FLORIDA POLITICS
Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary

 

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Welcome To Florida Politics

Thanks for visiting. On a 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 Thursday, June 28, 2012

Q Poll: "Florida Swinging To Obama"

    "FLORIDA: Obama 45 - Romney 41 OHIO: Obama 47 - Romney 38 PENNSYLVANIA: Obama 45 - Romney 39 Voters in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania support President Barack Obama's new immigration policy and are divided on whether the president or Gov. Mitt Romney would be better for their personal economic future, as they give Obama leads in these three critical swing states, a razor thin 4 points in Florida, a healthy 9 points in Ohio and 6 points in Pennsylvania, according to a Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll released today."
    This compares to the results of a May 3 Swing State Poll by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University, showing Obama with an 8-point lead in Pennsylvania with Florida and Ohio too close to call.

    Matching Obama against Romney in each of these key states - no one has won the White House since 1960 without taking at least two of them - shows:
    - Florida: Obama edges Romney 45 - 41 percent;
    - Ohio: Obama over Romney 47 - 38 percent;
    - Pennsylvania: Obama tops Romney 45 - 39 percent.
    "President Barack Obama has decent margins over Gov. Mitt Romney in Ohio and Pennsylvania and a smaller advantage in Florida. If he can keep those leads in all three of these key swing states through election day he would be virtually assured of re-election," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
    "June 27, 2012 - Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania Swinging To Obama, Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll Finds". More: "After Immigration Decision, Obama Leads Romney in Q-Poll of Florida and Battleground States".


    Scott continues to struggle ... looks to SCOTUS for relief

    "Florida Gov. Rick Scott has a good opportunity to rally Republicans behind him -- and he may have an old political foe to thank for it."

    Scott won a bloody Republican primary over then-Attorney General Bill McCollum in 2010. While Scott went on to defeat Democratic nominee Alex Sink, who was then serving as state CFO, in the closest gubernatorial election in more than 165 years of Florida statehood, McCollum sulked in his tent, refusing to endorse either of the candidates.

    During his year and a half in Tallahassee, Scott has remained upside down in the polls despite signs that the economy in Florida is starting to recover. With Scott focusing on job growth during his campaign, the state unemployment rate has dropped under his watch -- going from 10.9 percent when he took over to 8.6 percent in May, the lowest it has been since December 2008. Despite these numbers, Scott remains underwater in the polls, with the percentage of Floridians who disapprove of the governor outpacing those who approve by double digits.

    Two polls released this month by Quinnipiac University serve as solid examples of Scott’s continuing struggles. A poll from Quinnipiac unveiled last week showed Scott getting the approval of 39 percent of those surveyed while 49 percent disapprove of him. Scott did even worse in a Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday that shows 48 percent of those surveyed disapprove of him while 35 percent approve of his performance in Tallahassee.

    Scott should be concerned about his unsteady standing with Republicans. In the first poll, 71 percent of Republicans surveyed approved of Scott while 19 percent disapproved of him. In the new poll, 60 percent of Republicans approve of the governor while 25 percent disapprove of him.
    "Obamacare Ruling Gives Rick Scott a Chance to Firm Up Republican Support". Related: "With Supreme Court Decision on Thursday, GOP Shows Obamacare No Mercy".


    Purge could be revived

    "A federal judge said though federal laws prohibit the systematic removal of voters close to an election, the law does not refer to non-citizens, the target of Florida’s purge effort." "Judge halts federal attempt to block Florida’s voter purge". See also "Federal judge says he won't halt voter-roll purge", "Federal judge won’t stop governor’s purge of non-citizens from voter rolls" and "Judge declines to stop voter purge; effort could be revived"


    Secret list of voters whose citizenship may be in question

    Steve Bousquet writes that "Rick Scott insists Florida's voter rolls must be scrubbed carefully to remove any non-U.S. citizens, but his administration is keeping secret a list of more than 180,000 voters whose citizenship may be in question."

    Scott's elections agency is refusing numerous requests from voter advocacy groups and news outlets to release the list, months after the state released an initial list targeting 2,625 potential noncitizens. Many people on the first list turned out to be citizens.

    The larger list has the potential to cause a bigger political controversy than the smaller one. ...

    With a presidential election slightly more than four months away, voter advocacy groups have been highly critical of Scott for refusing to divulge the information.

    "We are troubled that Florida has not yet responded to our request to turn over its complete database of potential noncitizens on the voter rolls," said Diana Kasdan, legal counsel to the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law. "Careful scrutiny of this list is critical to ensure that eligible Americans will not be blocked from voting. Any attempt to clean the rolls must be open, transparent and accurate. Florida's purge has been anything but."
    "Voter purge list kept secret". See also "" and "".


    "MacNamara leads a charmed life"

    Nancy Smith asks: "how does the governor's ethically challenged, $189,000-a-year chief of staff get to stick around this long after he was fi... uh, after he resigned in May? I can't recall where any of the state employees MacNamara dispatched with a pink slip over the years were allowed to stay on as long after the hatchet. His bizarre farewell reception in the middle of a tropical storm Monday night -- complete with a special award -- only serves as a reminder that life in the state capital is one rickety roller coaster ride after another." "Master Magician Steve MacNamara Gets to Leave Like He's Lamented -- Why?".


    "Appeasing the powerful long-term care industry"

    "After a failed attempt to pass legislation to protect the frail and elderly in assisted-living facilities, industry experts reconvened in Jacksonville Monday with the hope of hammering out measures to curb abuse while appeasing the powerful long-term care industry." "Panel revives effort to reform residential care for the elderly".


    More privatization follies

    "With a prison-privatization plan all but dead, an appeals court Wednesday appeared hesitant to decide a constitutional fight about whether lawmakers improperly used the state budget to approve the plan." "Appeals Court Mulls Ruling on Prison Privatization". See also "Clock running out for South Florida prison privatization".


    Scott: Never mind

    "Scott said during the 2010 campaign that he would bring an Arizona-style immigration law to Florida, but two years later, he hasn’t pushed such a law and has stopped talking about it." "Gov. Scott failed to follow through on immigration pledge".


    The end of innocence

    "Florida's Innocence Commission on Wednesday released its final report, hundreds of pages laying out ways to stop bad eye-witnesses, jailhouse snitches, over-zealous cops and unprepared defense lawyers from sending or allowing innocent people to be locked up in prison." "Florida's Innocence Commission finishes its work".


    "Scott's ratings recede"

    "Poll: Scott's ratings recede". Meanwhile, "Florida consumer confidence falls in June".


    "What do Webster, Bense and Atwater have in common?"

    "Besides being successful GOP politicians, what do Webster, Bense and Atwater have in common? All three took a long, hard look at running for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Bill Nelson this year, and all three decided against it. Astute politicians often won't run for an office they don't think they can win." "Bill Nelson's opponents frequently melt away".


    Dirty water

    "The Florida Department of Health in September scaled back spending on beach water testing, leaving only a $530,000 annual federal grant for reduced testing. Now the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposes eliminating the federal Beaches Grant Program with a reduction of $9.9 million in FY 2013. 'We think this is a bad policy,' said Jon Devine, senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council." "After state cuts in beach water testing, feds now propose ending grants".


    Lawsuit filed to remove three Florida Supreme Court justices

    "Two men filed a lawsuit Monday asking the secretary of state to remove three Florida Supreme Court justices who are seeking merit retention from the November ballot."

    Bernard Long and Veronco L "Ron" Flores of Seminole County allege that Justices R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince broke state law when they halted a court hearing on the Senate redistricting plan so they could complete required paperwork to qualify for the November ballot.

    "The delay caused by the justices cost Florida taxpayers thousands of dollars in additional legal fees for private outside counsel who were forced to wait while the justices worked on their campaign documents,'' the lawsuit, filed in Leon County Circuit Court, alleges. "Upon information and belief, the justices campaigns have not reimbursed the State of Florida or any private litigant for their costs and expenses caused by the delay."

    Gov. Rick Scott, who will appoint the replacements if the three judges are removed from the ballot, has ordered a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation into whether the judges violated the law when they used court personnel to notarize their paperwork.
    "Lawsuit filed to remove state Supreme Court justices from November ballot".


    Dissident Broward Dems lose claim against Snipes

    "A Broward judge has rejected claims from dissident Democrats that Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes' office improperly processed paperwork for party activists running in the August primary for party committeeman and committeewoman posts." "Judge rejects claim that Snipes improperly processed paperwork".


    Burgin runs ultra-right

    "State Rep. Rachel Burgin has a lot of things planned if she gets to Tallahassee as the state senator from District 24,"

    starting with the "Food Stamp Integrity Act" so families don't use public aid to buy, in her words, "birthday cakes."

    I didn't know there was a rash of that, but she told me Wednesday of a woman who called her office, upset she couldn't use her EBT card to buy cake for a birthday party.

    "I tried to nicely explain that it was inappropriate to use her card for that," Burgin said.

    Burgin also wants to require a licensed physician to attend all abortion procedures. ...

    It's bold talk, considering how high-powered Republicans have lined up behind each other to endorse her opponent, former Senate President Tom Lee of Brandon, in the Aug. 14 primary. ...

    Indeed, Burgin is a church-going, abortion-opposing, low-tax advocating, home-schooling, poster child for the modern ultra-conservative.
    "Burgin faces long odds in Senate bid".


    "Another victory for organized labor"?

    "The largest privatization venture undertaken by Florida’s prison system is in peril, and when the new fiscal year begins Sunday, it might be doomed, in another political victory for organized labor." "Privatized health care for inmates in peril".


    SoFla gets a small share

    "South Florida gets a small share of Florida’s $155 million payout to companies thinking of adding jobs in the state." "Florida offers $12 million to South Florida companies".


    "The Axis of Silk Stockings"

    The Tampa Bay Times' Daniel Ruth: "Nothing can be more irritating in a political campaign than to have powerful outside forces attempt to use their juice to sway the outcome of the race — especially when other meddlers come along to meddle in their meddling."

    So there was lobbyist Jack Cory, one of Tallahassee's foremost purveyors of power, who was having a perfectly lovely time pumping wads of cash into the campaign of Republican state Rep. Rachel Burgin in her quest to succeed Ronda Storms in the state Senate. After all, you can't put too high a price on good government. But the bidding starts at around five figures.

    Cory was joined in his yearning for democracy to flourish under Burgin's leadership by some of Tallahassee's other deep-pocketed, multi-cellphoned, more wired than Robocop lobbyists, Ron Book and Guy Spearman. Between the three of them, they represent just about every special interest seeking freedom and liberty in the state.

    Think of this as the Axis of Silk Stockings.
    The rest of the story: "Senate campaign gets turned inside out".


    Privatization flop

    Fred Grimm: "Yet again, a judge has been tasked to sort through wrenching allegations of abuse and neglect and violence at a privatized juvenile lock-up." "Horrors continue in privatized lockups".


    Floridians voters "strongly support" Obama’s immigration directive

    "Florida voters strongly support President Obama’s new directive temporarily lifting the threat of deportation for as many as 1.4 million young illegal immigrants, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll that also finds Obama edging Mitt Romney in the Sunshine State." "Poll: 58% of Florida voters support Obama immigration directive".


    "Nelson is in for a tough fight"

    "A poll of Florida voters unveiled Wednesday shows that incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is in for a tough fight as he seeks his third term, while Gov. Rick Scott remains upside down in the Sunshine State. The Quinnipiac poll finds Democrat Nelson taking 41 percent while U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, the favorite to win the Republican primary in August, is right behind him with 40 percent. A Q-poll released last week showed Nelson with a larger lead, taking 43 percent, while Mack followed with 39 percent. " "Bill Nelson and Connie Mack in Tight Battle While Rick Scott Still Struggles".


    Outsourcing fails at 35% rate

    "Florida will spend $47 billion this year hiring outsiders to do state work, but the state’s chief financial officer warns that hundreds of contractors will not be required to show they provided the services they agreed to and that state documents could be rife with errors. Those are the conclusions of CFO Jeff Atwater after a sample audit of 24,000 state contracts at 33 different agencies found that 35 percent were flawed." "New state web site shines light on billions in contracts". Related "Atwater puts details of state contracts online" and "Florida launches website showing state contracts with private companies".


    Why did the Sentinel fail to publish data?

    "A database of 31 projects showing the amount of tax incentives, the number of expected jobs and the average expected wage was published by the Tampa Bay Times last week after DEO accidentally gave the information to Integrity Florida, an ethics reform advocacy group. Such projects aren’t supposed to be announced to the public without the approval of the company involved, and the average wage involved in a project is protected under state public records laws. The database was also released to the Orlando Sentinel, which did not publish the average wage of the projects." "Awkward agency merger may have led to accidental incentives leak".


    New Laws

    "Student Prayer, PIP Reform, Adam Putnam's Energy Bill Among New Laws on Sunday".


    "High cost of being cheap"

    The Tampa Bay Times editors: "How much does being cheap cost? Florida State University is already finding out, even before the Legislature's $300 million cut to higher education and less-than-expected tuition increases take effect for 2012-13."

    FSU president Eric Barron told Gov. Rick Scott's higher education reform panel Monday that 58 of the arts and sciences faculty members have been offered out-of-state jobs — and FSU lost all but eight of them for salaries that averaged $20,000 more.
    "High cost of being cheap: faculty exodus".


    State moves to block "confusing" registration program

    "By their own estimate, officials with a Washington nonprofit have registered 200,000 voters in Florida the past eight years. This year, the same group, the Voter Participation Center, has mailed another 420,000 registration forms to residents hoping to enlist more. But state officials are considering ways to stop the center from sending any more registration forms, which the state calls confusing." "State moves to block voter-registration group".


    Obama rakes in campaign cash in SoFla

    "The president rallied a raucous crowd at a Miami Beach fundraiser in an effort to rake in campaign cash and shore up support among crucial Hispanic voters." "Obama rakes in campaign cash at Miami Beach fundraiser with Marc Anthony".


    Supreme Court sidesteps controversial Florida Cuba travel ban

    "The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday left intact a controversial Florida law that restricts state colleges and universities from traveling to Cuba and other 'terrorist states,' despite indications last year that the court would consider a review. Amid the flurry of rulings from the high court on Monday was a denial of review of Florida’s 'Travel to Terrorist States Act.'" "High court lets Cuba travel ban for professors stand for professors".


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