"Lack of money for TV ads and few specifics on issues dog Jim Davis, whose troubles in the race for governor are likely to get worse if he can't boost his poll numbers." "In TV battle, dead air for Davis". See also "Kerry raises money for Davis, Democrats" and "Kerry crisscrosses Florida to support candidates, party".
Crist Has 21 Point Lead
"Republican Charlie Crist has taken a commanding 21-point lead over Democrat Jim Davis in the race to be Florida's next governor, according to a Miami Herald poll."
The survey by Zogby International shows Crist garnering 51 percent of the vote, compared with Davis' 30 percent. About 16 percent of voters are undecided. To catch up, Davis would have to win over all of the fence-sitters and peel away Crist supporters. ..."Crist has big lead all over Florida in poll".
[T]he gaping margin between Crist and Davis at the top of the ticket threatens to drag down other Democratic candidates on the Nov. 7 ballot.
Charlie's Political Stunt
"Questions have now been raised about whether Crist's 20-month investigation, whose cost hasn't been calculated but substantially exceeds $300,000, achieved what he said. ... Two weeks ago, Crist sent a camera crew to Evangeline Moore's home near Washington to tape an interview with her, apparently intended for use in a campaign commercial." "Murder Inquiry's Findings Disputed".
See "Foley's secret confounds friends: Ex-congressman, said to be an emotional wreck, loses GOP support", "Foley's sudden fall from grace", "GOP races to replace Foley" and "Foley resigns after sexual Web messages to teenage boys".
Randy Schultz is editor of the editorial page of The Palm Beach Post: "Foley's case tragic, but boys victims". See also ""Criminal solicitation or just sleaze?". And here's another perspective: "Gay community analyzes Foley resignation".
What's Next for the GOP? "The most likely scenario involves a statewide 'super board' of 40 Republican Party officials picking the nominee in a telephone conference from Central Florida early next week. Republican Party of Florida spokesman Jeff Sadowski said Saturday the selection process was still a work in progress." "Battle to replace Foley heats up". See also "House races are keeping parties on toes" ("With Republican Mark Foley out of the race and only five weeks until Election Day, the GOP may have trouble holding onto the majority in the House of Representatives"), "Scandal leaves GOP in a scramble", "Resignation rocks Capitol Hill", "Negron has inside track to take Foley's place", "Foley shocker jolts race, GOP", "Negron heads pack of Republicans jockeying to replace Foley" and "GOP sees another Florida seat endangered".
"Top House Republicans sparred Saturday over how they handled early reports about questionable e-mails from former Florida Rep. Mark Foley to an underage page, opening a rift just weeks before the GOP tries to hold onto its House majority. E-mail releases sent Saturday show top leaders knew about the e-mails to the former page, a teenage boy, for months but did not move to force the Palm Beach County Republican to resign from office or to step down as co-chairman of a congressional caucus on children's issues until reports surfaced Friday that he had exchanged sexually explicit computer messages." "GOP leaders at odds over Foley e-mails". See also "Democrats claim GOP covered up Foley case", "GOP Leaders Knew of Foley E-Mail in '05", "House Republican leaders admit they knew about Foley e-mails for months", "House Speaker Knew About Foley E-Mails Months Ago", "Democrats accuse GOP of covering up sex scandal" and "Rep.: Hastert told of Foley months ago".
And what did the leadership of the Republican Party of Florida know? See "Attorney General Charlie Crist and U.S. Representative Mark Foley".
"Considered a longshot against U.S. Rep. Mark Foley two days ago, Democrat Tim Mahoney immediately began talking Saturday about the scandal that may propel him to Congress." "Candidate seeking Foley seat criticizes GOP over e-mails". See also "Foley's foe steps into limelight", "Suddenly, a Toss-Up", "Mahoney: GOP response 'disturbing'", "Democrat in position to win firm GOP seat", "With Foley gone, Democrats rally behind Mahoney", "Democrat has the race to himself -- for now".
Exit Poll Litigation
"A Florida law that bars exit polling near voting places violates the press' rights under the First Amendment, a lawsuit filed by The Associated Press and five television networks alleges." "AP, networks fight law barring exit polls".
"Katherine Harris lags incumbent Bill Nelson by 27 percentage points in the U.S. Senate race, a new Miami Herald poll showed." "Harris still far behind Nelson in Senate race".
Fat Wallet in CD 13
"Republican Vern Buchanan has put an additional $650,000 of his own money into his campaign for Congress, adding to what has become one of the most expensive congressional races in the country." "Buchanan adds cash to campaign".
On the Dem side: "U.S. Sen. John Kerry was a no-show Saturday for a fundraiser on Bird Key for Democratic congressional candidate Christine Jennings.". "Late session keeps Kerry away from fundraiser".
Eating the Spin
Don't you love seeing the liberal media gobbling up the Crist campaign spin: "earnest wonkishness doesn't always make Davis that appealing on the campaign trail. While Crist seems to project a strong likeability factor in public appearances, Davis has been criticized for being too programmed and humorless." "Although a wonk, Davis can connect".
Scott Maxwell reports
Keller gets mayoral smackdown. Democrat Charlie Stuart has snagged a trio of impressive endorsements in his campaign to oust Republican U.S. Rep. Ric Keller. Three Orlando mayors -- two of whom are Republican -- endorsed Stuart last week. The support from Democrat Buddy Dyer wasn't all that surprising. But check out this line from loyal Republican Glenda Hood. "We need people in Congress we can respect, like Charlie," said Jeb Bush's former secretary of state. "I see Charlie Stuart as a welcome and thoughtful change to represent our community in Congress." So if someone we can respect would be a change . . . well, now, that's a little more outspoken than the Glenda I remember. Stuart also got the support of political godfather Bill Frederick -- meaning three establishment figures united against the established incumbent. That's unusual. Still, Keller's campaign shot back that it has the support of the past two county mayors: Rich Crotty and Mel Martinez, meaning we may have an actual battle -- or at least some mayoral mayhem -- on our hands."Endorsements, surprises and missteps".
Dem Cabinet Hopefuls In Panhandle
"Democratic Cabinet hopefuls Alex Sink and Skip Campbell sped through six North Florida counties on Saturday trying to drum up support in a region where Democrats outnumber Republicans but voters have consistently supported GOP candidates in statewide races." "Democratic Cabinet hopefuls make push in North Florida". See also "Dems hoping to improve showing".
Jebbie's Choice Cracking
"Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections Buddy Johnson calls his office "the cornerstone of democracy" because it is entrusted with running the process for citizens to elect their government. Unfortunately, foundational cracks are apparent in Hillsborough's cornerstone and it's a question whether Johnson, a friendly though sometimes scattered man with a delegating style, can provide the inspection and oversight needed to set things straight." "In Search Of A Smooth Election, Johnson Must Prove He's Up To It".
"When voters in state Senate District 30 choose between Democrat Ted Deutch and Libertarian Karl Dickey, they'll be choosing between two dramatically different philosophies of government." "State Senate District 30: Clear lines drawn between candidates".
"November's general election will cost Broward County taxpayers a record $3.7 million, a price that could climb due to an agreement with the federal government to make voting friendlier for Hispanics." "Bilingual voting aid mandated".
"Two of the most prominent prospects, Democrat John Kerry and Republican Rudolph Giuliani, just completed South Florida swings. Even though the 2008 election is more than two years away, Broward and Palm Beach counties will be filled with presidential candidates in the five weeks between now and Election Day." "Presidential hopefuls boost Florida candidates, look to help themselves". See also "Work never stops for candidates". In the meantime, there is a "Push for early Florida primary".
Bought and Paid For
"While Crist's opponent in the Nov. 7 governor's election, Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Davis, has tried to rally voters with his cry that special interests have too much control in Tallahassee, Crist has the support of virtually every A-list lobbyist in the state." "Powerful lobbyists backing Crist".
"How did Palm Beach County Commissioner Tony Masilotti's brother wind up paying the taxes on a $7.7 million piece of property in Brevard County? What is known from corporate records, land deeds and Commissioner Masilotti's actions indicate that it happened as part of a payoff to Commissioner Masilotti for allowing a landowner to bring suburbia to the edge of the Everglades." "Masilotti's $7.7 million".
Follow the Money
"Gallagher supporter now backs ex-classmate, Crist".
From the Florida Progressive Coalition blog: Several Florida candidates have been the beneficiaries of Foley's "Florida Republican Leadership PAC", and argues that the "only correct thing to do is to give this money back. Or donate it to a group that fights pedophilia or helps out the victims. In fact, that’s actually a better thing to do with the money." The recipients:
Vernon Buchanan (FL-13) $2,000 (941) 953-6060 (941) 795-7013 firstname.lastname@example.org"Pedophile Money".
Clay Shaw (FL-22) $1,000 (202) 225-3026 (954) 522-1800 (561) 832-3007 http://www.house.gov/writerep/
Jebbie's Shell Game
Want to know why there's a property tax revolt? "Florida property owners are paying an increasing share of the cost of public education, a shift by state officials that has gone largely unnoticed by the public."
When Gov. Jeb Bush took office in 1999, property taxes accounted for about 40 percent of the money that flows through the Florida Education Finance Program, the system that divvies up most of the state's education budget. The rest came from state sources, primarily the sales tax."School tax funding has shifted"
This year: Only 48 percent will come from the state while 52 percent will come from local property taxes.
The change is one of many factors at work as homeowners and business people complain loudly about their tax notices and public officials try to sort through what happened.
The shift started gradually, then accelerated the last three years as state officials took advantage of double-digit leaps in Florida property values.
"Straight out of the mustiest Republican playbook, it's the ol' tax-and-spend liberal attack. The Republican Party of Florida's latest commercial on behalf of its candidate for governor, Charlie Crist, assails Democratic rival Jim Davis as a 'liberal Washington politician' who 'opposes property tax cuts.'" "Crist pulls out tax-and-spend label for Davis".
"The three Republican candidates for Florida's Cabinet offices held slight leads over their Democratic opponents ahead of the Nov. 7 general election, but many voters had not made up their minds, a new poll shows." "Poll: Republicans have early advantage in Cabinet race".
"Christian Coalition signals change of guard in selection of its president".
Nelson Defends Vote
"Nelson defends vote for detainee bill".
"State: KidCare program is still flawed".
"Flustered Florida voters fed up with rising property taxes are overwhelmingly supporting two constitutional amendments to give breaks to seniors and disabled veterans, a new poll shows. The Mason-Dixon Florida poll of 625 voters released Friday indicates four of the six measures voters will face on the Nov. 7 ballot would pass with a majority of votes if the election were held today. ... But the public isn't sold yet on another business-backed measure to make it harder to change Florida's constitution." "Poll shows four of six amendments passing".
Out of Context?
"Republican U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw said Democratic challenger Ron Klein should apologize for a new TV ad that says Shaw declared "the war is over" in Iraq while U.S. troops are still dying there." "Quote out of context, Shaw says".
"Big spenders are swelling the bank account of the political committee trying to persuade Collier County voters to extend the life of the county's greenspace buying program. Keep Conservation Collier has raised more than $86,000 as of Friday — almost half of it from two of the county's largest landowners, according to PAC treasurer George Ricci." "PAC backs measure on greenspace purchasing".