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 Monday, August 07, 2006

Smith Closing Gap

    More on the Miami Herald (Zogby) poll we linked to yesterday:
    Zogby International surveyed 1,007 registered voters July 31 through Aug. 3 for The Miami Herald and found that while Smith has narrowed the gap in the Democratic primary, 58 percent of the likely primary voters remain undecided and Davis still leads by five percentage points. The margin of error for the poll is 4.5 percentage points.

    Crist continues to hold a huge advantage over Gallagher, 41 percent to 21, with Gallagher narrowing the gap in North and South Florida but losing heavily in the Republican-rich regions of Central Florida.

    "Three out of five Democratic voters are just absolutely clueless about who they're going to vote for in the race for governor," said John Zogby, president of Zogby International.
    "Crist far in front; Davis' lead thin". See also "Herald poll shows Smith narrowing Davis' lead" ("Democrat state Sen. Rod Smith has made headway over opponent U.S. Rep. Jim Davis, according to a Zogby International poll done for the Miami Herald.") See also "Many Dems still undecided on nominee for governor".

    "Davis' 'Quiet' Diligence"

    "As he travels the state in the month leading up to the Sept. 5 primary, Davis highlights a clutch of hotter issues from his nearly 10 years in the House, often his leadership in the congressional battles over Terri Schiavo and offshore drilling."

    His rival in the Democratic primary, state Sen. Rod Smith, paints Davis more as a patron of lost causes. Over Davis' objections, the House voted to send Schiavo's case to federal court and passed an offshore drilling bill in June that awaits final negotiations with the Senate.

    So far, voters are being asked to look at a few congressional issues and decide whether they see Davis' glass as half full or half empty.

    But Davis, 48 and the primary front-runner, has amassed a much deeper record since first being elected to Congress in 1996. A moderate Democrat who has spent his time on Capitol Hill in the minority, Davis' record is often qualified with ifs, ands or buts that nevertheless flesh him out.
    "Davis has diverse record from time at the Capitol". See also "Davis' 'Quiet' Diligence".

    Smith "A Go-To Guy"

    "In six short years in the Florida Legislature, Rod Smith developed into a go-to guy on critical legislation affecting everything from schools to the court system to the controversy over Terri Schiavo."

    His rapid rise in the state Senate was not surprising given that Smith is bright -- he served as an adjunct professor at the University of Florida College of Law. As a glib-tongued trial lawyer, he starred in floor debates. And he arrived with the reputation of being one of the state's top prosecutors, having sent Gainesville serial killer Danny Rolling to Death Row.

    But what is remarkable is that Smith, who is running for the Democratic nomination for governor, excelled in a legislative arena dominated by Republicans.

    Lawmakers and lobbyists say no one can dispute the fact that Smith has been an impact player in Tallahassee.
    "Smith says working with GOP is key to success".

    Hispanic Vote

    "None of the candidates for governor - not Republicans Charlie Crist and Tom Gallagher nor Democrats Jim Davis and Rod Smith, is expected to come near Jeb Bush's appeal to Hispanic voters." "No Jeb? Hispanics wait to be wooed".

    Jeremy Wallace

    "Right to life group endorses Harris; Detert questions photo".

    Cashing In

    "It was early 2001, and Florida public universities' presidential-salary one-upmanship had not yet run amuck. The presidents "have done an outstanding job this year," said then-Chancellor Adam Herbert, as the Board of Regents that ran the state university system approved the presidents' 2 percent to 3 percent raises, translating to salaries from $174,100 for Anne Hopkins of the University of North Florida to $247,900 for "Sandy" D'Alemberte of Florida State. And perhaps it's pure coincidence that after Gov. Jeb Bush and the Legislature replaced the regents that year with governor-appointed boards of trustees at each of the 11 universities, the presidents suddenly began cashing in." "University chiefs' raises outstrip schools' quality".

    Insurance Crisis

    "It's not a good idea to create another state-run insurer of last resort, this time for businesses. A reinsurance program is the prudent step." "An insurance solution". See also "State plan saddled with risk", "State-run Citizens Property Insurance now a troubled giant, "Michael Peltier: State seeks insurance solution" and "Insurance" ("Florida businesses say they can't get coverage.")

    Evangelicals Staying Home?

    "Tom Gallagher insists he can still pull off a comeback win in next month's Republican primary for governor with his anti-abortion and pro-family views."

    But the potentially powerful voting bloc of evangelical Christians that Gallagher is trying to drive to the polls is showing little interest in the race, many of its leaders say.

    "I just don't hear a lot of buzz," said Bill Stephens, executive director of the Christian Coalition of Florida. "I really think there is not one person out there really coming across as the shining candidate [that] values voters get behind."
    "So far, candidates fail to fire up evangelicals".

    Combined Net Worth

    "$3,813,997 Combined net worth in 2005 of Florida's four top candidates for governor, Republicans Charlie Crist and Tom Gallagher and Democrats Jim Davis and Rod Smith." "Quality of life index".

    "A Modest Start"

    "Designed to help restore the Everglades, the reservoir is part of a $1.5 billion state-financed program to speed up the $10.5 billion state-federal Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. That partnership has been problem-plagued, with restoration projects slowed by Congress' delays in providing money and undermined by Gov. Bush's water managers reneging on promises to clean water flowing to the Everglades. But state and federal officials were united at the reservoir groundbreaking. A respected Audubon of Florida lobbyist, Charles Lee, injected a note of reality into the celebration, calling the reservoir 'a modest start.'" "Big reservoir, bigger job".

    Hillsborough County

    "A Jerry Springer moment hit community television this weekend when a chair was hurled at Joe Redner."

    Redner and Tony Katz have exchanged verbal jabs before on "The Bleepin Truth," a political debate show that airs on Tampa Bay Community Network. But their mutual dislike for each other turned physical Saturday when Katz threw a high stool chair at Redner.

    The chair hit Redner on his back, forearm and head.

    "That is assault!" Redner yelled repeatedly.

    The whole thing was caught live on TV.

    "I was kind of just stunned," said Redner, a Democrat who is running for a Hillsborough commission seat.
    "'Truth' Hurts: Chair Hits Redner On TV".

    Not the Smartest Guy ...

    in the room:

    [A]fter eight years of a governor who prides himself on knowing as much as possible about as many different issues as possible, the leading contender among those seeking to replace him is content not to delve into the details of public policy.

    Whether this is good or bad depends on whom you ask.

    "Charlie Crist is not a policy wonk but is a skillful politician with a political IQ that rivals Bill Clinton's," said Albert Martinez, spokesman for Gallagher, Crist's opponent in the Sept. 5 Republican primary.
    "Crist known as likable, skilled, with policy lag".


    "For many political donors, giving the $500 maximum contribution to a candidate for governor just isn't enough. So they give more, through a practice known as bundling." "Tactic gives candidates bundles of cash".

    Florida's Gay Caucus

    "State's gay caucus organized, growing".

    Jebbie Endorsement

    "Gov. Jeb Bush waded into the crowded Republican primary for state House District 107 by endorsing Robert Fernandez, a Miami attorney who once worked as deputy general counsel for Bush." "Political beat".

    Reform Party

    "Willing to bet $1 million that Florida is ready for its first third-party governor in 90 years, Reform Party nominee Max Linn formally began a 94-day campaign Sunday with a comic-strip analogy." "Reform nominee kicks off campaign". See also "Gubernatorial candidate says he wants reform".

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