"2010 the Year of the Outsider"?
"Lawton 'Bud' Chiles III, son of the late governor, announced Thursday that he plans to run for governor as an independent candidate."
A lifelong Democrat, Chiles is poised to test the theory that 2010 is the Year of the Outsider. Another high-profile candidate, Gov. Charlie Crist, recently left his party to run as an independent in the U.S. Senate race. ..."Lawton 'Bud' Chiles joins gubernatorial race as an independent".
Democrats likely won't be pleased with Chiles' move, as it could set him up as a spoiler who would draw votes from Sink.
"He plans to drop his Democratic Party registration in a few days and will be on the Nov. 2 ballot with "no party affiliation."
"Politically, his candidacy looks likely to hurt Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, the Democratic contender for governor, and to help Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum — or GOP challenger Rick Scott, who faces McCollum in the primary."Chiles to run for governor as independent candidate". See also "Bud Chiles enters governor's race in volatile election year", "Son of late Fla. Gov. Chiles running for governor" and "Bud Chiles says he'll run for governor as an independent".
Sink and Chiles would likely draw from the same segment of Democrats and independent moderates motivated by concern for education, environment and government ethics.
With Gov. Charlie Crist leaving the GOP and running as an independent for the U.S. Senate, and political newcomers running serious campaigns in both parties for governor and Congress, this is a good year for non-incumbents and outsiders.
Greer scandal could Crist the most
"Continuing his stunning -- some say long overdue -- fall from grace, former state GOP chairman Jim Greer was assailed by a Republican National Committee spokesman on Thursday." "National Republican Party Piles on Greer".
"The arrest of former Florida Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer could hurt Gov. Charlie Crist the most." "Crist can't escape blame in Greer debacle". Related: "RNC Weighs In On Ex-FL GOP Chairman Greer's Arrest".
"The governor said he was unaware of alleged fraud committed by the former state GOP chairman, but did not say why he disregarded repeated calls for his ouster." "Crist vague on why he supported Greer to the end" ("Likewise, Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum avoided talk about his involvement in the Greer matter").
Scandal began with Anonymous Letter
"A mysterious letter mailed to a 76-year-old retiree in Fort Myers, Florida led to the eventual indictment of former Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer, according to the The Florida Independent."
Gary A. Lee, the chair of the Lee County Republican Executive Committee and a former Congressman from New York (and a member of the state Republican Party's audit committee), told the Independent that he received a letter with no return address in late December 2009. Inside, he found a contract between the Republican Party of Florida and a fundraising group called Victory Strategies."Anonymous Letter Lead To Jim Greer's Arrest". Original story: "One anonymous letter leads authorities to Greer".
See also The Miami Herald editorial board's "Lessons for Florida's GOP" ("Greer's arrest cries out for needed ethics reforms").
"Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum was snubbed by Eric Holder, and he’s not letting it go." "McCollum blasts Holder for snub, again".
Update: "Tar Balls Wash Up on Pensacola Beach".
"Florida Gov. Charlie Crist says"
oil from the massive Gulf spill is now within four miles of the Panhandle coast."Crist: Oil within 4 miles of the Panhandle coast". See also "BP faces another setback; oil slick threatens Fla.", "With oil nearing shore, Florida officials say time near for federal intervention", "Crist asks BP for $50 million as Dry Tortugas responds to Gulf spill", "Crist says two oil sheens floating off Panhandle coast, one just 3 miles from shore" and "Oil spill on verge of hitting beaches: Is the state ready?".
Crist said sheen was spotted during a fly over Thursday. That's down from seven miles Wednesday.
The wannabe speaker from Winter Park
Scott Maxwell: "Less than two weeks before oil began jetting from the ocean floor in the Gulf of Mexico, a state-commissioned report proclaimed the risk of drilling was extremely minimal."
It said a major spill should be expected only once every 100 years."$200,000 study said oil spills would be small, rare: Famous last words".
Even then, the report said, we might be talking about 1,000 barrels — approximately the amount of oil currently spewing into the Gulf every hour or two.
You might laugh at the report — if you hadn't spent $200,000 to create it.
Actually, State Rep. Dean Cannon decided you should spend it.
The up-and-coming House speaker from Winter Park had been steadfast in his push to allow drilling just a few miles off the Florida coast — until the BP explosion.
Cretul don't like hardball
"Critics charge that Gov. Charlie Crist slashed the budget of a hospital in Gainesville that serves thousands of poor people out of political spite. ... Critics say the only changes between the budget recommendation and his veto is that Crist left the Republican Party and had a war of words with House Speaker Larry Cretul, whose district includes Shands." "Crist slammed for hospital-money veto".
Stephen L. Goldstein: "Recently in Florida, two political Uglies with nothing to recommend them but deep pockets aspire to run the world according to them."
Democrat Jeff Greene is aiming for the U.S. Senate. He calls himself an "outsider" and brags about his business success. He knows so little about the Senate, he thinks it's a place where he can foster fundamental change to benefit average Americans, not the tradition-bound trash heap of democracy it's become. Another Florida Ugly devoid of political experience, Republican Rick Scott, just announced that he and his money are running for governor. He not only has an estimated $300 million "in the bank," but he's willing to spend gobs to defeat Bill McCollum in the primary."New breed of politician shows up just in time for 2010 elections".
Political Brand Names and Celebrities give politics a bad name. But Uglies are unbearable, especially since their ranks appear to be increasing. They are proof that we need public financing of campaigns. Taking private money completely out of politics would put lobbyists out of business, end corporate control of public policy, and give Grassrooters an outside chance to represent "the people"—and that would be a far cry from ugly.
"The hiring of a now-disgraced psychologist to defend Florida's ban on gay adoption was done over the objections of the main attorney defending the case for the state, according to records made public Thursday."
"McCollum's staff had questions about selection of expert".
"Extremely wealthy candidates vying for high public office"
Kingsley Guy: "Florida this year has two extremely wealthy candidates vying for high public office."
Jeff Greene is seeking the Democratic nomination for a U.S. Senate seat and Rick Scott the Republican nomination for governor. Both are positioning themselves as successful businessmen outside the political mainstream."Public financing of campaigns would help incumbents and violate free-speech rights".
Given the mess created by the professional political class, being an outsider could work to their advantage. Yet, if I were a betting man, I'd wager against both of them.
Greene's past includes friendships with Mike Tyson and Heidi Fleiss, and he made some of his fortune by shorting subprime mortgages, hardly a credential that will win him votes among middle-class homeowners.
Scott ran a company that committed the most massive Medicare fraud in history.
The political baggage aside, neither candidate has made the case he is more qualified than the professional pol he is running against.
Voters aren't dumb.
Your papers pleeze
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Proving that they know how to read polls, politicians in Florida have been lining up behind Arizona's controversial new law cracking down on illegal immigration."
Republican candidate for governor Rick Scott has made support for the law a major plank in his platform, and goaded the GOP front-runner in the race, Attorney General Bill McCollum, into endorsing the idea. The leading Republican for U.S. Senate, Marco Rubio, also is backing it. Last week, the chairman of a state House panel on crime, Republican William Snyder of Stuart, said he's interested in passing a law in Florida like Arizona's."Don't imitate Arizona immigration law".
Scott travels to (Little) Havana
"Gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott stopped in Little Havana Thursday at the popular Versailles restaurant to grab a café cubano and chat up the locals -- in English. The GOP hopeful doesn't speak much Spanish and admitted he had never had Cuban coffee, but he said he's going to step up his courting of Hispanic voters with more campaign stops and soon-to-air Spanish-language television ads." "Scott seeks Little Havana votes".
"What exactly does Greene stand for?"
"Despite polling numbers far behind those of Rubio, Crist and Meek, self-made billionaire and Democratic Senate candidate Jeff Greene has nevertheless managed to acquire a good amount of media exposure for himself. But aside from the private jets (Greene reportedly owns three), lavish Palm Beach lifestyle and celebrity friends, what exactly does Greene stand for?" "Jeff Greene’s lavish lifestyle and celebrity friends have garnered national media attention, but what is his political agenda?".
Wasserman Schultz reassures senior citizens
" With Republicans using the new federal healthcare law as a political weapon against Democrats, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, tried Thursday to reassure senior citizens. Her self-described mission at the Joseph Meyerhoff Senior Center in Hollywood: to correct 'so many falsehoods' propagated by 'special interests' that want 'to scare senior citizens.' She also told people not to believe that the healthcare law will bring about a socialized, government takeover of healthcare." "U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz touts healthcare reform in Hollywood".