Tuesday, May 17, 2016

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

"Florida 0-for-171 years"

John Romano: "When it comes to national elections, America is obsessed with Florida's demographics, intrigued with Florida's potential fundraising and desperate for Florida's voters."

As for our actual politicians, America will pass.
The former governor who was supposed to be the front-runner and had an abundance of cash, if not charm, dropped out of the presidential race months ago. The handsome, young senator who was supposed to be the future face of the Republican Party couldn't even outlast the smarmy Texan the rest of the Senate hates.

And now it's looking like our senior senator is probably not on the short list of VP candidates because the Democrats can't risk losing a Senate seat. Or so they say. And our current governor has no chance no matter how much he stalks Donald Trump.

So, if you're scoring at home, that would make Florida 0-for-171 years.

Since becoming a bona fide state, Florida has yet to put one of its elected politicians in the White House as either a president or vice president.

Despite our best efforts to keep our crazy close to the vest, it appears America is on to us.

"Romano: Vice President Scott? Vice President Crist? Thanks for nothing, America."

Lie down with dogs

"Jolly on backing Trump: ‘I don’t know if I will get there by November’."."

Green cards for sale

"Foreigners who invest in soccer stadium could get green cards."

Lie down with dogs (Part 2)

Marc Caputo: "U.S. Senate candidate Carlos Beruff referred to President Obama as an 'animal' during a recent Florida Republican meeting, prompting opponents from both parties to call on him to apologize." "Rivals condemn Senate candidate for calling Obama an ‘animal’."

"Congressional Races Look Competitive"

"The Florida congressional district is set to radically change after the November elections. Between redistricting, some unexpected retirements and four representatives running for the U.S. Senate, almost half of the Sunshine State’s 27 congressional seats are in play in the primaries or the general election. With that many seats up for grabs, Florida can expect some differences in how it's represented starting in 2017." "Florida Congressional Races Look Competitive After Redistricting, Retirements."

Corporate giant shifts its security burden onto taxpayers

"When it comes to calling the cops, Walmart is such an outlier compared with its competitors that experts criticized the corporate giant for shifting too much of its security burden onto taxpayers. Several local law enforcement officers also emphasized that all the hours spent at Walmart cut into how often they can patrol other neighborhoods and prevent other crimes." "Police are called to Walmart more than anywhere else; you foot the bill."

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

Marc Caputo: "Rubio’s media-mocking tweetstorm – Trump’s new pollster – Cuban immigrant wave increases – Florida reports tourism record -- Will Racist McShootface return?" "Florida Playbook."

More Caputo: "Grayson says NYT ‘full of [expletive] but errs himself – Beruff calls Obama an ‘animal’ – Venezuela in crisis – State passes up $250m for foreclosure help – Florida wildlife gone wild." "Florida Playbook."

"Grayson’s own campaign corrects him on claim that Times is ‘full of shit’."

Establishment goes after Grayson

"For the second time in a week, Alan Grayson got into a heated public argument about the ethics investigation into his hedge fund and other activities." "Grayson gets into heated TV interview about ethics investigation."

Cream rises . . .

"Don Gaetz floated for University of West Florida presidency."

Saturday, May 14, 2016

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

Picketers to hit Disney Sunday Morning

"The Reedy Creek Fire Fighters Association Local 2117, which represents emergency workers serving Walt Disney World, plans to picket Sunday morning in and around the Springs' parking garages."

It will be the first time in decades the union has demonstrated on Disney property.
"Contract negotiations have stalled with Reedy Creek, the Disney-controlled government agency that employs firefighters and paramedics serving the resort. The two sides reached an impasse in negotiations last year. Firefighters and paramedics have been working without a contract for almost a year and a half. The two sides disagree about pay and insurance."
"Here we are asking for peanuts, and Reedy Creek spent millions of millions of dollars on these parking garages, and they won't even work with me on a contract," [Union president Tim Stromsnes said]
"Firefighters' union plans demonstration at Disney."

It could be worse, we could be seeing his "Palm Beach persona"

"Palm Beachers and other locals say they have long recognized the two Donald Trump personas that presidential campaign watchers expect more of the country to soon get to meet." "Two Donald Trump personas emerge in Palm Beach."

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

Marc Caputo: "SPECIAL SATURDAY EDITION -- John Miller for veep? — The Sunshine State of play — B’DAY: Howard Wolfson, Tom Donilon." "Florida Playbook."

That Killing Thing

The Tampa Bay Times editors: "Florida Supreme Court should change death sentences to life in prison."

"Big Bucks in April"

"Florida Senate hopefuls were busy raising big bucks for their campaigns during the month of April. Sunshine State News took a look at what the candidates in some of the state’s most hotly-contested Senate seats raised last month." "Florida Senate Contenders Raise Big Bucks in April."

GOP Latino leader steps in it

"Rosario Marin, a GOP Latino leader who was the 41st U.S. treasurer, unloaded on Donald Trump Friday by repeatedly telling an Orlando TV station that her fellow Republican is a 'little orange man' she and other Hispanics can’t vote for." "GOP Latino leader blasts Trump as ‘little orange man’."

The lucky sperm club: "Son of Miami lobbyist gets break"

"Son of Miami lobbyist gets break, is sentenced to only 30 months in prison for Molly dealing."

"A remarkable rise"

"Patrick Murphy burst from obscurity in 2012 by winning a bitter showdown with tea party Rep. Allen West. Now 33, the South Florida resident is strongly positioned to jump to the Senate, a remarkable rise that has national Democrats optimistic of regaining a majority."

Behind him stands one major asset. His father.

Thomas P. Murphy Jr. has built homes for Oprah Winfrey and Dan Marino, dozens of hotels and resorts, and he has constructed a path for his son in the most fundamental way: money.

The elder Murphy has given more than $1 million to super PACs supporting his son's campaigns and used donations to help create allies in Florida and Washington. His Coastal Construction Group has been the source for more than $180,000 given directly to the candidate's House and Senate campaigns.

"But the family advantage has provoked criticism from Democrats and Republicans who cast him as a rich kid and a hypocrite because he laments the influence of money in politics while benefiting from his father's largess."
A Republican, Tom Murphy has long been politically active and has given money to Charlie Crist, Alex Sink, George W. Bush and Mitt Romney. (Patrick Murphy also donated to Romney and was a registered Republican until shortly before launching his first campaign.) . . .

Democratic rival Alan Grayson, an outspoken liberal congressman from Orlando, has mocked Murphy for relying on "Daddy's PAC." Grayson also points out that Murphy is a stockholder in Coastal Construction. Just after he won the 2012 election, his father gave him stock worth up to $5 million.

"The financial muscle behind Patrick Murphy's Senate bid: his father."

Never mind the primary

"For the second time this spring, Vice President Joe Biden is campaigning for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy in Florida. But this time, it’ll be on the turf of Murphy’s Democratic opponent — in Orlando." "VP Joe Biden to campaign in Florida for candidate in enemy territory."

". . . But are there any left?"

"More than three decades after it was first captured in South Florida, a tiny wasp has been identified as a new species, but are there any left?" "New Keys wasp found, but is it already too late?"

"New revelations about major Murphy donor"

Nancy Smith: "As Vice President Joe Biden, who authored the Violence Against Women Act, promotes Patrick Murphy at a private fundraiser Thursday morning, troubling new revelations about a major Murphy donor convicted of domestic assault are making headlines. In a story this same morning under the headline, "GOP Wants Senate Dem Candidate to Donate $100K," the Hill reports:"

A leading Florida Democratic Senate candidate has donated more than $16,000 in campaign cash to domestic violence groups after receiving contributions from a longtime friend who pleaded guilty to assaulting his wife."
"But that's not all of the money Al-Rashid spent to get Patrick Murphy elected -- he also gave $100,000 to a pro-Murphy Super PAC in 2012 that ran an ad depicting cartoon violence against women:"
"[Senate Leadership Fund spokesman Ian] Prior notes that American Sunrise, the super-PAC Al-Rashid funded, ran a controversial ad that showed a cartoon version of Murphy’s then-opponent, Allen West, wearing boxing gloves and repeatedly punching women in the face to illustrate how he was hurting them with his votes on healthcare and other policies."

The report also reveals that Murphy took seven months to return Al-Rashid's last maxed-out donation, which was received after Murphy knew about his criminal acts. - See more at: http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/blog/now-patrick-murphy-under-fire-domestic-violence-linked-campaign-cash#sthash.tRFTwbdw.dpuf

"Now Patrick Murphy Under Fire For Domestic Violence-Linked Campaign Cash."

And we don't want you to be our Senator

"Rubio: I do not want to be Trump's vice president."

Monday, May 09, 2016

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

Scott's Job Claims "Mostly False"

"Florida Gov. Rick Scott is not on board with the minimum wage increase in the sunny, oceanside state — of California."

As Scott toured the West Coast for the second time attempting to attract businesses, Enterprise Florida (the state's public-private economic development arm) ran radio ads in San Francisco and Los Angeles attacking California's $15 wage and trumpeting Florida's superior job prospects.
"The ad is comparing California's projected employment with Florida's past performance — an apples-to-oranges comparison."
It also distorts what the 700,000 jobs-lost figure actually refers to. Even with the wage hike, California is expected to gain more jobs than Florida over the next decade, albeit not as many as without it. Furthermore, all the economists we spoke with cautioned against pinning a figure to the minimum wage hike's impact on employment in California.
PolitiFact Florida: Florida agency's misleading attack on California's minimum wage hike."

Carl Hiaasen: "Florida’s governor, leader of a low-wage, low-skill state, tried to poach corporations in California. Once they stopped snickering, they gave Scott an earful, telling him, not so politely, to go home." "Gov. Scott went to California, dreaming."

Marco's "political rehabilitation"

"What does a former presidential candidate do after a crushing home-state loss?" "The political rehabilitation of Marco Rubio."

Jeb! huffs

"Jeb Bush won’t vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton."

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

Marc Caputo: "Rubio-Cruz spat’s 2020 feel – Forget pledge, Jeb’s ‘Never Trump’ – Orange County’s terrible ‘teacher appreciation week’ – Oil prospecting near the Glades? – Gator hunter gets hunted by gator." "Florida Playbook."

"Trump loses Florida, he loses the election"

"Political campaigns tend to be about hope, fear, self-interest, frustration and, occasionally, inspiration. Ultimately, though, campaigns are about math, and the presidential electoral math has been consistent for decades: If the Republican nominee loses Florida, he loses the election." "Can Donald Trump win Florida? Yes, but he probably won't."

Meanwhile, "Dennis Ross Takes Trump's Side Over Paul Ryan."

Minimum wage increase would prompt legal fight

"Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine wants to increase minimum wage citywide. This could prompt a legal fight. The state of Florida sets the wage level and prohibits municipalities from doing so." "A fight to give Beach workers a raise."


"The information was mistakenly included in a file sent to an outside contractor." "Palm Beach County teachers' Social Security numbers accidentally shared."

Say, who?

"GOP candidates for Florida’s open U.S. Senate seat chase name recognition."

"Buckhorn's gubernatorial chances aren't great"

"Florida Insider Poll numbers on Bob Buckhorn's gubernatorial chances aren't great."

Saturday, April 30, 2016

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

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."

Sunday, April 24, 2016

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

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."

Saturday, April 23, 2016

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

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."

Friday, April 22, 2016

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

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."