Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


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Welcome To Florida Politics

Thanks for visiting. On a semi-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 Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Rubio sticks with teabaggers and archconservatives

    "It's not so much that the thrill is gone with Marco Rubio, but definitely the passion has cooled."
    Back when he was the daring insurgent taking on Charlie Crist, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate was exciting, edgy, a national superstar. Now, he's the de facto Republican nominee, while Gov. Crist is all over TV talking about the oil catastrophe and other primary campaigns look much more exciting than Rubio's.
    "Rubio is essentially running now as a general election candidate, though Monday saw little sign of him reaching beyond tea party activists and archconservatives."
    There's been little sign of the momentum that swept Rubio to the forefront, enabling him to knock Crist out of the Republican primary. He has continued to concentrate on courting the conservative media outlets, in recent days having interviews with Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Bill Bennett and the Weekly Standard.

    Crist, meanwhile, has dominated much of the media coverage in Florida, first by vetoing controversial antiabortion and teacher tenure bills, and then with his high profile after the BP oil disaster.
    "Rubio tries to re-energize his campaign".

    Teabagger implosion

    "Calls for candidate Peg Dunmire to quit the 8th Congressional District race have unleashed a new round of tea party infighting that threatens to dilute the movement's political power across Florida."

    The Central Florida Tea Party Council, an alliance of Orlando-area tea movement leaders, last week demanded that TEA Party candidate Dunmire withdraw her bid to unseat Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson.

    Tea activists Tom Tillison and Jason Hoyt cited "financial connections" between Grayson and the Florida TEA ("Taxed Enough Already") Party, which they branded "a tea party in name only."

    Both Dunmire and TEA Party Chairman Frederic O'Neal denied any financial links to Grayson, who has no primary opposition.

    Dunmire, a former Republican and self-described conservative, said, "I have no intention of withdrawing. I find it appalling that these supposed patriots think their intimidation tactics will make me withdraw."

    O'Neal, whose party has been sued in federal court by 33 "tea" organizations and individuals over use of the name, said the attack on Dunmire is revealing.

    "The way they're acting, it seems they're more afraid of Peg being elected than Grayson being elected," O'Neal said.

    The Orlando dustup may be unique in the United States.
    "Florida Is Battleground for Tea Parties -- Against Themselves".

    80 percent of post-conviction exonerations from Florida

    The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "Nationwide, 245 post-conviction exonerations have been based on DNA evidence since 1989 and Florida has contributed to almost 80 percent of those cases — clearing 12 Florida Death Row inmates since 2000." "Order in the court".

    Scott goes Cuban

    "Visiting Cuban-American senior citizens and Radio Mambí in Miami, Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott introduced himself Monday to one of the few communities across Florida that hasn't seen his $16 million media blitz." "Scott makes play for Hispanic votes".


    "BP says the rig drilling the relief well that's the best hope of stopping the Gulf oil spill has made it within about 20 feet horizontally of the blown-out well that's gushing crude." "BP says relief well getting closer to target".

    See also "Oil spill brings push for wetlands habitat", "Biologists to move sea turtle eggs east", "", "BP opens claims office in Clearwater", "Oily Panhandle fuels a boom in East coast scuba charters; BP says relief well getting closer to target, denies CEO quits", "Vice president to visit Pensacola", "Oil spill: BP's cleanup costs mount", "BP change of guard: Dudley replaces Hayward as oil spill responder", "Storm could slow oil spill cleanup from far away", "" and "Gulf's coastal wetlands surviving despite oil".

    The rich are different

    "Conchita, Lucia and April Marie are used to a luxurious life in an island mansion. With a $3 million trust fund from the will of an heiress, they'll never have to worry about a thing."

    What sets the three apart is that they're Chihuahuas. The three little dogs are part of a bitter battle over the estate of Gail Posner, daughter of late corporate raider Victor Posner. Gail Posner's only surviving child, 46-year-old Bret Carr, is challenging her will in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court, contending she was coerced into changing it by several employees while suffering from cancer and drug addiction. Carr was awarded only income from a $1 million fund in his mother's will."

    "He is outraged. He feels he has been totally taken advantage of," Katzen said.
    "Fla. estate battle features $3M for pet Chihuahuas".

    Our suggestion? - get a job.

    Webster hits the air

    "Former state House Speaker Dan Webster [one of seven Republicans vying for the Republican nomination] will apparently be the first to hit the airwaves with a campaign ad in Florida’s 8th Congressional District. ... In the ad, Webster takes aim at Washington and invokes the names of Ronald Reagan and Jeb Bush." "Dan Webster first to hit TV in Florida’s 8th".

    Gelber quits BP hos

    "Democratic attorney general candidate Dan Gelber disclosed late Monday that he quit his law firm after it agreed to represent BP against oil spill disaster claims. Gelber, a Miami Beach state senator and leading voice to ban oil drilling in Florida waters, said he resigned last week from Akerman Senterfitt, the state's largest law firm, but suggested he made his decision weeks earlier." "AG candidate Dan Gelber quit law firm after it agreed to represent BP".

    Clean Energy Congress at the Capitol

    "With a massive oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico fouling Northwest Florida beaches, environmental activists, business leaders and academics convened a Clean Energy Congress at the Capitol on Monday and issued a challenge to Florida lawmakers." "Group demands special session on drilling, renewable energy".

    McCollum, Cannon and Haridopolos up in a tree ...

    "Attorney General Bill McCollum has conceded in paperwork that he is raising money for and helping direct the activities of at least two stealthy political groups that are spending millions of dollars to attack his gubernatorial primary foe, Rick Scott."

    And the special interest picking up much of the tab appears to be doctors.

    One of McCollum's groups bashing Scott on TV got much of its money from another group controlled by House Speaker-designate Dean Cannon, R- Winter Park. Cannon's group, called the Florida Liberty Fund, has given McCollum's Florida First Initiative $727,000 since June 9.

    Over the same period, Cannon's fund accepted $500,000 from three companies controlled by two South Florida doctors, Gerald Glass and Paul Zimmerman. The same three companies also gave another $500,000 to another political fund that has steered money to McCollum, this one controlled by incoming Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island.
    "The Longwood Republican had for weeks"
    dodged the requirement that he file what's called a "statement of solicitation," declaring he was in fact working with the stealthy political groups attacking Scott. He had ignored questions about e-mails showing his campaign team was working with the groups.

    McCollum's campaign did not return requests for comment Monday, nor did Cannon or Haridopolos.
    "Scott's camp pounced on McCollum's disclosure on Monday."
    "Given the lengths McCollum has gone to in avoiding these disclosures, it is not surprising that they would try and sneak it through. … It has to be painfully embarrassing for the chief law enforcement officer of the state to be in violation of election law," Scott lawyer John French said.
    "McCollum admits role in stealth ads". Related: "Cannon gives $727k to McCollum 527".

    GOPer veto stymies homebuyers

    "Some frustrated homebuyers say they'll look to walk away if they don't complete the purchases by Wednesday, the deadline to qualify for federal tax credits. With the U.S. Senate unable reach an agreement to extend the deadline, 14,830 Florida buyers are among 180,000 nationwide at risk of not closing in time to receive the rebates, the National Association of Realtors said Monday." "Florida homebuyers consider backing out of deals without tax credit".

    Funny how this article in Sun Sentinel neglects to mention which political party filibustered the bill.

    New rules

    "A raft of new rules enacted by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Charlie Crist will affect nearly everyone - college students, teachers and parents, motorists and even horse owners." "Hundreds of new Florida laws go into effect Thursday".

    LeMieux opens his yap ...

    ... and does anyone give a damn, especially when it comes to military issues? "Lemieux to Obama: Give Petraeus what he wants".

    Meek losing Dem support?

    "Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek, who is running for U.S. Senate in Florida, may be pushing his electoral pursuit with dwindling support from operatives in his own party." "Florida Senate Dem Candidate Facing Dwindling Support From -- Democrats". See also "Crist gets another opportunity to take photo with Obama administration" and "Prominent elected Broward Democrats helping Crist raise money".

    Crist sued over contributions

    "Crist sued over GOP contributions".

    Nasty in Broward

    "In the political fight of her life as she heads toward fall elections, Broward County Commissioner Sue Gunzburger is on the defense about her wealth. The multi-millionaire faces claims by her opponent that she built her fortune on the taxpayers' dime, thanks to her husband's business."

    The 70-year-old widow's late husband, Gerry Gunzburger, installed his recycled plastics on bus benches across Broward, and it was fashioned into walkways and picnic tables in several major parks, including Anne Kolb Nature Center and West Lake Park, both in Hollywood, while she sat as a county commissioner. His plastic is also molded into car stops in county parking lots. The business, Better Than Wood, or BTW, was sold in 2000, and her husband died last year.

    Geller said the company was a regular contractor for the county because of the political tie, even if the influence was subtle.

    Gunzburger did not vote on the county contracts, and she is not accused of breaking state corruption laws. ...

    In her TV ads she says Geller is a "sleazy lobbyist'' who is "attacking my late husband and my children, questioning my integrity with half-truths and twisted facts.''

    The race between the two longtime South Florida politicians is the nastiest of the five County Commission seats up for election contests this fall. No Republican has entered the race; qualifying starts Monday.
    "Multi-millionaire Gunzburger: My money isn't from taxpayers".

    Dem AG race heats up

    "With less than two months to go until the primary, the two candidates locked in a tight battle for the Democratic attorney general nomination are finally starting to launch attacks on each other." "Democratic Candidates in Close AG Race Unleash Attacks".

    McCollum scrapes the bottom

    "Rumored Presidential Candidate Newt Gingrich Backs Bill McCollum".

    Meek jumps Greene

    "The Meek campaign unveiled a new line of attack on Greene Monday during a conference call with women’s leaders from across the state, including Barbara Devane from the National Organization of Women; Alison Morano from the Pasco County Democrats; former Hernando County Commissioner Diane Rowden; Ambassador Nancy Soderberg, former alternate U.S. representative to the U.N. Security Council; and representatives from the Florida Federation of Business and Professional Women."

    The women’s leaders praised Meek’s record on their issues and bashed Greene for having no record of public service. They also stressed that Meek has always been pro-choice, contrasting him with Crist. While Crist has been pro-life for most of his career, since leaving the Republican Party in April, he vetoed a measure that passed the Legislature that would have required women considering an abortion in the first trimester to have an ultrasound.

    Talking about Meek, Devane said, “He has been an advocate for women his whole career.”

    “Kendrick Meek understands the need for laws to back equal rights,” said Soderberg. “He is clearly pro-choice and understands the need for health-care reform.”

    The women’s leaders attacked Greene for having no record on their issues and for his friendship with infamous Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss and former heavyweight champion and convicted rapist Mike Tyson, who was the best man at Greene’s wedding. The women’s leaders hammered Greene over his personal life.

    Speaking of Greene, Devane said, "He’s been a playboy in California, moving from one woman to another."
    "With Help From Bill Clinton, Kendrick Meek Looks to Pull Ahead of Jeff Greene". See also "Meek-Greene back-and-forth has echoes of Clinton-Obama primary".

    Sink fires up campaign

    "Alex Sink, the leading Democratic candidate for governor, toured Miami neighborhood Liberty City on Saturday. 'It's time to fire up those emails and if you have Twitter, tweet,' Sink told a group of a little over 100 local politicians, party activists and residents who attended her rally in the African Heritage Cultural Center." "Sink: Federal government must ‘develop immigration reform policy’".

    "Monuments to greed"

    Michael Mayo: "Tamarac golf courses monuments to greed".

    What's wrong with Hillsborough?

    "Local Republicans plan to challenge the candidacies of two Democrats running for seats on the Hillsborough County Commission in the November elections. Deborah Cox-Roush, chair of the Hillsborough County Republican Party's Executive Committee, said Monday lawyers representing the party will file litigation to block the names of John Dingfelder and Linda Saul-Sena from appearing on the ballot in November." "GOP to challenge Dingfelder, Saul-Sena commission runs".

    Entrepreneurs in action

    "The lawsuit claims WellCare may have defrauded the federal government, Florida and six other states out of $400 million to $600 million." "WellCare whistleblower suit claims financial improprieties". See also "Judge unseals whistle-blower complaint on WellCare".

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