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 Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Florida's Showcase Congressional Races

    - "Television viewers will get a double dose of political attacks in the coming days, as U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw and his challenger, state Sen. Ron Klein, duke it out." "Attacks in race for District 22 heat up".

    - "Next week, President Bush is coming to town to raise money for Republican Gus Bilirakis." Busansky's response:
    "I am very flattered that the president of the United States is coming out to do a fundraiser for my opponent," said Busansky, Democratic candidate for District 9 of the U.S. House.
    "Bilirakis, Busansky roll out big names".

    The Reform Party Factor

    The other day we blogged about Reform Party candidate Max Linn ("Viable Reform Candidate Could Hurt Crist" (scroll down)):

    He has pumped $1-million of his own cash into his campaign and spent hundreds of thousands on statewide TV ads during shows like The Today Show, Good Morning America and The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. He has the campaign managers of former presidential candidate Ross Perot and former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura. And he has recruited as his lieutenant governor Tom Macklin, the Avon Park mayor who proposed to make English the city's official language and to issue fines against landlords and businesses that help illegal immigrants. ...

    Linn counts Sembler, President Bush's former ambassador to Italy, among his mentors and says the St. Petersburg developer persuaded him to open his own financial planning business.
    "Waiting for campaign to take off". He's not going away:
    It didn't take long for Democratic state House 52 candidate Liz McCallum to get on her feet after losing her primary by 6.8 percentage points. She's now working on Reform party gubernatorial candidate Max Linn's campaign, doing media consulting. "When we didn't win, the phones started ringing the next morning," McCallum said of the Linn campaign.

    Asked if that means she's now working against Democrats, McCallum said, "I think Max will take more votes away from Charlie Crist than Jim Davis. ..."
    "McCallum and Linn".

    If Linn continues to spend his own money, he could have an impact in the gubernatorial race.


    "Now that the Democratic nomination for governor is settled, the big unions that refused to take sides during the primary are joining with Jim Davis for the general election. The Florida AFL-CIO, which represents over 500,000 workers, is the latest, announcing this afternoon that it is backing Davis. " "All Aboard".

    Ugly Loser

    "When Gov. Jeb Bush was asked Monday if he has any regrets about his failed attempt to oust Republican state Sen. Alex Villalobos from his Miami state senate seat, the governor offered this terse answer: 'No.'" "Jeb has no regrets in Villalobos race".

    Recount Changes Result

    "Orange County elections authorities Monday declared a new winner in a county judge's race after recounting the ballots by hand. In the Group 17 race, Maureen Bell edged out Jim Sears by 15 votes, according to the Orange County Supervisor of Elections Office. The tally: Bell, 37,783 votes; Sears, 37,768. Initial results Sept. 5 showed Sears winning by 62 votes." "New judge named in recount".

    Weird GOoPer Hair

    Scott Maxwell: "Radar magazine recently compiled a list of some of the most unusual hairstyles in Congress. And Central Florida was well-represented. In fact, the Interstate 4 corridor accounted for two of the three awards given to congressmen with particularly 'childlike hair.' Oviedo Republican Tom Feeney scored with his very curly (and strangely, frequently wet) coif. And Polk County Republican Adam Putnam scored with his Howdy-Doody 'do. Winter Park Republican John Mica also netted notice in the 'Dead Animal Hair" category -- though the mag credited him with having a perfectly parted style that conveys an image of being "successful, strong, traditional.'"

    More Voting Problems

    Volusia County:

    In a report the state requires from elections supervisors, McFall indicates 11 memory cards on ballot-scanning machines failed. Five ballot scanning machines had to be replaced. There also were problems with phone lines in the Port Orange area attributed to a thunderstorm.

    Live reporting of results was also marred by the county's first-time use of touch-screen voting machines alongside the optical scanners. Precincts showed up as 100 percent complete when results from one or the other machines -- though not necessarily both -- were in. McFall said she hopes to change the way the results are displayed on election night Nov. 7.

    But Susan Pynchon, director of the elections coalition, told the board it should compare hard-copy records with electronic tallies before signing off.

    Pynchon said her group observed, or received reports of, touch screen problems in at least nine precincts. She listed two where the vote count was higher by seven than the number of voters who signed up.
    "Coalition questions canvassing board's election review".

    Tom's Gone

    "Gallagher's farewell". See also "Gallagher's thanks".


    "A three-judge appellate panel had been set to reverse Childers' conviction 2-1, but the full court instead voted 10-4 to let the conviction stand. A followup opinion, also 10-4, rejected Childers' argument that the full-court hearing was improper." "High court won't hear Childers' appeal".

    Sabato Weighs In

    UVA political scientist Larry Sabato:

    "It's really one of the few major governor races where a Republican is favored for November. But I don't think Charlie Crist is heavily favored. I think this is a reasonably competitive race, and if Jim Davis gets enough money he ought to be able to make a decent contest out of it.

    While Democrats are making noise about Congressional districts 9 and 13, Sabato sees Clay Shaw in CD 22 as the only truly vulnerable Congressional Republican. CD 9: "I don't think (Gus) Bilirakis is vulnerable. I think a lot of people won't know he's succeeding his father." CD: 13: "Vern Buchanan is not the strongest Republican for Katherine Harris' successor but I would still give him the edge. Certainly Christine Jennings is a reasonably strong Democrat, but there has to be a strong Democratic trend before any democrat can win that district."
    "Sabato scutinizes Florida".

    "Bottom of the political ladder"

    "City council members may rank near the bottom of the political ladder, but the duties they oversee - from mowing the parks and stopping speeders to filling potholes and collecting the garbage - shape the feel of the neighborhoods we go home to every night." "Councils deserve quality members". Sounds like they need some quality control at the municipal level in North Port: "North Port residents upset by 'codeRED'" ("City Hall received about 40 complaints, many from people upset that the codeRED call was announced on Sept. 11 and concerned that the meeting announcement was not a true emergency.")

    Running Government Like A Business

    "The Department of Elder Affairs and former Secretary Terry White face a federal lawsuit and state civil-rights complaint brought by two women who say they lost their state jobs for protesting crude sexual advances White made to one of them." "Dept. of Elder Affairs facing lawsuit".


    "The Republican Party of Florida apparently thought Sept. 11 would be a good day to reach voters with an absentee ballot mailer. The piece features Jeb Bush, the Statue of Liberty and the American flag on the cover. Inside, Bush's message includes reminding voters how Florida persevered through 9/11 and hurricanes and made big strides in education, cutting taxes, and expanding the economy." "9/11 RPOF mailer".

    Tax Revolt

    We're beginning to see the effects of Jebonomics, shifting costs from the state to local government.

    "Horror story after horror story about huge property-tax increases were recounted Monday by homeowners who warned that rising taxes would drive residents out of Sarasota County and wreak havoc on local businesses and rental property owners." "Citizens cry out for tax relief". See also "Higher taxes irk Port St. Lucie's new homeowners", "Tax rate pits mayor against commission" and "Hollywood residents cry foul" ("Homeowners upset taxes not going down").

    "Democrats court Hispanics"

    "Democrats are forming Hispanic caucuses in South Florida to bridge the quiet, clannish divisions among immigrant groups and coax more Latinos to the polls in November." "Democrats court Hispanics".

    GOP Attack Ads Backfire

    "The Mallard Group, which earned $800,000 this election cycle, had one of its worst elections in years. Randy Johnson, a Republican candidate for chief financial officer; circuit judge candidate Robert 'Bo' Michael; and six Republican state House and state Senate candidates lost their primaries. In a year marked by the negative tone of many political ads, Mallard's were particularly harsh, political observers say." "Political ad firm defends tactics".

    Follow The Money

    "A coalition of some of Florida's most powerful corporations has quietly raised almost $1.8 million in support of a November ballot measure that would make it harder for voters to amend the state constitution."

    Led by developers, agribusinesses, utilities and others, the group is promoting an initiative that would require future constitutional amendments to be approved by 60 percent of voters. Only a simple majority is needed now. ...

    "They don't like citizens having the ability to go around the Legislature, which they can control through their campaign contributions," said Ben Wilcox, the executive director of Common Cause Florida, which is organizing opposition to the 60-percent measure, along with groups such as the League of Women Voters and the AFL-CIO.
    "Groups split on ballot issue".

    Privatization Follies

    "Only eight months after launching one of Florida's largest privatization projects, a Tennessee-based company has backed out of a $792-million deal to provide health care to 14,000 inmates in South Florida's state prisons over 10 years." "Prison contractor wants out".

    Public-Private Boondogles

    "The Business Development Board of Palm Beach County is working under a one-year contract because the board compromised its public mission in its quest for The Scripps Research Institute. While the board seems now to understand that its public money isn't the sole preserve of private businesses, the board should not get the five-year contract it wants." "Progress, but questions".

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