"The Democrats who want to become the next governor of Florida have been running campaigns straight out of a bygone era of fish fries, barbecues and back-of-the-truck speeches. That's finally changing now, as one of the party's two leading candidates, state Sen. Rod Smith of Alachua, launched his first television campaign commercial this past weekend. The party's other contender, U.S. Rep. Jim Davis of Tampa, could go on the air as early as this week. But with the Sept. 5 primary now just five weeks away, some campaign strategists say the Democratic candidates have risked waiting too long to begin introducing themselves to most Floridians. ... Brad Coker, the managing director of Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, said Davis and Smith have fallen so far behind that it could be hard to catch up by November." "Dems get slow start in race for governor".
The GOP Candidates
See "Gallagher: Supporters tout business background; critics argue interests too personal." and "Crist: Dismissed, even ridiculed, but skillfully steering clear of conflict".
"A scientist is challenging a state report that says there is no clear evidence that toxic red tide is on the rise in the waters off southwest Florida. 'Red tide is more abundant,' said Larry Brand, a professor of marine biology at the University of Miami. 'You can count on it getting worse.' Brand was part of a panel that spoke Sunday to about 170 at a Sierra Club red tide community forum on St. Pete Beach. A recent study by Florida's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute found data collected between 1954 and 2006 was too scattered to show a trend in red tides." "Scientist disputes state, sees increase in red tide".
"There's a dirty secret when it comes to how Floridians elect their legislators: most districts are drawn to favor one party or the other. That means in many districts, one party sits the race out, or has a candidate who doesn't have much of a chance. That means the decision on who will represent many voters actually takes place in the September primary, rather than November." "With many seats safe for one party, primaries where the action is in Florida".
"One-party system will serve no one".
"Gay-rights activists said the Democrats vying to replace Gov. Jeb Bush are not their dream team, but they are a lot more sympathetic to their cause than the Republican contenders." "Democratic candidates woo gay voters".
"Rep. Tom Feeney's path to re-election stretches from Orlando to the plush Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, according to recently released federal campaign finance reports. ... The hotel tab in Sin City covered an appearance Feeney made there as keynote speaker for an April 2005 gathering of the American Financial Services Association, said Jason Roe, Feeney's chief of staff." And isn't this special: "Feeney's campaign paid nearly $50,000 to Roe's wife, Patricia, who was a professional fundraiser in Washington."."Feeney cranks up spending".
"As Florida ends its first year of free prekindergarten for 4-year-olds, the conflict over how to judge the results reflects the program's political heritage. Faced with full public support, lawmakers took a half-hearted approach." "Florida pre-K program rates an incomplete".
The Sun-Sentinel: "[T]he law never intended to stymie access to the voting booth. The measure instead was necessary to clean up lax and problematic practices, an attainable goal if third-party groups are willing to meet deadlines. As the saying goes, politics ain't beanbag." "Voting".
Now That The Election Is Over
"Local leaders and Gov. Jeb Bush's office now say they were mislead into thinking the Base Realignment and Closure plan was the last word on major changes at the state's bases. They say were surprised when a plan to move up to 3,400 jobs from Eglin to California's Edwards Air Force Base quietly surfaced this month." "Panhandle upset with president over military jobs".
"Attorney General Crist’s campaign believes the findings against Chief Financial Officer Gallagher are more than enough to deflect any attack Gallagher might launch to try to overcome the enormous lead Crist has in the polls heading toward the September primary." "Does Crist Have the Atomic Bomb?".
"President to linger in Miami area today", "President Bush arrives in South Florida for 2 days of speeches, tours" and "President's Dade stop blends politics, people".
Florida Loses Oil Fight
"Sadly, Florida has all but lost its long battle to keep oil and gas rigs far from the state's shores. Sens. Mel Martinez and Bill Nelson deserve credit for achieving a better bill in the Senate than what the House passed, but the entire Florida congressional delegation must be faulted for not demanding more in return for giving up longstanding coastal protections." "Offshore Drilling". See also "Would drilling in Gulf pay off?" ("Experts warn that the energy reserves beneath the Gulf would do virtually nothing to quench the nation's thirst for oil -- much less ease its reliance on foreign imports.")
"Campaigns wax creative to win votes".
"So the man who heads the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Florida is going to take a new job with a developer who might want to build on some Pasco County wetlands. And which agency issues permits to destroy wetlands? If you guessed the Corps of Engineers, you're starting to understand the revolving door between government regulators and those they regulate." "Regulators, developers too cozy".
Lineup identification errors have "spurred sweeping witness identification reform in states such as New Jersey and Wisconsin. But despite being identified by researchers as one of the top five states for convictions overturned by DNA, Florida police, prosecutors and lawmakers show little interest in taking on the police lineup issue." "Researchers: Flaws in police lineups convict innocent".
A GOoPer Thing
"The political appointee who doctored the reports resigned and took a job with an oil company. But it appears the administration may again be trying to diminish NASA's efforts to safeguard the Earth."
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's mission statement this year was subtly changed, according to the New York Times. Its mission statement had read: "To understand and protect our home planet; to explore the universe and search for life; to inspire the next generation of explorers … as only NASA can." But earlier this year the line "understand and protect our home planet" was quietly deleted."NASA Abandons Home Planet".
A Miami Thing
"The clandestine group that mailed a flier morphing Republican state Sen. Alex Villalobos into Hillary Clinton has moved on to spookier personalities: serial killer Ted Bundy. Pairing the killer’s pic with the West-Dade senator’s, the latest attack mailer from Citizens for Conservative Values flogs Villalobos for being soft on crime in light of his failed bill to require unanimous jury recommendations for death sentence. Bundy was executed after a 10-2 jury vote." "Permalink">Move over Hillary, here's Bundy".
"Double-digit premium increases have lawmakers searching for answers" "State's insurance shock sets in".
"A loophole that's become the new darling of political consultants across the state will block more than 70,000 voters in south Palm Beach County who are not registered Democrats from electing their state House representative." "Write-in loophole excludes huge voter bloc".<