"Crist's bid to ask voters to ban oil drilling off Florida is in deep trouble, with the House backing away from a vote and the oil industry already declaring victory."
In a poisonous political atmosphere, it now appears nothing will be accomplished next week, and the hostility between the independent governor and Republican-led Legislature will be worse than ever. "House and Senate leaders poised to clamp a lid on special session on oil drilling". See also "Republicans likely to reject Crist's proposed drilling ban", "No deal reached yet on how to handle special session" and "Leaders say Legislature likely won't approve ban on offshore drilling".
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Crist gambled by calling next week’s special legislative session to strengthen Florida’s offshore drilling ban. Now Republican House leaders, angry at Crist’s stunt, are implying they won’t schedule a vote to place a constitutional amendment on the November ballot. Lawmakers should vote up or down on Crist’s proposal, because the only sin worse than calling a special session without a deal is sabotaging one out of political spite." "Put drilling ban to vote".
Teabaggers ponying up for Rubio
"Crist raised $1.8 million for his independent U.S. Senate campaign in the past three months, trailing Republican Marco Rubio but conserving millions of dollars more for the last few months of the campaign."
Rubio reported a monster-sized $4.5 million haul earlier this week -- replacing Crist as Florida's fundraising champ. Still, Crist's latest donations were up from the $1.1 million he collected in the previous three months before he ditched the Republican Party."Crist leads in money race".
"I couldn't be more delighted. It's uncharted territory,'' said Crist, who leads the polls.
What's more, Crist said he has $8.2 million in the bank, compared to Rubio, who has $4.4 million. Crist has been increasingly leaning on Democratic donors. ...
Rubio blew through $4 million between April and June, mostly on television, mail and fundraising, according to Burgos. Crist's expenses were far less -- roughly $1.2 million. ...
The Democratic front-runner, U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek of Miami, collected $1 million in the past three months. That leaves him with $4 million in the bank, slightly less than Rubio. Meek spent less than $700,000 during that time period, compared to $5.8 million by his chief opponent in the Aug. 24 primary, billionaire Jeff Greene.
"Billionaire Jeff Greene will report Thursday that he has spent nearly $6 million so far on his Democratic Senate campaign. Republican Marco Rubio said earlier this week that he will report a record $4.5 million raised during the three months that ended June 30 and U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek says he has raised more than $1 million for his Democratic campaign." "Rubio's campaign on upward cash swing".
... but Crist still ahead
"But the increase in Crist's overall fundraising total is good news for the governor's Senate bid, as are polls that continue to show him with the advantage in three-way race for Florida's open Senate seat. The TPM Poll Average for the contest shows Crist with 36.6% of the vote, Rubio with 32.6% and embattled Democratic party candidate Kendrick Meek -- who faces an increasingly tough primary of his own -- with 14.7%" "AP: Crist's Fundraising As An Independent Goes Up". But see "Crist Fund-Raising Machine Sputters".
Entrepreneurs in action
"Clear Channel wants trees that block its billboards in South Florida cut down".
"BP stopped the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico for the first time in almost three months. Pressure tests over the next two days will determine whether a new cap on the well can remain in place." "Gulf oil spill choked -- and now we wait"
See also "Sea creatures cause tar ball scare in Sarasota Co.", "BP chokes off the oil leak, waits to see if it holds; Fla. cheers long-awaited news", "Some have trouble believing BP stopped oil leak", "House panel OKs overhaul of oil drilling agency" and "Gulf geyser stops gushing, but will it hold?".
"Bondi's "I can see Russia from my back porch!" moment"
Daniel Ruth: "Think of this as Pam Bondi's "I can see Russia from my back porch!" moment. ... Ah, the woman is a natural — in any party." "Bondi's shifty response to sudden right turn".
"A quiet death"
"NASA's plans to return astronauts to the moon by 2020 died a quiet death Thursday when a key Senate panel approved a new course for the agency that terminates the Constellation moon-rocket program and instructs NASA to build a new rocket for a yet-undefined mission." "Plan kills NASA's Constellation moon mission, adds shuttle launch".
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Better course on space". The Sun Sentinel editorial board: "Bill Nelson space plan looks like the better deal".
HD 104 and 108 endorsements
The Miami Herald editorial board endorses in "HD 108" and "HD 104".
"Republican candidate for governor Rick Scott wasted no time Wednesday and immediately filed an appeal of federal Judge Robert Hinkle's decision to deny his request for an injunction to block the release of state funds to his rival under Florida's public finance law."
He also asked for the fast-tracked ruling since the state is scheduled to cut a check to Attorney General Bill McCollum, Scott's GOP challenger, by Aug. 6, a week after Scott files his expense report. The millionaire health care executive is expected to show he has exceeded a $24.9 million spending cap, triggering the release of public funds."Republican Rick Scott appeals ruling to give state funds to gubernatorial rival".
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune editorial board: "Nothing in Florida's constitution or laws has prevented Rick Scott from spending millions of his own dollars to campaign for governor. Nothing will prevent him from spending even more of his personal wealth in a high-cost, unlimited exercise of his First Amendment right. Yet, in a case in federal court Wednesday, Scott claimed that his right to freedom of speech will be violated if his opponent's campaign receives public funds -- in exchange for accepting spending limits." "All the free speech he can buy".
"Activists and supporters shared their thoughts on Florida Power & Light's proposed expansion of the Turkey Point nuclear power plant." "FPL's Turkey Point expansion plans debated".
Gelber BP Issue
"The fire ignited by Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, over the loose ties Sen. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, has with BP will likely continue a slow burn over the next five weeks leading up to the Aug. 24 primary. And despite polarizing his own party and being criticized on his ethics, Aronberg says he plans to continue to fan the flames." "AG Race: Dave Aronberg Won't Back Down from Dan Gelber BP Issue".
Publicity stunt for failing campaign
"A Republican state lawmaker is calling for a censure of Gov. Charlie Crist over his move to bring legislators back to Tallahassee next week to vote on a proposal that would constitutionally ban offshore oil drilling in Florida. Rep. Sandy Adams, R-Orlando, also a candidate for Congress, announced Thursday that she was filing a resolution to censure the governor during next week's session." "Lawmaker Wants Crist Censured".
"Labor leaders Thursday called on Gov. Charlie Crist and the leadership of both houses to expand the focus of the special session to change state statutes so unemployed Floridians will be able to receive extended unemployment benefits. " "Florida AFL-CIO Calls for Special Session to Tackle Extending Unemployment Benefits".
"Ballot secrecy compromised in Fla., other states".
State parties in a predicament
"With his retinue of notorious celebrity friends, including former pimp Heidi Fleiss and boxer/convicted rapist Mike Tyson, and his previous history running for office as a Republican, billionaire Jeff Greene is not the kind of candidate the Democratic machine would necessarily put up for U.S. Senate."
Many Republican officials see multi-millionaire businessman Rick Scott’s controversial past running a chain of hospitals that ultimately admitted to massive Medicare and Medicaid fraud as insurmountable baggage in the general election for governor."Greene, Scott create dilemma for party establishments should they win".
Yet both candidates have made inroads in their respective primary battles, and their success puts the state parties they hope to represent in a predicament: stay neutral in the intra-party races or actively offer endorsements.
What's wrong with Hillsborough?
"Commissioner refuses to say how wife paid for $435,000 home".
Let's try another one
"Billionaire self-funded Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Greene has a new campaign manager. The last one quit after two months." "Greene deals with campaign staff shakeup, defends job creation claims".
It's your Party, Connie
"Representative Connie Mack sent a letter to Florida legislators and Gov. Charlie Crist on Thursday, urging them not to pass immigration legislation at a special session next week." "Mack sends letter to legislators urging them not to pass Arizona-style immigration legislation".
McCollum laff riot
"McCollum spoke with passion about the lawsuit he filed in conjunction with 19 other states that questions the constitutionality of the federal health care reform bill, calling it a 'landmark on individual liberties,' and guaranteeing that it would find its way to the Supreme Court." "Bill McCollum: Health care lawsuit is ‘landmark on individual liberties’".
"Slimy accusations, divisive strategies"
Scott Maxwell: "Last week, gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott's campaign went after his Republican primary opponent, Bill McCollum, for having previously supported New York City's "pro-homosexual rights" Mayor Rudy Giuliani."
The claim was as steeped in distortion as it was intolerance. Suggesting McCollum is gay-friendly is almost as silly as suggesting he is charismatic. The guy is at the forefront of discrimination in this country, leading the charge to take foster children away from loving parents who happen to be gay. ... when you consider all of his tactics — slimy accusations, divisive strategies and his past involvement in a scandal — this guy who claims to hate career politicians sure seems to be a quick study.More here: "Unsavory topics to top off your day".
"With the Legislature going into special session next week to consider backing a constitutional amendment to ban oil drilling in state waters, Senate President Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, is now ready for a second oil-related session to be held at the end of summer -- and he has the backing of the House speaker." "Senate President Jeff Atwater Calls for Second Special Session".
Too old for those civics classes
"In a meeting with the Tallahassee Democrat editorial board, prior to an evening forum with Leon County Republicans, four of the GOP contenders in the 2nd Congressional District praised Attorney General Bill McCollum's federal lawsuit challenging the new law. They generally agreed that the federal government has exceeded constitutional limits and said the nation's economy can only be revived by reducing deficits and holding down taxes." "GOP contenders for Congress air views".
"A crowded race for Kendrick Meek's seat features experienced politicians and a big-fundraising potential spoiler." "District 17 candidates stress economic development".