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 Saturday, September 09, 2006

Running Mate Speculation; Race a Dead Heat

    Who will Davis select as a running mate?
    Most of the speculation has centered on a pair of blacks: former state Sen. Daryl Jones of Miami, who mounted his own unsuccessful bid for governor four years ago, and Rep. Chris Smith of Fort Lauderdale, the outgoing House Democratic leader.

    Both have the added advantage of being from South Florida -- and interested in the job.

    "I would absolutely consider it," Jones said.

    But each also carries potential drawbacks. Jones was nominated by President Clinton to be secretary of the Air Force only to see the appointment blocked when opponents questioned his truthfulness about his flight record while in the reserves. And Smith angered many Democrats in 1998 by endorsing Jeb Bush for governor, though he later said he regretted doing so.

    Other names thought to be possibilities for Davis are several Hispanics from South Florida -- Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, former Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas and former Miami-Dade Commissioner Jimmy Morales -- as well as Tallahassee Mayor John Marks, who is black, and incoming House Minority Leader Dan Gelber of Miami Beach.

    Democrats once talked of uniting Davis with primary rival Smith. But the bloody primary contest makes that unlikely, though Smith did announce Friday that he was "enthusiastically backing" Davis.
    "Running-mate options begin to emerge". See also "Attention turns to lieutenant-governor picks". In the meantime, a
    poll released on Election Day shows a tight race between the two now-nominees for governor.

    The Rasmussen survey of 500 likely voters showed Republican Attorney General Charlie Crist ahead of Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Davis 45 percent to 41 percent. The 4-point gap was just outside the poll's 4.5 percent margin of error.
    "Poll: Crist-Davis Close". See also "Crist has early edge over Davis in governor's race".

    Note: the reporter appears to be making a common mistake regarding the MOE: it is important to recall that the margin of error applies separately to each candidate’s support. See "Margin of Ignorance". So, the Rasmussen poll referred to above shows a statistical tie because Crist could actually have as much as 49.5% (45 + 4.5) support and Davis as little as 36.5% (41 - 4.5); conversely, Davis could have as much as 45.5% (41 + 4.5) and Crist as little as 40.5% (45 - 4.5) support. Hence, it is inaccurate to say that there is a 4% gap between the candidates and/or that Crist is leading. To say a poll shows a lead, the difference between the two candidates actually has to be more than twice the margin of error; so in this instance, the poll would have to show Crist ahead by more than 9 points before it can be claimed that Crist has a lead. This Rasmussen poll tells us, then, only that the race is tied.

    "Loser: Jeb Bush"

    "It's the moment you've been waiting for since Tuesday's election: Here's the real tally of winners and losers -- some of whom weren't even on the ballot."

    Loser: Jeb Bush. Two of the governor's favored candidates, Frank Bolaños and Robert Fernandez, lost their bids for the Florida Legislature.

    Loser: Big Sugar. Jim Davis won the Democratic primary for governor despite the industry's multimillion-dollar mudslinging.

    Winner: Big Sugar. Some of the mud stuck. Davis still faces questions about his 1990 vote against restitution for two wrongfully convicted black men, Freddie Pitts and Wilbert Lee.

    Winner: Carol Castagnero. The retired teacher from Lakeland -- who reportedly sleeps in Wal-Mart parking lots when she travels because she doesn't feel safe in hotels -- spent a little more than $13,000 on her Democratic campaign for governor. Still, 44,949 voters -- more than 5 percent of the electorate -- preferred her to Davis or rival Rod Smith.
    "Winners in primary weren't all obvious ones". See also "Jeb tight-lipped about being 0-2 in Dade endorsements".

    Speaking of losers, here's a pair of them: "Harris, GOP differ on Jeb Bush commitment".

    Tuff Enuf?

    "Fresh off what he called a 'ferocious' primary, U.S. Rep. Jim Davis, the Democrats' nominee for governor, basked in his party's embrace Friday and pledged that a Democratic win in November would shake up the status quo in Florida." "Davis vows to shake things up". See also "Davis' Campaign Must Toughen Up, Democrats Say".


    "Nelson kicks off Senate re-election campaign". Meanwhile, back at the ranch: "Harris Staffer Talks To Feds". See also "Another ex-Harris staffer talks to feds".

    The Last Waddle Express

    "Bush tours state in support of new GOP candidate". See also "Bush hands Florida's GOP reins to Crist".


    "Voters assured of count remedy".

    Game Over, Man!

    The Washington Post thinks the Guv race is over:

    The outcome in Tuesday’s governor’s race primary clearly affected the thinking of the expert pundits of the Washington Post on the race.

    They weren’t surprised by the outcomes, but were impressed by the vote totals—979,582 votes cast in the GOP race, compared to 822,462 Democratic votes, and 627,239 votes for Charlie Crist compared to Jim Davis’s 403,697.

    "That’s a lot of ground to make up, and Democratic strategists not affiliated with Davis’s campaign are skeptical Davis can do it," quoth the Post, and unceremoniously dropped the race out of their top 15 contests nationwide.
    "Dumped By The WashPost". See also "GOP shows it can get out the vote".

    Crawford Does It Again

    "Former Agriculture Commissioner Bob Crawford, a Democrat, said Friday he supports Republican Tom Lee for the cabinet-level CFO post. His endorsement comes a day after ex-comptroller Bob Milligan, a Republican, came out for the Democratic candidate, Alex Sink." "Tit for tat endorsements in CFO race". See also "One for You, One for Lee" and "Democrat endorses Lee".

    Does Crawford remain a "Democrat" just so he can get a headline every 2 years by endorsing Republicans?

    What A Jerk

    The brother of what one of America's leading historians believes may be "The Worst President in History" has the temerity to call "U.S. Rep. Jim Davis, the Democratic nominee for governor, one of the 'most ineffective' members of Congress." "Bush rips Davis, ices Harris". See also "Bush turns spotlight on Crist" and "GOP leaders snub Harris -- again".

    Has the GOP Created A Monster?

    "The Florida Senate will never be the same."

    Some of this state's most powerful political forces threw all they had at Miami Republican Alex Villalobos. But he still won.

    Gov. Jeb Bush said Villalobos "abandoned our party's principles and lost his way" for opposing vouchers and supporting the class size amendment. Bush did radio ads in two languages for Villalobos' primary opponent, Frank Bolanos.

    Sen. Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie, incoming Senate president, stayed neutral, an act that contradicted a decades-long tradition that parties protect their incumbents.

    Now he has to live with the fellow Republican senator he snubbed when that person needed help the most.
    "Attacks only made Villalobos stronger in Senate".

    Dem Unity

    "Any lingering question of Democratic unity in the governor’s race may have ended with a strong statement Friday from state Sen. Rod Smith endorsing his former rival, U.S. Rep. Jim Davis." "It's all good: Unity in the party". See also "Smith 'Enthusiastically Backing' Davis", "Democrats kick off hunt for November" and "Democrats Show United Front In Race For Governor".

    By The Way

    "Fifty-eight percent (58%) of Americans have at least a somewhat favorable opinion of labor unions while 33% disagree and have an unfavorable view. Those figures, from a Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 adults, include 23% with a 'very favorable' opinion and 12% with a 'very unfavorable' view." "Poll: Labor Unions Viewed Favorably by 58%".


    "Voter Turnout: How Low Can We Go?". See also "Amie Parnes: Did the rain keep voters from polls?".


    "Bush, Crist tout control by GOP".

    Insurance Crisis

    "More insurance companies ask to raise rates." See also "Committee suggests lowering Catastrophe Fund deductibles".


    "Despite defeat, Slosberg king in condo world".

    Black College Enrollment

    "Black students represented 13.7 percent of the state-university enrollment on the first day of classes this year, compared with 13.8 percent in 2005 and 14.5 percent in 2004. There were 39,529 black students enrolled on the first day of classes this year." "Black enrollment grows along with rest".

    This headline is a bit more accurate: "Black enrollment growth lags at state universities".

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