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, October 27, 2006

Another Crist Flip-Flop

    "Republican candidate Charlie Crist changed his position on whether he would have vetoed a property insurance bill had he been governor." "Crist reverses course on insurance bill 'veto'".

    Charlie, not exactly a man of rock solid convictions: "Under constant barrage by his Democratic rival for governor for 'failing to stand up' to the insurance industry, Charlie Crist on Thursday abandoned his Republican Party on the hurricane insurance issue, saying he would have vetoed this spring's GOP-written property insurance bill." "Crist says he would have vetoed GOP's insurance bill". See also "Dems say Crist ducked insurance crisis", "Crist now objects to insurance measure" and "Foes call Crist nonplayer on insurance bill" ("Crist stayed on the sidelines in the spring as legislators debated how to fix Florida's battered insurance market. Now he's paying for his silence.")

    Why is Charlie hiding Kottkamp? Daryl Jones "has been trying to set up a debate the Republican LG nominee, state Rep. Jeff Kottkamp of Cape Coral, but [says] that Kottkamp and GOP gubernatorial nominee Charlie Crist keep declining." Kottkamp sighting: "Kottkamp to appear at Crawfordville fish-fry today".

    Here's a shocker: "Members from across Florida's business lobby -- from the Retail Federation to the Restaurant and Lodging Association to the Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association -- appeared together today to remind everyone that they're behind Republican Charlie Crist in the governor's race." Supporters of "Democratic nominee Jim Davis quickly seized on the endorsements from the groups -- whose members range from Wal-Mart to Walt Disney World -- as a sign that Crist would support their 'special-interest agendas' as governor." "A Potentially Awkward Marriage".

    Meanwhile, "Crist ad blitz links opponent to Castro". One wonders if Florida's Frankenstein has an ethical bone in his body. The RPOF
    began airing a new Spanish-language television ad featuring Florida's Cuban-born U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez. He attacks Davis for a congressional visit to Cuba, where he met with both anti-Castro activists and some members of the Castro government.

    The ad suggests Davis "utilized his position in Congress to oppose sanctions against the Havana regime." In fact, Davis has consistently voted to retain the economic embargo against Cuba, though he has voted to make it easier for family members in Florida to visit relatives in Cuba.
    "Attack ads grow harsher in the race for governor". See also "Governor's Ad Watch" ("the Spanish-language spot, paid for by the Republican Party of Florida, blurs the truth both on Crist's record and on Democratic opponent Jim Davis'.")

    Not Enough

    "Sitting comfortably atop a 20-plus point lead in the polls, Sen. Bill Nelson said Thursday he's giving $250,000 to the Florida Democratic Party's get-out-the vote efforts."

    Nelson, who has raised more than $14 million for his re-election campaign, has been criticized by some Democrats for not sharing more of the wealth.

    But Nelson in a press release said the contribution brings to $2.3 million the money he's raised or given to state and national Democrats in competitive races. That includes about $1.2 million for the national Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and about $1.1 million raised or contributed to the state party.
    "Nelson ponies up". See also "Nelson adds another $250,000 to Florida Democrats' coffers" and "Nelson gives away more money". In the meantime, "Nelson keeps the pressure on".

    Thinkin' 'Bout Leavin'

    "1-in-3 Floridians ... said in a newly released poll they have seriously considered moving out of the Sunshine State because of Poll: Affordable states tempting to Floridians. The statewide telephone survey of 800 voters was conducted for the St. Petersburg Times by Schroth/Eldon & Associates from Oct. 22 to Oct. 25. The margin of error is 3.5 percent." "Poll: Affordable states tempting to Floridians".

    "Spirited Debate

    "The frequently spirited debate before the Sarasota Tiger Bay Club showed how high the stakes have become in the tightly competitive contest with just 11 days left until Election Day. Buchanan released internal polling data from his campaign on Thursday that he says shows he's within two percentage points of Jennings, a retired Sarasota banker. Buchanan, a Longboat Key businessman, said it is essentially a dead heat with slightly more than a week to go." "Spirited debate shows differences". See also "Major issues divide hopefuls".

    Ion on HBO

    "Leon County Elections Supervisor Ion Sancho glides into a new HBO documentary in his canoe, then tells how easy he thinks it might be to electronically stuff a ballot box."

    The program, ''Hacking Democracy,'' is set to make its debut Nov. 9 on the cable channel. The 90-minute story deals extensively with balloting breakdowns in Ohio and California. But Sancho, a frequent critic of how state and federal changes to voting systems were implemented after Florida's 2000 presidential meltdown, is shown permitting some activists to demonstrate how the memory card of a vote tabulator can be sabotaged.
    "Ion Sancho takes message to HBO".

    Sorry, But No

    "No debate spot for write-in says judge".

    "The Mighty Florida GOP Machine"

    "What most Florida Democrats don't see is the mighty Florida GOP machine revving its turbines. Nowhere in the country are Republicans better at the nuts and bolts of winning elections than Florida, a state where the GOP will spend at least five times as much as Democrats on voter turnout."

    "Hi, this is Charlie Crist. Recently, you should have received your vote-by-mail ballot. And I'm calling to personally ask you to vote," says one of several recorded messages to voters who requested absentee ballots.

    Democrats are doing the same, but on a much smaller scale. By some estimates the GOP's absentee-ballot program alone will ensure that Republicans wake up on Election Day with a 300,000-vote advantage over Democrats.

    That's huge in an election where roughly 5.5-million votes will be cast, and it's testament to the election-winning apparatus Florida Republicans have perfected since the early 1990s.

    "We built this thing going back for years and every year it just gets bigger," said former state Republican Party executive director David Johnson. "It's become part of the fabric of our campaigns, and now we just pull the machine out of the garage, oil it up, and turn it on."
    "Fla. GOP turns turnout into art".

    Daryl Jones

    "He follow s a financial guru who rejects conventional paths to success." "Jones has a job, but what is it?".

    The Chamber of Commerce

    has never more obviously been a collection of RPOF dopes and hacks: "Harris claimed victory in a straw poll conducted at a Chamber of Commerce sponsored event in Melbourne,by an overwhelming 231 to 108 margin." "Grasping at Straws?"

    "A Proud Democrat"?

    "In a sign of eroding black support for Democrat Jim Davis for governor, state Sen. Mandy Dawson, D-Fort Lauderdale, is backing Repubilcan Charlie Crist. Dawson, who backed Davis’s opponent Rod Smith in the Democratic primary, called herself 'a proud Democrat.'" "Mandy Dawson Bucks Party, Backs Crist".

    Mandy Dawson, "a sign of eroding black support"? We can do without the RPOF spin.

    They can have her: "Dawson, who has been reprimanded by the Senate for her dealings with lobbyists, praises Crist as a 'great public servant' and says he 'listens,' 'deliberates' and 'cares.'"

    Wonder what Mandy thinks of this: "On Arza, Crist would not say if the Miami Republican should resign"?


    "The Florida House Democratic Caucus called today on House leaders to expel Rep. Ralph Arza of Hialeah if he does not resign, adding to pressure he’s already facing from Republicans to leave office." "Democrats: Expel Arza".

    "The Democrats in the Florida House of Representatives are threatening a rare and politically explosive walkout from the chamber floor if Rep. Ralph Arza is not immediately removed from office for his repeated use of racial slurs and what they call his allegedly bullying behavior." "Democrats to walk out on Arza". See also "Dems adopt resolution calling for Arza to quit", "Jones Has "Pity" for Arza" and "House raises pressure on Arza".

    "Faced with near-unanimous condemnation and rebuke from Republicans, Democrats and even his political ally Gov. Jeb Bush, state Rep. Ralph Arza is clinging tenaciously to the power of office that he was given before he exposed himself as a political thug and racist bully." "Say No to Rep. Arza".

    More Foley

    "Disgraced former Rep. Mark Foley isn't running for Congress anymore, but he was still part of a debate Thursday night between the candidates seeking his seat." "Foley shadow hangs over debate in a suddenly competitive race". See also "U.S. House candidates clash", "Candidates for Foley seat outline differences".

    More: "Foley blogger was in gay rights group" and "Source of Foley Email Revealed" ("The Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group, has fired an employee who admitted to the first publication on a Web site of Florida Rep. Mark Foley’s e-mails to a former male page.")

    Yet more Foley: "Maybe everybody's telling truth in Foley case" and "Foley's rehab center known for catering to the stars".

    RPOF "Lies"

    "Incited by a television ad saying he 'promotes mass uncontrolled immigration into the United States,' Keith Fitzgerald, the Democratic candidate for the state House in District 69, fired back Thursday at his Republican opponent, Laura Benson. Fitzgerald characterized the ad as 'absolutely concocted lies' during a Sarasota Tiger Bay Club forum held at Michael's on East. The ad was paid for by the Republican Party of Florida and largely based on excerpts from a 1996 book that Fitzgerald, a New College associate professor, wrote about immigration." "Candidate says GOP immigration ad is 'lies'".

    HD 62

    "State House District 62 encompasses the small but growing municipality of Plant City, the sprawling developments of Brandon, Bloomingdale and Valrico, and the disappearing rural enclaves of eastern Hillsborough County." "Newcomer Challenges Veteran In District 62 Race".

    Strategic Vision Poll

    "The latest polling from Strategic Vision, a Republican-oriented Atlanta political consulting firm:"

    -- In the governor’s race, Republican Charlie Crist 51 percent, Democrat Jim Davis 42 percent, Reform Party candidate Max Linn 2 percent, and undecided 5 percent. ...

    -- Chief Financial Officer: Republican Tom Lee 45 percent, Democrat Alex Sink 38 percent, undecided 17 percent.

    -- Attorney General: Republican Bill McCollum 45 percent, Democrat Skip Campbell 37 percent, undecided 18 percent.
    "Strategic Vision Poll: Crist 51, Davis 42". See also "AIF poll puts McCollum ahead" ("An Associated Industries of Florida poll released Thursday puts Republican Attorney General candidate Bill McCollum ahead of Democratic state Sen. Skip Campbell 43%-36%. ... Yesterday a Florida Chamber poll had Campbell ahead 40-37.")

    CFO Battle

    "Sink was equally upbeat. She cited polls showing a closing gap with Lee, and touted a growing list of newspaper editorial endorsements, from Jacksonville to Naples." "Lee, Sink in battle to become next CFO".

    "Illegal Campaign Signs"

    "As he looks down on the competition, the top lawman defends illegal campaign signs." "Crist likes view from atop Tampa buildings". See also "Larger-Than-Life Crist Is Not Above The Law".

    "Chairman Bense?"

    The Buzz is hearing "a fair amount of Buzz that House Speaker Allan Bense is the most likely next state GOP Chairman. "I'd be happy to serve if the party wanted me,'' he told us the other day." "Chairman Bense?"

    Stealing Votes

    "In February, state auditors found 13,329 clemency cases were backlogged at the state parole commission. A decision in each case, they found, took an average of 22 months." "A Felony Is A Crime That Steals Votes". The Tampa Trib argues: "Dump Antiquated Felon Voting Law" ("The process is outdated, costly and time-consuming. And in 2000, hundreds of eligible voters were misidentified as felons and mistakenly purged from the voting rolls.")

    Stealing Images, RPOF Style

    "Another political ad with Marino picture slips through".

    Exit Polls

    "Professional news organizations never should have been lumped in with polling-place scofflaws and unintentional culprits. Banishing the media only blurs the accuracy of the voter data used for political analysis. The kicker, as Judge Huck noted, was that such exit polling was cited in none of the 5,000 recent complaints filed by voters about harassment at the polls. 'Order at the polls was really the intent,' the secretary of state's office said. That's what the court has ordered." "Let the exit polls begin".

    Keller Goes Negative

    "U.S. Rep. Ric Keller's re-election campaign just went negative, with less than two weeks to go before the Nov. 7 election. Keller's new TV ad paints his opponent for the U.S. House District 8 seat, Democrat Charlie Stuart, as someone who 'wants to raise our taxes but didn't pay his own.' The same ad also says Stuart mismanaged a 50-year-old business into bankruptcy." "Keller goes negative with ad".

    Jebbie's Privatization Schemes

    "State Sen. Skip Campbell, the Democratic candidate for Attorney General Charlie Crist, lambasted GOP frontrunner Charlie Crist again Thursday for failing to investigate the circumstances surrounding the shipment of sensitive personnel data overseas to India and Barbardos by a company working for Convergys, the corporation that took over personnel functions for state government."

    But Campbell this time notched up the rhetoric, saying that allowing social security numbers and drivers license information for state employees to go overseas could lead to identity theft, including by those who may "terrorist purposes,'' also adding there is a "potential for terrorists getting this information and getting into the United States and doing harm."
    "Campbell: Terrorist threat due to outsourcing".

    "Fresh details emerged Thursday about one of the more embarrassing episodes of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's administration - the problem-riddled privatization of state employee personnel services - providing campaign fodder for the Democrat running for attorney general. ... Campbell accused the Republican gubernatorial candidate, Attorney General Charlie Crist, of ignoring "a clear and present danger" that state employees' identities are at risk of theft, or worse, could be used by terrorists to gain access into the country. He said the attorney general should have joined the lawsuit."
    Crist's office responded by distributing a time line showing several meetings with former GDX employees since April 2005. "Just because we didn't join the suit doesn't mean we're not investigating," said JoAnn Carrin, a spokeswoman.
    "State worker data said to be at risk".


    "'Florida consumers are being defrauded by unscrupulous, confusing or even deliberately fraudulent charities which claim to service the disabled, veterans and first responders,' Democrat Eric Copeland said in a proposal released Wednesday." "Candidate Proposes An Overhaul Of Charity Fundraising Oversight".

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