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 12, 2010

Sink "surging", Scott falling in Q Poll

    "Democratic gubernatorial nominee Alex Sink's attacks on Republican Rick Scott's business history appear to be paying off as she has almost caught him in their increasingly rancorous campaign, a poll released Tuesday showed."
    Three weeks before Election Day, the two antagonists were about even in the latest Quinnipiac University poll, with Scott at 45 percent and Sink, the state's chief financial officer, favored by 44 percent.

    The survey of 1,055 likely Florida voters taken between Oct. 6-10 has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Just two weeks ago, Scott was up 49 percent to 43 percent in a similar Quinnipiac poll.
    "Poll: Sink, Scott running close in Fla. gov. race".

    From the Quinnipiac release:
    Ms. Sink's surge could be tied to voter belief, 44 - 28 percent, that she was a more ethical businessperson than Scott when both were in the private sector, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University survey finds. A total of 89 percent of likely voters say a candidate's record in business is either somewhat or very important to their vote choice.

    By a 42 - 37 percent margin, Florida voters have a favorable opinion of Sink, while Scott gets a negative 39 - 46 percent favorability rating. This compares to the October 1 survey showing her with a split 39 - 39 percent favorability, compared to Scott's split 41 - 40 percent.

    "In the last two weeks, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink has moved into a statistical tie with Rick Scott. Her image has improved while his has deteriorated. It would seem that the debate through television ads about their respective business careers may be the reason," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "At this point she is winning that debate handily and it is having an impact on the race.

    "How the voters feel about the economy is also directly tied to their vote: Among those who think the economy is improving, Ms. Sink leads 69 - 22 percent, while Scott leads 58 - 25 percent among voters who see the economy getting worse."
    "October 12, 2010 - Scott, Sink In Dead Heat In Florida Gov Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Democrat Wins 'ethics' Contest". See also "New Quinnipiac Poll shows Sink, Scott in dead heat for governor" and late last week's "Mason-Dixon poll: Alex Sink narrowly leads governor's race".

    "The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone [robo call] survey of Likely Voters in Florida finds Scott with 50% support, while Democrat Alex Sink counters with 47% of the vote, also her best showing to date. ... The survey of 750 Likely Voters in Florida was conducted on October 7, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/-4 percentage points".

    In the meantime, "Sink, Scott trade charges of corruption". More: "Attacks Continue to Fly in Close Gubernatorial Race". See also "Sink 2-minute spot hits Scott's 'unethical business practices'". The ad is here.

    Week ahead

    "The Week Ahead for Oct. 11-15".

    Scott, runs, hides from ed boards

    "The push to win newspaper endorsements has turned into a one-sided affair in the Florida governor’s race, with Republican Rick Scott effectively boycotting editorial boards while Democrat Alex Sink makes a big, homestretch pitch for support."

    Sink has scheduled interviews with five of the state’s major newspapers this week – following sit-downs last week with editors at three other Florida papers.

    Scott, meanwhile, plans no newspaper visits, although his campaign downplays the meaning of his snub of the decades-old tradition of courting the backing of Florida newspapers, whose endorsements are slated to appear in the final weekends leading to the Nov. 2 election.
    "Alex Sink Pushes for Newspapers' Nod, While Rick Scott Stays Away".

    Haridopolos purging staffers

    "The once-moderate Florida Senate is growing more conservative under incoming leader Mike Haridopolos in the wake of high-level staff firings and resignations that have thinned the ranks of Democrats in the upper chamber." "Senate chief jettisons staffers".

    Sink not a partisan gunslinger

    "When Alex Sink was elected Florida's chief financial officer four years ago, supporters hoped she would lead a rebound for out-of-power Democrats in state government."

    But instead of a partisan gunslinger, they got a pocket protector.

    Her one term in office has been spent pursuing incremental reforms and cost savings rather than sweeping, headline-grabbing issues. She focused on a plethora of penny-pinching, sometimes yawn-inducing financial, insurance and contracting reforms that were often thwarted and even mocked by majority-party Republicans in the Legislature.
    "As CFO, Alex Sink more incremental than sweeping".

    "Voters should remove Hawkes from office"

    The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "An appellate judge’s obsession with building a palatial courthouse in Tallahassee looks more corrupt by the day. Paul Hawkes, the chief judge on the 1st District Court of Appeal, disgraced the judicial branch with his brazen lobbying and unethical conduct. The Judicial Qualifications Commission should investigate, and North Florida voters should remove Hawkes from office in November."

    "A series of reports by Times senior correspondent Lucy Morgan recounts how Hawkes single-mindedly pursued a $48 million courthouse for himself and his fellow appellate judges without regard for judicial deportment or neutrality."

    Hawkes not only lobbied his friends in the Legislature for the money and pulled off a questionable last-minute deal in 2007. He ruled on a highly consequential case involving the St. Joe Co. while the court was negotiating to build the courthouse on public land that was formerly owned by St. Joe and could have been retaken by the company.

    These ethical lapses and conflicts of interest are so blatant that any beginning lawyer could see them. Hawkes, a former Republican state representative and legislative staffer, never made the transformation from political hack to impartial judge.
    "Courthouse deal: bad to worse". See also "Audit of 1st DCA building to be released".

    "Next-generation Jeb"

    Mike Thomas: "The victory that teachers scored in thwarting a merit pay bill earlier this year will be very short-lived if Rick Scott is elected governor."

    In fact, merit pay could be the least of their problems.

    Scott isn't interested in school reform. He's for school revolution.

    His plan is next-generation Jeb. ...

    Scott will have little problem pushing his agenda in an increasingly conservative Legislature that has long been at odds with the Florida Education Association — the state's teachers' union.
    "The future of public schools is on the ballot".

    "Florida one of the worst states in the nation"

    "New Census information shows that deep poverty claims more Floridians and the number not officially 'poor' but living on relatively low incomes has also increased dramatically. Florida continues to be one of the worst states in the nation in terms of residents covered by health insurance." "Poor and Near-Poor Increase While Income Gap Widens" (.pdf).

    Amendment 4 kerfuffle

    "Amendment 4 supporters demonize big business in television ads, but others argue well-funded special interest groups would potentially have more influence over local land use, not less, with the passage of Amendment 4." "Business Leaders: Amendment 4 Will Stifle Growth".

    Rove denies he's a crook

    "Rove denies GOP gets money from foreign sources".

    "Officially a big national deal"

    "In case there was any doubt, the race between Democratic U.S. Rep. Ron Klein and Republican challenger Allen West is officially a big national deal." "Obama, Boehner visits to S. Fla. show Klein-West race important nationally".

    "Politics of the pout"

    Daniel Ruth: "You want smears? You want good old-fashioned backstabbing, character assassination, lies and innuendo? Well, you've come to the right place." "A young master’s politics of the pout".

    Amendment 8

    "Amendment 8 debate centers on money for schools". More: "Amendment 8: Summary of pros and cons".

    Commercial space

    "There's a growing realization on the Space Coast that the future of the area's economy and the future of space exploration are going to rely heavily on commercial space companies." "Legislators Want Incentives for Commercial Space Enterprise".

    Where was LeBron?

    "Obama spoke at the home of former Miami Heat star Alonzo Mourning, who was joined by Miami Heat players Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and former L.A. Lakers and NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson." "Obama's Miami visit and NBA stars draw campaign funds".

    Villages Idiots

    "Crist stops by The Villages".

    Rivera, Garcia debate

    "Rivera, Garcia debate again -- on Spanish radio".

    Grayson "leaving constituents breathless"

    "U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson isn't subtle and neither is the attack ad the Democrat is running against his Repbulican opponent."

    "Religious fanatics try to take away our freedom in Afghanistan, Iran and right here in central Florida," it begins. It ends by calling the opponent "Taliban Dan Webster."

    Webster's campaign and others have called the ad completely misleading, but the ad is pure Grayson: brazen, combative, unabashedly liberal and leaving constituents breathless by the audacity of what he just he said.
    "Opposites face off in Fla.'s 8th District".

    West not looking to make nice

    "House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) will head to South Florida on Monday to campaign for Allen West, a fiery conservative who’s in a tight race against Rep. Ron Klein (D-Fla.). But West, a tea-party favorite, isn’t exactly looking to make nice with the House Republican leader." "Politico: GOP hopeful bucks party 'Pledge'".

    Enough with the "glacial slowness"

    The Miami Herald editors: "EPA director Lisa Jackson has won a reprieve on an order to appear in Miami federal court last week to explain her agency's 'glacial slowness' in meeting water pollution standards vital to Everglades restoration. A reprieve is not a pass, however." "Where's the EPA?".

    "They've let the kooks co-opt their party"

    Stephen Goldstein: "Today, the Republican-tea party is waving a few alluring ideas before us — like keeping taxes low, reducing government waste, creating jobs. But if you fall for them, you'll get stuck with its real agenda, stamped with the sinister imprint of the radical religious right. It's itching to win the next round in our culture wars."

    Of course, the party won't admit to its evil designs. The party knows it would scare you into not voting for it. But if Republicans increase their power in Congress and maintain their lock on the Florida Legislature, they will try to impose all their reactionary ideas on you.

    They've got big plans for how they want you to lead your life, whether you like it or not.
    "So, face facts, and don't let extremists manipulate you. Shudder at what they have in store for you:"
    1. If you want to let Wall Street run amok again and play fast and loose with your money, help John Boehner replace Nancy Pelosi. ...

    2. If you want to let Wall Street profit at the trough of Social Security, vote Republican. ...

    3. If you want your family at the mercy of the state like Terri Schiavo's family, vote for Marco Rubio for U.S. Senate. ...

    4. If you want to force women who are victims of rape and incest to have babies, vote Republican. ...

    5. If you are against finding cures for diseases, vote Republican. ...

    6. If you don't believe in the separation of church and state, vote for Marco Rubio. ...

    There are no moderate Republicans; they are all radical because they've let the kooks co-opt their party.
    "GOP agenda: Vote Republican, take your medicine".

    Amendment 2

    "Amendment 2, put on the ballot by the legislature, would exempt deployed soldiers who are homesteaded in Florida from paying property taxes for the days and months they spend fighting in conflicts abroad." "On the ballot: Proposal to give property tax exemption to military deployed overseas".

    Ambler goes to trial

    "A one-day trial gets under way this morning to hear state Rep. Kevin Ambler's lawsuit that seeks to disqualify Jim Norman's candidacy for the state Senate District 12 seat."

    Ambler says Norman should be disqualified because he failed to disclose that his wife owns a lakefront house in Arkansas and that Norman's former friend and political supporter, Ralph Hughes, paid most of the home's purchase price.

    Norman's defense is that the house belongs to his wife, who had a business partnership with Hughes to re-sell the 2,800, $435,000 home for profit.
    "Ambler challenge of Norman goes to trial today".

    Private school follies

    "A Fort Lauderdale-based for-profit college says its reputation is being unfairly smeared -- prompting a lawsuit against a Florida community college." "For-profit colleges slam state schools".

    Obama a drag

    "President Barack Obama's swing through Maimi raised funds for his party on Monday but, according to a new Sunshine State News Poll, his policies raise deep distrust among Floridians and threaten to drag Democratic candidates down." "Poll: Barack Obama a Drag for Florida Dems".

    "Declaration of Independents"

    "Independent congressional candidate Dianne Berryhill of Tallahassee has joined a dozen other no-party candidates in signing a five-point proclamation promising to change the way Congress operates." "Candidate Berryhill signs 'Declaration of Independents'".

    Wingnut GOTV scam

    "This spring for the first time in state history, according to the Department of State, Florida lawmakers placed a non-binding referendum on the statewide ballot. It asks voters in politically charged language whether they want to "stop the uncontrolled growth" of the national debt 'which threatens our economy and national security' and require a federal balanced budget without raising taxes." "Balanced budget item is the first nonbinding referendum ever on statewide ballot".

    Where's Rod?

    "Democrat Alex Sink campaigns hard across the state, but Democrats everywhere note the near-invisibility of running mate Rod Smith. Nonsense, says Sink's campaign." "Sink keeps running mate Rod Smith in the background".

    "Florida's disreputable status"

    The Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "Florida's disreputable status as the nation's pain pill dispenser should change soon, thanks to a new state law that took effect Oct. 1. " "State can shut down dangerous 'pill mills'".

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