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 Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Harris Stabbed in the Back

    "The day before U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris filed papers to run for the U.S. Senate, the Republican Party of Florida's top three leaders formally urged her to drop out."
    "Katherine, though it causes us much anguish, we have determined that your campaign faces irreparable damage," state GOP Chairman Carole Jean Jordan, said in a confidential letter to Harris on May 7.

    "We feel that we have no other choice but to revoke our support."

    The letter, which also was signed by GOP national committeewoman Sharon Day and national committeeman Paul Senft, was first reported by the Associated Press. Party spokesman Jeff Sadosky confirmed that its contents had been reported accurately, but declined to release it.

    "The polls tell us that no matter how you run this race, you will not be successful in beating (Sen.) Bill Nelson, who would otherwise be a vulnerable incumbent if forced to face a stronger candidate," the letter said.

    At the same time the letter was drafted, Gov. Jeb Bush was trying to recruit outgoing House Speaker Allan Bense, R-Panama City, as a Senate candidate. Three political newcomers — retired Adm. LeRoy Collins Jr., of Tampa; Will McBride, an Orange County attorney; and Peter Monroe, a Pinellas County attorney and developer — entered instead.

    Harris' campaign did not respond to a request for comment Monday.
    "3 GOP leaders asked Harris in May to drop Senate bid". See also "GOP revoked support for Harris' Senate campaign", "Harris pal attempted to deter candidacy" and "GOP officials say they told Harris to leave race in May".

    In the meantime, "Harris declines Collins' debate offer".

    Tom's Secret Weapon

    "Terri Schiavo's father said Monday that Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist, a Republican candidate for governor, did nothing to save his daughter from dying. Robert Schindler, writing for the conservative Human Events Online, said Crist "had it within his authority to save her life, but he turned a blind eye to her suffering."" "Schiavo's father says Crist did nothing to save her". See also "The Politics of Schiavo". Here's the article: "Charlie Crist Let My Daughter Die".

    On a related note, it looks like Gallagher is about to take the gay gloves off in his debate with Crist tonight: "Gallagher, who has aggressively courted the religious right in his primary campaign, concluded [Crist's] remarks are proof that Crist is 'opening the door to gay adoptions in Florida.' He then went on to say that he looks forward to discussing gay adoption and other 'important issues facing our state' at the [Polk County Republican candidates forum in Poinciana Tuesday]." "Ringside seats in Poinciana: Gallagher v. Crist".

    South Florida Dems

    "Nestled between Tequesta and Homestead lies the epicenter of Florida Democratic politics, a concentrated three-county Shangri-la of votes and money. Nearly one-third of the state's Democrats call South Florida home and, when energized, they can make or break a candidate seeking statewide office." "Democratic candidates court S. Floridians in governor's race".


    Abuse of the write-in process has

    Miami: "Two write-in candidates facing Republican legislators [representatives Marcelo Llorente and J.C. Planas of Miami] are linked to Rep. David Rivera in yet another chapter in Miami-Dade's telenovela elections." "Write-ins add intrigue to state races".

    Sarasota: "Even though a write-in candidate dropped out of the Sarasota County Commission race on Friday, Democrats who sued him and the GOP chairman aren't dropping their case yet. An attorney for the Democrats who brought the suit against write-in candidate Mike Bowers said on Monday that his clients still want to sue Sarasota County Republican Party Chairman Bob Waechter." "11th District primary pits ex-Senate candidate's daughter against legislator".

    The Palm beach Post explains the problem:

    Because of a constitutional amendment that took effect in 2000, partisan primaries are open to all voters if all candidates for the office are from the same party. That's fine, but the measure has been interpreted to close the primary if a write-in candidate files.

    The loophole allows parties to advance favored candidates by recruiting a write-in opponent - who pays no filing fee - to shut out voters from the other party. The Senate Ethics and Elections Committee found 30 legislative races in which the write-in scheme was used, with the victor claiming an average in the general election of 99.8 percent of the vote.

    Recent examples of this exploitation have been egregious. In a Pinellas County primary for county commission, one man filed to run as a write-in against his own brother minutes before deadline. In 2004, Jean Enright's mother ran as a Port of Palm Beach write-in to help her daughter.

    In Miami-Dade, Republican state Sen. Alex Villalobos crossed Gov. Bush on the class-size amendment and school vouchers, and the party now has recruited a write-in to run against him to close out potential supporters in the Democratic Party. In south Palm Beach County, 70,000 voters who aren't registered Democrats are shut out of races in House District 86, where write-in Kathleen Faherty-Ruby closed a field of four Democrats vying for the open seat to replace Rep. Anne Gannon, and District 90, where write-in Manuel Press did the same for four Democrats running to fill Rep. Irv Slosberg's seat.

    Thousands of Treasure Coast Democrats were closed out in 2004 when Paul Andrew Smith of Port St. Lucie was a write-in against incumbent Rep. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, in House District 81.

    Every election, the write-in loophole disenfranchises more Floridians than the butterfly ballot, yet cynical partisans in the Legislature refuse to close it.
    "In voting-reform frenzy, write-in abuse tolerated".


    "Some ideas for fixing state too good to be true".

    Prison Woes

    "Sadly, America's first national prison commission in 30 years failed to tackle, head-on, our lock 'em up culture or find ways to reduce the number of people behind bars in Florida and elsewhere. The commission's recent report is little more than a how-to manual to help wardens cope with overcrowded prisons that breed violence, disease and recidivism. What we really need is a road map to drastically shrink Florida's prison population and, at the same time, save state taxpayers a lot of money." "More cells won't fix state's prison woes".


    "Bush touts Miami port as key for international trade".

    "A conspiracy that doesn't exist"

    "A local military contractor's $4,000 campaign donation has become a source of controversy for a Congressional candidate in Vermont. Don Ariel, the chief executive officer of Raydon Corp., brushed off the suggestion that the company was out to gain political favor as 'election year politics.' 'There are a lot of disparate facts that are being tied together into a conspiracy that doesn't exist,' Ariel said Monday." "Local military contractor's campaign donations questioned".

    CD 11

    "The race for the 13th District -- Katherine Harris' seat -- isn't the only local congressional primary heating up going into the last full month of campaigning. The battle for the 11th Congressional District is also gaining steam, with racial undertones and big-name Democrats squaring off to replace Jim Davis. In all, five Democrats are running for the district, which includes more than 12,000 voters from Manatee County, but is mostly a Tampa-based district. The two biggest names are Kathy Castor, whose mother, Betty, ran for the U.S. Senate in 2004, and Les Miller, the state senator who has been a Florida legislator for 14 years." "11th District primary pits ex-Senate candidate's daughter against legislator".

    "Gallagher's ethical lapses"

    "The Florida Ethics Commission isn't known for being the toughest watchdog around. But even it could not let Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher completely off the hook for his serious lapses in judgment. The commission found probable cause that the Republican candidate for governor violated state law by buying stock in four companies that had state contracts or were regulated by his Cabinet office. While the timing is awkward in the middle of a statewide campaign, the findings are not as easily brushed aside as Gallagher suggests." "Gallagher's ethical lapses".

    "Jeb!" Watch

    The Washington Times: "Jeb Bush may get to run for president one day, but not as his brother's immediate successor. Were it otherwise, party bigwigs and money would be flocking to Florida in a way reminiscent of the 1999 procession to Texas. " "Looking at Republicans and 2008".

    Silly GOoPers

    "The Republican Party of Florida on Monday criticized U.S. Rep. Jim Davis, a Tampa Democrat running for governor, for voting against a measure to increase the federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour over three years." Of course, the RPOF forgets to mention that

    Davis was hardly alone in voting against the package. Democrats decried it as an election-year gimmick. While the package included raising the minimum wage, it was tied to a plan to cut estate taxes, which affect only the wealthiest of Americans. Davis spokeswoman Danae Jones said Davis voted against it for that reason.
    "RPOF: Davis inconsistent on minimum wage".

    Wingnuts Going After Villabos

    "As if this new committee's reason for being needed any further explanation, here's another clue: One of the first candidates to get a $500 check from the committee is Frank Bolanos, the Miami-Dade school board member challenging Villalobos in the Republican primary." "Look Who Just Launched A Soft-Money Machine".

    Internal Poll

    "An internal poll by the Democratic Jim Davis gubernatorial campaign shows the Tampa congressman beating state Sen. Rod Smith of Alachua, 31 percent to 13 percent among likely primary voters, according to a campaign memo. When voters initially undecided are pressed, the lead is 41 - 17, with 42 percent undecided, according to the memo from pollsters Harrison Hickman and Eily Hayes." "Davis Touts Poll".


    "Boyd to discuss health care".


    "Competing TV commercials from U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw and state Sen. Ron Klein are expected to fill the airwaves over the next three months." "Klein-Shaw airwave war starting to heat up". See also "Klein TV ad faults GOP-led Congress".


    "Crist says he had no part in spoof".

    "Smith: More Renewable Energy"

    "On the same day that California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced that California would start cutting its greenhouse gases, Democratic candidate for governor Rod Smith offered up his plan for Florida." "Smith: More Renewable Energy".

    Gallagher Ad

    "This ad attempts to appeal to Gallagher's Miami roots by reminding voters he was one of the first Republicans elected in Miami-Dade County since Reconstruction. In fact, he was not the first, as the ad proclaims, but the second, after John Cyril Malloy, who was elected to the state House two years before Gallagher's election in 1974. Malloy later became a Democrat, so the Gallagher campaign claims he was not a true Republican. Ros-Lehtinen, who served with Gallagher in the state Legislature, has endorsed Gallagher and has taped a second ad he plans to air in Miami later this week." "Ad Watch: Tom Gallagher's campaign for governor". See also "Gallagher's Spanish ad targets Miami market".


    "The state accepted the deed of a tract that will create an almost unbroken stretch of wilderness from Lake Okeechobee to the Gulf of Mexico." "State acquires ranch tract, will save wilderness area". See also "State seals Babcock deal", "Babcock Ranch plan to undergo months of scrutiny in DRI review" and "Purchase preserves remnant of Old Florida".

    You Just Know They're Crummy Tippers

    "In news releases and speeches, those trying to bring the Republican National Convention to Tampa boast of a potential $150 million in direct spending here."

    Sometimes, the number creeps up to $180 million.

    But the Tampa Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau acknowledges that this often-repeated number is something the bureau just pulled off the Internet from a 3-year-old news release touting the potential impact for another convention in another city.
    "Benefit Of GOP Convention Is A Guess".


    "With the help of Florida's senators, an attempt to open a new section of the Gulf of Mexico to drilling cleared a major hurdle in the Senate on Monday. The 72-23 vote to end debate on a bill that would open 8.3 million acres off the western coast of Florida to drilling was hailed by the nation's oil and gas industry. It was also welcomed by manufacturers, farmers and other businesses that seek decreases in the price of energy, especially natural gas." Now comes the hard part, dealing with the House version. Fortunately, "Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Orlando, and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and several others who voted to end debate on the bill Monday, vowed to filibuster a final bill if it incorporates any of the House's provisions." "Senate paves way for offshore-drilling bill". See also "Senate bill opening Florida waters to oil drilling just a beginning" and "Senate sets stage for drilling vote".


    "W.D. Childers, who once led the Florida Senate, began serving a prison sentence for bribery, committed as a county commissioner." "Ex-Senate leader enters prison".

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