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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 Saturday, August 26, 2006

Gallagher Closing; Dems Battle

    "The Republican race for governor could be getting closer."
    A new poll for the Florida Chamber of Commerce, released Friday, shows Charlie Crist holding a 10 percentage-point lead over Tom Gallagher. But with Gallagher behind by more than double that in recent weeks, the survey was cause for celebration in the chief financial officer's camp.

    "We're surging," said Mike Murphy, a national Republican advisor who lately joined Gallagher's team as a general consultant. "In a primary, 10 or 15 or 20 points is easy to overcome in the last week. I've seen it happen. If we make it a race about our contrasting positions with Crist on core Republican issues, we'll win.
    "Polls Apart". See also "Crist's lead lessens", "Poll: Crist 39, Gallagher 29", "Poll indicates Crist-Gallagher race tightening" ("29 percent of likely GOP primary voters are still undecided.") and "Crist still has sizable lead new poll says".

    In response, "Crist goes on the offensive in campaign". See also "Crist cites endorsements, calls opponent unprepared to be governor", "Crist pounds Gallagher in new ad" and "Crist ad blasts Gallagher, labels him as 'Taxing Tom' and `liberal'".

    On the Dem front: "Under fire from Democratic rival Jim Davis, Rod Smith this afternoon denounced the latest round of mailers attacking Davis for a "record of shame when it comes to people of color." (It's worth noting that his campaign initially defended the mailers.)" "Smith: Attack Mailer on Davis 'Went Too Far'". See also "Big Sugar plays rough in governor race", "Will vote long ago damage Davis?" (""His rival Smith and a mailer attack his 1990 vote against reparations for two wrongly imprisoned black men.) and "Davis to CityPlace crowd: race takes a 'nasty turn'".

    "Continuing the theme he began during Wednesday night's debate, Democrat Jim Davis has launched a scathing new television ad that accuses primary rival Rod Smith of a 'record of siding with special interests.'" "New Davis Ad Goes Hard After Smith". See also "Davis blasts Smith in campaign ad, cites ties to sugar industry" and "Davis answers Smith in TV ad battle" and "Davis strikes back with new TV Ad" ("Jim Davis on Friday announced a new TV spot titled "Loud and Clear" that attacks his Democratic primary opponent Rod Smith. See it here.")

    The Tampa Trib has this: "Smith's GOP Backing Strong" ("The [outside] groups, and the sugar corporation itself, share something else. All are led by Republicans.")

    See also "Both parties in governor's race step up attacks". "Candidates take off gloves as voting nears".

    Another round of debates: "Neither of the underdogs in the governor's race sparkled in this week's debates, broadcast live by public television stations across the state. Smith and Gallagher got some licks in, but they missed opportunities to deliver wallops. And with only days before the Sept. 5 election, a decent performance isn't good enough. They've got one last chance to shine on statewide television and in front of an even bigger, NBC audience Monday and Tuesday at 8 p.m." ".Underdog candidates get a final chance to make their mark".


    "Harris ad ignores primary foes"

    Harris' wacky religious remarks - which apparently appeal to a sizable portion of the GOP base - continue to draw controversy. See "Harris warns voters to elect Christians, or 'legislate sin'" and "Harris' .secular laws' stance draws outrage". See also "It's God's will".

    On a separate note, "Harris campaign awaits her cash", is an interesting look at Harris' apparently bogus "emotional announcement on national TV in March, Harris said she would use every penny her late father had left her."


    "The sources, who spoke on the condition they not be named but were familiar with the discussions within the company, said the possible amount would depend on whether Tampa Congressman Jim Davis or Alachua state Sen. Rod Smith wins the Democratic primary, and that money is more likely to flow if Smith wins. One source said it did not matter which Democrat wins, if in fact Crist wins the Republican primary. Both sources mentioned the $1 million figure." "Sources: FPL may spend $1 million to defeat Crist".


    Johnson "says Lee et al. broke elections laws that prohibit donors to political parties from earmarking contributions to specific candidates, plus ethics rules that prohibit lawmakers from accepting gifts from lobbyists." "Watergate?"

    CD 9

    "She may not have a primary coming up, but Phyllis Busansky, the uncontested Democratic candidate for the District 9 Congressional seat, is already staking out her ground on military policy. Former Georgia Senator Max Cleland will be in Tampa Bay to stump for Busansky this weekend." "Phyllis Busansky Rolls out her War Path: Calls for Rumsfeld to be fired & Campaigns with former Senator Max Cleland".


    "Walter 'Skip' Campbell Jr. has the legal credentials you'd expect in the campaign to be Florida's next attorney general, but he also has a spiritual one." "Campbell To Focus Fight On Cybercrime".


    Flanagan, "the Bradenton Republican went a step further, calling racial profiling 'a tool of war,' and grabbing international media attention in a race in which he's been largely outgunned -- Flanagan was featured on a Sunday morning Fox News show, and Arab news outlets, including Al-Jazeera, have picked up his comments." "Flanagan says profiling Muslims would make flying more secure".

    No Party

    "Since 2002, about 45 percent of new Florida registrations - 520,260 voters - have spurned the major parties. Republicans have netted 29 percent - 340,820 - of the new registrations and Democrats 26 percent - 301,285." "Traditional Parties Shunned".

    Adult Supervision

    "Republican U.S. Sen. candidate Katherine Harris apparently has canceled an 8:30 a.m. scheduled appearance at the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club in Miami Beach. Get a load of this e-mail from Mike Burke of the breakfast club:"

    "Contrary to a confirmation given to TMBC Tuesday night, Katherine Harris will not honor her longstanding commitment to appear at the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club on Aug. 29. Since this cancellation was delayed in order to make it impossible to obtain a speaker who would actually show up, we are holding this date open. Perhaps this weekend's round of changes in the Harris campaign will produce adult supervision. And no, we will not move the TMBC to Versailles to build a crowd for a photo-op. My apologies. I promise to book no more novelty acts in the future."
    "Harris doesn't want to get up that early".

    In the meantime, "Harris attacks Nelson".

    Desperate Republicans

    "A little time on the campaign trail has convinced Florida lawmakers that the homeowner insurance crisis is for real, but the calls for a pre-election special session speak to a different type of desperation. It's not the kind homeowners feel when their insurance carrier drops them. It's the one politicians feel when angry people head to the polls." "A session on insurance? We'll pass".

    Chamber Follies

    "Hispanic Chamber of Orlando Straw Poll".

    Money Race

    "The latest round of fundraising reports are in for the candidates for governor (though the numbers appear increasingly irrelevant the more outside groups spend on the campaigns). The reports cover the week that ended last Friday:"

    Republican Charlie Crist raised $324,000 ($128,000 came in the form of public matching money) and now has about $1.6 million on hand.

    Democrat Jim Davis raised $107,000 ($69,000 in public money) and now has about $1.7 million.

    Democrat Rod Smith raised $51,000 ($8,000 in public money) and now has about $75,000.

    Republican Tom Gallagher raised $25,000 ($12,000 in public money) and now has about $1.4 million.
    "Updated Fundraising #'s". See also "Gallagher Still Behind in Dollars".

    Honest Moment

    "Rep. Juan Zapata, R-Miami, who blames the political influence of the insurance industry for many of the problems in the insurance market"

    Here's how he began his rant, agreeing all the while with incoming House Minority Leader Dan Gelber, a Miami Democrat: "The Republican Party has failed you, and not because we haven’t tried but I think we haven’t tried hard enough. And I think it’s obvious by the results. I think for far too long we created a system that really benefited the insurance companies. And we have been afraid."
    "'The Republican Party has failed you'". See also "GOP lawmaker: Republicans have failed on insurance" and "GOP lawmaker: Party failed in insurance crisis".

    Smith, Davis

    The St Pete Times has bio pieces on Smith and Davis.

    "Secret Suit"

    "The Herald-Tribune filed a motion Friday challenging a judge's order that seals every part of a lawsuit involving congressional candidate [GOP Congressional candidate] Vern Buchanan."

    The court file, sealed after a settlement in 2001, includes a fraud allegation against Buchanan. The Republican auto dealer has touted his reputation as a self-made businessman as he seeks to replace U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris in District 13.

    Attorneys for the newspaper argued that Judge Nancy Donnellan is inappropriately hiding the case from public view, violating public records rules and unconstitutionally infringing on the right of the public and the press to access court proceedings.

    Donnellan has declined to explain her legal justification for sealing the case or provide a copy of the order that made it secret. Correspondence from Donnellan says that the suit was sealed by agreement of all attorneys involved.
    "Herald-Tribune sues to see secret Buchanan suit".

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