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 Saturday, August 12, 2006

Smith Catching Up?

    "A new poll done for Associated Industries of Florida, powerful business lobby, found that the Democratic race for governor between U.S. Rep. Jim Davis and state Sen. Rod Smith is now a dead heat." One can't be sure how much to make of a "computer-assisted survey", but here are the results:"
    The computer-assisted survey of 600 likely Democratic primary voters found 21 percent for Davis and 20 percent for Smith, with 59 percent undecided.
    "Poll finds Davis, Smith in virtual tie". See also "Democratic Dead Heat?" and "Smith gains, but Democrats undecided" (" With a 4 percent margin of error, the poll represents a virtual tie — a dramatic improvement for Smith that matches recent polls by Zogby International for The Miami Herald and internal polls privately cited by Smith supporters.")

    However, another new poll is more in line with most other recent polls:
    Jim Davis is opening up a lead in the still unpredictable Democratic gubernatorial primary, while on the Republican side Charlie Crist barely looks like he's in a race, a new St. Petersburg Times poll finds.

    Strong home-base support in the Tampa Bay area is giving U.S. Rep. Davis a 35 percent to 21 percent statewide lead over state Sen. Rod Smith. But with 44 percent of the Democrats surveyed undecided, that primary could go either way.

    "You really can't call it, but you would much rather be Jim Davis at this point," said pollster Kellyanne Conway, noting that either Democrat could break out in the coming weeks.

    In the Republican primary between two seasoned statewide candidates, Attorney General Crist leads Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher 50 percent to 26 percent. To have a shot at winning the nomination, Gallagher would need to win over all of the 24 percent of Republicans who said they were undecided.
    "Crist likely to coast onto ballot, poll shows" ("The St. Petersburg Times telephone survey of 800 registered voters was conducted Aug. 6-9 by Schroth, Eldon & Associates, whose clients are primarily Democrats, and the Polling Co., which works mainly with Republicans. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percent. For questions asked of Democratic primary voters only, the margin of error is plus or minus 5.2 percent, and 5.6 percent for Republican primary voters only.")

    In the meantime, "Davis Loose And Sharp, Gallagher Confident At Candidates Forum". See also "Forum draws three hopefuls", "Davis and Gallagher tell League of Cities they oppose homestead hike" and "Candidates score on absent foes" ("Spirited remarks by Harris, Davis and Gallagher go unchallenged at a heavily attended forum.")

    Martinez Under Investigation

    "U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez acknowledged Friday that the Federal Election Commission is auditing his 2004 campaign records. In a statement, the Republican said his campaign is "cooperating fully with the FEC" in an ongoing review of the campaign's financial records." And isn't this, well ... so very Mel:

    Martinez attributed potential problems with the report to the campaign's success.
    "Under scrutiny" ("A watchdog group earlier this week filed an FEC complaint against Martinez and Miami-based Bacardi, alleging the company 'illegally used corporate resources' to raise as much as $60,000 for Martinez's 2004 run for the Senate"). See also "Martinez's audit", "Feds investigate Martinez's 2004 campaign for Senate" and "Sen. Martinez says FEC auditing 2004 campaign".

    Blah, Blah, Blah

    This tired AP piece - which is nothing but a GOP campaign release - is still making the rounds: "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." "Bush touts GOP gains, urges support for Republican replacement".

    And is a column about how Jebbie thinks the "GOP must stay true to its issues" really worth a Bill Cotterell column?


    "The Katherine Harris supporter who said the campaign prompted her to ask rival Republican Will McBride why he changed his name from 'Rodriguez' is actually part of the congresswoman's campaign staff." "Rodriguez-gate goes on". See also "More heat from McBride question".

    Trib Endorses Campbell in Primary

    Not that Skip needs it: "Campbell In AG Primary".

    Cops Like Randy

    "The International Union of Police Associations’ Florida Local 6000 today endorsed state Rep. Randy Johnson for chief financial officer." "Police union endorses Johnson" "".

    Nelson's Fault

    "Rep. Harris blames Sen. Nelson for home insurance problems".


    "On Friday, Harris evoked her father and her childhood in Bartow during a 20-minute talk that was part stump speech and part stream-of-consciousness discussion of virtually every major issue facing America today. ... 'There may be some very liberal Democrats in Polk County, like Ted Kennedy,' she said, before trailing off into another thought." "Harris Finds Support, Sympathy Near Childhood Home".

    Judicial Oversight

    "Judicial Elections Oversight Lax".

    AG Poll

    "The same McLaughlin & Associated poll that shows the Democratic gubernatorial primary in a deadheat [(see above)] also reports that the attorney general's race is close. State Sen. Skip Campbell, D-Tamarac, is ahead of former U.S. Rep. Bill McCollum, R-Longwood, 28% to 27% with 45% still undecided, Campbell's campaign is happy to report." "Poll: Tie in AG's race too" "".

    Too Quick To The Checkbook

    "A judge has disqualified a second candidate in a Miami-area state House race, saying that the Republican contestant, Juan Enrique Planas illegally wrote a check on his campaign account before he was registered as a candidate." "Judge throws one Planas out of Miami House race; the other Planas remains".

    Publicity Stunt

    "GOP discusses successes, goals at summit".

    Shell Game

    "Here's a new development in the arcane world of Florida's campaign finance laws that may make it a bit harder to keep track of where all the money in state elections is coming from."

    Bottom line: An ECO can run a negative ad, and when someone goes to look at where the money came from, all that's listed is a contribution from a CCE with a name like Floridians Who Like People. You would then have to go back to the second organization and trace the source of its money to figure out who bankrolled the ad. That's not an impossible task, but it does help disguise who is behind some of these organizations.
    "Division says yes to money moves".

    HD 91

    "The two Democratic candidates vying to unseat Republican Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff in Florida House District 91 have something else in common: They were both Republicans, one as recently as last year." "Ex-Republicans seek Democratic nomination for District 91".

    Chamber Members Heart "Representative B"

    Ah yes, those delightful chamber of commerce types: "U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris came out on top in the 2006 Osceola Hob Nob sponsored by the chamber of commerce. She picked up 39 percent Thursday night, besting Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson who got 36 percent. Orlando attorney Will McBride got 15 percent, Leroy Collins Jr. collected 8 percent and Peter Monroe got 3 percent." "Harris wins! (A straw vote, that is)".

    For more on the sunny, charming folks at the chamber see this recent story: "Proctor asks county to sever ties to Chamber".

    Miami Politics

    "In Florida's toughest state Senate race, unknown operatives are adopting an old telephone scam called "spoofing" to nettle Hialeah state Rep. Ralph Arza."

    Arza, a top advisor to state Senate candidate Frank Bolaños, said he has received several dozen phone calls from confused voters in and around the West Miami-Dade district who said his telephone number appeared on their caller IDs -- probably after they were called with anti-Bolaños propaganda.

    The technique is called spoofing because it allows someone to pretend they're calling from someone else's phone. It uses simple telecommunications technology to change the name and number displayed on someone's caller ID. It's used by some police departments and private investigators, as well as in telemarketing and credit card scams.
    "Arza suggested David Custin, a Miami-Dade political operative, was behind the attacks. Arza suspects the recent calls might be part of a 'push poll,' which uses loaded questions to sway voters or test campaign messages."
    Custin, a top Villalobos strategist who's married to the senator's legislative aide, called Arza a "sissy" for complaining about him, but wouldn't address the nature of the accusation.

    "Arza blaming anyone on anything related to the Bolaños versus Villalobos race is like Castro calling someone a communist," Custin said.

    The attack on Arza is the second time the spoofing technique has been used in the race. In July, Bolaños supporters received calls that appeared to come from Bolaños' cellphone. His wife also has been targeted in third-party anti-Bolaños mailings adorned with rattlesnakes.

    A flier against Villalobos paired the senator with serial killer Ted Bundy.
    "Lawmaker is target of scheme".

    "Snowball's chance in hell"

    "John Crotty recognizes that his hopes of winning the Democratic gubernatorial primary are slim. 'Snowball's chance in hell,' is how the workers compensation lawyer describes the likelihood that the virtual unknown will best Democratic front-runners Jim Davis or Rod Smith in the Sept. 5 election." "Getting water message out is Crotty campaign's sole goal".

    SD 16

    "As rates rise, no candidate, including Frank Farkas and Kim Berfield, wants to be seen as too close. " "Ties to insurers are targeted".

    Lt. Guv Bense>

    "House Speaker Allan Bense said Friday that he's not 'out shopping my name around' to be considered a running mate to Attorney General Charlie Crist in the governor's race, but added that 'if my country or state asks me, I'll never turn them down.' Bense surprised many supporters of Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher two weeks ago when he came forward to endorse Crist." "Bense open to invite to be Crist's running mate".

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