Friday, April 22, 2016

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

Graham eyes running for governor in 2018

"Redrawn congressional lines that plunked U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham’s seat into Republican territory prompted the congresswoman to announce she won’t seek re-election this year and instead will gear up for a possible run for governor in 2018."

Graham, a Democrat from Tallahassee who unseated two-term Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Panama City, in 2014, announced her potential gubernatorial bid Thursday morning in a slick YouTube video emailed to supporters.
"While not entirely a surprise, her announcement promised to shake up a potential field of Governor’s Mansion hopefuls including Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, a Republican, and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, a Democrat."
“Our state government is just dysfunctional,” she said. “And this causes me to rethink how I can best serve the people of North Florida and our state. Floridians are hungry for new leadership, and I’m so excited to tell your first that I’m seriously considering running for governor in 2018.”

Graham, a pragmatist who has upset some in her party for siding with the GOP on issues from the Keystone XL pipeline to President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, touted her accomplishments in Congress.

"Gwen Graham might run for governor."

See also "Another Graham for Florida governor? U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham announces potential run," "Another Graham for governor? U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham announces potential run" and "Florida Rep. Gwen Graham announces possible run for governor."

RPOF wigs out

"Cruise giant Carnival Corp. on Friday said it had been cleared by the Cuban government to bring Cuban-born travelers to the country, ending a controversy that threatened to upend its plans to launch the first USA to Cuba voyages in more than 50 years." "Cuban-born travelers cleared to cruise to Cuba." See also "Cuba will allow Cuban-born to arrive on Carnival cruise ship."

All about Trump

"It’s all about Donald Trump at GOP meeting, even without him there."

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

Marc Caputo: "The RNC’s Florida takeaway – Wasserman Schultz goes after Canova – DCCC’s marital-rape attack v. Rep. Mica – Feds indict South Florida school board member." "Florida Playbook."

"Something a little off at GOP gala"

Tom Jackson: "By all outward signs, the annual Pasco Republican Reagan Day dinner was business as usual: Every ticket (all 450) was sold, filling Spartan Manor’s main ballroom; the opening ceremonies were reverently observed; the prime rib entree and carrot cake chaser were enthusiastically received; the live auction (involving mostly firearms) was ardently contested; and the whole thing wrapped up in time to get the attendees home in time for Hannity."

There was, nonetheless, something ... off. Something unsettling. Something atmospheric. Something just beyond the grasp.
"Something a little off at GOP gala."

Can't stop . . .

"U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw’s campaign was raising large sums of money and paying political consultants until just before he decided to retire after eight terms in Congress." "Crenshaw continued raising funds until retirement announcement."

Soto gets support

"The Florida Senate Democratic Caucus endorsed their colleague Darren Soto for Congress Thursday. State Sen. Soto, D-Kissimmee, received the backing of 11 of his 13 fellow state Senate Democrats in his race for the party nomination in the 9th U.S. congressional district including including former Senate President Gwen Margolis, Minority Leader Arthenia Joyner and Minority Leader-elect Oscar Braynon." "Democratic state Senate caucus endorses Soto for Congress."

"He really is a member of the Angry Party"

"He looked and sounded like someone who wanted to pick a fight. Maybe he does. He said his name is Carlos Beruff."

I suspect he is just using the Republican Party as a place holder because he really is a member of the Angry Party. His message seems to be that we should vote for him because we’re all angry too. Anger is the fastest-growing political movement in the country, and Beruff sure speaks the language.

Look at that face. Listen to that voice. Imagine a father waiting on the front porch two hours after his daughter was supposed to be home from a date — except this time the father wants to be a senator.

His website describes him as “a businessman who is fed up with the status quo in Washington.” He is a successful home builder and developer who has served on a few boards in Manatee County. He’s a budget hawk, vowing to eliminate waste wherever he sees it — and he sees it a lot.

But here’s the punch line: Beruff says we need “to take the country back.” I didn’t know it had gone anywhere, but the candidate obviously believes it has taken the first handbasket south to Hades. Because of that, Beruff says we need to send him to the Senate because he’ll straighten that whole thing out.

Maybe Beruff’s message resonates with enough Floridians to get elected, or maybe not. The bigger message leaders of both major parties better receive in a hurry is that the anger isn’t going away. It’s all about fighting back against a system fueled by big money from a knighted few. Everyone else feels excluded, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re liberal, conservative or a little of both.

"Say hello to the latest “outsider” candidate from the Angry Party." See also "Backroom Briefing: Carlos Beruff, Unplugged."

The best they could do?

"Rick Scott pushes Donald Trump at national meeting."

"Talking about medical marijuana. OMG"

Nancy Smith: "Las Vegas has changed, folks. I couldn't believe how much since I last visited. And I'm not talking about the glitzy hotels or the towering slot machines or the raving nightlife. I'm talking about changes you can see on the airport concourse two minutes after you deplane. I'm talking about medical marijuana. OMG." "Does Medical Marijuana Have a 'Visit Florida' Future? Check Out the New Las Vegas."