"Marco Rubio can't name either of his two Republican opponents for U.S. Senate, but both are acutely aware of him. 'He's avoiding us,' said William 'Billy' Kogut of Ormond Beach, while William Escoffery of Shalima says "Marco Rubio is hiding." However, Crist is 5 points up in the polls and has $8.2 million in the bank compared to $4.4 million for Rubio." "Conservative darling Marco Rubio trails independent Crist in polls, cash". Related: "New poll: Crist leads for U.S. Senate".
"Meek's primary race is imperiled"
"U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek of Miami laid the groundwork for his first statewide race with two political coups that made him a hero to Florida's black voters and public school teachers."
In 2000, he staged a sit-in at Gov. Jeb Bush's office, opposing Bush's plan to end affirmative action, then he led the 2002 constitutional amendment drive on public school class sizes. Early on, it appeared Meek had a clear path to the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate."Meek seeks place in history".
Gov. Charlie Crist's surprise announcement last year that he would leave the governor's office to run for the seat scared off other potential Democratic candidates, including Dan Gelber and Alex Sink.
But now, Meek's primary race is imperiled by a challenge from billionaire Palm Beach real estate investor Jeff Greene, spending his own money heavily to bash Meek. The ads may be working.
"Remarkable success -- and sheer tackiness"
"Maybe a self-made success story who doesn't owe anyone anything, a tough man who could not care less about special interest campaign checks or endorsements, and only wants to do what's right. ... Or maybe your new senator is a tyrant and egomaniac who spends six years embarrassing Florida. Either alternative looks plausible in the case of [Jeff] Greene, a political blank slate with a track record of remarkable success -- and sheer tackiness." "Jeff Greene: A self-made mystery". See also "Greene crashes Democrats' party".
"U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek and real estate investor Jeff Greene are vying for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. Sunday, they'll face off at a forum in St. Petersburg. ... Here's how they match up on a handful of issues. The candidates answered six common questions and one specific to their campaigns": "Meek and Greene differ little on many issues".
More Grayson bashing
Scott Maxwell joins the mandatory Tribune Company Grayson bashing: "For a guy who spends a lot of time talking about fighting for taxpayers' money, Alan Grayson sure wasted a lot of it last week." But give Maxwell credit for this:
The day after the Sentinel reported his expensive mailer last week, Orange County GOP leader Lew Oliver issued a blistering release calling Grayson's mailer an "unforgivable" and "abusive waste" that he should immediately repay.Tead the entire column here: "Faces of hypocrisy: ... Alan Grayson ...".
Funny, but I don't recall Lew getting similarly enraged when Grayson's Republican predecessor, Ric Keller, did the same thing. ...
And yet Lew didn't seem to care much about that.
If you're mad that Grayson spent $109,000 on taxpayer mailers last year, are you just as irritated that a neighboring Republican, Ginny Brown-Waite, spent even more — $138,000?
Trib endorses Billy
The Tampa Tribune editorial board thinks "[v]oters should similarly recognize Scott doesn't have the credentials or the credibility to be entrusted with Florida's welfare. In contrast, Attorney General Bill McCollum has proved himself to be an informed, trustworthy and committed leader. He can be counted on to execute his conservative agenda thoughtfully." "McCollum for governor in GOP primary".
Scott and McCollum "have been evasive"
"Watching the blistering attack ads run by Rick Scott and Bill McCollum – castigating each other on immigration, abortion and corporate fraud — voters might be hard-pressed to decipher how they plan to address Florida's most vexing problem: creating jobs. ... both camps have been evasive about [jobs]". "Rick Scott, Bill McCollum have dueling – and vague – jobs plans".
Jobs, jobs, jobs
Jeremy Wallace: "When voters go to the polls this year to pick a new governor, one issue will be on their minds more than any other: jobs. Nearly six out of every 10 respondents in a new Florida Poll say issues related to Florida's 11.6 percent unemployment rate are driving their vote in the August primary and November election to pick the state's new governor." "Governor's race will hinge on job creation".
"Rich guys betting on our mass stupidity"
You really need to read the entire column, but here's a taste of Fred Grimm's latest: "Poor Jeff Greene. His candidacy suffers constant association with that other super-rich political dilettante come from nowhere. Stories about monied neophytes out-spending and out-polling the pros in 2010 tend to lump the two together -- Florida's pecunious twins."
More than a few voters probably confuse Greene, the wildly wealthy Florida Democratic candidate from California, with Rick Scott, the wildly wealthy Florida Republican candidate from Texas."Two rich guys betting on our mass stupidity". Related: "Rick Scott Pulls Well Out Front".
But it's the Texan, not the Californian, who was CEO of a hospital chain that paid $1.7 billion in civil and criminal fines in the biggest Medicare fraud case ever.
Greene (currently outpolling Kendrick Meek for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination) has not been affiliated with a known criminal enterprise -- though he does suffer an affinity for B-list celebrities with criminal records. The former "Hollywood Madam,'' Heidi Fleiss, once lived in Greene's guest house. Ex-con Mike Tyson was best man in Greene's 2007 wedding. Drug-addled movie star Lindsay Lohan, currently doing a stretch in a Los Angeles County lock-up, was photographed in alluring beachwear on the Summerwind, Greene's 145-foot yacht, off St. Barth's in January.
Of course, Rick Scott (currently outpolling Bill McCollum in the Republican gubernatorial campaign), could complain that confused voters might connect him with ear-biting or crack-smoking or call-girl-dispatching has-beens. Voters might think that it was Scott's big boat, rather than Greene's Summerwind, that banged across fragile reefs in Belize in 2005, leaving environmental damage and an unpaid $1.8 million fine in its wake. ...
[Greene] collected $800 million when the market collapsed. Now Florida has an improbable candidate out of nowhere (also known as California) able to self-fund his campaign with millions made by betting on our collective stupidity about real estate.
Now Jeff Greene figures he'll win this election by betting millions on our collective stupidity about politics.
"Depends on your definition of 'epic fail'""Was Saturday's Uni-Tea rally in Philadelphia a success? Well, it depends on your definition of 'epic fail.'"
"It was billed as the most diverse tea party rally ever. For three hours Saturday afternoon, we waited for the diversity to show up."
For three hours, a small crowd drifted in and out of Independence Park as speakers and musicians regaled them with paranoia about Democratic politicians and policies and reassurances that no matter what anyone says, there's no racism in the tea party."Diversity Is In The Eye Of The Beholder: A Day At Uni-Tea".
Even as just a regular old tea party rally, the event fell flat. Though organizers said the event's website had been visited more than 2 million times in the days leading up to today's rally outside Independence Hall, for most of the afternoon there were fewer than 500 in attendance.
Sorry Bill, it won't go away
The Huffington Post yesterday:
Florida State Attorney General Bill McCollum is being questioned on why he hired George Rekers -- an anti-gay activist who co-founded the conservative Family Research Council -- to testify at a gay adoption case in the Sunshine State in 2008."Bill McCollum On Hiring Rekers: 'He Was The Only Available Witness That Had Credentials' (VIDEO)".
The kicker: Rekers was caught red-handed taking a 10-day European vacation with a male escort he ordered on Rentboy.com back in May. At the time, both Rekers and McCollum faced intense criticism and scrutiny over the matter.
Now, the scandal has resurfaced at a time that could not be worse for McCollum, who is vying to capture Florida's Republican gubernatorial nomination in the state's August 24 primary election.
Local Florida radio station WMNF reports on what McCollum had to say when he was asked about Rekers at the Tiger Bay Club meeting earlier this week[.]
"If the cap on the Deepwater Horizon wellhead holds, South Florida, the Florida Keys, and the East Coast are not likely to experience any effects from the remaining oil on the surface of the Gulf, according to a NOAA report issued Friday morning. "For southern Florida, the Florida Keys, and the Eastern Seaboard, the coast remains clear," said NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco." "South Florida safe from BP oil if cap in Gulf holds, federal officials say".
See also "Congressman: too much dispersant used in oil spill" and "Recovery in the Gulf: A test of technology, nature and time".
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Everybody hopes that BP is close to finally controlling for good its undersea oil gusher. BP's attempts to control its other gusher - red ink - deserve scrutiny. Most important, claims have to be honestly reviewed and paid as quickly as possible. Florida officials are monitoring development of that claims process. As a related issue, BP's attempt to claim a $10 billion federal tax write-off is outrageous." "No tax break for BP: Senate should reject this outrage.".
Rubio's "provable malarkey"
Scott Maxwell: "Marco Rubio, the conservative movement's rising star."
The pundits are smitten silly with this dimpled dynamo's constant pledges to cut spending."Faces of hypocrisy: Marco Rubio ...".
There's only one problem: It's malarkey. Provable malarkey at that.
Oh yeah ... them too
"Former state House Speaker Marco Rubio has been the dominant figure in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate and the presumptive nominee since Gov. Charlie Crist dropped out of the GOP in April. But Republicans who go to the polls for the primary election will see two other Republicans listed on their ballots competing with Rubio for the nomination: William Escoffery III and William Billy Kogut." "Realtor, doctor share Senate ballot with Rubio".
RPOFer AG laff riot
"The three Republican candidates for attorney general taped a televised forum Saturday to tout their experience and positions."
All three candidates said they opposed Crist's proposed referendum to permanently ban oil drilling in Florida's Constitution."GOP AG candidates vie for votes in TV forum". The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "For attorney general, GOP primary: Kottkamp". See also "Ex-prosecutor giving two veteran politicians a run in GOP race for Fla. AG".
All three also repeatedly used the word "Obamacare'' in promising to carry on with Attorney General Bill McCollum's lawsuit seeking to block the new federal healthcare mandates from applying to states. ...
Late in the debate, Kottkamp and Bondi clashed over the Kottkamp campaign's leaking of an e-mail by Bondi's ex-boyfriend, Tampa lawyer Billy Howard, a member of the Morgan & Morgan firm. In the e-mail, Howard suggested that Bondi would steer legal work to the firm if elected, but both Howard and Bondi now say such a conversation never occurred.
"She dated someone from that firm for five years and lived with him,'' Kottkamp said of Bondi. "She's the one that started attacking first,'' over Kottkamp's ties to Morgan & Morgan.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa,'' Bondi said. "This is gutter politics at its finest . . . I dated someone well before he worked for Morgan & Morgan.''