Thursday, December 17, 2015

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

Senate redistricting trial ends today

Matt Dixon: "A Leon County courtroom played host Wednesday to a rare moment in the more than three-year redistricting battle over the state’s political lines: a legal win for the state Senate."

So far, the Senate legal challenge and a separate lawsuit that got the state’s congressional lines invalidated has been a stream of bad procedural news for attorneys representing the House and Senate.

Along with the Florida Supreme Court tossing the state’s congressional lines, the judge during the congressional trial would not allow a host of evidence that the state’s attorneys argued showed that the plaintiffs drew their maps to favor Democrats, including a host of emails from 2011. That changed when circuit court judge George Reynolds overturned a plaintiff’s objection that the four-year-old emails should not be submitted into evidence.

"The trial is needed after the Senate admitted in court that the current districts are at odds with state anti-gerrymandering provisions that aimed to take politics from the redistricting process."

Thursday is the final day of the four-day trial. An expert witness for the Senate is set to testify before closing arguments.
"Senate gets rare good news in redistricting trial."

Concealed carry in class

"Florida Congressional Democrats are speaking out against proposed legislation to allow individuals with concealed carry permits to bring their firearms onto college campuses, adding fire to a bill which is already heating up before the 2016 legislative session has even begun." "Florida Congressional Democrats: Say No to Campus Carry."

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

Marc Caputo: "Rick Scott’s sweet king of Spain hookup – FL poll: bad news for Marco, worse for Jeb – Cuba-US deal is a year old, and….? -- Miami Beach Police’s War on Hanukkah -- Key West strippers sue for overtime." "Florida Playbook."

From the far right

Ed Dean: "Joe Negron, Fred Costello Get Holiday Cheers; Corrine Brown, Frederica Wilson Hang with the Grinch."

"Rubio’s apparent reluctance to really work the trail is all a bit mystifying"

The Daily Beast's Will Rahn wonders, if GOPers should start asking themselves "if this is really a two-way race between Cruz and Trump"; and "instead of talk of a boom for Rubio, we increasingly have Republicans wondering how the guy is getting so consistently out-hustled on the ground.“ [U]nderneath the buzz, GOP activists in New Hampshire are grumbling that Rubio has fewer staff members and endorsements than most of his main rivals and has made fewer campaign appearances in the state, where voters are accustomed to face-to-face contact with presidential contenders,” The Boston Globe wrote this month. Iowa Republicans, meanwhile, are likewise annoyed that he doesn’t have much of a presence there."

Rubio’s apparent reluctance to really work the trail is all a bit mystifying. He says he’s missing Senate votes because he’s busy campaigning, and then people in New Hampshire and Iowa get miffed that he’s nowhere to be found. You don’t need a lot of money to barnstorm, which is why it’s usually the preferred tactic of candidates like Rubio, who has lagged behind Cruz and Bush in the fundraising race.

TV ads are expensive, so candidates light on cash, the thinking goes, need to really be working voters on the ground. Rubio’s staff, meanwhile, has indicated that they reach enough voters through Fox News and the debates to make up for whatever deficiencies on the trail. So far, his stable but not-great primary polling doesn’t provide a lot of evidence to back up that theory.

As he showed again Tuesday night, Rubio may be the most eloquent speaker in the party—especially on foreign policy. He’s also cut a number of good ads and has a rightly respected communications team. But there’s no reason to think he can continue to run his campaign out of a cable-news greenroom.

It’s possible Rubio still takes off, but the GOP has never nominated a guy who lost both Iowa and New Hampshire, and the latter, where he’s still struggling, is probably a must-win for him. It’s a weird year, sure, but why should we think, in a primary season that’s been dominated by talk of restricting immigration, the guy whose biggest legislative push was for a bipartisan “amnesty” bill will capture the nomination?

"Was Marco Rubio Overrated All Along?"

Public servant haters channel the same League of City propaganda

Funny how the allegedly separate editorial boards for the Orlando Sentinel and the Sun Sentinel just happen the channel precisely same League of Cities hate: "Don't burn cities with fire mandate."

Tycoon arranged Scott's ill-fated meeting with king"

"Florida Crystals has long been one of the biggest players in state government and politics. It has a seven-person state lobbying team and has been a consistently large campaign donor over the years. During the 2014 election cycle alone, it gave $150,000 to Scott’s political committee and more than $1 million to the Republican Party of Florida, whose number one priority was Scott’s re-election." "Sugar tycoon arranged ill-fated meeting between Scott and Spanish king."