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 Friday, September 01, 2006

Mason Dixon Poll

    - "With just five days left before the primary, Rod Smith is closing the gap on his chief rival, Jim Davis, in the Democratic race for governor, according to an Orlando Sentinel poll released Thursday."
    On the Republican side, Charlie Crist holds what looks to be an insurmountable lead over Tom Gallagher, the Mason-Dixon Polling & Research survey found.

    The poll has Davis, a congressman from Tampa, with 40 percent of the vote, compared with 33 percent for Smith, a state senator from Alachua. That's less than half of the 15-point lead Davis held in a similar survey just last month -- before Smith's supporters launched a series of ads attacking him on various issues.

    More than a quarter of likely Democratic voters still haven't picked their candidate, the poll found.
    "Smith gains on Davis in primary" See also "Poll: Smith closing gap; Crist way up".

    - "With three days until Florida's primary election, U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris holds a comfortable 17-point lead over her nearest opponent in the GOP race for the U.S. Senate." "Harris holds comfortable lead, but opponents gaining". See also "Harris maintains comfortable lead".

    - Another Chamber Poll: "Today, the Florida Chamber of Commerce released a statewide poll that reveals substantial movement for both Republican Gubernatorial candidates. In contrast to the Florida Chamber poll on Friday, August 25, Attorney General Charlie Crist has considerably shifted from 39 to 48 percent, and CFO Tom Gallagher has moved from 29 to 36 percent. The undecided voters, which previously accounted for one-third of the respondents, have decreased from 29 to 14 percent. ... Conducted by InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion Research on August 30-31,2006, this poll was a phone survey of 300 likely voters in the Republican primary. It was weighted for age, race, gender and geographic distribution with a sampling error of plus or minus 6 percent. In contrast to other recently conducted polls, only respondents who replied were "definitely" voting were included in the results." "New chamber poll".

    Divided Loyalties

    "Two issues are defining the last days of the Democratic race for governor: Rod Smith's perceived alliance with Big Sugar, and Jim Davis' vote in a wrongful conviction case years ago." "Democrats confront divided loyalties". See also "Everglades activists' ads attack Smith, Big Sugar".


    The second sugar-backed group helping Smith just filed its updated reports, and the amounts are even more staggering. U.S. Sugar Corp. has given Florida's Working Families another $1.6 million. And Florida Crystals and affiliates gave the group almost $1.3 million. Farming giant Alico and the Florida Transportation Builders Association each gave $25,000, as well.
    "Second Sugar Grower Helping Smith". See also "Shadowy support groups play role in gubernatorial campaigns" and "Rod's sugar daddy".

    The Palm Beach Post asks: "Whose campaign is it? Smith can say it's his".

    "Smith, From Defense to Offense": "Smith shifted quickly from defense to offense, though – once again reminding the crowd of Jim Davis’ 1990 vote against compensating Freddie Pitts and Wilbert Lee, two Miami men wrongly convicted in a racially charged murder case." See also "Smith, Davis keep on attacking".

    Pitching and Jabbing

    "Crist, Gallagher keep on pitching". See also "Gallagher, Crist throw jabs at each other on road" and "Gallagher, Crist court conservatives in final swings before GOP gubernatorial primary".


    "In the gubernatorial primaries, Democrat Rod Smith and Republican Tom Gallagher are gaining in the polls. But will they threaten frontrunners Jim Davis and Charlie Crist?" "Underdogs Nip At Heels". See also "Smith gains on Davis in primary".

    "Foolish. Offensive. Dangerous."

    "Foolish. Offensive. Dangerous. Choose the word you want. All of them apply equally to U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris, whose remarks about Christianity last week show she does not belong in the U.S. Congress or in any position of public responsibility in this country. " "Constitution". See also "Harris warns voters to elect Christians, or 'legislate sin'".


    "If recent history is a guide, it suggests that if voters in Villalobos' West Miami-Dade district perceive the Senate election as a choice between smaller class sizes and Bush, they may side with the governor." "Voter loyalty to Gov. Bush may be trouble for Villalobos". Meanwhile, "the third-party groups known for stuffing mailboxes with attack fliers in Florida's roughest state Senate race are now filling the television airwaves with more than $1 million in political advertising."

    Most of the ECO ads began hitting airwaves last weekend, more than a week before Tuesday's primary. The most recent ad, funded by school voucher proponents All Children Matter, features Lynette Estrada, the mother of a disabled son and teacher of disabled children, and criticizes Villalobos' vote on school vouchers. The group has spent at least $90,000 for Univisión airtime alone.

    Another anti-Villalobos ad by Partnership for Florida's Future, affiliated with the Florida Chamber of Commerce, criticizes Villalobos for being too liberal, while another by Florida Mainstreet Merchants, run by the Florida Retail Federation, argues, ''We need Frank to protect the Republican reforms we fought so hard for.'' The ads are running in Spanish and English.

    The two business-focused groups, both based in Tallahassee, have been the biggest spenders in the campaign. And agencies representing them have spent at least $880,000 on the anti-Villalobos ads -- more than the combined campaign budgets of Villalobos and Bolaños.
    "Villalobos foes saturate airwaves".

    Webster Hearts Gallagher

    "Former House Speaker and current state Sen. Daniel Webster of Orlando handed Tom Gallagher a valuable end of campaign gift on Friday: his endorsement. Webster, elected House speaker in 1996 as the first Republican in that post since Reconstruction, has long been considered the conservative standard-bearer in the legislature." "Gallagher picks up Webster's endorsement". See also "Webster Backing Gallagher".

    The RPOF

    "Republican Tom Gallagher demanded Friday that rival Charlie Crist denounce his endorsement by a gay online publication in next week's governor's primary." "Gallagher, On the Right".

    GOP GOTV Tactic

    "In the midst of a grassroots event in Orlando Friday morning for Tom Gallagher, John Stemberger announced that Florida4Marriage.org is just 50,000 signatures short of the 611,009 needed to get on the 2008 ballot." "Anti-Gay Marriage Almost Has Signatures".


    Floridians in poverty:

    South Florida's housing costs, especially affordable and workforce housing, have soared; so, too, have the cost of gas and insurance. These are taxing even for middle- and upper-income residents; and can permanently consign the less-well-off to poverty.

    Education, or rather the lack of a good education, contributes to the problem. Then there is South Florida's service-oriented economy, which favors low-skill, low-pay jobs. The steady stream of immigrants into South Florida is another factor. Too many of them are locked in competition for low-paying jobs. Yet those with skills and a good education quickly become middle class.

    Among the many factors that contribute to poverty, the essentials for change are quality education and a robust, diverse economy. Miami's and South Florida's residence near the bottom of the poverty ladder will change when serious inroads are made in these areas.
    "Despite boom, high poverty rate persists".

    CD 11

    "The five contenders agree on a lot - but still have different priorities and views on some key issues." "U.S. House District 11 - Dems". See also "Democratic primary gets ugly".

    Excuses Excuses

    The "Jeb!" apologists at the Orlando Sentinel have already started. First, the editors acknowledge what they must: "Yes, Florida's students were part of a national trend that saw SAT suffer the largest one-year decline in scores in 21 years. Yes, Florida ranks 48 out of the 50 states. Yes, Gov. Jeb Bush and education officials should be developing a strategy for improvement." Then comes the excuse:

    But Florida's SAT scores do not reflect a failure in its education system as much as a success story in providing greater opportunities to minority students. More Florida students took the test than ever before because the state encourages students -- even those who do not intend to go to college -- to take the SAT.
    "Do the math". That is at best misleading, if not outright spewing of RPOF propaganda. To be sure,
    A record 94,601 Florida high-school graduates took the test, administered by the College Board, in 2006
    However, as the Sentinel itself reported a couple of days ago,
    the state had a slightly higher participation rate of 65 percent last year.
    "Florida's SAT, ACT scores still among nation's lowest". The downward trend, then, cannot be explained away by saying more students - read: more dumb kids the Jebbites would say - took the test, when a larger percentage of students actually took it last year.

    Prepare yourself for a full throated defense of Jebbie's educational "reforms" by the Tribune Company.

    CFO Candidates Talk Insurance

    "Two Republicans running for chief financial officer offer distinct approaches to the much-discussed issue." "Two ways to tackle insurance reform".

    A Hillsborough County Thing

    "What should citizens think of an elections supervisor who calls his agency "the Company," pays hush money to a former aide and declares that employees of his government office must sign confidentiality agreements?" "Secrets lurk where none should be".


    "Teachers Union Denies Endorsing White For Commission".

    Poor Katherine

    "For at least the third time in recent weeks, U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris suggested that former members of her staff were working against her and may have been taking money to do so." "Katherine Harris and ex-staff".

    More on the GOP U.S. Senate primary: "Upset of Harris is within his reach, Collins thinks". See also "You'd think there wasn't a Senate race" ("Neither Katherine Harris nor her GOP rivals have managed to organize visible grass roots support.")


    "With a new poll showing Republican moderate Charlie Crist leading rival Tom Gallagher among social conservatives in the race for the party's governor's nomination, an exchange on a St. Petersburg streetcorner late Thursday afternoon may have spoken volumes about the frontrunner's Teflon qualities." "Faith-based followers".

    Smith Moves North

    "Smith to campaign at Duval games this weekend".

    Harris Follies

    Mike Thomas: "Vote Katherine, if just for the entertainment".

    Just How Crazy Is The NRA?

    This crazy: "U.S. Senate candidate Katherine Harris got the endorsement of the National Rifle Association Friday." "Harris, Nelson endorsements".


    "Buchanan selling his business acumen".

    Jim King's RPOF

    "The political battle between Jim King and Randall Terry started last year during a life-and-death debate about the fate of Terri Schiavo. But now, with King and Terry just days away from a Republican primary election in their race for a state Senate seat, the battle has turned into a down-and-dirty brawl complete with stories of strippers and arrest records." "Issues buried as King, Terry battle for votes".

    Daily Slosberg

    "Defamation lawsuit, election complaint filed in Florida Senate race". See also "Deutch, Slosberg go for throats for votes" and "Senate hopeful Deutch sues foe".

    Week in Review

    "The week on the Florida campaign trail"

    Polk Early Voting

    "Early voting in Polk County has already surpassed the numbers cast in 2004 with two more days to go. Just a little more than 2,500 voters had cast early ballots by the time early voting stations closed Thursday." "More Voters Choosing to Cast Ballots Ahead of Time".

    "Under Attack!"

    "We're Under Attack!"

    So read the title of the e-mail blast the Randy Johnson campaign sent out Friday. The attacker in this case was Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings, whose recent automated phone message on Tom Lee's behalf told Republicans that Lee was the one under attack and that they should look out for mysterious fliers from the other side.
    "Under Attack".

    Yet More Litigation

    See "Congressional candidates trade allegations over misleading TV ads" and "Mahoney lawsuit accuses Foley of defamation in ad".

    SD 32

    "The state race for the District 32 Senate seat in the Sept. 5 primary has become a war of ugly fliers zinging Democratic candidates Ben Graber and Jeremy Ring on everything from voting records to personal integrity. Each candidate accuses the other of making misleading claims in the mailers. Both are disgusted. Neither is backing off." "State Senate candidates duel with nasty fliers in 'awful, nasty' campaign".

    "Duty not to answer"

    "When people appear before Florida judges, they should trust that their issues will be heard fairly and decided according to the law, not judges' personal quirks or opinions." "Respect judges' duty not to answer".


    "State Representative and Republican Chief Financial Officer candidate Randy Johnson has picked up the endorsement of Chairman Joe Martinez of the Miami Dade County Board of Commissioners." "Johnson gets another Miami nod". Nevertheless, "Lee Looking Strong in Mason Dixon".

    Better Than Nothing

    "A new Quinnipiac University poll shows that, since last month, six percent more likely Republican voters say they like U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris in her U.S. Senate bid." "Finally, some good news for Harris. Some.".

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