Saturday, November 09, 2013

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

Scott Makes a Play for the Hispanic Vote

Scott's latest play for the Hispanic vote smacks of desperation - consider this trial balloon delivered by Nancy Smith of the Sunshine State News: "Three years ago newspapers were full of Charlie Crist's minorities mischief."

Taking heat from both blacks and Hispanics, Crist was branded an egotist whose efforts to undermine Kendrick Meek and Marco Rubio smacked of racial insensitivity.

If Crist had raised the tiniest finger in aid of either minority group during his term in the Florida governor's office, it certainly was lost to the public consciousness in October 2010.

"The blow was Politico's report that Crist was involved in getting Bill Clinton to persuade Democratic nominee Meek to drop his own bid and endorse Crist so he could deny Republican Rubio the Senate seat."
Shortly after, Crist was out of the limelight, outsider Rick Scott was elected governor and the measure of resentment Scott endured following a close primary and general election was palpable and lingering. It wasn't just the Democrats. Establishment Republicans, strong supporters of Bill McCollum, Scott's opponent in the primary, were slow to come around. Scott was like the lonely boy at the head of the class in a new inner-city school.

During much of 2011, the comparisons drawn between his actions in office and Crist's were often unfairly and brutally unfavorable to the new governor.

Perhaps the issue that got the most out of hand was minority hiring.

After Scott had served less than nine months in office, the Times-Herald declared in a large headline, "Gov. Rick Scott has hired fewer minority staffers than Charlie Crist, Florida Cabinet officials."

Not really.

"Rick Scott Quietly Showing Hispanics He Will Fight for Their Vote".

"Crist's environmental record"

"Some environmentalists this week fondly recalled Charlie Crist's environmental record as governor despite GOP attempts to characterize the former Republican as an opportunist." "Environmentalists recall Crist's 'green' record as governor; GOP tries to raise doubts".

Word Games

"The general counsels for the Florida Senate and Florida House charge that the authors of the proposed medical marijuana amendment engaged in wordsmithing in their uncommon use of the terms 'debilitating,' 'caregivers' and 'certain.' In a brief filed with the Supreme Court in support of the Attorney General's request to block the proposal from the ballot, they also argued the amendment would block a patient's ability to seek redress in a court of law. " "Bondi, Gaetz, Weatherford go to court to block marijuana initiative".

Scott Luvin' the Federal Handouts

"Fla. Gov. announces more than $2 million in grants".

Charlie Hangs with Barack

"President Obama arrived in Miami Friday afternoon to headline three Democratic Party fundraisers hosted by the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and, in a surprise move met with Cuban dissidents."

Florida’s newest high-profile Democrat, former Gov. Charlie Crist, was spotted at the Segovia Tower in Coral Gables at a $32,000-a-head fundraiser hosted by personal injury attorney Ralph G. Patino.
"Obama moved next to a fundraiser hosted by Jorge Mas Santos, a Cuban American National Foundation leader and CEO of MasTec. There, the president thanked Mas Santos, who stood next to him, and singled out Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo."
Obama told two of Cuba’s leading dissidents in South Florida that he admires their sacrifices, a rare White House recognition of the peaceful opposition on the communist-ruled island.
"With Charlie Crist as guest, President Obama raises cash in Miami, chats with Cuban dissidents".

Gaetz’s Week in Review

"Don Gaetz’s Senate Week in Review".

Pafford says Medicaid expansion is an issue a candidate can win on

"The incoming leader of Florida House Democrats said he intends to make Medicaid expansion an issue during the spring legislative session and the 2014 election cycle. Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach, said Democratic victories in a special House race in Pasco County and mayoral races elsewhere show that Medicaid expansion is an issue that a candidate can run on and win." "Pafford: Medicaid expansion will be an issue".

Rubio gets a pass

"The Republican-controlled House has refused to take up the bipartisan Democratic-controlled Senate bill that passed earlier this year. And now time has essentially run out." "It’s all but guaranteed: Immigration reform is dead for 2013.". Meanwhile, "Rubio shores up right after immigration fight".

Earlier in the week, the Sun Sentinel asked if "Rubio's 2016 presidential hopes toast?"

Dems say November 2013 results spell problems for Florida Republicans

William March writes: "Democrats nationwide exulted this week over Tuesday wins in elections nationwide ranging from governor of Virginia to St. Petersburg mayor, saying those results forecast voters turning away from Republicans in the November, 2014 elections."

Democratic operatives said the results spell problems for Republicans, including Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who is facing re-election in 2014.

“Voters are going to suffer some buyer's remorse from the 2010 elections,” the Republican wave that brought in Scott, said Colm O'Comartun of the party's gubernatorial campaign committee. “It's going to be very difficult for Republicans to get away from their unpopular brand and tea party policies.”

"But a closer look suggests that while the Tuesday elections don't offer Republicans much encouragement, they probably shouldn't be relied on in forecasting 2014 results."
In general, voters' feelings about national parties don't always translate into votes in local races, say political experts. They differed, for example, on whether the national mood had anything to do with Democrat Rick Kriseman's victory over Republican incumbent Bill Foster in a non-partisan race Tuesday.

“The more local the race, the more local the issues are and the less national trends affect it,” said New College of Florida political scientist Frank Alcock.

And even if Democrats' Tuesday wins showed disaffection with the tea party and government shutdown movement, those memories could easily fade, or be replaced with different views, by the Nov. 4, 2014, election day.

Much more here: "What do Tuesday's elections mean for Florida next year?".

Medicaid-fraud scheme

"Gregory Campbell, the son of Miami Democratic state Rep. Daphne Campbell, was convicted by a jury Friday in a nearly $300,000 Medicaid-fraud scheme." "State lawmaker’s son convicted of Medicaid fraud".