Saturday, October 18, 2014

After reading the hard copy of your hometown newspaper, please consider becoming a site fan on Facebook and following us on Twitter. Please consider giving a newspaper subscription as a gift and/or buying one or more subscriptions for delivery to your workplace. Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry follows.

Scott’s sudden absence at the start of debate reshapes the race

Steve Bousquet, Amy Sherman and Marc Caputo write that

Gov. Rick Scott’s sudden absence at the start of a statewide TV debate reshaped the governor’s race Thursday as event sponsors accused Charlie Crist of breaking the rules and Scott’s side fretted over whether he damaged his re-election prospects.
"A day after fangate, Rick Scott feels blowback." See also "Will 'fangate' swing Florida's gubernatorial fight?." More: "Will 'fangate' swing Florida's gubernatorial fight?."

Meanwhile, Nancy Smith works hard to explain Rick Scott's side of "fangate, writing that: "Charlie Crist didn't have to answer a single question to win the gubernatorial debate Wednesday night. All he had to do is break the rules and take advantage.""Charlie Cheated ... Quick! Look the Other Way!." More: "Fact check: Did rules of debate say there would be no fan?." See also "Backroom Briefing: Fanning the Controversy" and "Yes, Charlie Crist Did Break the Debate Rules, Organizers Say."

"Mutual smear job"

The Miami Herald editors write that "Rick Scott and Charlie Crist deserve a D for their media campaigns in the race for governor: D for dismal, dispiriting, discouraging and downright disappointing. The campaign has been a downer."

Both candidates have spent tens of millions of dollars on negative ads. Thanks to the mutual smear job, the public is turned off. Negative ads are a common feature of campaigns, but nastiness shouldn’t dominate a race.

Both Mr. Scott and Mr. Crist have spent most of their resources disparaging each other, or arguing over silly matters, like the fan at Wednesday night’s debate. A brief review of their records may remind voters that the candidates have a positive side.

The editors review their records here: "Beyond the negative ads."

Scott musta gave at the office

"According to tax returns he released this week, Gov. Rick Scott and his wife gave 0.8 percent of their $8.2 million income in 2013 to charity, a significant drop over the previous three years." "Charitable giving by Scott, wife, drops significantly."

"Financing Kept Suspiciously Secret"

Nancy Smith "All Aboard Florida's New Financing Kept Suspiciously Secret, Attorney Says."

Crist has a history (with his fan)

"The fan that created a nationwide uproar in Wednesday’s TV debate is never far from Charlie Crist, who keeps a portable fan handy whenever he knows he’s going to be on camera." "Charlie Crist and his portable fan have a history together." Meanwhile, "Fan friction propels Crist at Pasco rally."

Bondi cruising

"From her unwavering defense of Florida’s ban on gay marriage to her outspoken opposition to the Affordable Health Care Act, Attorney General Pam Bondi is known for setting off critics." "Incumbent Pam Bondi cruising in attorney general race."

Amendment 3

"Florida voters will be asked to decide which governor has the right to replace retiring justices on the state Supreme Court during a change of administrations." "Politics, power play role in Amendment 3."

HD 36

"Anyone who paid attention to last year’s state House District 36 special election might have expected a repeat of Pasco’s most expensive — and perhaps nastiest — campaign." "Murphy, Gregg vie for District 36."

They wish

"The campaign of Republican congressional candidate Carol Platt has released internal poll results that show her 5 points down in her effort to unseat Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando."

The poll, by Republican pollster Data Targeting of Gainesville, finds Grayson leading Platt 40 percent to 35 percent, with independent candidate Marko Milakovich getting 7 percent and 18 percent unsure or refusing to answer. . . .

The make-up used by the pollsters included 41 percent Democratic respondants, 39 percent Republicans and 20 percent "other." The actual voter registration in District 9 includes 42 percent Democrats, just 25 percent Republicians and 33 percent other.

"Platt poll shows her close in Grayson race."

Child protection a political football

"During the first two debates in Florida’s hard-fought gubernatorial race, Republican Gov. Rick Scott said child protection has improved on his watch — especially compared to the record of his challenger, former Gov. Charlie Crist." "Crist, Scott trade barbs over child protection."

Write-in candidate reinstated in HD 64 race

"A write-in candidate will be reinstated in the race for Florida House District 64, now held by Republican Jamie Grant, an appellate court ruled Thursday." "Court ruling will likely delay House District 64 election."

HD 63

Jeff Henderson: "HD 63: Can Mark Danish Beat Shawn Harrison Without Obama's Coattails?."

Scott passes buck on Medicaid coverage to roughly 1 million uninsured Floridians

"Local city officials and health advocates will rally in St. Petersburg to convince state lawmakers to expand Medicaid coverage to roughly 1 million Floridians under the federal health law."

Medicaid expansion has been one of the biggest issues in the tight race between Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist. Crist says he'll call a special session or pass it through executive order. Scott says he'll let the Legislature duke it out and only supports it as long as the federal government pays 100 percent of the bill.
"Advocates to rally for Florida Medicaid expansion."

Brain Trust

"Incoming Florida House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, named some of his leadership team on Thursday as he readies to take the gavel." "Steve Crisafulli Starts to Name Florida House Leadership."

Does this really help?

"Post-Debate, Former Opponent Marco Rubio Tears into Charlie Crist."

Scott talks Ebola; really?

"After ‘Fangate,’ Gov. Rick Scott shifts the conversation to Ebola." See also "Rick Scott Wants More Help from Feds on Ebola."

Crist stumps with first lady

"In one of his first public appearances since Charlie Crist’s trusty fan took center stage during a debate, the Florida gubernatorial candidate made hay of it during rallies with Michelle Obama on Friday in Orlando and Miami Gardens." "Crist stumps with first lady — and his trusted fan." See also "In Orlando, Michelle Obama urges early voting — for Crist."

Weekly Roundup

"Weekly Roundup: The Winds of War." See also "Arrivals and Departures, Oct. 17, 2014."

Looming climate-change regulations

"The guys who want your vote for governor have both made themselves out to be friends of Florida green spaces, waters and environmentally threatened ecosystems. But there's one major environmental issue neither Gov. Rick Scott or former Gov. Charlie Crist has touched: the looming climate-change regulations Washington announced last summer that have the potential to make a big dent in the country's carbon emissions." "EPA's clean-power rules loom over next governor."

"Questions remain" about Scott's tax returns

"Gov. Rick Scott waited until the final day of the extension deadline to file his 2013 tax return, in which he reported $8 million in mostly investment income." "Gov. Rick Scott releases 2013 tax returns; questions remain."

Scott a dead-ender on gay marriage

"Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, and former Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican-now-Democrat, take opposing sides whether to strike the state’s constitutional gay marriage ban." "Rick Scott supports, Charlie Crist opposes Florida’s same-sex marriage ban (with debate video)."

Amendment 1

"Amendment 1: Saving state’s beauty or tying budget-makers’ hands?."