Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


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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 Thursday, August 17, 2006

GOP Gets in the Mud

    Attack ads, "seems to be exactly where the Florida Republican governor’s race is heading." "Charlie Chucks One Back". See also "Mud flies in GOP governor race".
    A day after rival Tom Gallagher began airing tough-toned television ads, Republican gubernatorial front-runner Charlie Crist fired back Wednesday with a spot tarring his opponent for having advocated tax increases and once linking Gov. Jeb Bush to Cuban President Fidel Castro.

    The move may be surprising, given Crist's double-digit lead in most polls and more than two-to-one fundraising advantage.

    But in a Republican primary where fewer than one in three eligible voters may cast ballots, Crist wants to push back quickly against Gallagher's criticism.
    "GOP ads heat up race for governor". See also "Crist spot fires at Gallagher over '94 ad", "Crist Fires Back at Gallagher", "Gallagher, Crist race takes a testy turn" and "Crist fires back at Gallagher".

    More on the primary: "Gallagher facing an uphill battle" while "McCain, Martinez to join Crist at rally".

    Our Education Governor

    "Florida students ranked last in 2005 among 23 states that gave reading or English language arts tests required for high school graduation, with only 52 percent passing on the first try, the independent Center on Education Policy reported Wednesday." "State students ranked lowest in reading test" ("Florida did much better, though, in mathematics. The state's first-time passing rate was 77 percent, good for 10th place [out of 23].")

    Charlie Solves A Case

    "Crist IDs Klansmen in Mims couple's 1951 blast deaths". See also "Conclusion: Klansmen killed two" and "1951 bombing of black activists blamed on KKK".

    Davis Hits Hard

    "One day after Republican Tom Gallagher began airing the first hard-hitting television commercial of the governor's race, Democrat Jim Davis has launched an aggressive new ad of his own. Davis' second statewide ad blisters both the Florida Legislature and the property insurance industry for passing a law that Davis calls a 'loophole' that puts policyholders at risk. While the 30-second spot doesn't mention Davis' primary opponent, state Sen. Rod Smith of Alachua, it is a less than subtle shot at him. Smith, after all, is a member of the Legislature and he supports the law Davis is targeting." "Davis' Aggressive New Ad". See also "Davis TV ad focuses on insurance problems" and "Davis' New Ad Blasts Insurance 'Loophole'".

    Gun Nuttery

    "The spotlight may veer away from Florida, but the fact remains that this state was the first to enact this dangerous and bloody law. Florida can get national headlines again -- for the right reason -- by being the first state to tear up this virtual get-out-of-jail-free card." "On shaky ground".

    Smith Absentees

    "Democrat Rod Smith is sending out more than 450,000 mailings to absentee voters, hoping their ballots will give him a boost. GOP candidates are also courting those voters." "Underdog Rod Smith finds hope in absentee ballots".

    CD 8

    Scott Maxwell

    What once looked like a sure thing -- Democratic consultant Charlie Stuart taking on Republican Ric Keller -- no longer looks that way. Self-financed liberal lawyer Alan Grayson came on to the scene gangbusters and has plastered his name on TV and put his voice on the radio. For many casual voters, Grayson is the only Dem in the race. And now Stuart is on the defensive, attacking Grayson for being a newcomer without much local history. But why hasn't Stuart advertised himself? As of the last reporting period, he had plenty of cash -- nearly half a million dollars. And he has a boffo ad -- one where former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham endorses him. But he sent out an

    e-mail this week saying he was so cash-strapped that he needed money to air it. Where did all the money go? Much of that looks like it's been spent on consultants and staffers -- things voters don't see. And now Stuart's playing catch-up -- though Stuart's campaign said Wednesday that they still consider him the front-runner and have money; they just want more.
    "Will It Be Sorry, Charlie?".

    An Orlando Sentinel Thing

    "Jeb!" flack and occasional Orlando Sentinel "columnist" Mike Thomas pens this gem today: "Smith would be fiasco for Dems, environment". Thomas accuses Smith of being "a wholly owned subsidiary of Big Sugar".

    Funny, I don't seem to recall Thomas expressing similar reservations about Jebbie, who is a wholly owned subsidiary of big business in general, and big sugar in particular (consider Jebbie's efforts to undercut federal supervision of court mandated Everglades restoration). Indeed, Thomas claims he voted for "Jeb!"

    In any event, here's the gist of Thomas' column:

    Smith sells himself as a conservative Democrat who can win crossover votes, particularly the North Florida Dixiecrats. This is fantasy.

    The probable Republican candidate, Charlie Crist, has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association. He is pro-chain gang and anti-murder.

    There is no weakness here for Smith to exploit.

    Meanwhile, environmentalists would abandon Smith in droves to support Crist. He consistently supports their causes. In an issue very dear to their hearts, he wants to drain the Rodman Reservoir and restore the Ocklawaha River. Smith has blocked those efforts while in the Legislature.

    Crist would take more votes from Smith than the reverse. I am amused
    Looks like Thomas has fallen into his old habit of reprinting GOP talking points.

    "I didn't know whether to smile or puke."

    Reacting to Crist's patronizing in an editorial board interview, Scott Maxwell says he "didn't know whether to smile or puke." "Charlie Crist -- up close and personal".

    Harris' Diminishing Circle of Friends

    "In the U.S. Senate primary, Rep. Katherine Harris has been touting key political endorsements from fellow Republican lawmakers. The problem is, some of them never endorsed her. Several members of the U.S. House called the Harris campaign to complain Wednesday after the St. Petersburg Times notified them of the endorsements listed on Harris' Web site. Minutes later, their names were removed. The list of politicians whose names came down includes Reps. Ginny Brown-Waite of Brooksville, Cliff Stearns of Ocala, Mark Foley of West Palm Beach and Jeff Miller of the Panhandle." "Backing Harris? Her list shortens".

    Spanish Lesson

    "When he bashes his opponent as soft on immigration, U.S. Senate candidate Peter Monroe could use a lesson en español."

    Monroe is criticizing fellow Republican Will McBride for appearing at a May 1 immigrants-rights rally in Tampa where a Spanish-language paper, La Prensa, snapped a photograph of him holding a banner of a liberal immigration group.

    The paper wrote that McBride and others "encabezaron la parada" -- which Monroe translates as "headed the shutdown."

    Well, that's one translation. A more likely translation, according to common usage: "headed the parade." The article's author couldn't be reached for comment.

    McBride said he's being attacked because he's the closest of the three lesser-known candidates to beating front-running U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris in the GOP primary.

    McBride, a personal-injury and sometime-immigration lawyer, said he appeared at the march because he was asked to act as a translator, not because he was an organizer or because he supports illegal immigration -- a topic that's a central focus of Republicans this campaign season.
    "Campaign immigration spat hinges on misunderstanding". See also "Harris' Rivals Test Odds" and "Collins, Monroe play catch-up for GOP Senate race".

    "Write-In Loophole 'Scam'"

    "Challenging the Write-In Loophole 'Scam'". See also "Law that closes primaries with write-ins challenged".


    "Hurricane keeps CFO candidate in political fray".

    "Herald ignores Jeb"

    Bolanos is whining:

    the most important Governor in the United States endorsed my candidacy for the Florida State Senate in the midst of a hotly contested primary. And The Miami Herald never printed a word.
    Putting aside the silly "the most important Governor in the United States" remark, the statement is simply untrue: see "Miami Herald ignores Jeb while Backing Villalobos". See also "Herald ignores Jeb".

    The Bolanos folks are furious about the Herald's endorsement of Villalobos:

    - Bolanos writes that "The [Miami] Herald loves Villalobos and despises the Governor". The Miami Herald "despises" Jebbie?

    - "'It is no surprise the liberal editorial board of the Miami Herald would join the trial lawyers and big unions in supporting the liberal in this campaign,' Bolaños said." The Miami Herald? "Liberal"?

    Lee Flip-Flops

    "Johnson's campaign has put together a website, The Man Behind The Mustache". See also "Cue the porn music in CFO race".

    Meanwhile, "Lee Goes on the Air".

    More GOP Mud

    "The growing political feud between congressional foes Tramm Hudson and Vern Buchanan took an odd twist Wednesday. Buchanan lashed out at his Republican rival in the 13th Congressional District race, saying Hudson once loaned him a lot of money and tried to land him a cushy job as ambassador to the Bahamas." "Buchanan: Hudson tried to help me land job". See also yesterday's "Buchanan says Hudson slings 'trash' against him" ("Buchanan lashed out at Tramm Hudson in closing remarks during a debate televised live on SNN Tuesday night, accusing his Republican primary opponent of spreading lies and negative campaigning.")

    Daily Slosberg

    "Perman's campaign shot into the political gossip columns last spring when state Rep. Irv Slosberg, a Democrat and Machek's political foe, announced Perman's intent to run in the primary at an April 12 breakfast. 'I think Mr. Perman stepping into the race, knowing Mr. Slosberg was behind it, irritated a lot of people,' said Machek, 68, a fifth-generation Floridian who speaks with an unhurried drawl. 'When you start dividing your own party, I don't think it's in good taste.'" "Old-style Florida vs. the new in 2-way race".

    Purchasing Power

    "Republican Doug Holder moved from the liberal hotbed of West Palm Beach to traditionally conservative Sarasota last August. A month later he filed paperwork to become a candidate for state representative. Now he's spent $171,000 of his own money -- and $240,198 total -- on his run for the District 70 seat that pays $30,996 a year. It's the second most spent by any state representative candidate in Florida." "District 70 candidate outspends others in legislative race".


    "Jim Davis was the only one of the four major candidates for governor without a like-minded political committee to launch attack ads. Until now, according to Democratic rival Rod Smith. Smith's campaign discovered that two Davis supporters set up a new committee called 21st Century Florida. The committee's president, Ed Dees of Plant City, leads the Gulf Coast Building Trades union. Committee secretary and treasurer Michael Joblove of Hollywood is a pro-Israel activist who recently defended Davis after he was the target of an attack ad himself." "Gotcha, Smith tells Davis". See also "Pro-Davis 527 Formed" and "A Pro-Davis 527?"

    A Miami Thing

    "Last week, Miami state Rep. Juan-Carlos 'J.C.' Planas succeeded in getting two of his Sept. 5 Republican primary opponents knocked off the ballot for not qualifying properly. One problem: Planas says the two ousted challengers aren't acting like noncandidates. They're still sending mailers to voters, he says, and, in one case, even suggesting that Planas is the one declared ineligible by the courts." "Candidate mailers irk incumbent Planas".


    "Melissa Shuffield, spokeswoman for Florida Sen. Mel Martinez since his 2004 primary campaign, is leaving to work as Sen. John McCain's press secretary. The Miamian replaces Andrea Jones, who went to work as ABC News' media relations director in Washington after leaving McCain." "McCain's Florida footprints".

    NRA Hearts Campbell

    "The NRA Likes Skip Campbell, Too".

    Ad Watch

    See "Adwatch: Republican governor's primary" and "Adwatch: Democratic governor's primary".


    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board argues that "Siplin should resign".

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