Wednesday, September 03, 2014

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

Poll: Scott opens up 5 point lead

"Republican Gov. Rick Scott has opened up a 5-point lead over Democratic rival Charlie Crist as a new Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9/UF Bob Graham Center poll finds Florida voters mostly optimistic about the state's economic direction but decidedly sour on their gubernatorial choices." "Times poll: Rick Scott leads Charlie Crist, 41-36"

Most competitive election outside the gubernatorial contest

Kevin Derby: "Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and her opponents are squaring off in the most competitive statewide election in the Sunshine State outside the gubernatorial contest, and they spent recent days maneuvering for position and looking ahead toward holding debates."

Former DCF Secretary George Sheldon, the Democratic nominee challenging Bondi, unveiled a new group to support his campaign on Tuesday as he made a play for the center, even as his Republican opponent showcased her ties to the GOP.

Sheldon was in Tallahassee on Tuesday to launch Floridians Seeking Common Ground which will be led by former Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth and Quincy Police Chief Walt McNeil.

"Florida's AG Race Shapes Up as Candidates Maneuver for Ground." Related: "$15 Million State Property Sale Will Benefit Florida Forever."

Judicial candidates soliciting contributions?

"The Florida Bar said it stands behind its position that judicial candidates should not personally solicit contributions, but that appellate courts across the country have taken differing positions." "High court weighs campaign cash in judicial races." See also "High Court Could Consider Campaign Cash in Judicial Races" and "Supreme Court may decide if Florida judges can solicit campaign cash."

"A 'national embarrassment.'"

"A small but determined band of students wants to “reset” Florida State University’s presidential search, calling it a 'national embarrassment.'" "FSU student groups argue for a ‘reset’ of school’s presidential search."

"A Helping Hand"

"Now that he has the party’s nomination sewn up to take on Rick Scott, Charlie Crist can expect the help of leading Democrats including Bill Clinton." "Count on Bill Clinton to Give Charlie Crist a Helping Hand."

Nelson on ISIS

"Nelson to introduce bill for Syrian ISIS airstrikes."

The Week Ahead

"The Department of Health holds its final public hearing on medical marijuana rules and the state certifies the election results from the Aug. 26 primary." "The Week Ahead for Sept. 2 to Sept, 5 2014."

Black Women in Florida

Nancy Smith: "If ever there was an opportunity for Democratic black women to launch their own caucus in Florida, it's now, when the party's nominee for governor desperately needs their vote to win." "Come on, FDP, Black Women in Florida Deserve a Voice."

"Grayson shows no signs of taking his foot off the gas"

Kevin Derby: "Even as Carol Platt unveils new support, U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., keeps his fire directed at conservatives across the nation instead of at his Republican opponent. Platt, from the Osceola County Realtors Association, won last week’s Republican primary, taking a majority of the vote against Navy veteran Jorge Bonilla and businessman Peter Vivaldi."

But, if Grayson is ignoring Platt to focus on national targets, he shows no signs of taking his foot off the gas. Grayson beat the drums for support across the district, playing up the importance of campaign fieldwork.
"Alan Grayson Ignores Carol Platt, Targets National Conservatives."

Flagler County SOE Kerfuffle

"What could and normally would have been the last and most routine meeting of the Flagler County Canvassing Board this morning turned into yet another broil of contention as the board decided to meet again on Sept. 12 to try to resolve issues raised by Supervisor of Elections Kimberle Weeks. The board hopes to ward off a repeat of the clashes between Weeks and local governments that turned into a persistent background noise to the primary election." "Unbowed, Elections Supervisor Kimberle Weeks Signals More Brawling Ahead." See also "Palm Coast Manager Jim Landon Handed Wrong Ballot in Early Voting, Raising Questions About Election’s Integrity" and "Elections Supervisor Weeks Goes Unhinged."

Florida's Obamacare Enrollment Expected to hit 1.1M

"The number of Floridians enrolled in individual health plans under the Affordable Care Act in June was 866,485, according to new state data compiled from insurers’ reports. The carriers expect enrollment to rise to 1.1 million next year, an increase of 23 percent. That means more than a quarter of Florida’s 3.9 million uninsured people would be covered." "Florida’s Obamacare Enrollment Projected To Rise to 1.1 Million by Next Year."

Florida Forever

"The 2014-2015 Florida Legislature gave DEP spending authority to utilize up to $40 million of the proceeds of nonconservation land sales to acquire valuable land needed for conservation and public recreation." "$15 Million State Property Sale Will Benefit Florida Forever."

The best they can do?

"Video shows profane Morgan urging vote on pot measure." See also "Anti-medical marijuana campaign blasts Morgan bar speech."