Sunday, June 26, 2016

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

"Florida candidates stampede to ballot"

Steve Bousquet writes that

Florida is poised for a volatile political season as a large crop of candidates met Friday's deadline to get on the ballot for the 2016 elections.
"The unpredictable force of Donald Trump, a court-ordered redesign of districts and rampant turnover in the state's congressional delegation have combined to unleash a flood of ambition and give voters a wide range of choices:"
• Eight of Florida's 27 members of Congress are leaving and all 27 seats are being contested for the first time.

• As more voters reject both major parties and have no party affiliation, no-party candidates will offer a third alternative in two dozen races for U.S. Senate, Congress and the Legislature in a state where nearly three in 10 voters are not members of either major party.

• Eight legislative seats will have primaries open to all voters because only one party fielded candidates. In those rare cases, candidates will be forced to appeal to a wider pool of voters than just the hard-right and hard-left who often dominate primaries.

• Fifteen of 40 state Senate seats are open, and the redrawn districts give outnumbered Democrats hope of making gains.

"In year of political turmoil, Florida candidates stampede to ballot." See also "State Senate races a South Florida free-for-all."

Marco wants a mulligan

"Weekly Roundup: Can I Get a Mulligan?."

"His day job remains unclear"

"Now running for the Florida House, the ex-congressman from Miami reported a net worth of $1.5 million, even as his day job remains unclear." "David Rivera, millionaire? His financial form says so."

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

Marc Caputo: "Murphy’s tough week – Scott’s Zika leadership – GMO-mosquito vote delayed in Keys – Editorial: stop ‘reefer madness’ -- candidate sought for questions in hit-and-run death." "Florida Playbook."

Senate candidate accused of bribe

"Miami Democratic state Senate candidate Andrew Korge is accused of trying to bribe state Sen. Dwight Bullard into moving districts and trying to persuade another Democratic primary opponent, Ana Rivas Logan, to swap races with him." "Miami-Dade senator: My opponent offered me $25,000 to get out of his way."

Beats working

"Rubio's book royalties up $70K in 2015."

Brown and Lawson will face off

"Rep. Corrine Brown and former state Sen. Al Lawson will face off in the Democratic primary for the 5th Congressional District, a seat that has been the subject of huge doses of speculation and intrigue after a redistricting legal challenge."

Lawson, a Tallahassee Democrat, filed to run for the seat in February, so his challenge to Brown is no surprise. But there have been persistent rumors that other candidates would pile into the race for a seat that was redrawn to stretch from Jacksonville to the Tallahassee region.

That speculation ramped up when news broke that Brown is the subject of an ongoing Department of Justice investigation into whether she conspired to commit “fraudulent activities,” improperly solicited charitable donations or misused campaign funds. Since the investigation was made public in March, no other information has been made available.

But as the noon Friday deadline for candidates to qualify passed, none of the rumors of additional candidates came to fruition, and a regional battle now pits a longtime Tallahassee politico against a 12-term incumbent Jacksonville congresswoman.

"Despite intrigue, Brown, Lawson are only prominent Democrats in CD5 race."

Bangin' Murphy

"on Wednesday evening, CBS4 Miami aired the first of its two part “The Making of Patrick Murphy” reports that questioned the congressman’s portrayal of his business record. The first report is here: The Murphy campaign responded with a 'setting the record straight' post: That afternoon, a new Rubio super PAC then featured the CBS4 report in a web ad. CBS4 followed up Thursday evening with another piece about questionable marketing claims made years ago by Murphy’s environmental clean-up business:" "Florida Playbook."

"All of a sudden, Charlie has a real opponent"

Nancy Smith: "What a week for Charlie Crist. Try to imagine ..."

There was Charlie laying low in St. Petersburg, stretched out on his tanning bed, fingers crossed, staying out of trouble, fan at the ready. So positioned to end the win drought.

OK, so the prize wasn't the Senate. It wasn't even the Governor's Mansion. But CD 13, sanitized by the courts for a Democratic victory, was his ticket to get back to the limelight and into the Washington party circuit. He even had President Obama's endorsement.

(Now we come to the part like in the old war movies, when John Wayne hitches up his rifle and says, "I don't like it, Charlie, it's too quiet out there.")

"And sure enough. BAM. It happens again."
Sooo close to the true love of his life: Washington, D.C., cameras, power, public service, celebrity hobnobs, more cameras -- happy days are here again.

But, oh, no. No, no, no, no -- who surfaces to deja-vu him off his little cloud of happiness? Yes, his worse nightmare, "Little Marco!"

Wouldn't you know it, the Republicans want Marco back in the Senate. So this week Marco announces he's running for reelection after all.

And all of a sudden, Charlie has a real opponent in November. He has incumbent David Jolly.

"Poor Charlie: What's a Guy Gotta Do?."

Winners and losers

Adam C. Smith's "Winner and loser of the week in Florida politics."

"Overrated and overhyped"

Adam C. Smith: "For at least a year the conventional wisdom has echoed from Democrats and Republicans alike in Washington, Tallahassee and across Florida: U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy is the future of the Democratic Party, a powerhouse statewide candidate and most likely Florida's next U.S. senator."

Today, two months before the preferred candidate of Barack Obama and Joe Biden faces Alan Grayson in a primary and four and a half before the general election, we're struggling to think of when Florida last saw a candidate who proved as overrated and overhyped as Murphy.

The Times/Herald and others in recent weeks have shown a pattern with the 33-year-old congressman from Palm Beach County: He appears to be a serial exaggerator of his accomplishments, from inflating the scope of his work on gulf cleanup after the BP oil spill, to falsely claiming to have earned dual college degrees, to overstating his work as a CPA. Last week, a Miami TV station aired a two-part investigative series that portrayed Murphy as an unaccomplished, chronic embellisher.

"Murphy looking less like a winner in race for Senate."

Scott disses Rubio

"Scott doesn't endorse Rubio, praises Beruff."

FlaGOPer pulls AR-15 giveaway

"Greg Evers, who's running in the Republican primary for the open seat in Florida's 1st District, announced Monday he's giving away a "Homeland Defender" AR-15 rifle on July 4. But on Monday night, Facebook pulled a post about the contest showing the rifle after receiving numerous complaints for 'promoting graphic violence' and 'describing the purchase or sales of drugs, guns or regulated progress.'" "Florida GOP candidate's AR-15 giveaway post taken down by Facebook."

Spanish-language ad blasts Rubio

Alex Leary: "American Bridge 21st Century will launch a Facebook ad against Marco Rubio in key Hispanic areas, casting the senator as untrustworthy and not just because he broke a promise not to seek re-election." "Spanish-language ad blasts Marco Rubio as untrustworthy."