"With Republican Charlie Crist looking poised to be his party's nominee for governor, Florida Democrats are focusing on him as a likely opponent this fall. And they are worried. Crist's middle-of-the-road politics defuses several education, environmental and social issues that Democrats had hoped to use for rallying their key supporters heading toward November. Instead, to many Democrats, Crist's positions on class size, vouchers, abortion, offshore oil drilling, stem-cell research and even same-sex civil unions sound an awful lot like their own, making the prospective Republican nominee a tough target." "Crist is a tough target".
The wingnuts are after Judge Greer: "Schiavo Judge's Campaign Under FEC Review This Week". For some background see "Schiavo Judge's Political Ad Headed To Probable Cause Hearing" and "Another Reward For Schiavo Judge?"
Crook? What Crook?
"Attorney General Charlie Crist said he doesn't remember Bruce Carlton Jordan, a former funeral-lobby director who helped get the future governor frontrunner to attend an Orlando event when Gov. Jeb Bush unexpectedly cancelled. The Miami Herald reported last week that Jordan, a twice-convicted thief, is now a travel aide for U.S. Senate candidate Katherine Harris. In the article Daniel Perrin, incoming president of the Florida Funeral Directors Association, recalled the time Jordan helped bring Crist to an event. Carlton was fired from the lobby in 2003 when he was caught stealing money from it." "Crist: Bruce who?"
"A ruling is expected on an appeal of a new state law that some say tied their hands." "Voter-aid groups awaiting decision".
That's our "Jeb!"
That's our "Jeb!", AWOL in the Bush family tradition. Instead of doing his job,
Bush spent the day Monday on a campaign sweep through the Interstate 4 corridor, making stops in both Tampa Bay and Orlando. Bush insisted that Florida's economy has been aided by his eight years in office during which he and the Republican-controlled Legislature pushed through tax cuts and set aside money for economic development."Bush a no-show for water wars talk".
But while Bush was busy touting his party's message in voter-rich Central Florida, he missed a meeting in Columbus, GA. to discuss water issues with Gov. Bob Riley of Alabama and Gov. Sonny Perdue of Georgia. Alabama, Georgia and Florida have been at odds for years over the flow of water in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river systems.
Siplin Goes Down
"Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, was just found guilty of charges that he required his aides to work on his re-election campaign while being paid by the state." "Jury Finds Siplin Guilty of Grand Theft". See also "Siplin may face 5 years in jail for felony theft", "Siplin guilty of misusing public money" and Senator guilty of misusing public money
Murphy To The Rescue?
"The man who helped Jeb Bush twice win election as Florida's governor has committed to helping Republican Tom Gallagher's struggling bid for the same job. Political strategist Mike Murphy, whose recent victories include helping Arnold Schwarzenegger become California's governor, confirmed Monday that he is helping Gallagher on a volunteer basis for the final three weeks before the Sept. 5 Republican gubernatorial primary." "Talented old hand to give Gallagher effort a new push". See also "Gallagher changes media consultants".
"Insurance, schools top District 69 debate".
"Alex Sink and Jim Davis appeared before more than 100 Miami area Democrats on Monday night, casting themselves as the candidates who can recapture some of the state's top political posts for the party." "Sink, Davis Campaign In Miami".
"The Senate candidate says her staff earlier advised her not to seek newspapers' endorsements. Now she's changed her mind." "Harris tries late to get editors to back her".
"Lacking significant differences in their stances on the nation's challenges, five Democrats trying to replace Jim Davis in Congress emphasized their backgrounds during a debate Monday. The League of Women Voters debate will be broadcast on city and county cable channels four times before the primary on Sept. 5." "5 Candidates For Davis' Seat Stress Their Experience".
"The race to replace Katherine Harris in Congress has turned vitriolic. The two millionaire candidates who tout themselves as the front-runners in the Republican primary race for the 13th Congressional District seat are attacking one another over their business ethics. And one candidate has made the unusual move of purchasing a Web site using his rival's name." "House candidate takes case against his opponent online". See also "Candidates unearth history for mud to sling".
See the handiwork here: "www.therealvern.com".
SPT - "Castor for Democrats", "Penberthy for Democrats" and Bilirakis for Republicans.
SS - "Senate 32" ("Ben Graber") and "House 78" ("Richard Machek's record recommends him.")
"Children's Campaign wants concrete solutions from the gubernatorial candidates about how they'd improve the program." "Group demands answers on pre-K".
Smith's Soft Money
"Jim Davis is a member of Congress. Rod Smith is not. And that one distinction could prove critical in the Democratic primary election for governor in three weeks by allowing Smith to use hundreds of thousands of dollars — or even millions — in state party 'soft money' for his television ads." "'Soft money' advantage in TV ads goes to Smith".
"It prompts a controversial question as the county seeks to capitalize on The Scripps Research Institute's progress toward building a Florida campus: Should more of the public purse be used to bankroll new industry in South Florida? The Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies wants $21 million in county money to put its headquarters in Boca Raton, where at least 189 jobs would be located. And Scripps and IBM are seeking $9 million to help establish the world's fastest supercomputer to battle avian flu. That project would mean only 42 jobs, but it's high on prestige." "PBC commissioners questioning $30 million in incentives for biotech companies".
"From questions posed on the campaign trail to talk radio, many Hispanic Republicans are worried the 'mean-spirited' discussion about immigration could harm their party."
The caller to the talk-radio show discussing ''the illegal-alien invasion'' listed the three strikes against Republican Will McBride's campaign for the U.S. Senate:"Election immigration debate turning 'offensive'".
"You're a lawyer for one thing. You're young. And you're Hispanic."
That last comment troubled McBride -- partly because it's true. For the 34-year-old son of a Mexican field worker has found he's campaigning against GOP icon Katherine Harris, two other little-known candidates and an insidious challenge: the "offensive" tone over immigration from a minority of Republicans.
And it worries not just McBride, but also Republican leaders seeking to protect the GOP's historic gains with Hispanics. Polls show Hispanics nationwide moved 32 percentage points in the GOP's favor over the past three presidential elections -- the nation's largest demographic electoral shift.
"Some elected officials are thinking twice about attending a private breakfast next week to welcome a group of Republicans scouting Tampa as a potential site for the 2008 GOP convention. After being told by The Tampa Tribune that the media and the public cannot attend, several elected officials said they were concerned the private gathering might violate state open-meeting laws." "RNC Convention Event Hits Snag".
The Insurance Thing
"CFO candidates spar on insurance". See also "Candidates for CFO discuss state's role in insurance crisis".
Another Rate Hike
"In a move that's becoming something of a painful pattern for homeowners, Florida's fifth-largest insurer hopes to raise prices soon after imposing another rate hike. United Services Automobile Association, or USAA, last week asked state regulators for permission to raise rates by 40 percent statewide. That increase, if approved, would take effect Jan. 1." "USAA latest insurer to seek 2nd rate hike".
Florida A Majority-Minority State
- "The youngest Anglo children in Hillsborough County and across Florida are now a minority, foreshadowing the day when Florida - like four states now - becomes a majority-minority state." "White Children Now In Minority". See also "Hispanics lead minority boom".
- "New Census numbers show a continued surge in minorities in Broward, and dwindling numbers of white non-Hispanics in Broward and Miami-Dade, particularly among children under 5." "Minority populations booming in Broward".
- "Every population group is growing steadily in the Orlando area, but minorities are gradually outpacing whites to give rise to a more-diverse region."
The picture that emerges from Census Bureau figures out today shows that minorities now make up one-third of Central Florida's population, surging to 33 percent last year from about 26 percent in 2000."33% of us are minorities, and numbers are growing".
The local estimates reflect shifts at the state and national levels.
In Florida, the move to more diverse communities comes primarily from the continued growth of Hispanics -- a combination of people from outside the country, migrants from Puerto Rico and larger U.S. cities, and a higher rate of births.
The census estimates that more than 3.4 million people now live in Central Florida. In the seven counties, Hispanics had become the largest minority group in the last census in 2000. But their expansion did not stop there. The latest estimates show that Hispanics added another 181,000 people since then.
The 49 percent increase puts Central Florida's Latino population at about 549,000, or 16 percent of the overall population. Asians grew 72 percent, to more than 104,000. The number of blacks rose 26 percent to more than 473,000. Whites grew at a slower rate of 11 percent, to about 2.4 million.
"Election 2006, House District 86: Democrats align on issues, differ on experience".
"Democratic congressional challenger Ron Klein campaigned as a consumer advocate Monday, calling for tax relief for homeowners socked by insurance hikes and airing a new ad that says he'll "take on the big oil, insurance and drug companies who call the shots in Washington."" "Klein seeks tax relief against home insurance".
"You would think that, after three terms in the state House, Irv Slosberg would have plenty to talk about when selling voters on why they should promote him to the Florida Senate over a political novice." "Politics".
"Negotiations for a GOP debate between candidates in Florida's toughest Senate race fell apart Monday, but shorter joint appearances have led to plenty of exchanges."
The debate dates are falling through, the gloves are coming off -- and the chicken suits are coming out in Florida's toughest Senate race."Rivals disagree on debate". See also "Governor opposes incumbent in GOP state senate primary".
On Monday, Sen. Alex Villalobos and challenger Frank Bolanos couldn't agree to debate at Miami-Dade's Republican Executive Committee this week -- prompting the Bolanos camp to buy a $180 chicken suit that they plan to have a supporter wear to mock Villalobos at public functions.
The failed debate negotiations came as Gov. Jeb Bush endorsed Bolaños. At issue for Bush, who once spoke highly of Villalobos: class size and publicly funded vouchers for private-school students, two Bush legacy issues that Villalobos helped scuttle in the Legislature, earning him the support of the teachers' union.
Villalobos said he wants to debate Bolaños at community events in the West Dade district. But Bolaños supporters, who already had a bad experience at a Kendall event packed with Villalobos supporters, say they want a forum with just Republicans, said Bolanos spokesman Michael Caputo, who bought the chicken suit after failing to reach a deal with Villalobos strategist David Custin.
Smith Moves South
"Smith travels to South Florida to rally Democratic activists".
"No matter how upbeat he seemed Monday, Jim Davis is coming off a tough weekend. Several major newspapers, including the St. Petersburg Times, endorsed his opponent in the Democratic primary for governor." "Davis on Endorsements".
"After he put Danny Rolling on death row for the murders of five Gainesville college students, Rod Smith often was stopped on the street by strangers wanting to shake his hand. People applauded when he entered restaurants and public meetings. Then he went home to visit his father, who imparted a little advice: 'You're not nearly as smart as people say you are right now, but you're not nearly as stupid as they'll say you are the next time you mess up.'" "Smith counts on folksiness for votes".