Trailing in multiple polls, Gingrich draws line between Fla-baggers and country clubbers
"Newt Gingrich is determined to turn the next seven months into a battle between conservative activists and the Republican establishment."
"The Washington establishment is coming unglued," Gingrich said Sunday before several thousand people in the Villages. "I am not running for president to manage the decay of the U.S. to the satisfaction of the establishment. And I am not running for president of the U.S. to make the Wall Street elite and the Washington elite happy.""Newt Gingrich sets up battle between conservative activists, Republican establishment".
Gingrich made the case across the state as polls showed Mitt Romney opening his lead heading into Tuesday's Florida primary. Gingrich vowed to continue his campaign and asserted that his rival will struggle to secure the needed delegates before the August Republican National Convention in Tampa.
"I think Romney's got a very real challenge," Gingrich said after attending morning services at Idlewild Baptist Church in north Tampa.
Gingrich is trying to harness the conflicted energy coursing through the Republican Party. Romney has the money, the organization and the looks of a winner. But on the ground level, there is angst over his past moderate positions.
See also "Gingrich makes stop at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz" and "Mitt Romney: Republican presidential candidate campaigns in Broward County".
Meanwhile, "Three Florida polls released Sunday showed Romney opening up a double-digit lead over GOP rival Newt Gingrich, who vowed to press on with his campaign regardless of the Florida results and pursue the Republican nomination all the way to the GOP's August convention in Tampa." "Gingrich loses ground Sunday as Romney soars ahead, leading up to Tuesday's GOP primary in Florida". See also "Florida warms to Romney" and "Poll: Romney expands Florida lead over Gingrich". Here's a summary of previous polls.
Trib endorses Newt
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "The Republican candidate who can best take the fight to President Barack Obama and his liberal agenda, and revive the nation's sense of can-do optimism, is former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. The veteran battler of Big Government wields conservative ideas like a light-saber." "Gingrich in GOP primary".
The country clubbers fight back: The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Best choice: Romney".
"Santorum campaign cancels rally in Lake County". See also "Santorum holds on to Florida despite fading organization, visibility".
What's a Fla-bagger to do?
"Florida well might prove to be the pivotal state in deciding the Republican challenger to President Barack Obama — and the tea party might be the deciding factor in Florida — but no candidate has united the far-flung movement yet." "Tea party still deciding among GOP candidates".
Well, that's not exactly true:
In throwing their support to Newt Gingrich, a group of Florida tea party leaders risk throwing away their clout and credibility, observers of the movement say."Tea Party Leaders Endorse Gingrich: High Risk, Low Reward". See also "Gingrich courts conservative vote at Tea Party stronghold".
"The Florida Tea Party Coalition With Newt" endorsed the former House speaker on Thursday, saying they would "help defeat Massachusetts Moderate Mitt Romney and then President Barack Obama."
“It is clear to me and many others in the tea party movement that Newt is the Reagan conservative that America needs,” said Peter Lee, founder and director of the East Side Tea Party of Orlando.
Lee was joined by statewide tea leader Patricia Sullivan, who said, “I stand with Newt because I know he will stand up to the establishment and insist on fiscal reforms."
In all, more than 30 Florida-based tea activists signed on to the coalition. The geographically diverse representatives ranged from the Panhandle to Broward County.
Separately, the TEA Party of Florida, the only political tea party registered with the state Division of Elections, endorsed Gingrich.
If it matters so much ... why not vote for ... 'ya know ... the Protestant?
"But this presidential campaign year, evangelical Christians — those followers of Jesus Christ who believe in reshaping culture, faith and values through a Protestant lens — are struggling to find electoral salvation in the current crop of Republican presidential contenders."
Instead of the easily defined, conservative, born-again beliefs espoused by former candidates George W. Bush, Christian activist Gary Bauer or televangelist Pat Robinson, evangelicals are faced with choosing among presumed frontrunner Mitt Romney, a Mormon; Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, both Catholics; and Ron Paul, who has voiced opposition to the traditional evangelical stance of supporting Israel through military and foreign aid."For Brevard evangelicals, candidate choice a divine decision".
"Area GOP contributions favor Romney".
81% want referendum on casinos
"A staggering 81 percent of likely Florida voters surveyed last week said they believe that any proposed changes to state gambling laws should be decided in a statewide referendum. Only 8 percent were against it." "Florida voters want to decide future of casinos in state, Times/Herald/Bay News 9 Poll shows".
Republicans dominate elected offices despite number of registered Dems
"Republicans dominate [Volusia and Flagler] area elected offices despite number of registered Democrats".
"Republicans will oust Obama, Marco Rubio says".
Fla-baggers at the polling places
"The conservative group Americans for Prosperity is signing up Florida tea party leaders to serve as regional coordinators, and paying groups $2 per signature to recruit Election Day volunteers."
"It's an opportunity for tea parties to raise dollars for their organizations by helping AFP with an awareness and membership drive on Tuesday," said Slade O'Brien, AFP's Florida director. ..."Americans for Prosperity Taps Tea Party Volunteers for Tuesday".
O'Brien said "about 50" tea party and patriot members have been gathering signatures of volunteers, who, in turn, will wear AFP T-shirts and spread the group's message at precincts on Election Day.
He could not provide a current tally of volunteers, but said they will be working statewide.
"All volunteers are required to sign a release stating that they will only hand out AFP material and will not display, have available or advocate for any candidate while engaged in this project," O'Brien told Sunshine State News.
Jobs, jobs, jobs!
"Orlando named top market for 'fast casual,' quick-service restaurants".
"Open the lawyer can, expect the dirt"
Nancy Smith: "There are silly bills and then there are the bat-crazy, dangerous, shoot-it-before-it-reaches-the-border bills. SB 1560 fits nicely into the latter category."
SB 1560 is an ethics bill proposed by Sen. John Thrasher, with Senate President-designate Don Gaetz on board, that would ban lawmakers from working with universities or colleges while they serve and for two years after they leave the Legislature."Lawyers, University Employees and Conflicts of Interest".
You well may ask why. ... The point is, open the lawyer can, expect the dirt.
Is Scott's makeover working?
"More than four in 10 Florida voters, 43 percent, approve of Scott's job performance a year into his first term; 47 percent disapprove; while 10 percent are not sure."
While these numbers are not fantastic — they remain worse than President Barack Obama's approval rating in the state, for example — they still represent a marked improvement for a man who took office facing an extremely polarized electorate."Scott still unpopular, but approval inches up in new Times/Herald/Bay News 9 poll".
"His numbers aren't great. He is still not where he needs to be in order to get re-elected," said Brad Coker, managing director of Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, which conducted the poll. "But people don't seem to have such a negative gut reaction.
"The makeover's working."
"Romney credits change in tactics for Florida surge", In Florida, Romney's organization seems to trump Gingrich's crowds and "Romney rediscovers his mojo in Florida".
Never mind that spill thing
"GOP primary candidates speak of oil, not oil spill".
"How many Iowa poll workers does it take to screw in a light bulb?"
"How many Iowa poll workers does it take to screw in a light bulb?"
Apparently, we'll never know. Even though Iowa Republicans originally named the wrong winner of their Jan. 3 caucuses, then changed their minds and still can't find some votes, joke writers in general are giving Iowa a pass."Iowa miscount no comfort for Florida election supervisors".
But if the same thing happens Tuesday in Florida's GOP primary, we'll almost certainly be fodder for Jay Leno, David Letterman, Conan O'Brien, et al.
"Everybody loves to bash us," said Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher. "But we've developed thick skins."
In fairness, Iowans are neophytes at counting badly, at least as far we know, and their missteps occurred in caucuses, not a presidential election. It was Florida, in the Bush vs. Gore election of 2000, that turned vote tabulation into Gone With the Wind. And the state had sequels in some subsequent elections, although not quite as glaring as in 2000.
Then again, Iowa Republicans managed to mangle the tallies even though they had only 121,503 votes to count statewide.
"A possible DREAM Act nightmare"
Marc Caputo: "Talk about a possible DREAM Act nightmare. The Republican who said he’d veto the pro-immigrant legislation as president, Mitt Romney, is winning the likely Hispanic vote by 16 percentage points in a theoretical matchup against President Barack Obama in our latest Florida poll."
Romney’s 53-37 percent Latino lead over Obama has emboldened Republicans, who gleefully play up the president’s relatively tepid support among Hispanics. Yet Romney might not have an edge at all due to the size of the poll’s margin of error."For Hispanics, it’s not just about immigration".
Democrats said they doubted the poll’s finding, pointing to other surveys showing Obama would win Latinos in Florida by double-digit margins. Another survey shows Obama and Romney running neck-and-neck.
PolitiFact sidles up to Romney
"PolitiFact: Attack lines in Florida's GOP presidential primary".
For a critical look at "Polifact", see "2 More Whoppers from Politifact (and guess what they have in common)" and "PolitiFact devolves into absurdity".
Gingrich goes to Florida's scariest place to paint scary picture of U.S. future"
"Newt Gingrich painted a terrifying picture of America's possible future Sunday,forewarning that society would become dependent on food stamps, China would surpass the United States as a preferred world trade partner ,and a nuclear Iran would mean the potential destruction of American cities." "Gingrich's stop in Villages paints scary picture of U.S. future".