"Florida's primary election ballot became final Friday, assuring voters of four new faces on Capitol Hill this fall and spirited races for the Legislature in Tampa Bay and Miami-Dade."
The state's political landscape will shift significantly by the once-a-decade redrawing of all legislative districts following the census, which also hands the state two more seats in Congress for a total of 27."Statewide primary ballot set as clock strikes noon". But see: "Few Incumbents Survive Qualifying Week Uncontested".
Two voter-approved amendments to Florida's Constitution prohibited legislators from protecting incumbents in drawing boundaries.
At least 14 of 40 state Senate seats and 38 of 120 state House seats will have new occupants by November.
But not everything will change.
A total of 38 lawmakers, or nearly one-fourth of the Legislature, can waltz into office without getting a single vote because no one challenged any of them, including four House freshmen who were seeking office for the first time.
See also "As qualifying ends, candidates are at the starting line", "Latvala, Oelrich, Norman Are In as Qualifying Reaches Final Day" and "Candidates who qualified for 2012 ballots".
Bushco education advisor wins award for "compellingly lousy educational research"
"Former Gov. Jeb Bush’s top policy advisor on education, Matthew Ladner, recently got a national award. Just not the kind a policy advisor welcomes. Ladner won the 'Get a Life(time) Achievement Award' from the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado in Boulder."
It was the first time an individual won a Bunkum Award. The center reserves them for “the most compellingly lousy educational research.”"Jeb Bush education adviser gets dubious distinction".
Ladner is the senior advisor of policy and research for the Foundation for Excellence in Education. Bush chairs the influential nonprofit, which supports market-based education reforms like school vouchers and charter schools.
After reviewing his work, the center determined Ladner’s analyses would “be less deceptive if they were selling prime Florida swampland.”
"Scott says he's determined"
"Scott says he's determined to preserve the integrity of the voting process by eliminating noncitizens from the rolls."
As local elections supervisors suspend county-by-county searches for noncitizens, calling the state's data defective, Scott defends them as necessary to the effort to rid the rolls of noncitizens."Plenty misses, few hits in Rick Scott's search to purge non-U.S. citizens from voter rolls".
First Wisconsin, "Look next to states like Florida"
Robyn E. Blumner: "America's labor movement demonstrated that everyday people could gain a soupçon of power over their working lives by standing together. ... But 6/5/12 marks its demise."
Look next to states like Florida, where Gov. Rick Scott has said the state would be better off without public-sector unions — just about the only union power that exists."Divided they fell in Wisconsin".
And this from the uninformed union haters on The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Votes send message to all public unions".
Earth to editors: Under Florida's collective bargaining laws, Florida's public employers have the right to unilaterally decide all provisions of any contract between an employer and its employees. What more do the editors want?
Scott rolling in his doo doo over Wisconsin
"In the eyes of Gov. Rick Scott, Scott Walker’s victory over the Democrats' and labor unions' recall effort in Wisconsin is validation for similar conservation [sic] actions he has pushed in Florida." "Rick Scott: Wisconsin Validates Florida’s Conservative Agenda".
Week in Review
"Weekly Roundup: For Candidates, Election Officials and FAMU President, It's On". See also "Week in Review for June 4 to June 8".
"A law that cannot be fixed, and it should be repealed"
The Tampa Bay Times editorial board: "A task force to investigate 'stand your ground,' led by Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, is stacked with lawmakers who either sponsored the law or are vocal supporters of it. Carroll pointed to the Times' reporting to suggest the law may need reforms, but the task force's objectivity would be more believable had the law's critics been given a seat at the table. The Times' analysis demonstrates that this is a law that cannot be fixed, and it should be repealed." "Repeal 'stand your ground'".
Florida Chamber drags its knuckles
How nice. "Florida Chamber President Mark Wilson offered his group's take on this year's session of the Florida Legislature."*
Q: What are the key steps on pension reform?"Fla. Senate ducked "tough votes"".
A: If there was one thing I'd do, it would be to move new employees into a defined contribution plan instead of a defined benefit.
I don't think it's in the cards to change it for people already in the system. We're advocating that prospective employees coming into government would be defined contribution, like all of us in the private sector.
Q: Are there areas for compromise with the public employees unions?
A: U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan called me and asked if we'd sit down with the teachers union and reach a compromise on some of these issues. We sat down and tried, but at the end of the day, you're trying to find compromise on policy but in the meantime you're not agreeing on who the candidates are. It just makes it hard. I wish we could ...
Arne Duncan called a union hater like Mark Wilson? One hopes that isn't true.
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*We're still waiting for the traditional media to print employees' "take on this year's session of the Florida Legislature", including pension "reform".
White supremacists make threats in Central Florida
"White supremacists threaten state attorney, judge, agent".
Lawsuit to stop voter purge
"The American Civil Liberties Union sued Florida on Friday to stop its controversial program designed to purge noncitizen voters from the rolls. The ACLU says the program, which overwhelmingly targets minorities, needs approval from the federal government under the 1965 Voting Rights Act — a claim already made last week by the U.S. Department of Justice when it ordered Florida to cease the purge." "ACLU sues Florida to stop noncitizen voter purge". Meanwhile, "Voter purge crumbling".
Scott and his Beer Lobbyist threaten DOJ
"On Wednesday, Secretary of State Ken Detzner made it clear Florida isn’t ready to halt its search of noncitizens as he sent a string of questions as part of a response to the deadline the federal department had set for Wednesday for Florida to halt the review. Detzner also gave the DOJ until Monday to respond to his questions." "Florida to DOJ: We’re Waiting".
Obama woos Hispanics
An "upbeat ad starring a Florida resident is one of several such spots the Democrat's team is running on Spanish-language stations in pivotal election states, and it contrasts sharply with the hard-hitting commercials in English that the incumbent's campaign is airing against Republican rival Mitt Romney." "Obama campaign woos Hispanics with TV, radio ads".
Into the sewer
"The News-Press' Tampa Bay news partner 10 News has learned of allegations of homosexual affairs, a governor trying to kiss another man, and drunken escapades by former Gov. Charlie Crist."
These allegations come in the form of a Florida Department of Law Enforcement Investigative Report in the Republican Party Chair Jim Greer saga."Report: Charlie Crist paid men to hide gay affair".
Jim Greer is facing criminal charges and is set to go to trial on July 30 for allegedly paying himself to raise money for the Republican Party of Florida. Greer maintains that former Governor Charlie Crist approved the deal.
Entrepreneurs in action
"Three men have pleaded guilty in Florida to federal charges that they bilked septic tank owners out of more than $1 million partly through bogus toilet paper claims." "3 in Fla. guilty in septic toilet paper scam".
Weatherford's Chief of Staff
"Kathy Mears Named Will Weatherford's Chief of Staff".
GOP would rather have Scott deliver the keynote address
Daniel Ruth: "Far be it from me to be the party pooper, but for all the tea party types out there, uh, your guy Ron Paul was a big-time loser in the Republican Party presidential nominating process."
Yet the tea party can't quite seem to take the rejection of the Paul campaign by the body politic. Republican voters would have rather shoved shards of glass up their noses than see Mr. Dithers on the ballot against President Barack Obama this fall."Finished last place? Let's throw a party!".
Thus the tea party has started whining that the Republican National Committee is interfering with their plans for a three-day celebration of all things Ron Paul just before the GOP convention in Tampa this summer.
Sheesh, this would be like staging a three-day soiree in honor of the Yugo. Please.
Tea party organizers have complained the RNC is attempting the undermine plans for the Ron Paul-apalooza at the Florida State Fairgrounds. This is certainly a fitting site. Yes, you're absolutely right, the temptation to go all barnyard here is almost too much to resist. But let's press on.
One can only hope the RNC is trying to gum up the Ron Paul lovefest. Don't you suspect the GOP would rather have Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who is to public speaking what Dick Cheney is to marksmanship, deliver a prime-time keynote address, than explain why the chap who came in dead last in the delegate count — 140 — warrants his own festival?
Lawyers will write emails
"A lawyer for former Gov. Charlie Crist has accused former GOP Chairman Jim Greer and his lawyer of possible witness tampering."
John Morgan, the senior partner in the law firm where Crist now works, has told agents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement that Damon Chase, the Lake Mary lawyer who represents Greer, pressured him to have Crist change his testimony or face embarrassing personal questions. Morgan said he represents Crist."Greer’s attorney accused of witness tampering for pressuring Crist".
Greer is charged with fraud, money laundering and theft of almost $200,000 from the Florida Republican Party by creating Victory Strategies, a company that billed the party for consulting work. Greer faces trial July 30 in Orlando.
Documents released late Friday by Assistant Statewide Prosecutor Michael Williams include the FDLE report documenting Morgan’s call to FDLE on May 17. The call was made a few days after Morgan said he received a call from Chase suggesting that Crist could avoid giving a deposition in the criminal case if he was willing to revise an earlier affidavit that denied knowledge of the company Greer was creating.
Morgan gave prosecutors copies of emails exchanged with Chase after the call. In an email to Chase sent on May 14, the day Morgan says he received the call from Chase, Morgan told the lawyer he had shared details of the conversation with Crist.
“My personal opinion is that Jim is desperate and using you as a way to extort Charlie with embarrassing questions,’’ Morgan wrote. “You have a very good reputation in this town. As a friend I warn you to be careful in helping Jim at all costs. There are things you don’t know that will be very shocking to you. Don’t get caught up in it yourself.’’
Race is over according to "Cardboard Connie"
"Connie Mack IV has declined to participate in a televised debate for Republican U.S. Senate candidates, signaling his belief that the primary race is over and he's the winner." "Mack shuns Senate Republican debate, says race over".
The Tampa Bay Times editorial board: "Cardboard Connie may have to make a comeback. In 1988, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Robert Merkle often brought along a life-sized image of Connie Mack III because Mack refused to debate him. Now the former senator's son is trading on his father's name and refusing to debate his Republican opponents in the U.S. Senate race." "Mack shouldn't duck Republican debate".