"In an unprecedented display of television advertising and field organization for a Democratic presidential candidate, Barack Obama has moved Florida to the forefront of his battleground states. Signs are everywhere that Obama is making a serious play for a state that most experts believed would back Republican presidential candidate John McCain in the end." "Among Obama's battlegrounds, Florida at the fore".
"Atlantic magazine says Barack Obama's campaign has dispatched its two top field commanders to Florida to help swing the state into the blue: 'Steve Hildebrand, the deputy campaign manager, will oversee operations from Miami, and Paul Tewes, the chief general election strategist, will help supervise the get-out-the-vote program from the campaign's state headquarters in Tampa.' "Obama brings his fight to Florida". See "Obama's Top Field Generals Dispatched To Florida".
Schlep, Baby, Schlep!
"Obama, long the favorite of the youngest votes, now leads 72-year-old Republican John McCain by 7 percentage points among the 60-plus age group. The oldest voters were about equally divided in last month's poll." "Poll: Florida's senior citizens swinging toward Obama".
Polls: Obama's Florida lead grows
Strategic Vision poll: "A presidential poll released today shows Democratic nominee Barack Obama beating Republican nominee John McCain in Florida 52 percent to 44 percent."
The poll, by the Republican firm Strategic Vision, gives Obama one of the largest leads he has enjoyed to date, 8 points."Poll shows wider Obama lead over McCain in Florida" ("Pollsters surveyed 1,200 likely Florida voters from Oct. 6-8. The margin of error is 3 percent.")
Research 2000 poll: "Obama is running ahead of Republican John McCain 49 percent to 44 percent, according to a statewide poll this week of 600 likely voters conducted for the Sun Sentinel and The Florida Times-Union. The poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points, was conducted by Research 2000, an independent polling firm."
The Research 2000 poll shows movement everywhere, even in the electoral sewer we call Jacksonville: "McCain maintains a 16-point lead over Obama here, but that's lower than the 20-point lead he held several weeks ago." "Duval looms as McCain's crucial firewall in Florida".
More voter registration fraud allegations
"A nonprofit group has provided 35 possibly fraudulent voter registration applications to Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark, who notified prosecutors Thursday."
The first batch of 21 applications was delivered to the election supervisor's St. Petersburg office Sept. 26. A group called Work for Progress collected them, said Clark spokeswoman Nancy Whitlock."Bogus Pinellas voter signups suspected".
The Denver group was founded earlier this year to recruit people to work for progressive causes, according to its Web site.
Whitlock said she contacted Work for Progress and was told they were aware of the problem and had fired the person responsible. But on Oct. 3, Whitlock said another batch of suspect applications was received.
ACORN again: "A group of community organizers that has registered low-income voters in Central Florida and across the nation is being accused of voter fraud after problems have surfaced with some of its registration forms."
"One of the complaints came from an Orlando woman,"
who said her voter ID came in with incorrect information about her. The complaint did not make clear whether she had any contact with ACORN. The woman, Felicia Gibson, said in her complaint that she received her information with an incorrect date of birth, and a fraudulent signature with her name spelled wrong. Gibson could not be reached for comment Thursday. Another came from the Broward County supervisor of elections."ACORN accused of voter fraud". See also "" and "".
Brian Kettenring, head organizer of Florida ACORN, acknowledged problems that had resulted in the dismissal of some employees. But Kettenring said ACORN -- required by law in most states to turn in every card collected -- flagged those with problems to alert elections officials.
"A lot of the news reports you're seeing are really about problems that we caught, we flagged and we turned in," he said.
This is Florida, after all ...
"Floridians look poised to pass a constitutional ban on gay marriage next month but seem less enthralled with other amendments that range from offering tax breaks for public marinas to raising taxes for community colleges." "Florida voters leaning toward ban on gay marriage, poll shows".
Ros-Lehtinen and the Diaz-Balarts are runnin' for cover:
Campaign representatives for the three Miami-area Republicans said Wednesday they did not know about Bush's visit until they were contacted by The Miami Herald, and that they would not attend due to prior commitments.I believe the word is "pusillanimity".
''We have a full campaign schedule,'' said Carlos Curbelo, a spokesman for Reps. Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart. Among the prior engagements: taping debates for Univisión and WFOR-CBS 4. A spokesman for Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who has not agreed to further debates, said she planned to be in the Keys on Friday, ``visiting with constituents.''
"Don't forget the extra stamp"
This could be a huge issue - "Absentee voters: "
Don't forget the extra stamp."Beware: Absentee ballots might need extra postage".
Absentee ballots for the Nov. 4 presidential election are so long and weigh so much that mailing them back to elections supervisors requires extra postage in many counties -- and costs as much as $1.17 in Osceola.
Orlando resident Shirley Jordan said she mailed her absentee ballot for the primary election last month without reading the instructions, thinking that voting by mail was foolproof. Then, she said, her son got an absentee ballot. On studying the instructions for his ballot, she said she learned the postage required was 59 cents instead of a regular 42-cent stamp.
"My concern is that my first absentee ballot I mailed in didn't count" because I didn't put enough postage on it, she said. ...
The U.S. Postal Service generally returns mail with insufficient postage to the sender. But in some cases [but not all], elections offices have arranged to cover the additional expense.
A record 95,000 Orange County residents, or about 16 percent of registered voters, have requested absentee ballots. Orange Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles said the enclosed instructions make clear that 59 cents of postage is required. He said the cost is not on the envelope because he buys those in bulk and mailing costs vary, depending on the election.
Welcome to Florida
"The U.S. Secret Service is looking into reports that a crowd member yelled, 'Kill him!' while Gov. Sarah Palin was talking about Sen. Barack Obama during her Clearwater rally Monday." "'Kill Him' Reports Being Probed".
"What percentage of today's home sales in the Tampa Bay area are distressed sales? By distressed, we mean properties owned by the bank or being sold for less than mortgage value by delinquent homeowners. You might be surprised by September's numbers: About a third of Hillsborough County's home sales are either bank sales or short sales. In Pinellas it's 22 percent, in Pasco 29 percent." "Home sales data show distressing trend".
"Man to be taken off death row".
"The most hostile state to new voters in the nation"
"Common Cause, ACORN and other civil rights groups have dubbed Florida, "the most hostile state to new voters in the nation," and they cite a "no match, no vote" law as Exhibit A."
Passed by a Republican-dominated Legislature in 2005, the law requires people who register to vote to supply a driver's license number or the last four digits of a Social Security number. State officials try to match the information with a federal or state database."Critics question Florida voting laws". The Orlando Sentinel editorial board:
If the information doesn't match, would-be voters are notified by mail and given a chance before Election Day to fix it. If it's still not fixed, voters are given a provisional ballot at their precincts and told to return two days later with the proper verification.
Lawmakers say it was necessary to prevent fraud. Critics say it was designed to protect the Republican majority. They point out that Asian names can be confusing, that Hispanics often use different surnames, that blacks use non-traditional spellings, and that the system invites data entry errors by harried clerks.
How they handle Florida's new "no match, no vote" law could provide them [SOEs] their greatest challenge, however. To cut down on fraud, the law requires new voters to supply their driver's license or Social Security numbers. If they don't, or the numbers don't match official records, they can't vote."Voter registration is way up, but a new law could cause problems".
Those undergoing the rigors of "no match, no vote" have till two days after the election to convince officials of their eligibility. But it's possible some might not manage it if, because of other obligations, they can't make a follow-up visit to the elections office.
We hope it won't come to that. If it does, Florida again may have to answer to angry voters and, potentially, an outraged nation.
From the "values" crowd
"Florida citizens who suffer from developmental disabilities are enduring heartbreaking cuts in services that will force many into group homes and institutional care settings. It is a heartless situation that state lawmakers cannot allow to stand."
Because the Legislature has failed to own up to the real cost of providing care for the developmentally disabled, thousands of Florida families are losing services that have allowed them to keep their relatives at home."Who Will Help Disabled As Cuts Destroy Lives?".
As a result, the lives of many disabled people will be uprooted. And Florida taxpayers will have to pay more money, not less, for their care.
It is as if Tallahassee has abandoned all logic.
"... and fetch it", and the media will be all over you:
Don't tell Jamila Clark she is the wrong age and race to support Republican John McCain's run for president."McCain volunteers in Lake working hard for Arizona senator".
The 18-year-old black woman fiercely defends her conservative views in impromptu debates not only with left-leaning peers at Lake-Sumter Community College, where she is trying to organize a campus Republican club, but also with family. ...
I know my history," Clark said during breakfast with her grandmother Catherine Walker-Spencer, whose car sports a "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a Republican" window sticker.
"'Number of uninsured people is going up steadily'"
"Twenty-four percent of Floridians younger than 65 are without insurance, compared to the 17.2 percent nationwide. The survey also shows that blacks and Hispanics are without insurance even more: 26.7 percent of Florida blacks younger than 65 don't have it, and neither do 38.6 percent of Florida Hispanics." "Percentage of uninsured under 65 high in Fla.".
"If Central Florida were a state, "
the seven-county region's 22.9 percent uninsured rate would have been fourth-worst on the U.S. list, behind only Texas (26.3 percent), New Mexico (24.2 percent) and Florida itself."Growing ranks of uninsured not good for state's health".
"It's clear that the number of uninsured people is going up steadily," said Paul Duncan, chairman of the University of Florida's Health Services Research, Management and Policy Department.
Florida Republicans: Bushco dead enders
"Bush -- whose popularity is low but who remains a formidable fundraiser -- will attend a fundraiser at a home in Coral Gables to benefit the Congressional Trust 2008, a joint account that benefits congressional candidates nationwide through the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Republican National Committee." "Bush swooping in to attend GOP fundraiser in Miami".
Don't worry ...
... be happy: "Crist: Florida banks sound; economy will 'turn around'".
See "Updated: New ads rolling out today in Florida against proposed marriage amendment" and "Amendment 2 opponents debut TV ads".
This just in from the Zell Corporation
Kittinger sure does like McCain's choice of running mate. He met Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin when she arrived at Orlando International Airport a couple weeks back. In fact, after all these years, Kittinger isn't sure he'd still rush out to OIA every time McCain called. "But," he said with a laugh, "I went to see her.""Orlando aviation hero Joe Kittinger shares his POW bond to John McCain".
"Wachovia overtakes Bank of America as Florida's largest bank".
Will at least one of these "Once-swaggering investors" ...
... please jump out a window? "Once-swaggering investors now shuddering as $8.3 trillion in wealth evaporates in a year".
The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "The achievement gap between black and white students has been well documented, but the resegregation of Pinellas schools puts the problem in stark relief. It demands prompt attention from educators, families and business leaders." "Black & white".
"Business leaders"? Heaven help us.
Better luck next time
"Campaign volunteer Jim Piccillo of Land O'Lakes was tapped to make the big introduction of Sen. Joe Biden."
But as Piccillo welcomed "the next vice president of the United States," the name that slipped out was "John McCain." What happened? "A brain fart," said Piccillo, 34, a former mortgage company executive."Volunteer makes an introduction to humility".
Beware "deed enforcers"
"Lewis Laricchia has more than one fight on his hands. He's running for state representative in District 56, but for several months has also battled his homeowners association over the right to display campaign signs on his car." "Candidate clashes with deed enforcers ... again".
On a separate note: "Johnson campaign signs violate Tampa sign ordinance".
"Fasano has raised more than $560,000 in his race against Taylor, who has received $75,000, mostly in-kind help from the Florida Democratic Party. Before his primary election victory, Taylor was hit by attack mailings by a medical lobby that backs Fasano." "Mailing from shadowy political group blasts Fasano's record".
The St. Petersburg Times editorial board: "With high gas prices and energy a defining issue for the nation and for Florida, you would think state utility regulators would move at all speed to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. But the latest proposal for renewable energy, while better than goals put forward earlier this year, is a swing and a miss. The Public Service Commission needs to get serious." "Florida, get serious about renewables".
- "'I guess when you vote with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, your best hope is to attack your opponent 100 percent of the time,' Biden told thousands of rowdy Barack Obama supporters at the University of South Florida Sun Dome." "Biden stirs rowdy crowd in Tampa". See also "Biden knocks 'angry' McCain at USF".
- "In a glossy new campaign mailer, the Democratic congressional candidate accuses his opponent -- U.S. Rep. Ric Keller, R-Orlando -- of infidelity and betraying a platform of 'all-American family values.'" "Keller-Grayson congressional race gets personal".
- "State Sen. Gary Siplin faces campaign-finance complaint".
- "Chris Chiari says he has learned from the mistakes he made in his first attempt to unseat state Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff [R - Rubio]. And the 34-year-old president of a financial and business consulting firm, who lost the 2006 race for the District 91 position by more than 4,000 votes, is back for a rematch." "Race pits Bogdanoff against '06 challenger".
- "Attorney Alan Grayson states his case against Iraq war, fraud".
"Tampa Bay area Democratic leaders expect record support for Sen. Barack Obama in November, and they want to seize on that enthusiasm as a way to get more local Democrats in office." "Obama inspires Tampa Bay 'Vote Local' campaign".