FLORIDA POLITICS
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 Saturday, April 30, 2016

Broward GOPer a real class act

    "Broward Republican leader says when Trump debates Clinton 'she's going to go down like Monica Lewinsky'."


    Bondi's latest excuse

    "Democrats have scolded Bondi for not doing more to help the case against Trump University, since she has joined lawsuits brought by other states, including actions against the Affordable Care Act and a ruling allowing the Environmental Protection Agency to enforce a cleanup plan for Chesapeake Bay."

    "Florida's Attorney General has not hesitated to join losing, transparently partisan lawsuits around the country because she felt it was the best way to score political points,'' said Florida Democratic Party spokesman Max Steele on Friday. "But when Donald Trump defrauded Floridians with his sham Trump University, Bondi shrugged off the complaints and did nothing except collect a $25,000 check from none other than the Donald Trump Foundation."
    "Trump campaign aides said the political donation made by his charity — an apparent violation of tax laws governing nonprofits — was a mistake, according to the Washington Post."
    When asked whether Bondi planned to give back the $25,000 donation or give it to charity, Ray referred a reporter to Bondi campaign aides, who did not return an email.
    "Bondi: Trump U. complaints came before I took office."


    Jeb! struggles for relevancy

    "Jeb Bush says Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz made a “smart move” in choosing Carly Fiorina as his running mate. Bush, a former contender for the GOP nomination, said Thursday that front-runner Donald Trump is 'not a serious person,' especially on foreign policy matters."


    Reshaping Florida’s congressional delegation

    "Redistricting, retirements and runs for higher office will reshape Florida’s congressional delegation in a big way in 2016 – sapping some of its Capitol clout and possibly sending more Democrats from the state to Washington." "Florida congressional turnover highest in U.S.; GOP still to dominate."


    Scott sends "shock wave through legal circles"

    "In a move that critics claim smacks of an attempt to pack the court, Florida Gov. Rick Scott this week announced plans to appoint someone to replace a judge leaving the Palm Beach County bench even though the county’s elections supervisor said state law calls for the replacement to be elected by voters."

    Attorney Gregg Lerman, who had already announced plans to run for the seat, vowed to file a lawsuit if Scott won’t back down from his plans to appoint a judge to replace longtime County Court Judge Laura Johnson, who is resigning to seek a seat on the circuit court bench.

    “I think the governor is trying to steal the electoral process from the voters of Palm Beach County,” Lerman said. “He would like a more conservative bench than currently exists.” . . .

    The disagreement is rooted in different interpretations of the provision of the Florida Constitution that gives the governor the power to fill judicial vacancies and the state’s resign-to-run law.

    Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher said the resign-to-run law is clear. Because Johnson’s term isn’t scheduled to end until January 2021, she had to submit a letter of resignation to the governor before she would be allowed to formally file papers to run for circuit judge.

    Under the law, her letter had to be sent 10 days before the start of the weeklong qualifying period for judicial elections, which is Monday. And she had to resign by the date she would take office if she’s elected as circuit judge, Jan. 3.

    Once Johnson resigned, Bucher said, the county court post was an open seat. Lerman, longtime county Magistrate Thomas Baker and attorney Lisa Grossman then announced their intentions to run for it in the August election.

    Then this week Scott sent a letter to the local Judicial Nominating Commission, asking it to solicit applications from lawyers who may be interested in Johnson’s job. The commission only nominates in cases where the governor is appointing a judge.

    Asked about Scott’s intention to appoint, the Florida Division of Elections cited only the provision in the Constitution defining the governor’s power to appoint judges.

    The letter sent a shock wave through legal circles. Some called it a power-grab. Others complained the dual interpretations of election law was just confusing.

    "Scott plan to replace judge with appointment decried as court packing."


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

    Marc Caputo: "Rubio issues ZIKA WARNING -- Broward GOP chair goes there – Orange-less County – Flori-duh Men of Tinder, illustrated" "Florida Playbook."


    "Latino voters in Florida will be a top priority"

    "As Hillary Clinton increasingly turns her attention to a general election against Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, her campaign and fellow Democrats have begun in earnest to bolster staff and campaign organizations in key battleground states."

    In Virginia, Ohio and Florida -- the three biggest swing states in the last election -- the Clinton campaign is teaming up with state and national Democratic organizations to build voter files, organize thousands of volunteers, register tens of thousands of voters and raise the funds necessary to compete against a Republican opponent. . . .

    In Florida, Democrats have been registering voters at a rate of 2,000 to 3,000 a month this year, slightly exceeding the registration rate during the same period in 2008. . . .

    In Florida . . . GOP registration has increased by 100,000 voters this year -- although much of that is attributed to primary enthusiasm and not the organizational efforts of the party. There and in North Carolina, Republican registration exceeds that of Democrats, said RNC spokesman Ryan Mahoney. All told, across seven battleground states, party officials have taken credit for registering more than 20,000 voters. . . .

    In Florida in 2012, Obama's campaign registered more than 350,000 voters -- four times Obama's victory margin over Mitt Romney on election night, according to Ashley Walker, who ran Obama's reelection efforts in the state that year. . . .

    The [DNC] is also preparing to transfer funds to state parties in Ohio, Florida and Virginia -- $200,000 apiece -- to finance the salaries of field organizers in those states. . . .

    Latino voters in Florida will also be a top priority. According to Clinton's allies, the slate of Republican candidates has given their camp unprecedented "ammunition."

    "I see people with sound trucks in West Tampa diving around with bullhorns saying, 'Is this what you want?'" said Anna Cruz, a longtime Clinton ally who ran her 2008 Florida campaign. "You know, barriers. We've been given so much by these candidates to motivate Hispanic voters."

    "Clinton and Democratic leaders turn their focus to November swing states."



The Blog for Sunday, April 24, 2016

Lobbyists, gift bans and free trips

    Gary Fineout reminds us that, "right before she was elected to a second term into office, a series of stories by the New York Times detailed the practice of law firms who were skilled at developing contacts and relationships with the top lawyers of various states - including Attorney General Pam Bondi."

    "These firms helped out corporate clients whose businesses had been targeted by some states, but not others."

    One of the stories also pointed out that Bondi allowed a lawyer from one of the firms to recuperate from surgery at Bondi's house
    "Now 16 months later the matter has come to a quiet close - at least as it concerns Florida's ethics laws."
    The Florida Commission on Ethics voted last week there was no probable cause to conclude that the now-defunct law firm Dickstein Shapiro - or one the lawyers who used to work at the firm, Bernard Nash - had broken the state's ethics laws.
    Fineout describes "several interesting highlights" from the investigation here: "Bondi's silence amid questions about lobbying, the gift ban and free trips."


    "Developers target panther land"

    "Any hope that South Florida's endangered panthers will eventually spread hundreds of miles north to as far as the Orlando area and beyond may hinge on a proposal for immense development near Naples."

    A growth plan by nine Collier County landowners encompasses 152,124 acres, an area that spans important panther territory and is nearly as big as some counties in the state. . . .

    The land belongs to prominent sugar, citrus and cattle enterprises, including a ranch owned by Aliese Priddy. In 2012, Gov. Rick Scott appointed her as a member of the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

    "South Florida developers target panther land."


    Red tape

    "Police investigate a fatal industrial accident."


    DWS "wrong on payday loans"

    "Florida's congressional delegation is in rare bipartisan support on an issue. Unfortunately, it's the wrong issue. The issue is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's plan to regulate payday loans." "Wasserman Schultz wrong on payday loans."


    "Indian River Lagoon failures"

    "Scorecard shows Indian River Lagoon failures."



The Blog for Saturday, April 23, 2016

Trump could have a profound impact on Florida's down-ballot races

    "Donald Trump's controversial views on immigration have taken their toll on Latino support for the Republican Party in Florida and could have a profound impact on down-ballot candidates this fall, according to a poll of 400 registered Latino voters released on Friday by Latino Decisions, a public opinion research group." "Poll: Trump a big turn off for Florida Latino voters, including Cubans."

    More: "Immigration Is Top Issue for President and Congress, Say Florida Latinos."


    Weekly Roundup

    "Ever since the departure of the Pork Chop Gang --- a cadre of North Florida lawmakers who ruled state government through the middle part of the 20th Century --- the northern reaches of the state have sometimes seemed like second-tier parts of Florida." "Weekly Roundup: The North Rises Again."


    Don't do us any favors, Mr. Rubio

    "Rubio says he’s not interested in being vice president."


    Airbnb's tax games

    "The Florida Department of Revenue and tax collectors in Pinellas and four other counties have signed agreements with online home-booking agency Airbnb to collect and remit potentially millions of dollars in tourist-tax revenue that until four months ago went unpaid."

    Those agreements mean that people seeking a break through Airbnb on the rising cost of hotel and motel rooms will be paying more per night because state and local tourist taxes will be tacked onto their bills.

    But on the other side of the ledger, how much the online home-booking agency will be collecting and turning in each month remains an open question because of Airbnb’s insistence that the names of people renting out property on its platform be kept secret.

    Airbnb even insists that its agreements with government agencies remain secret. And it wants the state and counties to forfeit any potential taxes owed prior to executing the agreements. - See more at: http://www.tbo.com/news/politics/airbnb-starts-paying-florida-taxes-but-still-plays-by-different-rules-20160422/#sthash.rls4kKGy.dpuf

    "Airbnb starts paying Florida taxes but still plays by different rules.."


    Learn Tampa-Cuba history

    "A trail through Tampa-Cuba history."


    "work isn’t over for presidential hopefuls in the Sunshine State"

    "Donald Trump may have won the Florida primary, but the work isn’t over for presidential hopefuls in the Sunshine State." "Florida GOP Heads to Final Stretch of Delegate Selection."


    PBC School Board member resigns

    "Palm Beach County School Board member Mike Murgio resigned Friday following a federal indictment accusing him of bribery."

    His departure creates a vacancy on the seven-person board. His District 1 seat was up for re-election and before his arrest, Murgio planned to run as an incumbent. Instead, in a letter sent to school board chairman Chuck Shaw, Murgio wrote he was stepping down because his "personal situation" may create a distraction for the board and the school district.
    "Indicted Palm Beach school board member Mike Murgio steps down."


    Opt out "slow to grow" in Miami-Dade

    "While thousands across the country boycott standardized tests in schools, the Opt Out movement has struggled to gain traction in Miami-Dade." "Movement to ‘opt out’ of standardized testing slow to grow in Miami-Dade schools."



The Blog for Friday, April 22, 2016

Graham eyes running for governor in 2018

    "Redrawn congressional lines that plunked U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham’s seat into Republican territory prompted the congresswoman to announce she won’t seek re-election this year and instead will gear up for a possible run for governor in 2018."
    Graham, a Democrat from Tallahassee who unseated two-term Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Panama City, in 2014, announced her potential gubernatorial bid Thursday morning in a slick YouTube video emailed to supporters.
    "While not entirely a surprise, her announcement promised to shake up a potential field of Governor’s Mansion hopefuls including Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, a Republican, and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, a Democrat."
    “Our state government is just dysfunctional,” she said. “And this causes me to rethink how I can best serve the people of North Florida and our state. Floridians are hungry for new leadership, and I’m so excited to tell your first that I’m seriously considering running for governor in 2018.”

    Graham, a pragmatist who has upset some in her party for siding with the GOP on issues from the Keystone XL pipeline to President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, touted her accomplishments in Congress.

    "Gwen Graham might run for governor."

    See also "Another Graham for Florida governor? U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham announces potential run," "Another Graham for governor? U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham announces potential run" and "Florida Rep. Gwen Graham announces possible run for governor."


    RPOF wigs out

    "Cruise giant Carnival Corp. on Friday said it had been cleared by the Cuban government to bring Cuban-born travelers to the country, ending a controversy that threatened to upend its plans to launch the first USA to Cuba voyages in more than 50 years." "Cuban-born travelers cleared to cruise to Cuba." See also "Cuba will allow Cuban-born to arrive on Carnival cruise ship."


    All about Trump

    "It’s all about Donald Trump at GOP meeting, even without him there."


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

    Marc Caputo: "The RNC’s Florida takeaway – Wasserman Schultz goes after Canova – DCCC’s marital-rape attack v. Rep. Mica – Feds indict South Florida school board member." "Florida Playbook."


    "Something a little off at GOP gala"

    Tom Jackson: "By all outward signs, the annual Pasco Republican Reagan Day dinner was business as usual: Every ticket (all 450) was sold, filling Spartan Manor’s main ballroom; the opening ceremonies were reverently observed; the prime rib entree and carrot cake chaser were enthusiastically received; the live auction (involving mostly firearms) was ardently contested; and the whole thing wrapped up in time to get the attendees home in time for Hannity."

    There was, nonetheless, something ... off. Something unsettling. Something atmospheric. Something just beyond the grasp.
    "Something a little off at GOP gala."


    Can't stop . . .

    "U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw’s campaign was raising large sums of money and paying political consultants until just before he decided to retire after eight terms in Congress." "Crenshaw continued raising funds until retirement announcement."


    Soto gets support

    "The Florida Senate Democratic Caucus endorsed their colleague Darren Soto for Congress Thursday. State Sen. Soto, D-Kissimmee, received the backing of 11 of his 13 fellow state Senate Democrats in his race for the party nomination in the 9th U.S. congressional district including including former Senate President Gwen Margolis, Minority Leader Arthenia Joyner and Minority Leader-elect Oscar Braynon." "Democratic state Senate caucus endorses Soto for Congress."


    "He really is a member of the Angry Party"

    "He looked and sounded like someone who wanted to pick a fight. Maybe he does. He said his name is Carlos Beruff."

    I suspect he is just using the Republican Party as a place holder because he really is a member of the Angry Party. His message seems to be that we should vote for him because we’re all angry too. Anger is the fastest-growing political movement in the country, and Beruff sure speaks the language.

    Look at that face. Listen to that voice. Imagine a father waiting on the front porch two hours after his daughter was supposed to be home from a date — except this time the father wants to be a senator.

    His website describes him as “a businessman who is fed up with the status quo in Washington.” He is a successful home builder and developer who has served on a few boards in Manatee County. He’s a budget hawk, vowing to eliminate waste wherever he sees it — and he sees it a lot.

    But here’s the punch line: Beruff says we need “to take the country back.” I didn’t know it had gone anywhere, but the candidate obviously believes it has taken the first handbasket south to Hades. Because of that, Beruff says we need to send him to the Senate because he’ll straighten that whole thing out.

    Maybe Beruff’s message resonates with enough Floridians to get elected, or maybe not. The bigger message leaders of both major parties better receive in a hurry is that the anger isn’t going away. It’s all about fighting back against a system fueled by big money from a knighted few. Everyone else feels excluded, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re liberal, conservative or a little of both.

    "Say hello to the latest “outsider” candidate from the Angry Party." See also "Backroom Briefing: Carlos Beruff, Unplugged."


    The best they could do?

    "Rick Scott pushes Donald Trump at national meeting."


    "Talking about medical marijuana. OMG"

    Nancy Smith: "Las Vegas has changed, folks. I couldn't believe how much since I last visited. And I'm not talking about the glitzy hotels or the towering slot machines or the raving nightlife. I'm talking about changes you can see on the airport concourse two minutes after you deplane. I'm talking about medical marijuana. OMG." "Does Medical Marijuana Have a 'Visit Florida' Future? Check Out the New Las Vegas."



The Blog for Wednesday, April 20, 2016

"'Jeb! An American Disappointment!"

    "'Jeb! An American Disappointment! Please Clap', the musical's full title, opens with a song called 'Jeb! Bush, Exclamation Point.'" "http://bit.ly/1qDjKL7"

    "‘Jeb! The Musical’ parody of ‘Hamilton’ mocks the Bush campaign, by The Orlando Sentinel's Steven Lemongello: ''Jeb! The Musical' is available online for anyone’s enjoyment, with two acts and 46 songs parodying both the failed presidential campaign of the former Florida governor and the musical about founding father Alexander Hamilton." "http://bit.ly/1qDjKL7"


    Florida election gives rise to Twitter regulation dispute

    "A 2014 complaint filed by a [Florida] congressional write-in candidate who received fewer than 10 votes sparked a more than two year review of how much — if any — federal regulation should be placed on political speech through social media outlets like Twitter."

    The issue split the Federal Election Commission, which in February deadlocked on a 3-3 vote before deciding to close the case. The commission needs a majority vote to take any action.
    "Three Republican members of the commission said further regulation by the FEC over the messages would “hamper free communication.” The panel’s two Democrats and one independent member said greater transparency should be put in place."
    The complaint was filed in January 2014 by Raymond Schamis, a write-in candidate from Delray Beach who was challenging West Palm Beach Democrat Lois Frankel in the 22nd Congressional District. In the complaint, Schamis said Frankel, Republican challenger Paul Spain and the Democratic and Republican national committees violated election law because Twitter accounts they used for their campaigns didn't include disclaimers saying who paid for the accounts and the individual tweets.
    "Write-in candidate prompts FEC split over regulating Twitter messages."


    Even the Miami Herald

    It's over: "Miami Herald Calls for Repeal of Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966."


    Will Brown do Orlando?

    "Florida’s redistricting saga continued Monday when a group of federal judges rejected a lawsuit to throw out the current congressional boundaries from U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville." "Court Rejects Corrine Brown Lawsuit to Throw Out New Congressional Districts." Here's the 26-page order".

    Brown has hinted that she might run in the newly created district in Orlando.


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

    Marc Caputo: "Medical marijuana refugees flee Florida – Beruff’s Cuban confusion -- Ayotte to Foley: Thanks but no thanks."

    More: "The Beruff identity: Candidate’s conflicting claims about his birthplace" and "Beruff releases third TV ad."


    Tracking immigrants like "tracking livestock"

    "Congressional candidate Pat Mooney is drawing fire from a Republican rival for making an analogy between monitoring immigrants and tracking livestock with microchips." "Congressional candidate criticized for remarks about monitoring immigrants."



The Blog for Saturday, April 16, 2016

Wasserman Schultz, Sanders fight heating up

    Update: Nancy Smith: "Democratic National Committee Chairwoman DWS tries to block voters' access to Sanders by limiting primary presidential debates; Sanders lends his formula for fundraising success and campaign charisma to Tim Canova, DWS' CD 23 challenger." "For Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Payback's a Witch."

    Update 2: "Support for Tim Canova's congressional campaign is coming from the same frothing section of the populace that's pulling for Bernie Sanders. In March, two major unions — the Communication Workers of America and National Nurses United — both endorsed Canova after also throwing their support behind Sanders. (Nurses United has even been driving 'Bernie Buses' around, canvassing on foot for the frozen warlock of a presidential candidate.) Veterans for Bernie Sanders too has thrown its support behind Canova ... Today, Canova picked up yet another big endorsement, this time from the Transportation Workers United 538, which represents the 2,500 Miami International Airport employees." "Miami Airport Workers' Union Endorses Tim Canova."

    "If the Bernie Sanders movement is trying to take down the Democratic political establishment, there’s probably no better place to start than Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee."

    Even before Wasserman Schultz was accused of trying to rig the primary process for Hillary Clinton, her perch atop the party apparatus and failure to meet some liberal purity tests made her a target of some on the left.
    "Now, Wasserman Schultz is facing her first real primary fight since she was elected to Congress from Florida in 2004. Her challenger is Tim Canova, a progressive law professor fueled by the Sanders movement."

    "It’s a longshot, but Canova has some key actors from the Sanders coalition behind him."

    Wasserman Schultz has found herself on the wrong side the left on a range of fronts, from her alleged softness on the payday lending industry, to her opposition of medical marijuana, to her perceived reluctance to back President Obama’s Iran deal, to her support for so-called fast-track trade authority opposed by critics of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal.
    "The Bernie Sanders proxy war in Florida."

    "Actress Rosario Dawson spoke out against Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz Tuesday before introducing Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally in San Diego, California." "Rosario Dawson Bashes DNC's Wasserman Schultz at Sanders' Rally."

    DWS strikes back, claiming that "that Bernie Sanders’ supporters tactics of getting the attention of superdelegates 'border on harassment and feel like stalking.'" "Wasserman Schultz: Sanders Supporters’ Tactics ‘Border On Harassment’"


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

    Marc Caputo: "Patrick Murphy’s SEVEN political committees – Tim Tebow for Congress? – Wasserman Schultz and Bernie Bros’ ‘borderline harassment." "Florida Playbook."


    Just ask Marco

    Democratic Rep. Reggie Fullwood "from Jacksonville has been indicted on charges he used more than $65,000 in campaign contributions on personal expenses like liquor, jewelry, flowers and groceries, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Jacksonville announced Friday." "Florida lawmaker faces fraud charges over campaign cash."

    Little Marco skated on similar behavior: "New questions raised about Marco Rubio’s GOP credit card expenses" ("Rubio made the most of the ample leeway and little oversight party leaders gave employees and lawmakers to spend the party’s cash.")


    Republicans court Tebow, liken' that homeschoolin'

    "Tim Tebow has a likable, wholesome image and hasn’t ruled out running for political office one day. Now Republicans (who have courted him in the past) are hoping to have the home-schooler-turned-Heisman-winner run for Crenshaw’s seat. Don’t be surprised if Tebow doesn’t do it. He’s smart enough to know Congress isn’t a place to accomplish much these days except be a politician, take bad votes, spend most of your time fundraising for your next election or plan to run for another seat. But if he’s bitten by the political bug, watch out." "Tebow for Congress."

    More: "Tim Tebow eyed for open Florida House seat, 'a shoo-in'."


    Orlando retread wants to go back to Congress

    "Former U.S. Rep. Ric Keller announced Thursday that he is seeking a return to Congress after 8 years. Keller, an Orlando attorney, told Fox 35 that he would be running in the 6th District for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Ponte Vedra Beach. DeSantis is running for U.S. Senate. . . . Keller also said he was "for the wall before it was cool" when asked about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's call for a border wall with Mexico." "Former U.S. Rep. Ric Keller announces another run for Congress."


    Garcia posts impressive fundraising numbers

    "Former Congressman Joe Garcia, challenging Annette Taddeo in the CD 26 Democratic primary, has posted impressive fundraising numbers, bringing his total more than $325,000 in just weeks." "Joe Garcia, Fighting for CD 26, Has His Foot on the Fundraising Gas."


    "Murphy Replenishes Daddy’s Cash Stash"

    "They are called joint fundraising agreements, and they allow committees and members of Congress to join forces to raise campaign cash. [Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick] Murphy’s campaign committee has agreements with seven different committees, two of which have transferred a total of $57,741 to his campaign, according to campaign finance records."

    The biggest transfer to Murphy’s official campaign from a joint fundraising committee has come from Justice 2016, which has given $51,490.

    That committee is affiliated with a handful of Democrats, including Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, Jason Kader of Missouri, Ted Strickland of Ohio, and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, each of whom is running for Senate, and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, both of whom are members of the House running for Senate seats.

    Another joint fundraising committee Murphy has with Bennet, called Peaks and Palms Senate Victory, has transferred $6,250 to his campaign. The committee has raised $40,000 from six Illinois donors who work predominantly in the finance industry.

    Several other joint fundraising committees tied to Murphy’s campaign have not yet been active, while some have raised money but not transferred it directly to his campaign.

    One of those joint fundraising committees, the Murphy Victory Fund, has its own fundraising agreement with the Democratic Executive Committee of Florida, which is the federal arm of the Florida Democratic Party.

    The Murphy Victory Fund has raised $76,600 and transferred $56,800 to the Democratic Executive Committee of Florida.

    "Joint fundraising committees are a long-standing way for campaigns to pool resources with other groups to ensure progressive candidates across Florida and the country are in the best possible position to win,” said Joshua Karp, Murphy’s communications director.

    "Murphy’s Senate bid boosted by network of fundraising agreements."

    "Privileged Patrick Murphy Replenishes Daddy’s Cash Stash." See "Patrick Murphy Raises $2 Million in First Quarter."

    Amelia Chassé asks: "How does Murphy explain his professed 'disgust' with money in politics with his scramble for outside cash? Apparently by lashing out at reporters, as the Tampa Bay Times’ Adam Smith found out in March."


    Rubio fading into irrelevance

    "When he suspended his campaign, Marco Rubio said he wasn’t running for president but urged local GOP officials to let him keep his delegates. ... The Florida senator’s strategy is hitting some turbulence, NBC News has learned, because several state parties have determined Rubio does not get to hold onto all his delegates." "Lapsed Rubio Delegates Are Up for Grabs on Convention’s First Ballot."



    Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry.


    Wasserman Schultz, Sanders fight heating up

    Update: Nancy Smith: "Democratic National Committee Chairwoman DWS tries to block voters' access to Sanders by limiting primary presidential debates; Sanders lends his formula for fundraising success and campaign charisma to Tim Canova, DWS' CD 23 challenger." "For Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Payback's a Witch."

    Update 2: "Support for Tim Canova's congressional campaign is coming from the same frothing section of the populace that's pulling for Bernie Sanders. In March, two major unions — the Communication Workers of America and National Nurses United — both endorsed Canova after also throwing their support behind Sanders. (Nurses United has even been driving 'Bernie Buses' around, canvassing on foot for the frozen warlock of a presidential candidate.) Veterans for Bernie Sanders too has thrown its support behind Canova ... Today, Canova picked up yet another big endorsement, this time from the Transportation Workers United 538, which represents the 2,500 Miami International Airport employees." "Miami Airport Workers' Union Endorses Tim Canova."

    "If the Bernie Sanders movement is trying to take down the Democratic political establishment, there’s probably no better place to start than Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee."

    Even before Wasserman Schultz was accused of trying to rig the primary process for Hillary Clinton, her perch atop the party apparatus and failure to meet some liberal purity tests made her a target of some on the left.
    "Now, Wasserman Schultz is facing her first real primary fight since she was elected to Congress from Florida in 2004. Her challenger is Tim Canova, a progressive law professor fueled by the Sanders movement."

    "It’s a longshot, but Canova has some key actors from the Sanders coalition behind him."

    Wasserman Schultz has found herself on the wrong side the left on a range of fronts, from her alleged softness on the payday lending industry, to her opposition of medical marijuana, to her perceived reluctance to back President Obama’s Iran deal, to her support for so-called fast-track trade authority opposed by critics of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal.
    "The Bernie Sanders proxy war in Florida."

    "Actress Rosario Dawson spoke out against Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz Tuesday before introducing Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally in San Diego, California." "Rosario Dawson Bashes DNC's Wasserman Schultz at Sanders' Rally."

    DWS strikes back, claiming that "that Bernie Sanders’ supporters tactics of getting the attention of superdelegates 'border on harassment and feel like stalking.'" "Wasserman Schultz: Sanders Supporters’ Tactics ‘Border On Harassment’"


    "What's hot, crazy or shady about politics in the Sunshine State" Marc Caputo: "Patrick Murphy’s SEVEN political committees – Tim Tebow for Congress? – Wasserman Schultz and Bernie Bros’ ‘borderline harassment." "Florida Playbook."


    Just ask Marco Democratic Rep. Reggie Fullwood "from Jacksonville has been indicted on charges he used more than $65,000 in campaign contributions on personal expenses like liquor, jewelry, flowers and groceries, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Jacksonville announced Friday." "Florida lawmaker faces fraud charges over campaign cash."

    Little Marco skated on similar behavior: "New questions raised about Marco Rubio’s GOP credit card expenses" ("Rubio made the most of the ample leeway and little oversight party leaders gave employees and lawmakers to spend the party’s cash.")


    Republicans court Tebow, liken' that homeschoolin' "Tim Tebow has a likable, wholesome image and hasn’t ruled out running for political office one day. Now Republicans (who have courted him in the past) are hoping to have the home-schooler-turned-Heisman-winner run for Crenshaw’s seat. Don’t be surprised if Tebow doesn’t do it. He’s smart enough to know Congress isn’t a place to accomplish much these days except be a politician, take bad votes, spend most of your time fundraising for your next election or plan to run for another seat. But if he’s bitten by the political bug, watch out." "Tebow for Congress."

    More: "Tim Tebow eyed for open Florida House seat, 'a shoo-in'."


    Orlando retread wants to go back to Congress "Former U.S. Rep. Ric Keller announced Thursday that he is seeking a return to Congress after 8 years. Keller, an Orlando attorney, told Fox 35 that he would be running in the 6th District for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Ponte Vedra Beach. DeSantis is running for U.S. Senate. . . . Keller also said he was "for the wall before it was cool" when asked about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's call for a border wall with Mexico." "Former U.S. Rep. Ric Keller announces another run for Congress."


    Garcia posts impressive fundraising numbers "Former Congressman Joe Garcia, challenging Annette Taddeo in the CD 26 Democratic primary, has posted impressive fundraising numbers, bringing his total more than $325,000 in just weeks." "Joe Garcia, Fighting for CD 26, Has His Foot on the Fundraising Gas."


    "Murphy Replenishes Daddy’s Cash Stash" "They are called joint fundraising agreements, and they allow committees and members of Congress to join forces to raise campaign cash. [Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick] Murphy’s campaign committee has agreements with seven different committees, two of which have transferred a total of $57,741 to his campaign, according to campaign finance records."

    The biggest transfer to Murphy’s official campaign from a joint fundraising committee has come from Justice 2016, which has given $51,490.

    That committee is affiliated with a handful of Democrats, including Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, Jason Kader of Missouri, Ted Strickland of Ohio, and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, each of whom is running for Senate, and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, both of whom are members of the House running for Senate seats.

    Another joint fundraising committee Murphy has with Bennet, called Peaks and Palms Senate Victory, has transferred $6,250 to his campaign. The committee has raised $40,000 from six Illinois donors who work predominantly in the finance industry.

    Several other joint fundraising committees tied to Murphy’s campaign have not yet been active, while some have raised money but not transferred it directly to his campaign.

    One of those joint fundraising committees, the Murphy Victory Fund, has its own fundraising agreement with the Democratic Executive Committee of Florida, which is the federal arm of the Florida Democratic Party.

    The Murphy Victory Fund has raised $76,600 and transferred $56,800 to the Democratic Executive Committee of Florida.

    "Joint fundraising committees are a long-standing way for campaigns to pool resources with other groups to ensure progressive candidates across Florida and the country are in the best possible position to win,” said Joshua Karp, Murphy’s communications director.

    "Murphy’s Senate bid boosted by network of fundraising agreements."

    "Privileged Patrick Murphy Replenishes Daddy’s Cash Stash." See "Patrick Murphy Raises $2 Million in First Quarter." Amelia Chassé asks: "How does Murphy explain his professed 'disgust' with money in politics with his scramble for outside cash? Apparently by lashing out at reporters, as the Tampa Bay Times’ Adam Smith found out in March."


    Rubio fading into irrelevance "When he suspended his campaign, Marco Rubio said he wasn’t running for president but urged local GOP officials to let him keep his delegates. ... The Florida senator’s strategy is hitting some turbulence, NBC News has learned, because several state parties have determined Rubio does not get to hold onto all his delegates." "Lapsed Rubio Delegates Are Up for Grabs on Convention’s First Ballot."



The Blog for Sunday, April 10, 2016

"Listening to a shameless hypocrite"

    John Romano: "It's interesting to note that when legislators talk enthusiastically about providing parents with choices, the back-door beneficiaries are often charter and private schools run by businesses. And when legislators deny parents a choice about the [Florida Standards Assessment], the backdoor beneficiary is a testing corporation with a six-year, $220 million contract."
    In other words, it might be less about "choice'' and more about commerce.

    So the next time you hear a lawmaker say parents know best, you might consider the possibility that you're listening to a shameless hypocrite.

    "The state has become a slave to a testing company with no local oversight or accountability."
    It has allowed the education system to be swallowed by a single assessment. It has ignored parents and forsaken flexibility.

    The problem isn't that Florida children are failing tests.

    It's that Florida is failing children by obsessing over a test.

    "Florida scores high on hypocrisy and low on integrity in school tests."


    Nelson remaining above the Senate primary fray

    "The race between Alan Grayson and Patrick Murphy for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination got even more heated this week, but their would-be colleague Bill Nelson is remaining above the fray." "Nelson remains neutral in U.S. Senate race."


    Florida, merely "a low-tax, low-wage state"

    The Tallahassee Democrat editors: "Shelling out millions in public money to private corporations was never a novel, responsible or sustainable strategy for creating jobs in the Sunshine State. That's why the Florida Legislature's decision not to spend any money over the next year on a job incentive program has forced a healthy and overdue debate. This is an opportunity for Florida to assess its strengths and weaknesses, better target quality jobs and industries and draw a clear line between promoting economic growth and corporate welfare."

    The loss of walking around money should force the governor to recast Florida as more than a low-tax, low-wage state. It is easy enough to sell the state for its year-round good weather, competitive wages and relaxed regulatory environment. Major employers, though, especially those in emerging technology industries, are looking for talent, proximity to industrial hubs and quality transportation, schools and other amenities. In his letter to the Enterprise Florida board, the governor still doesn't seem to get it, calling for new ways to promote Florida on the cheap.
    "Rethinking Florida's job recruitment efforts."


    "DCF Backs Off Protecting LGBT Children"

    "The Florida Department of Children and Families is under fire for backing off of part a proposal that would protect LGBT kids who live in group homes from discrimination — including so-called 'conversion therapy' aimed at changing their sexual orientation." "Bowing to Baptist and Catholic Pressure, DCF Backs Off Protecting LGBT Children from Discrimination."


    "Unfair — and, frankly, cold-hearted"

    The Palm Beach Post editors: "This month, about 300,000 Floridians who qualify for food stamps began facing the consequences of new rules requiring that they go to work. It’s a reasonable policy change, on paper. But for many who can’t find or hold a job, it means facing emptier pantries."

    Gov. Rick Scott’s administration justifies the action by saying the economy is improving and jobs are easier to find. And yes, Florida’s jobless rate has fallen to an eight-year low of 4.9 percent. More than 1 million jobs have been added to the state since January 2011, low-paying though many may be.

    But the jobs aren’t distributed evenly across this very diverse state. . . .

    The Scott administration needs to look at more than raw economic numbers when making decisions that can so intimately affect the lives of thousands of Florida’s most vulnerable citizens. At the least, it should allow for regional variances in the economic rebound, and ask the federal government to drop the mandate for the 21 lagging counties.

    We agree that food stamps should be issued in a way that discourages a culture of dependency. But where jobs are in short supply, it is unfair — and, frankly, cold-hearted — to impose a regulation that will make people go hungry.

    "Work rules on food stamps will hit Florida’s poorest hard."


    She didn't run alone

    "Firefighters run 5K with daughter of fallen fireman."


    "Florida cannot afford to get this wrong again"

    The Tampa Bay Times editorial board: "It took more than a decade,"

    but Florida finally has reached a settlement in a class-action lawsuit aimed at improving access to medical and dental care for children on Medicaid. The agreement should make health care more accessible to poor children who struggled to find doctors willing to treat them under the state's dismal Medicaid reimbursement rates. The state should work hard to meet and exceed the goals agreed upon in the settlement. Florida cannot afford to get this wrong again.
    "Medicaid settlement should help kids."


    Empty suits on the sidelines

    "President Barack Obama’s historic trip to Cuba last month marked the culmination of a foreign policy he laid out eight years ago as a candidate, when he broke with his predecessors and pledged to sit down with unfriendly dictators because punishing them with silence seemed 'ridiculous.'"

    Left out of the conversation: anyone who disagreed, including the eight Cuban Americans — Republican and Democrat — in Congress 57 years after the Cuban revolution. Half of them — one senator and three representatives — hail from Miami, the new city exiles made in Havana’s old image.

    For eight years, they’ve had zero input on the issue on which some of them built their political careers. And now they face the prospect of four or eight more years of the same, with a new White House tenant come January. Castro has promised to retire in 2018.

    "Miami’s Cuban-American political guard risks losing any influence it has left at a time when Cuba could undergo its most sweeping changes."

    “I’m not hurt at all — it frees up my day,” Miami Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said of not talking to Obama. “He’s of no consequence to us.”
    "Once mighty, Miami’s political guard left out of conversation on Cuba."