"Faced with a demonstration that threatened to make him look anti-union and his opponent appear as a friend to working folks, Gov. Charlie Crist this evening decided not to attend Wednesday's luncheon where he was to face off for the first time against fellow U.S. Senate hopeful Kendrick Meek."
"Early in the day, Alan Glassman, business manager of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and Moving Picture Technicians and Allied Crafts, said Meek would stand with the union and enjoyed their support."
He said he was glad Crist agreed not to cross the picket line. But he said the union contacted his campaign staff last week about the labor strife that began 10 years ago. No one responded."Crist, Meek cancel West Palm event rather than cross Kravis picket line".
"I'm happy he did it," he said. "But come on dude, where have you been for the last 10 years?"
"Campaign roundup for Tuesday".
"Florida's budget picture is improving"
"Florida's budget picture is improving, but state economists are still waiting to gauge the fallout from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill catastrophe." "Florida's budget outlook improving".
McCollum continuines to refuse to endorse Scott
"While the Republican Party of Florida wined and dined this past weekend to rally the party faithful behind the GOP nominees, the bitter primary battle between victor Rick Scott and Attorney General Bill McCollum continues to linger -- with McCollum continuing to refuse to endorse Scott." "Rick Scott Makes Nice to Bill McCollum, But Still No Endorsement".
Crist's "appropriate evolution" on gay adoption
"Crist said today that he'll consider ending a legal battle over Florida's ban on adoptions by gays, but a man who challenged the law doesn't want him to."
Florida ACLU executive director Howard Simon said Gill wants the case to run its course in the courts because that's the only sure way to kill the ban. Dropping the case now would mean the judge's ruling applies to only one of Florida's 20 judicial circuits, Simon said."Crist may drop defense of state gay adoption ban". See also "Crist says he's reviewing gay-adoption ban" and "Gov. Crist may drop gay adoption lawsuit, says he's had 'appropriate evolution'".
"You're not doing anybody a favor by even considering a premature halt to this case," he said. "We need a final determination."
Simon said he'd encourage the state to take the case to the Supreme Court even if the appeal court rules against the ban. He said that ruling could come as early as Wednesday.
Scott Maxwell: "Namby-pamby Democrats in this state could learn a thing or two from the Republicans."
These guys have guts.Maxwell continues:
I'm talking in-your-face, Rambo-style, put-Chuck-Norris-to-shame chutzpah.
If these guys have an enemy, they take him out. And they don't let pesky things like logic or reality get in their way.
How else can you explain last weekend's announcement that the Republican Party of Florida's "audit" into its shady finances, which found that not a single person associated with the party did anything wrong?More here: "Stand aside logic, here's the GOP 'audit'".
Sure, elected Republicans from South Florida to the Panhandle had access to these special-interest slush funds. But miracle of miracles, the party's audit determined that the only people responsible for wrongdoing were the people no longer associated with the party.
Did the legislators who racked up hundreds of thousands of credit-card charges on dinners, limos, trips and car-repairs do anything wrong? No!
But did turncoat Charlie Crist — even though he didn't even have a card? Yes!
If none of that makes any sense to you, then you're probably a mere mortal. Or a Democrat. ...
The Democrats and the press can keep on howling. But Thrasher & Co. have decided to create their own reality. And unless investigators or voters contradict them, they may end up looking brilliant for doing so.
Sink turns up the heat
"Prodded by Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, top state officials on Tuesday agreed to pressure the oil spill claims manager to process pleas for help faster." "Fla. officials put heat on oil claims czar". Related: "Sink, Crist and Bronson urge more sympathy, urgency for Florida oil spill claims".
"U.S. judge demands water district show it has money for Everglades cleansing".
Greer concedes "racist" component to RPOF
"Indicted former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer said Monday he has discovered "racist views" within the GOP and is sorry he helped fuel a national firestorm last year over a speech by President Obama to America's schoolchildren."
"In the year since I issued a prepared statement regarding President Obama speaking to the nation's school children, I have learned a great deal about the party I so deeply loved and served," Greer's Monday statement said. "Unfortunately, I found that many within the GOP have racist views and I apologize to the president for my opposition to his speech last year and my efforts to placate the extremists who dominate our party today. My children and I look forward to the president's speech.""Former Florida Republican leader says he regrets firestorm over Obama speech".
Greer declined to identify the extremists within the GOP.
"It is not my belief that the Republican Party as a whole or even a majority of Republicans have racist views," Greer said Tuesday. "I just believe there are some in the party that don't think minority outreach should be a priority, that moving in that direction doesn't help the party because it encourages more minorities to vote."
Greer said he regrets that, as chairman, he took advice "to keep certain segments of the party happy. ...There are some Republicans that do believe that there is no place for moderates in the Republican Party."
Enough with killing bears
The Sun Sentinel editorial board: "Don't resume bear hunts".
PBA joins FOP in endorsing Sink
"The Police Benevolent Association, which has endorsed Alex Sink for governor, slammed her GOP opponent's budget-cutting plan as 'dangerous' to the public."
This is the first time in 20 years that Florida's Police Benevolent Association and Fraternal Order of Police have both endorsed a Democrat in the governor's race. Today, PBA director David Murrell called Republican candidate Rick Scott's proposal to cut almost $7 billion out of the $70-billion state budget —including $1 billion cut from the $2.3 billion prison budget — a "dangerous" plan that would trigger the early release of inmates."State police unions endorse Sink; PBA calls Scott plan 'dangerous'". See also "PBA endorses Sink for governor, blasts Scott".
Fred Grimm: "Home values down, taxes up -- smug expression gone".
Campaign contribution reimbursement lawsuit
"A circuit judge Tuesday denied Gov. Charlie Crist's motion to dismiss a lawsuit seeking return of campaign contributions. Next week the judge will decide if he'll certify the case as a class-action case." "Judge won't dismiss Crist lawsuit".
Part of McCollum's lawsuit to proceed
"At least a portion of Florida's lawsuit challenging health-care legislation will proceed, a federal judge who presided over a first-round hearing on Tuesday said. Senior U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson said he likely will dismiss several of the five counts alleged in the challenge to the Affordable Care Act but will allow the suit to proceed under at least one count. The Obama administration had asked Vinson to dismiss the entire lawsuit, and he didn't say which portion of the case will go forward." "At least part of health-care lawsuit will continue". See also "Health-Care Lawsuit Likely to Proceed".
"Florida is shaping up to be a battleground in 2012"
"Republicans in Florida are trying to make the November elections for state offices a referendum on President Barack Obama, betting that the Sunshine State’s continuing lagging economy and mounting discontent with the White House will pay heavy dividends when voters hit the polls."
Rick Scott, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, and GOP attorney general candidate Pam Bondi have made their opposition to the Obama administration one of the hallmarks of their campaigns."Republicans Want to Make State Races About Obama".
A Pulse Opinion Research Poll released Tuesday by Fox News confirmed the wisdom of the Republican strategy of attacking the White House. The poll of 1,000 likely Florida voters taken on Saturday reveals that 37 percent approved of Obama’s performance in the White House. Even more heartening for Republicans, the poll also finds that Florida is shaping up to be a battleground in 2012, with 57 percent of those surveyed thinking Obama should not be reelected.
"Thrasher isn't taking Gianoulis lightly"
"He's one of the Florida Legislature's most powerful Republicans, and one of its most partisan. She's a well-known former TV anchor who praises the collegial style of the late Republican Sen. Jim King."
John Thrasher, Jim King's successor, took on the state's teachers union and cleaned house at the Republican Party of Florida."Thrasher, Gianoulis Battle in SD8".
Deborah Gianoulis Tweets from Jacksonville Jaguars games and tweaks Thrasher for wielding a "hammer" of "top-down" leadership.
At the geographic heart of Senate District 8 is Jacksonville, but there's more to it than that. The district covers parts of Nassau, Duval, St. Johns, Flagler and Volusia counties -- in short, it stretches along the Atlantic and almost reaches south to Daytona Beach.
The fight for SD 8 might seem like a David-and-Goliath battle, pitting a well-connected lobbyist/lawyer against a political neophyte. Indeed, voter demographics and campaign cash appear to be stacked heavily for the incumbent.
Running for re-election in a district that has 46,000 more Republicans than Democrats, and having raised $414,898 in cash to Gianoulis' $94,749, Thrasher seems like the odds-on favorite.
As if those advantages weren't enough, Democrats face strong headwinds in this mid-term election as Republican turnouts surge, fueled by a bad economy and tea party activism.
Still, Thrasher isn't taking Gianoulis lightly. Nor should he.
Meek garners veteran support
"While still down in the polls, Kendrick Meek is trying to bolster his U.S. Senate campaign with the help of the state's veterans." "Vets Rally With Kendrick Meek".
"An old position or a new position?"
Nancy Smith: "What's that you say, Charlie Crist has a position paper? I don't know whether to laugh or cry. An old position or a new position?" "Charlie Crist Taking a Position ... Stop the Presses? I Don't Think So".
"In the last few decades, private prisons, which now house about 9 percent of the inmate population in the U.S., have grown steadily in number — but so has criticism of an industry that makes its profits from the rehabilitation of criminals." "Hernando jail transfer the latest point of controversy for Florida’s private prison industry".
GOPers co-opting teabaggers
"In July, former Republican Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott told The Washington Post that Republicans should work toward assimilating tea party candidates, saying,"
“We need to co-opt them.” On CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey expressed dissatisfaction with Lott’s statement, calling tea party movement supporters “independent-minded people.”"Independent congressional candidate Stanley courts tea party support".
“They really have no particular appreciation for the performance of either party in the past several years,” Armey said. “They want to run for office in order to change that.”
Independent Troy Stanley, currently running against Republican Ander Crenshaw to represent Florida’s Fourth District, is one such “independent-minded” person.
A Navy veteran and former hot dog vendor, Stanley decided to enter the political ring due to his dissatisfaction with current politicians and policies, and he isn’t fond of the idea of the tea party being co-opted.
Crist sees red
"Governor is red over Legislature's refusal to fund green".
Jim DeMint to the rescue
"Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., has transferred $250,000 from his own reelection account into the Republican Party of Florida, reports Ben Smith of Politico. The cash will be used in part to aid get-out-the-vote efforts in the party’s federal account."
DeMint is as sure of a bet as any to win reelection against surprise Democratic candidate Alvin Greene. He was also the first sitting senator to support Republican Marco Rubio’s bid for Florida’s Senate seat. DeMint’s PAC, the Senate Conservatives Fund, endorsed Rubio when the National Republican Senatorial Committee backed no-party candidate Gov. Charlie Crist, and has given over $327,000 to his campaign."DeMint transfers $250K to Republican Party of Florida".
Ausley lashes out at Atwater over audit
"Democratic CFO candidate Loranne Ausley lashed out at Senate President and Republican CFO candidate Jeff Atwater and the Republican Party of Florida today, criticizing the party for failing to release the complete audit of its credit card spending." "Atwater, Republican Party take heat for failure to release credit card audit".
Gelber's press secretary
"Dan Gelber, the Democratic candidate for Florida attorney general, hired Aaron Blye as his campaign press secretary. Gelber will face Republican Pam Bondi in November." "Gelber hires campaign press secretary".
The Biltmore Boys
"Sixteen mayors from around the state are coming to The Biltmore Hotel on Thursday to set next year's agenda for the Florida League of Mayors. ... The 5-year-old organization lobbies the state Legislature on bills that affect cities. It also educates mayors throughout Florida on leadership, municipal issues and successful practices through a series of roundtable discussions and other events." "League of mayors to discuss state issues".
LeMieux displays independent streak
"Sen. George LeMieux put sound policy above partisanship Tuesday and voted to advance a stalled bill that benefits small businesses."
The Florida Republican displayed an independent streak by helping break an unnecessary deadlock over a bill now cleared for final vote. Next LeMieux should embrace a compromise offered by his Florida colleague in the Senate, Democrat Bill Nelson, to help small businesses again and reduce a burdensome government reporting requirement established under health care reform."Small business gets a boost from LeMieux".
"They'll show up just about anywhere"
"With the political air being sucked up by high-profile races for governor and U.S. Senate, the candidates for agriculture commissioner joked at a joint appearance Tuesday that there's no need for lawyers or a TV market map to schedule a debate for the Cabinet post. They'll show up, they said, just about anywhere." "Fla. ag commissioner doesn't draw crowd".
Your Chamber dues at work
"U.S. Chamber begins Crist assault with TV ad".
"Not a ringer"?
"He has no campaign website yet. He has not reported raising a dime from any apparent donors. And his Tea Party affiliation is news to Tea Party activists in Florida who say they've never heard of him. But Roly Arrojo says he's serious about his run for the 25th Congressional District. And he says he's absolutely not a ringer in the race that features heavyweights state Rep. David Rivera, a Republican, and Joe Garcia, a Democrat -- despite ties to Garcia's campaign manager." "Candidate has ties to rival's manager".