Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


UPDATE: Every morning we review and individually digest Florida political news articles, editorials and punditry. Our sister site, FLA Politics was selected by Campaigns & Elections as one of only ten state blogs in the nation
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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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Older posts [back to 2002]

Previous Articles by Derek Newton: Ten Things Fox on Line 1 Stem Cells are Intelligent Design Katrina Spin No Can't Win Perhaps the Most Important Race Senate Outlook The Nelson Thing Deep, Dark Secret Smart Boy Bringing Guns to a Knife Fight Playing to our Strength  

The Blog for Wednesday, September 14, 2016

    Political work in advance of the elections will limit the frequency of updates to the the website. Meanwhile, the news feeds at our sister site, FlaPolitics, will be updated multiple times each day.

    Expect timely, first hand reports from the field, as the election approaches.

The Blog for Sunday, September 04, 2016

Presidential campaign in Florida "about to get turbo-charged"

    Anthony Man: "The presidential campaign has been running at full throttle in Florida for most of the summer. Now, it's about to get turbo-charged."
    Both sides covet Florida voters because the prize is so big: the largest state that could go either way in November.
    "Florida is top battleground for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump."

    Winners and losers

    Adam C. Smith, Times Political Editor: "Winner and loser of the week in Florida politics."

    Rubio's "last shred of dignity"

    Carl Hiaasen: "The big question facing top Republicans on the ballot is: Do I really want to be seen in public with Donald Trump?"

    It’s an especially queasy decision for two U.S. senators, Marco Rubio of Florida and John McCain of Arizona. Both have been scorned and humiliated by Trump, yet they continue to say they support him.
    "Here’s the dilemma: Rubio and McCain hate Trump’s guts, but they think they need his angry-white-voter base to get re-elected. The result is a self-debasing charade of 'distancing' themselves from the racist real-estate developer without repudiating him."
    “Little Marco,” as Trump christened him during the debates, stands by his assessment of Trump as “a con man,” but he says we should put him in the White House anyway.

    That astonishing position reveals more about Rubio’s fitness for office than it does about Trump’s.

    "Can Trump fan Rubio hold on to that last shred of dignity?."

    Tampa Dem jeopardizing his future

    "It was always going to be tough for Kevin Beckner to make amends with Pat Frank and her allies after their divisive Democratic primary battle for Hillsborough County clerk of the Circuit Court. "

    But his refusal to endorse her after she handily defeated him in Tuesday's election has also rankled Democratic Party insiders. And that may jeopardize the future of one of the party's most promising local politicians.
    "Once a rising political star, Democrat Kevin Beckner's future in question after bitter Hillsborough clerk's race."

    Bill Clinton to visit Orlando

    "Former President Bill Clinton is scheduled to visit Orlando on Wednesday, the Hillary Clinton campaign said." "Bill Clinton to campaign in Orlando Wednesday."

    "Crist's last shot"

    "Charlie Crist's last shot at redemption."

The Blog for Saturday, September 03, 2016

FlaGOP worries that SoFla Hispanics will flee Party

    "As Florida’s primary election results sank in Wednesday, both parties shifted attention to the main event: the November election, where the dominant factor is Donald Trump."
    In fights for seats in the state Legislature, one-sided primaries Tuesday sent many new faces to the Capitol, taking those seats off the political chessboard.
    "That shrinks the battleground to fewer places — mostly in Miami, Tampa Bay and along the I-4 corridor. Changing demographics and stronger two-party competition mean either side can win in a high-turnout presidential election — especially with the wildly unpredictable Trump at the top of the Republican ticket."
    Encouraged by Republican resistance to Trump’s hard-edged message, Democrats like their chances in open Senate seats in Tampa and Gainesville and against a Republican in Miami in an area where Democrats have the advantage in voter registration.

    What worries establishment Republicans is that Trump’s divisive talk, especially about immigration, will force many South Florida Hispanics to flee the Republican Party.

    "Trump’s tone at the top looms over GOP hopefuls in down-ballot Florida races."

    Clinton beating Trump in Florida, 51 to 1

    "On Aug. 8, the Donald Trump campaign said its first two dozen campaign field offices would open across Florida within two weeks. Since then, not a single new Trump office has opened in America’s biggest battleground state, but Hillary Clinton’s campaign added another 32." "Hillary Clinton beating Donald Trump in Florida, 51 offices to 1."

    Write-in games

    "Palm Beach County Commissioner Shelley Vana, who got only 29.7 percent Tuesday in the nonpartisan race for county property appraiser, has left the Democratic Party because local party leaders didn’t weigh in against a write-in candidate whose entrance shifted the date of the election." "Palm Beach County Commissioner Shelley Vana leaves Democratic Party."

    "What's hot, crazy or shady about politics in the Sunshine State"

    Marc Caputo: "Hurricane Hermine hits – Trump has more campaign offices in Israel than Florida – Zika menaces Miami Beach – Broward County: lowest in primary voter turnout." "Florida Playbook."

    Heaven help us

    "Obama finds an ally in Wal-Mart, whose stores he once shunned."

    Meanwhile, "Police are called to Walmart more than anywhere else — and you foot the bill."

    Recount over

    "Recount over: St. Petersburg’s Darryl Rouson is the victor in Senate District 19 battle."

    The bitter end

    "Donald Trump is unqualified for the presidency, Mike Fernandez, a top Jeb Bush and Rick Scott donor, said Thursday, announcing that he’ll be voting across party lines for Hillary Clinton in November." "Top Jeb Bush donor says he's with Clinton."

    A SoFla thing

    "In mayoral race, loyal donors asked to give again — to the enemy."

    Size doesn't matter

    640 Floridians who supported Rubio financially "have given to Trump since the primary, a Tampa Bay Times analysis of campaign finance data shows. That illustrates Trump's appeal among dedicated Republicans in the state."

    By contrast, only 113 donors to former Gov. Jeb Bush have given to Trump since Bush withdrew from presidential contention in February.
    "Marco Rubio's former Florida donors shift financial support to Donald Trump."

The Blog for Saturday, August 06, 2016

Write-in loophole games

    "From Port of Palm Beach, where an incumbent commissioner recruited her mother as an opponent for the third time, to Naples, where someone filed to run in a legislative race 150 miles from her listed address, the tactics of write-in candidates are turning elections on their heads."
    In Central Florida, the write-in candidacy of a veteran prosecutor in the Orange-Osceola State Attorney race is stopping more than 500,000 voters from casting a ballot this primary. And two write-ins in northeast Orange County's District 11 Senate race who are not campaigning have blocked Republicans from participating.
    "It's all possible because of an exception to the state's closed primaries that critics say is being abused."
    Now a new filing with the Florida Supreme Court seeks help ferreting out sham candidates. And it could affect races across the state if justices choose to hear it out.

    It stems from a controversial State Attorney race in Jacksonville after the campaign manager of Republican incumbent Angela Corey, whose office prosecuted George Zimmerman, "personally delivered" an opponent's qualifying papers in Tallahassee, according to the lawsuit.

    "Write-in candidate lawsuit heads to Florida Supreme Court."

    More: "Write-in candidates are blocking full voter participation in six state Senate districts and 14 House districts on the Aug. 30 primary ballot, disenfranchising 1.6 million Florida voters." "Secretive write-in candidates lock out Florida voters."

    The Tampa Bay Times editors: "Florida should close write-in loophole."

    Trump's Khan Fight Could Cost Florida Veteran Vote

    "GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has put himself between veterans after engaging in a heated spat earlier this week with the family of U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, killed in the Iraq war in 2004. And Trump's continued attacks on the family could prove costly in Florida, a state 1.6 million veterans call home." "Trump's Fight with Gold Star Family Could Cost Florida Veteran Vote."

    Hill to Kissimmee

    "Hillary Clinton to visit Kissimmee on Monday."

    "Bitter Democratic primary"

    William March: "County Commissioner Kevin Beckner is calling Clerk of Court Pat Frank 'part-time Pat' in their bitter Democratic primary for the clerk’s office, saying she doesn’t show up at the office enough to provide leadership there." "Frank camp turns tables on Beckner over work time."

    What's hot, crazy or shady about politics in the Sunshine State

    Marc Caputo: "Those times Scott cut mosquito-fighting money – Wasserman Schultz agrees to Canova face-off – Rep. Castor: Tampa will get Cuban consulate." "Florida Playbook."

    Murphy harnesses Biden's popularity

    Matt Dixon: "As Joe Biden walked into Olean’s Restaurant, a soul food joint that’s a regular campaign stop for politicians rolling through Florida’s Capitol city, he made clear why he was there." "Murphy hopes to harness Biden's popularity to win Senate race."

    AHCA wrangling

    "AHCA, hospitals wrangle over new rates, while HMOs get back payments."

    And then there's that part

    "Scott bashes feds over Zika funding, but slashed mosquito control money."

    Bat mitzvah blues

    "Former Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz acknowledged on Friday that Vice President Joe Biden had indeed recorded a video for her daughter’s bat mitzvah, a day after saying a POLITICO story on the matter was 'not true.'" "Wasserman Schultz contradicts self on Biden bat mitzvah tape."

    DWS on defense

    "After national Democratic turmoil, Wasserman Schultz returns home to defend her seat in Congress."

    Chamber an arm of the FlaGOP

    "U.S. Chamber takes aim at Murphy, endorses Rubio."

    Another DWS fave?

    "The day after Val Demings was given a prominent speaking role at the Democratic National Convention, two other Democrats vying for Florida's 10th Congressional District cried foul." "Rivals call out Democratic Party after Val Demings speech."

    The best the FlaGOP can do?

    "Beruff, who vows to cut taxes if elected, avoided $235,000 in 2015 taxes for his business holdings by claiming that the 1,884 acres his companies bought to develop in the future are agricultural land because they are leased to cattle companies or have planted pine trees or crops." "How U.S. Senate candidate Carlos Beruff avoided $235,000 in taxes." Meanwhile, "In Sarasota, Rubio ignores GOP opponent in speech, while Beruff slams the incumbent."

The Blog for Monday, August 01, 2016

DWS on defense

    "After national Democratic turmoil, Wasserman Schultz returns home to defend her seat in Congress."

    Chamber an arm of the FlaGOP

    "U.S. Chamber takes aim at Murphy, endorses Rubio."

    Another DWS fave?

    "The day after Val Demings was given a prominent speaking role at the Democratic National Convention, two other Democrats vying for Florida's 10th Congressional District cried foul." "Rivals call out Democratic Party after Val Demings speech."

    The best the FlaGOP can do?

    "Beruff, who vows to cut taxes if elected, avoided $235,000 in 2015 taxes for his business holdings by claiming that the 1,884 acres his companies bought to develop in the future are agricultural land because they are leased to cattle companies or have planted pine trees or crops." "How U.S. Senate candidate Carlos Beruff avoided $235,000 in taxes." Meanwhile, "In Sarasota, Rubio ignores GOP opponent in speech, while Beruff slams the incumbent."

The Blog for Sunday, July 10, 2016

"Scott has reacted with unwavering impotence"

    Carl Hiaasen writes that, "a picture tells a thousand words."
    If it’s a picture of an algae-covered beach, it can also cancel thousands of hotel reservations.

    That’s the new dread in Florida, as photos and news videos of gunk-covered shorelines are making headlines all over the world. Why would anyone bring their families to vacation on Playa Guacamole?

    And do they even make haz-mat suits in children’s sizes?

    "Gov. Rick Scott has reacted with unwavering impotence, declaring one state of emergency after another while blaming the federal government for failing to upgrade the dike surrounding the lake so that more dirty water can be retained."
    Cleaning up that dirty water is not a priority for this Republican governor or this Republican-led Legislature. In exchange for a deluge of campaign donations, they have worked steadfastly to gut pollution regulations and put the biggest polluters in control of state water policy.

    This year their shameless sellout was complete. One of the worst water management bills in Florida history was passed and quickly signed by Scott, basically allowing big agricultural operations to police their own chemical discharges with little or no enforcement by the state. . . .

    The whole world is now seeing the result of Scott’s execrable stewardship of our priceless natural resources. It’s an ecological nightmare for the state, and a political nightmare for him.

    He’ll be running for the Senate in two years and desperately wants not to be tagged as Governor Algae. But because he won’t get tough with the special interests that are funding his campaign, there will be no reinstatement of water-quality enforcement measures for those flushing agricultural and urban wastewater into Lake Okeechobee. . . .

    Scott seems to be synchronizing his strategy with the Florida Chamber of Commerce, which in March announced a “partnership” with Florida Atlantic University to work on “strong, science-based water quality standards.” Specifically the Chamber mentioned its interest in the impact of septic tanks on toxic algae blooms.

    Ordinarily it would be startling to see an environmental conscience exhibited by the Chamber, one of the most slavishly pro-industry, anti-regulatory groups in the state. However, the rising outcry about the algae outbreaks — and the economic wreckage being caused — compelled [even] the Chamber to try something to redirect the public’s anger.

    "Enjoy your vacation on Playa Guacamole."

    The Tampa Bay Times editors: "Gov. Rick Scott is once again shifting blame, misidentifying the problem and proposing the wrong solution for the massive algae bloom that is coating beaches and making Florida look like the wrong place to spend a summer vacation. Scott and the Legislature need to get serious before polluted waters take an even heavier toll on public health, tourism and property values." "Real solutions for ending algae blooms."

    See also: The Sun Sentinel editors: "Here's how Scott should deal with algae crisis." More: "Rick Scott: Boost spending to stop toxic algae."

    How about a "Blue Pay Increase" bill?

    Jeremy Wallace: "Florida lawmaker wants 'Blue Lives Matter' law." More: "Flags To Be Held at Half-Staff in Florida for Dallas Police Officers."

    Brown indicted

    "U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown of Florida and her chief of staff have been charged with multiple fraud and other federal offenses in a grand jury indictment unsealed Friday after a federal investigation into a fraudulent charity with ties to the congresswoman." "U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown indicted after fraud investigation."

    A Proud Republican

    "On second thought, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) will not be attending the GOP convention this month. Rubio had been planning to attend the confab in Cleveland but now joins a long list of Republicans who seem to be calculating it's better politics to stay away." "Marco Rubio joins list of Republicans skipping GOP convention." See also "Rubio Hopes to Avoid Trump."

    "Democrats tussle"

    "Democrats tussle over platform in Orlando."

    "The optics are terrible"

    "Some of Miami-Dade’s biggest players in transportation policy arrived in Armando Codina’s Coral Gables office last fall for a private session to discuss a new rail line to the western suburbs. . . ." "Raising money for the mayor, and making money from his administration."

    Won't back down

    "Carlos Beruff says he won't back down to Rubio."

    Yawwwnnn . . .

    "South Florida school grades: Fewer A's, fewer F's."

    How much for those rims in yer front yard?

    "A homeowner in West Palm Beach owes the city more than a million dollars in fines that date back more than a decade. In Davie, a property owner owes $415,500 for maintaining an unsecured facility and overgrowth on the property, a lien that was imposed this year." "South Florida cities struggle to collect millions in code enforcement fines."

    Have another beer

    "Mica's a champion of the people."

    Mosque removed as polling site

    "Palm Beach County's elections supervisor is moving a polling station from a Boca Raton mosque to a public library. Some have complained about voting in a mosque, but the Islamic center's president says the decision is discriminatory against Muslims." "Elections supervisor removes Boca Raton mosque as polling site."

The Blog for Monday, July 04, 2016

"Rubio's word is as worthless as a wet firecracker"

    Chris Ingram: "Despite claims he would not run for re-election to the U.S. Senate, Marco Rubio is now running for re-election. This should come as no surprise."
    Last year, the field of Florida GOP "A-listers" (such as Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan of Sarasota, and former Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford) who normally would have jumped at the chance to run for an open U.S. Senate seat all said "no thanks.'' Even perennial losing candidate Bill McCollum, the former state attorney general and member of Congress, took a pass.
    Because they knew that Rubio's word is as worthless as a wet firecracker. They won't publicly say that for fear of offending someone they might need something from later. But people who know Rubio privately acknowledge he cannot be trusted.
    "Republicans don't trust Marco Rubio."

    Gary Stein: "Marco's doing it for America? Please."

    Fight over public records

    "911: The Florida fight over which records are public." See also "From DCF to Pam Bondi, Nothing But Contempt for Florida’s Sunshine Law."

    FlaDem registration advantage "slowly withering away"

    Steve Bousquet: "In the must-win state of Florida, Democrats are seeing their numerical advantage in voters slowly wither away — a trend that could make a third straight presidential election victory in 2016 more challenging."

    Florida is seeing a surge of enthusiasm about the upcoming election, and that, too, is helping Republicans more than Democrats, in part because of Trump.

    In the six months ending May 31, 311,000 voters joined the rolls or changed their party.

    That total included 184,000 Republicans and 117,000 Democrats. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of voters who were NPAs or Democrats switched to the Republican Party so they could vote in the closed GOP presidential preference primary in March.

    The state's fluid demographics to a more racially and ethnically diverse population should favor Democrats, especially in the urban centers of Tampa Bay, Orlando and South Florida.

    But those voters — young, Hispanic, African-American and new to Florida — are also more likely to register with no party affiliation.

    "A lighter shade of blue: Florida Democrats' share of voter base continues to slide."

    "Inaction and sabotage in Tallahassee"

    The Miami Herald editors: "Algae blooms on the Treasure Coast are a sign of pollutants — and inaction and sabotage in Tallahassee. Gov. Scott and the Legislature have reversed measures that could help avert such environmental disasters." "Tally fails to rally to protect our water."

    "Opponents question his Grayson Fund investment"

    "Bob Poe, a candidate for Florida's 10th congressional district in Orlando, was an investor in U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson's controversial hedge fund, which opponents say contradicts his pitch that he is a progressive political outsider." "Poe opponents question his Grayson Fund investment."

    Will Florida's Hispanic growth determine the election?

    "As Florida’s Hispanic population has grown 18 percent in five years, the state has become more diverse. There has also been a surge in the number of people age 65 and older." "Hispanic growth in Florida: Will it determine the election?"

    "Nelson stretches truth"

    "Bill Nelson exaggerated when he said the House Zika bill limits birth control access in Puerto Rico." "Sen. Bill Nelson stretches truth about Zika bill and birth control."

    The entrepreneurial spirit

    "After Hillsborough nonprofit loses millions in state funding, former executive keeps getting paid."