "A South Florida judge who ruled that the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional has cancelled a hearing on whether to grant a final divorce to a gay couple." "Florida judge cancels hearing on same-sex divorce." See also "Broward judge cancels hearing on same-sex divorce."

    Wyllie is hurting Charlie Crist slightly more than he is Rick Scott

    "Adrian Wyllie has shown he will be a factor in the Florida gubernatorial race, but despite his positions on fiscal issues, Wyllie is hurting Charlie Crist slightly more than he is Rick Scott." "Libertarian Adrian Wyllie is Bad News for Charlie Crist."

    Thrasher makes final cut

    "State Sen. John Thrasher is one of four finalists for FSU president."

    Red herring

    Nancy Smith: "Now that the news is out there, it's a question that must be asked: Why won't at least one of the Crists attend the Democratic Women's Club of Florida convention?" "Charlie's Lame Dinner Excuse."

    Never mind that Joe feller

    "Marco Rubio, National Conservatives Step Up for Carlos Curbelo Against Joe Garcia."

    Jebbie trails Hill in Florida

    "Public Policy Polling (PPP), a firm with connections to leading Democrats, released a poll Tuesday which shows a majority of Florida voters -- 54 percent -- disapprove of Obama’s performance in the White House. Despite carrying the Sunshine State in both 2008 and 2012, only 39 percent of those surveyed approve of Obama."

    Rubio’s performance in Washington is approved by 44 percent of those surveyed while 41 percent disapprove of it. A majority of those surveyed -- 53 percent -- think Rubio should not run for the presidency in 2016 but 32 percent say he should launch a presidential bid.
    "Obama Still Drowning in Florida; Rubio Leads State Democratic Rivals."

    Meanwhile, "Hillary Holds Lead Over GOP Foes in Florida; Jeb Comes Closest."

    Full on Scott whine

    "A top Gov. Rick Scott surrogate, Miami state. Sen. Anitere Flores, said the Democrats are misconstruing Scott’s record and what’s important." "XX marks the spot? Charlie Crist campaigning on abortion, equal pay, birth control."

    Amendment 2 Losing Ground

    "Amendment 2 Loses Ground in Poll; Minimum Wage Hike, Medicaid Expansion Gain."

The Blog for Tuesday, September 09, 2014

State Senate redistricting case stands in the shadows

    "While much of the state's political establishment has focused on the congressional redistricting lawsuit and its possible effects on future elections, a related fight over the map for the state Senate is continuing."
    That case could eventually lead to new districts for the 40-member upper chamber, which, like the state House, is currently dominated by Republicans. Any final ruling against that plan would require a third draft of the Senate districts after the Florida Supreme Court tossed the original lawmaker-approved plan two years ago.
    "In Shadows of Redistricting Ruling, Senate Case Looms."

    Here's the solution: pay cuts!

    "One of the worst problems facing Florida's troubled child-welfare system, advocates say, is job turnover among the case managers who oversee adoption and foster-care services --- 80 percent in some parts of the state. It's costing Florida tens of millions of dollars a year, and those are just the costs that can be quantified." "Child-welfare agencies look to trim high staff turnover."

    Run Marco! Run!

    "U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., continues to flex his wings on foreign policy, taking a few shots at other potential Republican presidential hopefuls in 2016 and getting a look from the team that helped former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., on international issues when he ran for the presidency in 2012." "Mitt Romney's Foreign Policy Team Eyes Marco Rubio for 2016."

    Nancy don' like DWS

    Nancy Smith: "Republican war on women? Coming from Debbie Wasserman Schultz, don't even." "Debbie Does Dumb (Again!)."

    Nelson wants action

    "U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), a strong advocate for attacking the Sunni extremist group Islamic State (IS) in Syria, today introduced a joint resolution giving the President authority to use force against the group in Syria, including commandos on the ground if needed." "Bill Nelson seeks new authority for president against Islamic State." See also "Bill Nelson, Marco Rubio Urge Obama to Act Against IS Forces in Syria."

    FlaDems have a thin bench

    "Democrats have a pretty thin bench in Florida, but increasingly more than a few eyes are turning toward Ted Deutch for a Senate bid in 2016 or 2018." "Ted Deutch Could Be the Future for Florida Democrats in Senate Races."

    The Week Ahead

    "The Week Ahead for Sept. 8 to Sept. 12, 2014"

    Florida’s senators divided over delay

    Kevin Derby: "President Barack Obama announced this weekend that he would wait on pursuing executive action on immigration until after the November elections, dividing Florida’s two U.S. senators and inserting another issue in a competitive congressional election in South Florida." "Obama's Immigration Delay Divides Florida's Senators, S. Florida Congressional Candidates."

    A walk off for Altman

    "Altman challenger drops out of Senate race."

The Blog for Monday, September 08, 2014

Scott "the most-scripted and least-forthcoming statewide candidate in years"

    Marc Caputo: "Reporters are already used to Scott being the most-scripted and least-forthcoming statewide candidate in years." "Rick Scott won't go off-message to go on-message."

    "An awful lot like the old Florida"

    Ron Cunningham, in a guest story in the Gainesville Sun: "New Florida is starting to look an awful lot like the old Florida."

    Medical Pot may have backfired as a GOTV srategy

    "With the primaries over, Florida voters will be focusing on the November ballot and political action committees will be spending millions of dollars on advertising to help sway them." "Medical pot supporters low on funds." Background: "Medical marijuana's political sway."

    That right to vote thing

    The audacity of the ACLU reminding us that those folks who can't afford to bond out and are in jail

    awaiting trial or serving time for a misdemeanor can request absentee ballots, including for local judges.
    "ACLU wants inmates to know their voting rights."

    From the value's crowd

    "Florida's legal aid societies, where the poor seek help fighting eviction, collecting government benefits and battling foreclosure, are in crisis, according to advocates who say the state's last line of civil legal defense is crumbling. Years of funding cuts from local governments, the state and the Florida Bar Foundation have diminished legal aid groups to the point where some may soon be forced to close their doors." "Florida's legal aid services for the poor imperiled by budget cuts."

    Scott is straddling common core as best he can

    "To win on Nov. 4, Scott must rally an active and vocal part of his base: tea party members who want to eviscerate the new standards. But he's also vying for votes from moderate Republicans who support the Common Core standards. And he's keenly aware that former Gov. Jeb Bush has been a powerful driving force behind the standards' success."

    Democratic candidate Charlie Crist has embraced the Common Core but is less likely to face pushback for his position. Although some Democrats believe the benchmarks will stifle creativity in the classroom, most support the concept.

    "Gov. Scott is straddling this issue as best he can," said University of Florida political science professor Daniel Smith, adding that Common Core could make a difference in a close race. . . .

    There was little dissent in 2010 when Florida approved the benchmarks. But last year, conservative parents and tea party groups began raising concerns about federal intrusion into public education, even though the federal government was not involved in the development of the standards.

    The opposition in Florida grew so strong that Scott ordered the state to pull out of a consortium of states developing Common Core tests. He also called for a series of public hearings that prompted state education officials to tweak the benchmarks and rename them the Florida Standards.

    Critics derided the changes as cosmetic. (The Common Core State Standards Initiative website continues to list Florida as a state that has adopted the standards.) But they backed off of their attacks on Scott in the spring and early summer.

    "Common Core creates political balancing act for Gov. Rick Scott."

    Desperate Scott pushes tax cuts and Obama hatin'

    "Back to Basics for Rick Scott: Tax Cuts and Opposing Obama."

    Matt Reed says "beware of any state politician who promises to cut taxes in Tallahassee by cutting local levies, on which our schools, firefighters and road departments depend." Leave this tax idea off the bus."

The Blog for Sunday, September 07, 2014

Scott "retreats into squishy equivocation" and "contradictory gibberish"

    Fred Grimm"You can hear it in Rick Scott’s answers, as the onetime champion of Florida's Definition of Marriage Amendment retreats into squishy equivocation."
    The governor now mumbles that while he “supports traditional marriage, consistent with the amendment approved by Florida voters in 2008,” he also “does not believe that anyone should be discriminated against for any reason.”

    As a policy statement, Scott was uttering contradictory gibberish, but as a gubernatorial candidate, he gave perfect voice to a new political reality: There’s no going back to 2008.

    "Certain politicians fear reality of same-sex rights." See also "Pam Bondi says opposition to gay marriage not personal vendetta."

    Scott an "environmental disaster"

    The Tampa Bay Times editors think Rick Scott's record is "an environmental disaster."

    Judicial candidates exchange outrage

    "Accusations of underhanded tactics, attack mailers and mutually exchanged outrage: These are all fixtures of the late-summer months during election years in Central Florida. But their appearance in the race for a seat on the Orange-Osceola circuit-court bench riled the local legal community this election season. And now The Florida Bar is investigating a complaint against the winning candidate's tactics." "Fiery judicial campaign riled legal community, sparked Bar probe."

    Expect Scott to go after public pensions

    Lloyd Dunkelberger: "Riding a strong stock market, the Florida pension fund had a robust year, earning 17.4 percent in returns and rising to $149 billion."

    But big changes may loom ahead for the nation's fourth-largest public pension fund, impacting the more than 1 million state workers, school employees, county workers and retirees who rely on the Florida retirement system.

    The direction those changes take will depend on the outcome of the governor's race.

    If Rick Scott is re-elected, you can expect a renewed push to move more public workers out of the traditional pension plan and into a 401(k)-type plan — which is currently an optional plan in the retirement system. . . .

    If Charlie Crist wins, he is more likely to side with major labor unions that are supporting his campaign, including the Florida Education Association, which argue that Florida's pension plan should not be changed.

    "Pension for state workers looms big in governor's race."

    "Other lobbyists consider him a rat"

    "Michael Kesti, who helped the FBI in a corruption sting that led to three convictions, says he doesn’t care that some other lobbyists consider him a rat." "Was Miami-Dade lobbyist a ‘patriot’ or ‘snitch’ in FBI sting of local politicians?."

    "Growing insurgency over excessive testing"

    The Orlando Sentinel editors write that the Lee County School "board's brief revolt against giving state-mandated standardized tests — including the new Common Core-aligned Florida Standards Assessment exams set to roll out in 2015 — was a first in the state. Members were proxies for a growing insurgency over excessive testing and reliance on the results for school grades, student graduation and teacher evaluations and pay." "Board's revolt signals need for testing timeout." See also "‘Opt out’ policy on state tests urged."

    Jebbie laff riot

    "As he mulls a presidential run in 2016, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's friends and associates are urging top Republican fundraisers and strategists to avoid throwing their lot in with another candidate until Bush makes a decision." "Jeb Bush's team signals possible 2016 presidential run." Meanwhile, "Rubio tries to regain conservatives on immigration."

    “None of the above”

    "With thousands of voters skipping races on last month's primary ballot, some are privately wondering whether it's time to just put a 'none of the above' option on Florida ballots." "Is it time to let voters pick “none of the above”?."

    But I'm a lobbyist!

    "Students and Faculty Don’t Want Him, But Sen. John Thrasher Makes FSU Presidency’s Short List."

    "Who’s up for another tax cut?"

    Rick Christie: "Who’s up for another tax cut? Or better yet, who isn’t?"

    Apparently, Gov. Rick Scott — now promising $1 billion in tax and fee cuts over the next two years — is once again banking on that sentiment to help him retain the governor’s seat come November. He just hasn’t shared yet how he will make this happen, other than “with the input of the Legislature.”
    "Scott’s tax-, fee-cut promise will be hard to keep."

    "Many private charter schools are opening one day and closing the next"

    The Sun Sentinel editors: "To hear the charter schools people tell it, something is wrong with the administration of Broward County Public Schools that so many private charter schools are opening one day and closing the next." "Dueling visions of the crisis in charter schools."

    "Workers must decide whether to skip the water bill"

    John Romano: "The minimum wage debate is not a simple one. Neither side has a monopoly on the facts."

    Supporters of raising the minimum wage could cite studies from California-Berkeley and MIT that suggest higher pay means a healthier economy. Critics could produce their own studies that warn a higher minimum wage could result in a smaller workforce.

    Meanwhile, a generation of workers tries to decide whether it's better to skip the electric or water bill this month.

    "Minimum wage debate isn't simple, but the realities are stark."