Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


UPDATE: Every morning we review and individually digest Florida political news articles, editorials and punditry. Our sister site, FLA Politics was selected by Campaigns & Elections as one of only ten state blogs in the nation
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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 Sunday, July 16, 2006

Tom To "Go murder on Charlie"?

    "There has been little good news for the Gallagher campaign. In the past six months, Gallagher has had to answer questions about his divorce and his business dealings. Last week, his campaign had to endure questions about whether Gallagher should just quit the race rather than officially become a candidate during the five-day qualifying period that begins Monday."
    All of this confronted Gallagher's supporters during Wednesday's 7 p.m. campaign conference call. And what they wanted to know was: Can anything stop Crist?

    "Absolutely," said David Johnson, a Gallagher senior campaign strategist. "This campaign is just getting started. We made a decision to hold fire until after July 4th."

    Johnson said Crist, Florida's attorney general, is vulnerable on a host of issues. But Johnson declined to get specific about Gallagher's campaign strategy. ...

    One political observer close to Bush said Gallagher's best chance of winning may be to "really go murder on Charlie" but worried that doing so would help the Democratic nominee in November.
    "In GOP governor's race, Gallagher backers keeping the faith".

    "Jeb!"'s Role in 2000 ...

    One thing is for sure, Jebbie and his Chief of Staff were focussed on something other than the people's business.

    "Some dramatic new details about Jeb Bush and the final weeks of the 2000 presidential election in Florida are coming out in the new book One Party Country: The Republican Plan for Dominance in the 21st Century, by Tom Hamburger and (former St. Petersburg Times reporter) Peter Wallsten."

    It seems Gov. Bush was a lot more worried about Al Gore's Florida prospects than the Bush-Cheney campaign team in Austin, Texas, and became mighty frustrated that Karl Rove wasn't listening to him seriously enough and taking his advice on Florida strategy.

    "Something's got to give," Jeb Bush said at one tense meeting in the governor's mansion with Bush-Cheney strategists, including Ken Mehlman and Chris Henick. "You guys are not listening."

    From the book: "In the final week, Jeb took matters into his own hands, ordering the state Republican Party to commission its own poll using his campaign's Washington firm, Public Opinion Strategies. The new poll showed that Gore had pulled ahead by at least one percentage point. Even among white males the Texas governor was struggling. Sally Bradshaw, Jeb's chief of staff, took the results to her boss.

    "What do we do with these numbers?" she asked.

    Jeb directed Bradshaw to call Austin immediately. But instead of moving swiftly to deal with the apparent erosion of support, Rove and his brain trust were furious that Jeb and his team had done a poll on their own. Campaign officials believed their numbers were better. The conversation grew so tense that at one point Bradshaw called Rove a jerk.
    "Jeb's frustration simmered in 2000".


    "Few doubt Harris will forge on after surgery, exodus of staff". In the meantime, Harris' "3 rivals struggle to be noticed".

    Black Caucus

    "State Sen. Rod Smith and U.S. Rep. Jim Davis brought their campaigns for the Democratic Party nomination for governor to Lakeland on Saturday where both spoke to the state convention of the chapter presidents of the Democratic Black Caucus of Florida." "Black Caucus Focuses on Voting Issue".

    The Education Governor

    "About 40 percent of Florida’s high school students don’t graduate with their class, according to a new national study that also concluded state graduation rates are lower than education departments have claimed. The report called Diplomas Count, partly sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, found that Florida is grossly behind the rest of the nation when it comes to graduation rates." "Florida graduating only 57.5 percent of high school seniors".


    "Brent Batten: Drilling deal not getting any sweeter".

    Multilingual Ballots

    "Goodman: We should vote non, nein, nyet on multilingual ballots".

    Gallagher Endorsement

    "Calling Hialeah Florida's most conservative city and home to the largest Cuban community, Tom Gallagher's gubernatorial campaign was ecstastic Saturday to announced it had won the endorsement of city's mayor Julio Robaina." "Hialeah's Robaina Endorses Gallagher".

    Gay Dems

    "Gay and lesbian Democrats sometimes face a difficult position when trying to promote political issues of personal interest: They know some in their party aren’t on their side, and they believe Republicans use the issues to divide voters." "Gay Democrats seek to become an influential force in politics". See also "Gay Caucus Meeting Draws Top Democratic Candidates" and "Gay caucus talks strategy" (Alan "Boyd, D-Monticello, said he attended the Florida Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender conference because the group represents a well-organized voting bloc that can help Democrats win the House.")

    Where Was Jebbie?

    "The Lake O dike: 20 years of warnings".

    Private Sector Pay

    "Space Florida's first president could be paid as much $370,000 a year, in the stratosphere of state pay, if preliminary discussions about salary are approved." "Space board debates pay for president".


    "Democratic strategists say the young Republican congressman from Polk County is vulnerable on the issues, but so far no one wants to run against him." "Virtually Unchallenged, Putnam's Power Rises".

    Campaign Stunt

    "Two years ago today, President Bush came to Tampa to announce a $30 million initiative against human trafficking, casting our city as a hot spot in the selling of human lives. Yet two years later, not a single local trafficking case has been made." "Bush's Anti-Slavery Initiative Falters In Quest For Freedom".

    Florida AWOL On Insurance

    "Since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, here is what Florida has done for the property insurance industry:"

    The state created the hurricane catastrophe fund, which helps insurers pay claims in a bad storm year.

    The state allowed insurers to form state versions, known as "pups," of their big-dog companies. Allstate Floridian, for example, can claim that it needs a huge rate increase to make up for storm claims, even as Allstate is bragging about how much money it's making.

    The state created a system of arbitration for rate increases, rather than let the insurance commissioner decide. The companies win almost every time.

    The state refused to create an Office of Public Counsel that would represent consumers during rate requests. The state has such an office for utility rate requests. For the most part, the state relies on the insurance industry for information when deciding what premiums should be. An Office of Public Counsel, staffed with trained specialists, could challenge the industry's numbers.

    The state refused to enact a "loyalty clause" that would have prevented insurers from dropping policies if a customer had paid premiums for three years and done nothing to breach the contract with the company.

    And, of course, the state negated that appeals court ruling the industry hated.
    "State needs a new policy on insurance".

    A Political Issue

    "A storm is coming -- a storm of insurance cancellation notices and rate increases for Florida property owners, and candidates for statewide office are hearing about it across the state." "Homeowners' insurance can be affordable".

    Disney Hearts Charlie

    "At least half a dozen high-ranking Disney World executives have contributed the maximum $500 to the Republican candidate's campaign, according to election records. The group -- which includes Al Weiss, the president of Walt Disney World Parks and Resorts, and Lee Cockerell, the park's executive V.P. of operations -- combined to give $3,000 to Crist in a single day last year, according to Crist's finance reports." "Crist, Smith enjoy Disney backing".


    "For almost 50 years, the phosphate industry went largely unchallenged. Now, criticism is growing." "The Phosphate Debate".

    The Rats Who Jumped Ship

    Jeremy Wallace counts the losses

    Here are some of the top level advisors in her campaign office who have quit during the last nine months:

    From the campaign:
    Ed Rollins, political advisor
    Ed Goeas, pollster
    Adam Goodman, media consultant
    Jim Dornan, campaign manager
    Jamie Miller campaign manager,
    Nancy Watkins, campaign treasurer
    Timothy Beall, assistant treasure
    Morgan Dobbs, communications director
    Megan Ortagus, field coordinator
    Chris Ingram, communications director
    Mike Miller, campaign finance director
    Anne Dunsmore, national fundraiser
    Leah Pitts, deputy finance director of operations
    Fred Piccolo Jr, travel assistant

    Her congressional office has also had major turnover. Here are top level staff members who have quit since the start of last year:

    Fred Asbell, chief of staff
    Chris Battle, chief of staff
    Sally Tibbetts, district director
    Kim Hutchens, district director
    Kara Borie, press secretary
    David Kinkade, press secretary
    Garrison Courtney, press secretary
    "More workers quit Harris' campaign".

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