"Here's something Florida Republicans a year ago never dreamed possible: a Democrat representing heavily Republican Little Havana in the state House."
But that's precisely what happened on Election Day, as Democrats in Florida and across the country gained ground among Hispanic voters. If the trend continues, it could have far-reaching political implications."Hispanic voter shift: anomaly or new rule?".
And the bumbling, Cuban former trial lawyer, former Democrat "Cellophane Man" is going to stem this tide?
In Martinez world, the solution to all things is to reach into the wingnuttery play book (something "Karl Rove's Florida Frankenstein" is perfectly willing to do) and veer even farther to the right. "Republicans can regain control of Congress quickly if they start running conservative campaigns immediately to counter liberal policies that Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi is sure to pursue, the new head of the national GOP said Saturday." "Martinez tells state GOP to buck up".
Much of that strength would come from Democrats, he said. Despite referencing the current high level of partisanship, Martinez took multiple shots at the now majority party in congress."Martinez says Republicans must return to core beliefs". See also "State Republicans take stock of Nov. 7".
"I gotta tell you, the greatest thing in the world is watching the Democrats trip over each other in the first few days," said Martinez, referring to their difficulty in setting a leadership team.
That's our Mel, the bi-partisan bridge builder.
Something's Rotten In Sarasota
The Sarasota-Herald Tribune conducted an unscientific survey of Sarasota County voters, whose
the combined experiences provide insight into the 18,000-ballot undervote that has called into question Sarasota County's election results in the hotly contested race."Most callers report voting problems".
The undervote in the race between Jennings and Republican Vern Buchanan has come under close scrutiny because Buchanan won by 369 votes. Because voters in Sarasota County favored Jennings, the 18,000 missing votes may well have made her the winner.
The vast majority of voters interviewed by the Herald-Tribune reported one of two major problems.
Either they couldn't find the District 13 race as they scrolled through their voting screens (about 36 percent) or their votes for either candidate did not initially register on the ballot summary page (more than 62 percent).
Sarasota's "Mysterious Outcome Has Crystallized Concerns"
"Long after it is decided whether Vern Buchanan or Christine Jennings will serve in Congress as Florida's District 13 representative, the bizarre 2006 vote in Sarasota County could continue to influence elections across the state and nation."
The mysterious outcome has crystallized concerns about electronic voting, which has been widely adopted in the aftermath of the landmark 2000 presidential election."Electronic voting trend may be short-circuiting". See also "Do voting machines need trail of paper?".
Many states were already moving toward requiring paper records of electronic voting, and demands for those records -- if not an outright return to paper ballots -- are likely to grow, analysts say.
The recent Sarasota County experience handed powerful ammunition to critics of e-voting systems, who have gained traction in the movement to require an election paper trail over the past two years or so.
"Despite losing control of Congress and gains made by Democrats in two Florida congressional seats and one Cabinet post, Greer said the outlook for the state party is bright. The GOP still controls the state Legislature, Crist won the governor's race and U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., has been chosen to take over the Republican National Committee." "Crist names James Greer GOP state chairman".
What Will Villalobos Do?
"[M]any observers will be watching for signs of a Republican fissure caused by the return of Miami Republican Sen. Alex Villalobos."
Villalobos withstood a fierce primary battle in which Gov. Jeb Bush and likely 2008 Senate president Jeff Atwater, R-West Palm Beach, were among those working to defeat him. He had been stripped of his majority leader post last spring after voting against Bush on ballot initiatives aimed at preserving school vouchers and scaling back class-size standards."As The Senate Turns".
For a time, Villalobos was seen as possibly leading a handful of Republican senators into a coalition with the 40-member Senate's 14 Democrats, threatening Pruitt's control.
Now, Villalobos assures, that isn't going to happen.
"Sen. Pruitt is Senate president," Villalobos said. "I'll let him determine whatever committee assignments he has for me and where I can serve best." ...
"There are some hard feelings," he acknowledged. "But I continue to plan to watch out for the needs of my district. And I think my situation has convinced other senators that you can stand up for what you believe in."
"Families of executed men awarded frozen Cuban funds".
Baker in Crist Mix
"Mayor Rick Baker was elected just last year to a second four-year term, but may not finish it. Gov.-elect Charlie Crist says Baker is on his radar screen for an administration job, possibly as head of the Department of Education or the Department of Community Affairs." "Crist Eyes Baker For Administration Job".
Yet Another Difference ...
between the GOP and the rest of us:
Attorney Greg Schell, who has struggled more than two decades to improve the lives of the state's farmworkers, envisions a new dawn over the fields of Florida."Farmworkers bill's chances better with new Congress".
"This could change the world," he says.
Schell is speaking of the Democratic Party reclaiming Congress and what it could mean to key immigration legislation blocked for years by conservative GOP leaders in Washington.
Politics Not A Factor?
"Crist is trying to make sure his administration represents a strong mix of ethnicity, race and gender, as well as a geographic balance so that the whole state is represented, said George LeMieux, who served as Crist’s chief of staff on his campaign and in the attorney general’s office."
Politics also won’t be a factor, LeMieux said."Crist transition team has large task to fill new administration".
"There's no screen, there’s no 'Only Republicans need apply' or only this group or that group. He's looking to all Floridians and people who bring a variety of experiences,” LeMieux said. “There’s no litmus test. As long as the person has integrity, as long as the person has ability and as long as they have a good experiential base."
"Former Rep. Foley at dad’s grave: 'I disappointed him so much'". See also "Foley surfaces at burial for father" and "Foley finds supporters at father's funeral, says he 'disappointed' him".
"Byrd's Rancorous Politicking Will Bruise Alzheimer's Center".
he Sun-Sentinel editorial board argues that Florida's "entire tax structure cries out for a comprehensive overhaul, and that must come from the Legislature. And it must come soon, before there is any more tampering with the Constitution." "Taxes".
"When Florida lawmakers return to Tallahassee for this week's organizational session of the Legislature, convicted felon Sen. Gary Siplin will be among them. After renewing his oath of office, the Orlando Democrat also looks like he will have ample time to get comfortable. Because of Senate rules and the transition to new committee assignments, there's not much chance of Siplin leaving for a while." "Convicted felon Siplin can't vote, but he is working on re-election".
"Governors new and old mix at training retreat".
A Hollywood Thing
"Keith Wasserstrom and his associates had big plans to profit as a result of the controversial sewage treatment deal that has since resulted in his arrest on corruption charges and suspension as a city commissioner."
After persuading the City Commission to hire Schwing Bioset, they hoped to sell the process to Fort Lauderdale, Miami, other communities across the nation and even Israel. Records, e-mails and sworn statements collected by prosecutors show the Wasserstrom team set out to undercut rival firms and promote their own case."How Wasserstrom and partners planned to clean up in sewage deal".
Wasserstrom and his partners talked of arranging "dirty tricks," applying "political pressure" and assuring they had the "inside track." Beyond touting Schwing Bioset during commission debates, Wasserstrom opened doors at City Hall, strategized on how to win over city officials, passed information to his business partners and had some opponents investigated, the records show.
Then there is this West Palm Beach thing: "Frankel's late welcome" ("Given the scope of the conflicts of interest and inside dealing already acknowledged, the state's investigation was inevitable, whether the mayor came forward or not.")