"Bottom is falling out" of Crist campaign
"Crist's political troubles are reflected in new poll numbers that show even most fellow Republicans don't like the job he's doing in Florida."
The bottom is falling out from under Florida's once hugely popular governor. Really, precisely what has Charlie done ... except not being "Jeb!" And that ain't enuf'.
The "new Miami Herald/St. Petersburg Times/Bay News 9 poll finds only 42 percent of likely Florida voters think Charlie Crist is doing a good or excellent job as governor, by far the worst approval rating of Crist's 34 months in office."
That 51 percent of the Republicans in the poll rated Crist's performance as fair or poor is particularly ominous for someone facing an aggressive U.S. Senate primary challenge from former state House Speaker Marco Rubio of Miami."Crist's political troubles appear to be more about his own vulnerability than Rubio's strength."
In the Senate race, the poll found 50 percent of Republicans backing Crist, 28 percent Rubio, and 22 percent undecided. Even little known and 22 points behind, however, Rubio poses a real threat to the self-described "people's governor'' no longer appreciated so much by people who overwhelmingly see Florida headed in the wrong direction."Gov. Crist sees approval rating dip".
The New York Times: Grayson's so-called
incivility is no accident; nor is the bluster. Such antics are often quickly rewarded in the media-crazed wrestling pit of American politics. One talked-about TV appearance leads to three more; every quotable outburst is a potential pitch, spread instantly by YouTube and blogs to an eager audience that can cheer by way of campaign donations made with the click of a mouse."Alan Grayson, the Liberals’ Problem Child".
Some Democrats also say that Mr. Grayson fills a void, defying their party’s inferiority complex, the constant sense that liberals just are not tough enough. They say that as an attention-grabbing motivator of the party’s base, he could prove hugely useful in getting out the message for next year’s midterm elections.
“There is always a feeling among liberals, a psychology that we are too apologetic; we see six sides to the Pentagon,” said James Carville, the Democratic operative and commentator, who met Mr. Grayson in a CNN studio shortly after the “die quickly” speech in Congress.
"In what looks like a victory for the same conservative forces backing Marco Rubio in Florida, the Republican Party nominee dropped out of a special election to fill a vacant House seat in New York on Saturday."
Nationwide, conservative Republicans have been watching two races, Florida's Senate primary and the New York House race, as top battlegrounds in the party's moderate v. conservative internal struggle."N.Y. race could foreshadow Fla. primary".
In the New York race, moderate Dede Scozzafava, the GOP nominee, was endorsed by the national party – just as Gov. Charlie Crist has been in the Florida Senate primary.
Conservative insurgent Doug Hoffman challenged Scozzafava with backing from many of the same prominent national conservative figures and organizations backing Rubio.
Scozzafava's withdrawal means Hoffman, running as the Conservative Party candidate, will face the Democratic nominee, Bill Owens, head-to-head in the special election Tuesday. If Hoffman wins, it's likely to energize and embolden the conservative forces backing Rubio even further.
Kingsley Guy: "Rubio has been running to the right of Gov. Charlie Crist in his effort to capture the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. In doing so, he has gained the support of many Republicans who call themselves 'conservatives.' Whether this will be enough to wrest the nomination from Crist, who not long ago was considered a shoo-in, remains to be seen. Yet, if history provides any insight, kowtowing to the far right in Florida poses political dangers." "Rubio's dilemma: Moving too far right can be dangerous".
Meantime, Jeremy Wallace reports that "Rubio says he knows campaign will be tough".
Scott Maxwell: "The two Florida politicians — the Republican attorney general, McCollum, and Democratic CFO, Sink — escalated ""to new heights last week as each one tried to blame the other for allowing debt collectors to harass Floridians." "Bill McCollum and Alex Sink should fight for us, not each other".
Care to say that under oath?
"While U.S. Sen. George LeMieux isn't talking about his recent stint in the private sector, his former boss talked a little bit about it last week."
Crist acknowledged that he and his "dear friend" and former top aide LeMieux discussed oil drilling in the last year. But Crist also said that he never talked specifically about any pending legislation."Crist says he and LeMieux discussed drilling".
That's an important distinction, because LeMieux's financial disclosure shows that his law firm was paid at least $5,000 for work LeMieux did on behalf of the group that is pushing to end Florida's nearly 20-year ban on offshore drilling.
LeMieux, who stepped down as Crist's chief of staff at the end of 2007, was barred from lobbying anyone in the governor's office for two years. LeMieux, in fact, never registered to lobby anyone in state government. Instead, the disclosure form he filed in October shows that he did "legal services and counseling" for more than 30 companies during his time between leaving Crist and replacing U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez.
One of the companies that paid LeMieux's law firm was Florida Energy Associates, which is pushing controversial legislation that would allow the governor and Cabinet to open up Florida waters to oil and natural gas leases.
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "State lawmakers are wasting valuable time - and leaving money on the table - by balking at the new deal Gov. Charlie Crist reached with the Seminole Tribe of Florida to legalize increased gambling at seven casinos, including Tampa's Hard Rock." "Gambling stalemate gets dicey for state".
Gub race "a statistical tie"
Adam Smith: "The race to succeed Crist as governor was a statistical tie, with Democratic Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink winning support from 38 percent of those surveyed and Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum winning 37 percent. One in four voters were undecided between McCollum and Sink, including half of independent voters surveyed. ... The telephone survey of 600 registered voters was conducted Oct. 25-28, for the St. Petersburg Times, Miami Herald and Bay News 9. The poll was done by Schroth, Eldon and Associates, whose clients primarily are Democrats, and the Polling Co., which mainly works with Republicans."
"Who is Haridopolos?"
"Some find it ironic"
that Haridopolos describes his desires for smaller, cheaper government while earning his living from government. Or, some have credited his hiring to a desire by public-university and college leaders to curry favor with the Legislature."Brevard's senator on the fast track".
From 1993 to 2003, Haridopolos taught history at Brevard Community College. After winning his Senate seat, he told BCC administrators that his legislative duties would conflict with teaching.
The college agreed to pay Haridopolos $150,000 over four years to research and write a book instead. Haridopolos delivered the 175-page manuscript -- an easy-to-read primer on Florida political history, how to run for office and how the Legislature works -- to the BCC president's office and fulfilled the terms of his contract.
In 2008, he accepted a job as a $75,000-a-year lecturer at the University of Florida.
The state Democratic Party and Progress Florida issued public statements, echoed by political blogs, suggesting that the university hired Haridopolos to curry favor with the Legislature. A FLORIDA TODAY editorial last year called the job "a sweetheart deal."
Florida Hometown Democracy
Sally Swartz: "A vote on the Florida Hometown Democracy Amendment is a year away, but the battle lines are being drawn. More than 1 million Floridians signed petitions to put Amendment 4 on the November 2010 ballot. It would give voters veto power over changes to their community's growth plan." "Florida's battleground issue".
"Political silliness is already here"
Pamela Hasterok: "The political silliness is already here for next year's elections."
When asked why he wasn't joining Pres. Barack Obama, a Democrat, during his two-day visit to the state, Republican Gov. Charlie Crist said he didn't know he was going to be here."To add extra goofiness to Florida's usual election-year nuttiness, Marco Rubio, Crist's primary opponent, is running a photo of Crist and the president embracing last year. Rubio contends this convivial moment is proof of Crist's lack of conservative credentials."
Meanwhile, Crist is hoping to burnish his populist credentials by convincing the Public Service Commission to postpone its decision on whether Florida Power and Light and Progress Energy can raise their rates. He asked the commission, which agreed, to delay its vote until after his new appointee is seated next year. No rate hikes in an election year, please."Politics, rest stops, flu shots".
No education-cutting budgets, either, thank you. Crist is still trying to get the Legislature to go along with a compact he negotiated with the Seminole tribe. He allows them to run banked card games like blackjack and they pump at least $150 million a year into the state's schools.
The courts struck that deal down, saying lawmakers had to be involved. Lawmakers haven't been able to create a new agreement and now the House speaker wants federal regulators to shut down the tribe's gaming until they do. The question looms -- is $150 million worth opening Florida to ever more high-stakes gambling?
"St. Petersburg, Miami set to elect new mayors".
"Insurers hobbling search for cures through clinical trials"
The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "State and local governments have spent billions over the past six years to attract biomedical research to Florida. Telling patients they could lose their insurance coverage if they participate in research runs counterproductive to that goal." "Fighting cancer in Florida".