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 Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Smith Closer

    "August 30, 2006 - Crist Holds 25-Point Lead In GOP Primary For Governor, Quinnipiac University Florida Poll Finds; Smith Gains Some Ground In Democratic Matchup"
    [O]n the Democratic side, Davis' lead over Smith has shrunk dramatically as the campaign enters the home stretch. Davis, who led Smith among likely Democratic primary voters 47 - 19 percent July 26 now leads 43 - 32 percent.

    "It will take a political storm a lot bigger than Ernesto to give Gallagher much chance to defeat Crist in the GOP primary," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "It would be hard to think of a candidate who has blown that large a lead with so little time remaining until the actual voting.

    "The Democratic race, on the other hand, is by no means over. Certainly a candidate would prefer to be 11 points ahead as is Davis, with less than a week before the primary. But Smith's ability to cut Davis' lead so sharply has to make the Congressman nervous."
    Methodology: "From August 23 - 28, Quinnipiac University surveyed 317 Florida likely Republican primary voters, with a margin of error of +/- 5.5 percentage points, and 312 likely Democratic primary voters, with a margin of error of +/- 5.6 percentage points." See also "Poll: Democratic gubernatorial race tightens; Crist has big lead", "Q-Poll: Crist Way Ahead, Smith Gaining on Davis" and "Poll: Crist Leads Big; Smith Cuts Gap".

    "Republican recruiting woes"

    Katherine Harris is "the poster woman for Senate Republican recruiting woes. Missed opportunities, stumbles and bad breaks in a half-dozen states or more in 2005 have tilted the map toward the Democrats in ways that are still unfolding." "Katherine Harris's political troubles reflect GOP recruiting woes". See also "Harris' antics".

    How Green Is My Democrat?

    "The partnership between the state and federal governments to clean up the Everglades has emerged as a major issue in the Democratic primary for governor." "Rivals draw line in the Glades".

    Who Will "Jeb!" Blame For This?

    "Florida's composite SAT score remained among the nation's lowest after dropping three points from 2005, even though the national average sharply declined seven points, according to results released Tuesday."

    And, you will recall that "Florida students also fared poorly in ACT college entrance test results released two weeks ago. The state's average composite score was down 0.1 point to 20.3, although the national average increased significantly. That dropped Florida from 36th to a tie for 41st place with Texas among the 50 states and the District of Columbia."

    So, who will "Jeb!" blame for this latest ojective evidence of failure?

    "We'll be looking for answers," Winn said. "Some of those answers may lie in the increased participation of students who previously may not have had as strong an academic record as students who previously took the SAT."
    "State's SAT scores even lower". See also "Fla. SAT scores remain among nation's lowest".

    Long Range Harm

    "In the increasingly rancorous race for the Democratic nomination for governor, Jim Davis and Rod Smith have been plumbing political histories for controversial votes to hang around each other's neck. But two votes in particular that the rivals are hammering away at may hurt long after the Sept. 5 primary -- particularly if, as polls suggest, the winner faces Republican Attorney General Charlie Crist in the general election." "Democrats' sniping could haunt winner".

    Trust Me

    "Each candidate cited the other's record in an attempt to show his opponent isn't trustworthy and takes stands inconsistent with his history. Each contended the other was trying to mislead and confuse voters." "Were Debate Statements True?"

    Gallagher Insurance Plan

    "He says homeowner rates could drop by 20 percent if the state broadens its reinsurance commitment. The idea is not new - or realistic, some say." "Gallagher insurance vow has skeptics". See also "Gallagher's new insurance promise".

    CD 13

    "It's the homestretch for a congressional campaign that Democratic candidate Christine Jennings started almost immediately after losing the 2004 primary to her current opponent." "Jennings finds 2nd run is easier".

    Villalobos Debate Off

    "Villalobos-Bolanos debate postponed".

    Pay Declines

    "The United States' median household income rose slightly faster than inflation last year for the first time in six years, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday." Of course,

    The rise, however, had nothing to do with bigger paychecks. In fact, both men and women earned less in 2005 than 2004. It had everything to do with more family members taking jobs to make ends meet and some people making more money from investments and other sources beyond wages.
    "Households a little richer last year, but pay declines".

    GOP Voter Suppression

    The Miami Herald editorial board contends that"U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz made the right call Monday in striking down a new state voter-registration law because it denies nonpartisan groups free speech as well as discriminates against them in favor of political parties. The state Elections Department should reconsider its intent to appeal the ruling." "A win for registering new Florida voters".

    Missing from the editorial, however, is the failure to acknowledge that this failed legslation was a GOP effort to (yet again) suppress voter participation. Indeed, nowhere in the editorial is the RPOF's role even mentioned.

    This is a little better, "Remove voting barrier":

    The provision surfaced last year, with no public testimony, in a Republican-controlled Legislature that heard rumors of a group named ACORN, which was working to pass a minimum wage increase, tossing away voter application forms for prospective Republicans. No one bothered to prove those rumors, of course, and two elections supervisors told Seitz the only late forms they received in 2004 were from the political parties. In fact, the elections division identified a total of only 5,000 late forms, from all sources, which amounted to a mere 0.3 percent of all new voters for 2004.

    The best that could be said of the law, then, was that it was a solution in search of problem. But the partisan underpinning suggests worse. After all, groups such as MoveOn.org and the AFL-CIO have been working feverishly to register voters as Democrats.

    The League and other groups already have been forced to sit out the primary season, but the deadline for voter registration in the general elections is still six weeks away. Given the public service these groups provide, surely [Secretary of State Sue] Cobb will not try to shut them down again.
    Let's place the blame where the blame is due.

    GOP Senate Primary?

    Bill March asks: "Really? There's a primary?" Collins thinks so: "Collins ad on Harris: 'She can't win.'". See also "Collins airs new ad". Nevertheless "Harris ignoring primary rivals".

    CD 5

    "The loss of the district came on the heels of a controversial redrawing of its boundaries by the Legislature that gave the GOP candidate a slight majority in what had been a heavily Democratic area." "U.S. House District 5". The Orlando Sentinel likes Penberthy in the Dem primary. "Penberthy better than others".

    HD 70

    "No matter who voters pick in the District 70 Republican primary, they will get a candidate who is more conservative and less experienced than Nancy Detert, the state representative who vacated the seat." "Republicans try to replace Detert in Florida House". See also "Democrats in House race see insurance as top issue".

    Fast and Furious

    "The attacks are coming fast and furious in the GOP primary for governor." "Attacks come fast and furious before primary". See also "More Anti-Davis Fliers in the Mail", "Pro-Crist group mocks Gallagher with Web site", "527: Tom Gallagher, Monopoly Man", "527: Crist = Kerry, Kennedy & Clinton", "New Davis Attack Surfaces" and "Committees Trade Punches" ("A day after Republican frontrunner Charlie Crist went on the offensive against rival Tom Gallagher during a statewide television debate, a political committee linked to the attorney general Tuesday continued the freeswinging attack.")


    "GOP candidates are lining up to link themselves to the popular governor." "Think 'Jeb,' then vote for me".

    Scott Maxwell puts it this way:

    Charlie Crist and Tom Gallagher accomplished quite a feat Monday night.

    They managed to conduct an entire debate, clearly enunciating most of their words, though both men had their lips firmly attached to Jeb Bush's posterior the whole time.
    In the meantime, the Tampa Trib is "Looking For The Real Fiscal Conservative".

    Tom and Charlie

    See "Crist's personality a plus in governor's race" and "Once a moderate, Gallagher's philosophy goes right".

    "Some jerks have all the luck"

    "Team Gallagher at Work".

    Charlotte County

    "Republicans say the Democrats crossed a line when they started polling GOP candidates." "GOP crying foul over tactics".

    Flirting With Disaster

    "As Ernesto approached this small farming community on the southeast side of the Okeechobee, the second-largest natural freshwater lake contained within the United States, it did serve as a reminder that a massive hurricane combined with a high water level could cause serious flooding problems should the dike fail." "Leaky dike is no threat - yet".

    Poor Katherine

    "Campaign funding pledge continues to haunt Harris".

    GOP "Pup Tent"

    "The Florida Republican Party's big tent is shrinking." "The republican pup tent".

    Stop the Madness

    "Jeb Bush Blvd is the fictional name of a street on a new Tom Gallagher campaign mailer. Underneath the Bush sign is 'Liberal Lane.'" "Jeb Bush Blvd?" See also "Gallagher on Jeb Bush Blvd."


    "When Ernesto forecasters were throwing darts at the Panhandle a few days ago, it seemed unimaginable that the Florida Building Commission would have exempted developers there from the same hurricane code regulations the rest of the state must follow. Today, Northwest Florida may have dodged this storm, but the commission can't dodge last week's negligence in continuing to allow the weaker standards despite the urgings of the governor, the insurance industry and common sense." "Hardheaded on hardening".

    Lie Down With Dogs

    "The District 9 congressional race has yet to hit the airwaves, but Republican front-runner Gus Bilirakis' campaign has begun shooting TV spots. The campaign has paid $38,000 to Stevens Reed Curcio & Potholm, the Alexandria, Va., media consulting firm that created the Swift Boat Veterans and POWs for Truth ad campaign, according to Federal Elections Commission filings and the candidate's staff. More recently, the firm made national news last month when U.S. News & World Report revealed that a television ad produced for Ohio Sen. Mike DeWine included doctored images of the World Trade Center towers on 9/11." "Bilirakis hires 'Swift Boat' firm to create media spots". See also "Bilirakis has substantial money lead" ("Busansky responded with a statement calling for Bilirakis to repudiate Jordan's 'shameful attack.'" on Max Cleland).

    SD 16 Slimefest

    "With the Republican primary less than a week away, the hotly contested Senate District 16 race is getting hotter by the day. Two recent mailings from backers of each side take nasty swipes at the GOP contenders, Kim Berfield and Frank Farkas, who face off Tuesday. And two television ads that the Florida Republican Party began airing in the Tampa Bay area last week blast Democratic candidate Charlie Justice, whose name isn't even on Tuesday's ballot." "Senate race becomes a slugfest of ads".

    Daily Slosberg

    "Deutch accuses Slosberg of airing false ads".

    Rain Delay

    "While Tropical Storm Ernesto was chasing the gubernatorial candidates into virtual bunkers on Tuesday, the bad weather had no impact on cyberspace and mailboxes as the slugfest in the Democratic and Republican primaries heads toward a raucous crescendo." "Political winds still blowing despite Ernesto". See also "Palm Beach County suspends early voting", "More early voting suspensions", "Senate hopefuls' schedules hit-and-miss", "Candidates for governor suspend campaigns" and "In South Florida, politics as usual".

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