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 Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"Scott and Sink display mutual contempt"

    "Final televised debate between Scott and Sink is full of anger, annoyance and snickers." "Gubernatorial candidates Sink, Scott can't hide their disdain". See also "Sink, Scott spar over issues, slam each other's character in final gubernatorial debate", "Gubernatorial hopefuls hurl mud in last debate", "Governor's race: Rick Scott, Alex Sink save harshest words for last debate", "CNN Gubernatorial Debate a Brutal Final Battle" and "Final Sink-Scott debate filled with heated exchanges".

    "Rick Scott and Alex Sink displayed contempt for each other in their final debate Monday and gave a nationwide TV audience a glimpse of the mounting tension in the close race for governor."
    Seated side-by-side in a college theater, both candidates showed flashes of anger as they attacked each other over business records, campaign promises and TV ads. Three times Scott scolded Sink for smiling or laughing as he criticized her.

    "What are you smiling about? You don't care about seniors? Is that the deal?" Scott said, accusing Sink's former bank of ripping off customers.

    Sink sometimes showed impatience with Scott and the moderators. In an exchange with Scott over NationsBank selling questionable securities, Sink snapped at Scott: "You can't lecture me about fraud."
    "Anger, contempt flare in final Scott and Sink debate in Florida governor's race".

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink made her strongest case yet Monday night that she is the gubernatorial candidate with the best understanding of Florida and the ethical bearing required of the state’s highest office."
    In a freewheeling nationally televised debate at the University of South Florida, Sink and Republican Rick Scott frequently sounded like replays of their television commercials. It was at times uncomfortable to watch because of the tension between the two, but Sink kept the upper hand and the cooler head. Scott continued to skirt questions about his stained business record, distort Sink's record and offer little clue that he knows much of anything about state government.
    "Sink shows grit, command". See also "Sink says she fired aide who passed her message in debate, breaking the rules" and "NEITHER Florida Gubernatorial Candidate Knows State's Minimum Wage".

    Sink leads in the latest poll, although it is well within the margin of error: "Naples Daily News/Zogby Poll: Alex Sink opens lead over Rick Scott" ("In the poll of 802 likely voters, 43.1 percent said they planned to vote for Sink, while 38.5 percent favored Scott, which is inside the margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. The poll was conducted Oct. 18-21.").

    Norman appeal today

    "A three-judge appeals court panel will hear arguments today on behalf of Jim Norman and Kevin Ambler as the two politicians continue their legal battle over a state Senate seat." "Norman, Ambler attorneys to argue over who should be on ballot".

    Watch the "Live Video from Courtroom" beginning at 9:00AM.

    Thank you, Mr. Obama

    "Florida's bid for a high-speed train linking Orlando with Tampa is gathering momentum with the likely award this week of $800 million in federal aid, members of the state's congressional delegation revealed Monday." "High-speed rail: Florida gets $800M more from feds". See also "High-Speed Rail: Florida on Track for $800 Million More".

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "High-speed rail leaving the station" ("High-speed rail between Tampa and Orlando took another significant step from dream to reality on Monday.")

    Scott going off deep end

    "DOT awards Florida $800 million more for high-speed rail; Scott spins project as example of Sink wasting taxpayer dollars".

    Final Senate debate

    "Gov. Charlie Crist and U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek have one last opportunity to derail front-runner Marco Rubio in their final U.S. Senate debate." "3 US Senate candidates set for for final debate".

    "Students of irony, take note"

    Howard Troxler: "Four years ago, we decided that future amendments to our state Constitution would need more than 60 percent of the vote to pass. Students of irony, take note: That change passed by only 57.8 percent."

    But it passed fair and square under the rules at the time. That 57.8 percent in 2006 decided that today, even 59.99 percent of us cannot change our Constitution.

    In the following election in 2008, four out of six amendments passed anyway. Three of them were property tax breaks (always popular), and the fourth was the hot-button issue of a ban on same-sex marriage. Two others would have lost anyway.

    But this year, the 60 percent rule is a major factor. It's possible that none of the controversial items on this year's ballot will pass.
    "Florida's 60 percent rule may doom amendments on ballot".

    Scott doesn't believe global warming is real

    "If you don't think humans cause global warming, offshore drilling might still be a good idea for Florida and growth management should be left to local governments and not state bureaucrats, then Republican Rick Scott is your candidate for governor. ... [Scott] is firmly on the side of those who don't buy the scientific consensus that climate change is real and is primarily caused by human activity." "Scott, Sink on polar ends of green spectrum".

    Webster, Grayson in dead heat

    "Republican Daniel Webster is poised to knock out U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, a new Sunshine State News Poll shows. Webster, a former state senator, leads Grayson, D-Orlando, 48-41. Florida TEA Party candidate Peg Dunmire garnered 4 percent, No Party Affiliation candidate George Metcalfe got 1 percent, and 5 percent of respondents were undecided. In a previous poll, conducted Sept. 25, Webster led Grayson 43-36, an identical 7-point margin." "Poll: Webster Beats Down 'Angry' Grayson" ("The Sunshine State News Poll surveyed 801 likely voters Oct. 22-25 via an automated tracking survey. The margin of error is +/- 3.46 percent.") See crosstabs in .pdf format.

    Amendments 5 and 6

    "FairDistricts Florida and its supporters say Amendments 5 and 6 will put an end to the way incumbents draw voting district lines every 10 years. But opponents say the rigid requirements would make the Legislature's job of redistricting nearly impossible and have potentially unintended consequences." "Amendments 5 and 6: The Battle of Less Bad".

    Say what?

    "Cold beer may cost 5 years for state inmate".

    "A danger in too much negativity"?

    "Senate candidates have tried a more upbeat approach: Democrat Kendrick Meek riding a motorboat, Republican Marco Rubio talking about his family, Charlie Crist stressing his independence."

    "But it quickly dissipated into a downward spiral of nastiness," said Susan MacManus, a political scientist at the University of South Florida. "It's making people really question whether they're going to vote at all. There is a danger in too much negativity. There was a paltry turnout in the primary."
    "Political commercials: annoying but effective".

    Billionaire art collectors know best

    "A billionaire businessman says he has collected enough petition signatures for a recall vote aimed at ousting Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez. ... Braman and others are upset with Alvarez over a 12 percent tax increase for some property owners while salaries rise for county workers. ... Braman is an auto dealer and art collector" "Sponsor: Miami-Dade recall effort has signatures". See also "Braman: Signatures in place for recall".


    "The race to be Florida's next chief financial officer has a familiar ring -- a Republican state Senate president squaring off against a female Democratic challenger with limited name recognition." "Voters overlook Jeff Atwater, Loranne Ausley in CFO race". See also "Ausley hits campaign trail on her bicycle".

    Class size kerfuffle

    "The FEA wants school districts to take the next step and lock in pupil-teacher ratios at each individual classroom. That's what the original 2002 class-size amendment ultimately called for, and reneging on that promise will shortchange academics, the FEA argues." "School Boards Battle Teachers Union on Amendment 8".

    AG fight

    "With little more than a week to go until the election next Tuesday, the attacks are flying in the battle to be Florida’s next attorney general. On Monday, Democratic candidate Sen. Dan Gelber jabbed Republican nominee Pam Bondi as they continue to fight for attention from voters more familiar with the dramatic gubernatorial and U.S. Senate contests." "AG Race Turns on Endorsements and Attacks".

    FRS fuss

    "A Republican sheriff has written a memo to his employees urging them to consider how they vote this election while recounting a meeting with gubernatorial nominee Rick Scott and changes to the Florida Retirement System."

    In the final week of the close race between Scott and Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, a memo by Clay County Sheriff Rick Beseler has caused a stir in law-enforcement circles. "Mr. Scott seems determined that the correct course of action is to reduce (Florida Retirement System) benefits. I was unable to convince him otherwise," Beseler's memo concluded. "I hope this information will be useful as you prepare to cast your ballots."

    The candidate's campaign said Scott is not firmly committed to cutting police pensions — although jobs and benefits will "be on the table" in reducing costs of state government. A Jacksonville sheriff who attended the same meeting Beseler had with the GOP nominee said he took away a different message, that sheriffs would be consulted.

    Sink's campaign pounced on the Beseler memo, saying Scott's record as a cost-cutting hospital executive would be reflected in his approach to state government if he wins next Tuesday.

    Beseler last week wrote an "all personnel" memo to his staff about an Oct. 14 meeting between Scott and six sheriffs that discussed the Florida Retirement System. He did not suggest how employees should vote.
    "Sheriff wary of Scott's plans for pensions".

    Biden in Orlando

    "Vice President Joe Biden dropped into Orlando Monday, telling a convention of police chiefs that should Republicans seize control of Congress, federal funding to local law enforcement would likely shrink." "Biden: A GOP Congress won't fund local cops".

    Enthusiasm gap?

    "More than 70 percent of the 18- to 29-year-olds across the country surveyed by Harvard University recently said they were not sure they would vote this time around. Yet in the 2008 presidential election, voters 18 to 24 were the only age group to show a statistically significant increase in turnout — 49 percent compared with 47 percent in 2004, according to the U.S. Census Bureau." "Enthusiasm gap hits young voters, hurts Dems".

    The company he keeps

    "Congressional candidate Allen West's massive quarterly financial reports document donations made to the far-right Republican by a pair of controversial figures: an Ohio man accused of 'racial vigilantism' and a soldier imprisoned for the unpremeditated murder of an Iraqi terror suspect." "West’s campaign finance sheets link him to controversial figures".

    Big of 'em

    "BP to give Fla. additional $20M". Related: "BP's big plans".

    Just in case

    In Florida, a "recount of paper ballots is automatic if the vote margin is 0.5 percent or less. If that margin is less than or equal to 0.25 percent, it triggers a hand recount of ballots containing undervotes and overvotes. However, that hand count is only mandatory if the total number of ballots with undervotes and overvotes could change the initial results of the election." "A Rundown Of Recount Laws In States With Close Statewide Elections".

    Senate race cash

    "The three U.S. Senate candidates began the last month of their campaigns exactly like their standings in the polls: GOP candidate Marco Rubio had $5.5 million left in the bank; independent Charlie Crist had $1.39 million and Democrat Kendrick Meek had $415,042." "Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio leads polls and push for cash".

    SD 8

    "Florida legislators rarely lose re-election, but the Democrats have one powerful Republican they hope to defeat: Sen. John Thrasher, who doubles as state GOP chairman. While the overwhelming majority of Florida senators and state representatives from both parties have weak or no opposition in the Nov. 2 election, the Democrats believe that former TV anchorwoman Deborah Gianoulis could beat Thrasher, even though the Republicans hold a 60-40 registration edge in District 8." "GOP John Thrasher faces former anchorwoman in Senate race".

    SD 24

    "Incumbent state Sen. Thad Altman is seeking re-election to the seat he won in 2008, saying he would offer targeted tax incentives to aerospace and commercial space-flight industries that would help grow jobs. Steve Edmonds, a small-business owner, said he would do anything in his power to secure funds for the space program, while lobbying the federal government to attract private industry to replace public sector jobs." "State Senate District 24 voters choose between incumbent Thad Altman and small-business owner".

    HD 26

    "During the GOP primary, Ormond Beach Mayor Fred Costello defeated a former police officer and a Navy veteran to compete in the general election for the state House District 26. He now faces Democrat Tim Huth in the Nov. 2 election. Huth, a former deputy superintendent of Volusia County schools, was unopposed in the primary." "Ormond Beach Mayor Fred Costello runs against Tim Huth for Florida House District 26".

    HD 33

    "The state House seat in District 33, vacated by Rep. Sandy Adams Congressional bid, has attracted two political newcomers and one perennial Libertarian candidate. The district includes part of east Seminole and Orange and west Volusia counties, an area made up of residential communities and commercial corridors near largely undeveloped areas. The Republican and Democrat running for office say they have the best ideas to support job creation. Republican Jason Brodeur thinks that Florida has to become more business-friendly to keep and attract important industries. Democrat Leo Cruz would like to encourage sustainable development while streamlining government. The two major-party candidates also face Libertarian Franklin Perez, who would like nothing short of re-making how government works." "Three candidates vie for Sandy Adams' former seat in State House District 33".

    HD 34

    "Voters in state House District 34 are witnessing an intensely fought battle between a powerful incumbent on the Republican side, a rising star for his party, and a relative newcomer Democrat who thinks his opponent is vulnerable on a number of personal and political fronts. A Tea Party candidate in the race has made little effort to mount a campaign." "Incumbent Chris Dorworth and challenger Steve Barnes criticize each other for House District 34 seat".

    HD 35

    "District 35 voters will be able to choose from among three candidates for a state House seat: an incumbent and two challengers. ... The incumbent, Republican state Rep. Dean Cannon, set to become House speaker after the 2010 election, wants to encourage economic growth by giving incentives to small businesses. His Democratic opponent, businesswoman Amy Mercado, thinks the state relies far too heavily on growth to sustain its economy. Tea Party candidate Juanita "Nina" Virone is a late-comer who recently launched a campaign website. Virone thinks government is too heavily involved in day-to-day lives." "House District 35 residents pick between incumbent, Dean Cannon and two challengers".

    HD 36

    "Democratic state Rep. Scott Randolph faces a challenge from Republican Greg Reynolds in his fight for a third term representing House District 36. Randolph, an environmental lawyer, was elected in 2006 and easily won a second term two years later. Before he was elected, he worked as staff attorney for Legal Environmental Assistance Foundation in Tallahassee, and later as the state policy director and staff attorney for Clean Water Action, a national organization that defends the Clean Water Act and other public health issues." "Scott Randolph fights for a third term in state House District 36".

    HD 38

    "Incumbent Bryan Nelson, a Republican, wants to return to Tallahassee to fight against what he sees as costly regulation on homeowners. James 'Heinie' Heinzelman, a Tea Party candidate, said that if elected he would try to stop Sunrail, a light rail project that Nelson supported." "Candidates in State House District 38 say they want to protect taxpayers".

    HD 41

    "State Rep. Steve Precourt, R- Orlando, will try to defend the seat he first won in 2006 against Lee Douglas, a Democrat who hopes to improve the educational system in Florida and Tea Party candidate Jon Foley. District 41 encompasses a part of western Orange County, a portion of south Lake and areas of northern Osceola and Polk counties." "Orange County District 40 voters have choice of incumbent Eric Eisnaugle or two challengers".

    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. State Rep. Marlene O'Toole, a Lady Lake Republican, is seeking a second two-year term against challenger Jeff Shoobridge, a Mascotte resident who wants to bring a common-sense approach to Tallahassee. District 42 encompasses western Lake, including The Villages and Lady Lake, part of south Lake, a large chunk of northern Sumter and the southern tip of Marion." "Marlene O'Toole faces no-party-affiliation candidate in House District 42 election".

    HD 49

    "Two-term state Rep. Darren Soto, D-Orlando, is running for re-election in District 49 against a little-known, no-party affiliation candidate Betty La Chance." "Darren Soto runs for re-election against little-known opponent in Florida House District 49".

    HD 79

    "First-term state Rep. Mike Horner, R- Kissimmee, is defending his District 79 seat against challenges from Tea Party candidate José Alvarez and Democrat Eddie Freeman." "First-term incumbent Mike Horner challenged by two candidates in District 79 race".

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