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 Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Scott personally initiated voter purge

    Gary Fineout: "Florida's quest to identify and remove non-U.S. citizens from the voter rolls was started at the direct urging of Gov. Rick Scott, the state's former top elections official said."
    Ex-Secretary of State Kurt Browning, who resigned this year, told The Associated Press that Scott asked him whether or not non-U.S. citizens were registered and if those people were voting. Browning explained to the governor during a face-to-face meeting last year that people who register and falsely claim they are citizens can be charged with a crime.

    "He says to me — well, people lie," Browning recalled this week. "Yes, people do. But we have always had to err on the side of the voter."

    Browning said the conversation prompted state election officials to begin working to identify non-U.S. citizens. The state's initial list — compiled by comparing driver's licenses with voter registration data — showed that as many as 182,000 registered voters were eligible to be in the country but ineligible to vote.

    But Browning said he decided against telling local election supervisors right away because he wanted to make sure the information was accurate in order to avoid a "firestorm of press" and criticism. Florida then spent months trying to get access to a federal database that tracks non-U.S. citizens in the country, but the U.S. Department of Homeland Security would not allow it.
    "Gov. Scott started push to remove voters from rolls".

    Romney takes Florida lead in Q poll

    "Mitt Romney has crept to a 6-percentage point lead over President Barack Obama in Florida, where a new poll shows a majority of registered voters don’t think the incumbent deserves a second term."

    Romney’s 47 percent to 41 percent lead over Obama would grow even bigger — to an 8 percentage-point advantage — if the challenger chose Sen. Marco Rubio a running mate, according to Quinnipiac University’s new survey.

    The poll also indicates that Romney has closed the so-called “gender gap” among women voters with Obama, who barely leads among Hispanics. And Obama is enjoying almost no advantage for his widely publicized decision to publicly favor same-sex unions, which a majority of Floridians now favor.

    But regardless of Rubio or the gay-marriage issue, more voters simply view Romney more favorably than they view Obama, the poll shows.
    "Florida poll shows Mitt Romney leads President Barack Obama, while gay marriage issue matters little".

    From Quinnipiac:
    Romney holds a 47 - 41 percent lead over President Barack Obama in Florida, where 63 percent of voters say the president's support of same-sex marriage will not affect their vote, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Another 25 - 11 percent of voters, including 23 - 9 percent among independent voters, say Obama's support of gay marriage makes them less likely to support his candidacy.

    Adding Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio to the GOP ticket would give the Republican Romney/Rubio team a 49 - 41 percent lead over President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

    Romney's lead in the horse race compares to a 44 - 43 percent tie in a May 3 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University and a 49 - 42 percent Obama lead March 28.

    Florida registered voters say 52 - 44 percent that the president does not deserve a second term in the Oval Office and by 52 - 44 percent give him a thumbs-down on his job approval. ...

    From May 15 - 21, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,722 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.4 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.
    "May 23, 2012 - Romney Up 6 Points In Florida, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Rubio Has Little Impact As GOP Running Mate". See also "Romney's support up in Florida's presidential race".

    Deutch without a challenger

    "U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, may get a pass from the Republicans in this year's election. The only Republican who'd expressed an interest in challenging him said Tuesday she was dropping out, and Palm Beach County Republican Chairman Sid Dinerstein said he doesn't know of another candidate who will attempt to topple Deutch." "Republicans can't find challenger to Democratic congressman".

    But it is OK if Reagan did it?

    "Florida’s top Congressional Democrats broke with President Barack Obama on Tuesday over his administration’s decision to issue Fidel Castro’s niece a visa to attend a conference this week in San Francisco."

    The opposition of Sen. Bill Nelson and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz came just hours after Republicans had blasted away at the visa decision — while failing to acknowledge that Republican President George W. Bush’s administration had allowed Mariela Castro to visit the United States three times a decade ago.

    The fact that Republicans had remained silent over Bush’s decision while criticizing Obama gave Wasserman Schultz a measure of political cover in breaking with Obama.

    "The Bush Administration set a bad precedent by granting Mariela Castro a waiver in 2001 and 2002 as I believe that such visa requests should not be accepted because of the ongoing human rights abuses in Cuba," she said in a written statement to The Miami Herald. "While I respect my colleagues, it’s important to note they did not criticize President George W. Bush for granting Ms. Castro a waiver in 2002. Politics has no place when we are standing up for human rights."

    Nelson was more terse and more concerned with the plight of a jailed American.

    "Allowing Raul’s daughter to come to the U.S. when the regime still holds Alan Gross makes no sense," said Nelson, who faces a tough re-election campaign this fall.
    "Top Democrats break with Obama over Castro visa issue".

    Remember when Canadian environmentalist and war hero - a veteran of the "Italian Stalingrad", no less - Farley Mowat was "denied entry to the United States during the Reagan Administration".

    "Home sales falter"

    "Florida home sales falter, but prices rise in April".

    "Just one thing was missing"

    Anthony Man: "Just one thing was missing from this designed for TV news event: television cameras. When the four members of Congress toured A&M Tape & Packaging in Sunrise on Monday, the only news media representatives were a reporter, a still picture photographer, and a videographer from the Sun Sentinel. That prompted Hastings to rebuke the local and national media". "Alcee Hastings complains about lack of media attention". Background: "Democratic legislators visit Sunrise company, tout jobs policy".

    University construction slowing

    "Florida's colleges and universities are being asked to limit the amount of cash they draw from Public Education Capital Outlay to make sure the trust fund stays solvent throughout the fiscal rear." "Colleges, universities asked to hold back some funding for construction projects".


    "Hialeah case could be beginning, not end of slots battles".

    "I'm shocked, shocked"

    "An upcoming study will show that Republicans lobbyists find more value in face-to-face visits and the counsel of other lobbyists than their Democratic counterparts, according to Politico.com." "Study finds lobbyists' information sources vary by party".

    Flaws in PIP bill

    "Rep. Kriseman wants Gov. Scott to address flaws in PIP bill".

    What's wrong with Hillsborough?

    "The three Florida Supreme Court justices seeking to hold onto their seats hit a bump in the road in Hillsborough County last weekend."

    In a straw poll conducted by the Hillsborough County Republican Party, none of the justices facing statewide retention votes in November garnered even close to the simple majority required. The results were these:

    - Fred Lewis: 34 percent, yes; 68 percent, no.

    - Peggy Quince: 28 percent, yes, 72 percent, no.

    - Barbara Pariente: 27 percent, yes, 73 percent, no.

    Hillsborough County GOP Chairwoman Deborah Cox Roush said 156 party members cast votes in the straw poll conducted Saturday. ...

    Lewis and Pariente were appointed by former Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles; Quince was jointly appointed by Chiles and Republican Gov. Jeb Bush.
    "Three Florida Justices Lose Retention Vote in Hillsborough Straw Poll".

    "How LeMieux pulled it off"

    "George LeMieux is an old hand running political campaigns, but he wound up in the U.S. Senate by ferociously campaigning for just one vote: Gov. Charlie Crist’s."

    How LeMieux pulled it off — tapped to serve a vacant Senate seat in 2009 by a governor who had reservations about his former chief of staff — speaks volumes about LeMieux’s ambition, savvy and knack for bare-knuckle politics that’s again playing out as he campaigns to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.
    "George LeMieux’s aggressive campaign for 2009 Senate seat serves as a window into his ambition, savvy".

    Transparency in election campaigns

    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Federal courts struck two blows last week for more transparency in election campaigns. Voters should be pleased. A federal appeals panel in Washington, D.C., declined to block a lower court ruling that requires tax-exempt organizations running election-related TV ads in federal contests to disclose their donors. And another federal appeals panel in Atlanta rejected a constitutional challenge to a 2010 Florida law that requires outside groups behind political ads or campaign mailers in state elections to register and disclose details about their contributions and spending." "Courts side with voters, not campaign secrecy".

    Margaret Diaz appointed Regional Director Florida NLRB Office

    "NLRB Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce and Acting General Counsel Lafe E. Solomon have announced the appointment of Margaret J. Diaz as Regional Director in the Tampa Regional Office (Region 12). Ms. Diaz will be responsible for enforcement of the nation’s primary labor law covering private sector employees in the State of Florida (except for 12 western counties) and in 21 counties in southern Georgia. Ms. Diaz replaces Rochelle Kentov, who retired effective the beginning of 2012." "Margaret Diaz appointed Regional Director of NLRB's Tampa, FL Regional Office".

    Rubio holds a press conference

    "Marco Rubio, Mark Warner, Others Team to Bolster STEM Start-ups".

    Obama to speak at Latino conference at Disney in June

    "President Barack Obama will be among of the speakers at a Latino leadership conference scheduled for next month at Walt Disney World. The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials announced this week that the president will address the group on June 22." "President Obama to speak at Latino leadership conference at Disney in June".

    Gaetz staffs up

    "Senate President-designate Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, has already snagged three big names from inside the capital circle to help run his office through the 2013 and 2014 legislative sessions."

    Lisa Vickers, who recently stepped down as director of the Florida Department of Revenue, has been hired to be Gaetz’s senior adviser. Carol Gormley, who previously worked for former Gov. Jeb Bush, is coming over from the House where she was staff director for the Health and Human Services Committee. She will serve as senior policy advisory on health care for Gaetz.

    And for the media, Katie Betta, the House communications director, will take the same role for the president’s office. Betta will replace Lyndsey Cruley.

    “I want to make sure we have very substantive policy-oriented people in the president’s office, not politically oriented people,” Gaetz said. “I’ll take care of the politics; I need deep players, serious players, who can advise me and my fellow senators on policy issues.”

    Gaetz still intends to name a deputy chief of staff, senior policy adviser for education, a senior policy adviser for economic issues and a general counsel in the coming weeks.
    "Don Gaetz Gathers Policy Advisers for Senate President's Office".

    Campaigning at work?

    "Email exchanges concerning congressional candidate Al Lawson's campaign have raised questions about political involvement within the state Senate Minority Office. The April 9 emails from and to staff director Theresa Frederick discussed Lawson and his Democratic and Republican opponents." "Did Senate Staffer's Emails Breach Separation of Campaign and State?".

    Mica feeds his campaign contributors

    "Mica claims progress in privatizing airport screeners".

    "Is Mack the dumbest speaker in Congress?"

    "Is Mack the dumbest speaker in Congress? It's complicated".

    Republican establishment coalescing behind Mack

    "Despite former U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon jumping into the race last week and the continuing efforts of former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, the Republican establishment keeps showing signs of coalescing behind U.S. Rep. Connie Mack’s bid to challenge Nelson. Last week, Mitt Romney and U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross announced they were backing Mack -- and they're now joined by Gov. Luis Fortuño of Puerto Rico who endorsed Mack on Tuesday." "Tug of War Continues over Control of U.S. Senate in Florida Race".

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