Tuesday, July 29, 2014

After reading the hard copy of your hometown newspaper, please consider "liking" us on Facebook and following us on Twitter. Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry follows.

Republican Poll: Crist has commanding lead in primary

Kevin Derby: "According to a poll from Gravis Marketing and conservative magazine Human Events released over the weekend, former Gov. Charlie Crist, a former Republican who joined the Democrats in December 2012, is holding a commanding lead over former Florida Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich for next month’s primary to see who will face off against Scott. . . . The poll finds Crist takes 68 percent of likely Democratic primary voters, while Rich is far behind with 20 percent." "Charlie Crist Blowing Out Nan Rich in Primary Poll; Democrats Unsure on AG Candidate."

Judge rules that pols can shield asset disclosure in "blind trusts"

"A Florida judge on Monday ruled in favor of a law that allows elected officials to place their assets in a blind trust instead of reporting each investment publicly."

The ruling is a vindication for Gov. Rick Scott, who has kept his holdings in a trust for most of his time in office. This has allowed certain of his assets, such as his vacation home in Montana, to remain off his annual disclosure forms.

Jim Apthorp, a former top aide to the late Gov. Reubin Askew, filed a lawsuit in May contending that the use of a blind trust does not comply with a 1976 constitutional amendment that requires elected officials to annually disclose their finances.

But Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper, in his ruling, states that the 2013 law that authorizes blind trusts is “reasonable” and “consistent” with the amendment because it helps politicians avoid conflicts of interest since the trust is managed by a third party.

"Ruling supports politicians’ use of blind trusts." See also "Judge Upholds Blind Trust Law."

HD 49

"House 49 race pits 'Robocop' versus 'Coach P'."

Siplin’s challengingThompson

"Gary Siplin’s challenge to Geri Thompson should be competitive and even serve as a bellwether for how Democrats proceed in Tallahassee." "Geri Thompson and Gary Siplin Battle in Bellwether Primary for Democrats."

Journalist mud fight

After the Miami Herald's Marc Caputo penned "Dade Democratic dysfunction emerges in governor’s race, wherein he challenged a Sunshine State piece about Crist's running mate as "drip[ping] with hyperbole [and] misleading innuendo," Sunshine State news responded with this: "Don’t Close The Door On Annette Taddeo, Juan Cuba, And 537 Consulting Just Yet."

The best of bad choices in redistricting fiasco

The Tampa Tribune editors argue that the "conduct of the lawmakers behind this redistricting fiasco, and the looming primary, leave [Judge] Lewis with nothing but bad choices. But the best of those bad choices is to let the 2014 elections proceed. The voter-rights forces have won the war; they should resist engaging in another legal battle at this late date."

They suggest that, after the districts "are redrawn, perhaps special elections can be held in the affected districts." "Keeping elections on track the best choice in redistricting mess."