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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 Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sink takes lead

    "It looks like the millions of dollars spent for ads by Republicans in Florida are paying off - for Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Alex Sink, who was on par with or ahead of her prospective GOP opponents in a poll released Thursday."
    Sink, Florida's chief financial officer and a former Bank of America executive, has sat on the sidelines while Attorney General Bill McCollum and millionaire businessman Rick Scott mash each other with biting personal accusations before their Republican primary showdown Tuesday.

    In hypothetical general election matchups, Sink was preferred by 31 percent to McCollum's 29 percent, within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. She led Scott 33 percent to 29 percent.

    Independent Bud Chiles, the son of the late Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles, had 12 percent in both comparisons.

    "He is getting one in eight votes and that is nothing to sneeze at," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac poll, noting Chiles' potential role as a spoiler. Chiles poses a significant problem for Sink since he is likely to draw more heavily from her base on Election Day.
    "Poll: Democrat Sink holds up vs GOP for Fla. gov".

    From Quinnipiac:
    Although she trailed either GOP competitor by eight or nine points in June, she has been the unintended beneficiary of the heavy volume of negative television ads her potential November opponents launched against each other," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

    "She has been able to sit back and save her money for the November election, while whoever wins the Republican primary will have substantial work to do healing wounds within his own party and cleaning up his image," Brown added.

    Sink's favorability numbers have hardly moved in the last two months, going from 28 - 14 percent favorable on June 9 to 30 - 15 percent favorable today, with 53 percent who don't know enough about her to form an opinion.

    "Once the primary is over, the race for Governor will be one to define Alex Sink for the majority of Floridians who don't know enough about her to have an opinion. McCollum, who leads the GOP primary race, has seen his favorable/unfavorable ratio sink from 37 - 29 percent favorable among all registered voters to a negative 33 - 34 percent. Scott's has dropped from 31 - 22 percent favorable in June to a negative 28 - 40 percent today.

    "At this point it's not clear whether independent Bud Chiles will be a force in November. His numbers have ticked down since his announcement, but he is getting one in eight votes and that is nothing to sneeze at," said Brown.
    "August 19, 2010 - Sink Inching Up In Close Florida Gov Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds". See also "Poll: Insiders ahead in Florida's Senate, governor races -- for now" and "Poll: Sink, Crist lead respective races". See also "Q-Poll shows McCollum, Meek leading their primary races". Related: "GOP gov race comes down to McCollum's volunteers vs. Scott's deep pockets".

    "Where do they scrounge these candidates up?"

    Kos, in conncection with the David Rivera-Joe Garcia race, asks: "Seriously, where do the Republicans scrounge these candidates up?"

    According to this Florida Highway Patrol crash report filed September 6, 2002, a truck working for Liberty Mailing Services was delivering campaign fliers to the US post office. Onboard the truck, thousands of fliers by Rivera’s opponent at the time, fliers that included a last-minute attack on Rivera’s character. Before the truck could make it to the US post office, however, a car driven by David M. Rivera struck it, forcing the truck to the shoulder of the Palmetto expressway right in the middle of evening traffic ten minutes before its deadline to get to the post office, 6 o’clock.
    Much more here: "FL-25: Wacked out or just criminal? The GOP's probable nominee".

    The The Miami Herald soft pedals the issue in this story today: "Wavering helps foes resurrect old attacks against state Rep. David Rivera".

    Mr. Happy face

    "Crist dove into Broward's Democratic strongholds where some Democrats see him as an alternative to the mud-slinging Democratic rivals." "Charlie Crist woos Broward Democrats fed up with mudslinging".

    Scott depo kerfuffle

    "Steven Andrews, the attorney who slapped Rick Scott with a subpoena last week, has told the GOP gubernatorial candidate's campaign that he is delaying the deposition he had initially scheduled for Friday."

    Andrews, a contributor to the campaign of Scott's primary rival Bill McCollum, is suing Collier Court Reporting for access to a sealed deposition that Scott gave in April in a now-settled case against Solantic healthcare company, in which Scott is a major investor.

    Terms of the settlement in that case made Scott's April deposition confidential, and he has refused publicly to release it, calling it a "private matter."

    Scott's attorney and Collier Court Reporting have been trying this week to persuade a Leon County Circuit Court judge to throw out the subpoena demanding that Scott answer Andrews' questions on Friday. To date, no hearing has been scheduled on the motion; Scott's attorney, Charles Trippe of Jacksonville, would not comment on the case.
    "Attorney who subpoenaed Rick Scott delays deposition".

    Crist retains lead in Q Poll

    From Quinnipiac:

    In the Senate race against Rubio and Meek, Crist gets 45 percent of the Democrats - more than Meek's 36 percent - and 50 percent of the independent voters. Against Greene, Crist gets 51 percent of the Democrats to Greene's 31 percent, and 48 percent of independent voters.

    "Crist is getting more support from Democrats than either Greene or Meek. The key for Crist will be whether he can hold this many Democrats once the party's nomination is settled and keep his half of the independent voters," said [Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute].

    "Crist's edge in the Senate race is built on the very favorable impression Floridians have of his performance as Governor. They approve 56 - 35 percent of how he is leading the state, an impressive figure at a time when voters in many states seem to be taking out their economic frustrations on their governors," said Brown.
    "August 19, 2010 - Crist Leads Three-Way Senate Race". See also "Poll: Insiders ahead in Florida's Senate, governor races -- for now" and "McCollum, Meek hold the lead in the latest Quinnipiac poll".

    Maybe later

    "In the final stretch before Tuesday's primary election for attorney general, Democrats Dave Aronberg and Dan Gelber are beating each other up over an issue they once agreed on. Both men battled against big money in politics on the floor of the state Senate, but the reality of a closely fought race has caused them to resort to the controversial fundraising methods that they previously deplored." "Democrats for attorney general vow they'll back each other — after primary".

    Scott goes after McCollum, Greer link

    "Republican gubernatorial newcomer Rick Scott is getting slammed for his new ads linking Attorney General Bill McCollum to the Jim Greer scandal." "GOP Establishment condemns Rick Scott's new ad".

    But his lips were moving

    "The Republican-led Legislature did not put Amendment 7 on the November ballot to torpedo competing initiatives by a liberal-leaning citizen's group, House Speaker-designate Dean Cannon told the Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday." "Cannon wants Amendment 7 on ballot".

    Gun fight

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "In a political season full of distortions, exaggerations and outright lies, Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott draws distinction for the most ludicrous claim."

    A recent mailer pictures a handgun with the words "Bill McCollum: Aiming for You Rights." Inside it warns that McCollum "is targeting gun owners."

    It points out Scott received a higher ranking from the National Rife Association than McCollum, which is true, if curious.

    Marion Hammer, the state NRA lobbyist, bestowed an A rating on Scott for being an NRA member and owning a couple of books about Second Amendment rights.

    McCollum was given only a B, but this ignored a lifetime of defending gun owners' rights. He was penalized for engaging in the gun-rights battle, while Scott was rewarded for having stayed out of the fray.
    "Some straight shooting on guns".

    Good luck with that

    "A fired office manager is suing the Florida Republican Party, claiming she lost her job for repeatedly warning GOP officials about ousted Chairman Jim Greer's lavish use of party credit cards and illegal spending in support of Gov. Charlie Crist's campaign for the U.S. Senate last year." "Woman sues RPOF, claims she was unjustly fired".

    Early voters

    "At least 200,000 Florida voters -- who have heard enough from the televised political attacks and barrage of mailbox fliers -- have gone to the polls to take advantage of the state's two-week early voting period in this year's contentious primary election." "Early voters expected to be 30% of turnout".

    Meek "on target"

    Mark Blumenthal, the editor and publisher of Pollster.com, writes in Huffington Post that

    It is not unusual to see highly contradictory poll results in statewide primary elections, but it's rare when we can find easy explanations for those differences. In the case of next week's Democratic primary for Senate in Florida, however, those differences are becoming increasingly clear.

    Last week, I shared my hunch that the handful of polls pointing to a close outcome in the race were likely understating the support that Rep. Kendrick Meek would eventually receive in his race against self-funded billionaire Jeff Greene. Three new surveys released last weekend -- by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research, Sunshine State News/VSS and the Meek campaign itself -- all show Meek now leading by margins of between 8 and 15 percentage points. The poll by Ipsos Public Affairs, on the other hand, shows Greene maintaining an 8-point lead (40% to 32%) among a small subsample of 237 Florida Democrats. ...

    The most likely explanation for the difference involves turnout or, more precisely, the challenge of sampling the likely electorate for the Democratic primary. The last two August Democratic primaries held in Florida attracted just over 800,000 of the state's 5.4 million registered Democrats. At that size, the Democratic primary electorate would represent less than 5 percent of Florida's more than 14 million adults. Measuring a target like that is tough for any survey.

    To get close, the surveys conducted by Sunshine State News and the Meek campaign used official voter lists to select and dial voters with some prior history of casting ballots in Democratic primaries. The Mason-Dixon survey began with a random-digit sample of all adults in Florida, but then screened for registered voters who say they "vote regularly in state elections" and that they are likely to vote in next weeks' primary.

    Ipsos did something very different.
    "Kendrick Meek Hitting His Targets".

    Sink dodges Obama

    "President Barack Obama raised $700,000 at the Fontainebleau hotel in Miami Beach for Florida Democrats to help Alex Sink's campaign for governor." But Alex wasn't there:

    For Alex Sink, the Democratic front-runner for governor, the potential price for embracing the increasingly unpopular president was too steep. The state's chief financial officer did not join Obama at the deli or greet him at Miami International Airport, and she had stepped off the stage by the time Sen. Bill Nelson introduced the president at the hotel.

    Her distance from Obama contrasted with their dual billing as ``special guests'' for the fundraiser, which fortified the Democratic Party for a turbulent election year in which five powerful statewide posts are up for grabs.

    "A recent Mason-Dixon poll of Florida voters found Obama's job-approval rating dropping 'significantly' to 41 percent. The survey also showed widespread skepticism toward his economic recovery package."

    "Palin's surprise endorsement of Bondi"

    "Palin's surprise endorsement in the three-way Republican [AG] primary surfaced on Facebook, and Bondi rushed to spread the word ahead of Tuesday's primary. ... 'I'm so very proud to be endorsed by such a strong Christian woman who loves her family and her country and is a true role model,' Bondi said." "Sarah Palin backs Pam Bondi for Florida attorney general".

    Meanwhile, "Kottkamp Builds Lead in Attorney General Race".


    "A tea party group downgraded Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum on its conservative report card for failing to sign a pledge opposing the "bailout" of U.S. Sugar Corp."

    The pledge was part of a questionnaire sent by Tea Party in Action to political candidates across the state to gauge their positions on issues important to the tea partiers. The group's executive director Marianne Moran said McCollum's failure to sign the pledge deprived him from earning a perfect score and matching his rival Rick Scott.

    "While Rick Scott scored a perfect score, his opponent for the gubernatorial nod, Attorney General Bill McCollum, earned a lesser degree of support because he wavered on a key issue. Attorney General McCollum declined to sign his name to a pledge to oppose the U.S. Sugar Corp. bailout," Moran said in a statement.

    She said the absence of McCollum's signature left his questionnaire incomplete.
    "Tea Party: Rick Scott Gets Top Marks; Not Bill McCollum, Who Won't Forsake Contributor".

    Here is what this particular group of teabaggers deems important:
    The questionnaire asked the following six questions and featured the following signed pledge:

    1. Do you support an Arizona-style law in Florida to combat illegal immigration?

    2. Do you support Florida’s lawsuit against Obamacare?

    3. Do you oppose Gov. Crist’s bailout of the U.S. Sugar Corporation?

    4. Do you support a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution with no tax increases?

    5. Do you believe in smaller government, less spending, tax relief and more liberties for Floridians?

    6. Would you support legislation, similar to laws passed by Gov. Bobby Jindal, Gov. Sarah Palin, and Gov. Mark Sanford that outlaws implementation of a national ID card?
    "Tea Party in Action Announces Candidate Ratings for 2010 Primary".

    Obama hits South Beach

    "President Barack Obama swooped into Florida for less than three hours Wednesday to pick up $700,000 for the Florida Democratic Party, and two corned-beef sandwiches on rye from a Miami Beach deli -- to go. Obama's unannounced stop at Jerry's Famous Deli brought crowds streaming onto Collins Avenue and allowed him to give an extra backslap to Democratic Senate candidate Kendrick Meek, who joined him at the deli counter." "Obama raises $700K for Democrats, visits Miami Beach deli". See also "Obama visit affirms support for Meek, highlights Democrats' high hopes for Sink".

    Teabaggers can't find limits on raw sewage

    Try as they might, Florida's teabaggers will be unable to find explicit language in the U.S. Constitution that authorizes the government to limit the right of U.S. citizens to dump fecal matter anywhere they choose.

    See "Fecal bacteria found at 3 waterfront parks". Perhaps market forces will be enough to prevent fecal bacteria from showing up in public parks?

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