"A political free-for-all is about to start in Florida, where at least two new likely congressional seats will draw plenty of candidates."
Congressman Jeff Kottkamp? How about Congresswoman Paula Dockery?"Complicating the already complicated process: two new voter-approved constitutional amendments aimed at limiting legislators from favoring incumbents or political parties when they redistrict."
It looks like the two Republicans live in the perfect spots to take advantage of two new Congressional seats Florida could gain because of population growth, according to consultants and political maps based on new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The maps, released Thursday by the Legislature, don’t spell out the location of the new districts. But the Legislature will decide that next January when it meets to redraw congressional and legislative districts to ensure that politicians represent equal populations.
The amendments, in conjunction with a new court ruling over minority voting rights, are sure to make for a tough court fight after the Legislature finishes its redistricting work. Regardless of what the courts decide, the entire 160-member Legislature will be up for re-election in 2012, as will each member of Congress."In 2012, Florida should have 27 congressional seats – two more than the current number – with populations of about 696,000. Right now, Republicans hold 19 seats; Democrats 6."
All of it adds up to a political free-for-all.
A quick gander of the political maps suggests that Miami-Dade and Pinellas counties are good bets to lose state House seats. Palm Beach County could lose a resident state senator. And the Miami-based congressional district held by Republican Rep. David Rivera could get cut at the Collier County line, making the seat a little less Republican, said Steve Schale, a Democratic consultant. "Florida’s population growth could spur electoral free-for-all". See also "Florida gains clout, picks up 2 House seats on 17.6% growth in past decade" and "US Census figures offer tools for redistricting".
Rivera’s district, which is over-populated by nearly 111,000, borders the Fort Myers-based seat held by Rep. Connie Mack, who’s mulling a run for U.S. Senate. His seat is overpopulated by about 162,000.
So it’s likely, though not guaranteed, that many of those excess Collier and Lee County residents will form the backbone of a new Southwest Florida-based congressional seat, according to Schale.
"The two people who are in the strongest position are Jeff Kottkamp and Paula Dockery," Schale said.
Kottkamp, a former lieutenant governor from Cape Coral, is strongly considering a run. He heavily carried Southwest Florida in his unsuccessful bid for attorney general in 2010.
"This is my home base and I would expect to be very competitive if we decide to do it," Kottkamp said in a January interview. "There are a lot of things that go into these decisions. First of all, we have to wait and see if there’s a vacant seat."
Week two winds down
"As the legislative session's second week winds down, public and media attention will shift from the Capitol to a courthouse across the street." "A look ahead at the Legislature".
RPOFers want to "drive unemployed into destitution"
The Saint Petersburg Times editors point out that "it's up to the Florida Senate to apply some common sense on an issue that's entirely of the state's own making. Cutting unemployment benefits now would drive more of the unemployed into destitution and take money out of the economy, while saving businesses relatively little. That does not make fiscal sense." "Punishing policy on jobless".
Budget gap may change in size
"State economists are updating their general revenue forecast for the next budget year. Their new estimate is due Friday and it will determine whether Florida lawmakers will have a bigger or smaller budget gap to fill." "State economists reviewing Fla. revenue forecast".
"But he won. Period"
Scott Maxwell has "a quick note to all those Rick Scott-haters who are dying for a recall election:"
Shut up."Want to recall Rick Scott? Sorry, that's not how it works".
And I mean that in the nicest possible way.
Yes, the guy has done things that truly worry those of us who care about transportation, education, the environment and basic critical thinking.
But he won. Period. And the winner gets to stay in office. That's how our democracy works.
Also — and this is important — Florida's Constitution doesn't provide for voters to recall a governor. Or other state officials for that matter.
Short of criminal activity, he gets the four years that your friends and neighbors gave him.
60 year old firefighters in our future
Who elects these idiots? "House plan: Cops, firefighters would have to work till 60".
Florida Republicans face jury
"Former House Speaker Ray Sansom of Destin will stand trial next week on grand theft and conspiracy charges stemming from his role in allegedly steering tax money to a project benefiting a friend and political supporter, developer Jay Odom, who will stand trial as well." Today in Tallahassee: Jury selection for Ray Sansom's trial"".
RPOFers cross swords
"Public schools next year would receive roughly the same funding as this year under a preliminary proposal floated in the Florida Senate this morning, a sharp departure from Gov. Rick Scott's suggested 10 percent cut and the House's initial 7.7 percent decrease." "Fla. Senate budget leaders designate more money for education than Scott".
"Racial Profiling Takes Center Stage in Florida Immigration Fight".
Scott "less about accountability than winning a political debate"
"During a week dedicated to celebrating the freedom of public information, Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday launched a website devoted to records that push his agenda."
The site was designed to burnish Scott's open government credentials."Scott launches website with political bent".
But including information that supports only his legislative priorities suggests the effort was less about accountability than winning a political debate, government records experts said.
Norman the target of investigation
"State Sen. Jim Norman is now officially the target of an investigation by the Florida ethics commission, according to a Dover man who filed an ethics complaint against Norman last year."
George Niemann, who filed the complaint Nov. 15, said he recently talked to an investigator with the ethics commission who has been assigned to look into an Arkansas vacation home owned by Norman's wife."Niemann: Norman a target of ethics commission probe".
The home was purchased and refurbished with a $500,000 loan from Ralph Hughes, Norman's friend and political supporter. Hughes often appeared before the Hillsborough County Commission when Norman was a member of that board.
"Miami-Dade recall sends a message"
The Sun Sentinel editorial board: "Maybe it's voter anger with government spending and arrogance. Maybe it's because of the recession and built-up frustration with taxes. And maybe it's because people are seeing how others around the world are fighting to make their voices heard." "Angry voters show they want a voice".
"Second pension bill is defanged"
"A week after several cost-saving provisions of a state pension reform bill were removed, a second bill dealing with local government pension plans was softened Thursday in the Senate. Senate Bill 1128 originally would have prohibited local governments from offering defined benefit plans to new employees, but was amended Thursday to allow for greater local control." "Senate Treats Local Government Pension Plans More Kindly".
"Nine days ago, Florida Senate President (and U.S. Senate Candidate) Mike Haridopolos appeared before a cheering tea party crowd chanting, 'E-Verify, E-Verify!' on the steps of the historic capitol. Today similarly large crowd gathered to send him a different message." "Battle for heart of the Republican party on display at immigration rally".
RPOFers in CYA mode
"New preliminary numbers released Thursday in the Senate Education Appropriations Committee show a proposed cut of 2.28 percent in per-student education spending – a change from the 10-percent cut proposed by Gov. Rick Scott and less than the 7.7-percent cut suggested on Tuesday by House Education Appropriations chairwoman Marti Coley." "Senator: Education cuts may not be as bad as earlier predictions".
"Back to the Middle Ages"
"State Rep. Schwartz on crisis pregnancy center funding: ‘We’re going back to the Middle Ages’".
"Prominent Trilby egg farmer" throws his hat into the ring
"Wilton Simpson, the prominent Trilby egg farmer, businessman and president of the Pasco County Fair Association, has filed paperwork to run for the state Senate seat being vacated by Republican Mike Fasano, who is stepping down due to term limits. Simpson, a Republican, said Thursday evening that he was motivated to run, 'because of the state of our state.' " "East Pasco business owner files for state Senate seat".
Editors like their nukes
The Miami Herald editorial board: "In Florida, FPL is seeking the go-ahead to build two new reactors at Turkey Point. Progress Energy wants to build a new plant in Levy County. The state already has three operating plants (Crystal River, St. Lucie and Turkey Point) housing five reactors. Without new generating facilities, Florida could fail to meet its growing energy needs." "Nuclear power’s future".
Cannon’s tantrum picks up steam
"House Speaker Dean Cannon’s bold plan to overhaul the Florida Supreme Court gathered steam Thursday, as a Republican-controlled House committee endorsed the proposed changes and Democrats opposed them, as did the Florida Bar and some judges." "Supreme court bill gains steam".
"Broward sheriff wants to go non-partisan".
You do it
"Mindful of angry voters who ousted the mayor and a commissioner, a majority of Miami-Dade County commissioners support a special election to fill the vacancies — rather than making appointments themselves." "County commissioners: Hold election for next mayor".