Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


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Welcome To Florida Politics

Thanks for visiting. On a semi-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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The Blog for Tuesday, July 25, 2006

GOP Primary Over?

    "New poll shows Crist with big lead".
    Six solid weeks of television advertising has helped Attorney General Charlie Crist increase his lead over opponent Tom Gallagher in the Republican race for governor to 31 percentage points, according to a poll released Monday.

    Meanwhile, state Sen. Rod Smith is closing the gap on U.S. Rep. Jim Davis in the Democratic primary. The poll, by Jacksonville-based Mason Dixon research, interviewed 400 likely Republican voters and 400 likely Democrat voters throughout the state.

    Republican voters backed Crist 55 percent to Gallagher's 24 percent, with 21 percent undecided.

    Among the Democrats, Davis holds a 29 percent to 14 percent lead against Smith with 57 percent of voters undecided. Smith appears to have won over some voters since March , raising his numbers from 9 percent.
    "Crist increases his lead, poll says". See also "Poll: Crist's lead grows; Davis' narrows", "Crist Leads All Candidates In Governor Race, Poll Finds". "Poll: Crist far ahead" and "Poll Position" ("Since March Crist's lead in M-D has jumped from 16 to 31, while Davis' lead dropped from 19 to 15. A whopping 57 percent of Democrats are still undecided, while 21 percent of Republicans are undecided.") Meanwhile, "Jeb Still on Fence".

    He Said It

    Let's just say Jebbie doesn't have a firm grasp on the intricacies of international relations:

    "Let's assume that Broward or Dade was a country and Palm Beach lobbed a missile into Deerfield Beach or Hillsborough Beach. Or if we were a small country and Canada attacked us in that way or Mexico did. Or, worse yet, terrorist groups operating with impunity inside of another country even though the United Nations had passed resolutions to get them to disarm and had done nothing about it," said Bush
    "What If Palm Beach Launched A Missile.".


    "An election law loophole allows write-in candidates to close off primaries that would otherwise be open to all voters." "Ballot box bunkum" ("A Senate Ethics and Elections Committee analysis in April identified 30 legislative races where the game has been played and primaries that would have been open to all voters were closed by the presence of a write-in candidate.")

    Ruth on Nelson

    "Bill Nelson Insists He's Scared - Really".

    Shaw on the Air

    "The high-stakes campaign for Florida's 22nd Congressional district began in earnest this week, with a TV commercial touting Republican U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw's environmental record." "Shaw-Klein contest hits TV". See also "Shaw ad kicks off TV phase of reelection campaign" and "U.S. Rep. Shaw spotlights environment in new 30-second campaign ad".


    "Republican U.S. Senate candidate LeRoy Collins Jr. picked up a couple prominent Republican endorsements [yesterday] - from former comptroller Bob Milligan and former secretary of state and attorney general Jim Smith." "Republican Senate Endorsements". See also "Republicans boost ex-Democratic governor's son".

    Harris Healthy

    "Doctors Give Harris A Clean Bill Of Health".

    Rubio Hearts Johnson

    "Incoming Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio broke with a host of other Republican leaders and endorsed Randy Johnson's campaign for chief financial officer today, Johnson's campaign announced." "Rubio Sides with Johnson".

    Avon Park Says No

    "[A]fter a raucous and often emotional public hearing that included more than 100 speakers and took more than five hours, the council voted 3-2 against the proposal." "AvonPark decides against anti-illegal immigrant law". See also "Avon Park set to use relief act for illegal immigration reform" and "Immigration splits Avon Park".

    Vote Smart

    "Consider the trouble Project Vote Smart has had getting Florida political candidates to answer questions about their positions on the issues." "Democracy".

    Jebbie: "I’ve done nothing wrong"

    "Jeb!" was asked about

    Sergio Pino, a fundraiser for Bush's 2002 gubernatorial campaign and now working for Charlie Crist's gubernatorial bid. South Florida newspapers have reported Pino is under federal investigation on various allegations including that he reimbursed individuals who made polititical contributions: "I’ll talk to him," Bush said, noting he'd just read of the allegations as he flew back from England. "If there is any wrong doing it's in the right hands to determine that. I can assure you I’ve done nothing wrong, nor my campaign."
    The Buzz. See also "Nasty mail raises the stakes in Senate race" ("The federal probe of developer Sergio Pino has spilled into Miami's nastiest state Senate race as voters began receiving attack mailers that mention the investigation and depict rattlesnakes writhing near a Pino-backed candidate.")

    Special Session?

    "Amid calls for a special session to deal with what some call the hurricane insurance crisis in Florida, Governor Jeb Bush says he's willing to call a special legislative session, but only if there were legitimate proposals to be considered by lawmakers." "Gov. Bush: Willing To Consider Special Session". But see "Governor in no hurry to call special session on insurance".

    Davis Takes On Insurance Crisis

    "U.S. Rep. Jim Davis, seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, found an eager audience Monday for what could be his party's most powerful issue this fall: the state property insurance crisis." "Davis offers solutions for state insurance woes"

    Nelson Fights; Mel Sleeps

    "Bill Nelson said Monday that he plans to ask the Senate to amend its offshore drilling bill to prohibit any compromise with the House, but Florida's other senator, Mel Martinez, is opposed to that idea." "Nelson wants Senate to reject drilling deals".


    "Bush, Jennings promote back-to-school tax holiday".

    Florida Book Banners Take A Hit

    "A federal judge on Monday temporarily barred the Miami-Dade County School District from removing a children's book on Cuba from school libraries and in a strongly worded opinion ordered the district to replace any books it had removed by next week." "Judge: Book on Cuba must stay in school libraries for now".


    "Back from Europe, Bush jaws with reporters".

    Voucher Madness

    The feds ought to consider Florida's failed experience with vouchers:

    Many states, like Florida, have made it clear that public education means public education -- not private schools supported by public funds through vouchers. Indeed, the Florida Supreme Court ruled unambiguously in January that the state constitution calls for a free, uniform, high quality system of public schools. In the ruling outlawing one of the state's voucher systems, called "Opportunity Scholarship," the court said the state had not lived up to its responsibilities in supporting public schools and added there is no way to make private schools uniform with public schools.

    In the spring, legislators refused to buy into Gov. Jeb Bush's efforts to circumvent the court's ruling. These vouchers remain unconstitutional in Florida.

    So along comes U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spelling last week with a proposal for national school vouchers for disadvantaged children called "opportunity scholarships." Sound familiar?

    The proposal, supported by Republican leaders in the U.S. House and Senate, is wrong on many levels. ...

    The proposal's presumption -- that private schools are better than public -- also is questionable. A federal study through the U.S. Department of Education, also released last week, reviewed reading and mathematics scores for grades 4 and 8 in public and private schools in the National Assessment of Education Progress tests. (NAEP is a uniform federal exam taken by a sampling of students. It is not connected to state achievement tests or the No Child Left Behind Act.) After adjusting for variables, researchers found that students in public schools do as well -- and sometimes better -- as students in private schools. The results are similar to earlier research done by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
    "No to federal vouchers". See also "A clear-eyed look at the state of education" ("In fact, public-school students scored better in math than their private-school counterparts. Public-school fourth graders scored a mean 4.5 points higher. In a surprise finding, eighth graders attending conservative Christian schools scored a mean 7.6 points lower than those in public schools. One exception was among eighth graders in public schools who scored lower at reading than those in private school.")

    Crime Rate Reality

    The St. Pete Times:

    Gov. Jeb Bush soured some encouraging news on crime by throwing a bone to Floridians who think our streets are the Wild West. Bush credited gun owners recently for helping to curb serious crime in Florida. "Law-abiding citizens who have guns for protection are actually part of the reason we have a lower crime rate," the governor said. Police and prosecutors must have cringed.

    Serious crime has been dropping in Florida for 14 straight years, long before Bush and the Legislature imposed tougher criminal sentences and passed a law allowing people to use deadly force if they feel threatened. Having crime at a 35-year low is good news enough. The governor didn't need to spin it to mislead the public. Violent crime, after all, is lower nationwide than it was in the 1970s, thanks to better policing, antipoverty programs and a growing population that divides the number of crimes among more people.

    The real news is that Florida remains a violent place. While the violent crime rate dropped, it was by only 0.6 percent. The number of violent crimes - murder, sex offenses, robbery and aggravated assault - rose 1.7 percent in 2005. There were more violent crimes in Florida last year than at any time since 2002. In Tampa, rape, drug offenses and weapons violations were up. So, too, were murders in St. Petersburg, from 19 in 2004 to 30 in 2005. In Central Florida, every county except Volusia saw its crime rate climb.
    "Florida's still too violent".

    Sorry Katherine

    We missed this the other day: "Sarasota Republicans reject Harris endorsement".

    Family Policy Council

    "The Family Policy Council wants Florida judicial candidates to answer questions on such hot-button social topics as gay marriage, school vouchers and abortion although a judicial canon urges them to avoid commenting on political issues. The group plans to publish the responses in a voter guide to be distributed mainly through churches although it also will be available on the Internet, said John Stemberger, its president." "Group seeks answers from judge candidates".

    "Life's a breeze"

    "Life's a breeze for incumbents"

    One of the most outrageous political satires on the air these days is on Comedy Central - specifically a show by comedian Stephen Colbert. He recently got U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler of Boca Raton to play along with a joke about a few things that would "really lose the election for you if you were contested."

    The few things, which in deadpan style Mr. Wexler acknowledged would be "a fun thing to do," but, wow!, could really cost a guy an election included "enjoying" cocaine and the company of prostitutes.

    The congressman later told The Associated Press that he was nudged to do this silly sketch at the urging of his younger staffers, even though he had never seen "The Colbert Report." He said he has no regrets, because it shows he has a sense of humor.

    What makes it all so easy to laugh at, of course, is that Mr. Wexler has no challenger in his race for re-election so he can play his way through election season. Incumbents are lucky that way; they quite frequently enjoy a free ride.
    "Free rides".

    Smith Seeks Support

    "Democrat running for governor hopes for support from liberals" "N. Florida candidate looks to broaden appeal".

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