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 Friday, October 08, 2010

Wingnuts drag knuckles for Scott

    "Florida Republican lawmakers and major contributors who fiercely opposed Rick Scott during the party’s August primary for governor wasted little time sliding over to support the nominee."
    But now a big voting bloc – which, similarly, had backed primary loser Bill McCollum – is poised to make a remarkable conversion and embrace Scott in numbers that could prove decisive in November.

    The Christian Coalition of Florida plans to blanket conservative churches with 3 million voters’ guides on Sun., Oct. 17 – the day before early voting begins in the state. The guide, which will cover the positions of candidates on abortion, gay adoption, private school vouchers and a host of other, so-called family issues, is expected to steer socially conservative voters toward Scott and away from Democrat Alex Sink. ...

    "It’s disappointing, but not surprising," Sink spokeswoman Kyra Jennings said of Scott’s rising support among religious conservatives. “They seem to be putting partisan politics above ethics and integrity. We remember the issues that were brought up in the primary."
    "Religious Voters Convert, Turn to Rick Scott".

    Scott has spent 12 times more than Sink

    "Even as she has slid in the polls, Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Alex Sink has built a $6 million war fund that will let her unleash a flurry of spending as the race draws to a close, according to her latest campaign finance reports."

    Meanwhile, her opponent, Naples multimillionaire Rick Scott, hasn't slowed down. In the month after the primary, he spent $3.7 million - nearly a million dollars a week, more than 12 times as much as Sink. He has only $821,000 on hand, but could write himself a check, as he has in the past.

    At a glance, the latest numbers, which are up to two weeks old, seem to echo the race for the Republican candidacy, in which Scott was able to severely outspend his opponent, party favorite Bill McCollum.

    But the reality is more complex. By saving, Sink has ensured she will have money to spend as the Oct. 18 start of early voting approaches. ...

    Political analysts say Sink's strategy is smart. Undecided voters tend to make up their minds shortly before voting, so political ads are most effective in the week or two before Election Day.
    "Sink, unlike McCollum, has endgame war chest to counter Scott's millions". Related: "Scott's 527 committee pulls in big donors, big donations".

    RPOFers in charge: poverty rises

    "Each September the Census Bureau releases new statistics on poverty in the U.S. Since the recession began Florida has had the largest increase in the poverty rate in the nation. The poverty rate rose to 14.9% in 2009, while the child poverty rate rose to 21%. 2.7 million Floridians, roughly 1 in 7 people, were living below poverty levels in 2009 and 1 in 5 children in the state were living in poverty. 2.7 million Floridians, roughly 1 in 7 people, were living below poverty levels in 2009. In 2009, 1 in 5 children in the state were living in poverty." "Poverty rises in Florida".

    Teabagger "'is in the catbird's seat'"

    "Republican Marco Rubio 'is in the catbird's seat' in the race for Florida's U.S. Senate seat, with Gov. Charlie Crist stalled in second and Democrat Kendrick Meek lagging even further behind in third, according to a Mason-Dixon poll released Thursday."

    Rubio has pushed his lead to 15 percentage points, attracting 42 percent of voters, compared with 27 percent for Crist, an independent, and 21 percent for Meek, the poll showed. Ten percent of voters remain undecided.

    If Rubio can stay above 40 percent, it will be difficult for Crist or Meek to catch him, said Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker.
    "Poll: Rubio 'in catbird's seat' in U.S. Senate race".

    See also "Poll: Rubio has seemingly unbeatable lead", "Marco Rubio continues to lead in U.S. Senate race, poll shows", "New Mason-Dixon Poll: Marco Rubio Crushing Crist and Meek - Sunshine State News" and "Rubio keeps his lead in U.S. Senate race, poll shows".

    Ausley calls for more IG independence

    "Chief financial officer candidate Loranne Ausley has called for making the state's internal watchdogs more independent." "CFO candidate Loranne Ausley calls for more independence for state inspector generals".

    Good work ... if you can get it

    "Barely a week after he lost the Republican primary for governor, Attorney General Bill McCollum sought legal advice on whether he can lobby the governor's office and Cabinet — the very people he works with now — after he leaves office in January." "Attorney General McCollum wanted lobbying request kept secret".

    Scott has developers dancing in the streets

    "Scott promises as governor to loosen regulation of business and he would start by putting a bull's eye on a state agency loathed by many developers. It's the Florida Department of Community Affairs, which reviews development projects with a staff of about 220 and a budget of $280-million. DCA was designed to bring a regional perspective to major growth decisions that affect the lives of people outside the jurisdiction of the local government that is considering the project." "Scott: Abolish planning agency". Related: "Rick Scott Addresses Fraud Issues at Forum Club Event" and "Scott tells WPB Forum Club he would freeze regulation of businesses in Florida".

    "'On the campaign trail, I'll tell you the one that everybody's fed up with. It's DCA,'" Scott explains. "Rick Scott takes aim at DCA".

    Yeah, Rick, my neighbors and I bitch about the DCA all the time at our backyard parties.

    Foreign cash propping up RPOF candidates?

    "Two $1 million ad buys by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce attacking Gov. Charlie Crist could draw the Florida Senate race into a national controversy brewing over allegations that the Chamber is skirting laws against using money from foreign sources in U.S. political campaigns."

    ThinkProgress blog reported that the Chamber "has become very aggressive with its fundraising" recently through foreign affiliates that recruit foreign corporations as members, along with America companies doing business overseas.

    Dues paid by those companies, often thousands of dollars per year per member company, flow back to the Chamber and into the same accounts used to fund "electioneering communications," of the kind the Chamber is using in the Florida race, the blog reported.

    It said the Chamber uses political influence in the U.S. as a recruiting tool to lure foreign members, saying it can influence policy that affects trade and overseas investment.
    "Chamber ad buys in Florida Senate race raise questions about foreign money".

    Taliban Dan

    "Alan Grayson says Dan Webster would 'force' rape and incest victims 'to bear their attacker's child'" "PolitiFact Florida Gives Grayson a 'Mostly True' on Abortion Claim About Webster".

    LeMieux stabs Crist (again)

    "Crist's hand-picked U.S. Senator, George LeMieux, campaigned for Crist rival Marco Rubio today and told a large crowd in this Central Florida retiree haven not to let Crist and others 'scare' them about Social Security." "Hand-picked by Crist, Sen. LeMieux campaigns for Rubio in Florida Senate race".

    Can Dems head off Ginny's surprise?

    "The race for Florida's 5th Congressional District pits a longtime sheriff who was criticized for how he got into the race against a longtime Republican who switched parties less than two years ago."

    Incumbent Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite's surprise disclosure - after the filing deadline - that she wouldn't seek re-election because of illness made this a race to watch. She had quietly recruited Hernando County Sheriff Richard Nugent to run in her place.

    Nugent, who defeated Tea Party favorite Jason Sager in the primary, has the clear financial advantage in the Republican-leaning district. He squares off against Land O' Lakes business consultant Jim Piccillo, a Democrat who said Brown-Waite's interference didn't stop on qualifying day. She made sure her chosen successor would be financially set, he said.
    "Hernando sheriff takes on Land O' Lakes business consultant for 5th Congressional seat".

    Sierra Club hoses Meek

    "The Sierra Club, with more than 30,000 members in the Sunshine State, endorsed both Gov. Charlie Crist, who is running without party affiliation, and U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, the Democratic candidate -- an endorsement Meek promptly refused." "Kendrick Meek Says No to Sharing Sierra Club Endorsement With Charlie Crist". See also "Sierra Club Florida director: ‘We’re surprised’ by Meek’s endorsement rejection".


    "Florida campaigns may be waged on radio and television airwaves, but they're won or lost on the ground, by the army of paid staff and volunteers charged with making sure people vote." "Parties battle to get you out to vote".

    Good little GOPer says "no"

    "Rubio Alone in Rail Opposition, Citing National Debt".

    Brain trust

    "George LeMieux, John Mica and Mario Diaz-Balart mull over how to save taxpayer dollars". "Florida's Congressional Republicans Propose Ideas to Reduce Federal Government".

    Wingnuts want to keep it secret

    "Florida’s campaign finance laws are under assault this election season by conservative groups hoping to reduce government oversight on how they spend money on political ads."

    Last week the Institute for Justice, which bills itself a "libertarian public interest law firm," filed suit in federal court to overturn the state’s spending limits on political ads. The suit was filed on behalf of four Sarasota-area men who oppose Amendment 4, a proposal that would require voters to approve land-use changes.

    The plaintiffs argue that before they are able to air a radio ad opposing the measure "they must register with the government, appoint a treasurer, open a separate bank account, and track and report every penny that they raise and spend for their efforts," according to lead attorney Paul Sherman.
    "Conservatives launch legal attack on Florida campaign finance rules".

    Meek laughs it off

    "A Wall Street Journal Political Diary story states that Republicans are worried that Gov. Charlie Crist, independent candidate for U.S. Senate, is working on a deal with Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek to have Meek drop out of the race and presumably endorse Crist in order to beat Republican Marco Rubio, who currently leads in the polls by about a 10-point margin. Meek scoffs at the idea." "Wall Street Journal story about Crist/Meek deal laughable, Meek says".

    Cumulative voting

    Kingsley Guy points out that "there are ways to address the districting problem other than Amendments 5 and 6."

    Among them is "cumulative voting." You may remember the concept from early in Bill Clinton's presidency when he nominated Lani Guarnier [sic]* as assistant attorney general for civil rights. Guarnier [sic] had written favorably about cumulative voting and was branded by opponents as too radical for the post, even though Illinois had once used the process to elect legislators. Guarnier's [sic] nomination went down in flames.

    Under cumulative voting, representatives are elected from multi-member districts. If five seats are being contested, each voter receives five votes to use as he or she wishes. If an African-American voter wants to use all of his votes to elect an African-American to office, he can do so. If a voter wants to cast five votes for five different candidates she can do so, or split them up any way she wishes.
    "Cumulative voting would offer real election reform".

    - - - - - - - - - -
    *Last time I looked her name was spelled Lani Guinier.

    The Florida White House a 'comin

    Frank Cerabino has a little fun this morning: "President Trump? Deal with it".

    Some call this a debate

    "U.S. Rep.Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, told a gathering of potential voters said the new health care reform legislation passed late last year was, in general, a valuable initiative. His GOP challenger, Joe Budd, a Boca Raton financial consultant, said 'Obamacare' was a dangerous treatment that would do more harm than good." "Congressional candidates Budd, Deutch face off in Delray over health care issues".

    Wingers win one in the Florida Supreme Court

    "The Florida Supreme Court will allow voters to weigh in on the state's class-size law in the November election, rejecting a challenge Thursday from the statewide teachers union that the proposal was misleading. ... The court's decision marked a victory for legislative leaders, the Florida Chamber of Commerce and some education groups that have been lobbying for passage of the tweak." "Voters to get say on class size law". See also "Amendment 8 upheld in Florida Supreme Court ruling", "Class-size amendment to stay on Nov. ballot" and "Florida Supreme Court okays class size amendment for November ballots".

    More: "Amendment 8: Who’s for it? Who’s against it?"

    Where's the beef?

    "It's about campaign buttons, specifically an exhibit called "Buttons 'n Badges, Ads 'n Chads" opening Tuesday at the Old Capitol. Tallahassee stockbroker John Clark gathers campaign memorabilia the way some guys like model trains or baseball cards, and his trove spans about 200 years of Florida and national history." "Bill Cotterell: Collection tells of past campaigns".

    Crist haters on the march

    "John Rood, a former U.S. ambassador and Jacksonville businessman, submitted a series of public-records requests to the governor's office, seeking documents pertaining to, among other things, Crist's veto of Senate Bill 6 and his decision to run for U.S. Senate as a No Party Affiliation candidate." "In Records Dispute, Crist Hit With Second Lawsuit". See also "Tom Grady accuses Crist of violating open records laws in suit".

    Wingnuts waste voters time with a bad question

    "On the Nov. 2 ballot will be a tricky question posed by the Florida Legislature about the federal budget. Should the U.S. Constitution require Congress to balance the federal budget?"

    It's a straw vote, meaning the results aren't binding. But the outcome will show, as does a straw tossed into the air, which way the wind is blowing on this important question.

    Unfortunately, the question is spun in a way that guarantees an overwhelming affirmation:

    "In order to stop the uncontrolled growth of our national debt and prevent excessive borrowing by the federal government, which threatens our economy and national security, should the United States Constitution be amended to require a balanced federal budget without raising taxes?"
    "A good question poorly asked".

    Our apologies Trib editors, but a "good question poorly asked" is necessarily a "bad question".


    "In the three-way race for the District 12 congressional seat, Dennis Ross has risen to the top in fundraising. By a lot."

    As of last month, Ross, a Republican, had raised $810,877, with nearly $500,000 of that coming from individuals and another big chunk from political action committees.

    Democratic opponent Lori Edwards has raised just $345,975, with more than half coming from PACs and a few thousand coming from the Democratic Party.

    Trailing far behind is TEA Party candidate Randy Wilkinson, a Polk County commissioner who jumped from the Republican Party to enter this fray. He has raised just $41,596, according to August records, with the bulk coming from individuals.

    All three say they have a good shot at the District 12 seat, located amid a mix of suburban and rural areas with a conservative base. The seat is being vacated by Adam Putnam, who is running for state agriculture commissioner.
    "Candidates optimistic despite funding gap".

    What Planet?

    What planet do the new editors of the The Daytona Beach News Journal live on? An editorial earlier this week:

    President Obama has turned the ship of government hard left -- much farther left than many Americans thought he would when he campaigned as a moderate-sounding alternative to the hard-line ideologues of the right and the left.
    "Voters are angry -- and justifiably so".

    "Hard left"?

    Amendment 4 naysayers

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "No on Amendment 4". The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Amendment 4 is overreaction". See also "Hometown Democracy pits environmentalists against businesses and builders".

    Related: "Godzilla and vampires get involved in ad war over Amendment 4".

    Amendment 2

    "A lot of people talk about supporting U.S. troops who are overseas in harm's way. Florida voters have a chance in the November election to do something tangible by approving a new property tax break for thousands of military personnel. Amendment 2 would create a new tax homestead exemption for troops serving in certain conflict areas outside the United States. If it passes, the Legislature would then decide exactly which conflict regions qualify." "Property tax break for military on Florida ballot".

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