Steve Bousquet asks "What if?"
What if Rick Scott and Jeff Greene both win on Tuesday?"Rick Scott and Jeff Greene may be the political establishment's nightmare"
That would be the most shocking result of the wildest Florida primary campaign in memory. It would leave both political parties in shambles and turn Florida into a national symbol of voter anger.
Bought and paid for
"McCollum, a 10-term congressman from Longwood in his fourth statewide campaign, has turned to that Establishment to survive. The biggest givers:"
- U.S. Sugar, which chipped in $825,000 — boosting its total investment in McCollum to more than $1.3 million this summer; "McCollum rallies GOP Establishment to his campaign".
- $250,000 from Florida Power & Light;
- $25,000 from former House Speaker Allan Bense;
- $350,000 from Publix Super Markets; and
- $100,000 from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida.
Walt Disney World, located in the congressional district McCollum represented for 20 years, has given at least $250,000. Those checks flowed through two Florida Chamber of Commerce committees, which collectively raised more than $2 million this summer to help McCollum, campaign reports filed Friday show.
What a bargain!: "As primary draws near, sugar, health care and utilities spend heavily on behalf of McCollum".
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Record millions are gushing into the Republican primary for governor. Through his third-party committee, Attorney General Bill McCollum launders unlimited contributions from special interests and fronts tied to political allies. He’s still far outspent by health care executive Rick Scott, whose strategy is simpler: His family just keeps writing big checks. The campaign finance system is broken, and that’s bad for Florida." "Buying the Governor's Mansion".
"If Undecided were a candidate, he or she would win the election for Florida attorney general in a landslide." "'Undecided' leading in Fla. races". See also "5 candidates scramble for attention in AG race" and "Attorney General candidate Pam Bondi makes final push for Republican support".
Related: "Poll: Bondi leads GOP race for attorney general" and "New poll: Pam Bondi, Dan Gelber hold narrow leads in Florida attorney general primaries" ("Republican former prosecutor Pam Bondi and Democratic state Sen. Dan Gelber have taken narrow leads in their respective primaries for attorney general, according to a Mason-Dixon poll released Friday.")
South Alabama to determine RPOF primary?
"GOP governor candidates focus on Panhandle".
Races to watch
"In a mid-August poll by Quinnipiac University, voters said they disapproved of the Legislature's job performance by nearly a 2-to-1 margin. Only 30 percent rated the Republican-dominated Legislature favorably. ... Republicans have a 26-14 advantage in the Senate and 76-44 in the House."
- State Sen. John Thrasher believes he can handle his job as state Republican Party chairman and still serve in the Legislature. He'll learn Tuesday if voters in his northeast Florida Senate district agree. Political novice Charles Perniciaro, a physician who formerly worked at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, is forcing Thrasher to campaign and spend money so survive a challenge from within the party he rules. Former Jacksonville television news anchor Deborah Gianoulis, who is unopposed for the Democratic nomination, awaits the winner."Legislative races overshadowed by statewide races".
- One of the key races there in the heart of Florida government has first-term state Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, a Democrat, being challenged by her own former county party chairman, Rick Minor, who got into the race a year ago following a pair of pro-drilling votes by Vasilinda.
- Another Senate race being closely watched is in South Florida where state Reps. Ellyn Bogdanoff of Fort Lauderdale and Carl Domino of Jupiter square off in the Republican primary for the nomination to challenge Democratic Rep. Kelly Skidmore of Boca Raton in November. The seat was held by outgoing Senate President Jeff Atwater, who is running for chief financial officer.
- Some familiar faces from the past are also on Tuesday's ballot, including former Senate President Gwen Margolis, who at age 75 is favored in a Democratic primary race against Kevin Burns in her third bid for legislative office.
- In a pair of Miami Republican primaries, Miguel Diaz de la Portilla has name recognition and former Gov. Jeb Bush's endorsement in his contest against Jenny Nillo to keep the seat vacated by his brother, Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla. Rep. Anitere Flores, armed with a $575,000 campaign warchest, is favored over David Nelson in her bid to move up from the House.
How many wingnuts can the RPOF fit into a primary?
"The race to unseat Democratic Rep. Suzanne Kosmas is wide open, with five Republicans running in Congressional District 24." "Five Republicans in Wide Open Challenge to Kosmas".
"Jobless rate creeps up"
"Florida’s unemployment rate hit 11.5 percent in July, ending three straight months of decline even as annual job growth showed its first gain since 2007, state officials reported Friday." "Florida's Jobless Rate Jumps Up, Ends 3-Month Turnaround". See also "Florida jobless rate creeps up to 11.5 percent in July".
When under oath, Scott pleads the fifth
The wingnuts have been running wild in recent days, begging for that bottom-feeder vote that comprises the RPOFer "base": "Naples millionaire Rick Scott seized on President Barack Obama's support for allowing a mosque near Ground Zero in New York City, and Attorney General Bill McCollum has plunged into a full-throated endorsement of an Arizona-style immigration law – one he said back in April wasn't needed."
Scott was first to pounce by denouncing Obama, who had said in defense of the proposal to build a mosque near the site that "Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country.""Fear and loathing on the GOP campaign trail".
"What is our president doing supporting a mosque? He is wrong!" Scott roared at conservative talk show host Sean Hannity's "Freedom Concert" last weekend at the University of Central Florida. "This is a slap in the face to every fallen American."
Strange ... Mr. Scott wasn't doing a lot of "roaring" in a deposition a few years ago; he instead was "pleading the fifth". "Another Rick Scott deposition surfaces".
Millionaires stiff the help
"In a Tennessee court case, the Senate candidate's company is being held accountable for late rent, unpaid taxes and poor maintenance. He blames the issues on a disagreement with a landlord." "Battle with Tenn. landlord causes troubles for Jeff Greene company".
"A nominating panel on Thursday asked Gov. Charlie Crist to name two new Public Service Commissioners from a list that includes people Crist passed over just weeks ago."
The governor has 30 days to make the appointments but he fails to make a choice then the selection will be made by the nominating council. There have been suggestions that Crist should reject all the names, triggering a potential showdown between Crist and the nominating council that is headed by Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton."Public Service Commission showdown looming for Crist?".
Another twist is that nothing could stop the next governor from recalling the new appointees next January. The next governor has the power to recall any appointments as long as the person has not been confirmed by the Florida Senate.
And the dog ate my homework
"Florida congressional candidate David M. Rivera warned national Republicans that an old domestic violence complaint involving someone with a similar name — but that he says was not him — could become an issue in his bid to keep Florida’s 25th District in GOP hands. Now the 1994 incident has resurfaced amid reports that Rivera was involved in a 2002 traffic accident with a truck that was carrying an opponent’s campaign mailers."
Rivera told the NRCC it was a case of mistaken identity."Rivera: Complaint 'had nothing to do with me'". TPM has this: "Marco Rubio's Ex-Roomie Attacked Over Car Crash, Alleged Domestic Violence".
According to the Miami Herald, the woman who filed the complaint maintains that it was not made against the politician David M. Rivera. No charges were ever filed, the newspaper reported. But The Herald also quotes a friend of the woman's brother as saying the candidate and the woman once attended a party together about 10 years ago; Rivera and the woman deny this also.
"Let me be clear: The 1994 case had absolutely nothing to do with me. I am not the David Rivera in that case and to suggest otherwise is a blatant and shameful lie," Rivera said again in his Friday statement.
Hey its a college town ...
... so, no book burning allowed: "According to the Gainesville Sun, fire chief Gene Prince told the church 'that under the city's fire prevention ordinance, an open burning of books is not allowed.'" "Church's Plan To Burn Korans Foiled By Fire Department".
See you in Havana
The Sun Sentinel editors: "Opponents of Cuba travel must also understand the counterproductive nature of their argument. As long as a general prohibition exists, the only people who will travel to Cuba are those who are neutral or harbor sympathy for the regime. The way to truly support democratic ideals in Cuba is by removing the general ban on travel. Allow travel to Cuba by all, not just those in permissible categories or those cherry-picked by Havana." "Lifting ban on travel to Cuba best way to push democratic ideals".
Now we see BP's true colors
"The latest guidelines for BP's $20 billion victims compensation fund say the nearer you are geographically to the oil spill and the more closely you depend on the Gulf of Mexico's natural resources, the better chance you have of getting a share of the money. Also, a second set of rules expected this fall will require that businesses and individuals seeking compensation for long-term losses give up their right to sue BP and other spill-related companies — something that could save the oil giant billions." "New guidelines could rule out many oil claims". See also "McCollum: Feinberg’s oil spill claims proposal unfair to Floridians".
E-Verify ... that's the ticket
"Regardless of who voters name as the state's next chief executive, Florida's latest strategy for countering illegal immigration will likely play out not along its borders, but in its boardrooms. Florida's four leading gubernatorial candidates want businesses to use E-Verify, a federal online employee verification database, to weed out unauthorized workers." "Florida gubernatorial candidates support E-Verify system to solve immigration issues".
Sansom blames the prosecutor
"The prosecutor in the Ray Sansom case was put on trial himself Friday for what his opposing lawyers say is unethical behavior."
former Gainesville circuit judge testified that State Attorney Willie Meggs acted improperly and "tried to prosecute his case in the media." Meggs called another judge as a witness, who testified that she didn't recall "anything inappropriate" in his conduct."Lawyers for Sansom challenge prosecutor's handling of Tallahassee corruption case".
The hearing is an effort by lawyers for ex-House speaker Sansom and two co-defendants to have Meggs thrown off the case for prosecutorial misconduct.
See also "Former judge testifies in Sansom criminal case" and "Judge: Meggs not 'vindictive' in Sansom case" ("Meggs swayed grand jurors with sarcasm and disbelief, then tried to prejudice potential trial jurors against ex-House Speaker Ray Sansom, a former circuit judge said Friday.")