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 Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sink to face 50 million dollar man

    "Rick Scott pulled off his one-man political revolution Tuesday night, narrowly defeating Attorney General Bill McCollum in the Republican primary for governor."
    With most precincts counted, it became clear that Scott had overcome the might of the Republican establishment, the special interests who dominate the Capitol and a longtime politician determined to tar his character.

    Scott's win bears witness to his personal wealth -- he spent at least $50 million of it on the campaign -- as well as the thirst for political change in the Republican Party of Florida, which has been rocked by scandal and whose leaders worked to stop him cold. ...

    The race was in doubt as late as 11 p.m., in large part because McCollum was beating Scott by a 2-1 margin in Miami-Dade -- the biggest Republican county in the state. But even that advantage wasn't enough, and with 90% of the statewide vote reported, the Associated Press projected that Scott had enough votes to win.

    In what looked like a protest vote against Scott and McCollum, little-known third-party candidate Mike McCalister was receiving one of every 10 votes -- far more than any poll had anticipated.
    "Rick Scott to face Alex Sink after shocking GOP establishment".

    "Now that one of the most bruising and expensive primaries in Florida history is over, the real mudslinging begins."
    Sink will be ready for any comers, said campaign spokeswoman Kyra Jennings.

    "She is the best-funded Democrat ever running for governor, and Alex Sink has already laid out her plan for moving Florida's economy forward," Jennings said.

    Also in Sink's favor: the usually well-oiled Republican Party of Florida machine is sputtering as it rebuilds following the indictment of its former chairman, Jim Greer.

    The RPOF's federal campaign account, which is used to bolster its get-out-the-vote drives, has dwindled to $54,000. Reports show that the account had $468,500 in cash but $414,850 in outstanding debts. The Democratic Party of Florida has $1.6 million in cash.
    "GOP candidate faces tough fight vs. Sink".

    See also "Scott Knocks Out McCollum", "McCollum Clings to Hope Until the Bitter End", "Rick Scott beats Bill McCollum to end nasty GOP governor's primary fight", "Outsider Rick Scott is in", "Scott beats McCollum in GOP governor race", "Scott wins stunner in GOP Fla. governor's race; will face Democrat Sink" and "Scott beats McCollum in GOP governor's primary".

    "Millionaire businessman Rick Scott’s surprise win in the Florida Republican gubernatorial primary Tuesday left both parties scrambling over how to cope with a candidate who possesses both glaring flaws and considerable assets. Scott’s three-percentage-point victory over state Attorney General Bill McCollum transforms what would have been a relatively bland general election contest between two establishment politicians into a race that will offer a test of outsider strength in a season of intense voter anger. And it will play out in one of the nation’s largest states—arguably the nation’s most politically pivotal—with consequences that reach well beyond Florida’s borders." "Scott upset ripples beyond Florida".

    Will Scott be "pleading the fifth" ...

    ...during the debates with Sink? Just askin'.

    Meek pulls it out; Greene endorses him

    "Overlooked and underestimated on the campaign trail for nearly two years, Miami Congressman Kendrick Meek on Tuesday easily beat back a profligate challenge from real estate mogul Jeff Greene to run away with the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate."

    Greene walked like a man last night, saying

    that he would endorse Meek and contribute to his campaign.
    "Kendrick Meek, Marco Rubio, Charlie Crist to face off for Senate".

    "Democratic Senate nominee Kendrick Meek will need to pull off another big comeback if he is to defeat Republican Marco Rubio and Gov. Charlie Crist in November's general election." "Meek faces tough battle in Fla. Senate race".

    See also "Kendrick Meek declared winner over Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene", "Meek routs Greene in Democratic race", "Democrat Meek, Republican Rubio Win U.S. Senate Bids", "Meek win over Greene sets up showdown with Rubio, Crist" and "Meek throttles Greene in Dems' Senate primary".

    "Miami congressman Kendrick Meek easily held off a challenge from billionaire Palm Beach real estate investor Jeff Greene to win the Democratic nomination for Florida's U.S. Senate seat Tuesday, setting the stage for an unprecedented, three-way general election race."
    Meek will take the Democratic spot on the Nov. 2 ballot against Republican Marco Rubio and no-party candidate Gov. Charlie Crist, plus a half-dozen lesser-known no-party and minor party candidates.

    But he starts off as an underdog, financially and in polls, to Crist and Rubio. ...

    Polls suggest the heart of the three-way battle will be a contest between Meek and Crist for the loyalty of Democratic voters, many of whom have been backing Crist, giving him a lead in those polls.

    Meek appears to have a better chance of taking those Democrats back from Crist than Greene would have had.

    Unlike Greene, Meek "has a deep and significant history in the Democratic Party and that goes back to his leadership on class-size reduction," said veteran Democratic strategist Karl Koch of Tampa. "What you'll see over the next several weeks is that Democrats will come home."

    But some Democrats say that means Meek and Crist will split the moderate and Democratic vote, handing the win to Rubio.
    "Meek to compete with Crist for Democratic votes".

    The Sun Sentinel editorial board: "And now the long-awaited three-way U.S. Senate race begins." "Long-awaited, three-way Senate race begins".

    The Saint Petersburg Times editors: "U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek's impressive victory over billionaire Jeff Greene in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate means voters will have three clear choices in November who offer distinctly different visions of where the country should be headed. The general election campaign should offer a rich policy debate in areas ranging from health care reform to energy to federal spending, and the outcome should provide the sharpest portrait of where Florida sits on the political spectrum." "Three clear choices".


    "A stark partisan choice in the race for attorney general awaits voters as Democrat Dan Gelber and Republican Pam Bondi claimed victory in Tuesday's primaries." "Gelber, Bondi headed for showdown". See also "Democrat Gelber, Republican Bondi will face off for Florida attorney general", "Bondi Gets GOP Nod for Attorney General" and "Gelber, Bondi stake out opposing positions in attorney general race".

    More: "State Sen. Dan Gelber won the Democratic nomination for attorney general Tuesday, handily beating fellow Sen. Dave Aronberg and turning his fire on Republicans." "Dem AG Nominee Dan Gelber Takes Aim at 'Special Interests'".

    Few surprises

    Kevin Derby: "While the close battle for the Republican gubernatorial nomination and U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek’s demolishing of Jeff Greene for the Democratic nomination in the U.S. Senate election won the headlines, there were a number of dramatic contests in congressional primaries across Florida on Tuesday." "Incumbents and Favorites Hold On in Congressional Primaries".

    Grayson draws Webster

    Grayson gets "conservative icon", a/k/a "Taliban Dan", in November:

    A familiar name to Central Florida voters — former state Senate Majority Leader Dan Webster — easily held off a pack of fellow Republicans on Tuesday to win the GOP primary for Orlando's congressional seat. Webster had an insurmountable 40 percent of the vote with 99 percent of the votes counted in the 8th District. He'll go on to face the brash freshman Democrat U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, as a well as Florida Tea Party and independent candidates, in November.
    "Dan Webster is GOP nominee to take on Alan Grayson in November". See also "Webster to Face Grayson, TEA Candidate" and "Alan Grayson has an opponent: Dan Webster".

    Grayson has already gone after the Orlando Sentinel's favorite politician.
    Why? Because in 1990, Webster sponsored and supported legislation in Florida that would have made it much more difficult for people to divorce -- a policy called "covenant marriage."

    In a letter to supporters, Grayson described it like this: "Dan Webster's bill reduces the institution of marriage to a roach motel: You can check in, but you can't check out."

    Grayson added:
    With one exception: adultery. So, let's say that your husband, God forbid, has been abusing you. And you need a divorce. You have only one option. According to Dan Webster's law, you would need to deliberately commit infidelity in order to get a divorce.

    Ah, but here's the catch. Under Dan Webster's law, if both parties cheat on each other, then they can't get a divorce. Ever. They're locked in holy matrimony, forever. Like two scorpions in a bottle. So if you cheat on him to get away from him, and it turns out that he's cheated on you, well then . . . .
    A call to Webster's staff was not immediately returned.
    "Grayson Knocks 'Taliban Dan' Webster For Supporting 'Covenant Marriage'".

    Expect Jebco, the Orlando Sentinel, the Chambers of Commerce, the Associated Builders and Contractors, Associated Industries and the rest of the right wing establishment to be pulling out all the stops on this one.

    Teabaggers show their partisan stripes

    Most teabaggers have always been nothing more than a wingnut Republicans. Now they are starting to crawl out from underneath the rocks. Get this:

    "Dan Webster has won in the Republican primary deciding which candidate will face off against Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, come November, earning 40 percent of the vote in a crowded field."

    Tea party activists made an appearance at Webster’s party. Tom Tillison, a tea party radio host, told TFI that despite the Republican infighting in the primary, his organization’s goal is simple: "defeat alan grayson." [sic]

    He plans to issue an endorsement notice for Webster tomorrow, and wants to unify the often-fractured Central Florida conservative grassroots movement behind him. "Even though he’s got a long history in politics," Tillison said. "He’s just an average, everyday guy."
    "Longtime legislator Dan Webster wins in anti-Grayson primary, tea party vows to rally behind him".

    CD 24: Kosmas-Adams

    "Suzanne Kosmas swept to an easy victory Tuesday night in the Democratic primary for the District 24 U.S. House seat, but Volusia's first member of Congress since 1992 can't expect such an easy go of it in November. After defeating former Winter Springs Mayor Paul Partyka with 78 percent of Tuesday's vote, Kosmas will face Sandy Adams, her former colleague in the Florida House of Representatives, who won by a single percentage point among the five candidates in the Republican primary." "Kosmas challenge bigger in November".

    Earlier: "Sandy Adams Leading in a Cliffhanger in CD 24".

    Thrasher to face Gianoulis

    "State Sen. John Thrasher, who splits his time as chairman of the state Republican Party, is advancing to the general election. Thrasher, 66, had little trouble winning his Jacksonville-area Republican primary race Tuesday, defeating political novice Charles Perniciaro. Former Jacksonville television news anchor Deborah Gianoulis was unopposed in the Democratic primary and will face Thrasher in the Nov. 2 general election." "State GOP chairman repels intraparty challenge".

    CD 3: Brown-Yost

    Corrine Brown had an easy primary victory Tuesday."

    The nine-term incumbent defeated Scott Fortune, 54, a civil-rights lawyer from Jacksonville, in the District 3 Democratic primary by an 80-to-20 percent margin.

    She will meet Republican Mike Yost on Nov. 2. The auto-repair technician from Jacksonville held 46 percent of the vote late Tuesday to put himself ahead of Dean Black (35 percent), a farmer and businessman from Jacksonville, and Chris Nwasike (19 percent), a banking financial specialist and president of the Duval County Young Republicans in Jacksonville.
    "The district -- which stretches from Jacksonville to Orlando, taking in the western edge of Volusia County --is overwhelmingly Democratic, with Republicans outnumbered by more than 3-to-1."

    Mica awaits Beaven in CD 7

    "There was no primary in the third local congressional seat, District 7, where Republican John Mica faces a challenge from Democrat Heather Beaven in the Nov. 2 general election.".

    RPOFers crawl after the money

    "Democrats, Republicans learn different lessons from mega-rich campaigns".

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Florida voters, after being peppered for weeks with the most negative ads in memory, sent a message in Tuesday's primary that money may talk but it cannot vote. While the negative tactics succeeded in some races, including the GOP gubernatorial primary, in others it failed miserably." "Voters transcend much mud".

    HD 83

    "Cardone concedes to Rooney in House District 83 GOP race".

    HD 11

    "The closest Florida House race in the 2008 election is headed for a rematch. Former Columbia County Commissioner Elizabeth Porter topped three challengers by a wide margin Tuesday in the Republican primary for the Florida House District 11 seat." "Porter wins her GOP contest, will face Boyd".

    HDs 83, 85, 86, 88, 89, 91

    - "After years of political exile, Democrat Irv Slosberg of Boca Raton had a clear victory Tuesday over newcomer Sheldon 'Klassy' Klasfeld for a chance to regain the District 90 state House of Representatives seat Slosberg previously held for six years."

    - "First-time candidate Lori Berman, a Democrat, will be going to Tallahassee after winning her District 86 primary race to succeed Rep. Maria Sachs. Berman, who moved into the district in July, has no Republican challenger."

    - "In the Republican House primary for District 91, which saw three candidates making their first run for office to claim the seat left open by Ellyn Bogdanoff's candidacy for state Senate, George Moraitis held a slight lead over David Maymon after both Fort Lauderdale candidates battled in a nose-to-nose slugfest to compete in November's general election." More: "Slosberg, Berman, win state House primaries".

    SDs 25, 27, 35

    "Bogdanoff takes race for GOP Senate nominee in District 25".

    CD2: Boyd holds on

    "Democratic Rep. Allen Boyd, the prominent conservative Blue Dog who has spent more than a decade in Congress, narrowly escaped defeat Tuesday, holding off state Senate Minority Leader Al Lawson. Boyd’s less-than-convincing 51 percent victory came after plowing nearly $2.2 million into his campaign – a deeply troubling sign for an incumbent who has held his Panhandle-based seat for seven terms." "Boyd holds on in Fla.". See also "Southerland, Boyd to face off for House seat".

    CD 6: Stearns again

    "In the 6th Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns easily overcame a feisty challenge from Weirsdale resident Don Browning, the first Republican to take on Stearns since 1990." "Stearns turns back primary challenge".

    CD 17: Wilson looks to succeed Meek

    "Wilson poised to win Meek's seat in Congress". See also "Frederica Wilson enjoys comfortable lead in race to replace Meek".


    "Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told Utah officials on Tuesday that there's little evidence to link smaller class sizes and student achievement." "Ex. Gov. Bush slams class size limits".

    Thank you, Mr. Obama

    This ought to help Sink with her first budget: "On Tuesday, Florida was named one of the big winners in the federal government's second round of the Race to the Top competition, landing $700 million for its public schools. The Miami-Dade district expects its share of the winnings to exceed $60 million. Broward stands to get about $45 million." "Florida wins $700 million in 'Race to Top' education grants". See also "Florida Takes Home $700 Million in Race to the Top".


    "Music legend Willie Nelson will perform on Pensacola Beach in October as part of a three-day benefit concert for victims of the Gulf oil spill." "Willie Nelson to perform at oil spill-benefit".

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