"A couple of months ago, when Rubio was explaining why he often charged personal expenses on his state party card, he was adamant."
"It's not the party's credit card. It's mine. ... It's secured under my personal Social Security number,'' he insisted, contrary to the opinion of the party itself and pretty much everyone else who had a card."Rubio's Republican credit card confusion".
So it's curious to hear Rubio explain why he won't release two years of credit card statements: "Those are party documents. The Republican Party is responsible for those things."
Internal poll: Sink with a 45-44 edge
"Alex Sink’s polling shows her with a 45-44 edge over rival Rick Scott in the governor’s race. Hamilton Campaigns [a Jacksonville- and Washington-based Democratic consulting firm] surveyed 1,000 voters last week and finds Sink with a slight edge, according to a memo sent today by Hamilton Campaigns to the Sink campaign. The margin of error is 3.1 percent. " "In tight race, Sink’s own poll shows her with one-point lead over Scott".
"Crist is fading"
"There's a good reason Charlie Crist has begun airing television ads questioning the integrity of Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Kendrick Meek in the Senate race: Crist is fading in the three-way race, and with early voting already under way he needs to halt the rising support for Rubio and Meek." "As Crist fades in polls, early vote nips at his heels".
"Convenience voting" helps explain polling misfires
Aaron Deslatte: "One undisputed fact emerging from Florida's 2010 primary elections is that 'convenience voting' matters more than ever. More to the point, the ease of voting from your recliner means you'll see more attack ads and mailers, earlier."
Convenience voting may also be part of the reason so many pollsters got the McCollum-Scott result wrong."'Convenience voting' is new focus of campaigns" (bracketing original).
An analysis by the Republican Party of Florida found that more than 200,000 voters who hadn't voted in any of the previous four primary elections cast either absentee or early ballots this year. That's almost as many as the so-called "super voters" who cast ballots in every election.
That kind of voter churn may have been enough to throw off the weighting methods traditionally used by pollsters to predict how many seniors, minorities, Republicans, Democrats and other demographic groups are likely to vote.
"The McCollum [example] has become legend. I think there's enough data to show that it's true," said Republican political strategist Rich Heffley. "I don't think the polls have figured out how to model for pre-election day voting."
"Scott earned a reputation for cutting staff, consolidating operations and closing hospitals." "Scott campaign defends his record as head of hospital chain".
"The two leading contenders for governor brag about creating jobs, but as former business executives they helped send thousands of people to the unemployment line." "In governor's race, a promise to add jobs follows pink-slip flurry". Related: "Sink says job losses were small in bank merger".
Ugly visual: "Rubio, with a straight face"
"Hispanic Republicans running this year for gubernatorial or U.S. Senate seats are making it tough for fellow Latinos to offer much enthusiasm. Some of them embrace the backward and hateful elements toward immigrants and ethnic groups that characterize a swelling nativist tide inside the Republican Party."
In a recent television debate among senatorial candidates in Florida, it was Democrat Kendrick Meek and independent Charlie Crist who favored legalizing undocumented children who are raised here as Americans and join the military or go to college. Nearly 80 percent of Hispanics (and most Americans) in polls support the DREAM Act as a no-brainer that is good for both the country and the deserving kids. (It failed to pass the Senate last week.)"Too Republican for Hispanics?".
Yet in the debate, it was Republican Marco Rubio who opposed it. For good measure, he endorsed Arizona's harsh immigration law and added that English should be made the nation's official language, even though it is a fading issue.
And while it was Republicans who blocked the DREAM Act in the Senate, Rubio, with a straight face, blamed the Democrats - for raising Hispanic hopes. "It's a cynical way to play politics with the lives of real people," he said.
"Thousands of cheering Republicans warmly welcomed Rick Scott at a rally in this retirement venue north of Orlando on Friday as a new poll showed him with a six-point lead over Alex Sink in the governor's race." See also "Rick Scott and Mitt Romney take GOP message to Republican-rich Central Florida".
"When Rubio faces questions about his use of a Republican Party credit card, the big salaries he handed out to staff while he was speaker of the Florida House -- moves that cut at his image as a fiscal conservative -- he calls them distractions from the real issues of the day." "Rubio sticks to script and, so far, it's working".
"Recap and analysis of the week in state government". "Weekly Roundup: Don't Quit Your Day Job, Gov". See also "Campaign roundup".
"It looks like Florida voters will get more opportunity to size up the main Senate candidates than we initially thought. Crist has agreed to participate in two more televised debates with Rubio and Meek." "More debates".
How convenient ...
"Former Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer is asking a judge to dismiss four of the five criminal charges filed against him by the state this year. State investigators accused Greer, 48, of Oviedo, of siphoning thousands of dollars during his time as head of the party. ... Court records show that a scheduled Oct. 18 trial date has been cancelled, and a pre-trial conference has been rescheduled for February. " "Former Florida GOP chair Jim Greer asks judge to dismiss 4 charges".
"In what has generally been a quiet race for chief financial officer, an issue over 'free lunch' is creating some heat."
In 2008, then-House member Loranne Ausley wrote and introduced a bill that would have removed a key part of a gift-ban provision. That law was implemented and supported, among others, by her current rival for CFO, Jeff Atwater."Food Fight! Ausley Campaign Accused of Distorting Free Lunch Legislation Attempt".
Her change would have gotten rid of the provision that prevents lobbyists from buying expensive meals for legislators.
The Ausley campaign responded to the news by saying the bill was "aimed at allowing nonprofits and organizations like local chambers of commerce or civic organizations to hold a luncheon and invite a legislator without having to ask the lawmaker for cash."
But the Atwater campaign is crying foul, saying Ausley is trying to distort the truth.
"AG Candidates Fight for Attention".
"Class warfare is good for America"
Class warfare is good for America. It demonstrates that our citizenry is vibrant and active, that people react to injustices and seek the freedom embodied in the Constitution. In fact, class friction, American-style, has been happening all through our history. In it the rich are getting richer, and the rest of us earn enough to be satisfied with our lot."Republicans, too, wage class warfare".
Our capitalist aristocracy attempts to conjure a Hollywood image of raging peasants storming the Bastille, or Bolsheviks shooting Tsar Nicholas and his family in a cellar. But, get real, folks, this is America. Our "class warfare" results in dialogue, not violence, though some of us are occasionally tempted to smash the skulls of the financial hooligans who raid the nation's wealth.
Pill mill bill
"Pain clinics challenge Florida’s pill mill bill in federal court".
Oil spill research
"Chancellor said last month that he wasn't sure who to ask about Florida's $100 million research request." "Brogan says he's 'more comfortable' with Florida's role in oil spill research".
Water thieves on the attack
"Two Georgia senators have introduced bills in Congress to overturn a federal judge's ruling in 2009 that was favorable to Florida in the states' lengthy battle over water. Alabama, Florida and Georgia have been fighting in federal court since 1990 over water from the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river system." "Georgia senators offer bills to undo Florida's advantage in federal judge's ruling".
"Battle that is tearing apart Democrats"
The Washington Post: "The high-profile Florida Senate race started out as the first major skirmish between a tea party candidate and the Republican establishment, but with a month until Election Day it has evolved into a battle that is tearing apart Democrats."
At issue in this famously chaotic political state is whether Gov. Charlie Crist, who fled the GOP and is running as an independent, or Rep. Kendrick Meek, who prevailed in a bruising Democratic primary, is the more viable candidate against tea party favorite Marco Rubio."In the Sunshine State, stormy forecast for Democrats". See also "Crist Says He Can Beat Rubio and Meek Can't".
At the moment, the answer, it increasingly seems, might be neither.
Rubio is surging in recent polls, while Crist and Meek's fight for the Sunshine State's Democrats has escalated and gotten more personal by the day. ...
Even so, voters in Florida traditionally tune in to campaigns late, and strategists for both parties cautioned that voters could break any which way in the final stretch. There will be six live, televised debates that promise to get a lot of attention and offer the candidates free opportunities to sway voters.
Wingnut laff riot
Prostitute "toe-sucking", "Political strategist and prognosticator Dick Morris jabbed at Democrats, promised big Republican wins in November and touted Newt Gingrich for president in a speech to local GOP supporters Friday night." "Former Clinton advisor blasts Dems".
"32 new Florida laws take effect today".
"The top U.S. environmental official won't be forced into a Miami courtroom to answer for Everglades pollution. Not yet, anyway. A federal judge on Friday called off an Oct. 7 hearing that would have stymied the Oct. 8 trip to China of EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. But Jackson could still face a grilling on pollution problems in the Everglades at a re-scheduled hearing." "EPA chief may still have to testify on Everglades pollution".
Related from the The Miami Herald editorial board: "Foot-dragging over the Everglades".
Trib editors surprise no one
The Tampa Tribune editorial board love Howdy Doody looking nimrods and developers: "Putnam for agriculture post" and "A power you should not want" (Amendment 4).
A desperate man
"Crist was invited to be the Grand Marshall at Everglades High School's homecoming. And while he was in Miramar Friday in the role of governor, he took the opportunity to remind teachers to support him in his bid for U.S. senator." "A Struggling Charlie Crist Woos Teachers".
Another fine Jebacy
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "A grand jury has been empaneled to examine the Legislature's authorization in 2007 of $33.5 million in bonds for the 1st District Court of Appeal's lavish courthouse, set to open next month. The building - with granite counter tops, 60-inch video monitors and a fitness room - will cost the court system nearly $2 million a year in new expenses as the courts are cutting budgets in ways that hinder access to the legal system."
The St. Petersburg Times reported in August that two 1st DCA judges - Paul Hawkes and Brad Thomas, ex-aides to Gov. Jeb Bush, who put both on the court - lobbied the Legislature for that $33.5 million, which was added in a last-minute amendment. Though both insist that everything was done in the open, the state Supreme Court chief justice at the time says he got "snookered," and those who were running the Legislature - some now running for statewide office - deny any involvement."Tallahassee's 'Taj Mahal': Follow the $33.5 million".
Haridopolos runs Tally like a business
"A competent state worker is abruptly fired — kicked to the curb in the middle of a recession — and no one will explain why."
And they don't have to. You see, this is the Florida Senate, which essentially operates as a private club, with millions upon millions of our tax dollars."Senate firings leave an ugly odor".
A Senate that claims to be committed to "total transparency" in all of its budget decisions is anything but when it comes to the recent personnel purge by Sen. Mike Haridopolos, R-Melbourne, the incoming president of the Senate.
After about a dozen firings, the bloodletting finally ended Thursday: "There are no more dismissals planned," Haridopolos said in a memo to senators.
The self righteous Saint Petersburg Times editorial board whines about Grayson this morning: "Negative campaign advertisements that distort the truth and mislead voters are all too common in politics. But a recent ad by U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson violates all standards of decency. The Orlando Democrat manipulated his Republican opponent's words and compares him to the terrorist-backing Taliban. He owes former Florida House Speaker Dan Webster an apology but has declined to give it." "Apology required".
Heaven help it
"Romney's appearance with Rubio foreshadows 2012 campaign". See also "2012-Minded Mitt Romney Campaigns With Scott, Rubio".
Regulators shut down Florida bank
"Regulators shut down small banks in Florida and Washington state on Friday, lifting to 129 the number of U.S. bank failures this year as loan defaults have mounted and economic distress has lingered. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. took over Wakulla Bank, based in Crawfordville, Fla., with $424.1 million in assets and $386.3 million in deposits". "Regulators close small Florida, Wash. banks".