"Crist is expected to announce Tuesday that he is running for the U.S. Senate, setting off a high-stakes game of musical chairs that will completely overhaul the top echelon of state government in 2010."
Asked how the governor will serve out the 19 months left of his term if he is running for the Senate, LeMieux added: ``No matter what decision the governor makes, he will be, as he has been, focused on his job.''"Crist expected to announce Senate run Tuesday".
Crist will immediately become the man to beat in the race to replace the retiring Republican Sen. Mel Martinez. Crist will face former House Speaker Marco Rubio of Miami in the Republican primary, but is likely to try to avoid a divisive battle. Rubio has positioned himself as the more conservative candidate. ...
Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, a Democrat, and Attorney General Bill McCollum, a Republican, are likely to announce bids for governor, triggering campaigns for their own newly opened seats.
"Crist plans to make his long-awaited political announcement on Tuesday, probably setting off a Republican chain reaction by jumping into the race for retiring U.S Sen. Mel Martinez's job." "Crist to enter race for Senate". See also "Gov. Charlie Crist to announce 2010 political plans, hints at U.S. Senate", "GOP official: Crist to share plans for 2010" and "Fla. Gov. Crist to announce 2010 political plans" ("the head of the state Republican Party said Sunday that he believed Crist would run for U.S. Senate instead of seeking another gubernatorial term").
"Democrats are ready to pounce"
The Hill: When Crist jumps,
[h]is current office and many others in the state, meanwhile, will be very much up for grabs, thanks the domino effect of an open governor’s race. That race would draw other statewide officials and lawmakers, who would therefore vacate their seats."Crist Senate bid could threaten GOP control in Fla.".
The equation would leave all four cabinet seats in Florida open, in addition to the Senate seat. Republicans hold all but one of those statewide offices and large majorities in the state legislature, but a Crist Senate candidacy could cause a severe overhaul, and Democrats are ready to pounce. ...
Two Democrats -- state Sen. David Aronberg and former state Sen. Rod Smith -– are both eyeing attorney general, and they have expressed optimism about avoiding a primary. Aronberg said last week that he will run, provided Crist runs for Senate and McCollum runs for governor. ...
Congressional Democrats may also run for statewide offices and leave behind vacancies, but rumored candidates like Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) and Kathy Castor (D) appear set to remain in the House.
"With 2010 shaping up as one of the most wide-open election seasons in Florida history, the only question surrounding young, ambitious and term-limited state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner has been which higher office he'd seek." "Hasner plans no run in 2010, cites wife's job".
"Florida hedges in gamble on gaming"
The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial Board: "The best you can say about the gambling pact approved Friday by the Florida Legislature is that it could have been much worse." "Feeling lucky?".
"Into that void ..."
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "More homes are selling. In Palm Beach County, as The Post reported last week, sales contracts doubled from March to April. Prices may be stabilizing. Everybody hopes that the worst is over. But even if Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast have hit the real-estate bottom, the glut of abandoned and foreclosed homes remains a drag on recovery."
Into that void, it would be nice to report, stepped the Legislature. But no. Bills that would have forced banks to make good on payments to homeowners' associations went nowhere. "The bankers blocked all the attempts," said lawyer/homeowner association advocate Gary Poliakoff, "to make them take any more responsibility for foreclosed properties.""Make lenders accountable".
Public employees at work
"The Volusia County Fire Department and the state Division of Forestry are being assisted by the Seminole County, Brevard County and Deltona fire departments". "Volusia County brush fire grows to 1,000 acres".
"Was he right?"
Randy Schultz: "As the Florida House debated property insurance legislation last week, Rep. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, repeatedly claimed that Florida is "one storm away from bankruptcy." Whoa. That sounds bad. Was he right?" "A reckless storm forecast".
Courtesy of the public employees ...
... who wear bunker gear in 100 degree heat. "Alligator Alley reopens after fog lifts".
"Tough-on-crime mentality is being reassessed"
"Florida short of cash to house prisoners".
"Bills that Gov. Charlie Crist should veto".
"Authorities say they've arrested three people who were running a human trafficking operation in Pinellas County." "3 arrested in human trafficking operation".
All hat ... ?
"Miami Gardens' Sen. Frederica Wilson's hats -- cherry red, rhinestone-studded or canary yellow -- make her a bright rainbow in a sea of sober business suits." "Sen. Frederica Wilson has her hats in ring".
"Wake up, Florida"
Lawton "Bud" Chiles: "It's time to wake up, Florida. We have been lulled into a complacent, decade-long sleep by the reassuring rhetoric of egocentric politicians. They have played a charming game of sleight of hand with us. They have assured us we could build a great education and health system on the cheap. That we could take care of children and families by giving out tax breaks and providing corporate tax exemptions. That we could afford to lock up all the criminals and throw away the key. This politically popular but double-dumb strategy is the reason why Florida spends three times as much on prisoners as on our students."
In case you think disaster is too strong a word, consider these facts: Florida has more than 800,000 children who have no health insurance. Florida has 3.5 million family members that have no health insurance. Our overall health system is ranked 48th among the states. Florida has one of the worst high-school graduation rates in the country, as well as one of the worst teen felony and incarceration rates."'Worst to First' hopes to educate, inform, inspire" (Worst to First website).
We invest far more in prisons than in high schools and colleges. Our pay for teachers, our pupil-teacher ratios, our funding for early education, after-school, K-12 and higher education is an embarrassment compared with any state. Our rate of infant deaths, number of homeless children, and number of children living in poverty are all shocking compared with the national averages.
Background: "With More than One out of Six Children Uninsured in the State, Florida has the Second Highest Rate of Uninsured Children in the Nation." "Number of Uninsured Children in Florida Continues to Climb". See also "Education Week's Quality Counts 2008 Report" ("Less than 4% of Florida’s students are in school districts funded at or above the national average – Florida ranks 46th in the nation") and "Florida: Highest High School Drop Out Rate".
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board: "This year's legislative session had all the elements of a family feud in front of the neighbors. The governor's mansion and the Legislature are run by one party, but that didn't mean Republicans in Tallahassee were any less divided than if Florida were run by a coalition government of 30 political parties. That said, here's our take on the session:" "Legislative session had good, bad — and the whew!".
"The states of Florida and Alabama are meeting Georgia in federal court in Jacksonville over the allocation of water from Lake Lanier, which is the city of Atlanta's water supply." "Alabama, Florida and Georgia face off over water".
"Sen. Mike Fasano said making employees take one or the other — retirement benefits or paycheck, but not both — was one of the most difficult bills he has worked in 15 legislative sessions." "'Double-dipping' bill owes passage to compromises".
Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act
The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "Many folks outside of Southwest Florida might wonder about the necessity of a exotic animal bill working its way through Congress. But anyone who's seen Nile monitor lizards, iguanas and Burmese pythons wreak havoc in these parts, understands the impetus behind the Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act." "Editorial: Ex-pets on the run".