Thursday, November 13, 2014

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

"Low turnouts = dire consequences"

Joy-Ann Reid: "Elections have consequences. For many people who didn’t bother to vote in this month’s midterm elections, those consequences will be painful." "Low turnouts = dire consequences."

United Way: 30 percent of Florida households make less than "survival budget"

"In addition to the 15 percent of Florida households that make less than the federal poverty level — a benchmark that hasn't been adjusted since 1974 — 30 percent make less than a "survival budget" and are struggling to get by, according to a United Way report." "Interactive map: Nearly half of Floridians struggling to get by financially." See also: "Florida gets D grade for preterm births" (Florida’s preterm birth rate is among the highest in the nation, according to a new report from the March of Dimes.)

Florida Blue

From the Huffington Post: "Why Florida Is About to Turn Blue -- And Is Not Turning Back Anytime Soon."

Will Rubio flip-flop on Senate promise?

"After getting walloped at the polls last week, Florida Democrats now face the challenge of finding a Senate candidate in 2016."

A large part of it depends, of course, on what Marco Rubio does. Earlier this year, Rubio said he would not run for another term if Democrats had a lock on the Senate or if he decides to run for president. Rubio starts off as the favorite if he wants a second term in the Senate, though Republican odds diminish if he decides to aim for the White House.

Either way, Democrats have a decision to make about finding a candidate. Looking at how they can recapture the Senate in 2016, James Hohmann at Politico was spot on with his assessment about the Democrats’ dilemma. They simply don’t have the strongest of benches to find many credible candidates in Florida.

Hohmann mentions Charlie Crist as a possibility. Crist ran for the Senate twice before, losing as a Republican to Bob Graham in 1998 and to Rubio in 2010 when he left the GOP to run with no party affiliation. Last week Rick Scott edged Crist, now a Democrat, in the gubernatorial race. In the aftermath of his defeat, Crist is now facing questions about how he ran his campaign. He could be hard-pressed to build up another campaign war chest so quickly.

It’s tough to see how Crist takes on Rubio, who beat him in the early stages of the Republican primary contest and did so again in the general election in 2010. And Crist could be a tough sale again considering his most recent loss; but Florida Democrats will need a candidate who would do no harm to Hillary Clinton or whoever is their presidential nominee in 2016. Crist could fit the bill, especially if Rubio doesn’t run again.

"Florida Democrats' Priority: Finding a Senate Candidate for 2016."

Bondi denies she is compromised

"Attorney General Pam Bondi adamantly defended herself Wednesday when questioned about news reports suggesting she has cozy relationships with out-of-state lobbyists and corporate lawyers."

The New York Times and the Tampa Bay Times, in a number of recent articles, detailed how Washington lobbyists have sought to influence state attorneys general to the benefit of private corporations.

Bondi was given prominent coverage in the articles. The reports noted she took a free charter flight to a luxury resort on Mackinac Island, Mich., and while there invited Lori Kalani, a lobbyist and lawyer at D.C.-based Dickstein Shapiro, to stay at her Tampa home to recuperate from a foot injury.

"Bondi defends herself over lobbyist ties." See also "Bondi fires back at allegations of lobbyist influence Video."

House Deputy Majority Leader/Whip

"As he readies to take the gavel this month, incoming Florida House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, continues to build his team. On Wednesday, Crisafulli named Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, as deputy majority leader and whip, serving under incoming House Majority Leader Dana Young, R-Tampa." "Jim Boyd Takes Over as House Deputy Majority Leader/Whip."

Rubio yawner

"Marco Rubio's new book set for January release."

Pafford challenge ripped

"The head of the Florida Democratic Party blasted a rebellious faction of her party's House caucus Wednesday, less than a week before members are set to vote on a leader for the 2015 legislative session. In an interview with The News Service of Florida, Chairwoman Allison Tant said House Democrats should move on after an ugly defeat in this year's legislative elections instead of trying to oust incoming Minority Leader Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach. Last week, Rep. Dwayne Taylor of Daytona Beach announced he would challenge Pafford for the position." "FDP Chair Allison Tant Rips Challenge to Mark Pafford."

Run! Jeb Run!

According to Politico, "Jeb Bush’s Greatest Weakness" is his family name.

Actually, Jebbie's greatest weakness (among many) may actually be, as an article in the Washington Post put it, Jebbie's "shoot-first, take-no-advice method of governing," which resulted in back-to-back terms "marred by frequent ethics scandals, official bungling and the inability of the government he downsized to meet growing demands for state services, including education and aid for the infirm and the elderly."