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 Monday, July 12, 2010

Rubio's teabaggery

    "The base has gotten Rubio far,"
    but his strength will be tested as the campaign moves to the general election. While he has raised the money to compete on TV -- the ultimate battleground in Florida politics -- he still has to show he can appeal to more than hard-line conservatives and tea partyers.

    Already, momentum has cooled with Crist dropping out of the GOP primary to run as an independent. The conflict and contrast that riled up Rubio's supporters and drove a media story line has been sapped.

    And Rubio's record on property taxes invites questions about his effectiveness. His ideas were big but mostly failed, even though his party controlled the Legislature. In the end, Crist prevailed with a simpler -- and less substantial -- property tax relief plan.
    "Rubio's rise linked to tea parties".

    Perhaps a journalist will ask Rubio detailed questions about whether he supports the more controversial teabagger positions, including the belief "that anyone who 'stands up' and 'protests' the Obama administration is a patriot, but anyone who does the same to a Republican is a spoiler, a low life, and a possible traitor", their near worship of Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin or the belief that "President Obama's policies are moving the country toward socialism" or that "Blacks are Poor Because They’re Lazy", and the rest of that stuff.

    For more, see this Newsweek piece: "Why Doesn't the Media Interrogate Tea Partiers' Beliefs?"

    Greene in Tally

    "Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Greene will do some campaigning in the state capital today. Greene, a Palm Beach County billionaire real estate investor, is in a close race with U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek of Miami Gardens for the Democratic nomination to succeed Sen. George LeMieux in Washington." "U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Greene visits Tallahassee today".


    "The smallest victims are the biggest challenge for crews rescuing birds fouled with oil from the Gulf of Mexico spill. There's no way to know how many chicks have been killed by the oil, or starved because their parents were rescued or died struggling in a slick." "Babies of the oil spill face an uncertain future".

    See also "45 pelicans affected by oil spill moved to Florida", "States Look at Oil Spill Laws, but Florida's Future Murky", "South Florida sanctuary takes in oily birds from Gulf", "BP reports progress on oil cap; Gulf Coast waits" and "Tests: No crude oil in tar balls found along Florida coast".

    The Sun Sentinel editorial board: "South Floridians watching efforts to protect sensitive Panhandle coastlines and bays can only hope that the efforts will work, and, if the blowout makes it to the Atlantic side of the state, that our region will have learned enough to avoid any mistakes made during clean-up operations in other parts of the Gulf Coast region." "Lessons from the Gulf oil spill will help South Florida".

    Race to the bottom

    "The Obama administration's attempt last week to kill Arizona's tough new immigration law had both of Florida's GOP candidates for governor racing to upstage one other's support for tough enforcement." "Arizona immigration law an issue in Florida's GOP governor's race".

    Entrepreneurs in action

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Wellcare Health Plans Inc. is not fully paying for its sins. The Tampa-based insurer has been accused of bilking taxpayers of hundreds of millions of dollars by using fraudulent practices that were integral to the company's profit-making. " "Don't let WellCare off lightly for fraud".

    "Florida races tend to be easy on incumbents"

    "Underneath the loud tussling over who Florida's next governor and U.S. senator will be runs a quiet political battle that could have far more lasting ramifications."

    The Fair Districts Florida website explains the stakes this way: "In the last 6 years, there have been 420 elections for State Senator and State Representative. Only three incumbents have been defeated! After all, their districts are specially designed for them! With virtually certain seats, legislators have no incentive to be responsive to their constituents and they see no reason to compromise for the public good."

    We aren't going to address finger-wagging between the two sides. But Fair Districts' election statistics are ripe for a Truth-O-Meter item. We wondered, are Florida elections really that predictable?

    The short answer is yes.

    We checked the state Division of Elections site, which lists every state Senate and House candidate since 1996. It also lists the outcomes of each race, including primaries, special elections, runoffs and general elections.

    In the past six years, Florida has held three regularly scheduled general elections and 17 special elections for Senate and House seats. By definition, special elections don't feature incumbents, so those campaigns are not relevant to our count.

    In 2008, there were 141 seats up for grabs. In 2006, there were 140, and 2004 saw 142 seats enter into play. That amounts to 423 potential general elections in six years. There are many more elections if you count individual primaries, runoffs and general elections.

    Freidin said her "420" figure was based on the number of Senate and House seats that might have been up for election during those three cycles.

    From 2004 through 2010, many Florida incumbents won re-election when candidate qualifying closed because they drew no opponents. In 2004, every incumbent won re-election.

    Of the incumbents who drew rivals, exactly three were defeated during that six-year span:

    • Republican Rep. Sheri McInvale of Orlando lost her 2006 general election to Rep. Scott Randolph, a Democrat from Orlando. Two Republicans, an independent and a write-in candidate qualified in June 2010 to run against Randolph.

    • Republican Rep. Susan Goldstein of Weston was trumped in the 2006 general campaign by Rep. Marty Kiar, a Democrat from Davie, who was re-elected in June 2010 when no other candidate qualified to run.

    •Democratic Rep. Tony Sasso of Cocoa Beach failed to keep his seat during the 2008 general election. The winner was Rep. Steve Crisafulli, a Republican from Merritt Island who was re-elected in June 2010 without opposition.

    Fair Districts Florida's larger point that Florida races tend to be easy on incumbents still rang true after further scrutiny.
    "PolitiFact: Incumbent losses in Legislature are as rare as Fair Districts Florida says".

    Johnny Jones passes

    "Everglades activist Johnny Jones dies".

    Laid-off teachers

    "For about 500 laid-off Broward educators, this will be a summer spent in limbo as they wait to learn whether they'll be rehired by August. Many thought the careers they loved were recession-proof, but like 1 million other Floridians they are now jobless." "Laid-off Broward teachers searching for work".

    Papers please ...

    "The Department of Justice last week filed a lawsuit challenging Arizona’s controversial immigration-enforcement law S.B. 1070 — which requires law enforcement officials to 'determine the immigration status' of a person if there is a 'reasonable suspicion' that the person is an undocumented immigrant. "

    In Florida, politicians and activists have argued the merits of importing S.B. 1070 to Florida, with high-profile Republican gubernatorial candidates Bill McCollum and Rick Scott, among others, both pledging support for the Arizona legislation.

    But Florida law enforcement officials may not even need the backing of a new law. Section 287(g), a provision in the federal government’s Immigration and Nationality Act, has enabled select local Florida officers to perform immigration enforcement for years, and its implementation is drawing criticism for trampling on immigrants’ civil rights.
    "Federal immigration-enforcement provision ‘leads to racial profiling,’ is a ‘civil rights violation’".

    West rakes it in

    "Add Florida Republican Allen West to the list of bomb-throwing political personalities raising cash off their knack for connecting with the country's most exercised activists."

    West, a former Army colonel challenging Democratic Rep. Ron Klein, raised $1.4 million in the second quarter of 2010 – an astonishing ...

    Republican officials expect West's haul to be the largest of any non-incumbent GOP candidate for the last three months. It brings his overall fundraising for the cycle to $3.5 million and he ended June with $2.2 million on hand.
    "West rakes in cash".

    That's all you got?

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Candidates for the state Legislature invariably offer up two things: an earful about how their opponents don't measure up, and, if they represent the majority party that controls what gets done in Tallahassee, a flavor of what Floridians can expect after the election." "What's in store for Florida".

    "On the mend"

    "After the worst year in the home building business since the Great Depression, Southwest Florida builders and their subcontractors are getting busy again." "Home building in Southwest Florida is on the mend".

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