Monday, September 15, 2014

Today's Florida political news and punditry.

Another Scott scandal

William March: "Rick Scott won the Florida governor’s office in 2010 despite his history as head of a hospital chain that paid the biggest health care fraud fine in history, $1.7 billion, for cheating government programs that serve the elderly, the military and the poor."

Democrats are trying to make that an issue again in the 2014 election.
"But the 1990s scandal involving Scott’s company, Columbia/HCA, overshadowed another investigation, one into whether Scott and Columbia/HCA sought to rig the purchase of what then was the county-owned Tampa General Hospital."
No charges were filed in the case despite a 1½-year investigation that involved a federal grand jury in Tampa. But that outcome never satisfied the man whose suspicions brought about the investigation, one of Florida’s most respected political and civic leaders, the late Fred Karl.
"Scott’s Columbia/HCA case overshadowed TGH probe."

Scott confident

"Florida Republicans say that a victory by Gov. Rick Scott in November is within their grasp." "Florida GOP optimism grows as election approaches." See also "GOP Optimism Growing as Election Approaches." Meanwhile, "With early lead gone, Crist campaign tries to rebound."

Rubio strives for relevancy

"Sen. Rubio stresses border security."

Poll shows Putnam only 5 points ahead

"More than a few eyebrows across the state went up last week when Democrat pollster PPP released a poll showing Adam Putnam only 5 percent ahead of Democrat Thad Hamilton in the agriculture commissioner race. But, despite that slim lead, Putnam really isn’t in much peril against Hamilton."

To be sure, Hamilton is a more serious candidate for Democrats than William Rankin who is running against Jeff Atwater in the CFO contest. Democrats like Charlie Crist, George Sheldon and Allison Tant have no problem featuring Hamilton at campaign events. That stands in sharp contrast with Rankin whose background is, at best, questionable. Hamilton served in the Army and worked for the federal Agriculture Department for years. He also chaired the Broward Soil and Water Commission. Hamilton is also the only African-American candidate running for statewide office in Florida this year.
"Adam Putnam Needs a Big Win Over Thad Hamilton in November."

Paradox of pot

Marc Caputo: "Tallahassee’s conservative political establishment is about to embark on a multi-million ad campaign to kill a popular, proposed constitutional amendment for medical marijuana." "The politics, paradoxes and polling of pot in Florida." See also "Medical Marijuana Entrepreneur Taps Doctors, Including First in Florida."