Saturday, January 02, 2016

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

A busy new year in Florida politics

Kevin Derby: "Florida will, once again, be the largest swing state in the Electoral College, ensuring the race for the White House will be on center stage for most of the year. But there will be other dramas on the Sunshine State’s political stage in the new year."

With Marco Rubio running for president, both Democrats and Republicans can expect competitive primaries to replace him. Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson offer two very different messages for Democrats as they look to flip a Senate seat. There are several Republican incumbents in blue states defending their seats in November and Democrats will need Florida if they want to flip the Senate.
"Republicans will look to keep this Senate seat and have four solid candidates already off and running for it. Ron DeSantis, David Jolly, Carlos Lopez-Cantera and Todd Wilcox aren’t well known but they all have different strengths which can help them in the primary. Dan Bongino and Bill McCollum could also get in what should be an interesting contest."
Democrats are also hoping to pick up a few congressional seats in Florida in the aftermath of the state Supreme Court’s redistricting ruling. Already Democrats have high hopes for Annette Taddeo to defeat Carlos Curbelo and to flip the seats currently held by Jolly and Dan Webster. But Republicans will have their own opportunities to flip the seats held by Gwen Graham and Murphy. In the meantime, Democrats will be running hard to replace Grayson while Republicans can expect primaries to replace DeSantis and the retiring Rich Nugent. - See more at:
"More than the White House at Stake in Florida in 2016."

Embarrassing . . . but for whom?

"Trump: Jeb ‘a total embarrassment’ to his family."

Grubbing for wingnuts

First the Gowdy endorsement now Inhofe: "Although he said he was not ready to endorse a candidate in the 2016 race, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) on Saturday called his colleague Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) 'one that I really do like'." "GOP senator hints at Rubio endorsement."

More nuts: "Phil Gramm: 'My vote would go to Rubio'."

"Political chaos of the Legislature’s own making"

The Daytona Beach News Journal's editors: "The legislative misfires and legal decisions have pushed the redistricting process to the edge of the electoral calendar, creating a rush to assemble the 2016 electoral landscape before the Legislature convenes its regular session Jan. 12. The Senate must randomly assign district numbers to determine which members would receive two-year terms and which would get four years. It will be political chaos of the Legislature’s own making." "Mapping Florida’s political future."

Trading chisels for sledgehammers

The Sun Sentinel editors: "Over the years, Florida lawmakers have steadily chipped away at their constituents' constitutional right of access to government by approving hundreds of exceptions to the state's open-records and open-meetings laws. But now a couple of lawmakers are proposing to trade in their chisels for sledgehammers." "Don't gut Florida's Sunshine Law."

Runnin' gub'ment like a bidness

"Hunting, grazing, logging at Florida state parks? 2016 fight looms."

Immigration issues could dominate the 2016 campaign

"This year saw new influxes of Central Americans and Cubans on the southern border, Syrian refugees rejected by the leaders of more than 30 states and the president's executive action on immigration mired in legal challenges." "How immigration issues could unfold during the 2016 campaign."

Meanwhile, the Miami Herald editors point out that the "'wet foot, dry foot' policy that Cubans have enjoyed for 20 years can no longer stand the test of time. And the policy’s foundation, the coveted Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966, is already under fire."

In his last year at the White House, President Obama should focus on finding a fair way to treat Cubans fleeing oppression, and distinguishing them from those who simply want to move on temporarily, benefiting from American benevolence.
"Cubans fleeing oppression, or moving?"