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 Friday, July 30, 2010

"McCollum in full pout"

    Daniel Ruth: "Like a palm tree version of Henry II in Becket, there are times when you have to imagine Bill McCollum padding around the house in his Doctor Dentons muttering to himself: 'Will no one rid me of this meddlesome robber baron?'"
    There he was just a short time ago envisioning himself sitting in the Governor's Mansion, whiling away the days signing death warrants, schmoozing the Florida Legislature and whirling around in amazement every time someone uttered the words: "Oh Gov. McCollum!"

    Instead, in less time than it takes for an American Idol contestant to get the heave-ho, Florida's attorney general, the man who would be king, is facing the prospect his political career will wind up on a pile of tea bags.

    Little wonder then that Bill McCollum is angry, Elmer Fudd-like vewry, vewry angry.

    McCollum has now entered that stage in the Republican gubernatorial campaign in full pout ...
    Much more here: "McCollum fires off a vicious . . . pout".

    Another fine Jebacy

    "Florida has third-highest uninsured population in nation".

    Today's Q poll

    Today's Florida Q Poll:

    Florida Gov. Charlie Crist leads the three-way race for the U.S. Senate seat with 37 percent, followed by 32 percent for Republican Marco Rubio and 17 percent for Jeff Greene, the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. If U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek wins the Democratic primary, Crist's lead would be 39 percent to 33 percent for Rubio and 13 percent for Meek.
    In the Guv race:
    The three-way race for Governor is a squeaker between Democrat Alex Sink, the State Chief Financial Officer, and either of the Republican candidates, retired health care executive Rick Scott or Attorney General Bill McCollum, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University survey finds. Scott gets 29 percent to Sink's 27 percent with independent Bud Chiles receiving 14 percent. If McCollum wins the GOP primary, he would get 27 percent to 26 percent for Sink and 14 percent for Chiles.
    In the Senate race, Crist's lead is based on getting half the independent voters, about 20 percent of Republicans and about 40 percent of Democrats. His 53 - 37 percent voter approval of his job as Governor probably is a factor in his lead.

    Crist's margin in the general election matchups compare to a 37 - 33 - 17 percent lead with Meek in the race and 40 - 33 - 14 percent with Greene running in a June 9 poll. ...

    The dead heat in the governor's race stems largely from a drop in the numbers for Scott and McCollum as they bombard each other with negative television ads. In June, registered voters gave McCollum a 37 - 29 percent favorable rating. Now it is 43 - 27 percent unfavorable. Scott's rating has gone from 31 - 22 percent favorable to a 29 - 30 percent split during the same period.

    Sink gets a 25 - 15 percent favorability, with 58 percent who don't know enough about her to form an opinion, little changed from June 9.

    "When candidates throw mud at each other, they can't avoid being splattered also. That is what has been happening and the beneficiary of the millions spent on negative ads Attorney General Bill McCollum and Rick Scott have been airing at this point is State CFO Alex Sink. Whether that will remain the case once the Republican nomination is settled we'll see," said Brown. "Chiles remains in the mid-teens, and a factor in the November election."
    See also "Crist holds small lead in Fla. US Senate contest", "Democrats Keep Crist in Lead of Senate Race", "Scott, Greene Hold Double-Digit Leads Over McCollum, Meek", "New Q Poll finds Scott, Greene with double-digit leads", "Quinnipiac poll: Crist leading Senate race", "Poll: Wealthy outsiders Greene (+10) and Scott (+11) lead their Florida primaries" and "Poll: Candidates Jeff Greene, Rick Scott lead opponents".

    Q Poll detail: July 30 release: "Crist On Top In 3-Way Florida Senate Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Dem Sink Tied With Either Republican In Governnor's Race". July 29 release: "'Outsiders' Lead In Florida Primaries, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Scott Up In GOP Gov Race, Greene Leads In Dem Senate Bid".

    Sansom too good for a jumpsuit

    "The specter of once-powerful Ray Sansom wearing a jail jumpsuit and picking up roadside trash scuttled a proposed plea deal with the former House speaker, court testimony revealed Thursday."

    A rare glimpse into settlement negotiations involving the ex-lawmaker emerged during a combative all-day hearing in which lawyers for Sansom and two co-defendants are trying to have veteran State Attorney Willie Meggs thrown off the case on the grounds of prosecutorial misconduct.

    The rejected agreement would have required Sansom, Destin developer Jay Odom and former college president Bob Richburg to admit to misdemeanor charges, pay fines and participate in a sheriff's work program for at least a month.

    Meggs, the top prosecutor in North Florida's six-county Second Judicial Circuit, testified that the three men would have all been required to plead guilty to the attempted official misconduct for their role in inserting $6 million into the state budget to pay for a combination emergency operations center and airplane hangar to house Odom's jets.

    The defendants also would have had to repay the state $310,000, the amount officials paid to hire an architect to design the building.

    And he would have required them to spend from one to six months on a sheriff's work detail, picking up trash along roads while dressed in striped inmate outfits.
    "Ray Sansom plea deal scuttled by `humiliation' factor". See also "Sansom, codefendants seek to have charges thrown out" and "Sansom attorneys want prosecutor removed from case".

    Entrepreneurs in action

    "The Florida attorney general is investigating two companies accused of bilking people who wanted to get work cleaning up oil in and around the Gulf." "Florida goes after Gulf oil spill scams".

    Imagine, never again having to wait in a doctor's office

    "A proposed constitutional amendment that would have blocked the state from starting a health care program similar to President Barack Obama's federal plan was removed from the ballot Thursday by a judge who said its wording would confuse voters. Circuit Judge James Shelfer said Amendment 9's wording could even make voters think they would never have to wait in a doctor's office if the measure passed."

    Three constitutional amendments proposed for the 2010 ballot have now been removed from the ballot by judges, including two by Shelfer, who was appointed to the bench by former Gov. Jeb Bush. Shelfer also removed from the ballot Amendment 7, a measure dealing with how lawmakers draw districts for Congress and the Legislature.
    "Florida judge throws out proposed health care amendment". Related: "Court Kills Amendment 9 -- After Erasing Amendment 7".

    "Political bloodbaths"

    "A notable handful ... have turned into full-fledged verbal smackdowns, with opponents slinging more mud than a tractor pull." "Candidates get nasty in bitter election battles"

    E-Verify for state employees

    "With immigration emerging as one of the chief issues in the race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination -- and trying to catch up with front-runner Rick Scott -- Attorney General Bill McCollum sponsored a motion at Thursday’s Cabinet meeting for state offices to use E-Verify to ensure that no illegal aliens are hired." "Cabinet Unanimously Backs E-Verify to Stop State From Hiring Illegal Aliens".

    "But that would tick off campaign donors"

    Scott Maxwell points out why pols don't like to talk about the employers who exploit illegal immigrants ('ya know, pay them less than minimum wage under the table and stuff like that)*:

    If they were, they would be forced to admit that the root of the problem is businesses that hire illegal immigrants.

    But that would tick off many of the campaign donors.

    So instead, they opt for an easier route. They demonize the people who come here looking for jobs instead of cracking down on the companies that provide them.

    Nowhere is that more evident than right here in Florida.

    Just a few months ago, legislators trotted out a joke of an immigration bill.

    The bill would have forced employers to electronically verify the immigration status of their workers, which sounds good until you realize that legislators wanted to exempt the entire private sector.

    Think about that for a moment.

    Do you really think that the majority of the illegal immigrants in Florida are toiling away as, say, code inspectors and environmental engineers on the state payroll?
    "Serious immigration reform must involve employers".

    - - - - - - - - - -
    *If an when illegal immigrants are given a path to citizenship, they will probably unionize in droves, which is one of the unstated objections to serious immigration reform.

    CD 17 Herald endorsements

    The Miami Herald endorsements in CD 17: "Ten people seek to replace him -- nine are Democrats. The winner of the Aug. 24 primary will face attorney Roderick Vereen, running without a party affiliation, in November. The most viable candidates are Marleine Bastien, 51, executive director of the Haitian Women of Miami, Shirley Gibson, 67, Miami Gardens mayor, and state Sen. Frederica Wilson, 68. Each has unique talents."


    As we noted yesterday in "And so it begins", the Orlando Sentinel was formally beginning its attacks on Alan Grayson. Predictably, here's today's Sentinel editorial: "Alan Grayson's gall".

    In the meantime, Sentinel readers should prepare themselves for a stream of stories about how wonderfulness of one Daniel Webster, the "revered pro-family leader" who will be Grayson's likely challenger.


    "Democrats Face Blowback on Oil 'Spill Bill'".

    See also "Feds, farmers create habitats for migrating birds", "Partisan bickering delays oil spill legislation", "US gas stations: Stay BP or change name to Amoco?", "Less oil on surface means less work for fishermen" and "Past problems for company at heart of oil spill".

    Confused voters

    Thomas Tryon: "After the fiasco that accompanied the 2000 presidential election in Florida, the state standardized many aspects of voting. ... Despite the steps toward consistency, elections in Florida are still confusing, even for experienced voters and those of us who cover political races and candidates." See what Tryon means here: "Elections still have their share of confusion".

    Florida leads the way in foreclosure filings

    "A RealtyTrac report shows Florida leading the way in new foreclosure related filings over the first six months of 2010. Business & Political leaders say letting taxes increase in 2011 when benefits expire could worsen foreclosures and kill economic growth." "Expiring Tax Benefits Could Worsen Foreclosure Rates".

    "Party money smacks of king-making deal"

    "A football star got stopped just short of the goal two years ago, but the Florida Republican Party still thinks it can win a House seat in a heavily Democratic district that includes the state Capitol."

    The state GOP's $25,000 contribution, and staff support, for candidate Kirk Headley-Perdue has drawn a protest from her opponent, Ann Yarko.

    Yarko — a conservative activist and Florida State University communications-political science student taking a break for some real world experience — says the party money smacks of the kind of king-making deals that helped lead to the downfall of former state GOP Chairman Jim Greer. Party headquarters says it's just making its best bet in the District 9 race.

    Yarko wrote to the new chairman, state Sen. John Thrasher when she learned that the party provided the money — matched by $25,000 from Headley-Perdue — along with more than $3,000 worth of administrative support. She urged him to "let the Republican voters" decide the nomination.
    "Yarko protests state GOP support of opponent".

    What's wrong with Palm Beach

    Joel Engelhardt: "Observers of the Palm Beach County Commission can be excused these days if they're confused. Democrats act like Republicans and Republicans act like Democrats." "Palm Beach County: Where R's and D's and D's are R's.".

    "Wrongheaded and unconstitutional"

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "The ruling by a federal judge temporarily preventing key parts of the controversial Arizona immigration law from taking effect highlights the constitutional problems with the state's approach. Judge Susan Bolton explained that the law intruded on federal authority over immigration matters and put legal immigrants at risk of being subject to unjust arrest and detention. This should cause Florida politicians who would like to bring something similar here to rethink their strategy. Arizona is appealing, but this draconian approach to illegal immigration is not only wrongheaded but unconstitutional." "Ruling confirms flaws of Ariz. law". See also "Rep. Ritch Workman Determined Florida Will Have Tough Immigration Law". The Sarasota Herald Tribune editors: "Roadblock in Arizona".

    Meanwhile, the "federal injunction blocking key portions of Arizona's immigration law hasn't deterred Republican legislators and candidates who want to bring a similar measure to Florida." "Arizona immigration battle shapes Florida political fights".

    Dem AG race "is a true tossup"

    "For two months a year, they sit six feet from each other on the floor of the Florida Senate, battling the Republican majority in the state Legislature. Now, two rising stars in the Democratic Party – Sens. Dave Aronberg of Greenacres and Dan Gelber of Miami Beach – are seeking the party's nomination for what is arguably the second-most powerful post in Florida government: attorney general, Florida's chief legal officer." "Florida attorney general's race: David Aronberg, Dan Gelber not so far apart". See also "Democrats' stars Aronberg, Gelber getting heated in Florida attorney general race".

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