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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, August 23, 2010

Down to the wire

    "Bill McCollum and Rick Scott are taking to the skies to get in as much last-minute campaigning as possible." "Fla. gubernatorial candidates plan busy day ". See also "Candidates make pitches on last day before Election Day".

    Poll puzzle

    Update: Public Policy Polling's "final poll of the race finds Rick Scott leading Bill McCollum 47-40. That advantage is within the poll's margin of error." "Close Republican race in Florida" and also sees "Meek headed for a big win" ("Kendrick Meek is headed for a blowout victory in Tuesday's Florida Democratic Senate primary. He's now at 51% to 27% for Jeff Greene with the other candidates splitting 9% and 13% still undecided.")

    "In this campaign season, various polls -- increasingly part of Florida's political landscape -- have produced different winners and losers, often days apart."

    A little over a week ago, the St. Petersburg Times, Miami Herald and Bay News 9 published Ipsos Public Affairs polls showing Greene edging Meek and Scott with a commanding 10-point lead over McCollum.

    That news came amid a new Mason-Dixon survey showing Meek trouncing Greene by 14 points and McCollum leading Scott by a few.

    Then came a Voter Survey Service poll showing Scott defeating McCollum. But a Quinnipiac University poll showed McCollum up by 9 percentage points.

    And finally, over the weekend, came a poll from Mason-Dixon with McCollum and Meek ahead, 45-36 and 42-30 respectively.
    "Puzzle of election polls: Who's in the lead?". The latest "Poll: McCollum, Meek have large leads" and "McCollum, Meek surge ahead of rivals Scott, Greene in new poll".

    "The week ahead"

    "The end to a bruising primary election season is the big event this week." "The Week Ahead for Aug. 23-27".

    McCollum, Scott go to church

    "McCollum, Scott campaign at megachurches".

    "A healthy dose of disdain"

    "It's supposed to be the year of the "outsider" — the election where fed-up voters embrace newcomers and kick incumbents to the curb. But in Florida, the electorate seems to view most everyone in the political arena with a healthy dose of disdain." "Primary voters turned off by mudslinging".

    Teabags a millstone around Rubio's neck

    "When the year began, the stars could not have shone brighter for Marco Rubio, the fresh voice of newly invigorated conservatives who embodied the change that frustrated grass-roots Republicans demanded from inside their own party."

    This week, facing a more complicated path than he had anticipated in his race for a United States Senate seat, he is hoping to begin a second act.

    The Florida primary on Tuesday was once going to be Mr. Rubio’s chance to dispatch his main Republican opponent, Gov. Charlie Crist. But Mr. Crist bolted the party four months ago rather than face Mr. Rubio in the primary and is running as an independent in a three-way race.

    Now, facing intense competition for the moderate Republicans and independents who could be the keys to victory in one of the nation’s most evenly divided states, Mr. Rubio is trying to show that he is more than just an insurgent protest candidate — and he is breaking with some Tea Party orthodoxy in the process.

    Mr. Rubio spends less and less time trying to tap into the discontent that has been at the forefront of the midterm elections.
    "Florida Candidate Veers From Tea Party’s Script".

    NRA kerfuffle

    "Insurgent Republican candidate Don Browning has found himself in a verbal shootout with the nation's most powerful gun lobby over its support for longtime incumbent Rep. Cliff Stearns." "Browning in war of words with NRA over Stearns".

    'Ya think?

    "Will money be deciding factor in area races?".

    Lying in church?

    "Before a flock of 6,000, Rick Scott got a chance to address El Rey Jesus church in Kendall -- but he didn't turn the other cheek in the bare-knuckle Republican primary for governor."

    "My opponent came here two or three weeks ago and was very disrespectful,'' Scott said as associate pastor John Laffite translated in Spanish. "He was not honest with your leadership about his beliefs.''

    At issue: McCollum's shifting positions on an Arizona-style immigration law. McCollum at one point said he didn't support it and described it as "far-out.'' Then, after polls revealed the law's popularity and after the law was changed to prevent racial profiling, McCollum said he backed it.

    But the attorney general didn't tell prominent supporters in Miami-Dade County that he planned to go a step further and back what, he said, was a stricter measure in Florida.

    Among those blind-sided: Pastor Guillermo Maldonado of El Rey Jesus. So Maldonado said he offered Scott a chance to address his congregation.
    But "Scott didn't mention that he, too, favors an Arizona-style immigration law. He didn't say "immigration" at all. So all the crowd heard was that McCollum was disrespectful and dishonest about his beliefs.
    The brief hit on McCollum caught the attorney general's supporters by surprise. Anthony Verdugo, with the Christian Family Coalition, was listening in the crowd and left shortly after Scott spoke. He told reporters that it was "highly inappropriate'' to use houses of worship to swipe at political opponents.

    McCollum heard a fitting sermon about negative attacks at the First Baptist Church in Jacksonville.

    "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth,'' pastor Mac Brunson urged the packed mega-church, quoting Ephesians 4:29. "Be nice!''

    Coincidence? Probably. But a month ago, when McCollum's Republican rival Scott visited, Brunson lectured on the sin of lying.
    Much more here: "Political hopefuls spend Sunday before Primary Day campaigning".

    "Blistering war between McCollum and Scott"

    "After a blistering three-month television ad war between McCollum and Scott, even Republicans are beginning to worry that the damage may prove too much to overcome in the five weeks before voting begins in the general election against Sink." "Can GOP overcome nasty gubernatorial primary?".

    The best they can do

    "Local Republican leaders were at McCollum’s side as they attempted to rally their own constituencies behind the candidate. Among the faces were state Rep. Marti Coley, state Rep. Jimmy Patronis, former Speaker of the House Allan Bense, House majority leader Adam Hasner and former Panama City Beach mayor and current radio personality Lee Sullivan." "Scott, McCollum stump in Panama City".

    Nice to have a job with daddy's company

    "Congress has repeatedly extended unemployment benefits, but that doesn't make the move popular among Florida's Republicans or independents. Though Florida has one of the highest jobless rates in the nation, only 22 percent of Republican voters support extending unemployment compensation, according to a new Sunshine State News Poll. By contrast, a solid 68 percent of Florida Democrats back the extension." "Parties Split on Jobless Benefits".

    HD 73

    "Republican voters in Florida's House District 73 are likely to be served by youth and political inexperience when they go to the polls Tuesday." "GOP Youth Ready to Serve in Florida House District 73".

    Special session update

    "Atwater said he is open to a special session, [although] he is waiting to confer with House Speaker Larry Cretul, R-Ocala before he can go much further." "Jeff Atwater Offers Update on Special Session".


    "The new administrator for damage claims from Gulf oil spill victims said Sunday it was his idea, not BP's, to require that anyone who receives a final settlement from the $20 billion compensation fund give up the right to sue the oil giant. But Ken Feinberg told reporters that he has not yet decided whether the no-sue requirement will extend to other companies that may be responsible for the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history." "Gulf claims chief says no-sue rule was his idea".

    McCollum drowning in endorsements

    "Eleven of Florida's biggest newspapers — Lakeland Ledger, Miami Herald, Naples Daily News, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, Palm Beach Post, St. Petersburg Times, Tampa Tribune, Tallahassee Democrat, Pensacola News Journal and Sarasota Herald-Tribune — endorsed McCollum for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. The fact that rival Scott refused to meet with any editorial boards probably had something to do with it." "Endorsements aplenty".

    Weak bench

    "In a sign of the confidence returning to supporters of McCollum's Republican gubernatorial campaign, speculative Buzz about McCollum's running mate ramped up in recent days. Among the most frequently mentioned names: Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina, state Sen. Alex Villalobos of Miami, state Rep. Anitere Flores of Miami, House Majority Leader Adam Hasner of Boca Raton and state Rep. Jennifer Carroll of the Jacksonville area." "Talk of running mate a sign of confidence for Bill McCollum".

    "Working to keep state contracts honest"

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Even her political opponents should see Sink deserves credit for working to keep state contracts honest." "Competitive bids provide checks and balances".

    Florida's already "lean, fairly efficient state government"

    "Although we won't know who our next governor will be until November, whoever lives at 700 N. Adams St., will probably change [Tallahassee's] economic base over the next four or eight years, whether intentionally or not."

    In his inaugural speech, Republican Bob Martinez said, "I didn't come here to be different, I came here to make a difference." Lawton Chiles spoke of "right-sizing" state government, with "more steering, less rowing" from the Capitol. Jeb Bush got our attention when he mused about "emptying out" all those big white buildings he saw around him, from the east steps.

    Bush was about as "profoundly appreciated" locally as the boll weevil was when it first burrowed into Alabama cotton fields. But with a compliant Legislature, Bush did more privatization and reorganizing than all modern governors combined.

    He even overhauled the state personnel system, with his "Service First" initiatives in 2001. And he did it all in good economic times.

    No matter who wins this year, the next chief executive will not have good economic times. He or she will inherit a lean, fairly efficient state government — but will have told voters it's a big, inefficient bureaucracy. You don't get elected by going around saying, "Actually, things aren't so bad in Tallahassee."
    Much more: "Bill Cotterell: Change is coming, like it or not".

    "The feeling wasn't necessarily mutual"

    "A nasty Democratic Senate primary turned spiritual Sunday as Rep. Kendrick Meek told a church congregation that he forgives billionaire opponent Jeff Greene for his campaign attacks. The feeling wasn't necessarily mutual, however, as Greene, handing out school supplies to families in the same community, said it was Meek who pushed the campaign in a negative direction." "Meek: I forgive Greene for attacks in Senate race".

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