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Strange bedfellows in the Everglades

Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Davis of Tampa and Republican U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw of Fort Lauderdale are both using an Everglades cleanup measure pushed by Big Sugar in 2003 to club opponents in their respective races.

Davis has repeatedly assailed his Democratic rival for governor, state Sen. Rod Smith, for voting for a bill that environmentalists said would weaken pollution standards and delay the restoration of the national park. In their first debate televised statewide, Davis pointed to $1 million in ads the sugar industry has run on behalf of Smith, who comes from rural Alachua and chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Shaw has lauched a similar attack against his re-election challenger, Democratic state Sen. Ron Klein of Boca Raton. Klein also voted for the 2003 legislation and has taken $16,500 in sugar money. Shaw's latest ad barks: "Big Sugar. Pumping Pollution into the Everglades. Pumping Campaign Money to Tallahassee politicians like Ron Klein."

Perhaps Klein and Smith are commiserating over a sugar-laden cup of coffee...