Wednesday, November 20, 2013

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

"Bill Nelson for governor could endanger Charlie Crist"

Marc Caputo writes that "there are unmistakable doubts at the highest levels of the Democratic Party about Crist’s viability– a sign some Democrats are scared of Republicans despite all the talk of a strong party turnout machine. If Nelson does get in:"

• Nelson, a three-time statewide winner, becomes a little more-favored than Crist to beat Scott, according to lawmakers, pollsters and consultants of both parties. However, the last major poll by Quinnipiac University in June, showed each could beat Scott by exactly 10 points, and that Crist and Nelson had similar favorable ratings.

• In Scott, Nelson faces a candidate like no other, a $100 million attack juggernaut. Though unpopular, Scott has a far tougher team than anything faced by Nelson, who had relatively easy-meat opponents he bested in Democratic wave years. Though Crist’s flip-floppery is an inviting target for Scott, so is Nelson’s record as a career Washington politician who has voted to raise taxes and back Obamacare.

• Barack Obama has egg on his face. The president used Crist (and vice versa now) in his campaign and tapped him to speak at the national party convention. Top Florida Obama hands work for Crist, who officially became a Democrat at a White House Christmas reception.

• A safe Democratic U.S. Senate seat — worth untold millions in D.C. — is put at risk. If Nelson becomes governor, he appoints his successor. Expect the GOP-led Florida Legislature to consider changing that — especially because some Nelson donors want him to appoint his protégé: Weston Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee’s chairwoman, reviled by many Republicans.

• The Florida Democratic Party takes a step back. Lacking a bench, it had one clearly recognizable statewide figure — Nelson — until Crist joined its ranks. Now Nelson could undercut the politician who essentially increased the party’s number of high-profile Florida Democrats by 100 percent.

"There are scores of scenarios and conspiracy theories."
And the risks right now seem to outweigh the benefits for Democrats. Why go through the trouble?

Nelson, 71, had wanted to be governor for a long time. And perhaps he’s tired of being a member of a do-little Congress.

Crist put the best face on it all, saying he seeks Nelson’s counsel, respects him and speculates that, if the senator does have concerns "maybe he's just really worried about me. And that's pretty nice."

"Bill Nelson for governor could endanger Charlie Crist, U.S. Senate seat and Democrats.

Charlie's Angels

"A Closer Look at Who's Giving to Charlie Crist". See also "Crist holds first Tampa fundraiser Sunday"Meanwhile, "Candidate Crist: I'm not afraid Obamacare will hurt campaign".

Rubio grubs for wingnuts

"Rubio to anti-gay group: Nation's morality at risk".

Crist hitting the campaign trail hard

"Former Gov. Charlie Crist has been hitting the campaign trail hard lately, all while knocking Gov. Rick Scott’s record along the way. One of Crist’s harshest criticisms of Scott is on education -- the former governor attacked Scott for cutting education by $1.3 billion during his time in office." "Charlie Crist Hits a Nerve of Anti-Common Core Movement".

Bad day

"A Florida congressman has been charged with misdemeanor cocaine possession in Washington." "Fla. Congressman charged with cocaine possession". See also "Tea party Rep. Trey Radel busted for cocaine in D.C.".

Wingers go after Dem CFO candidate

Nancy Smith is worried about William Rankin. She writes that, "If Democrats think William Rankin sounds too good to be true, he probably is."

Never mind the military service and swooning female fan club. From his questionable Florida residency to a wildly embellished resume, the slick, pretty boy from Cincinnati looking to unseat CFO Jeff Atwater just doesn't add up.
"William Rankin: He's Allie Braswell All Over Again". See also "Democratic Candidate for Florida CFO Has Questionable Background".

"Governor Congratulations"

"Call him Governor Congratulations."

For the last year, Gov. Rick Scott has asked for the names and addresses of lottery winners, Florida bar candidates, professional license applicants, recent college graduates and even agency staff so that he can pen them a personalized note or an “attaboy.”

Some get a hand-written recognition of a special achievement, a new family member, even a birthday wish. Most get a form letter of congratulations, studded with the talking points of the governor’s re-election campaign.

"It is my pleasure to congratulate you on winning a Florida Lottery prize!’’ Scott has written to 18,541 lottery winners since September. He then notes how Lottery proceeds go into education, how education helps create jobs and repeats his mantra: "I am focused on keeping Florida’s economy moving in the right direction."

It’s all a part of the governor’s attempt to turn the routine courtesies of the office into a public relations machine.

"Gov. Rick Scott’s courtesy notes double as campaign promotion".

"No hesitation in taking shots at Ross"

"With 2014 looming, [Republican Congressman Dennis] Ross won’t have as easy a time as he did in the last election cycle. He faced no opposition in 2012. That isn’t the case this time out. Alan Cohn, a former television investigative reporter, is already running hard as a Democrat and has shown no hesitation in taking shots at Ross." "Dennis Ross Remains a Conservative Force in Washington".

Sink alone

"3 GOP candidates, Sink qualify to run for Young's House seat". See also "Qualifying begins in District 13 congressional race".

Putnam says no to MJ

"Putnam adds opposition to medical-marijuana amendment".

Scott politics using taxpayer-funded letters

"Gov. Rick Scott is known as the 'jobs' governor, but he's happy to take on another title: Florida's braggart-in-chief."

“Gosh, I think every Floridian ought to brag about our state,” he told reporters Tuesday. “Look, we live in a great state.”

Scott responded to a question about his sending out letters on official letterhead congratulating new lawyers on passing the Florida Bar.

The letters, dated Oct. 30, are similar in tone to those he sent to new business owners earlier this year.

He first takes a swipe at former Republican governor and now Democratic challenger Charlie Crist, whom Scott succeeded in office.

Scott's letter notes, without naming Crist, that he inherited a state that had “lost more than 832,000 jobs” while “state debt increased by $5.2 billion, our housing market had collapsed, our economy was off track, and our families were hurting.”

He then goes on to tout the state's job creation, decrease in unemployment, low taxes and efficient government under his administration.

The letter to business owners includes more personal touches, discussing his childhood growing up in public housing and his first job “… selling TV Guides door to door.”

In sum, the letters parrot many of Scott's talking points as he heads toward the 2014 election season.

"Scott brags on record, faults Crist in taxpayer-funded letters".

Florida Forever has languished since 2009

"While funding for the Florida Forever land-buying program has languished since 2009, the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program received a big boost in the 2013-14 state budget with an $11.5-million appropriation." "Putnam touts alternative to land-buying but environmentalists say purchases still needed". The Tampa Trib editors: "DEP should revamp surplus lands list".

"Commie brainwashing"

"Common Core comments run from 'great' to 'commie brainwashing'".

A real yawner

"Gov. Rick Scott considering four names for lieutenant governor". See also "Scott taking it slow with lieutenant governor, insurance appointments".