FLORIDA POLITICS
Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary

 

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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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The Blog for Thursday, July 13, 2006

Harris Campaign Imploding

    "Rep. Katherine Harris' communications director for her Senate campaign is resigning, the latest in staff turnover that has plagued the Republican's effort to unseat Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson." "Harris loses staffer, deflects rumors".

    That may not be the end of it as "two former senior staff members said campaign manager Glenn Hodas also is on the way out." "More bolt from Harris camp". "Campaign manager Glenn Hodas has told at least one friend that he is leaving. Field director Pat Thomas, also said by sources close to the campaign to be leaving, did not deny it when asked Wednesday." "Harris Campaign Losing More Staff".

    This kind of scrutiny isn't particularly helpful either:
    On the campaign trail and in her literature, U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris boasts that, as a freshman member of Congress, she passed the American Dream Downpayment Act, "enabling 4.5 million low-income workers to own their first home while growing the U.S. economy by $256 billion."

    Federal reports indicate Harris' claims are grossly exaggerated.
    "Harris pads role, impact on housing, reports say". In the meantine, "U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris can't beat Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in November, local GOP activists were told Wednesday by two of the candidates who hope to upset Harris in the party's Sept. 5 Senate primary." "GOP candidates tell local activists that Harris can't win".


    Family Man

    "Charlie Crist's name is never mentioned, but this ad is all about what Tom Gallagher has that bachelor Charlie doesn't: wife and kid. As expected from the Gallagher campaign, wife Laura and son Charlie are now officially front and center in the campaign's electronic effort." " Gallagher's Second Ad Up".


    Thurman Profile

    "If Florida Democrats are going to end a decade-long free-fall in state politics, it will be up to Karen Thurman to orchestrate it. She is chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Party, which makes her the Sunshine State's version of Howard Dean (well, sort of). She's also a former Dunnellon City Council member, state legislator and U.S. congresswoman who spent a decade in Washington representing a district that now includes south Lake County. She lost that job in 2002 to U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Crystal River, after Republican lawmakers redrew it in their party's favor. She took over the state Democratic Party a little more than a year ago, and she chatted recently with Jason Garcia of the Sentinel's Tallahassee bureau." "This week's spotlight: Karen Thurman".


    Villalobos

    "It's called "Citizens for Ethical and Effective Leadership" and it's spent $46,370 of the $137,000 it's raised with DRC Consulting, the firm owned by Miami lobbyist David Custin, a political consultant and stauch Villalobos ally. ... it's biggest contributor is Florida Education Association ($50,000)." " Committee Helping Villalobos".


    "'Childish' campaign tactic"?

    "Campaign operatives for Republican U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw and Democratic challenger Ron Klein are jockeying over a schedule of debates or joint appearances for the two candidates in the nationally watched House race. Klein's campaign issued a statement Tuesday calling for a series of debates around the Palm Beach-Broward district. Shaw campaign manager Larry Casey called the statement a 'childish' campaign tactic because Shaw has agreed to appear at an Aug. 11 luncheon to which Klein has also been invited." "Shaw, Klein camps in conflict over debates".


    Schiavo

    "More than a year after winning a bruising battle to disconnect his brain-damaged wife from a feeding tube in Florida, Michael Schiavo brought his campaign against government intrusion to Colorado Wednesday, demanding an apology from a Republican congresswoman he accused of interfering in his family’s decision. ... He came to Colorado to support two Democratic candidates for the U.S. House, including Angie Paccione, who is challenging Rep. Marilyn Musgrave. Musgrave spoke last year on the floor of the House against allowing Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube to be removed." "Terri Schiavo’s widower takes on politicians in privacy campaign".


    Drilling Sellout?

    "U.S. Senate leaders announced a compromise Wednesday that would expand oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico by millions of acres but keep exploration at least 125 miles from Florida's western shoreline." "Drilling deal cushions state coast". Here's a slightly more accurate headline: "Senate deal would protect Florida's west coast from drilling -- but not east coast".

    The Martinez-Can-Do-No-Wrong crowd at the Orlando Sentinel praises the deal:

    In the deal, Florida Sen. Mel Martinez appears to have gained a major concession by moving the buffer zone for drilling farther from his state's coastline than originally planned by Senate Energy Committee Chairman Pete Domenici, R-N.M.

    The agreement was announced by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Domenici, Martinez and lawmakers from other coastal states. Frist, R-Tenn., said it tries to strike a balance by tapping oil and gas reserves in the Gulf of Mexico while also protecting Florida's multibillion-dollar tourism industry.

    The deal will "protect our shoreline," Martinez, a Republican, said.

    But others were not so sure. Environmentalists are against expanding any exploration in the Gulf. They also note that the Senate plan would allow offshore development in an area of the eastern Gulf known as Lease Sale 181, where government bans have kept drilling off-limits.
    "Drilling deal cushions state coast". The Sentinel is sugar coating the criticism:
    While U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., hails the compromise he helped craft as a huge victory, environmental groups are blasting him for what they say is a strategic blunder that risks putting rigs much closer to the coastline than the 125-mile buffer he thinks he has secured.
    "Senate leaders agree on deal".

    See generally: "Senate leaders propose compromise on offshore drilling", "Oil drilling deal touted as protecting Fla. coast" and "Senate leaders approve of bill to keep drilling off Florida's coast east of 'military mission line'".


    Rahm Hearts Jennings

    "DCCC chief Rahm Emmanuel has added Democratic Congressional District 13 candidate Christine Jennings to its "Red to Blue'' program, funnelling resources to those seen as its strongest candidates to take back Republican seats. "Rahm just called last evening, and I am so excited. It really is a seat we can win,” said Jennings." " Rahm's bullish on Jennings".


    Housing Crisis

    "Leaders fearful of housing gap push for ideas to a avoid losing workers".


    Emergency in Yankeetown

    "Bush declared a state of emergency in Yankeetown on Wednesday, granting emergency powers to the town's mayor and the remaining two Town Council members and directing the town to hold a special election within 60 days to fill vacant council spots." "Bush orders election in fractious Yankeetown".


    GOoPer Rock Star Tumbles

    "In one fell swoop, [Dozier] the pastor of the Worldwide Christian Center in Pompano Beach managed to ignore New Testament teachings of tolerance and denigrate one of the world's major religions."

    His comments also dimmed his stature within the GOP. A prominent Republican who advised the president, recruited blacks to the party, and has become a key figure in Charlie Crist's run for governor, Dozier this week had to resign his position on the Broward Judicial Nominating Committee after being asked by officials in Gov. Jeb Bush's office to step down.

    The governor apparently wasn't thrilled with Dozier's remarks. The comments also gave Crist's primary opponent, Tom Gallagher, a campaign issue.
    "Religion".


    Springer in Sarasota

    "Jerry Springer speaks at Democratic fundraiser".


    SD 10

    "Developers and doctors are bankrolling Senate campaigns for District 10's two top contenders, including a Hillsborough County commissioner [Rhonda Storms] who says developers can't stand her." "Builders, Doctors Bankroll District 10".


    Jebbie "Double-Cross"

    "Jeb Bush has appointed hundreds of judges during his nearly eight years in office, but until the last two years of his tenure, he refused to push for all of the additional judgeships the Florida Supreme Court wanted from the Legislature in order to keep up with the court system's growing case load."

    The governor used as an excuse that the state had other obligations and couldn't afford the court's request. But last year the state funded all 110 requested trial judges, and in a deal, lawmakers gave Bush the chance to appoint 55 in 2005 if this year's group stood for election.

    But now the governor is reneging. He's siding with the Judicial Nominating Commission of the Miami-Dade County judicial circuit, whose members he appointed, which has filed a lawsuit in the Florida Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the election.

    The lawsuit makes clear what we have long suspected: Bush held back support on a full contingent of judgeships over the years hoping at the end he would get to appoint all of them.
    "Jeb Double-Crosses Voters".


    Jebbie's "flavor of the week"

    "State prisons chief Jim McDonough scoffed at former Corrections Secretary Jim Crosby's expressions of remorse Wednesday, saying Crosby had been "crying on the way to the bank" with thousands of dollars in kickbacks from a prison contractor."

    Steve Andrews, Crosby's attorney, said the fired prison chief's remorse was genuine and that he admitted his drinking was "no excuse" for corruption. Andrews said McDonough "doesn't know what's going on" in the prison system.

    "McDonough is Gov. Bush's flavor of the week," Andrews said. "Jimmy Crosby left DOC in pretty good shape. McDonough is high-handed and he's been throwing out lifelong DOC employees."
    "Prisons chief blasts Crosby".

    Daniel Ruth's take: "'Shawshank Redemption' Redux".


    Busansky Bucks

    "Fundraising picked up during the second quarter of this year for Phyllis Busansky, the Democratic candidate running to replace Rep. Mike Bilirakis in Congress. Busansky raised $335,000 while Gus Bilirakis, the Republican frontrunner raised upwards of $265,000." " Busansky raises another $335,000".


    Outa Here

    "As many as 6 million boxes of oranges may be left on trees by the end of the growing season this month because immigrant labor has left the state." "Labor Shortage Shorts Harvest".


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