Friday, October 04, 2013

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

"Crist barely keeping his nose above water"

Jeff Henderson analyzes the recent PPP Poll, writing that "Charlie Crist might be up 12 percent over Rick Scott in a new poll but there are serious warning signs that could hurt his efforts to return to the governor’s mansion."

Liberal leaning Public Policy Polling released a poll on Tuesday showing Crist at 50 percent and Scott at 38 percent. But the poll shows Crist is moving backward in some areas.
"Crist is barely keeping his nose above water with voters in the new poll: 43 percent favorable and 42 percent unfavorable. That’s a pretty steep drop from where he was in a PPP poll in January: 49 percent favorable and 38 percent unfavorable. The new numbers are not too far off of a PPP poll in March: 46 percent favorable and 43 percent unfavorable."
At first glance, Crist should be happy with his numbers with Democrats in the new poll: 58 percent favorable, 24 percent unfavorable. Not bad for a politician who has campaigned numerous times for state office as a conservative Republican. But even there, Crist’s numbers have gone down from the start of the year. In the January poll, Crist did much better with Democrats: 73 percent favorable and 13 percent unfavorable. Back in March, Crist was at 60 percent favorable and 28 percent unfavorable with Democrats.

Where Crist has made up ground is with independents. In January, Crist was headed in the wrong direction: 38 percent favorable and 44 percent unfavorable. Crist has turned that around in the new poll: 47 percent favorable and 38 percent unfavorable. Back in March, Crist was in similar shape with independents: 49 percent favorable, 40 percent unfavorable.

Scott’s stalled, to be sure, in the PPP poll but he is at least getting Republicans back in line behind him. His numbers with Republicans in January’s PPP poll were nothing to write home about: 49 percent approval and 38 percent disapproval. They got even worse in the PPP poll from March: 46 percent approval and 42 percent disapproval. The new poll shows Scott is making clear progress in securing the Republican base: 57 percent approval and 29 percent disapproval.

Republican strategists and the Scott campaign can look at these numbers and craft a few plans. Look for Republicans to continue bashing Crist for being inconsistent and all over the place on the issues as they look to push his numbers with Democrats even lower. The GOPs don’t think Nan Rich (whose numbers in the new poll continue to underwhelm) can beat Crist, but they can hope to make the primary closer. That means more attacks to remind Democratic primary voters that Crist portrayed himself as a conservative only a few years ago.

"Rick Scott's Game Plan is Simple: Attack Charlie Crist".

"A flood of hypocrisy"

Randy Schultz: "A flood of hypocrisy in Florida over insurance".

Gaetz speaks

"Senate President Don Gaetz, who has made ethics reform a signature issue of his administration, on Thursday defended state Rep. Steve Precourt’s bid for the top job at the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority after helping the agency in the Legislature. . . . Meanwhile, Gaetz said it is possible that he could single-handedly block a vote on any gambling legislation this year that would allow the construction of destination-resort casinos. That's one of the perks of being Senate president or House speaker, who have total control over what issues get a vote on the floor of their respective chambers." "Gaetz defends Precourt, says he could block close casino vote".

FlaBagger files

"Common Core Foe Jay Fant Files for First Coast House Seat as Republican". Related: "Policy Note: Common Core".

Garcia riles conservatives

"Miami Congressman Joe Garcia riled conservatives Tuesday by taking to the U.S. House floor and blaming a partial shutdown of the federal government on 'this extremist element, this Taliban.'"

Garcia’s comment was the latest example of heightened tensions and terrorism-related rhetoric in the stalemated Congress, where Senate Democrats are refusing House Republican efforts to defund, delay or degrade Obamacare as part of a budget resolution.

In his brief speech, Garcia said that some Republican House members wanted to vote on a so-called “clean” resolution that continues funding the government, but they were scared.

"Rep. Garcia's ‘Taliban’ comment regarding shutdown riles GOP".

"Voter purge database"

"Detzner says he's 'comfortable' with voter purge database". Related: "Policy Note: Voting Reform".

"Big Endorsements in Pasco"

"The stakes are getting higher in the battle for an open Florida House seat in Pasco County as big-name Democrats and Republicans are getting involved in the fray. On Thursday, former Gov. Charlie Crist, who had been a Republican until 2010 when he decided to run for the U.S. Senate with no party affiliation, endorsed Democrat Amanda Murphy, who has worked for Raymond James as a vice president, for the open House seat. Having switched over to the Democrats at the end of 2012, Crist is the heavy favorite to emerge with his new party’s nomination to challenge Gov. Rick Scott next year." "The Stakes Are Raised With Big Endorsements in Pasco County House Battle".

"The ground hardly quivered"

Fred Grimm: "The ground-shaking projections for expanded gambling in Florida arrived this week. The ground hardly quivered. The Spectrum Gambling Group, hired by the state legislature to calculate the economic impact of legalizing even more casinos and racinos in Florida, delivered a rather tepid finding. 'Overall, Spectrum believes that the expansion of casino gambling, whether on a small scale or very large scale, would have, at best, a moderately positive impact on the state economy.'" "Many disappointed with new gambling findings".

Fed shutdown fallout

"As the federal shutdown continues, Republicans and Democrats in the Florida congressional delegation are starting to draw fire as both sides look ahead to the 2014 elections."

This week, The Hill reported that the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is turning up on the heat on two Florida Democrats -- freshmen U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia and U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy. Believing the two Democrats are vulnerable in 2014, the NRCC is running radio ads against them, bashing them as part of a broken system in Washington and for helping create the shutdown.
"Florida Congressmen Drawing Fire on Federal Shutdown". See also "Policy Note: State Economy" and "Florida government grapples with federal shutdown".

He battled the 'Fair District' amendments

"Attorney and Navy veteran Paul Renner has a solid head start in his bid for an open Florida House seat. . . . An attorney with Milam Howard, Renner served in the Navy during Desert Storm before going to law school and eventually becoming an assistant state attorney in South Florida. A member of the Republican National Lawyers Association, Renner was active in trying to defeat the 'Fair District' amendments to the Florida state Constitution back in 2010." "Paul Renner Off and Running for Open House Seat on First Coast".

Really, Joe?

"Joe Negron Calls for Feds to Turn Over Control of Lake Okeechobee".

"Political ploy to pressure stalling House Republicans"?

"Rep. Joe Garcia became the third Miami congressman this year to play a major role in the nation’s immigration debate when he joined House Democrats on Wednesday to unveil a bipartisan plan that includes a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants."

But unlike Miami U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, Garcia isn’t a Republican. And the bill Garcia and fellow Democrats are pushing has so little chance of passing right now that, coupled with the all-Democrat cast that unveiled the proposal, the legislation is perceived on Capitol Hill to be more of a political play to pressure stalling House Republicans.
"Rep. Garcia is new Miami face of long-odds immigration push".

"Lobbyists Raking in Big Bucks"

"Lobbyists Raking in Big Bucks to Influence Florida Politics: Series Preview".