"A new poll from Quinnipiac University out today would seem to justify the recent jitters we've seen coming out of Gov. Charlie Crist's camp: upstart U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio has cut the governor's lead in half over the last two months."
Crist's lead in late August was 55-26 percent in the poll, but has fallen to 50-35 since then. Half the Republicans surveyed still don't know enough about the former state House speaker, which pollster Peter Brown said should worry Crist."New poll: Rubio cuts Crist's lead in half in Senate race". See also "Poll shows Rubio within 15 points of Crist in Senate race" and "Poll: Rubio narrows Crist’s lead in GOP Senate primary race; McCollum edges Sink for governor".
From the Q-Poll release:
Gov. Charlie Crist's lead over former state house speaker Marco Rubio in the 2010 Republican U.S. Senate primary has been cut in half from 55 - 26 percent to 50 - 35 percent, but the Governor tops the leading Democrat, U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, 51 - 31 percent among all voters, while Rubio trails Meek 36 - 33 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.
"Getting the cold shoulder"
"Senate President Jeff Atwater's call for a special legislative session on transportation is getting the cold shoulder from his counterpart, House Speaker Larry Cretul." "Session on transportation issues in limbo". But see the The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "SunRail is back on track".
From the The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Make a smart bet on a fast train".
McCollum edging Sink in Q Poll
In today's Q-Poll,
Republican State Attorney General Bill McCollum edges Democrat State CFO Alex Sink 36 - 32 percent in the 2010 race for Governor ... . McCollum has a commanding 43 - 7 percent lead over State Sen. Paula Dockery in a primary for the GOP nomination, not surprising since 91 percent of Floridians don't know enough about her to have an opinion. ..."From October 12 - 18, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,078 Florida voters with a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points. The survey includes 396 Republicans with a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percentage points."
McCollum benefits from not only better name recognition than Sink, but a higher job approval than she enjoys. Voters approve 53 - 19 percent of McCollum's performance as attorney general; by 38 - 23 percent they give Ms. Sink a thumbs up as CFO.
"McCollum retains a lead, but almost a quarter of the electorate is undecided, giving Ms. Sink plenty of opportunity with 13 months until Election Day," said Brown. "As far as the Republican gubernatorial nomination goes, Ms. Dockery has a long, long way to go to become competitive.
"Crist is concerned"
"Crist's chief of staff, Eric Eikenberg, will resign in two weeks to take command of the governor's increasingly competitive race for the U.S. Senate. Eikenberg's last day as chief of staff will be Nov. 2."
Two weeks ago, Eikenberg denied persistent rumors that he was about to quit. The suddenness of the change is sure to fuel speculation that Crist is concerned about his fight for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate with former House Speaker Marc Rubio of Miami, who raised more than $1 million in the past quarter and appears to be slowly gaining ground in polls."Crist's chief of staff stepping down to work on Senate campaign". See also "Crist changes chiefs of staff" and "Crist chief-of-staff steps down for top campaign job".
The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "Former House Speaker Ray Sansom caught a break early this month when a Tallahassee judge dismissed most of the criminal charges filed against him by a grand jury earlier this year. But he's not out of hot water -- he still faces an official House inquiry, headed by one of the state's former top prosecutors. While that investigation is ongoing, legislative leaders should ask themselves how this scandal occurred -- and what they can do to prevent future ignominy." "Sansom case a transparency lesson".
NoBama for Crist this time
"President Barack Obama will make his second trip to Florida as president next week, but don't expect Gov. Charlie Crist to join him this time. Obama's last trip -- to Fort Myers on Feb. 10 -- came as he was pitching his economic stimulus plan. At the time, the Republican governor's embrace of the $787 billion spending plan earned him the wrath of fiscal conservatives." "Obama's next Florida visit won't be featuring Gov. Charlie Crist".
"The commission, down to four members, has been in turmoil over allegations that some PSC commissioners and staff socialized and exchanged e-mails and phone calls, with near-daily contact with the utilities it regulates, particularly FPL, the state's largest electric company." "FPL to again make case for increase in base rates".
"The Seminole Tribe's head of gambling on Tuesday delivered a blunt, public message to the Florida Legislature: You can allow unlimited gambling statewide, or you can have our $150 million a year. But you won't get both." "Seminole Tribe decries failure to reach gaming deal".
Another fine Jebacy
"Florida ranks third in rate of child deaths due to abuse, neglect".
"Things are just way too cozy ..."
The Miami Herald editorial board: "Things are just way too cozy when the spouse of an elected official goes to work for a company whose interests depend on the politician's vote. The appearance of a conflict is enough to make sensible people have serious doubts about their public officials." "Broward needs lesson on ethics rules".
Save Our Homes
"Retired Florida State University President Talbot 'Sandy' D'Alemberte regaled an appellate court with a "magic potion" tale and invited the judges to a "house of mirrors" as he challenged homeowner tax breaks in two cases Tuesday."
D'Alemberte, now a law professor at the school, represented recently arrived Florida residents in one argument to the 1st District Court of Appeal and out-of-state owners of second homes in another."Florida appeal court hears Save Our Homes case".
"Crist ordered a statewide review Tuesday of screening loopholes that allow felons to work as caregivers of Florida's children, elderly and disabled, and said changes could come as early as December." "Gov. Crist orders statewide review of system that allows felons to work in child and elder care".
Obama in the house
"President Barack Obama is planning a trip to Florida next week that mixes politics and policy, including a stop in Tampa".
The White House is still planning the three-city visit — and only a fundraiser in Miami on Monday evening is confirmed — but Hillsborough County is a major political and news media base that would be attractive to a president trying to advance a wide-ranging domestic agenda."Obama may stop in Tampa".
"The public's interest be damned"
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Crist's call last week for a statewide grand jury investigation into public corruption at state and local levels runs the risk of being a political stunt by a U.S. Senate candidate. A grand jury, with the help of the statewide prosecutor, could be useful in shining a spotlight on one of the growing malignancies in Florida's politics: shadowy third-party political groups."
Ideally, the governor should also push the Republican-led Legislature to consider several anticorruption proposals offered by its members, including more transparency in the state budgeting process, stricter campaign finance requirements for 527s, and tougher ethics laws and enforcement of elected officials."More to do in the fight on corruption".
And Crist also could have embraced the most radical reform of all: The much-needed citizen petition being circulated by Fair Districts Florida that would require the Legislature to consider fairness and community boundaries, not just partisan advantage, when drawing political districts every 10 years. The current process allows legislative leaders to draw safe districts for themselves and their allies, the public's interest be damned.
"Police Benevolent Association backs Crist for U.S. Senate".
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "License to commit fraud".
"Meeting for less than half an hour, the Public Service Nominating Council on Tuesday sent Gov. Charlie Crist the names of four previous nominees to fill an unexpired term on the state utility board. The list includes the two people Crist chose Oct. 1 to fill two open seats on the Public Service Commission: David Klement, former editorial page editor at the Bradenton Herald, and Benjamin 'Steve' Stevens." "Four on list for PSC replacement".