Monday, July 21, 2014

Please consider giving a newspaper subscription as a gift and/or buying one or more hard copy subscriptions for delivery to your workplace. Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry follows.

"Crist has serious trouble on his hands"

Marc Caputo believes Charlie "Crist has serious trouble on his hands."

And beyond the horse-race headlines and the tragi-comic TV images of an odd-gazing Scott murmuring poll-tested platitudes (“I’m against discrimination”), Scott has numerous advantages.

“One number should worry you: $70 million.

"Scott has a number of other numbers on his side:"
Campaign cash: Personal wealth aside, Scott’s campaign and political committees have raised almost $24 million and spent $22 million since Crist entered the race in November. . . .

Government cash: Crist presided over a bust of an economy. Scott governed at the boom. . . .

Polls: Scott led by an inside-the-error-margin amount of 2 percentage points in the most recent poll, released July 3 by Tampa’s WFLA by SurveyUSA. Scott’s 45-43 percent lead is a net change in his favor of 7 points since April, when the same pollster showed Scott trailing Crist 41-46 percent. Other polls in late spring also showed Scott gaining.

Ads: Scott’s improved standing owes much to his TV ads. They basically buy votes in a state as big as Florida. About the time of SurveyUSA’s poll, Scott had run $14 million in ads and had paid for about $1 million more to run by month’s end. Compared to Scott’s $15 million, Crist had spent nothing until he announced his first ad after the July 4 holiday . . .

Voters: Active registered Republican voters are closing the gap with Democrats, who outnumber the GOP by about 39-35 percent. . . .

Race: Non-Hispanic whites are the most-consistent voters. And they form the base of the Florida GOP. Republican rolls are 84 percent white in a state where they comprise 78 percent of the population. . . .

The economy: Friday brought news that the state added 37,400 private-sector jobs in a month. Under Scott, the state has added more than 620,000 private-sector jobs, compared to the nearly 820,000 private-sector jobs lost during Crist’s term, which ended 2010. The unemployment rate is 6.2 percent, compared to a peak of 11.4 percent under Crist in 2010.

"Yes, Scott has flip-flopped on the figuring of his figures.

"He’s now taking credit for every single private-sector job created (he originally said the 700,000 would be on top of forecast job growth). And yes, governors also have a limited impact on Florida’s economy, which is tethered in great part to the nation’s." Much more: "Numbers favor Rick Scott, despite troubles."

Republicans have spent $16.1M to Dems $3M in governor’s race

"Through the last week of July, Republicans have spent $16.1 million on television advertisements as part of the governor’s race versus the Democrats’ $3 million, according to an analysis of television ad buys in the governor’s race obtained by the Scripps/Tribune Capitol Bureau." "Scott campaign dominating TV in governor’s race."

"Cascading impacts"

Tom Tryon thinks "the potential harm of changing two districts at this late stage, and the subsequent cascading impacts, would outweigh the benefits of requiring the districts to be redrawn now." "Fixing Florida's redistricting."

SD 12

"The race for Florida Senate District 12 pits two longtime Democratic rivals against each other: incumbent Geraldine Thompson and former state Sen. Gary Siplin." "State Senate race features longtime rivals."

Election-year complaints tossed

"A flurry of election-year complaints contending that the two leading candidates for governor are flouting Florida's campaign finance laws are getting tossed out."

The [GOP] complaints contended Crist got an illegal campaign contribution because he appeared on billboards and in television ads paid by the Morgan & Morgan law firm that included Crist. Crist joined the firm after losing his bid for the U.S. Senate in 2010. He is now running for governor as a Democrat.

[The Dem] complaints maintained that the Scott campaign broke the law when it transferred nearly $27.4 million from one type of campaign account to another. Shortly after the money transfer Let's Get to Work started paying for television ads that have largely criticized Crist.

"Complaints against Crist and Scott thrown out."

Slow news day

Nancy Smith: "Shouldn't Annette Taddeo Have to Explain 537 Consulting LLC?"

Really? Rich

Without a hint of evidence, Florida Congressman Rich "Nugent appeared on [the radio] in Ocala on Monday and offered his take on the border crisis, saying a 'lot of these children' are 'gang members' and 'gang-affiliated.'" "Rich Nugent Avoids a Firestorm on Immigration."

"Bondi appeals to protect Florida's sacred right to discriminate"

Gary Stein: "Now that Florida is on the verge of actually doing something sensible and just, the hysterical griping will be getting louder. Much louder."

It is going to happen. Count on it. In state after state, courts have overturned same-sex marriage bans like Florida's, declaring them unconstitutional. Florida will become the 20th state to legalize gay marriage, even as Attorney General Pam Bondi appeals to protect Florida's sacred right to discriminate.
"End of Florida ban won't end whining."

The Orlando Sentinel's George Diaz asks, "Ms. Bondi, since you're the moral arbiter in our lives, how do you reconcile your 'traditional values' against the personal reality of two divorces and an unofficial (nonbinding) ceremony in the Cayman Islands in 2012?"

"Should Democrats shun opportunism, stick to its values and lose with honor?"

Jac Wilder VerSteeg: "Former state Sen. Nan Rich, a true blue Democrat, expresses in just a few words the reason she and not Charlie Crist should be her party's choice to face Gov. Rick Scott in November:"

"We need to make sure we don't have two Republicans running in the gubernatorial election," she told the Sun Sentinel's Rosemary Goudreau during the recent meeting of the Florida Press Association and Florida Society of Newspaper Editors.

Any unbiased review of their records will confirm Rich has been a steady advocate of Democratic causes and Crist — Republican, Independent, Democrat — has been relentlessly opportunistic. Democrats are poised to choose him over Rich in the August primary for one reason. They think he can beat Scott and Rich can't.

If the party wants to be honorable, honest and true to its principles, Democrats will nominate Rich. But if it wants to have a shot at turning Scott out of office, it will have to choose Crist. So Democrats must wrestle with a basic question of political philosophy: Should the party shun opportunism, stick to its values and lose with honor?

The short answer is: No.

The long answer is: Hell no.

"Although a Democratic governor would be unlikely to have much influence over the Legislature, the governor can fill judicial vacancies — including Supreme Court vacancies — by appointment. Legislative approval is not necessary. Charlie Crist might not be a Democrat through and through, but Democrats surely would be happier with his judicial appointments than with Gov. Scott's appointees." "Rich is better Democrat, but Crist has better chance."

Gay Divorce

"While a Monroe County judge’s ruling is giving hope to many Florida gay couples who want to marry, lawyers think the decision might bolster the case of a couple in Tampa who are trying to divorce." "Gay marriage ruling may help pair divorce."