Scott Maxwell writes that "the Democrats decided to have a little fun with Mel Martinez. CSPAN caught him autographing pictures of himself -- while his peers in the Senate were holding the debate on flag-burning was going on." Catch Mel in the act here.
The rest of today's Florida political news and punditry:
"Through registration drives, teach-ins and seminars, groups from Los Angeles to Orlando and Miami aim to register 1-million new voters and convince some of the nation's 8-million legal permanent residents to become citizens by the 2008 presidential election." "Activists push Hispanics to vote".
The "Values" Crowd
"Nursing home officials denounce governor's veto of Medicaid help".
Terri Schiavo's brother
"Terri Schiavo's brother campaigned Friday with anti-abortion activist Randall Terry, who has been evoking Schiavo's death in his bid to oust veteran state Sen. Jim King. Friday's appearances by Bobby Schindler were the first time a member of Schiavo's family has publicly campaigned for Terry, who served as the family's spokesman during the battle to keep her alive." "Terri Schiavo's brother stumps for conservative". See also "Terri Schiavo advocate makes campaign stop in Ormond".
Another Gallagher "Disclosure"
"The candidate for governor owned shares in a company he voted on as a member of the Cabinet, he disclosed Friday."
Republican candidate for governor Tom Gallagher owned stock in St. Joe Co. last year when he voted to rank some of the company's vast land holdings as a priority for state acquisition."Gallagher raises eyebrows again".
Gallagher, the state's chief financial officer and elected member of the Cabinet, didn't disclose his 4,000-share stake in St. Joe when the Cabinet voted on the land rankings Feb. 16, 2005. The $270,000 investment was Gallagher's biggest gamble by far since he began playing the market using an online brokerage account four years ago.
"He's disclosing it now," Gallagher's campaign manager, Brett Doster, said Friday.
Gallagher's brief ownership stake in a company with significant political clout and the largest private land holdings in Florida was reported in his 2005 federal tax return. Gallagher gave the St. Petersburg Times a copy of the return, which the paper requested as part of its review of the finances of the four major candidates for governor.
Gallagher declined to answer questions about the St. Joe matter.
Insurance An Issue
"42 percent of Florida voters say they have had to pay for home repairs out of their own pocket because of the last two hurricane season, with nearly three-quarters of them saying they spent more than $1,000. More than three-quarters (77 percent) also report that home and auto insurance premiums have risen in the last two years, with most of the increases at $250 or more, according to the poll." "Nelson, Insurance Premiums Way Up". See also "Insurance relief effort needs a political shove".
"Don't worry, be teachers"
Wingnut Stanley Marshall has it all figured out:
Why is it so hard for Florida to recruit teachers? Board of Governors member J. Stanley Marshall, who was asked to find solutions to the problem, blames the union for "constantly complaining that teachers are getting a raw deal.""Don't worry, be teachers".
What a relief. If it's just union yammering, as Mr. Marshall believes, then the Legislature doesn't have to do anything difficult, such as providing enough money to significantly raise teacher pay, which is $5,000 below the national average. And politicians won't have to stop making teachers bow down and worship the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. As Mr. Marshall sees it, to get recruits banging on the principal's door, the state just needs a few cheery and inspirational billboards and commercials to "inform the public of the important and deeply satisfying aspects of teaching."
Thank goodness it won't be necessary to try to make would-be teachers comfortable with arcane and arbitrary aspects of FCAT-based bonuses, such as how a Spanish teacher can be passed over if students at her school do poorly on the math FCAT. Come to think of it, how do teachers of physical education and history get FCAT-based bonuses when the state doesn't give an FCAT in their subjects? ...
Fortunately, there's no time to dwell on it because, as soon as school starts in August, teachers will have to put everything else aside to begin the sprint toward FCATs in March. The state needs 32,000 teachers a year, but universities say they're having trouble finding students who want to become teachers. Here's hoping they respond to the state's new recruiting slogan: "Salary and Respect Aren't Everything."
"High court is Childers' last hope to avoid prison".
"It's now up to the U.S. Senate to reject a plan to allow oil and gas rigs as close as 50 miles to Florida's precious coastline, where spills could damage the state's environment, spoil its beaches and threaten the tourist-based economy." "Too close to drill".
"Gallagher courts Dade Hispanic vote"
"Republican Tom Gallagher took his campaign for governor Friday from the barrio to the boardroom, greeting elderly voters at the Little Havana Activities Center and executives at a Latin Builders Association reception. On the heels of a new poll showing him far behind Republican Charlie Crist, Gallagher courted Miami-Dade's politically influential Hispanic community." "Gallagher courts Dade Hispanic vote".
New Florida Chief Justice
"U.S. Rep. Jim Davis, D-Tampa, was among the members of Congress to take to the floor of the House to fight plans to put offshore oil drilling closer to Florida’s shores. Davis’ represents the 11th Congressional district which includes part of Manatee County." "Lewis receives gavel as new Florida chief justice".
"Davis speaks against drilling bill"
"Davis speaks against drilling bill".
Wal-mart Lobbyist Backing Smith
"Among the 27 folks signing on either as co-chairs or members of the Brevard County Steering Committee for Smith's campaign for governor [is] Guy Spearman of Cocoa, a well-known lobbyist around the state Capitol whose client list includes Anheuser-Busch, Philip Morris and Wal-Mart." "Smith's Brevard Backers".
GOoPers Go After Davis
" Davis, the press, and the RPOF".
McBride' "Harris-like moment"
"The Orlando Republican hoping to wrestle the party's Senate nomination from U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris is having a Harris-like moment of his own. Will McBride, a political newcomer running in the GOP primary, has switched campaign managers after only two weeks. Gerry Scimeca left the campaign a month after McBride announced he would take on Harris in the primary." "Harris foe switches campaign managers".
"[D]espite the job's power and influence, the three Republicans seeking their party's nomination in the Sept. 5 primary have the same problem as their Democratic opponent: few voters know them or the position. The winner between state Senate President Tom Lee, state Rep. Randy Johnson and political newcomer Milt Bauguess will face the Democratic candidate, former Tampa banking executive Alex Sink, in November. Incumbent Tom Gallagher chose to run for governor rather than seek a second term." "Unknowns seek support in GOP race for chief financial officer".
More results from the recent Q poll. [From June 20 - 26, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,311 Florida registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.7 percentage points. The survey includes 520 Republicans, and a margin of error of +/- 4.3 percent in the GOP primary matchups.]
Matching Sen. Nelson against possible Republican challengers, the independent Quinnipiac University poll finds Nelson with commanding leads:"" See also "Poll: Harris' support in own party not great". See also "Harris remains far behind, new poll finds".
* 59 - 26 percent over Harris, compared to 58 - 25 percent May 25;
* 56 - 25 percent over McBride;
* 57 - 20 percent over LeRoy Collins Jr.
* 58 - 21 percent over Peter Monroe.
In a Republican primary, Harris leads with 35 percent, two points lower than last month. McBride is second with 16 percent, up from 13 percent. The largest vote is for "Don't know," at 38 percent.
Campbell Looks To Race With McCollum
"It seems Democratic attorney general candidate Walter 'Skip' Campbell has already written off state Reps. Joe Negron and Everett Rice in the GOP attorney general primary." "Campbell V. ??".
"Making The Rounds"
"Another prospective presidential candidate is headed for the Sunshine State, as New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson will headline the Florida Democratic Party's Jefferson Jackson Gala next month in Fort Lauderdale." "Another Toe in the Water".
"Rep. John Peterson of Pennsylvania seemed awfully excited to have Gov. Jeb Bush come by his Washington office this week to talk about drilling - even though the two are philosophically opposed on the issue." " Bush and Peterson".
"You've got to hand it to her for trying."
Alex Sink, the Democrat and former Bank of America exec running for chief financial officer, actually managed to turn Gov. Jeb Bush's recent decision to create a commission to study Florida's property insurance problems into a fundraising opportunity."Looking for a Hook".
"I come from the business world and not the Legislature, so I have a different approach...We need to stop forming committees and start finding solutions," Sink writes in an e-mail to potential contributors. "But I need your help if I am going to be Florida's next Chief Financial Officer. Friday June 30th is the end of the fundraising quarter and I need your financial support immediately if I am going to reach my goal."
"After suffering a string of losses in his 2 1/2 -year legal fight against paperless electronic voting, U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler wants help from an unlikely source: The U.S. Supreme Court and the Bush vs. Gore decision that Wexler and other Democrats decried in 2000. Wexler's pro bono legal team plans to file a petition this summer asking the high court to consider his claim that voters who cast intangible electronic ballots are being denied the protections afforded voters who mark paper ballots that can be manually recounted. After suffering a string of losses in his 2 1/2 -year legal fight against paperless electronic voting, U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler wants help from an unlikely source: The U.S. Supreme Court and the Bush vs. Gore decision that Wexler and other Democrats decried in 2000." "Wexler seeks high court's aid in paper trail battle".
"The long-shot Republican Senate candidate says he shares the values, if not the party, of the late governor." "LeRoy Collins Jr.: Dad would be with me in spirit".
Carville and Bill
"First it was U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and now it's Democratic political guru James Carville urging supporters to give more money to Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson before the latest fundraising quarter ends tonight." "Bill Nelson and the Ragin' Cajun".