"In a last-ditch effort to save his fourth try to become Florida's governor, Tom Gallagher called the Republican primary to replace Jeb Bush "a battle for the soul of the Republican Party" and compared front-runner Charlie Crist to Howard Dean. Gallagher's strong language about Crist raises the prospect that he will begin a campaign of negative ads attacking Crist, but Gallagher denied that the campaign would be negative." "Gallagher Highlights Differences With Crist". See also "Gallagher: I'm still in the governor's race", "Gallagher touts conservative views, vows to stay in race", "Gallagher to stay in GOP primary for governor".
Gallagher's strategy? Head further to the right: "Gallagher ... citing the 'stark differences' between the two on social issues. Some agree, saying a Crist victory would set back Christian conservatives' role within the Republican Party." "Crist worries conservatives". See also "Gallagher uses push toward right as a relaunch for his campaign".
At the worst possible moment for Gallagher, Jebbie confirms Crist's wingnut bona fides; the knuckledraggers now have permission to vote for Charlie: "On Thursday, Bush told The Associated Press: 'I consider Charlie Crist to be a conservative. He's different than Tom Gallagher -- that's why we have elections. . . .'" "Gallagher not dropping out". See also "Gov. Bush urges support for GOP replacement" ("Florida has had economic growth and education gains and is safer than it's ever been, Gov. Jeb Bush said Thursday, but if voters choose a Democrat to replace him the state will only go backward.")
This doesn't help: In a blow to the Gallagher campaign, "veteran strategist David Johnson and finance director David Browning ha[ve] submitted their resignations. The pair had been working to position Gallagher as the likely successor to Bush long before the candidate even kicked off his campaign in May 2005." "Gallagher campaign loses pair". See also "Gallagher Staff Defects".
Smith Turns Up Heat
"Democratic governor hopeful Rod Smith criticized the recent spotty congressional attendance record of his primary rival, U.S. Rep. Jim Davis of Tampa, during a Thursday appearance at Century Village of Boca Raton."
Appearing before a crowd of about 150 Democratic Club members, Smith was asked by a woman in the audience to differentiate himself from Davis, a former state representative who was elected to Congress in 1996."Democrat Smith takes rival Davis to task over House attendance".
Smith, a state senator and former prosecutor from Alachua County, mentioned his experience in Florida and said he'd be a more "effective" leader.
"I really think you need to look at our records: Who goes to work? Who does their job? Who shows up for every vote? Who shows up for every tough vote?" Smith said.
All By Herself (Except for Bill)
"Although the Florida League of Cities promoted its forum as one of the first to bring together all of the candidates for senator and governor, the nonpartisan group didn't invite any of the three Republicans challenging Harris on the Sept. 5 ballot. They did invite Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, who is unopposed for the Democratic primary." "Harris To Be In 1-Person Candidate 'Showdown'".
In the meantime, "Former staffers open up on chaos of campaign" ("Harris has run through a lot of employees during her run for the U.S. Senate.")
"In the Democratic candidate for governor's two prior ads, [Smith] was yelling over the din of a campaign rally and yelling over the din of a helicopter. In the new ad, Smith talks at a reasonable decibel level directly into the camera about stem cell research" "Rod Smith tones it down". See also "Smith unveils TV ad favoring stem cell research".
Representative B's Aide
"A close friend and aide to Katherine Harris is serving a sentence for having stolen money from his former employers. Jordan, 42, is a longtime friend of the Longboat Key congresswoman and began working as her volunteer driver and personal assistant in March -- about a month after he got out of jail, according to the Leon County Sheriff's Office." "Harris aide serving theft term".
Silly Publicity Stunt
"The ideas, more than 1,100 in all, run from profound to practical to downright silly, like putting a 5 cent deposit on cigarettes to prevent people from tossing their butts." "Legislative leader gets ideas aplenty". See also "Republicans laud next House speaker's idea-raisers".
"Davis Sharpens Style, Takes on Tallahassee".
"Randy Johnson, a Republican state representative who wants to be the state's chief financial officer. Johnson brought his "Blue Tarp Tour" to the Majestic Beach Towers Resort recently as part roundtable, part campaign stump and part therapy session." "Blue Tarp Stumper Is After Insurers". See also "What the Chief Financial Officer does".
"Senate President Relies On Record".
"He has virtually no campaign money, no statewide name recognition and little, if any, support from his party. But Milt Bauguess has something he says Floridians want in their chief financial officer, particularly in the midst of a property insurance crisis." "GOP Underdog Says He'll Address Insurance".
"Budget recommendations could increase state university spending by 15 percent, but the Board of Governors did not make a decision on raising tuition for students." "Budget increase urged for state universities". See also "University board wants budget increase", "Board delays vote on tuition increase", "7% university tuition increase on hold" and "Board delays vote on tuition increase".
"Paper: Insurers are big donors to state candidates".
"The Florida Family Policy Council, which is affiliated with Dr. James Dobson's Focus on the Family, wants aspiring judges to answer the group's questionnaire. Such questionnaires are nothing new. This newspaper, along with other organizations, distributes questionnaires with the idea of offering voters information about a candidate's qualifications and his or her thoughts on what qualities make a good judge."
The council, though, wants to put candidates on the record about how they would rule on - big surprise coming - same-sex marriage, abortion and vouchers to attend religious schools. Council President John Stemberger, a lawyer who is promoting a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Florida, said at a news conference two weeks ago: "It's clear that certain judges may not like this. The public is demanding it." ..."Save opinions for bench".
The council got excited this week when the Florida Supreme Court Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee issued an opinion saying that trial-court candidates - appellate judges and Supreme Court justices are appointed - "may respond to questionnaires on such subjects as same-sex marriage, parental notification of abortion and whether the candidate agrees with certain court decisions." But the candidate must state that "his or her answers do not constitute a promise to rule in any particular way on a case" and there is an "obligation to follow binding legal precedent."
Despite that opinion, voters should be wary of any judicial candidate who comments directly on issues or cases. That would be like a politician pandering for votes, and good judges don't pander.
"Floridian of His Century"
"The University Press of Florida has just published a lively account of the Collins years by Martin Dyckman, the longtime Capitol reporter and recently retired editorial writer of the St. Petersburg Times. 'Floridian of His Century' captures the turbulent era 50 ago, when Collins was precisely the right man for the time." "LeRoy Collins followed his conscience »".
"City officials across Volusia County will be doing more than just going to workshops when they attend the 80th annual Florida League of Cities conference in Jacksonville, which began Thursday and runs through Saturday. Officials from across Florida will be spending their time at a number of after-hours private parties sponsored by companies that do business with local governments." "Leaders plan to mix parties with business".
"State Rep. Shelley Vana's bid for a third term is being challenged this year in the Democratic primary by a suburban Lake Worth businessman hoping to pull off an upset." "Newcomer hands Vana challenge in House 85 primary".
"Four political newcomers are vying in a sometimes mean-spirited race to replace term-limited state Rep. Irving Slosberg, D-Boca Raton. Harvey Arnold, 71, former president of the United South County Democratic Club; Leonard Turesky, 57, an insurance executive; Sheldon "Klassy" Klasfeld, 53, a teacher; and Kelly Skidmore, 43, former top aide for state Sen. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, will be on the Sept. 5 ballot for the District 90 Democratic primary. " "Newcomers in House race hash out insurance, health care".
"Every girl's crazy about a sharp dressed man"
"Without a question, the Florida Elections Commission needs to open a formal investigation into this shady shopping spree. White may think he's making a good first impression with voters, but what they see is a candidate who bends the rules and misuses campaign money for his own vanity. White's credibility is hanging by a thread." "The Guile of Kevin White's Style".