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 Saturday, July 31, 2010

McCollum campaign dealt decisive blow

    "A federal appeals court in Atlanta turned Florida's public campaign financing law on its head Friday, halting a critical provision that was expected to inject taxpayer cash into Attorney General Bill McCollum's struggling campaign."
    The ruling by a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will put an immediate stop to the matching money McCollum thought he was entitled to when his Republican rival Rick Scott, a multimillionaire who is financing his own campaign, exceeds the state's $24.9 million spending cap. Scott has rejected the spending limits under the so-called ``millionaire's provision.''

    McCollum has received $1.7 million in state public financing because he has agreed to limit his campaign spending, and will continue to be eligible to receive public financing from another provision of the law. But the court injunction blocks the state from giving him the dollar-for-dollar match of everything Scott spends above the spending cap.

    The court's ruling comes at a time when McCollum is trailing Scott by 11 percentage points in the latest polls and the GOP gubernatorial primary is only weeks away. The latest finance reports show that McCollum has only $800,000 on hand for the Aug. 24 primary.
    "Court deals blow to public money match for Bill McCollum campaign".

    "Saying Scott's free speech rights would be "irreparably harmed," the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a preliminary injunction preventing the state from releasing extra campaign funds to McCollum based on how much his multi-millionaire opponent spends."
    Interim Secretary of State Dawn Roberts said she was deciding whether to appeal the ruling to preserve the so-called Millionaire's Amendment. The law was designed to keep wealthy candidates from using their personal resources to defeat less well-heeled opponents.

    McCollum, the state attorney general who is trailing in his fourth statewide race, said he, too, is weighing his legal options. But, he immediately pounced on Scott.
    "Court reversal of Fla. campaign-finance law a win for Scott in GOP gov race". See also "Scott wins in court, McCollum will not receive public financing (Updated)", "Court: No extra public funding for McCollum" and "Appeals court blocks matching funds for McCollum".

    Greer hoards RPOFer papers

    "When Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents raided the Oviedo home of ousted Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer in June, they not only handcuffed him and hauled him to jail, they also found boxes filled with party records."

    On April 20, the party demanded that Greer turn over all records in his possession that were "in any way relating to any of the matters set forth in your complaint in this case."

    He turned over 160 pages, according to state-party pleadings, withholding most of the party paperwork found by FDLE agents at his home. ... Also among the party paperwork FDLE agents found at Greer's home were:

    •Records comparing the party's actual spending in 2009 to its budget.

    •Records of the party's cash position.

    •Records of the party's base operating expenses.

    •Records related to air-charter company Baer Air.

    •Consultant contracts.

    •Crist for U.S. Senate expenses for the third quarter of 2009.

    •Crist call sheets from Feb. 3, 2009.

    •A state-party letter Greer wrote Crist dated Jan. 5, 2010.

    In addition, agents also found a $4,150 bill from GrayRobinson, the law firm that Greer hired to set up Victory Strategies. The firm says it was never paid.
    "Florida GOP: Greer had hundreds of party documents at his Oviedo home".


    "Federal officials predicted Friday that most Gulf Coast beaches have seen their last major oiling from the BP spill, and South Florida and the East Coast should be spared any impact because the crude never reached the powerful loop current. A new analysis by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed most surface oil in the Gulf had degraded to a thin sheen. What remained on the surface and below was hundreds of miles from the loop current, which scientists feared could have carried the oil through the Florida Keys, up the East Coast and possibly toward Europe. NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco said a strong eddy is preventing oil from reaching the loop current." "South Florida, East Coast likely spared oil impact".

    See also "Poll: Voters want say over offshore drilling", "Debris in relief well sets back work on gusher".

    Chiles has some explaining to do

    "In the governor's race, "

    former health care executive Rick Scott, Attorney General Bill McCollum and Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink are essentially in a dead heat.

    With Scott as the GOP nominee – and his nearly $30 million ad blitz has vaulted him into the lead in the Republican primary – he gets 29 percent, Sink 27 percent and independent Bud Chiles 14 percent.

    With McCollum as the Republican nominee, McCollum gets 27 percent, Sink 26 percent and Chiles 14 percent. Scott leads McCollum by 11 percent in the GOP primary.
    "Crist leading Florda race for U.S. Senate, poll finds".

    In either scenario - Scott or McCollum as the RPOFer candidate - Chiles is leeping the Republican in the race. Chiles has some explaining to do.

    Related: "Poll: Charlie Crist has slight edge in U.S. Senate race".

    "Effectiveness of Crist's centrist style"

    The Orlando Sentinel reports that "Gov. Charlie Crist, who fled the Republican Party for life as an independent, remains the frontrunner in Florida's race for Senate, leading former House Speaker Marco Rubio by 5 to 6 percentage points, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll."

    The poll shows Crist with 37 percent, Rubio at 32 percent, and Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene, one of two Democratic contenders, at 17 percent. Crist leads Rubio 39-33 percent if U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek is the Democratic nominee.

    In that scenario, Meek gets 13 percent of the vote.
    See also "Poll: Crist leads 3-way Senate race".

    The Q poll "underscores the effectiveness of Crist's centrist style -- and its risks. Crist, who has stripped references to his conservative positions from his campaign website, has remained the front-runner by receiving half of the vote of independents, a fifth of the Republican vote and a whopping 40 percent of the Democratic vote, the poll shows. ... Though Rubio's campaign has tried to paint Crist as an opportunist, the Quinnipiac poll suggests the criticism isn't sticking". "Shift to center helping Crist keep fragile lead". See also "Poll shows Crist in lead" and "Poll: Crist leading Senate race".

    Perhaps its population growth in The Villages?

    How Florida has managed to stay blue is a mystery with numbers like this: "Florida voters disapprove of the new health care law by a 53-to-36 percent margin, roughly the same as their 56-to-34 percent disapproval in June. Nationwide, opposition to the landmark health-care law declined over the past month, to 35 percent from 41 percent, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll released Thursday. Fifty percent of the public held a favorable view of the law, up slightly from 48 percent a month ago, while 14 percent expressed no opinion about the measure, according to the poll." "Poll: voters down on Obama, drilling, health care law".

    BICPAC kerfuffle

    "Democratic state Rep. Kevin Rader fired back at primary opponent Pete Burkert, noting that BICPAC helps pro-Israel candidates from both parties." "Rader PAC contribution sparks feud with Burkert in Democratic Senate primary".

    RPOFers look to increase Senate lead

    "While the political spotlight remains on the close and dramatic contests for the governorship and the open U.S. Senate seat, a number of intriguing contests are shaping up for Florida Senate seats in both primaries and in the general election. ... While Republican control of the Senate does not appear to be in any peril, the Democrats have fielded some solid candidates and have a chance at knocking off a few incumbents. But the reality is, the Republicans have an excellent chance at increasing their majority."

    - "SD 2: Greg Evers Has Strong Financial Advantage".

    - "SD 4: Handily, Four More Years for Don Gaetz".

    - "SD 6: Interesting Dem Primary gives Bill Montford the Edge".

    - "SD 8: John Thrasher Facing Challenges on Two Fronts".

    - "SD 10: Smooth Sailing for Incumbent Ronda Storms".

    - "SD 12: Jim Norman and Kevin Ambler Square Off in Conservative Showdown".

    - "SD 14: Dems Hope to Knock Off Steve Oelrich".

    - "SD 16: Jack Latvala is Back; Looks Poised to Pick Up a Seat for the GOP".

    - "SD 18: Joyner a Lock for a Second Term".

    - "SD 20: Alan Hays Looks Ready to Join the Senate".

    - "SD 22: David Simmons Headed Back to the Legislature".

    - "SD 24: Despite Staying with Crist, Altman Should Survive Challenge from the Right".

    - "SD 25: Three House Reps Battle it Out to Take Atwater’s Seat".

    - "SD 26: No Opposition to Incoming Senate President Mike Haridopolos".

    - "SD 27: Interesting Primaries for Dems and GOP to Replace Dave Aronberg".

    - "SD 28: It's Easily Another Cup of Joe … Negron".

    - "SD 30: Maria Sachs Faces No Opposition for Ted Deutch's Old Seat".

    - "SD 32: Ring Should be King for Another Four Years".

    - "SD 34: Incoming Democratic Leader Nan Rich Gets Another Term".

    - "SD 35: Gwen Margolis the Front-Runner Over Kevin Burns to Replace Dan Gelber".

    - "SD 36: Miguel Diaz de la Portilla Battles Julio Robaina in Miami-Dade".

    - "SD 38: $576K in the Bank Makes Anitere Flores Candidate to Beat".

    - "SD 40: Rene Garcia Looks to be Headed Back to Tallahassee".
    "Race for the Florida Senate".

    "Four spouses with mirror ambitions"

    "Behind the candidates' nasty accusations are four spouses with mirror ambitions. They are their husbands' ultimate political accessories, the lapel flag in human form: slim legs, coiffed hair, dazzling smiles, a walking thesaurus of their spouses' winning attributes. Carole Crist. Mei Greene. Leslie Meek. Jeanette Dousdebes-Rubio." "The women behind the men who would be Florida's senator".

    Is nothing sacred?

    "Floridians beware, especially you party-hardy Conchs: Under a little-known law, your local bar could be closed the next time a hurricane comes." "Bars could close in Florida for next hurricane".


    "The Republican contest for Florida attorney general features three conservatives with solid resumes, but little name recognition or star power. The low-budget, under-the-radar primary defies prediction, political observers say, as the state GOP tries to keep its eight-year grip on the attorney general post now held by gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum." "Florida attorney general's race: GOP's Holly Benson, Pam Bondi, Jeff Kottkamp fight to stand out". See also "Wide-open, three-way Republican primary for attorney general" and "Ex-prosecutor giving two veteran politicians a run in GOP race for Fla. AG".

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