"Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum's once-certain path to the Republican nomination for governor is in trouble, with supporters for the first time voicing anxiety about his chances and questioning his strategy."
Trailing newcomer Rick Scott by 13 points in a recent statewide poll and unable to match the millions of dollars Scott has spent on television ads, McCollum looks vulnerable. It is a stunning shift for a seasoned politician who seemed to have a lock on the race just two months ago.McCollum, 65, raised almost $5 million through March. Scott has already spent an estimated $15 million of his personal fortune. If he exceeds $19.7 million, Florida's public campaign financing system will match for McCollum every dollar Scott spends over the cap. ...
"McCollum and two committees with ties to his campaign are counter-punching with anti-Scott TV ads emphasizing the $1.7 billion Medicare-fraud fine stemming from Scott's tenure as CEO of Columbia/HCA."
Lobbyist and strategist J.M. "Mac'' Stipanovich, who helped mastermind Republican Bob Martinez's winning campaign for governor in 1986, marveled at the "nerve'' of Scott to have "scammed the taxpayers'' while in business and now "taking that money and trying to scam them again.''"Rick Scott's rise puts McCollum in danger".
Related: "McCollum may have broken campaign finance law in soliciting money for shadowy 527".
"Commitment to public transportation"?
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Florida's commitment to public transportation reminds us of famed matrimonial mind-changer Elizabeth Taylor's commitment to husbands." "Whither mass transit?".
Bud says "no"
"Democratic Palm Beach County Commissioner Burt Aaronson is making an 11th-hour appeal to Bud Chiles to drop his independent bid for governor, suggesting his late father would not want him to damage Democrat Alex Sink's chances in the governor's race." "Chiles rejects Aaronson appeal to quit governor's race".
"Florida ends 'double dipping' by teachers, other government workers on July 1".
McCollum's health care record is "eerily aligned" with Scott's
"Bill McCollum's offensive against Rick Scott's well-publicized "mistakes" at Columbia/HCA is shining a light on McCollum's own health care record in Congress."
Anyone who's been paying attention to the increasingly acrimonious Republican gubernatorial campaign knows by now that Scott was chairman and CEO of the HCA hospital chain when it was fined $1.7 billion by federal authorities."Scott, McCollum: Strange Bedfellows on Health Care".
After a decade at the helm, Scott resigned in 1997, and his TV ads openly admit that "mistakes were made." If Columbia/HCA tried to cover its financial tracks in the 1990s, its erstwhile CEO today is well aware that his record will be under microscopic scrutiny on the campaign trail.
McCollum's health care record is less well-known, and it was eerily aligned with Scott's.
At the time Scott was taking fire at HCA, McCollum was promoting a softer approach to the problem of health care fraud, and earning contributions from Scott's company.
"The total damages could climb well above the $25 million liability cap outlined in NCS Pearson's contract with the state. In Miami-Dade alone, top district officials predict they will have to spend $2.3 million as a result of the delays. Broward Superintendent Jim Notter estimated that the delayed results could cost his already cash-strapped district $1.8 million."
Despite criticism from several state lawmakers and school district officials, Florida Education Commissioner Eric Smith said the state would not terminate its contract with Pearson ... Board of Education Chairman T. Willard Fair[*] was more forgiving. "It could have happened to anyone who got the contract,'' said Fair, president of the Urban League of Greater Miami."FCAT testing firm vows to reimburse districts over tardy scores".
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*Mr. Fair is truly past his prime; recall that
during his second run for governor in 1998 Bush teamed up with the conservative African-American Director of the Urban League of Greater Miami, T. Willard Fair, to establish Florida's first ever charter school in Miami's iconic black community Liberty City. The Liberty Charter School served as an effective campaign prop for Bush and he received 17% of the black vote this time around. Soon after taking office Bush severed his ties with Liberty Charter and appointed T. Willard Fair to the Florida Board of Education where he remains to this day giving slavish devotion to a man who he once told, "In my judgment, there is no greater person on this Earth than you. I love you.""Jeb Bush's Waterloo".
Paper loss too small to threaten fund
"Florida's pension fund, the fourth-largest in the nation, has seen the value of its BP investments plunge more than $67 million since the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig, but the paper loss is too small to seriously threaten the fund's $112.4-billion bottom line, managers said Tuesday." "Florida's pension fund not seriously threatened by BP stock investments".
"Test of star power versus volume"
"In a test of star power versus volume, the Democratic and Republican candidates for Florida agriculture commissioner boasted of their law-enforcement credentials today. Democrat Scott Maddox called a news conference with television lawman John Bunnell. Maddox also announced endorsements by Sheriffs Larry Campbell of Tallahassee, David Harvey of Wakulla County and Louis Roberts of Jackson County." "Candidates for agriculture commissioner post tout sheriffs' endorsements". See also "Putnam, Maddox Summon Law Enforcement Backing in Ag Race".
"First the state of Florida was to reimburse counties for oil-spill expenses, drawing from the $50 million BP sent the state. Then counties were supposed to file directly with BP – initially including cities within their boundaries, but then, changing in the same day, not. For a while the state was going to pay for protective boom until it wasn't and now it is." "Reimbursement claims frustrate Florida counties".
See also "State Legal Team Hears Complaints About BP Claims", "For small Florida towns, oil stress edges out serenity", "Procedure change calls for counties to file claims with BP, not state of Florida", "Florida's small towns take oil cleanup into their own hands" and "Oil spill putting Obama at the forefront of crisis".
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Obama offers more than rhetoric".
"Undoubtedly the right call"
The Miami Herald editors: "The U.S. Supreme Court won't win any popularity contests with its 7-2 decision offering a second chance to a convicted cop killer on Florida's death row, but it was undoubtedly the right call." "Test of justice".
Thrasher gets Dem opponent
"Emmy award-winning journalist Deborah Gianoulis, a fixture on Jacksonville television as an evening news anchor for almost 25 years, announced Tuesday that she was running as a Democrat against Sen. John Thrasher of Jacksonville, chairman of the Republican Party of Florida. Thrasher’s district stretches from Nassau County, through Jacksonville and Duval County, and includes parts of St. Johns and Flagler counties before ending in Volusia County." "News Anchor Deborah Gianoulis Jumps in Race Against Thrasher".
"The GOP candidate for Senate said Gov. Charlie Crist's veto of a state abortion bill would allow government funds to pay for the procedure. An examination of the law indicates otherwise." "Is Rubio right to say Crist's veto will alow tax-funded abortions?".
The Miami Herald editorial board: " Women in Florida are the rightful beneficiaries of Gov. Charlie Crist's veto of HB 1143. The bill required most women seeking abortions in the first trimester to submit to and pay for an ultrasound and either view it or have it be described by a doctor. The measure, approved without debate or committee hearings by the Legislature, was a blatant intrusion by the state on the patient-doctor relationship." "A necessary veto".
DWS on Castro
"U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Broward County is denouncing anti-Israel statements made this week by former Cuban President Fidel Castro, which she calls 'outrageous' and 'anti-Semitic.'" "Fidel Castro's statements on Israel called anti-Semitic".