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 Sunday, August 13, 2006

Smith Catches Early Endorsements [Updated]

    The Palm Beach Post, Lakeland Ledger, St Pete Times and Daytona Beach News-Journal endorsements in the Guv primaries:

    - PBP: "Democrats: Smith" and "Republicans: Crist".

    - LL: "Democrats: Smith For Governor".

    - SPT: "Crist for the Republicans" and "Smith for the Democrats".

    - DBNJ: "Effectiveness in Legislature gives Smith edge" and "Crist's more moderate stands make him better candidate".

    It is noteworthy that the three most progressive papers in the State have endorsed Smith.

    "GOP Senate campaign heats up"

    "From the U.S. House to the state House, from the Governor's Mansion to the Cabinet meeting room, Republicans rule Florida politics like the sun and sea rule the landscape. Except for the U.S. Senate, where four leading GOP candidates are slugging it out in an uphill and increasingly bitter primary for the chance to unseat incumbent Bill Nelson. Nelson is the highest-ranking Florida Democrat and the man the polls say is unbeatable." "GOP Senate campaign heats up".


    "Campaign 2006: Anger at Tallahassee's direction drives calm Jim Davis' bid for governor".

    South Florida

    "Both are largely unknown in South Florida, a heavily urbanized region that contains nearly a third of the electorate. Underscoring the region's significance in the campaign, Davis and Smith spent much of last week in Miami-Dade and Broward counties trying to appeal to a politically and ethnically diverse group of voters." "Smith, Davis unknown in South Florida". See also "Davis and Smith hunt for votes in S. Florida".

    Embarassing Publicity Stunt

    "Although it was billed as an open policy forum to help infuse Florida's political leaders with a new wave of ideas, the two-day conference held last week by state legislators at Universal Orlando felt at times more like a Republican Party convention."

    Jack Kemp, the former GOP congressman and vice presidential nominee, opened the event by praising conservative views and criticizing liberal ones. Gov. Jeb Bush, the undisputed leader of Florida Republicans, wound things down Friday by highlighting his administration's accomplishments and lightly mocking his opponents. ...

    "Our reforms are working," Bush told the enthusiastic crowd, adding that even as Republicans are working on a whole new set of ideas, Florida Democrats might have a single new one at best. "Not necessarily a good one," he added, drawing a roomful of laughs.

    But the lopsided partisan balance illustrates one of the biggest challenges facing state Rep. Marco Rubio, the next speaker of the Florida House, and the "100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future" campaign he launched last fall. Rubio still must convince Democrats that his plan is more than a partisan promotional campaign.
    "Open policy forum awash in Republican rhetoric".

    Stolen Data

    "How many more government laptops must be stolen before agencies keep closer watch over their equipment and, more importantly, the sensitive material they contain? Last month's theft of a state Department of Transportation laptop is doubly worrisome. The portable computer, which was used to combat fraud, contained data on 133,000 Florida residents. Each of those individuals is now at risk for identity fraud as well as other criminal activity." "Data At Risk".

    Daily Slosberg

    "Senate Dist. 30".

    GOP "Elite" Head To Brevard

    "U.S. Senate hopefuls Katherine Harris, LeRoy Collins Jr., and Will McBride all stumped for primary votes, as did gubernatorial candidates Tom Gallagher and Charlie Crist." "GOP elite campaign in Brevard".


    "Campbell, McCollum present clear choice for attorney general".


    "State and national activists on both sides of the immigration debate say what happens in Palm Bay this week could be contagious." "City tries to block hiring illegals".

    GOP Looking To Sidestep Insurance Issue

    "Democrats have spent months attacking Florida's Republican leadership for failing to address rising insurance premiums and lack of availability at all that have consumers howling and business owners threatening to leave. Now they're pushing petition drives and local resolutions demanding a special session of the Legislature — building pressure on the state's Republican leadership. Republicans intend to roll out their own plan, but not until after September's primary and with an implicit campaign promise. The still-developing plan centers on a pledge to take action after the general election and the governor's race, Cabinet posts and House and Senate seats are settled in Republican control." "Democrats strategize on insurance". See also "In race, no escaping the insurance question" and "Insurance concerns weren't top priority a few months ago".

    Harris Refuses To Apologize

    "Harris insisted Saturday that her campaign had nothing to do with remarks made at a recent forum that questioned the ethnic heritage of one of her challengers-- despite the fact that the woman who made them has been identified as a Tampa-area campaign representative. Harris, in fact, dismissed the issue entirely, saying no one was interested in it except the media and Republican rival Will McBride." "Harris: No need to apologize".

    Undecided Dems

    "With just over three weeks to go until the primary election, the Democratic race for governor appears to have closed to a tie with only one clear leader: 'undecided.'" "Smith gains, but Democrats undecided".

    "Broward don't know Jack"?

    "Broward don't know Jack": "That was the irreverent headline on an e-mail distributed by Broward Democrat Phil Busey, who's concerned about voter complacency. He spent the day roving around Miami-Dade and found more campaign activity."

    Hispanic Challenge

    "Florida public schools have barely stepped from their past of federally ordered desegregation, and already another challenge is here." "Hispanics now main minority in Florida's public schools".

    Bush Fatigue

    "Many Republican congressmen have been using their disagreements with the president on the campaign trail."

    In Florida's 22nd District, Rep. Clay Shaw, a Fort Lauderdale Republican, casts himself as an independent voice and an outright Bush opponent on Social Security, a very important issue to the district's elderly population.

    Shaw's first campaign ad appealed to Democratic voters by emphasizing his environmental record and his "effectiveness and independence."

    A commercial that began airing Wednesday shows Shaw distancing himself from the president over Bush's proposal to partly privatize Social Security. "I have disagreed with the president on this particular matter," Shaw says. "There's a lot of Republicans and Democrats that would make this a political issue. I represent the state of Florida, not a political party."
    "Republicans in House distance selves from Bush".

    CD 13 Secret

    "The developer of the Ritz-Carlton luxury hotel accused Sarasota auto dealer Vern Buchanan of fraud as part of a civil lawsuit, saying he misrepresented his net worth and business dealings. But the suit was settled and then in 2001, a few years before Buchanan's current run for Congress, it vanished from public view when a judge agreed to take the nearly unheard-of step of making it secret." "Public not allowed to see House candidate suit".

    Hillsborough A Microcosm

    "Even in a state known for rapid growth, the gains in Hillsborough County are remarkable. The population has increased 13 percent, to 1.1 million, since the turn of the century six years ago. Registered voters now number more than 622,500, a 25 percent increase since the year 2000. The gains have diversified the electorate and given Hillsborough newfound might in shaping politics across the region and the state." "County Is 'A Microcosm Of The United States'".

    CD 13: Jennings vs. Schneider

    "It's Christine Jennings versus Jan Schneider once again on the Democratic primary ballot for the 13th Congressional District. In the two years since they last faced off, little about the candidates changed. But for the first time in more than two decades, their party believes it has a chance at winning the seat come November." "Same candidates, different race".

    "Conquering Hero"?

    "If in politics the enemy of your enemy is your friend, then Rod Smith owes one particular political enemy big time."

    It was this spring in the state Senate, where Smith has served since 2000, and Senate President Tom Lee sat describing the wreckage that had become of Jeb Bush's final education agenda for the legislature. Lee, who by that point was calling Bush "my governor," singled out one Democrat as the chief antagonist: Bush's would-be successor, Smith.

    For hard-core Democrats — likely to vote in the coming Sept. 5 primary — there isn't a much better endorsement. Such a political enemy of Bush is not just a friend but a conquering hero.
    "Campaign 2006: State Sen. Rod Smith draws momentum from GOP opposition in Democratic bid for governor".

    Anxious Electorate

    "Skyrocketing fuel prices combined with continued unrest in the Middle East is prompting a surprising political shift in Florida, according to a St. Petersburg Times poll: More Floridians support offshore drilling than oppose it. And nearly four out of 10 Floridians think the Sunshine State is being selfish for refusing to allow offshore drilling when the state is such a major energy hog."

    On other key issues, the poll also found:

    - Voters overwhelmingly want state government to play a larger role in offering hurricane insurance to homeowners and businesses.

    - Despite Florida's large population of immigrants, voters view the impact of illegal immigration negatively and want tougher enforcement of the nation's immigration laws.

    - Voters are split on whether the federal government is adequately prepared to respond to hurricanes and other natural disasters.

    The results reflect an electorate anxious over many issues three weeks before the Sept. 5 primary, said pollster Tom Eldon.

    Asked the most pressing question for elected officials, respondents gave strong votes to everything from protecting Social Security, improving public education and increasing access to affordable health care, to resolving the situation in Iraq and fighting international terrorism.
    "Poll says Floridians selfish on oil drilling".

    The Rich Are Different

    The Washington Post: c"For the Bushes, Cutthroat Backgammon!"

    Charlie's "Lifestyle"

    "Single with no children at the age of 50, he is a renter who has never had a home mortgage or property insurance to pay. His work experience is largely limited to government. He drives a Jaguar but has few investments." "Crist coolly dismisses criticism of his lifestyle".

    "The most brilliant man in the Florida Senate"?

    "Republican U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite of Brooksville has served with both Democrats running for governor, state Sen. Rod Smith and U.S. Rep. Jim Davis. Having seen them in action up close, which one does she see as the toughest Democrat to beat in the governor's race?"

    "I would say Rod Smith. He is a brilliant attorney, thinks quickly on his feet, and I have a very healthy respect for Rod Smith," Brown-Waite - an early backer of Charlie Crist's - said in a Political Connections interview airing at 11 a.m. today on Bay News 9. Off camera, she said she often sought help from Smith, "the most brilliant man in the Florida Senate," and personally likes both Smith and Davis. But "intellectually, Rod Smith has it all over (Davis)."
    "Toughest Democrat to beat? A Republican says Smith".

    Gallagher's Last Stand

    "Gallagher campaign ads seek to close gap". See also "It's been an uphill battle for Gallagher" "End of long career faces Gallagher".

    HD 91

    "Shielding homeowners from rising property tax and insurance rates has become a key issue in the state House District 91 Democratic primary Sept 5, that pits business consultant Christian Chiari against Howard Sims, a computer software tester. The two hope voters disappointed with current Republican leadership in the state Legislature might favor one of them over incumbent Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff in the November election." "Voters in House District 91 focus on insurance costs, taxes".

    Stem Cells

    "Republican Charlie Crist and Democrats Jim Davis and Rod Smith support having Florida pay for research, which some say could lead to cures for several diseases. Republican Tom Gallagher sides with those who decry the practice as immoral because it involves the destruction of certain embryos, which opponents argue is the destruction of life." "Next governor could back spending for stem cell study".

    "An Abysmal Ranking"

    A St. Petersburg Times poll found that more than half of Floridians think President Bush has done a poor job handling the war in Iraq, an opinion that could spill over into this fall's elections.

    Fifty-four percent of Floridians statewide gave the president the lowest ranking possible, and 22 percent rated his war performance as "fair," the poll found.

    Bush's overall job performance was not significantly better. In the poll, 64 percent of Floridians rated his performance as poor or fair. Thirty-four percent rated him good or excellent.

    "It's an abysmal ranking," said pollster Thomas Eldon, one of two pollsters the Times used. "You get a sense that the people in the survey want to see this resolved in a positive fashion. They just have lost confidence in the Bush administration's ability to conduct this war."
    "Floridians think war has been handled badly" ("The St. Petersburg Times telephone survey of 800 registered voters was conducted Aug. 6-9 by the firms Schroth Eldon & Associates, whose clients primarily are Democrats, and the Polling Co., which works with Republicans. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percent.")

    Money Machine

    "As Tampa seeks the 2008 Republican National Convention, it has a not-so-secret weapon: Al Austin, who has spent decades fundraising for the party." "He loves raising money for GOP".

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