Thursday, December 10, 2015

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

Trump holds strong lead among likely voters in Florida

"Republican billionaire Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continue to hold strong leads in their respective party presidential campaigns among likely voters in Florida, the most recent survey conducted by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute shows." "Florida Mirrors Nation in Persistent Affinity for Trump or Clinton, Plus Growing Concern for Security."

See also "Florida Voters of Both Parties Undecided on 2016 Senate Candidates."

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

Marc Caputo: "As redistricting turns – How Trump ‘punked’ Jeb – Rubio’s spy-hard spin – DeSantis super PAC grows – Randolph scores Rep. Ellison endorsement – Seminole County: bear-proof trash, or else!" "Florida Playbook."

U.S. Senate race to replace Marco Rubio wide open

"A poll released Wednesday by St. Leo University found the majority of Florida Republicans and a near majority of Florida Democrats have no preference yet in the U.S. Senate race to replace Marco Rubio, though Republican U.S. Rep. David Jolly and Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy lead."

The poll, by St. Leo University Polling Institute, in St. Leo, Fla., was of Florida residents who identified themselves as "likely voters." It finds that 56.5 percent said "don't know" or are undecided. Jolly, of St. Petersburg, got 11.6 percent, to lead the field. Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera got 8.2 percent, Orlando businessman Todd Wilcox got 6.8, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis of Ponte Vedra Beach got 6.2, and Dr. Ilya Katz of Sunny Isle Beach got 4.1
" The poll flips most recent polls that had DeSantis leading, though previous polls, like this one, found very high numbers of undecided voters, and very little statewide name recognition for any of the candidates."
The Democrats face a similar problem: 46.9 percent said they were undecided. Murphy, of Jupiter, drew 16.9 percent, U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando drew 7.1, Lateresa Jones of Havana, Fl., 6.3, and Palm Beach Gardens lawyer Pam Keith 4.4.
"Undecided leads Senate race; Jolly, Murphy follow."

Heirs of gangster want payment from Cuba

"Lansky helped turn Cuba into the “Las Vegas of the Caribbean” in the 1950s by establishing a flourishing gambling industry that became a symbol of corruption. After Fidel Castro took power, the casinos were shuttered and the properties nationalized." "Heirs of gangster Meyer Lansky want payment for hotel Cuba seized."

Enterprise Florida claims are "largely unverified"

"The state’s business-recruitment agency, which Gov. Rick Scott uses for international trade missions, needs to do a better job of separating anticipated overseas sales figures from the actual sales, according to the Legislature’s accountability office. . . . Mary Alice Nye, chief legislative analyst for the office, told the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee that many of the sales numbers reported by Enterprise Florida remain 'largely unverified and may overstate performance.'" "State watchdog scrutinizes Enterprise Florida overseas sales stats." See also "Enterprise Florida’s numbers don’t add up."

"No matter how hard he tries, nothing has helped reverse his slide"

"At a weekend conference in Miami, fundraisers questioned the direction of the campaign and worried it’s too late for a rebound. During a foreign policy speech in Washington, people slipped out of the room to go see rival Chris Christie instead. The domain was redirected to Donald Trump’s website because the Bush campaign failed to lock it down." "This is what it’s like to be a Bush stuck at the bottom of the polls."

"Stop the madness"

Tampa Trib editors: "We wish the members of Florida’s congressional delegation who are threatening to sue in federal court over the state Supreme Court’s redistricting would instead stop the madness." "Anger with Florida Supreme Court redistricting decision nothing but sour grapes."

"A special session that collapsed in failure, years of lawsuits and millions in wasted tax dollars"

The Palm Beach Post editors: "With a 5-2 vote, the Florida Supreme Court has finally begun to give Floridians what they demanded by a 63 percent margin five years ago: an end to politically rigged congressional districts."

All it took was two Legislature-drawn maps that were struck down as unconstitutional, a special session that collapsed in failure, years of lawsuits and millions in wasted tax dollars.
"No thanks to Legislature, congressional map is improved."

Deutch-Frankel District Swap

"The Democratic establishment, including the chairwoman of the national party, made it clear on Tuesday that it backed two South Florida congressional representatives switching seats in the aftermath of the Florida Supreme Court ruling on redistricting." "Democratic Establishment Gives Seal of Approval to Ted Deutch-Lois Frankel District Swap."

It all depends on what you mean by "dem"

"During an eight-hour deposition, attorneys grilled a map-drawer for a coalition of plaintiffs challenging the state Senate lines, questioning his process, his personal politics, and emails that indicate the challengers were looking to 'draw additional dem seats.'"

“Try to carve dem districts that honor the statutes,” read a Nov. 21, 2011 email from Brad Wieneke, an employee with a company then called Strategic Telemetry, a Washington-based Democratic consulting firm.

John O’Neill, a 24-year-old contractor hired by the firm, has drawn both congressional and state Senate maps for a coalition of plaintiffs that in 2012 filed a lawsuit challenging both sets of political lines. The firm’s client is the Fair Districts Now Coalition, a group the helped pass anti-gerrymandering provisions in 2010.

As part of a separate legal challenge to the congressional map, a map drawn by O’Neill was enacted by the Florida Supreme Court, which invalidated the lawmaker-drawn plan. Attorneys for the plaintiffs have filed formal objections to the Senate’s request to have Wieneke testify during trial and to enter old redistricting emails, among other things, as exhibits.

"The early part of O’Neill’s deposition — conducted by Jason Zakia, an attorney from White & Case, LLP who was hired by the Senate — focused on the nuances of the map-drawing process, how districts were measured, and O’Neill’s thought-process when working through the maps."

In one exchange, Zakia repeatedly asked about the reference to “dem” that was found in emails on more than one occasion. Zakia believed it was reference to the Democratic Party, but O’Neill dodged the question several times before forcing out an answer. “I’m serious,” Zakia asked. “What else could this possibly mean?” “Demographic,” O’Neill responded.
"Deposition questions partisan emails of redistricting plaintiffs."