U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson
has been buried under an avalanche of negative spending from Republicans and GOP-leaning interest groups from across the country."Outside groups spend big to oust Democrats".
These interest groups – ranging from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the "conservative alternative" to the AARP -- have spent more than $1 million to unseat Grayson and his fellow freshman Democrat, U.S. Rep. Suzanne Kosmas of New Smyrna Beach, according to elections records. That cash has bought hundreds of attack ads on Orlando TV stations.
And that doesn't include the money spent by Webster and state Rep. Sandy Adams of Orlando – Kosmas' opponent – or the more than $1 million the national Republican Party has poured into ads on behalf of the two GOP candidates.
Video deflates Scott whinge
"Amid the furor surrounding Democrat Alex Sink's message during her debate with Rick Scott, a new video clip indicated she was handed the phone before being told what the message was about." "Video shines light on phone flap". See also "Note nags at Sink; new video shown". More: "Scott continues attack on Sink for text during debate" and "Bill Cotterell: One text message shows the perils of campaigning".
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Alex Sink needed a memorable moment from this week's debate, but this is not what we had in mind. The Democrat's momentary indiscretion when she looked at a text message on a phone handed to her by a makeup artist has been blown out of proportion. Now Republican Rick Scott is airing a radio ad calling Sink a cheater for breaking debate rules and the Republican Party is calling her a liar for sticking to her reasonable explanation."
What they don't say: Sink acknowledged the rules were inadvertently violated, never heeded the advice in the text message, did not initially know who sent it and later fired the aide who did. "A tempest in a text message".
Webster afraid to debate Grayson
"Webster, the main challenger to Democrat Grayson's bid for a second term representing the 8th District, has refused to debate."
[D]uring the Wednesday night debate sponsored by Barry University and the Orlando Sentinel, Grayson said a congressman has to be thick-skinned enough to stand up to bullying lobbyists and even his own party."Last District 8 debate features Grayson but no Webster".
"If you're not tough enough to show up and debate…you're not tough enough to do the job," Grayson said.
"Gov. Charlie Crist, whose political career may end next week, will likely leave behind a legacy that does not match the records of previous governors." "Charlie Crist's likely demise leaves an uncertain legacy".
Haridopolos admits ethics violations
"The state Ethics Commission found probable cause of financial disclosure violations by the incoming president of the Florida Senate and cleared the House Democrats' next leader of a complaint involving travel expenses."
The commission, following a closed meeting last week, announced its findings in the separate cases today."Incoming state Senate president focus of ethics probe".
An investigative report said Sen. Mike Haridopolos, a Merritt Island Republican set to become Senate president next month, acknowledged he failed to fully disclose his financial interests from 2004 through 2008. ...
According to the report, though, he told a commission investigator he made the same mistakes year after year because he didn't carefully read the financial disclosure instructions.
"I feel pretty silly," Haridopolos told a commission investigator, the report says. "I mean, I'm a college professor and I didn't do it right."
The errors include failing to disclose his earnings from the University of Florida and real estate investments. He also didn't disclose clients of his business, MJH Consulting, which provided at least 10 percent of the firm's income. The report also found he misstated the values of his home and mortgage and omitted various addresses such as those of the state and other employers.
"Crist is nowhere near nice"
"He's always had a nice guy image as a politician, but in this year's Senate campaign independent Charlie Crist is nowhere near nice." "No more nice guy: Crist alters image".
Rivera gets a pass
"A judge on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit seeking to disqualify Republican David Rivera as a candidate for Congress on grounds he filed misleading or incomplete financial disclosure forms as a state lawmaker."
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jerald Bagley said the lawsuit -- filed by two allies of Rivera's opponent, Democrat Joe Garcia -- failed to state a legal claim, and it was filed too late to prevent Rivera from appearing on the ballot."Suit dismissed; Rivera stays on ballot".
Lawyers for the Florida Secretary of State's office, which manages state elections, said any election contest should have been filed by Sept. 12, within 10 days of Rivera winning the Republican primary. The suit was filed on Oct. 21.
In the suit, the plaintiffs argued that Rivera, a four-term state representative from Miami, should be removed from the Nov. 2 ballot because he failed to file accurate financial disclosure forms for the past seven years, as required under the state's ethics law.
From 2003 to 2009, Rivera said in his disclosure forms that he worked as an "international development consultant'' for the U.S. Agency for International Development. But USAID officials told The Miami Herald that they had no record of any work by Rivera or his consulting company.
Rivera later amended his disclosure forms, removing any reference to USAID or his consulting company. Rivera has said he worked as a subcontractor to other USAID vendors -- but he has refused to identify his clients.
Norman also gets a pass
"Hillsborough County Commissioner Jim Norman is once again the Republican candidate for state Senate District 12."
An appeals court on Wednesday threw out a lower court decision that had disqualified Norman for not disclosing assets, including a $500,000 gift from his political benefactor. Although there are two write-in candidates, Norman's is the only name on the ballot."Norman back on ballot after appeals court decision". Related: "Timeline in Norman-Ambler dispute".
In a unanimous, 3-0 opinion, judges with the First District Court of Appeals said they were reluctant to disenfranchise voters except in a situation where the law clearly warrants it.
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "The 1st District Court of Appeal’s decision on Wednesday to restore Jim Norman as the Republican nominee for a state Senate seat defies logic and condones corruption." "Norman ruling makes no sense".
The Tampa Tribune editorial board asserts that "the court's ruling did voters of state Senate District 12 and the Republican Party no favors. ... Unless the Supreme Court reverses the decision, the district will be represented by a man who purposely misled the public about his financial involvement with a powerful businessman who lobbied the commission and sometimes benefitted from its decisions. ... Norman may have prevailed in court, but its finding is no vindication. The proceedings have shown him to be untrustworthy." "The return of Jim Norman".
Perhaps the Trib editors will declare RPOFers Rivera and Haridopolos likewise "untrustworthy".
"For two decades, Deborah Gianoulis was a nightly fixture in Northeast Florida living rooms as anchor for the region's most popular news station. Now the Democrat from Ponte Vedra Beach hopes to make news by winning a seat in the Florida Senate, but an imposing obstacle stands in her way: Republican Sen. John Thrasher, chairman of the Republican Party of Florida and a consummate political insider in Tallahassee. The Thrasher-Gianoulis race is one of Florida's most closely-watched legislative battles, and a Gianoulis win would be a huge psychological victory for Democrats in a challenging political year." "Thrasher-Gianoulis contest excites partisans".
"Sandy's strange ideas"
"Kosmas, emphasizing her work as a moderate, has been harping on a theme of 'Sandy's strange ideas,' pulling out several statements and painting Adams as 'out of touch.'"
One oft-repeated example involves the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which established direct election of senators. Kosmas, at recent debates and on the Internet, has criticized Adams for suggesting the amendment should be repealed so that voters couldn't pick their senators."Sandy Adams hopes to carry her conservative credentials into Congress".
Adams explained that she had no plans to push for a repeal but that her opinion had more to do with supporting states' rights, and having states decide how to pick senators.
Another recent missive from the Kosmas camp focused on Adams' statement during a telephone town hall in which Adams professed her belief in the Biblical teachings of creation, versus evolution.
Going backwards on Cuba
"Miami Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is poised to chair the House Foreign Affairs Committee if Republicans take control of the House in November, effectively quashing congressional efforts to ease restrictions on Cuba." "Ros-Lehtinen's role could grow in House".
On the road"
"Sink points to varied endorsements, touts 'character, integrity to lead'".
"While most of Florida's 25 congressional races tilt toward Republicans this year, Democrats' best chance for a takeaway is in South Florida's sprawling 25th District, a new Sunshine State News Poll shows." "Poll: Rivera, Garcia Feeling Miami Heat".
Sink sitting pretty in Quinnipiac
"In the hotly-contested governor's race, State Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, the Democrat, has 45 percent to 41 percent for Republican Rick Scott, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University survey, conducted by live interviewers, finds. Another 11 percent are undecided and 9 percent of those who name a candidate say they might change their mind in this final week before Election Day."
Sink gets 16 percent of Republicans, 85 percent of Democrats and 42 percent of independent voters. Scott wins 74 percent of Republicans, 8 percent of Democrats and 37 percent of independents."Sink Inches Ahead Of Scott In Governor's Race" ("From October 18 - 24, Quinnipiac University surveyed 784 Florida likely voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.") See also "Poll: Rubio, Sink leading in Fla. Sen., gov. races".
"A soft spot for most politicians"
Daniel Ruth: "Candidates smile through the pain".
"Sink and Scott each rely on a small inner circle of advisers for campaign and political counsel."
Sink, Florida's chief financial officer, confers closely with her husband, Bill McBride, her long-time chief of staff Jim Cassady, and a small group of female friends that includes former Education Commissioner Betty Castor. For political advice, Sink also listens to the young aides she has assembled as part of her campaign team, but, while she welcomes their opinion, she doesn't always do as they recommend."In governor's race, Sink and Scott's inner circles reflect distinctive styles". See also "Scott's mom is his campaign co-star".
Scott, who has never before run for public office, keeps a close circle of advisers that includes his wife, Anne, and longtime friend and Washington lawyer Enu Mainigi. But most of the political shots are being called by campaign veterans, including Washington pollster and strategist Tony Fabrizio, who has imbued in the campaign the mantra that they are running a different kind of race.
That difference is evident in the sheer size of Scott's political machine, financed mostly with Scott's own money — more than $60 million so far.
Government Is Not God endorsements
"Republican candidates for federal office Allen West, Dan Webster, David Rivera and Marco Rubio have all earned the endorsement of the Government Is Not God political action committee, whose chairman and founder, William J. Murray, argues that 'atheistic forces' are 'engaging in a religious cleansing of American society.'" "Republicans decline to reject Government Is Not God endorsement".
Crist goes after teabaggers
"Florida Gov. Charlie Crist released an ad Wednesday portraying himself as the only candidate in the U.S. Senate race 'the polls say' can beat Republican nominee Marco Rubio, despite that polling shows no-party candidate Crist about 10 points behind." "Crist runs against 'Sarah Palin, the tea party and Marco Rubio' in latest ad".
"Attack Ads Launched in AG Race".
"The re-election of Rep. Chris Dorworth, R-Heathrow, should be a sure thing."
Dorworth has already been elected twice to the House District 34 seat, has an edge with Republican voters in the district, and has spent more money than his opponent has raised. He is slated to be the speaker of the House in 2014 and the upcoming midterm elections are predicted by just about everyone to be a wave year for the GOP."HD 34: GOP Incumbent Chris Dorworth Hopes to Fend off Dem Challenger Steve Barnes".
But the district, which covers much of Seminole County and part of Orange County, is not safe for the incumbent.
Dorworth’s home is in foreclosure -- thanks largely to a $2.7 million settlement that went against the developer in a land deal gone bad -- and his committee donated money to the campaign of the judge who was presiding in the case. The judge has since recused himself and Dorworth claims he didn’t know his committee gave money to the judge’s campaign, but Democrats have targeted his seat nonetheless.
"I’m a businessman, and there’s bad cycles and good cycles and right now we’re in a bad cycle," Dorworth said.
The Florida Democratic Party has given Dorworth’s opponent, marketing consultant Steve Barnes, $27,000, helping his campaign raise more than $87,000. Those funds, while not insignificant, have been swamped by Dorworth, who has raised more than $231,000 and spent $184,000. Barnes, however, shrewdly held back the majority of his campaign funds for the final weeks, spending just $16,000 as of Oct. 8.
"Banks must prove they own the mortgage before foreclosing, court rules".
Money pours into West campaign
"The Klein/West race is believed to be the most heavily financed Congressional race in the nation." "West Continues Televison Ad Blitz".
Lines getting longer
"If lines get much long at early voting locations, Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher said Wednesday that she will post wait times on her web site. The lines have been lengthening since early voting began Oct. 18." "Early voting lines growing in Palm Beach County".
Troxler on the governor's race
Howard Troxler: "The Mummy vs. Countess Drac-ya'll (i.e., the governor's race)".
Keeping up with the Scotts
"Republican Rick Scott and Democrat Alex Sink have burned through $54.6 million in their TV ad wars, or about $6 million more than the textbook budget in the state's third-largest school district since the 2008 school year." "Candidates for governor light up Florida TVs with a bonfire of money". Related: "Rick Scott's big bucks, Alex Sink's 'grass roots' show in each campaigns' final travel arrangments".
AIF drooling over Scott
"Republican gubernatorial nominee Rick Scott is sharpening his message that Florida government has overregulated its way into an anti-business funk."
Getting rid of DCA has been a mantra for the business lobby because it is symbolic of government roadblocks that had "good intentions, but have become so time-consuming, so duplicative," said Barney Bishop, president of Associated Industries of Florida, which has endorsed Scott."Cut environmental red tape, Scott says".
Bishop said that even if the agency were dissolved, "you wouldn't be turning the state over to developers because there's nobody that has money to build new homes."
Bishop conceded that doing away with DCA might be unrealistic. But, he added, "we'd rather side with Rick Scott because he represents radical change, and she [Sink] represents incremental change. We want radical change."
Mike Thomas inserts his nose ever so deeper into Jebbie's derriere with "'Waiting for Superman' a wake-up call for education reform".
Instead of the cartoon Thomas, and his Chamber buddies find so captivating, may we recommend The New York Review of Books' "The Myth of Charter Schools".
"Osceola candidate woos voters — in wrong district".
"A federal judge has refused to temporarily block enforcement of a state campaign finance law that a group of Sarasota-area residents says is so burdensome that it violates their free speech rights. A lawyer for a libertarian legal group representing the Sarasota-area residents challenging the law said today that it's too late to appeal the decision before Tuesday's election. The law sets disclosure and other rules for political action committees and similar groups."
The challenge is based on a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that lifted a federal ban on political spending by corporations and labor unions. The ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission gave corporations and labor unions the same right to political speech as individuals."Judge won't block state campaign law enforcement". See also "Judge denies conservative activists’ request to block campaign finance law".
Hinkle acknowledged the plaintiffs' challenge is "not frivolous" and that the state regulations are burdensome. He even wrote that "it is hard to explain why four individuals with modest resources cannot" speak without meeting the requirements while a multinational corporation can.
But Hinkle wrote that the difference is that the Citizens United ruling didn't apply to political committees — it simply said that corporations and unions are to be treated the same as individuals.
"Citizens United involved an outright ban on election-related speech by a single speaker," he wrote. "Florida law doesn't prohibit a plaintiff from speaking. Each plaintiff is free to speak as much as the plaintiff chooses and need not register as a political committee."
Mail ballot mess
"Daytona commissioner arrested".