"Prospects for a special legislative session beginning Monday are fading into the sunset. Whether they're dead forever, only Gov. Charlie Crist knows. As of Tuesday afternoon, House and Senate leadership offices said they had no word from the governor about convening to discuss offshore drilling, renewable energy or any other subject." "Special Session? Going Nowhere Fast".
Garcia hits the trail
"Democrat Joe Garcia officially launched his congressional campaign Tuesday, setting his sights for the second time on U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart's seat in Washington -- this time by attacking Tallahassee." "Joe Garcia kicks off campaign for Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart's former seat".
Greene "can't be written off"
"The flamboyant Democratic U.S. Senate candidate proved Monday that he can't be written off, launching a statewide TV ad campaign estimated at roughly $1.3 million a week." "Flamboyant billionaire takes his long-shot Senate run seriously". See also "Billionaire Jeff Greene, checkbook in hand, charges into the Florida Democratic Senate primary".
Meek needs to work Broward and Palm Beach Counties
"Squeezed between a newly independent Gov. Charlie Crist and an aggressive new Democratic rival in the U.S. Senate race, Kendrick Meek faces unexpected and formidable foes in the fight for Florida's biggest pot of Democratic voters: Broward County." "Democratic stronghold no cinch for Meek, may go wobbly over Crist in Senate race". See also "Meek faces battle to win support of PBC Democrats".
The boy scout gets nasty
"McCollum takes gloves off: Rick Scott is "embarassment" and "fraud"".
Spill baby! spill!
"University scientists are forecasting that oil from the spill off Louisiana could reach Florida's Key West by Sunday." "Scientists: Spill could reach Fla. Keys by Sunday". See also "Scientists watching where oil spill headed next", "Tar balls rolling in current toward Florida Keys; just days away", "Marine life in danger as Gulf spill on track for Southeast Florida coast", "Tourism officials planning major promotional surge for beaches", "Oil spill shuts down 19 percent of Gulf fishing" and "La.'s state bird, brown pelican, imperiled by oil".
The right call
The Miami Herald editorial board: "A second chance". The Tampa Tribune editors: "Court gives juvenile lifers a chance for redemption". The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Court takes stand for justice".
"State extends jobless benefits for 100,000". See also "Florida extends unemployment benefits, but not all are eligible".
McCollum's "real" rentboy.com scandal
The Tampa Trib publishes this guest column today by Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida:
The biggest scandal surrounding infamous anti-gay crusader George Rekers isn't that he hired a travel companion from rentboy.com to accompany him on a two-week European vacation.
"McCollum dodges the truth".
The biggest scandal isn't even reports that Rekers, the 61-year-old founder of the rabidly anti-gay Family Research Center, received nude, sexual massages from his 20-year-old male escort.
The real scandal is that Attorney General Bill McCollum paid Rekers $120,000 in taxpayer money even though Rekers was a long-discredited ideologue that two courts had already deemed worthless as an expert witness.
The The Saint Petersburg Times wrote the other day that "Crist's transformation came only after it was clear he was facing defeat in the Republican primary against Marco Rubio. He essentially makes the same point [as did Specter] that the GOP had moved away from his more moderate views. But Crist denies Specter's plight holds any implications for himself."
You can expect to see and hear these words in print, on the radio and on television over the next few months:
See also "Specter’s loss in Pennsylvania has Rubio camp pushing Crist parallels". Here's the Sestak ad.
switched parties to save one job ...
His ... not yours
"Florida House and Senate leaders have swamped Gov. Charlie Crist's office with 139 bills in the past week, the latest tactic in an ongoing election-year battle between Crist and a legislature dominated by the Republican Party he recently spurned." "Abortion-bill strategy, election-year politics prompt massive influx of bills to Crist".
Some incumbents that have little to worry about
With the superficial anti-incumbent analysis being spouted by the talking heads today, there are some incumbents that have little to worry about; Kathy Castor's one of 'em.
"A field of four Republicans and one Democrat are looking to challenge Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Castor in Florida’s 11th Congressional District. Stretching around most of Tampa Bay, including most of Tampa and parts of St. Petersburg and Bradenton, the district remains one of the more reliable Democratic districts in the state. Nevertheless, some Republicans are optimistic they will do better there come November."
First elected in 2006, Castor clearly has some advantages as she seeks a third term. She won her two races with 70 percent of the voters in the district backing her. The district also backed Barack Obama with 66 percent support over Republican presidential candidate John McCain in the 2008 general election.
"Crowded Field in 11th Congressional District Looks to Take On Kathy Castor".
Castor has also raised a good deal more than her Republican rivals -- more than $265,000 in individual contributions and more than $191,500 in PAC contributions, and she had more than $357,000 cash on hand at the end of the first quarter of 2010.
Mike Prendergast leads the Republican field so far due to a sizable financial advantage. His campaign has hauled in more than $105,000. He is also gaining attention from Republican leaders in Washington. The National Republican Congressional Committee chairman, Congressman Pete Sessions of Texas, will be hosting a fundraiser for Prendergast on Saturday.
A retired army colonel, Prendergast also served as an aide to former U.S. Senator Bob Graham and as a legislative liaison in the Secretary of the Army's Office. "I’ve invested myself in a career of leadership," said Prendergast. "I learned a great deal about the legislative process."
"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Tuesday it has no choice but to destroy fragile estuaries around Lake Okeechobee to keep residents living around its eroded dike safe." "Army Corps on edge as Lake O fills with rain and strains against its feeble dike".
RPOFers feel the sting
"Crist has antagonized Republican legislative leaders by vetoing some of their major bills."
And indications are that inflammatory atmosphere will continue as Crist weighs the merits of dozens of bills pending on his desk, including a $70.4 billion state budget.
"Republicans feeling sting of Crist's veto".
Crist has already vetoed two priorities for GOP leaders: One bill, strongly opposed by the state teachers union, would have eliminated job protections for teachers and would have made it easier to fire them. The other bill would have allowed legislative leaders to re-create so-called "leadership" funds where they could collect and distribute campaign contributions for legislative races.
Hard feelings remain as Crist must now decide the fate of 190 bills, including 139 pending in his office and 51 that he has yet to receive as of noon Tuesday.
"Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink said Tuesday taxpayers could save at least $700 million a year by changing the attitude of state government from "bigger is better" to 'smarter is better.'" "Sink unveils government plan that is 'smarter,' not 'bigger'".
Crist to speak in union territory
"Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, up until last month a Republican, will step into a bastion of Democratic politics this weekend with a speech to the AFL-CIO of Florida as the union umbrella group vets candidates for possible endorsement."
Crist will speak at the AFL-CIO's endorsing convention in Jacksonville on Friday, and union officials will make a decision in a closed-door meeting on Sunday on who will get the union's endorsement in several races, including the United States Senate contest in which Crist is now an unaffiliated candidate.
"Crist Will Speak at Union Endorsement Confab". See also "Another ‘thank you’ from the teachers? Crist to address AFL-CIO convention".
"Miami offers unions cuts up to 12%".
"An advisory council to the fund reported Tuesday that it has enough cash and bonding ability to pay off more than $25 billion in losses if necessary. A financial adviser to the fund said Florida could withstand $17 billion in storm losses without having to seek additional bonding." "Catastrophe Fund: Good for $25.5 billion in losses".