Friday, July 12, 2013

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

"Clelland raises more than any other state House incumbent"

"Democratic state Rep. Mike Clelland of Lake Mary, the rookie lawmaker who upset former speaker-in-waiting Chris Dorworth last year, raised more money in the second quarter than any incumbent House member in either political party, according to new state records."

Clelland, an attorney and former city of Longwood firefighter, raised just over $34,000 during the quarter, with much of his money coming from firefighters, unions and chiropractic clinics. No other House member seeking re-election raised more, even though Republicans command large majorities in Tallahassee and generally far outraise Democrats.
"He'll likely need every cent. Clelland's re-election bid promises to be just as challenging as his first run against Dorworth — which came down to a hand recount. He faces former Rep. Scott Plakon, a Longwood Republican who doesn't carry the baggage that Dorworth did, in a Seminole County-based House district that was drawn to favor Republican candidates."
The second quarter haul boosted Clelland's total fundraising this election cycle to more than $56,000, more than any other House Democrat in Florida. . . . .

Plakon, for his part, raised just under $21,000 during the quarter, with checks from big businesses such as Walt Disney World and NextEra Energy and some legislative lobbying firms. He even received a $250 check from Dorworth, who is now a lobbyist.

"Clelland raises more money than any other state House incumbent in Florida".

"A sharp rebuke to the Republican-controlled Legislature"

"The Florida Supreme Court, in a sharp rebuke to the Republican-controlled Legislature, refused to throw out a lawsuit that contends legislators ignored new standards while drawing up legislative districts."

Florida’s Supreme Court handed a legal setback to the Legislature Thursday by giving a green light to a trial that challenges the redrawing of Senate districts.

The challenge, if successful, could greatly shake up the next round of Senate elections in 2014.

Lawmakers tried to thwart the challenge from the League of Women voters and other groups, who say Senate Republicans redrew districts for partisan advantage in violation of voter-approved “fair districts” amendments to the Constitution.

Lawmakers argued that only the Supreme Court had the power to review legislative redistricting maps, in a narrow 30-day window last year.

But in a 5-2 ruling, the court said that state law and its own precedents mean the case must proceed in a circuit court in Tallahassee.

"Fla. Supreme Court won't stop redistricting challenge". See also "Florida Supreme Court: Lawsuit opposing Senate redistricting plan can proceed" and "Florida Supreme Court lets redistricting lawsuit continue".


"Pasco officials support Rep. Mike Fasano's hope to be tax collector".

Marco's mess

Marco keeps putting his foot in it: "Rubio says he won't back a spending deal without Obamacare cutSen. Marco Rubio’s red lines: defund Obamacare to pass temporary budget, no debt-limit hike without balanced budget".

Meanwhile, Alex Leary reports: "House rejects Rubio/Senate's 'flawed' bill, will take piecemeal approach to immigration".

And you live, where?

"A Republican legislator wants a probe into whether six legislators are flouting a state law that requires a legislator to live in their district." "GOP senator wants probe on where legislators live".

Missing the point

"Hillsborough County's elections chief is demanding a correction to a study of the 2012 presidential election that found none of his polling places closed on time."

Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer said the national racial justice group Advancement Project used faulty data to conclude that Hillsborough precincts closed an average of 72 minutes late. . . .

The group relied on data recorded when voting results from each precinct were transmitted to the supervisor's central tabulation center. A more valid ending time, while still problematic, would have been when his poll workers shut down machines and spit out reports from them, Latimer said.

And even that doesn't necessarily reflect when the last person voted, he said.

Still, by that measurement, Latimer said, 65 percent of his 347 precincts closed within 30 minutes and nearly 85 percent closed within 45 minutes.

A representative of Advancement Project said it will be happy to look at the records to which Latimer is referring and will amend its report if necessary.

But she says her group stands by the point of the study, which found that precincts with concentrations of minorities and young people tended to close later than those with more white people.

"Hillsborough elections chief demands study retraction".

That law stuff is hard

"Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday a new law aimed at shutting down Internet cafes was simply targeted at illegal gambling, as he responded to questions about a lawsuit that claims the legislation was too broadly written." "Gov. Scott defends law banning Internet cafes".

Rubio flopping among Iowa primary voters

"Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) finds U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has a slight lead over a pack of rivals in Iowa. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who had led a PPP Iowa poll taken in February, has fallen back to fifth place among Republicans."

Paul leads the pack with 18 percent followed by Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey with 16 percent, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin with 15 percent and former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida with 14 percent. Rubio places fifth with 11 percent followed by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas with 10 percent. Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who upset Mitt Romney to win the Iowa caucus in 2012, is seventh with 6 percent followed by two governors in low single digits. Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana garners 2 percent while Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico trails with 1 percent.
"Rand Paul Catches Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton Trounces the Field in Iowa".

Lawson agin' Graham?

"The Florida Democratic Party might not like it, but Al Lawson -- politically skillful and ever popular in the Tallahassee area -- doesn't want to be counted out of the congressional District 2 race." "Al Lawson to Dems: I Might Give Gwen Graham a Primary".

"Sitting Pretty"

"Florida Congressmen Sitting Pretty for 2014 Primary Fights".

Jebbie's skeletons begin to appear

Adam Smith on one of the many skeleton's in Jeb Bush's closet: "Just as Jeb Bush increasingly generates speculation about running for president, a controversial business venture that has dogged him for years is popping back up in federal court."

United States of America vs. MWI Corp. is scheduled for trial in Washington in October, more than 15 years after the start of a legal fight that has produced allegations of fraud against the U.S. government, bribery of Nigerian officials and plenty of fodder for the former governor’s rivals. Bush was the 35-year-old son of a man about the become U.S. president when in 1988 he started working with the Deerfield Beach-based MWI Corp. selling water pumps across the globe. Over the next five years until shortly before running for governor in 1994, he earned about $650,000 in a venture that would eventually cause him “unmitigated grief,” as he put it years later.
As befits a man born with a silver spoon in his mouth, "Jeb!" may get a pass: "When the federal trial starts Oct. 21, however, the allegations of bribery, corruption in Nigeria, and even Bush’s role in the business won’t be part of the trial."
Bush had been listed as a potential witness, but MWI objected and a federal judge recently agreed his testimony was largely irrelevant and likely would produce a “distracting mini-trial.” Likewise, the judge is barring testimony about alleged bribery and accusations that MWI officials tried to hide assets from creditors as not relevant to the “narrow factual issues” to be examined by the jury.

The case centers on a 1992 deal to sell water pumps to Nigeria, financed with $74.3 million from the Export-Import Bank of the United States, or Ex-Im. It was a huge coup for MWI, more than four times the annual sales of the company run by David Eller, a top Republican fundraiser who formed a company with Bush, Bush-El Corp. to market MWI’s pumps.

"Lawsuit over old Jeb Bush business venture resurfaces".

More: "Jeb Bush's summer bummer -" and "State: Ex-partner of Jeb Bush hid assets abroad, U.S. says".