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 Thursday, September 02, 2010

The best Scott can do?

    "Republican nominee for governor Rick Scott is set to name State Rep. Jennifer Carroll as his running mate. ... The 51-year-old Carroll served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years and was elected to the Florida Legislature in 2003. She would become the state's first black woman to be a candidate for lieutenant governor." "Scott will name running mate".

    See also "Rick Scott's likely No. 2: Navy vet", "Scott to name Carroll as his running mate", "Rick Scott to name Jacksonville-area lawmaker as running mate" and "Rick Scott's No. 2 expected to be Rep. Jennifer Carroll".

    We look forward to Carroll trying to debate Rod Smith, a tough lawyer who spent decades in the trenches of labor and civil rights law.

    Oil? What oil?

    "Republican House Speaker Larry Cretul shot down a special legislative session to study oil spill remedies, saying no urgent action was needed." "House speaker nixes special legislative session on oil spill". See also "Legislative Leaders Pull Plug on Special Session" and "Florida leaders kill plan for fall special session on oil".

    The Cuba thing

    "In a year when the political refrain is jobs, neither candidate wants to risk being seen as out-of-touch by emphasizing an issue that affects a vocal minority in the sprawling, diverse 25th congressional district, which stretches from Homestead and Doral and across the Everglades to near Naples."

    Yet Cuba is a passionate point of contention in the fiery race between Rivera, a Republican, and Garcia, a Democrat. The two Cuban Americans -- who at different times each worked for the same powerful Cuban-exile group -- back the trade embargo and a ban on U.S. tourist travel, but are otherwise at odds on greater engagement with the island.
    "House candidates David Rivera, Joe Garcia can't escape Cuba factor".

    Scott's "steroidal disdain for the press"

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "If Mr. Scott really wants to get to work as Florida's next governor, ducking appearances and having his mother speak on his behalf is the wrong way to go about it."

    The electorate deserves candidates for the state's highest office who won't just advertise but who also defend their policy positions in public. Instead, Mr. Scott has shown a disdain for debate and public forums that include his opponents. And he has exhibited a steroidal disdain for the press which, if it had the chance, would simply challenge Mr. Scott face-to-face in much the same way the public would.
    "Rick Scott wants it his way".

    "Goodbye, Charlie"

    Rubio lapdog, Mike Thomas says "Goodbye, Charlie. Enjoy the time you have left." "Charlie is flipping, flopping, fumbling and losing".

    Chiles effect is "not cut and dry"

    TPM: "So what should we make of the withdrawal of independent candidate Bud Chiles from the Florida gubernatorial race, and his endorsement of Democratic nominee Alex Sink? At first glance, it would seem that this is a pure plus for Dems -- but a closer look shows that it's not so totally cut and dry." "Will Indy Chiles Dropping Out Help Dem In FL-GOV Race?".

    Related: "Chiles drops out of governor race, throws support to Sink", "Bud Chiles to endorse Democrat Alex Sink for Florida governor" and "Chiles throws support to Sink in Fla. gov's race".

    "Some pretty rough neighborhoods"

    "If U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek expects to win Florida's U.S. Senate race, his road to victory will run through some pretty rough neighborhoods."

    Meek, who is polling a distant third in a three-way race with Republican Marco Rubio and independent Charlie Crist, finished behind Jeff Greene in 34 of 67 counties in the Democratic primary. In 20 counties, Greene garnered an outright majority in the four-candidate contest.

    While Meek racked up landslide margins in his home base of Southeast Florida, the rest of the state proved problematic for the Miami congressman. If Meek has any hope of winning this fall, or even being competitive, he will have to dial far beyond his 305 area code.

    A Sunshine State News analysis suggests that Greene voters won't necessarily come home for Meek in those counties. Even if the congressman stumps through Florida's rural counties where he performed poorest, he will face gale-force headwinds.
    "Meek's Road to Victory Littered with Land Mines".

    Party boy

    "The Republican Party is supplying $2.5 million in advertising support to Marco Rubio's Senate campaign in Florida, a sizable commitment to a candidate the party once tried to push out of the contest."

    The money from the National Republican Senatorial Committee is the maximum the party can spend in coordination with Rubio. A party official said the money will be devoted to television ads at a time that is agreeable to Rubio's campaign.
    "GOP to pump $2.5 million to help Rubio in Florida".

    "Hot issues in November’s election"

    "The two major party nominees in the race for governor threw some jabs at education Wednesday, setting the stage for what will be one of the hot issues in November’s election." "Primaries Done, Statewide Candidates Focus on Education".

    Teabaggers = RPOF

    "Leaders of the Florida TEA ('Taxed Enough Already') Party chose Tallahassee Wednesday to promote their 21 candidates across the state and to endorse Rick Scott, the Republican gubernatorial candidate." "TEA Party Backs Rick Scott for Governor in November".

    FCAT follies

    "How FCAT will change".

    Marco's "huge taxpayer rip-offs"

    The Saint Petersburg Times editors: "Since St. Petersburg Times senior correspondent Lucy Morgan detailed the evolution of this palatial building, the Republican legislative leaders with their fingerprints all over it have been pointing away from themselves. U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio was House speaker when money for the new courthouse was approved. He claims that the project was a Senate, not a House, priority. That's not how everyone remembers it."

    Intense lobbying for the building came from 1st District Court of Appeal Chief Judge Paul Hawkes and Judge Brad Thomas — Republican insiders with friends in high places. Hawkes is a former legislator from Crystal River, and both men are former staff members for the Legislature and former Gov. Jeb Bush.

    Sen. Charlie Dean, R-Inverness, who was chairman of the House committee that oversaw court expenditures, said after he refused to fund the courthouse, Hawkes and Thomas enlisted help from Richard Corcoran, then Rubio's chief of staff, and from Hawkes' son Jeremiah, who was Rubio's general counsel. Dean says that the decision about the money was left to Rubio and his budget chief, Rep. Ray Sansom, and the final budget included $7.9 million to start work on the building.

    Rubio is campaigning for the Senate as a fiscal conservative, yet his tenure as House speaker features two huge taxpayer rip-offs that rewarded political friends and associates: One is the $6 million set aside by Sansom for an airplane hangar for a friend and political contributor. Sansom now faces grand theft charges for that arrangement. The other is this unnecessary and luxurious courthouse that was originally slated to provide each judge on the appellate court with a 60-inch flat screen television and individual kitchens — accoutrements that have disappeared since the public attention.
    "The palace and its parents".

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Alex Sink, the state's chief financial officer and Democratic nominee for governor, is rightly auditing the project. A preliminary review suggests the state may have tapped money originally intended for other uses, including $16 million from the Workers' Compensation Trust Fund." "In contempt of state taxpayers".

    Stem cells

    "Area lawmakers urge Congress bypass judge, pass law allowing embryonic stem cell research".

    Send the check, just don't hug me

    "Despite fierce opposition from GOP leaders, state agencies are seeking federal help." "Florida is going after millions tied to health care reform".

    Outa here

    "The threat of illegal immigration may have been a political flashpoint in the recent Florida primaries, but a new study suggests that fewer undocumented immigrants call the state home. The analysis by Pew Hispanic Center in Washington, D.C., found that more illegal immigrants have been leaving Florida than have moved in during the past few years. A small percentage have become legalized." "Florida's illegal immigrants have fled state".

    Not enough

    "In the wake of a rash of fish and bird deaths likely due to toxic blue-green algal blooms in the St. Johns River, there are renewed calls for standards that dictate how much nutrient runoff citizens and businesses can dump into Florida’s fresh water. The recent gulf oil spill brought to light the fragility and importance of waters on the state’s economy and ecology, but the ocean isn’t our only at-risk body of water."

    The St. Johns has long suffered the effects of nutrient pollution, but the past several months have been undoubtedly worse than usual. Those fish and bird deaths, plus the sudden appearance of a bizarre foam, are just a few of the symptoms of nutrient overload, and it is becoming apparent that the agencies governing Florida’s water bodies need to accelerate the adoption of a stringent set of rules to protect them.
    "FDEP workshop suggests the agency will recommend ineffective water quality standards".

    Probably not a contingency fee arrangement

    "Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene accused The Miami Herald and St. Petersburg Times in a libel lawsuit filed Wednesday of orchestrating a "plan to assassinate [his] character'' that cost him the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate in Florida."

    Greene, who lost to Miami U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek by 26 percentage points, said the newspapers published stories about his real estate dealings in California and his 145-foot yacht Summerwind that were "knowingly based on false information.''

    "Defendants . . . published the articles with the goal of destroying the personal, business and political reputation of Greene,'' the suit claims.
    "Jeff Greene sues Miami Herald, St. Petersburg Times over coverage". See also "Losing Senate candidate sues St. Pete Times, Miami Herald for libel".


    "BP oil spill claims czar Ken Feinberg has overpromised and underdelivered, Florida officials and others said Wednesday. Feinberg's new claims process, called the "Gulf Coast Claims Facility," isn't any more popular than the maligned BP process it replaces, members of Gov. Charlie Crist's Oil Spill Economic Recovery Task Force learned Wednesday, as they heard a litany of complaints from Panhandle claimants." "Despite critics, Feinberg says he's paid $17 million in 3,000 emergency oil-spill checks".

    "Alternative parties hold some sway"

    "If they voted as a bloc, Florida's third-party members could have a decisive impact on close races throughout the state, including some in Central Florida. More than 350,000 Florida voters are registered as members of political parties other than the Republican Party of Florida or the Florida Democratic Party, records show." "Alternative political parties hold some sway in Florida".

    Ambler wants election voided

    "Hillsborough County Commissioner Jim Norman has refused to discuss who helped his wife buy a $435,000 lakefront home in Arkansas, but a lawsuit by his political nemesis claims conservative activist Ralph Hughes was the source of the money."

    The lawsuit, filed by state Rep. Kevin Ambler, charges that Hughes loaned Norman $435,000, which Norman never disclosed nor paid back.

    Ambler, defeated by Norman in last week's Republican primary for state Senate District 12, wants the results of the election voided and election officials to declare him the nominee. Ambler argues that Norman was not a legally qualified candidate because he didn't disclose the loan from Hughes or ownership of two boats purchased in conjunction with the Arkansas home.

    The Tampa Tribune has also learned from sources at two government agencies that the FBI has begun investigating Norman's finances in relation to the Arkansas house purchased by his wife, Mearline, in 2006. The sources requested anonymity.

    Spokesmen for the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office said they could not confirm or deny an ongoing investigation.
    "Ambler claims activist Hughes loaned Norman $435,000 for house".

    "Legislature’s deceptive efforts ... to amend the state Constitution"

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "The Florida Supreme Court has properly responded to the Legislature’s deceptive efforts to get voters to amend the state Constitution to suit its political purposes." "Florida’s high court stands up for voters".

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