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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 Thursday, August 31, 2006

Strategic Vision Poll

    The Strategic Vision poll, which comes on the heels of the Q poll (discussed here yesterday), suggests that the Dem primary is tightening:
    14. If the election for the Republican nomination for Governor in 2006 were held today between Attorney General Charlie Crist and Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, whom would you vote for? (Republicans only)
    Charlie Crist 52%
    Tom Gallagher 36%
    Undecided 12%

    15. If the election for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2006 were held today between Congressman Jim Davis and State Senator Rod Smith, whom would you vote for? (Democrats only)
    Jim Davis 43%
    Rod Smith 37%
    Undecided 20%

    16. If the election for Governor were between Charlie Crist, the Republican and Jim Davis, the Democrat, whom would you support?
    Charlie Crist 49%
    Jim Davis 41%
    Undecided 10%

    17. If the election for Governor were between Tom Gallagher, the Republican and Jim Davis, the Democrat, whom would you support?
    Tom Gallagher 39%
    Jim Davis 39%
    Undecided 22%

    18. If the election for Governor were between Charlie Crist, the Republican and Rod Smith, the Democrat, whom would you support?
    Charlie Crist 48%
    Rod Smith 43%
    Undecided 9%

    19. If the election for Governor were between Tom Gallagher, the Republican and Rod Smith, the Democrat, whom would you support?
    Rod Smith 40%
    Tom Gallagher 38%
    Undecided 22%
    "Florida Poll (08/30/06)" ("the poll results based on telephone interviews with 1200 likely voters in Florida, aged 18+, and conducted August 25-27, 2006. The margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.") See also "New Polls: Crist Continues Lead In GOP Primary".

    More on yesterday's Q Poll: "Poll offers hope to Smith, not much to Gallagher", "Poll: Gallagher has little hope, Smith a little more" and "Crist keeps wide lead; Smith gains on Davis".

    Regarding the Ernesto effect, "all the candidates were affected in some way, [but] Smith and Gallagher had the most to lose because they are behind in polls and hoping for a boost. In a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday, Smith trailed 43-32 and Gallagher trailed 57-32." "Storm May Wash Away Gallagher, Smith Momentum". See also "Candidates disrupted by Ernesto regroup for last days of campaign".

    Dem Debate Cancelled for Good

    "The leading Democratic candidates for governor will not face off one last time on statewide television before the Sept. 5 primary." "Democratic debate is off". See also "Smith campaign passes on rescheduling debate", "Plans to reschedule debate fall through", "Last chance passes for live debate", "Poll: Crist Leads Big; Smith Cuts Gap", "No second debate for Democrats" and "Dem Debates Off".

    Harris Keeps Digging

    Daniel Ruth says "there's a reason why U.S. Senate candidate Katherine Harris, R-Ezra Pound, has staff turnover resembling 'The Great Escape' meets 'Papillion'?" "Memo To Harris Staff Members: Keep Digging". Nevertheless, "Harris ad looks past primary, attacks Nelson".

    The "Jeb!" Factor

    As Republican candidates continue to have "their lips firmly attached to Jeb Bush's posterior", the latest SV poll suggests that this may backfire in the general election. Floridians likely to vote were asked:

    Do you think Florida is headed in the right direction or the wrong direction?
    To which they responded
    Right 42%
    Wrong 48%
    Undecided 10%
    "Florida Poll (08/30/06)". After nearly 8 (actually 12 years) of Jeb-worship by the media (particularly the electronic media), perhaps Floridians are beginning to recognize that Bushco's Florida subsidiary ain't all it is cracked up to be. It would seem Floridians are taking note of numbers like this, which appeared just yesterday in one newspaper:

    - "Florida's composite SAT score remained among the nation's lowest after dropping three points from 2005".

    - "Florida had one of the highest percentages of people who are uninsured -- 19.6 percent."

    - "Florida students also fared poorly in ACT college-entrance test results released two weeks ago."

    Take heart Jebbites, all is not lost: "Jeb's the '08 favorite for some Christian web surfers". See also "ChristiaNet 2008 Presidential Poll". And there is always South Georgia Jacksonville, as reflected by this piece in the Washington Times today by a Jacksonville "journalist":
    It's impossible to overstate the feelings of respect and affection almost all Florida Republicans have for the outgoing Gov. Jeb Bush. We here in the Sunshine State understand intuitively why our governor is touted as presidential or vice presidential material in 2008 and beyond. When it comes to be Jeb's time in the Oval Office, we undoubtedly will support him without reservation.
    "Sun Belt politics" (arguing that "Jeb!" must step in and run against Nelson).

    Too Little, Too Late?

    "As the campaign draws to a close, Hillsborough County Commissioner Kathy Castor increasingly is being targeted by her opponents in the Democratic primary to replace Jim Davis in Congress." "Attacks Grow Against Castor".

    "Ad Watch"

    - "Jim Davis": "Davis is trying to capitalize on the widespread support for embryonic stem-cell research among Democrats. Smith also ran a commercial touting stem-cell research. However, medical research primarily is funded by the federal government."

    - "Endorsements for Rod Smith": "This latest ad again demonstrates Smith's edge over his Democratic opponent, Jim Davis, in using unlimited "soft-money" contributions that are made to the state party." See also "New Pro-Smith, Anti-Davis Ads" ("A new TV ad paid for by the Florida Democratic Party has hit the air promoting Rod Smith's recent newspaper endorsements and his 'crucial' roles in defeating the Republican-led effort to water down the class-size amendment.")

    - "Alex Villalobos": "This is the strongest ad in the race, featuring an upset mild-mannered mom who's also a teacher of disabled kids. The committee behind the ad ['All Children Matter'] supports school vouchers for poor and disabled children, and seeks to attack Villalobos' main campaign theme -- that special interests are punishing him for votes of conscience on education."

    "Knock it Off"

    Go figure:

    Adrien Helm, wife of Pinellas Democratic chairman Ed Helm, is leading the "Pinellas Democrats" Pac that is working to beat some Democratic primary frontrunners (Bill Heller in HD 52, Rick Kriseman in HD 53 and County Commissioner Calvin Harris) deemed to be not "real" Democrats.

    Now Mark Herron, general counsel to the state Democratic party, has sent her a cease and desist letter, saying it's illegal to use the name "Democrat" in any advertising without permission from the state party. So now it's Ms. Helm being tagged as not a "real" Democrat.
    "State Dems to Helm: knock it off". See also "Democrats clash over primary maneuver".

    King, Terry, Nasty

    "The Republican primary battle between veteran state Sen. Jim King and anti-abortion activist Randall Terry has taken on a nasty and personal tone in the final days. Both candidates have filed complaints over campaign accusations. Meanwhile, Terry's adopted son has inserted himself into the election -- publicly criticizing his father's claim to uphold family values as hypocritical and even offering to help his opponent." "State race turns nasty in final lap". And this is always worth a laugh: "Alan Keyes Heading to Jax".

    On The Issues

    "The four Republican candidates for U.S. Senate take similar positions on many issues, but they're far from identical." "U.S. Senate - Republicans".

    Buchanan's Secrets

    "A circuit judge agreed to hold an emergency hearing Friday to determine whether a lawsuit involving U.S. Congress candidate Vern Buchanan should remain secret." "Emergency hearing on Buchanan suit set".

    In the meantime, Robert Novack, in the "Evans-Novack Political Report", says "Auto dealer Vern Buchanan (R) remains the favorite to succeed Rep. Katherine Harris (R)." See also "Buchanan's latest mailer targets Detert".

    SV Poll: U.S. Senate Numbers

    Harris still leads in primary,

    21. If the election for the Republican nomination for United States Senator in 2006 were held today, whom would you support? (Republicans only)
    Katherine Harris 38%
    William McBride 21%
    Leroy Collins, Jr. 19%
    Peter Monroe 5%
    Undecided 17%

    22. Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Katherine Harris?
    Favorable 17%
    Unfavorable 61%
    Undecided 22%

    23. Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Bill Nelson?
    Favorable 49%
    Unfavorable 11%
    Undecided 40%

    24. If the election were held today for United States Senate, whom would you support, Bill Nelson, the Democrat or Katherine Harris, the Republican?
    Bill Nelson 63%
    Katherine Harris 20%
    Undecided 17%

    25. If the election were held today for United States Senate, whom would you support, Bill Nelson, the Democrat or William McBride, the Republican?
    Bill Nelson 58%
    William McBride 22%
    Undecided 20%

    26. If the election were held today for United States Senate, whom would you support, Bill Nelson, the Democrat or Leroy Collins, Jr., the Republican?
    Bill Nelson 57%
    Leroy Collins, Jr. 23%
    Undecided 20%

    27. If the election were held today for United States Senate, whom would you support, Bill Nelson, the Democrat or Peter Monroe, the Republican?
    Bill Nelson 63%
    Peter Monroe 15%
    Undecided 22%
    "Florida Poll (08/30/06)". The Q Poll is to similar effect: "Harris holds lead heading into final week".

    Where Are The "Values" Voters?

    "They're called 'values voters,' social conservatives, evangelicals, and Tom Gallagher is their favorite in the Republican primary for governor. Right? Wrong, according to the non-partisan Quinnipiac University Polling Institute." "Does Gallagher Have a Prayer?" See also "Poll: Crist, Gallagher splitting 'born-again' vote".

    Gallagher "Desperate"

    "Lagging seriously in the polls, Republican Tom Gallagher today begins a six-day, around-the-state push for votes with a bus tour and Labor Day fly-around targeting social conservatives and Republicans undecided about the governor's race. While all four major candidates in the governor's race are plotting final moves before Tuesday's primary, none are as in desperate shape as Gallagher, the state's chief financial officer, according to polls." "Behind in polls, Gallagher to tour state".

    Dem AG Primary?

    "For a candidate with a primary challenge, it may seem a little late to start a primary campaign. But with less than a week before the Sept. 5 election, attorney general candidate state Sen. Walter "Skip" Campbell is finally reminding voters he's running against Broward County lawyer Merrilee Ehrlich for the Democratic AG nomination. Campbell, who has spent all of $2,500 in the last month, sent out an e-mail to supporters Wednesday asking them to start an e-mail tree supporting his candidacy." "Primary? What primary?"

    "Sugary Smith"

    "Nobody can better attest to how effective the sugar industry can be when they want to take out a candidate at the knees than former agriculture commissioner candidate Mary Barley. Now Barley, Chair of the Save Our Everglades Trust, is firing back with a new statewide TV ad bashing sugar and Rod Smith's record on Everglades cleanup." "Fighting Back Against Sugary Smith". See also "Everglades Group About to Strike Back at Sugar and Smith".

    HD 71

    "Away from the noise of the area's hotly contested races, a political newcomer is mounting an uphill campaign to unseat state Rep. Michael Grant in House District 71. The race pits Grant, 57, a candidate backed financially by the state GOP, against Richard J. Santos, a 29-year-old tax professional whose inspiration to seek public office was a costly custody battle for his 3-year-old son." "Low-key race for House pits political novice against Grant".

    New House

    "The incoming speaker has his own ideas how state government should be run, so he's moving offices and renovating." "Rubio already changes House".


    "Jeb's legacy sets the bar in race for governor".

    SV Poll: GOP CFO Numbers

    20. If the election for Chief Financial Officer were held today between State Senate President Tom Lee and State Representative Randy Johnson, whom would you support? (Republicans only)
    Tom Lee 45%
    Randy Johnson 29%
    Undecided 26%
    "Florida Poll (08/30/06)".

    SD 16

    "Seems like every day brings more fun from the Frank Farkas-Kim Berfield GOP primary in Senate Distict 16." "Mailbox Missiles, Democrats on TV".

    GOP Honor, Integrity and "Pole Dancing"

    "After Mills admitted to spreading gossip that Benson had once been a pole dancer, the two candidates have had a renewed focus on honor and integrity while still trying to talk about issues that could matter to voters as the Sept. 5 primary approaches." "Honor, integrity join issues in race".

    "Ethical Cloud"

    "Bush should name a special counsel to clear the ethical cloud that is hanging over the Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority." "Taking the low road".

    Going Up

    "Tropical Storm Ernesto may have spared Florida, but it wasn't enough to deter Allstate from proposing double-digit price increases for 370,000 homeowners Wednesday." "Allstate seeks double-digit price".

    Feeney Foes

    "Clint Curtis and Andy Michaud each present themselves as the Democratic hope for the District 24 congressional seat held by heavily favored Tom Feeney." "Dist. 24 hopefuls seek shot at Feeney".

    "Common Sense"

    "There is a reason the Florida Constitution requires school board elections to be nonpartisan. Floridians don't want certain vital government responsibilities - such as educating children - to be overly politicized. It's common sense." "Keep parties out of school races".

    Jan Schneider

    "Jan Schneider is hoping her third bid for the 13th District congressional seat is a charm." "Schneider sticks to issues, avoids negative campaign".

    Ethics Complaint Mystery

    One "L.G. McClure" filed an ethics complaint against Crist."Said the complaint: 'These examples do not portray the high ethical standards that are required by an individual who holds the office of attorney general and they are void of the most basic standards of leadership.'" "Ethics complaint against Crist".

    However, the "ethics complaint filed by 'L.G. McClure' of Tallahassee against Charlie Crist (see below) didn't get far. The Commission on Ethics promptly mailed it back to the accuser Wednesday because the complaint alleged violations of the election laws, which are not under the ethics commission's jurisdiction." Here's the curious part,

    In the complaint, McClure gave no phone number and a Tallahassee post office box for an address. The Buzz can't find an "L.G. McClure" in the Tallahassee area, and the signature of the notary who notarized the complaint is illegible.
    "Update: Ethics Complaint Boomerangs". See also "Ethics complaint against Crist is rejected".

    Pitts and Lee

    "A new radio ad has hit the airwaves in black communities that criticizes Jim Davis for voting in 1990 not to compensate two wrongfully convicted black men, Freddie Pitts and Wilbert Lee" "Pitts and Lee Ad". See also "Radio Ad Aimed At Black Voters Slams Davis", "Smith ad aimed at blacks causes stir", "Ad bankrolled by Big Sugar rips Davis on Democratic gubernatorial primary", "Governor candidate assails new ad on murder case", "Davis campaign calls on Smith to denounce new radio ad as misleading", "'I Probably Won't Vote for Either Candidate'" and "Freddie Pitts protests use of name in ad".

    "All Trumped Up"

    "That's the gist of a new video produced by the Tom Gallagher-supporting committee Coalition to Protect the American Dream. And like the Internet video rolled out Tuesday by a Charlie Crist-supporting committee, the American Dream video harvests its material from a Cabinet meeting." "Crist All Trumped Up".

    Gallagher Attacked In Ethics Ad

    "Floridians for Truth and Integrity in Government's 30-second ad, allegedly being broadcast on television statewide, opens with the statement, 'Home Insurance Stocks Skyrocket' and then a series of five newspaper extracts about Gallagher's ownership of insurance stocks while insurance commissioner." "Ethics Ad Finally On the Air". See also "Crist-linked PAC has ad questioning Gallagher's integrity".

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