Sunday, August 31, 2014

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

Scott disses FlaBaggers, they blithely support him anyway

It is no secret that Florida's Teabaggers are nothing but a Republican front group, and this election cycle will prove no different. William March writes that "Crist isn’t the only candidate in the race to be governor who has undergone a change."

The tea party champion Rick Scott who harshly blasted the Republican establishment and promised to shrink Florida’s government when he ran for office in 2010 has become the consummate GOP political insider.

Today, he wheels and deals with the dealmakers he once said would be “crying into their cocktails” over his election, and he scores campaign points for increased spending on education and environmental restoration.

Big political donors Scott denounced in 2010 now pour six-figure contributions into his campaign, and Scott has powerful lobbyists and veteran political operatives as his closest advisers and backers.

Hypocrisy? Nah . . . FlaBaggers are all about beating Democrats, nothing more. As William March reports, notwithstanding Scott's flip floppery, Florida's 'Baggers "will still back him over Crist." March explains:
“I’d say right now the tea party is totally on board with Rick Scott,” said Karin Hoffman, a nationally known tea party leader from Broward County. “There’s not a single politician you agree with 100 percent, but It’s an easy side-by-side comparison with Crist.”
"Gov. Scott’s reboot caters less to tea party."

Meet the Legislature

Florida's newly minted HD 31 Representative is "the home-schooled daughter of North Lake Tea Party founder Patricia Sullivan," who is "taking online classes through Liberty University, an evangelical Christian university in Virginia." "At 23, she's youngest woman elected to Florida Legislature."

About John

"John Morgan: The man behind the medical pot drive."

Crist's "path to victory"

Adam Smith writes that the Crist campaign believes its "path to victory" is tied to Alex Sink’s narrow loss to Scott in 2010.

The plan essentially boils down to matching Sink’s performance — the former chief financial officer lost to Scott by 1.2 percentage points, less than 62,000 votes — and then, through sophisticated computer modeling, analytics and voter targeting, to modestly improve on her showing among various voter groups that make up Florida’s complicated electoral mosaic. . . .

Crist need not do dramatically better than Sink, just improve on the margins here and there.

"Based on interviews with senior members of the Crist campaign team, here are some opportunities and goals the team is focused on:"
• Win 42 percent or more of the white vote, compared to the 41 percent Sink won, according to exit polls. That includes matching or exceeding the 44 percent of white women Sink won in 2010.

• Win 49 percent of the Tampa Bay region, compared to the 46 percent Sink won.

• Win at least 52 percent of the Hispanic vote, compared to the 48 percent Sink won.

• Win more Republican voters than Scott wins Democratic voters.

• Win at least 93 percent of the African-American vote and strive to increase black turnout from the 11 percent of the electorate it represented in 2010 toward the 14 percent it represented in 2012.

"Some of the advantages for Crist are organic as Florida’s population and electorate steadily grow less white and thereby less Republican. That’s particularly true in the increasingly Democratic stronghold of Miami-Dade.
If Crist merely gets the same share of the vote as Sink did in Miami-Dade (56 percent), he would pick up 29,000 more votes than she did — almost half the margin of Scott’s victory in 2010. And if Democrats can ramp up turnout in Miami-Dade from the anemic 42 percent that voted in 2010 toward the 67 percent who voted in the 2012 presidential election, Crist could pick up tens of thousands of more votes.
Much more here: "Here is Charlie Crist's path to becoming Florida governor again."

"As they sling mud"

The Miami Herald's editors argue that "Gubernatorial candidates must address issues — even as they sling mud." "Nasty and expensive."

Bill Clinton stumps for Crist in SoFla

"Former President Bill Clinton is headed to Miami to stump at a campaign rally for Florida gubernatorial candidate Charile Crist." "Former President Clinton to speak at Crist rally."

Bondi fusses with locals over forfeiture millions

"Court records: Eslinger at odds with Bondi over $86 million forfeiture case."

"Scott’s shadow life"

Carl Hiaasen: "No Florida governor has ever operated with such jet-setting stealth, concealing so many details of his daily travels and contacts. He says he’s out working nonstop for the citizens of his adopted state, yet his official schedule is full of more gaps than the Nixon transcripts."

Occasionally, Floridians catch an intriguing glimpse of Scott’s shadow life. His secret hunting trip to a Texas game ranch courtesy of U.S. Sugar had been kept under wraps for more than a year before it was sniffed out by reporters from the Tampa Bay Times.

The governor still refuses to divulge who went with him, or whom he met. One known fact is that U.S. Sugar, an epic polluter of the Everglades, has donated more than $534,000 to Scott’s reelection campaign so far.

Read the rest here: "If you don’t ask, Rick Scott ...."