Unlike the Smith-Davis collegiality, Gallagher and Crist are trading insults. "Gallagher, Crist trade insults". See also "Gallagher takes campaign to Crist's home turf", "Gallagher Campaigns On Crist's Home Turf" and "Gallagher: Crist not ready to be governor".
Nelson on Alito
"Nelson, who voted to confirm Chief Justice John Roberts, remained mum as to whether he would vote for Alito, but he said through a spokesman that he had worries about some of Alito's answers 'on matters such as privacy and eminent domain, especially because of the judge's record of ruling in favor of the government over the average individual.'" "Sen. Nelson voices concerns on Alito". See also "Nelson remains undecided on Alito" and "Alito visits Sen. Nelson; gets backing from Martinez".
And this ought to have Nelson quaking in his boots: "'We call on Senator Nelson to uphold the dignity of these proceedings and support this highly qualified nominee,' said Al Cardenas, who heads a group called Progress for America which has launched a website supporting Alito. (http://www.JudgeAlito.com)."
Martinez on Alito
This is a hoot: "Martinez: Why I'll vote for Alito".
Vantage Point Strategies Poll
GOP consultants Vantage Point Strategies have released a poll of 800 "likely" gubernatorial voters were polled; the margin of error is 3.5%. The poll has the Democrats leading on a generic ballot by five points, which is described as something that "should be troubling for Republicans.":
A generic Republican gubernatorial candidate leads in the north and southwestern parts of the state but is trailing a Democratic candidate by 20 points in the southeast. The partisan regions are even more revealing - a generic Democratic candidate in Kerry 2004 counties leads by 31 points while the Republican candidate only leads by 12 points in strong Bush 2004 counties."Democrats Lead Republicans (.pdf)". ("Methodology Overview: This survey was completed during January 2-5 and included 800 'likely' gubernatorial voters with a margin of error of+ 3.5%. The overall sample was distributed by county based on 1998 election turnout figures. Statistical weighting was applied to the entire sample that accurately matches the most current party registration records and racial distributions. The Republican sample was N=330 'likely voters' with a margin of error of + 5.5% and was distributed by county based on 2004 primary election turnout figures.") (via The Buzz).
There is a serious gender gap with the generic Democratic candidate winning by 11 points among women over the Republican candidate and only trailing the GOP candidate by just one point among men. Voters 55 and older are also more likely to support a Democrat for governor with the margin being 43% Democrat vs. 32% GOP. This is a key factor because older voters make up a disproportionate amount of the electorate in a non-presidential election year.
A key ideological breakthrough for Democrats is the following: more than two-thirds (67%) of self-described conservative Democrats say they would back a generic Democratic gubernatorial candidate. In addition, just over half (52%) of all conservatives say they would support the Republican candidate and more than a quarter (26%) will support a Democrat. This defection could pose major problems for the GOP if not confronted by the fall elections given that conservatives make up approximately 57% of all Florida's likely voters in this poll.
"Critics dub Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis dull and predictable. But bashing a big and ostensibily popular tax break - and also the alternative version backed by many legislators in his own party - does not seem so conventional to us." "Davis' Tax Attack". See also "Democrat Davis calls GOP tax break a gimmick".
Indeed, some editorial boards see Davis' point: "perhaps it makes more sense to address a more long-term obligation, such as paying down Florida's $22.5 billion debt. That could take some pressure off state finances if the revenue stream starts drying up in the years to come, as expected. Allocating the additional funds to a sales tax rebate might sound good come election campaign time this fall, but it's just not smart policy."
While the various proposals to spend the surplus are irresponsible, "the Democrats at least are being fair ... by making the benefit equitable. [Republican] Rep. Negron would disproportionately reward wealthier Floridians — the $5,000 break would apply to multiple purchases — who already have gained the most from the persistent cutting of the intangibles tax. The point of the back-to-school holiday and last year's hurricane-supply tax break was to help the cash-pinched middle class." "Wrong ideas competing for state's budget surplus"
Angling For Votes
"First there was 'Motor Voter,' which allowed people to register to vote when they get their drivers licenses. Now get ready for 'Shooter Voter.' At the request of the National Rifle Association, Florida legislators will consider a proposal that would allow people buying hunting, fishing and trapping licenses or permits to register to vote at the same time." "Bill aims to sign up voters".
"Broward County's Log Cabin Republican President Jack Majeske said he has collected signatures from around the state on a grievance against the state GOP, complaining the party wasted money and violated its own rules by giving $150,000 to a group seeking to ban same-sex marriages." "GOP activist in feud with party".
"Floridians, already cash-strapped by expensive home insurance, pricey gas and high mortgage payments, now face the strong possibility of having to patch the hole in the state's hurricane catastrophe fund." "As hurricane fund goes broke, Floridians face another bill".
On Wednesday, Congressman Robert Wexler
sharply criticized Gov. Jeb Bush for rejecting suggestions that Florida cover low-income Medicare beneficiaries who are denied drug coverage or charged exorbitant rates because of the new prescription drug law.In the meantime,
"I am deeply disappointed, profoundly disappointed, that my own governor... has not followed the lead taken by other governors across the country, Republicans and Democrats, in seeking to protect at-risk Floridians," Wexler, D-Delray Beach, told a gathering of predominantly Democratic congressional staffers at a workshop.
Bush, who is traveling this week in Ecuador and Peru, could not be reached for comment."Prescription-plan shortfalls lead to rift between Washington Democrats, Gov. Bush".
Oh yeah, and this: "Changes in Medicaid's long-term care rules could devour life savings of ailing seniors".
The Amendment Thing
"Out of frustration with lawmakers' inertia in most cases, grass-roots groups as well as well-financed special interests took to organizing petition drives that led to some good ideas with onerously high-tax price tags - plus some reforms that are just plain odd or inappropriate." "Reform excess".
"Florida school boards are holding off on plans to sue the state, hoping key legislators can pass a law overriding the Board of Education's ban on pairing two teachers in a classroom to help meet class-size caps." "School boards won't sue yet over co-teaching ban".
"Florida's students are falling further behind"
"It doesn't take an electron microscope to see that Florida's students are falling further behind in vital science skills." "Tough love".
Shaw Sell Out
"Rep. Clay Shaw, R-Fort Lauderdale, covets the chairmanship of the powerful tax-writing Ways and Means Committee and could get it, providing he backs the right candidate for leader." "Shaw passes on reform".
"Gift ban or not, the fund-raising goes on. In Tallahassee Tuesday night, Republicans held the third annual 'Wild Beast Feast,' a soft-money extravaganza at $1,000 per person featuring venison, quail, rabbit and other gamy delights. The money is for House Majority 2006, a party-controlled account used to re-elect House Republicans." "The 'Wild Beast Feast'".
"At Odds On Higher Education"
"State education leaders say they can agree on one problem: Florida's growth means someday community colleges and universities won't be able to keep up with demand. But not all agree on the best way to fix that." "State Leaders At Odds On Higher Education".
"State space-related spending"
"Gov. Bush wants to commit $55-million next year to luring NASA and space tourism projects." "State space-related spending would soar".
"Trouble in paradise"
Marianne Means: "Despite [Florida's] conservative reputation, however, there is trouble in paradise." "As Florida goes, so goes the nation?".
GOP Leadership Vacuum
"Rep. Adam Putnam of Bartow spent last weekend on the phone gathering support for his next move up the Republican ladder, a bid to take the No. 5 leadership post in the House." "Rep. Putnam sees opportunity in GOP shake-up". See also "Putnam Sees Chance in Shake-Up".
The Law Be Damned
"That ban on letting lobbyists be members of Florida university boards? Sure, the Legislature passed it last year. Gov. Bush signed it into law. And as Post staff writer Kimberly Miller reported Tuesday, some registered lobbyists even honored it. The five who have continued as university trustees, with Gov. Bush's blessing? Well, what's a little disregard for ethical standards among friends?" "Graduate, lobbyists".
"It's Official: Storms To Run For Senate".
"The Scripps Florida debate has split Palm Beach County into competing camps. Eastward Ho! vs. westward expansion. No-growth vs. pro-development. County commissioners against one another." "Scripps Project".
"U.S. Rep. Jim Davis and state Sen. Rod Smith, vying for the Democratic nomination for governor, debated Tuesday night in Miami -- but not about each other's positions on the issues." "Democratic debate focuses on GOP rivals".