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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 Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Florida Primary results and more

    "McCain's support from Republican moderates, Hispanics and Florida's numerous older voters helped lift him to victory in Florida's GOP presidential primary on Tuesday." "McCain gets moderates, elderly, Hispanics in Florida GOP presidential primary win". See also "Florida sends McCain to top of the heap", "McCain edges Romney, Guiliani a distant third" and "McCain wins Florida GOP primary; Giuliani ready to drop out".

    More: "Republican John McCain proved Tuesday night he is not just the darling of independents. In a presidential primary closed to all but registered Republicans in Florida, the Arizona senator rolled past Mitt Romney, a former Massachusetts governor." "Analysis: Florida tests McCain, Romney".

    The Miami Herald has county-by-county results. See also "Florida Primary Election Results for state and local races".

    More headlines: "Momentum: McCain has it, Romney won't quit", "Clinton, McCain win; tax measure passes", "McCain, Romney left standing", "McCain gets moderates, elderly, Hispanics" and "Florida Voters Take Advantage Of Their Moment In The Sun".

    Counting ballots Florida style: The more things change ..."Mysterious hit-and-miss glitches cost some voters in Miami-Dade and Broward counties the opportunity to vote Tuesday in the presidential primaries." "Errors prevent some from voting for president". See also "Florida Primary voters reporting problems at polls". There's always room for optimism: "Touch screens pass primary test" ("The much-maligned machines seemed to have few glitches handling the big turnout.")

    McCain: "McCain won the Florida Republican presidential primary Tuesday, becoming the frontrunner for the GOP nomination and acting like the party's presumptive standard bearer for November." "McCain jumps to front of herd". See also "John McCain gracious in Florida primary victory", "McCain holds off Romney to win GOP's Florida Primary" and "McCain: "I'm the conservative leader who can unite the party"".

    Rudy: "Giuliani, who bet his presidential hopes on Florida only to come in third, prepared to quit the race Tuesday and endorse his friendliest rival, John McCain." "Giuliani, 3rd in Florida, close to dropping out of race". See also "Giuliani finishes 3rd in Florida, may drop out and endorse McCain" and "Giuliani fails with against-the-books strategy".

    Mitt: "After narrow loss, Romney vows to carry on to Super Tuesday". See also "Supporters staying positive after No. 2 finish in Florida".

    Jonnnie and the knuckle-draggers: Johnnie has a problems with the extreme wingnuts in his party. "McCain's base problem": "the Florida exit polls confirm that John McCain has a big problem. As expected, he does well among independents and moderates, but also as expected, he does less well among Republicans and conservatives. Sure, they'll mostly come around in November, but mostly isn't enough. He needs 105% of the conservative base, not 95%." See also "Romney gets conservatives, McCain moderates, in Florida scramble" and "He didn't win conservatives".

    HRC: "Hillary Clinton wins [sic] Florida Primary for Democrats". See also "Clinton wins [sic] Florida primary" and "Clinton celebrates win [sic] in Davie".

    Spinning: The Democrat's headline: "Hillary wins 'beauty contest'". The Trib puts it this way "Clinton Hails Victory". Finally, the St Pete Times has this headline: "Clinton wins primary but no delegates".

    Words mean things: Headlines calling the Dem results a "beauty contest", or not involving "delegates, or, by contrast, a "victory" reflect media bias and/or susceptibility to spin. Josh Marshall puts it this way: "For the Democrats, the big question tonight was how the press would play Hillary Clinton's 'win' in Florida, or how successfully she could spin the result to count as a landslide victory on a par with Obama's big win in South Carolina"
    Just judging from the cable news we watched this evening and how the major newspapers are playing it on their websites, it doesn't look like they get much of a pop.

    Most of the website front pages of the newspapers I'm looking at either don't mention the Democratic result out of Florida or put it under the fold with some conspicuous notation that the 'win' had not delegates. Nor, at least in the headlines I'm seeing, does there seem to be any real mention of the margin of her win, which was substantial.

    For the record I'm looking at the Boston Globe, New York Times, WaPo, USAToday, Dallas Morning News, LATimes, Stl. Post-Dispatch and others. The standard seems to be some form of the Post-Dispatch's small related item "Clinton wins primary but no delegates."

    In the Post, there's a snarky piece by Dana Milbank: "Much Ado About No Delegates: The only piece missing from Sen. Hillary Clinton's Florida victory party Tuesday night was a victory." Ouch. CNN has a small related headline: "Clinton trumpets win with no delegates at stake."
    It will be interesting to see which of Florida's traditional media outlets went for HRC's spin.

    Turnout: "With 99 percent of the expected vote counted, turnout for the presidential race was about 3.6 million, higher than any other presidential primary since Florida began them in 1972. In the 2000 primaries that Al Gore and George W. Bush won in their parties, turnout was about 1.25 million." "Fla. voters set record for numbers in presidential primary". See also "Reports: One out of every three registered voters cast ballots", "Hot primaries and Amendment 1 bring out voters", "Voter turnout for Florida primary reported at 30 percent", "Strong Turnout Reported", "Fla. voters set record for numbers in presidential primary" and "Brisk voting, some snags in South Florida".

    The Orlando Sentinel editors: "Floridians can take pride in the state's robust turnout in Tuesday's primary, despite the ham-fisted efforts of national party bosses to discourage voters in the presidential race." "Our position: The parties were wrong to discourage big turnout in presidential primary".


    Floridians have chosen to amend the constitution for 244 bucks. "Floridians gave themselves a property tax break Tuesday." "Tax cut's decisive approval defies odds, dismays counties". "Property tax-cutting amendment wins, easily tops 60 percent". See also "Tax plan passes: The people have spoken", "Tax cut receives winning assist in S. Fla.", "Crist gets the credit, while critics predict that services will suffer", "Florida property tax changes approved", "Voters Approve Tax Plan" and "Florida voters approve property tax amendment". Mike Thomas: "Florida property-tax measure vote correlates to housing woes".

    The News-Journal editors: "If you want to cut your property taxes, said Gov. Charlie Crist before Tuesday's election, 'then vote 'yes' on Amendment 1. It's that simple.'"

    Dealing with the results will not be so simple. Florida voters have added another constitutional amendment on property taxes that is fundamentally unfair. Reform of Florida's taxation system is now far more difficult.
    "Portability may represent savings to homeowners, but it will cost schools an estimated $1.6 billion statewide over the next 5 years, according to a state Senate report."
    How will the state make it up? Gov. Charlie Crist is proposing that the state increase the amount of property taxes that the state requires the local school districts to levy. But it makes no sense to increase property taxes for school districts while restricting property-tax revenue for cities and counties.
    "Voters have decided".

    The Sun-Sentinel editors: "the amendment's victory is not a triumph for tax reform. It will likely add up to a modest tax cut. And portability might help spur the state's stagnant housing market. But it is not true tax reform. In fact, portability may well deepen property tax inequities. That's why this is no time to get overly satisfied, and public pressure on Tallahassee can't ease up now. There are other ideas that need a hearing." "Florida voters approve constitutional amendment on property tax changes".

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board toes the GOPer line: "The voters couldn't have spoken any louder or clearer Tuesday when they overwhelmingly supported the Amendment 1 property tax cut. Let's see if Florida's cities and counties finally get the message. Expect to hear them whine about 'dire' cuts, but remember how fat their budgets grew over the past few years when property values skyrocketed." "Amendment 1's approval deserves smart response from government".

    Slots win

    "Slot machine supporters hit the jackpot Tuesday as Miami-Dade County voters approved the installation of the devices at three pari-mutuel facilities, with tax dollars from gambling funneled into a state education fund." "Slot machine proponents hit jackpot in Miami-Dade County".

    Charlie's "Daily Double"

    Steve Bousquet: "The biggest winner Tuesday night may have been Gov. Charlie Crist, who made two risky bets that both paid off." "Double wins put Crist in control".

    "Endowed with high voter approval ratings and an ambitious agenda, Gov. Charlie Crist cashed in his political currency to back two campaigns and on Tuesday won the Daily Double." "Not-on-ballot Crist gets two victories". Crist won big yesterday: "The Arizona senator's victory accomplished a double win for Gov. Charlie Crist, who endorsed him last Saturday. A property-tax initiative pushed by Crist also won big, exceeding expectations in pre-primary polls."

    Charlie didn't do so well in places that have books and stuff: "Leon County voters turned down Amendment 1 by 2-to-1 margins." "Leon doesn't follow state voting trends".

    Buddy Dyer

    "Buddy Dyer re-elected as Orlando mayor, Ings wins commission seat, 2nd seat headed for runoff".

    Impact of the Dem early primary penalty

    "No delegates and no candidates. And yet more than a million Democrats turned out to vote in Florida. In Sarasota, more than half of registered Democrats came to the polls."

    The highest turnout in decades, despite a campaign boycott by all the Democratic candidates, was proof to political experts of both parties that the Republicans may not have a big advantage going into the general election after all -- even if they were here for a six-month head start.

    "Their candidates haven't done a day of campaigning, there's not a single delegate riding on this, and the Democrats are going to the polls and voting," said Mac Stipanovich, a longtime Republican Florida strategist who is working on Sen. John McCain''s campaign. "I think they'll be back in November."
    Nevertheless, the GOPers have gained a "tactical advantage: The Republican candidates have been campaigning here for months. Their phone banks are organized and making calls. They have campaign staff stationed in almost every county."
    "What the Democratic nominee has lost is the ability to get into Florida and establish the necessary relationships you have to have with the ground forces, the people who will lick the envelopes, who will make the phone calls, the grassroots people who need to be energized and mobilized," said Democratic strategist Karl Koch.

    "What you're going to see is a Democratic nominee who is immediately going to drop resources into here, staff, money, and probably overly concentrated trips from the candidate or surrogates at the start of things."
    "Robust turnout suggests GOP has no lock on state".

    As for the delegates ...

    The Miami Herald editors: "the issue becomes whether any candidate is willing to take on the establishment of the respective parties and fight to have the decision reversed at the conventions. We urge them to do so if they want to maintain any credibility with Florida's voters, particularly in the Democratic Party. Sen. Hillary Clinton said days before the vote that she would support seating the delegation. Our appreciation for that statement, however, is tempered by her knowledge that she was ahead in the state polls, making her move appear entirely self-serving." "Florida voters' efforts should count". See also "What could have been for Dems".

    Allen's seat

    "Voters in Brevard and Orange counties on Tuesday set the field for a Feb. 26 special general election to determine who replaces state Rep. Bob Allen in the Florida House." "Sasso, Campbell win nods in race for Bob Allen's legislative seat". See also "Campbell, Sasso leading in House Dist. 32 race".


    "The Legislature has a responsibility to address an issue it has kicked down the road for years: compensation for the wrongfully convicted. Lawmakers need to put aside their differences and bring Florida into the ranks of those states that have an automatic system for providing recompense to people wrongly incarcerated - sometimes for decades. It is not just a duty but a moral imperative." "Do right by those Florida wronged".

    That's it for now

    "Although Gov. Charlie Crist has promised that the successful property tax amendment Tuesday is just the first step, don't count on another property tax cut from the legislature this year."

    Because that constitutional amendment is projected to cut $9.2 billion in property taxes during the next five years, Senate Minority Leader Steven Geller said he doesn't expect the state Senate to cut property taxes any further in 2008.

    Geller, D-Hallandale Beach, pointed to the hits that local governments have been forced to take through a five-year, $15 billion property tax rollback mandate that the legislature passed last summer. And now the amendment will mean $7.7 billion less for counties, cities and special districts and $1.5 billion less for public school districts.

    "We're not going to do more," Geller said.

    That stance could stall the plans of state House Speaker Marco Rubio, who said Tuesday he planned to push for further property tax cuts regardless of whether the ballot measure passed.
    "Another tax cut unlikely this year as Democrats balk at Rubio's plans".


    The Palm Beach Post editors: "According to the Florida Association of Realtors, the median price of single-family homes in the state dropped every month, compared with 2006." "Real-estate recession needs realistic sellers".

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