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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, September 13, 2006

Crist To Announce LG Pick

    "Republican candidate for governor Charlie Crist will announce his choice for running mate Wednesday, campaign aides said late Tuesday night." Charlie has apparently ordered a poll that gives us a hint as to who is under consideration; the poll questions (as recalled by "Ron Gunzburger, a Democratic activist and sometime political operative in Fort Lauderdale") included:
    - "A female African American legislator from the Jacksonville area who’s also a Navy lieutentant commander"—obviously state Rep. Jennifer Carroll, R-Green Cove Springs, a retired Navy officer.

    - "A congressman from the Panhandle with a reputation for expertise on national security issues"—Rep. Jeff Miller. R-Chumuckla.

    - "A Hispanic woman from Miami-Dade County with a reputation for working for education reform and non-profit work"—sounds a lot like Helen Aguirre Ferre, chairwoman of the Miami Dade College board of trustees and host of a PBS public affairs talk show.

    - "A male legislator from central Florida—or maybe it was the central Atlantic coast—with a reputation for innovative ideas." Partly because Gunzburger was unsure of the location, this one’s uncertain. Could be Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, or Mike Haridopolos, R-Melbourne, both subjects of speculation; or maybe a longer shot—Rep. Jeff Kottkamp of Cape Coral, maybe even state Sen. Mike Fasano of New Port Richey.
    "Crist flies to undisclosed location to announce LG pick". See also "Crist may announce running mate today", "Crist, Davis are very close to picking running mates" and "Crist to pick running mate". See yesterday's "Gubernatorial candidates about search for best running mates" for more background.

    Crist could make a surprise choice: "Republican Charlie Crist’s short list for a lieutenant governor running mate includes a surprising name with an unusual background: Helen Aguirre Ferre, opinion-page editor of the Spanish-language newspaper Diario Las Americas in Miami." "Running mates due Thursday". See also "A Surprise LG Pick for Crist?"

    In any event, "Lt. governor candidates don't make, break tickets, experts say".

    Davis Continues FCAT Theme Into General

    "Davis Begins New Campaign": "During a brief speech, Davis hit on some of the campaign themes he intends to use against the Republican nominee, Attorney General Charlie Crist. Davis pledged to 'end the use of the FCAT as a political weapon against our children, our teachers and our schools.'". The rest is here.

    "Davis' Mea Culpa"

    "Davis apologizes to Pitts and Lee for 1990 vote". See also "Davis owns up to voting errors", "1990 vote was a 'mistake,' Davis says", "Davis apologizes for no-compensation vote", "Davis offers apology to wrongly convicted men", "Jim Davis makes apology for voting no to compensation for 2 wrongfully convicted", "Davis acknowledges mistake in 1990 vote to deny compensation for pardoned men", "Davis Tries To Put Pitts and Lee Behind Him", "Racial politics" and "Davis' Mea Culpa".

    By the way, "Pitts voted for Davis, notwithstanding the mailers and black radio ads, while Lee voted for Rod Smith." "Money Well Spent?". It appears that neither voted for Chain Gang Charlie, who the RPOF is hilariously seeking to cast as a civil rights warrior.

    "Jeb!" Era Ends, "Few Noticed"

    "Florida Republicans saw the close of the Jeb Bush era in a small Cuban restaurant Thursday just an hour before lunch. Few noticed." "End Of The Bush Era".

    Three Pack

    "[T]he Crist campaign, which is nearing its spending limit, isn’t paying for the ad. The state Republican Party is. And the party has no limits on its expenditures or the size of the 'soft money' contributions it can accept and spend on 'party building' ads." "Crist's First Ad Isn't Crist's First Ad". See also "Crist Ads Go Up", "Crist’s New Ad" and "Republican Party takes to airwaves for Crist".

    Secret Dockets

    The Miami Herald Editorial Board: "Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Fred Lewis commendably has taken the initiative to stop state judges from hiding court cases from public view with the introduction of a set of proposed rule changes." "Restore transparency to state courts".

    "Jeb!" Dishonors Governorship

    Unable to exhibit any class, Jebbie finds himself in that place he is oh, so comfortable ... the gutter, serving as Charlie's hatchet man:

    Crist cheerfully challenged Davis, whom he called "my friend," to two statewide debates and left the heavy lifting to Bush, who blistered the Tampa congressman as a mediocrity, the Salieri of the race to Crist's Mozart. "Name one thing that Jim Davis has done as a congressman," Bush all but sneered. "There's a pause because I don't remember the Davis bill. I don't remember a lot of policy being made under the auspices of Congressman Davis."

    Davis' congressional record is thin, as is true with many Democrats in a Republican-controlled Congress. But Bush is conveniently forgetting how the Tampa congressman took an early and gutsy lead in the House against intervening in the Terri Schiavo case. Still, the governor and Republican leadership are already starting to define Davis before he can define himself. Crist did the same with Tom Gallagher, whom he easily defeated, and now has set his sights on Davis.

    Davis' outlined his general election campaign strategy to me in a conversation two weeks before the primary. "Charlie Crist will say, We've got to stay the course with all of Jeb's policies, and I'll say, Staying the course means more skyrocketing insurance premiums, low graduation rates from Florida high schools, jeopardizing Everglades clean-up and so forth." Davis will present himself as the progressive agent of change and portray Crist as the stay-the-wrong-course conservative.
    "What Crist and Davis bring to the ring".

    Hey "Jeb!", "I don't remember a lot of policy being made under the auspices of [Charlie Crist]", except for that silly chain gang thing, which of course was a sub-rosa racist appeal.

    Poor Katherine

    "U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris appeared on Tomas Garcia Fuste's show this morning on Tele Miami to bash Sen. Bill Nelson and tout her support for the Iraq war and her opposition to the income-tax system. 'We have the most onerous taxes in the world,' Harris said. Here's how it was translated into Spanish: 'We have the most honorable taxes in the world.'" "Harris tax plan lost in translation".

    While "Jeb!" Fiddles

    "Nationwide to hike property insurance by 105.8% in some parts of South Florida".


    "A complaint filed by Richard Giorgio, a consultant to her opponent, Harvey Arnold, alleged that Skidmore falsely claimed the endorsements of other elected officials and left the word 'for' off campaign signs and pamphlets, implying that she was the incumbent." "Candidate faces fines over alleged campaign flubs".

    Should Be Interesting

    "Buchanan drops objection to opening secret court case". For background see today's "Congressional candidate's lawsuit sealed by judge".

    Emily Hearts Christine

    "Christine Jennings, a Democrat running an uphill race for the District 13 congressional seat Katherine Harris is leaving, just got the second major financial boost of her campaign, an endorsement from EMILY's List. That organization publicizes the names of pro-choice women candidates to its members, a nationwide cadre of politically active women—mostly—who contribute to the candidates the List recommends. In some cases, an EMILY's List nod can bring a candidate $500,000 or more." EMILY's List Goes For Jennings"..

    Good Luck

    "They're annoying, they're unpopular, and they may be history. Northeast Florida legislators are preparing a state law to ban automated political calls as part of Florida's Do Not Call program, possibly ending a longtime campaign tactic that has fallen into public disfavor. The legislation being prepared by Rep. Stan Jordan, R-Jacksonville, and Sen. Jim King, R-Jacksonville, would include 'robo-calls' with the other solicitation calls banned under Florida's Do Not Call list. Political calls had been exempt from the state's Do Not Call program." "Political calling targeted by 2 bills".

    Now That Jebbie's Leaving

    "Future governor's help asked for oceans".

    Wingnuts Heart Jebbie

    The right wing Hoover institution (funded by wingnut moneybags like the Scaife and Bradley foundations among others), you know ... the home of luminaries like Rush Limbaugh radio stand-in Thomas Sowell, Newt Gingrich, Ed Meese, and their ilk, think Jebbie is just wonderful:

    Gov. Jeb Bush looked on approvingly in Orlando as experts from Stanford University's Hoover Institution released results Tuesday of their nine-month review of the educational policies he championed for Florida's public-school system.

    The 11-member panel called Florida a "trendsetter" and "national leader in education reform," but it warned policymakers they still had a long way to go to create a stronger academic culture.

    "Hopefully, the next governor will pick these up," Bush said. "I can guarantee the Legislature will." ...

    Critics of Bush's school policies, from class-size supporters to the teachers union, characterized the report as an invalid effort that serves only to document Bush's efforts to be remembered as an "education governor" when he leaves office in January.
    "Think tank urges school reforms, no class-size limits". See also "School reforms drawing praise".

    Look for the Jeb-slipperlicks, like the Orlando Sentinel editorial board, among others, to seize upon this self-serving "review" to support their claims that Jebbie is the "education governor" par excellence.

    Spreading The Luv

    "PBS & J, under investigation for violating campaign contribution laws, has been a prolific giver over the years to political candidates."

    Individual contributions like those are the focus of the grand jury's reimbursement probe.

    Recipients include President Bush, Florida senators Bill Nelson, a Democrat, and Mel Martinez, a Republican; and Broward U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

    In some cases, executives' contributions added to giving by PBS & J itself or its political action committees. For example, the biggest federal recipient since 2003 is Democracy Believers, the joint leadership PAC of brothers Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart, Republican congressmen from Miami. DeLoach, Garcia, Licata and the PBS & J's federal PAC combined gave $20,000 in September 2004.

    Those large contributions coincided with Mario Diaz-Balart's vote on a matter of interest to PBS & J.

    The same month, Mario Diaz-Balart announced he'd helped pass a supplemental appropriation bill in the House of Representatives that, after its incorporation into another bill, ultimately provided millions to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for 2004 hurricane cleanup.

    At the time, PBS & J's Washington lobbyist was registered to lobby on FEMA legislation.

    PBS & J later was hired to oversee the joint federal-state cleanup project in Florida, according to information posted on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's website.

    At the state level, through direct corporate contributions and its Citizens and Taxpayers state PAC, PBS & J has handed out nearly $340,000 during the last two election cycles, primarily to Republicans.
    "Political donations: civic action or no-no?"

    Big Guns

    "On Wednesday, Sept. 13, Bob Graham will headline a fundraiser for Busansky at the home of Steve and Teresa Brandt in Temple Terrace. On thursday, Sept. 20, President Bush will appear at a fundraiser for Bilirakis at Raymond James Stadium." "Big Guns For Busansky, Bilirakis". See also "Will Pres. Bush spark a policy debate or flood of cash in District 9 race?"

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