Sunday, June 01, 2014

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

Clay County Realtor takes RPOF reins

"Looking for a show of unity at the outset of the 2014 governor’s race, the state Republican Party on Saturday elected a new chairman backed by Gov. Rick Scott — but with a divided vote."

A last-minute candidate who emerged to challenge Leslie Dougher, Scott’s pick for the job, appeared to represent a few rumblings of conservative dissent among party activists gathered for the meeting over issues including the Common Core education standards despised by the GOP’s tea party wing.

The party had to replace its chairman just as the campaign is getting underway because former Chairman Lenny Curry is leaving to run for mayor of Jacksonville. They elected Dougher, a 50-year-old Middleburg real estate agent who is chairman of the Clay County party, as interim chairman to serve until the expiration of Curry’s term in January.

"State GOP chooses new leader." See also "RPOF Chooses Leslie Dougher As Party Chair" and "Clay County GOP Chairwoman selected to lead state Republican party".

Never mind that meritocracy thing

"John Thrasher may be the best candidate to become the next president of Florida State University. But that proposition is unlikely to be tested, because thanks to a rigged process," or so claims the Daytona Beach News Journal's editorial board. "Power politics dominates FSU search." See also "FSU presidency appears to be John Thrasher’s to lose".

Admit nothing, deny everything . . .

Friday, "GOP staffer Frank Terraferma was called back to provide additional testimony after his name was revealed to have been included in an emailed invitation to a June 15, 2011, meeting at Republican National Committee headquarters."

Terraferma’s brief appearance Friday via telephone highlighted testimony as the state began its defense against allegations from voting-rights groups, including the League of Women Voters of Florida, and seven voters that are challenging the constitutionality of the congressional map. They charge that the Republican-controlled Legislature violated a voter-approved law that forbids favoring incumbents or a political party when voting districts are drawn, as they were in 2010.

The plaintiffs had been seeking for six months the full email announcing the 2011 meeting sent by RNC staffer Jessica Furst Johnson.

The names of those invited to the meeting — Terraferma, current House Speaker Will Weatherford, current Senate President Don Gaetz, Weatherford’s chief of staff Kris Money, and Gaetz’s chief of staff Chris Clark — had been redacted on a prior version of the document.

Terraferma, whose name was accompanied on the email by the sobriquet “genius map drawer,” said he was unaware of the meeting, which would have been held prior to the Legislature’s redistricting effort, or even the full email that was ordered released by a Washington D.C. court on Thursday.

George Meros, an attorney for the Legislature, said the defense should be completed by Tuesday.

Closing statements could take the trial to Wednesday.

"GOP's `genius map drawer' denies role in controversial redistricting."

Hypocrisy 101

Although the state's newspaper editors think it is downright sinful that law enforcement officers might actually receive a pension, they're happy to stand by them after they're dead. Consider the sentiments of the Tampa Bay Trib editors: "Perfect sentence in murders of officers."