Wednesday, December 02, 2015

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

Jeb's last gasp - trots out billionaire supporters, and brags about having "fixed" Florida

"Trying to get back in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla., is bringing out the big guns as he attempts to right the ship."

Reuters reported on Tuesday that Bush’s National Finance Committee consisted of around 350 prominent donors led by Woody Johnson, best known for owning the New York Jets of the National Football League (NFL).

Bush’s team has a Florida feel including Al Cardenas, the former chairman of the American Conservative Union (ACU) and the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF), as well old family hands like former U.S. Sec. of Commerce Don Evans who served in President George W. Bush’s Cabinet.

The former Florida governor is also relying more on his family to reach out to Republicans. The Bush campaign sent out an email from former President George H.W. Bush over the weekend in which he showcased the campaign’s “Jeb can fix it” slogan.

"Jeb Bush Plans Comeback With Big Name Backers, Downplays Polls."

Grayson Campaign Shakeup

Kevin Robillard and Marc Caputo: "Rep. Alan Grayson's campaign manager, deputy campaign manager, and senior adviser are leaving their jobs in the Democratic congressman’s troubled Florida Senate campaign."

Campaign manager Doug Dodson's last day was Monday and deputy campaign manager David Keith — a longtime friend of Grayson’s — is leaving day-to-day operations but will stay on as an informal adviser, multiple sources tell POLITICO. Additionally, senior adviser and campaign spokesman Kevin Franck also plans to leave before year’s end.
"‘Micromanager’ Grayson loses top staffers in Senate campaign shakeup." See also "Top staff departs Alan Grayson’s U.S. Senate campaign."

Lie down with dogs . . .

"Prominent Hispanic Republicans: Please, Not Donald Trump."

"What's hot, crazy or shady about politics in the Sunshine State"

Marc Caputo: "Grayson’s mammoth campaign SHAKEUP – Obama’s Miami climate-change fish tale – Prison for pig art in ‘new’ Cuba – FL icon’s roadkill problem." "Florida Playbook."

Trump's Florida rally

"Trump takes on rivals Rubio, Bush in Florida rally."

Hill in town

"Gov. Scott uses personal touch to push tax cut plan." See also "Scott makes surprise House visit to pitch his tax cut proposal" and "Florida Gov. Rick Scott injects rare personal touch in tax cut push with Legislature."

Tallahassee Brief

"Tallahassee Brief: Lawmakers dissect Scott’s budget; hefty push for Everglades funding."

The best Rubio can do?

"U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., reeled in a major endorsement on Monday as U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., announced he was backing him for the Republican presidential nomination."

Erin Walker, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee (DNC), looked to tie Issa’s support of the Benghazi investigation to Rubio’s take on foreign affairs and the recent Islamic terrorist attack in Paris.

“It’s fitting that Congressman Darrell Issa, who led the Republican effort to exploit the Benghazi attack for political gain, is endorsing Marco Rubio, who is leading the Republican effort to exploit the Paris attacks for political gain,” Walker said on Monday. “While people around the world were still mourning the terror attacks in Paris, Marco Rubio was on television claiming the attacks were a ‘positive development’ for his campaign, echoing Donald Trump’s call to ‘shut down’ mosques and other public spaces in response, and cutting ads discussing the prospect of an attack on the U.S.

“After 9/11, Democrats and Republicans came together to support President George W. Bush,” Walker added. “The GOP response to the Paris attack – especially Marco Rubio’s – has been shameful by contrast. We need a commander-in-chief serious about protecting this nation, not a grandstander-in-chief who exploits terror as a ‘positive development’ to further his own political ambition.”

"Marco Rubio Lands Darrell Issa Endorsement."

Sidney Blumenthal. Really?

"Just days after she was identified as the woman who set off an investigation that brought down the CIA leader, Jill Kelley was the subject of an email conversation between then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and a top advisor."

The email from Sidney Blumenthal to Clinton, one of 7,800 pages of emails on Clinton’s private server that were released Monday by the State Department, is far from flattering to Kelley or the Tampa military culture at the time.

The emails were released to comply with a court order demanding the State Department publicly release work-related emails stored on the private server of Clinton, wife of former President Bill Clinton and now the Democratic presidential frontrunner.

In the email, Blumenthal was advising Clinton on what to do about the controversy raging over the deaths of four Americans in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

"Clinton advisor bashed Jill Kelley in newly released emails."

FlaDems slam Scott’s budget plan

"House Democrats, as usual, slam Scott’s budget plan."

Marc Caputo: "Over the next two days, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton will embark on a five-city Florida fundraising tour, punctuated by a 1 p.m. public event Wednesday in Orlando." "Clinton set to make two-day fundraising swing through Florida." See also "Hillary Clinton in Tampa area today for private fundraiser."

13 in the Klown Kar

"Fla. GOP Primary Ballot Inked, 13 Active Presidential Candidates."

This winger ain't happy

"Steve Southerland Endorsement Riles Up GOP Primary to Take Down Gwen Graham."

Raw political courage

"Stuart Republican Joe Negron’s top priorities as Senate president will be improving Florida’s universities, providing funding for postsecondary scholarships and continuing water projects to prevent harmful outflow from Lake Okeechobee." "Senate President Negron aims to improve universities." See also "Legislature tries again to regulate backyard gun ranges."