Beth Reinhard: "For the first time since his 2006 election, his job approval numbers fell below 50 percent in an independent poll released this week."
And after a string of losses to U.S. Senate rival Marco Rubio in small, local GOP polls, Crist suffered his first setback in a large county with Wednesday's 90-17 vote by the Palm Beach County Republican Executive Committee.Reinhard continues: "Polls and press releases only mean so much,"
Crist said he hadn't seen the InsiderAdvantage survey that pegged his approval at 48 percent; instead he pointed to a Florida Chamber of Commerce survey this week that showed him at 62 percent. "I like that,'' he said on his way into the Broward Sheriff's Office to promote awareness of domestic violence.
Polls and press releases only mean so much, but combined with Rubio's improved fundraising, Crist's campaign is no longer seen as a sure thing. That's a huge swing from just a few months ago.
but combined with Rubio's improved fundraising, Crist's campaign is no longer seen as a sure thing. That's a huge swing from just a few months ago."Gov. Crist seems unfazed by slip in approval rating, Senate polls".
"Something's changed,'' said Republican state Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff of Fort Lauderdale. "Three months in the political world is a lifetime.''
Bogdanoff, Senate President Jeff Atwater and House Majority Leader Adam Hasner are the three lawmakers representing Palm Beach County who didn't lend their names to Crist's campaign. "I have my own race to worry about,'' said Bogdanoff, though her state Senate bid didn't stop her from serving as an honorary co-chair of Bill McCollum's campaign for governor.
Adam Smith writes that "when former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre jumped in,"
[he] wondered about his relationship with [Republican operative Roger] Stone, who has a reputation for being in the middle of bizarre political theatrics- from the "Brooks Brothers riots" that shut down the Miami-Dade recount in 2000 to the Al Sharpton presidential campaign in 2004."Roger Stone machinations in Florida's U.S. Senate race".
"Roger Stone is a friend of mine for many, many years, and he has been for many years an adviser...He talked to me about this race about a year ago and said you need to keep an eye on this race,'' said Ferre, who also stressed that Stone is not advising or directly involved in his campaign.
Benson jumps, ready to challenge Kottkamp
"One of Gov. Charlie Crist's top healthcare advisors abruptly resigned her state job Thursday, a strong signal that Republican Holly Benson plans to run for attorney general. If, as expected, Benson seeks the Cabinet post, she will be challenging Jeff Kottkamp, the man Crist picked as his lieutenant governor in 2006." "Healthcare advisor abruptly resigns".
Bill Cotterell writes that the 38 year old Benson "will have some catching up to do to challenge Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp for the Republican nomination. Kottkamp reported raising $175,000 in the past three months in his campaign to succeed Attorney General Bill McCollum, he has the advantage of statewide name recognition and is identified with Crist, who is running for the U.S. Senate. The governor has not endorsed Kottkamp and said Tuesday that competition makes candidates stronger. McCollum has also stayed neutral in the GOP race to succeed him." "AHCA chief Benson resigns".
Death penalty politics
"Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd wanted convicted killer Paul B. Johnson to be Florida's next death-row inmate executed."
So Judd took his desires to the people of Polk and to the only person in Florida who can sign a death warrant: Gov. Charlie Crist.Apparently, "this is the first time a local law-enforcement officer has taken such an active role in the lobbying process — a move some other sheriffs may consider."
The sheriff and his team lobbied Crist with written petitions, online petitions and a letter-writing campaign. He advertised their efforts on the Sheriff's Office Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Judd even cornered Crist at a funeral for a Tampa police officer in August. He reminded the governor that another cop killer had been sitting on death row since 1981, and justice was waiting.
The governor, Judd said, was true to his word.
It also has death-row attorneys worried that it could start a new precedent."Will Polk County sheriff's push for execution of death-row inmate spur trend?".
"There is no rhyme or reason," said veteran death-penalty lawyer and one of Johnson's attorneys, Martin McClain. ...
The governor's decision is also the latest example of how subjective the process of death-order selection can be. There are inmates other than Johnson who have been on death row longer. And there are others who have no more appeals left.
Johnson has an appeal pending in the Florida Supreme Court.
Some sheriffs, such as Seminole County's Don Eslinger, want to leave the process to the courts and governor.
Others applaud Judd's imitative.
"What happens next is what matters"
The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "To attempt a reversal of what has become an embarrassing breach of ethics affecting not only in certain areas of the state, but also the Legislature's reputation, Mr. Crist made the grand gesture of requesting a grand jury be empaneled by the Florida Supreme Court to examine almost any case or aspect of Florida law it wishes for the next year."
In his call for a statewide grand jury, Gov. Crist is undeniably making a strong political and symbolic statement; he is, after all, running for office. It is nonetheless one that speaks to the public's weariness of seeing public officials here at home and nationwide maneuver for their own gain and take advantage of their positions ethically, personally and, in some cases illegally."Our Opinion: Grand jury politics".
What happens next is what matters.
"Florida governments dragging feet on open-records law"
The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "Lobbyists and pressure groups are exploiting instant-messaging tools and ubiquitous laptops at most elected officials' desks to get around open meeting strictures that require all communications during meetings to be public." "Electronic sunshine".
Drill baby, drill!
Steve Bousquet: "The state Legislature will be the battleground next spring as supporters and foes of offshore oil drilling ramp up their respective campaigns." "Drilling backers, foes prepare for big fight".
"Who's Charlie Crist kidding?"
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board:
Who's Charlie Crist kidding? The Associated Press reports the governor now supports legislation that would fill U.S. Senate vacancies by special elections rather than appointment.More here: "Our take on: Crist, democracy & Sun still shining". Meantime, LeMieux's "Working to make an impression".
He's for it, we're told, because he favors democracy.
Hmm. Then what was Mr. Crist doing in August when ... [he]tapped his sidekick and former chief of staff George LeMieux. A man who'd never won public office. A person no one but Mr. Crist would think to appoint.
The "people's governor" favors democracy? His appointment of Mr. LeMieux says otherwise.
AIF, GOPers go after Argenziano
"Days after Tallahassee's top prosecutor said his investigation into the state's utilities regulator was turning up no 'skullduggery,' a powerful lawmaker and an important business lobby are calling for additional inquiries into the Public Service Commission."
Associated Industries of Florida, which has sided with Florida Power & Light in its request to raise rates $1.3 billion, called for the PSC's inspector general to investigate Commissioner Nancy Argenziano's BlackBerry messages to her former aide, saying they raised questions about her impartiality."Industry group leader, lawmaker seek inquiry into Argenziano". More: "Fla. industry group wants PSC member reviewed".
And Rep. Carlos Lopez Cantera, a Miami Republican who sits on the PSC nominating council, echoed Associated Industries president and chief executive officer Barney Bishop's call for an investigation of Argenziano, but said it should also include Commissioner Lisa Edgar, who exchanged BlackBerry messages with an FPL lobbyist, Jorge Chamizo.
Decisions, decisions ...
"Dockery Will Have News in 3 Weeks".
"State Sen. Ted Deutch to seek Congressman Robert Wexler's seat". See also "State Sen. Ted Deutch says he will seek Wexler's seat in Congress".
"Galloping north of Lake Okeechobee"
"Pythons invading Florida's natural areas now have competition galloping north of Lake Okeechobee." "20 mustangs found roaming land north of Lake Okeechobee".
"Despite pressure from both Gov. Charlie Crist and the Florida Legislature, state regulators on Thursday recommended that electric utilities not be required to give customers new incentives for saving energy and reducing electrical consumption." "PSC staff recommends utilities be allowed to drop conservation incentives".
Joel Engelhardt: "News item: The state agency that oversees the environment 'believes' that 'a transportation, warehousing and distribution complex that serves heavy diesel truck traffic and rail operations ... is incompatible' with Everglades restoration. Makes sense, right? Why would restoring Florida's Everglades go hand-in-glove with creating a center of industry?" "Same political environment".
More Glades: "Long-stalled project to help Florida Bay, Everglades finally getting started".
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Wexler: New role, big chance". Related: "Wexler bows out with $977,616 in campaign account".
Limbaugh blames the union for getting the boot
"Limbaugh said the real reason he's out is the NFLPA's attempt to influence negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement. 'It's designed to intimidate the owners, frighten the owners, and say 'We're running this league now, gang, not you,'' Limbaugh said." "Limbaugh blasts critics after losing bid for Rams". See also Eugene Robinson's, "No, Limbaugh, it was just about you".
Privatizing the First Amendment
"Confirming that Thursday's St. Petersburg City Council meeting about privatizing the BayWalk sidewalk would be controversial, two people were arrested after a fight broke out. ... Thursday's vote giving control over the sidewalk to BayWalk gives the complex's managers the power to ban protests there." "BayWalk decision leads to brawl at City Hall".