Friday, January 23, 2015

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

No joke, Rubio to make presidential run

In news that will hearten empty suits everywhere: "In a major sign of his White House ambitions, Sen. Marco Rubio kicked off an election-strategy powwow Friday at the Delano Hotel by announcing a fundraising team that looked like a presidential campaign-in-waiting." "Sen. Marco Rubio to aides: ‘prepare for a presidential campaign’."

"Scott and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Month"

"Scott was sworn in for his second term on Jan. 6 -- a little more than two weeks ago. It's pretty much been all downhill from there." "Backroom Briefing: Scott and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Month."

Scott denies he's a crook

"Florida Gov. Rick Scott, responding to an ongoing furor that is overshadowing his second term in office, provided a detailed response Thursday to allegations that he and his staff made improper and politically motivated requests to the state's former top law-enforcement official. The decision by Scott's office to release a two-page list of questions and answers came hours after two other statewide-elected Republicans said someone should look into the allegations made by former Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey." "Scott fires back at ex-FDLE chief's allegations." See also "Governor's Office Answers on Gerald Bailey, FDLE."

"Scott denies allegations in FDLE firing." Meanwhile, "CFO Jeff Atwater, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam call for investigation into FDLE firing."

Weatherford's make-work-millions

"Even though he is now out of office, Will Weatherford showed this week that he has no intention of heading toward the sidelines."

Only 35, Weatherford just finished eight years in the Florida House including spending 2013 and 2014 as speaker. It's no secret that Weatherford has ambitions for even higher office and, with youth on his side, his star could go far. But his path up is blocked by several other Republicans and, after being term-limited, last year Weatherford had no immediate office to target. The question turns now to how Weatherford can remain in the public eye while getting ready for 2018 or whenever he decides to run again.

Part of that became evident this week. Earlier this week, Weatherford announced the formation of Weatherford Partners -- formed with two of his brothers including former FSU quarterback Drew Weatherford -- to tackle capital investment. Later in the week, the former House speaker also joined the board of directors of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, an organization his father-in-law Allan Bense has ties to. On Thursday, Weatherford announced he was joining the board of directors of Sunshine Bancorp.

"Will Weatherford Shows No Signs of Going Away."

Haters in a dither

"US, Cuba end historic talks with more questions than answers." Background: "State Department negotiator meets with Cuban dissidents."