"For years the conventional wisdom in Florida has been that it was impossible to win a Republican statewide primary without the support of Christian conservatives. But with Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher focusing on that group for a year, yet running far behind in the polls in his race for governor, political observers have begun to ask: Is it the conventional wisdom that's wrong? Or just Gallagher's efforts to capitalize on it? "
Some, including Crist, suggested the ineffectiveness of Gallagher's outreach effort was part of a possible regional or national trend, as evidenced by recent elections in other states."Gallagher's strategy of playing to the right is wrong route"
"You saw what happened in Georgia last week in the primary for lieutenant governor," Crist said, referring to the defeat of Ralph Reed, onetime head of the Christian Coalition. "I'm not sure how you explain that."
Others cited the resounding defeat of ousted Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore — who took his fight to keep a Ten Commandments monument at the courthouse in Birmingham all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court — in the Republican primary for governor.
And former state GOP chairman Tom Slade, a Gallagher supporter, said, "I think the tolerance of the Republican Party for the intolerance of the Religious Right is wearing thin."
In the meantime, the Gallagher campaign struggles with its latest problem: "Politicos see Gallagher's ethics scrapes as grist for Crist to protect huge lead". See also "Possible ethics violations over stock held by Florida governor candidate".
An aside: Gallagher a "policy wonk"? Well, compared to Chain Gang Charlie, I suppose he is. See "Policy wonk campaigns in a world of sound bites".
"Over a career that has stretched from Tallahassee to Washington, Davis has been intimately involved in some of the biggest and most complicated issues of the day, from oil drilling to class-size reduction to limiting the influence of lobbyists. Yet his low-key, studious personality - all the more emphasized by patrician looks - means Davis has often gone unnoticed. He is comfortable as the wonk, toiling in the background to shape policy, sometimes, as with class size, well before it becomes a popular issue." "Jim Davis: Earnest and detailed, if not very flashy". See also "Davis fighting to be governor".
"Over the course of 14 years of public service, and 17 years in mostly private law practice before that, Smith has earned a reputation as a passionate public speaker who can sway nonbelievers to his side." "Rod Smith: Happy to talk - at length - about his causes.". See also "Rod Smith uses charm in state race" and "Smith trying to build funding, momentum".
"The Democrats have raised far less money than the Republicans to buy ads, and money is critical in a state with large media markets in Central Florida, Southeast Florida, the Tampa Bay area and the Jacksonville area." "Political experts say Democrats need to run TV ads".
"Tom Gallagher and Rod Smith, the two presumed runners-up in the Republican and Democratic primaries for governor, say they shouldn't be counted out." "Presumed runners-up remain optimistic".
"Florida got another reminder last week of how far the state must go in transforming the economy."
The Wall Street Journal, using statistics from an intellectual property consulting firm, listed what the paper called the most inventive parts of the country - places where smart, creative people are looking for the next big thing. The Journal factored out such established tech hubs as Santa Clara, Calif., the heart of Silicon Valley, and Boston. ..."Follow-up to Scripps".
This state has no private university even near the level of Stanford or MIT, and for decades the business "leadership" was dominated by companies that wanted to keep wages low.
"If anyone doubted that Florida's system of drawing the state lawmakers' districts is broken, a quick review of the candidates standing for election this year provides all the proof that's needed. Nearly 30 percent of the 140 House and Senate seats up for grabs this year have already been settled because only one candidate qualified to seek office. These districts were rigged to protect incumbents, with little regard to the needs of the voters." "Too many free rides".
"Serious proposals on the homeowners insurance crisis are beginning to surface, but the candidates for governor aren't doing their part." "Insurance can't wait".
"In the 2 1/2 months since the symbolic session-ending dropping of the handkerchief, one piece of bad insurance news after another has slapped the state: double- and triple-digit rate increases; thousands more dropped policies; last-resort Citizens growing to more than 1.2 million homeowner policies and becoming the state's largest insurer. How did most Republicans respond? Stay the course. Hope for no more bad storms. The private market will work things out. Feel good about paying those whopping premiums because you're propping up the system - a system tilted in favor of the insurance industry. Ever so relentlessly, though, the anger and worry are building."
Unless something startling happens, however, no Republican will get any help on homeowner insurance from Gov. Bush. He announced in June that he would form a 15-member committee to increase competition among private carriers and thus get policies out of Citizens. But the committee won't meet until mid-August, and its final report won't be ready until February."Everyone on ballot needs insurance". See also "Rate hikes rankle residents" ("Many see insurance premiums double") and "Bush May Call Special Session On Insurance".
Maybe Republicans can seek votes from private insurers, who like the committee. One trade group praised the governor for recognizing that "risk-based pricing" will give Floridians more choices. In other words, just let the industry keep charging through the nose, regardless of whether the numbers are valid, and soon lots of companies will want a piece of that market.
So, you can see why Rep. Brown-Waite doesn't want to take such a message to voters in her district north of Tampa. You can see why Charlie Crist, the Republican front-runner for governor, has said nice things about the Democratic alternative of a statewide hurricane pool. You can see why the only Republicans who aren't worried about insurance are the ones who aren't on the ballot.
Cleland in Daytona
"Former U.S. Sen. Max Cleland, D-Ga., is scheduled to give the keynote address at the sixth annual Democratic Gathering at Daytona Beach on Aug. 26." "Max Cleland, Dem candidates to attend gathering".
Tax Protesters Converge on Orlando
"Thousands of tax protesters braved the July heat Saturday to rally in downtown Orlando in support of a proposal to eliminate all federal taxes and to replace them with a national retail sales tax." "A fairly taxing debate".
"This election season, voters' mailboxes and televisions in the 13th Congressional District have been filled with the symbols and the rhetoric of an increasingly emotional immigration debate" "Immigration top election issue".
"Democrats might want to tread lightly on those tan attacks, because on a radio show with host Jim DeFede in South Florida Friday, Crist had his own biting response." "Joke about Crist's tan, you may get burned".
Sarasota Secret Docket
"Attorney Daryl Brown's connection to a major political fundraising scandal in Florida makes the legal battle with his former law firm potentially embarrassing [(Brown was involved in a scheme that funneled illegal campaign donations from Riscorp to politicians)]. So in 2004, Brown's lawyers asked Circuit Judge Rick De Furia to seal the case from public view, a request not usually granted. Even though he had no legal justification, De Furia obliged. Court clerks then used De Furia's order to remove any mention of the case from the public docket. As far as the public was concerned, the case vanished. It is one of a dozen civil court cases in Sarasota County that have disappeared in the past five years, put on a secret docket that prevents the public from knowing the cases exist." "Civil suits disappear on secret docket".
"Hundreds of thousands of Hispanics nationwide marched this spring to the slogan, 'Today we march. Tomorrow we vote.' But, with the Aug. 7 deadline for voter registration just days away, election-office records in the seven Central Florida counties show the share of Hispanic voters remains at about 10 percent of the registered population. As less than half -- or about 200,000 -- of the nearly half-million Hispanics in Central Florida have signed up to vote, community organizations are stepping up efforts to register voters." "Hispanics struggle to find clout at polls".
"Campaigning in Valrico Saturday, an upbeat Tom Gallagher brushed off the significance of the Ethics Commission finding Friday that he may have broken state ethics law. He's in the race to stay, is focused on issues that matter to voters, and will wage a positive campaign until the end, he said." "Tom 'Mr. Positive' Gallagher".
You Don't Think ...
"When you have political power, raising money seems effortless".
A Different Kind of "Pork"
"Despite facing a poorly financed Democratic challenger, Weldon's campaign spent approximately $364,000 through late June on everything from bathroom supplies to a big bash at Disney World, according to the campaign reports." "Weldon staffer fired over pork".
"Rod Smith this weekend became the first Democratic candidate for governor to begin advertising on television, with his first commercial now on the air from Miami to Tallahassee. And more are already on the way – a series of spots that will share the unique feel of the first one." "More Smith Ads on the Way".