Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Today's Florida political news and punditry.

Rubio supported Confederate flag in Florida Capitol

In 2001, dozens of Florida lawmakers

co-sponsored a racially charged proposal to keep the Confederate flag flying at the state Capitol in Tallahassee.
The Marco Rubio supported the bill to keep the Confederate flag flying.

Meanwhile, "Rubio navigates Confederate flag issue carefully."

And then there's this: "The flag near the interchange of Interstate 75 and Interstate 4 has been a controversial and high-profile public spectacle since it was erected in 2008. The Confederate history groups display the 30-by-60 foot flag on a 139-foot tall flagpole that was built on private property." "Giant Confederate battle flag visible from I-75 in spotlight again."

'Dumbing down' Florida schools

Dan Gelber: "Jeb Bush: He ‘dumbed down’ Florida schools."

Scott signs budget "in secret"

"Gov. Rick Scott signed the new state budget in the privacy of his Capitol office Tuesday — the first time in memory that a Florida governor took that important annual step in secret." "Gov. Rick Scott signs state budget in private, with little notice," lawsuits begin

More: "Legislative session winners and losers in Tallahassee," "Environmental groups file suit over Amendment 1 spending," "Amendment 1 Lawsuit Filed: Legislature Must Defend Its 'Land' Rationale" and "Environmentalists sue Florida lawmakers over budget."

Dem leaders fear Grayson

"Democrats see a chance to pick up the Florida Senate seat being vacated by Republican Marco Rubio — but only if U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson stays out of the race."

Democratic leaders fear Grayson could spoil the party’s chances for capturing the seat by challenging Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy in the primary. Rubio is running for president instead of seeking a second term.
"Dems hope to win Rubio’s Senate seat by sidelining liberal."

This, despite Grayson's numbers in a June 22 Q poll.

Indeed, "Alan Grayson Can Pull 'Major Upset' Over Patrick Murphy, GOP Pollster Notes."

Clinton spanking Florida's "favorite sons" in NBC/WSJ poll

In a NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, Clinton "leads Bush by eight points (48 percent to 40 percent), Rubio by 10 points (50 percent to 40 percent)." Poll details here (.pdf). "Hillary Clinton Dominates 2016 Democratic Field, Leads GOP Rivals."

Charter madness

"Doctors Charter school in quiet Miami Shores roiled by secret meeting and resignations."

Q Poll: "Dems Ahead In Florida"

"Dems Ahead In Florida, Ohio Senate Races, Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll Finds."

Rubio and Jeb! appeal to social conservatives and NRA types

"Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio are solidifying their positions at the front of the pack of Republican presidential contenders, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds, with large shares of social conservatives, centrists and gun-rights backers within the GOP saying they are open to supporting either candidate." "Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio Solidify Front-Runner Status." See also "First Read: Jeb Bush Leads the GOP Pack."

Nancy Smith: "Jeb's the Front-runner and Everybody Knows It."

Anti-Obamacare ruling would impact Floridians

"Central Floridians who rely on federal subsidies to help pay for their health insurance through Obamacare are worried that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling expected later this month could eliminate the financial help." "More than 100,000 in Central Florida could lose Obamacare subsidies."

"A sense of dread"

"'A sense of dread' is how the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette prefaced the 2016 presidential campaign. Not only for flawed candidates, but because of their reliance on super political-action committees."

Not everyone agrees. Super PACs, they say, shrink candidates' fundraising time and boost face time with voters. But Brent Ferguson, counsel in the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU law school, says pols' coziness with super PACs and their mega-dollars harm democracy. He discussed super PACs in the following email interview. More at OrlandoSentinel.com/opinion.
"Super PACs: Gobbling up democracy?"

Scott upside down, has lowest approval rating since 2013

Yesterday's Q poll: "Florida voters give Gov. Rick Scott a negative 39 - 49 percent job approval rating, his lowest score since a negative 36 - 49 percent score in a March 20, 2013, Quinnipiac University poll."

Dem eyes Jolly’s seat

"Less than two years after being elected to office, St. Petersburg Councilwoman Darden Rice is eying a run for Florida’s 13th Congressional District in 2016." "St. Pete councilwoman Rice eyes David Jolly’s U.S. House seat."

Taxpayers foot Scott's bills for open-government violations

"Taxpayers are on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills as the governor works to end lawsuits accusing him of violating Florida’s open government laws." "Taxpayers foot the bill as Scott settles open-government lawsuits."