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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 Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Gallagher on Verge of Quitting Race

    Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Gallagher is considering dropping out of the race at the urging of top advisors who want time to make peace with his front-running GOP rival, his close associates have told The Miami Herald."
    Gallagher, whose fundraising and poll numbers have remained stagnant, is taking the advice seriously but has not made up his mind, his advisors said. What is clear is that Gallagher did not expect such a ferocious challenge from his affable opponent, Attorney General Charlie Crist, who has surged ahead in the polls by studiously avoiding conflict.

    Gallagher has complained to friends that when Crist is forced to take a position, he often cribs Gallagher's policy proposals: "He uses my words and ideas and says it better than I do," a frustrated Gallagher told one friend.

    Gallagher's campaign said Tuesday that the candidate is considering all his options:

    "Tom is evaluating -- with his family and his friends -- what is best for him and what is best for the Republican Party," said Gallagher spokesman Alberto Martinez.
    "Gallagher studies quitting race". In the meantime, Crist is "Sticking To His Guns". See also "Crist, party of one" ("The Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, long a major backer of Gov. Jeb Bush, endorsed Republican Charlie Crist for governor Tuesday. The organization, whose 10,000 members include such tourism powerhouses as Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, issued a primary endorsement for only the second time in its history. Bush was the first.")

    Rod's Sugar

    "Big Sugar is investing big money on behalf of Democratic state Sen. Rod Smith's campaign for governor." "Sugar growers finance attack on Davis". See also "Political Advertisement Paid For By ... ?"

    "The mailer to South Florida voters, paid for by a sugar industry-backed group called Florida's Working Families, rips Davis for missing last month's vote in Washington condemning the terrorist attacks against Israel. Smith told The Miami Herald's editorial board that the missed vote was fair game, considering that Davis has racked up the second-worst attendance record in the House of Representatives since he began campaigning in early 2005." "Permalink">Smith describes anti-Davis mailing as fair game". See also "Political 'scare' tactic condemned", "Smith won't reject anti-Davis flier", "U.S Rep. Schultz calls on Smith to denounce false flyer" and "Ad attacking Davis called unfair".

    Heard That Before

    "Secretary of State Sue Cobb and her elections chief said Tuesday the state's new voting machinery is ready to run the Sept. 5 primaries with none of the foul-ups that have clouded recent Florida elections." "State set for primaries".

    Crist's Conservatism

    "Charlie Crist is OK with civil unions for gay couples, he does not have a problem with embryonic stem-cell research, he does not talk much about his faith because it is a personal issue and while he does not want people to get abortions, he will not seek to ban them." "Crist's conservative focus is on economy".

    Harris Follies

    "Rivals of U.S. Senate candidate Katherine Harris stepped up their attacks on the Republican front-runner Tuesday, with one saying Harris owes him an apology and another saying she is mangling facts."

    LeRoy Collins Jr. blasted Harris for a fundraising mailer rife with statements that Collins and others describe as outright lies.

    In the June mailer, titled "Campaign 2006: Fact and Fiction," Harris makes a series of claims about why she can beat Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.

    The mailer states, for example, that Florida Republican Party Chairwoman Carole Jean Jordan "has officially endorsed" Harris. But in May, Jordan wrote Harris urging her to drop out of the race. And in a statement released last week, Harris herself said Jordan "cannot endorse a candidate" with the primary race on.

    The fundraising letter also stated that Gov. Jeb Bush had "pledged to back Katherine Harris' campaign." But Bush has publicly said Harris can't win and pushed -- unsuccessfully -- for House Speaker Allan Bense to challenge her.

    Finally, Harris' fundraising letter cites a Zogby International poll that shows her trailing Nelson by only 3.9 percentage points. That poll, however, is at least 10 months old.

    Since early this year, a series of independent polls have shown Harris trailing Nelson by more than 20 points. Most recently, she has been down by more than 30.
    And then there is this:
    While Collins was asking Harris to correct the record this week, Orlando lawyer Will McBride was demanding an apology from her.

    McBride's demand came in the wake of a candidates forum last week in Pinellas County, where a woman wearing a "Harris for Senate" sticker asked McBride why he had changed his name from Rodriguez.

    McBride said he had done no such thing and asked the woman why she had asked. The woman, McBride said, told him a Harris campaign staffer had instructed her to ask. ...

    Harris spokeswoman Jennifer Marks said Tuesday that no one currently with the campaign had planted the question about McBride's name.

    But when asked if it had been planted by someone who used to be with the campaign, she said, "I don't have any additional comment on it."
    "Harris foes take her to task over mailer, forum question".

    Davis Ad

    "Ad Watch: Jim Davis".


    "The primary race between state Sen. Alex Villalobos and challenger Frank Bolaños remained nasty, although a suit seeking to kick Bolaños off the ballot will be dropped." "Election lawsuit about to be dropped".

    In other news about the race, not all Bushco-knuckledraggers have abandoned Villalobos: "one major organization, long in Bush's camp, said Tuesday it would like to keep Villalobos in the Senate: Florida Right to Life. 'Senator Villalobos has consistently voted to protect the rights of the unborn, the elderly and the infirmed,' said Carrie Eisnaugle, chair of the organization's political action committee." "Family Feud". See also "Fla. Right to Life: Vote Villalobos".

    Where Was Charlie?

    "National insurance companies often carve out their Florida business into a separate company, insulating the parent company from losses in the hurricane-prone state." "Candidates decry 'pup companies' that offer insurance in Florida".

    So nice to read that Charlie, "Crist: Large insurers shouldn't spin off Florida companies". Charlie, where were you, say 12 months ago on this?


    More shameless hypocrisy.

    It’s rare to hear anyone who works for Gov. Jeb Bush – whether on staff or contract – argue against privatization. It’s especially rare when it’s the governor’s own lawyer.

    But when it comes to voter registration, it turns out, only the state gets it right.

    "The private entities are always going to exploit the public system for (their) private gain," attorney Pete Antonacci, who’s defending the state in an elections lawsuit, told a federal judge last week.

    Come again?
    "The State of Privatization".

    Of course the evil "private entities" that our Governor and his mouthpiece are so worried about are uppity organizations like Acorn that have had the temerity to register poor prople to vote.

    Casino Suit Reinstated

    "A lawsuit challenging voter approval of a state constitutional amendment permitting slot machine gambling in two South Florida counties was reinstated Tuesday by an appellate court. A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal ruled 2-1 that a favorable popular vote does not automatically validate a defective constitutional amendment except for minor, technical defects." "Appellate court restores suit against slot machine vote".

    McCain for President Campaign Appoints Florida Head

    "As McCain gears up for the 2008 election, having a friendly Republican in the Governor's Mansion could help him win the state's 25 electoral votes." "McCain backs Crist for governor".

    Trial Lawyers

    "Two new 'ECO' electioneering committees are up and running -- courtesy of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers. You have to believe the committees are poised to have an impact in legislative or statewide races. The groups are 'Floridians for a Stronger Florida' (how original!) and Florida Consumer Alliance. The chairman of both groups is Gary Farmer of Weston, a member of the academy's executive committee." "Floridians for a ... what?"


    "For Johnson, endorsements prove elusive".


    "Democrat CFO candidate Alex Sink has picked up the endorsement of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which claims 30,000 members and retirees in Florida and 1.8-million members nationwide. This is the third major labor endorsement for Sink, who also has the Florida AFL-CIO and the Florida Education Association on her side. Sink has no primary opponent; she'll face the winner of the Republican CFO primary in November." "Sink wins SEIU Endorsement".

    Daily Slosberg

    "State Rep. Irv Slosberg on Tuesday unveiled his own amateur hurricane recovery system dubbed 'Slosberg Emergency Management Aid,' complete with a fleet of trucks filled with ice, as he stumps for votes in an increasingly bitter state Senate race." "State Senate candidate reaches out to storm-weary voters with ice-filled trucks". See also "Foe rips Slosberg's storm aid trucks" (" The trucks drew immediate criticism from Slosberg's rival in the primary, Ted Deutch, and an expression of concern from Palm Beach County's top emergency manager.")

    "Making a Killing"

    "It's hard to look at the insurance company profits, and the industry's political influence in Tallahassee, and not conclude that insurers are making a killing with the complicity of politicians. The meager reforms from the Legislature seem to validate the conspiracy theories." "Insurance".

    Shaw, Klein Differ on Windstorm Issue

    "Congressional candidates have different approaches to reducing hurricane insurance premiums." "Shaw, Klein differ on windstorm coverage".

    "Election-year chicanery"

    Jebbie is at it again.

    As Floridians face skyrocketing premiums, thousands of policy cancellations and a threatened state economy, Gov. Jeb Bush's insurance-crisis committee held its first meeting Tuesday.

    One of the first things it will do is take aim at the Democratic plan for relief. ...

    House Minority Leader Dan Gelber accused the agency of "election-year chicanery" on an issue that polls show four out of five Floridians identify as the state's most pressing issue. ...

    "Insurance-crisis team meets".

    Just Read It

    "Blue-collar vs. blue blood" ("'We would have handled this the same for everyone,' Jupiter Island Public Safety Director Bill Mason told The Post four months ago. Right. Everyone who lives on Jupiter Island.").

    Bushco Steps up Harris Investigation

    "Federal investigators want to question two more former staffers of Rep. Katherine Harris as part of a growing federal inquiry into the relationship between the congresswoman and a defense contractor." "Katherine Harris ex-aides added to investigation".

    Wingnuts Win One

    "Judicial candidates often recoil when asked for their opinions on hot social issues, fearing that they will violate rules that forbid them from appearing biased. An opinion released Monday frees them up to express more of their judicial philosophies." "Opinion lets judges share theirs".

    CD 13 Internal Poll

    "In the Republican primary to succeed Katherine Harris in Congressional District 13, Tramm Hudson is touting an internal poll showing him with a 12-point lead. The Tarrance Group, Hudson's pollster, surveyed 300 likely GOP primary voters Aug. 2-3. They found Hudson backed by 45 percent, Vern Buchanan backed by 23 percent, Nancy Detert by 10 percent, Mark Flanagan by 8 percent, Donna Clarke by 7 percent, and 18 percent undecided. The margin of error was plus or minus 5.8 percent." "Trammpling Vern Buchanan?"

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