"Florida's party primaries last week set the stage for a half-dozen closely contested congressional elections this fall that could help resurgent Republicans regain majority control of Congress."
National political analysts foresee a Republican gain of two or three U.S. House seats in Florida.In the meantime, "Democrats hope to wrest two seats from Republicans, one at the southern end of the Miami area and another south of Orlando."
Four Democratic incumbents appear vulnerable: Alan Grayson of Orlando, Suzanne Kosmas of New Smyrna Beach, Allen Boyd of Monticello and Ron Klein of Boca Raton. On the other hand, two open seats vacated by Republicans in South and Central Florida offer opportunities for Democrats.
"I expect Republicans to pick up three seats in Florida on their way to the 40 they hope to get nationally," said David Wasserman, who tracks House campaigns for The Cook Political Report, which analyzes elections across the country. "The primaries demonstrated that there is more enthusiasm on the Republican side this year."
Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart of Miami is leaving the 25th District to run unopposed in the more Republican-friendly 21st District now represented by his brother, Lincoln Diaz-Balart, who is retiring from Congress.Half-dozen Florida races could hold key to GOP gaining control of Congress".
Competing for the open seat are Democrat Joe Garcia and Republican state Rep. David Rivera. Garcia has a slight lead in the money chase, raising $1.6 million to Rivera's $1.3 million. ...
A similar contest is unfolding in the 12th District, an area marked by suburban sprawl and citrus groves, where Republican Adam Putnam is retiring to run for agriculture commissioner. That sets up a competitive race between Republican Dennis Ross, a former legislator, and Democrat Lori Edwards, the supervisor of elections in Polk County.
And so it begins ...
"Crist won the backing of two state Democrat legislators this morning in his quest to become a United States Senator. State Sen.-elect Maria Sachs, Delray Beach, and State Rep. Darryl Rouson, District 55, based in St. Petersburg, praised Crist at the South County Civic Center before a crowd of about 100 voters who braved the rain to snack on bagels and meet the Republican-turned-Independent." "Democrat state lawmakers Sachs, Rouson endorse Crist in Delray".
Is Scott FlaDem dream or nightmare?
"Rick Scott's triumph in the GOP gubernatorial primary may have drawn almost as many cheers from Democrats as it did from Republicans."
Several polls showed that Alex Sink, the presumptive Democratic candidate, was leading Scott before Tuesday's election. The Republican elite wanted state Attorney General Bill McCollum to win, and McCollum had done a yeoman's job of highlighting vulnerable spots in Scott's background."Scott: A gift to Democrats or their worst nightmare?".
Scott, Democrats surmised, would be the easier opponent. Now the question remains: is Scott's nomination the gift that many Democrats think -- or will the political newcomer turn out to be their worst nightmare?
LeMieux laff riot
Florida Trend: "LeMieux has a lot bigger agenda than warming a seat for whoever is elected to the Senate in November". "Climbing the Hill".
Fladems might change three key things
"William March writes that FlaDems have "the potential for change in three key items on the Nov. 2 ballot – the governor's race, in which Democrat Alex Sink appears tied or narrowly leading; and constitutional amendments seeking to outlaw gerrymandering of legislative and congressional districts.".
"Where the next governor will stand on the growth issue?"
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "From the beginning, Senate Bill 360 — the 2009 Legislature's assault on Florida's growth management laws — was a rash deal. Cooked up by Republican leaders in a matter of weeks at the behest of powerful development interests, the law gutted decades of careful, if imperfect, law under the guise of jump-starting Florida's economy. Now that a judge has ruled the law unconstitutional, those same legislative leaders are planning to try again in 2011. Floridians must know where the next governor will stand on the issue." "Growth bill becomes election issue".
"Doomed by late start"
"In a state of 4 million Republicans, McCollum lost by fewer than 38,000 votes. Now with three losses in four statewide campaigns, many expect it to be his final race." Michael Bender takes a detailed look at his campaign strategy here: "Despite last-minute surge in spending, McCollum bid doomed by late start".
"Big disconnect seen in testing as reading results run 20-40 points lower". "'Inflated' FCAT Writing Scores Pad School Grades".
Tubby bullies duke it out
"It’s not talked about much, but the rivalry between Florida’s top business associations is real, and it’s beginning to show itself more in the 2010 elections. The Florida Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Florida have long sparred for the position of top dog." "Top Business Associations Fight for Political Prominence".
"The union president is seeing red"
"Deltona firefighters are asking to wear pink shirts as a show of support for women whose lives have been impacted by breast cancer. City Manager Faith Miller says she supports their cause and has encouraged other city workers to wear pink shirts on Fridays in October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But she doesn't think the firefighters' request -- pink uniform shirts for six weeks -- is a good precedent to set. Miller's decision has the union president seeing red. " "Deltona manager, firefighters clash over pink shirts".
Business speaks, editors jump
The Sun Sentinel editorial board: "Candidates hoping to win posts in Tallahassee should latch on to a promising 2009 proposal to change the way Florida taxes corporate income. Florida TaxWatch says its approach, already adopted by about a dozen other states, would stimulate business investment and create jobs — the very goals to which the candidates claim to be dedicated." "Florida's approach to corporate tax discourages business investment and hiring".
"His lips moved, he said nothing"
Nancy Smith: "Does Charlie Crist believe in anything?"
You have to ask yourself."Is the Curtain Falling on Charlie Crist's Harry Houdini Act?".
Did you watch his performance on CNN’s "State of the Union" Sunday?
I’m beginning to think that thick coat of Teflon covering Florida’s governor, the independent duck-and-dodge candidate for U.S. Senate, is finally breaking down. And it’s happening before our very eyes.
Crist didn’t just look like a candidate without a party Sunday, he looked like a man without a principle to his name.
There were moments in the 15-minute segment when I was actually embarrassed for Crist. He couldn’t for the life of him explain why he said one thing in October or March when he was a Republican, and another thing since he became a left-leaning independent.
His lips moved, he was forceful, he said nothing.
Meek says he's earned it
"Florida Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek said Sunday that he's earned the right to be his party's Senate nominee after a bruising and expensive primary battle with a wealthy real estate mogul."Meek stakes claim in Florida". Related: "Senate Candidates Crist and Meek Tout Plans To Stimluate Economy".
"Florida, the last frontier"
"Ah, Florida, the last frontier. A daunting wilderness filled with snakes, gators, black clouds of mosquitoes, cockroaches and other despicable creatures of the night that slithered and crawled. What an image. It began to soften in the early 1920s as the Florida real estate market took off like a shot and fortune seekers poured into the state in black Model Ts, looking to get rich and drive home in a Packard." "Florida history: spinning wetlands into cities".