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, October 27, 2010

"Truth is a slippery thing for Rick Scott"

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Even by the elastic standards of political campaigns, it evident that truth is a slippery thing for Rick Scott. He will say anything to advance his interests."
    That was evident during his ugly debate with Democrat Sink Monday night. Scott, who has muddy footprints all over his career, spent the evening seeking to taint Sink's reputation and distort her views.

    Sink was no Mother Teresa during the confrontation. She fired an aide who slipped her a note on a Blackberry, violating the evening's rules. But Sink needed no prompting to defend herself. She clearly was insulted by the personal attacks from someone of such a dubious background. ...

    But in Scott's privileged world, if he says something, it is so.

    Florida voters are being asked to hire a man who has lived in Florida only seven years and whose main business accomplishment was leading a company that aggressively ripped off taxpayers. He's confident, we'll say that about him, but as viewers saw Monday, Rick Scott doesn't let truth or decency get in the way of his ambitions.
    "A matter of character". Related: "Scott, Sink go for jugular in final debate".

    Bits and Pieces

    Kevin Derby's "Political Bits and Pieces".

    Scott's "political fraud"

    The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Rick Scott's company scammed the taxpayers. As we saw in Monday night's debate, Rick Scott aims to become governor by scamming the voters."

    This political fraud is Mr. Scott's contention that his opponent, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, has been responsible for Florida's job losses over the last four years. "You've had your chance," Mr. Scott said to Ms. Sink on Monday, noting that unemployment when Ms. Sink took office in January 2007 was 3.3 percent and now is almost 12 percent.

    In fact, since taking office Ms. Sink has had no authority to make decisions on taxes or spending or any policy that might have directly affected Florida's economy. All those decisions have been made by the Republican-led Legislature, including the House Speaker-designate and Senate President-designate. Both are supporting Mr. Scott.
    "Scott falsified Sink's record: Decisions about economy were made by politicians who back him.".

    What's wrong with Hillsborough?

    "Beneath an infamous rebel flag in east Tampa".

    Kosmas too cautious?

    "By her own admission, U.S. Rep. Suzanne Kosmas is a 'careful' lawmaker." "Caution may cost Kosmas at the polls".

    Scott's last, desperate shot

    With Florida's alleged political journalists in tow, the Scott campaign is desperately trying to spin Sink's text message gaffe into a campaign issue.

    Scott, the notorious fraudster of all people, is actually claiming that he was "shocked ... shocked" by the gaffe. "Alex Sink fires campaign aide over debate breach". See also "Debate debacle hot topic as far away as the UK", "Sink forced to defend herself after she's accused of cheating during debate", "Sink on defensive over text during debate", "Sink debate cheating flap grows", "Alex Sink fires aide who text-messaged during debate" and "Text message during debate sets off a buzz".

    The righties, happy to give Scott a pass on his fraud, are aghast at Sink glancing at a text message: "Alex Sink: Cheating, Lying, Losing".

    Senate debate

    "Independent candidate Charlie Crist was taken to task during the final U.S. Senate debate Tuesday for his answers on leaving the GOP, shifting policy positions, and whether he'd caucus with Democrats or the GOP should he win the three-way race." "Crist party switch challenged in Senate debate". See also "Rubio, Meek push Crist on leaving GOP in last debate for Senate seat", "Charlie Crist on Hotseat in Final Senate Debate", "Marco Rubio tries to stay above fray in last U.S. Senate debate", "Governor is target as Crist, Meek and Rubio square off for final debate in U.S. Senate race", "Crist takes heat at final debate" and "Senate debate more civil, substantive".

    Poll: Sink with double digit lead among indies

    "Following Monday night’s debate, momentum in Florida’s race for governor appears to be slowly shifting to Rick Scott. Republican Scott jumped to a 2-point lead immediately prior to, and during, his red-hot CNN slugfest with Democrat Alex Sink."

    Sunshine State News' nightly tracking poll of likely voters shows Scott moving from a 45-45 tie with Sink on Oct. 20 to a 47-45 advantage Monday night.

    Two weeks earlier (Oct. 12-13), Sink held a 48-45 advantage.

    Jim Lee, president of Voter Survey Service, which conducted this and all Sunshine State News Polls, said the fundamental dynamics of the race have changed in three weeks.

    "These two are so evenly matched," Lee said, "that for the last three weeks they have traded the lead more than once -- yet the election is now in Scott's favor. I say this because Scott leads by nearly 2 points overall (46-45) -- not a lot -- but by 4 points (48-44) among those who say they are most likely to vote."

    Sink does have the advantage in independent voters. She's gone from a 45-45 tie on Oct. 6 to a 47-34 lead in the current poll. ...

    The Sunshine State News Poll of 1,547 likely voters, taken Oct. 24-25, has a margin of error of +/- 2.4 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

    For a look at the poll's crosstabs, click on the link [.pdf].
    "Poll: Rick Scott Muscles Ahead of Alex Sink".

    "Three Florida Democrats could lose their seats"

    "Florida's unusual three-way U.S. Senate race is no longer one of the nation's most interesting, with Republican Marco Rubio pulling away from independent Charlie Crist and Democrat Kendrick Meek. But the Sunshine State matters prominently in the U.S. House battle. At least three Florida Democrats could lose their seats."

    Reps. Suzanne Kosmas and Alan Grayson have been hammered over their votes on health care and stimulus. Their Central Florida districts are closely split and the seats were held by Republicans just two years ago, so it would not be shocking if they change hands again.

    But Republicans also have a good chance at taking out seven-term Rep. Allen Boyd of Monticello. Also in a tight race is Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, who has been unable to shake tea party candidate Allen West.

    Florida holds one of the few bright spots for Democrats anywhere. An open House seat in Miami that was held by the GOP is a toss-up between Democrat Joe Garcia and Republican David Rivera.

    There are six or seven such seats across the country, said U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, who is one of the leaders of the Democrats' national effort. That could bump the number of seats Republicans have to win to take the majority, from 39 to 45 or more.

    "If this is going to be an anti-incumbent year," Wasserman Schultz said, "it's going to be anti-incumbent for them, too."
    "Midterms will reshape Congress, but question is how bloody the GOP takeover will be".

    Scott "a momentous IQ test for voters"

    Carl Hiaasen: "Even by Florida's shaky standards, Rick Scott stands out as one of the most outlandish characters ever to pop out of the woodwork."

    • His presence makes this year's governor's race a momentous IQ test for voters. A man who couldn't run an honest company now wants to run state government. Duh.

    • It's one of those you-can't-be-serious stories that just might come true.
    Hiassen continues:
    Voters might know more about the real Rick Scott if he hadn't invoked the Fifth Amendment 75 times in that now-infamous 2000 deposition in which he refused to answer questions.

    That was his right, of course. He was a private citizen then, not a candidate for public office. He didn't even move to Florida until 2003.

    Yet, this year, six days before filing for the governor's race, Scott gave another deposition in a case involving Solantic, a chain of urgent-care health centers that he started.

    A doctor had accused Solantic of submitting false medical information. The lawsuit was settled by a confidential agreement, and Scott refuses to release the contents of his testimony.

    "A private matter," he said.

    Not when you're running for governor it isn't. Not when you're promoting yourself as a business whiz and natural-born leader.
    "Great Scott, this man is over the top".

    Editors want a class size redo

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "As they fill out their ballots, voters should pause before reflexively making their decision on a commonsense amendment to ease class size limits. Amendment 8 would relax — ever so slightly — the 2002 voter mandate for smaller public school class sizes to make it more workable and rational. It could save up to $1 billion a year for other needs." "Don't believe class size myths".

    Rivera on ropes

    "A case involving the potential removal of a Florida congressional candidate from the ballot over questions about his financial disclosures is set to go before a judge days before the election. Attorney William Barzee and a 25th congressional district resident who filed the case are expected to make their first appearance in Miami federal court Wednesday." "Lawyer seeks removal of Miami congressional candidate David Rivera".

    "Republicans feeling good"

    "Unlike 2006 and 2008, Republicans feeling good with one week to go".

    "Election-year bonus would cost at least $12 billion"

    The Orlando Sentinel editors: "In this year's rough and tumble battle for U.S. Senate in Florida, unanimity on issues has been rare among the three major candidates. But recently each gave a thumbs-up to a proposal to dole out $250 checks to every Social Security recipient — an election-year bonus that would cost at least $12 billion." "Dithering on the deficit".

    Carroll comes down from the house, and flops

    "Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink just wanted to show she takes black voters seriously."

    But her appearance Tuesday on a black radio station in Miami spurred a star-studded free-for-all that found Republicans claiming they would do more for minorities than Sink, who was criticized for blowing off an NAACP candidate forum in Miami last week.

    Jennifer Carroll, who is GOP candidate Rick Scott's running mate, applauded the radio station's owner, Bishop Victor Curry, for blasting Sink for not attending the forum. ...

    In the end, Sink got what she was seeking. While Curry said he was impressed with Carroll, he said Scott gives him the "heebie-jeebies."

    "All is forgiven. We have to move on," Curry said. "I'm going to support Alex Sink. I'm going to vote for her."
    "Sink takes heat on Bishop Curry's radio show but ultimately gets his endorsement".

    The best he can do?

    Democratic U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, FlaDem superstar, is having little trouble fending off Republican Mike Prendergast, who parrots failed notions like this: "the best way to increase the number of jobs was to enact free-market solutions, cut the size of the federal government, protect small businesses and increase American exports." "Mike Prendergast Goes After Kathy Castor on Spending, Jobs".

    Lay down with dogs

    "Republican candidate Lizbeth Benacquisto is demanding that Democratic opponent Kevin Rader retract a television ad that accuses her of 'extreme' views on abortion, saying it unfairly implies she would outlaw the procedure even for rape victims or women at risk of dying." Benacquisto

    took issue with the ad's statement that groups supporting her would ban abortion in all cases, with no exceptions for rape, incest or danger to the woman's life. Groups that support her may hold that position, Benacquisto said, but she said that's not her view, so connecting the two is unfair.

    Calls to the Christian Coalition of Florida and the Florida Right to Life PAC were not returned.
    "Abortion latest flap between Rader, Benacquisto in state Senate District 27".

    West was a union thug!

    "Republican congressional candidate Allen West voluntarily joined the Broward Teachers Union between 2004 and 2005 for the one year he was a high school social studies teacher at Deerfield Beach High School, a move at odds with his hostile attacks on unions during this year’s election." "Despite anti-union rhetoric, West voluntarily joined teachers’ union in ’04-’05". Related: "Florida AFL-CIO on West’s anti-union rhetoric: ‘Says a lot of him as a person’".

    More West folly: "We Love USA PAC spends on behalf of West, says ‘Obama and the left’ ‘detest’ America".

    Putnam at the trough

    "The contributions to Putnam are only a fraction of the $3.8 million he has received in contributions from all sources. Also, Putnam, who is from a Polk County farming and ranching family, has long associations with many on the Fair Authority and said their support probably has little to do with the development project." "Putnam gets campaign cash from fairgrounds-project backers".

    Oh no ... not again!

    "Questions about the voting machine glitch that struck an early vote location in Sarasota’s largely African-American community of Newtown Sunday evening continue to linger. The malfunction occurred shortly after a nearby rally, which featured U.S. Senate candidate Kendrick Meek, concluded. The chair of the Sarasota County Democratic Party has called the glitch an example of 'voter suppression.'" "Sarasota NAACP president: Voting glitch a concern as election day approaches".

    Never mind the rules

    "Haridopolos wants a new Medicaid waiver".

    "Campaign roundup"

    "U.S. Senate candidates hold final debate, final days bring new ads from Rubio and Sink, Klein goes after Allen West for comment regarding the black community" and much more. "Campaign roundup".

    Courts have been "squeezed for years"

    The Miami Herald editorial board: "The outrage over the $48 million 'Taj Mahal' courthouse in Tallahassee is justified ... But a black eye at one North Florida appellate court shouldn't be used as a cheap excuse to chop more funding from the state court system, which has been squeezed for years." "Florida's struggling courts need $$". Related: "Jeff Atwater Sets Record Straight on 'Taj Mahal'".

    HD 42

    "Florida House of Representatives District 42 voters will choose between an incumbent who is a former business executive and a real-estate broker who is running with no party affiliation." "Republican O'Toole faces no-party-affiliation candidate in re-election bid".

    Just another day at the office

    While the rest of us were enjoying dinner with our families yesterday, "a Delray Beach Fire Rescue hazardous materials team went to ... investigate a report of a container inside a car that was leaking a red substance, officials said. 'It was leaking a red fluid,' said Fire Rescue Lt. Ed Beardsley. ... The gender of the body was not immediately known, and additional details were not available late Tuesday." "Hazmat call about leaking red fluid leads to discovery of body in cardboard box".

    Dealing with nightmarish things that you and I never have to see, is just another day at the office for Florida's public safety employees. Yet they are attacked in the media daily for having the gall to ask for decent pensions.

    "Decision of Scott’s was outrageous"

    "Scott’s decision to summarily reject invitations to meet with all editorial boards, so he could attempt to avoid scrutiny, so he could avoid an embarrassing Palin-type moment where, who knows, he might say he’s an expert on Cuba because, well, it’s next to Florida … that decision of Scott’s was outrageous. And something voters should be outraged about." "Rick Scott hates the press. More power to him?"

    Scott, Sink in homestretch drive

    "Fresh from a bruising, final governor’s race debate, Republican Rick Scott and Democrat Alex Sink hit the road Tuesday in a homestretch drive to push their voters to the polls while sharpening their attacks on each other." "Alex Sink, Rick Scott Hit the Road, and Each Other, Post-Debate". See also "Scott bus tours across Florida in final seven days of campaigning".

    Scott flip flops

    "Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott, who on Monday sounded like he'd pull the plug on a $2.6-billion high-speed rail project connecting Orlando and Tampa, softened that opposition some on Tuesday." "Scott softens opposition to high-speed rail".

    Norman appeal

    "Lawyers for Hillsborough County Commissioner Jim Norman tried to convince three appeals court judges Tuesday that Norman was wrongly removed from the ballot in a state Senate race." "Norman argues he was wrongly removed from ballot".

    Journalists in a dither about 50,700 votes

    "Florida Democrats have spent the last year boasting that the gains they made with the $75 million-plus Obama Florida operation — better voter targeting, technological improvements and a wave of new voters — would generate a rare victory for a party poised nationally for a potentially massive bloodletting in congressional and gubernatorial contests."

    But it isn't turning out that way — at least not yet.

    Election data show Republicans are on a verge of an unheralded feat in Florida elections — winning the early-voting battle.

    Through the first eight days of early voting, 491,764 voters have cast ballots. And although Republicans have never out-performed Democrats in early voting, the GOP has built a stunning lead of 50,700 voters through Monday, according to an Orlando Sentinel/Sun Sentinel analysis. ...

    Despite the numbers so far, Democrats say they are poised to surprise many doomsayers, and that the 153,000 independents who have already cast ballots are trending toward Sink.
    "GOP leads Democrats in early-voting turnout". See also "Bucking history, more Fla. Republicans casting early ballots than Democrats".

    Power companies assume control of PSC

    "The Florida Public Service Commission tossed tradition aside Tuesday to elect newcomer Arthur Graham as chairman over Commissioner Nathan Skop, who will be leaving at the end of the year. Skop is the last of four commissioners being shown the door by lawmakers, or a nominating panel appointed by legislative leaders, after voting down large rate increases sought by Florida's two biggest power companies." "Florida PSC names Arthur Graham chairman". See also "Outspoken Skop bypassed for PSC chairmanship" ("Former Chairman Nancy Argenziano calls agency "a joke" and say it's reverting back to its old ways.")

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