Thursday, June 12, 2014

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

"It's clear that legislative leaders didn't honor their promises"

The Orlando Sentinel editorial board "wanted to believe that leaders of the Florida Legislature would respect the will of state voters after they passed the Fair Districts amendments to the state constitution in 2010. Now, we have serious doubts."

Evidence revealed that many redistricting emails had been deleted, legislators' offices had privately shared information with political consultants, and legislative leaders had met in secret. A former Florida State University student who was credited with drafting and submitting a map testified that he'd never seen it.

One consultant convinced the Florida Supreme Court to close part of the trial to the public because his mapmaking emails were "trade secrets." Even the closing arguments were left to be submitted electronically, rather than in public.

A ruling is expected by month's end and an appeal is likely, no matter the outcome. It's probably too late for any district boundaries to be redrawn for this year's election.

Regardless, it's clear that legislative leaders didn't honor their promises to operate openly and aboveboard when redrawing the state's political maps. Voters have good reason to feel cheated — and to be mad as hell.

"Broken promises on redistricting."

Bogdanoff back for more

"State Sen. Maria Sachs, a Democrat, defeated Republican Ellyn Bogdanoff in one of the most bitterly-fought and expensive legislative battles of the 2012 campaign." "Ellyn Bogdanoff announces bid to return to state Senate."

Greer takes aim at Crist

"Felon and former Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer takes aim at Charlie Crist in a new book, accusing the former governor of betraying him and repeating long-held rumors about Crist's private life."

Those are some of the highlights of "The Chairman: The Rise and Betrayal of Jim Greer," which recounts Greer's tumultuous years as chairman of the Florida Republican Party before he was forced out and sentenced to 18 months in prison for stealing party funds.
"The new book is based on a series of interviews with Greer, 52, the former city councilman from Oviedo who became a major fundraiser for Crist during his 2006 run for governor, his handpicked choice to head the state party and eventual confidant."
It rehashes old gossip about Crist's sex life, including allegations that he had affairs with men and had a daughter out of wedlock. Both rumors, Crist has said, are untrue. . . .

Greer worked in the state party office — not the Governor's Office — but kept in close contact. When reports surfaced that a young woman was claiming to be Crist's daughter, political aides were afraid she'd show up at the Capitol and demand to see Crist, according to Greer.

Two staffers wanted to hire a private investigator to follow the woman to a Tallahassee bar, snatch up her glass and have it tested for DNA, according to the book.

Greer's advice: Don't do it. What if it confirmed Crist was her father?

Greer said he does not know whether the test was conducted but said he thought the young woman was Crist's child.

"Jim Greer book: Inside Charlie Crist's inner circle."

Cantor’s shocking loss likely killed Immigration reform this year

"Immigration reform was already endangered in Congress, but House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s shocking primary likely killed it this year." "Analysis: Why Eric Cantor’s shocking loss likely kills immigration reform this year."

Will there be a Cantor-effect in Florida?

Jeff Henderson: "David Brat might have knocked off Eric Cantor this week in one of the biggest congressional upsets in years but it will be hard for a repeat performance when Florida voters hit the polls for the primaries in August."

Florida has certainly seen candidates come out of nowhere to defeat congressmen in the primaries before. In fact it happened in 2012 when Ted Yoho defeated Cliff Stearns. But it will be hard for a repeat performance this time out.
Henderson looks at specific races here: "Could A Congressman like Eric Cantor Fall in Florida's Primaries?"

Poll: Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush Florida Favorites

"A national poll from St. Leo University finds former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla., leading the pack of potential Republican presidential candidates, but he and other GOP contenders trail former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in possible 2016 matchups. The poll shows Clinton with double-digit leads over the leading Republican contenders." "Jeb Bush Leads GOP Pack But Hillary Clinton has the Edge in National 2016 Poll." See also "Florida Presidential Primary Preview: Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush Florida Favorites."

The Sunshine Economy

"WLRN put together a special education hour of the Sunshine Economy this week. The conversation ranged from a talk with Broward County’s superintendent about Common Core to a chat with a group of high school students about diversity in the classroom." "The Sunshine Economy: Common Challenges, Changing Classrooms."

"An expensive — and nasty — race filled with negative ads"

"The arms race continues between Rick Scott and Charlie Crist."

Crist, trying to win back the governor’s mansion as a Democrat after a mid-life political conversion, raised more than $2 million in cash in May for his campaign and a closely aligned political committee, newly filed records show.

Scott, trying to win a second term and keep Republicans in total control of state government, brought in about $1.16 million in cash for his campaign and the sister “Let’s Get to Work” committee. But the state Republican Party, which is expected to play a huge role in Scott’s campaign, said it collected $3.54 million during the month.

The money will help fuel what is expected to be an expensive — and nasty — race filled with negative ads. As a sign of what’s to come, the Let’s Get to Work committee reported spending about $3.1 million on advertising in May, after spending about $5.1 million on ads in April.

"Scott and Crist Continue to Rake In Cash As Both Sides Step Up Nastier Ad War."

The best money can buy

"Adam Putnam opens second fundraising committee, conducts first round of robocalls."

Raw political courage

Kevin Derby: "Florida Delegation to Hold Hearing on VA Medical Centers."

Another poll shows race between Crist and Scott tightening up

43 percent favor Rick Scott, 41 percent Charlie Crist, with 16 percent undecided. "FL Governor’s Race – Poll Results."