Thursday, June 20, 2013

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

FlaDems recruiting Cabinet candidates

"Even as they aimed most of their fire at Gov. Rick Scott during last weekend's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, Democrats said they weren't focused exclusively on Scott."

In fact, party leaders say, they are working to undermine one of the bulwarks of Republican dominance in Florida government -- a near-stranglehold on statewide offices, with U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson serving as the only statewide elected official in a state that President Barack Obama carried twice.
"Aside from Scott, the state GOP also counts among its elected officials U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio; Attorney General Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. Rubio will not be on the ballot in 2014, but all three Cabinet officers will go before voters along with Scott."
Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Allison Tant said her party is laying the groundwork for all the statewide contests.

"We're actively recruiting for the Cabinet right now," Tant said. "We are not leaving any stone unturned. We are going to look at every race that we can and we're going to be very aggressive in playing in all of them, including [the] governor's race."

Tant told reporters she has already met with a candidate to take on Atwater and is speaking with two potential challengers for Bondi. But she declined to name them.

"Democrats Looking Beyond Rick Scott in 2014".

Gimme gimme

"Business groups say expanding Medicaid would save them money". See also "Business coalition wants to talk health care with legislators", "Business coalitions warn Florida’s failure to expand Medicaid will hurt them".

Sternad claims he was duped by Rivera's "gal pal"

"Justin Lamar Sternad, who is to be sentenced Monday in Miami federal court for campaign-finance crimes, said in an interview Wednesday night on America TeVe that he believes former Congressman David Rivera was part of the conspiracy. Sternad, however, said he had no direct knowledge of Rivera’s role and suggested that the former congressman’s gal pal, Ana Alliegro, had far more to do with the criminal effort to underwrite his campaign." "Justin Lamar Sternad says he was duped by campaign manager".

Scott's "time in the sun may be running out"

Bill Cotterell: "With abject apologies to Robert Herrick, the great British fop of the 17th century, Gov. Rick Scott is wielding his pen on legislation with a panache that can only mean he’s painfully aware that his time in the sun may be running out." "Vetoes can beef up Scott's 2014 hopes".

Dem rule changes

"Rep. Darryl Rouson of St. Petersburg, next-in-line to lead Florida's House Democrats in 2014, hasn't had a chance to review the caucus' latest proposed rule changes, and is in no rush to do so, because they won't be voted on until late September." "Darryl Rouson: House Democrats Won't Decide Controversial Rule Changes Until September.

Good luck with that

"Equality Florida announces campaign to push for equal marriage rights".

West raises "possibility" of challenging Rubio

"Saying he has 'a lot of concerns' about the immigration reform bill backed by Sen. Marco Rubio, former Rep. Allen West didn’t say no [Wednesday] morning when a Washington radio interviewer raised the possibility of West challenging Rubio in a 2016 GOP Senate primary." "West doesn’t rule out challenging Rubio".

Sorry NRA, but Floridians like background checks

"Poll says Florida voters like background checks for gun buyers".

Scott shifts focus to fees

"With tuition rising slightly, Gov. Rick Scott asks board to be tough on fees".


The Tampa Trib editors: "It would be a disgrace, after all the effort that has been devoted to reviving the Florida Everglades, for a state agency to pull the plug on that momentum."

Conservationists are rightly worried that the South Florida Water Management District has yet to endorse $2.2 billion in work needed to restore a more natural water flow to the central section of the Everglades. . . .

Florida leaders have been working on saving the Everglades for decades. Now is no time for the South Florida Water District to derail everything.

"Give Everglades prompt action".

Rubio's "mixed signals"

"Florida voters give Sen. Marco Rubio bad reviews for his mixed signals on immigration and don't like his opposition to requiring background checks for gun buyers, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday." "Poll: Floridians oppose Rubio's stands on immigration, gun control". See also "Poll: Floridians oppose Rubio's stands on immigration, gun control".

"Banks lag on compliance"

"Banks lag on compliance but progress found, foreclosure fraud settlement report says".

ALEC shills like Florida

"A policy analyst from Michigan's [ALEC connected] Mackinac Center is sky-high on Florida education, particularly its reform model, insisting the Sunshine State has plenty to be proud of." "Michigan Think Tank High on Florida Education Reform".

The gall of Firefighters to expect pensions?

"2 dead, 2 firefighters injured in Miami Beach fire".