FLORIDA POLITICS
Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary

 

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Welcome To Florida Politics

Thanks for visiting. On a daily basis we scan Florida's major daily newspapers for significant Florida political news and punditry. We also review the editorial pages and political columnists/pundits for Florida political commentary. The papers we review include: the Miami Herald, Sun-Sentinel, Palm Beach Post, Naples News, Sarasota Herald Tribune, St Pete Times, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Tallahassee Democrat, and, occasionally, the Florida Times Union; we also review the political news blogs associated with these newspapers.

For each story, column, article or editorial we deem significant, we post at least the headline and link to the piece; the linked headline always appears in quotes. We quote the headline for two reasons: first, to allow researchers looking for the cited piece to find it (if the link has expired) by searching for the original title/headline via a commercial research service. Second, quotation of the original headline permits readers to appreciate the spin from the original piece, as opposed to our spin.

Not that we don't provide spin; we do, and plenty of it. Our perspective appears in post headlines, the subtitles within the post (in bold), and the excerpts from the linked stories we select to quote; we also occasionally provide other links and commentary about certain stories. While our bias should be immediately apparent to any reader, we nevertheless attempt to link to every article, column or editorial about Florida politics in every major online Florida newspaper.

 

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The Blog for Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rubio, South Carolina's third Senator?

    "Republican Marco Rubio's Senate candidacy in Florida has been buoyed by a U.S. senator from South Carolina who has showered Rubio with praise, contacts and an unprecedented amount of money."
    Campaign-finance experts say they've never seen anything like Sen. Jim DeMint's efforts on behalf of Rubio.

    DeMint, a Republican who has said he wants to surround himself with a nucleus of ideological conservatives in the Senate, has set up a personal political-action committee called the Senate Conservatives Fund to sponsor candidates. Rubio, a former Florida House speaker, has become a primary benefactor. ...

    [T]his is the first time a member of Congress has used a personal PAC to campaign for another candidate in another state, said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks campaign money through OpenSecrets.org.
    "South Carolina senator helps bankroll Rubio's Senate run".


    Sansom down to one felony charge

    "A state prosecutor said Wednesday he will drop a perjury charge against ex-House Speaker Ray Sansom, citing additional information about his role in budgeting money for a state college in the Panhandle. The disgraced former speaker still faces grand theft charges stemming from his role in appropriating $6 million for an airplane building." "Prosecutor to drop perjury charge against Sansom".


    Not hardly

    "A billboard featuring former President George W. Bush has popped up along Interstate 95. In this election year, who's behind it? It's a mystery." "I-95 billboard features George Bush: 'Miss Me Yet?'".


    Outsider fever

    Adam C Smith: "Nobody in Florida should be surprised by Tuesday's results after watching long-shot Republican U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio roar past Charlie Crist, who had been coronated by the GOP establishment; Crist was trailing so badly in the polls he dropped out of the primary."

    Grass-roots enthusiasm easily trumps establishment support this year, when voters of all persuasions are fed up with the status quo.

    So if you're an outsider Florida candidate like Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott or Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Greene, Tuesday's bellwether results should give you reason to smile. If you're a career politician like Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Kendrick Meek or Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum, you ought to be anxious.

    It's no accident that three very different candidates — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink, Republican Scott and Democrat Greene — have virtually identical central messages: They're political newcomers determined to shake up politics as usual.
    "Outsiders in, insiders out". See also "Several Florida candidates claiming anti-insider momentum from out-of-state primaries". See also "Billionaire Greene intensifies Senate race".

    "If spending $5 million on TV ads and registering competitive polling numbers aren't evidence that Naples multimillionaire Rick Scott, 57, has become a factor in the Florida governor's race, the reaction of his rivals this week should erase any doubt." "Rich health care exec plays to anti-insider mood in try for Fla. governor's mansion".

    Howard Troxler "[I]f you are determined to pursue the anti-establishment theory, you also should cite the arrival in Florida politics of two nouveaux bazillionaires, Jeff Greene in the Democratic U.S. Senate race, and Rick Scott in the Republican governor's race. Each has bought instant presence by pouring his own money into television."
    Scott, whose previous occupation was leading a company that ripped off the taxpayers, is within a stone's throw of the conventional Republican front-runner, Bill McCollum, and in one poll actually tied with the Democrat Alex Sink. No wonder both McCollum and Sink took notice of Scott this week and started calling him names — the McCollum campaign even favorably quoted Sink's attack on Scott.

    How much of this is proof of national fed-up-ed-ness, and how much of it is a function of a weak and uninspiring field in the persons of Sink and McCollum? If our former two-term governor and all-time Republican superstar Jeb Bush were running to get his old job back, would a few television commercials from Rick Scott be buying competition so easily?
    "A voter revolution, or a normal midterm cycle?".


    Spill, baby spill!

    Notwithstanding the pressures of Tampa Bay teabaggery (the folks still looking for the words "oil spill in the U.S> Constiyution), the Saint Petersburg Times editorial board thinks the federal government needs to rush to Florida's rescue: "With oil from a destroyed Gulf of Mexico rig now apparently headed for Florida, the question becomes more urgent: What is the plan to protect the Sunshine State? The federal government needs to move quickly to ensure Florida has the containment booms, ready cash and logistics necessary to help residents and coastal areas cope with a potential economic and environmental disaster." "Time to act is now".

    More: "Feds, state officials differ from scientists on when oil will hit South Florida and how bad it will be", "Drilling ban will wait for House, Crist says", "Atwater: BP can build a friggin’ oil rig, but can’t fill a hole?", "Officials paint rosier oil-spill picture for state Senate leaders", "Hurricane oil? Fierce storm could make spill worse", "Manatee group wants to prevent future drilling", "Relief mixes with dread as oil enters current flowing to S. Fla.", "Growing concern that loop current may bring oil toward Florida, top U.S. official says" and "Florida Democratic lawmakers push for united front against drilling". See also "Fla. tar balls not linked to Gulf oil spill".

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Oversee oil drilling with new vigilance".


    A Tampa thing

    "Maybe it takes a shock jock like Bubba the Love Sponge Clem to get Alex Sink to relax."

    Typically hypercautious, the prim Democratic candidate for governor joined the infamous Tampa radio host Wednesday for a live chat.

    After a few minutes of government-speak about the oil spill, she was led by her host to comment upon something no less grimy but a lot more salacious: the gay escort "rentboy" scandal that has been dogging her Republican rival, Attorney General Bill McCollum.

    Sink was on it like spray tan on a prom date.
    "Alex Sink chats with Bubba the Love Sponge about rent-boy scandal".


    Crist's (former) friends

    "'Zero' chance Mayor Bloomberg will endorse Charlie Crist".


    House seats most vulnerable to a party switch

    Here's an "inaugural ranking, in descending order, of the six House seats in Florida most vulnerable to a party switch this fall", from one Louis Jacobson, a Saint Petersburg Times staff writer:

    1. Rep. Suzanne Kosmas, D-New Smyrna Beach. Kosmas is a Democratic freshman who represents a slightly Republican-leaning district — a situation that by itself would be enough to make her vulnerable in a year shaping up to be strong for the GOP. ...

    2 (tie). Rep. Allen Boyd, D-Monticello. Boyd, a conservative "Blue Dog" Democrat, is well-funded and has survived seven terms in a Panhandle district not especially friendly to Democrats. ...

    2 (tie). Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando. Grayson, an acid-tongued freshman Democrat who represents a slightly Democratic-leaning district running from Ocala to Orlando, has drawn fierce national opposition.

    4. Open seat being vacated by Rep. Adam Putnam, R-Bartow. Democratic and Republican operatives alike agree that this district— represented by Putnam for five terms — could be a sleeper race. The Republican frontrunner is former state Rep. Dennis Ross, while Democrats are counting on Polk County elections supervisor Lori Edwards. ...

    5. Open seat being vacated by Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Miami. In an unusual move, Mario Diaz-Balart is switching districts to seek the seat being vacated by his retiring brother Lincoln. The Democrats [have] put up their 2008 nominee, Joe Garcia, who came within six points of knocking off the incumbent in 2008. The likeliest Republican is state Rep. David Rivera, who is considered close to Marco Rubio — and whose political aspirations could benefit from those ties this year.

    6. Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton. Klein, a second-term Democrat, represents a competitive district long represented by Republican Clay Shaw.
    "Ranking the vulnerable U.S. House seats in Florida".


    Daily Rothstein

    Not the guy you want to get on the wrong side of: "Warren Sapp: Rothstein's firm owes me more than $100,000 |".


    Never mind that special session talk

    The Miami Herald editorial board: "Crist says he will delay a call for a special session, but prepare for more high-profile vetoes." "Crist puts off special session on drilling". See also "Special legislative session on drilling remains tentative".


    Good luck with that

    "Florida regulators say FPL should refund $14 million to customers for 2008 outage".


    HB 1565

    "Crist should veto dangerous HB 1565" "Stop the Lobbyists' Bailout Act".


    "This money is just a start"

    The Tallahassee Democrat editors: "Florida now has $25 million of BP money to spend on promoting the state's battered tourism industry. It can't hurt."

    But like just about everything to do with the disaster that followed the April 20 fire and eventual collapse of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, this money is just a start.
    "Tourism campaign is a short-term fix".


    Greene talk

    "Little-known Democratic Senate candidate Jeff Greene tried to make inroads in South Florida with a speech to the Kings Point Democratic Club in Tamarac." "U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Greene puts insiders on notice".


    HD 76

    Republican "Laird A. Lile announced his candidacy for the District 76 Florida House of Representatives seat this morning." "Naples lawyer announces bid for Florida House seat".


    "McCollum is no longer ignoring Scott"

    Bill Cotterell: "Laws affecting homosexuality will figure in Florida's elections. Both Democratic candidates for attorney general oppose the ban on gays adopting children. If elected, they will probably drop the appeal of circuit court rulings that struck the statute."

    Meanwhile, the current attorney general, running for governor, will have to answer not just for his defense of that law — which he can justify — but how he went about making his case. Attorney General Bill McCollum says the Department of Children and Families hired George Rekers, a minister and psychologist, as an expert witness to testify for the adoption ban.
    Cotterell continues:
    McCollum's lead in the Republican primary race is slipping. Challenger Rick Scott of Naples, a newcomer with more political baggage than a whole squad of rentboys could carry, has hit McCollum with a series of TV spots promising "accountability" in government. McCollum is no longer ignoring Scott, but it will be hard for him to talk about government accountability — with what might be called a "straight" face — considering his insistence that DCF retain Rekers.

    McCollum explains that he wouldn't have hired Rekers, if he knew then what he knows now. That's surely true, as is the argument that an attorney general has to defend statutes — but not every law on the books.

    Former Attorney General Bob Shevin refused to defend a newspaper editorial "right to reply" law that fairly shouted its unconstitutionality. Another time, Shevin filed a rare "confession of error," rather than defend the convictions of two men railroaded in a murder case.

    If McCollum thinks he had to defend the gay-adoption ban, if he thinks it's a good idea to pay anyone $300 an hour to say all gay people make bad parents, he can explain that in the fall campaign.

    But he'll be talking to an electorate that, increasingly, thinks the underlying issue is no big deal.
    "Politicians face a shift in attitude on gay issues".


    Jobs, jobs, jobs

    "75 grads of training program get oil spill jobs".


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