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134 posts from October 2006

October 30, 2006

Last Crist-Davis debate at 7 p.m. tonight

Democrat Jim Davis has been telling voters that he and Republican Charlie Crist will spend only two hours together during the entire general election campaign for governor. The second hour is tonight, beginning at 7 p.m.

To read more about tonight's debate. Click here.

October 29, 2006

Stem cell research rally today

Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Daryl Jones and Democratic congressional candidate Tim Mahoney will speak at a 1 p.m. rally for stem cell research at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. Click here and scroll down to the item headlined "Rally against Rush'' to read about the Rush Limbaugh/Michael J. Fox controversy that prompted the protest.

Florida voters are in a bad mood

What's on voters' minds? The Miami Herald visited five counties in different parts of the state -- Broward, Charlotte, Osceola, Flagler and Jackson -- to find out. What reporters heard: Voters have had it up to here with the public schools, insurance bills and housing costs. Many are also upset about a war 7,000 miles away in Iraq.

Whether they blame the reigning Republicans in Tallahassee and Washington for their troubles largely depends on their party affiliation. Increasingly, new voters are choosing neither major party.

The voting pool is also increasingly diverse. The percentage of voters identifying themselves as ''other'' than white or black is up 62 percent over 2002. That's partly because of a boost in the Hispanic population; more voters are also switching from the ''unknown'' to the ''other'' category. The number of black voters jumped almost 25 percent since 2002, while white voters increased by 8 percent.

To read profiles of the five counties visited by the Herald, click here.

October 28, 2006

Candidates jockeying for black voters

At a campaign stop with Democrat Jim Davis in Daytona Beach, Democratic state Rep. Joyce Cusack said she is concerned about polls that show his Republican rival winning significant support from black voters.

Two recent surveys showed Charlie Crist picking up 15 percent of black voters, an unusually high percentage for a Republican.

"We're not getting our story out,'' Cusack said, as her constituents ate barbecue in a local gymnasium. "We need to shout it from the rooftops.''

To read Beth Reinhard's column on the importance of the black vote in the governor's race, click here.

Davis campaigns in Central Florida

Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Davis has been hammering Republican Attorney General Charlie Crist this week for failing to speak out against an insurance plan passed by the Legislature earlier this year.

But when Davis was asked Saturday what he did to thwart the plan, he said: "It's a state issue. There's nothing I could have done in Congress.''

That's true, though Davis offered his opinions as a candidate for governor on other issues during the legislative session, including teacher salaries and school construction. He even missed a congressional vote reauthorizing the Patriot Act to attend Gov. Jeb Bush's State of the State address in Tallahassee.

Davis spent Saturday stumping for votes in Central Florida: meeting with Kiwanis members at a waterfront park in Cape Canaveral, Democratic activists at a community college in Palm Bay, and families and retirees at a gymnasium in Daytona Beach. He was also scheduled to campaign at "backyard rebellions'' in Ocala and Spring Hill to highlight voters'  frustration with rising property taxes and insurance rates.

"The insurance law allows them to raise our rates witout even asking,'' he said in Daytona Beach. "Our attorney general has not stood up for us when we needed him, and I will.''

October 27, 2006

Rally against Rush

Outraged by radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh's criticism of actor Michael J. Fox's appearance in a campaign ad, advocates for patients with Parkinson's disease are ralling from 1 to 3 p.m. tomorrow at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.

Fox, who has Parkinson's, shakes uncontrollably in a commercial for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Claire McCaskill in Missouri. Fox touts McCaskill's support for federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, which scientists say may lead to a cure for Parkinson's.

Limbaugh said of Fox's powerful appearance in the commercial: "It's purely an act.''

The Fox commercial has been watched more than 1.5 million times on the on-line video web site, www.youtube.com. For more information about tomorrow's rally, go to www.cureparkinsons.org

Final tally: GOP up, Dems down

The final voter registration numbers are in for Election Day _ and they are good for the Republicans and bad for the Democrats. The new tally shows that Florida has 10,433,849 registered voters. The breakdown shakes out like this: There are 4.21 million registered Democrats, 3.93 million registered Republicans and 1.96 million voters who registered with no party affiliation.

In 2004, the same year that the Democrats and other groups put on massive voter registration drives, there were 10,301,290 registered voters. There were 4.26 million registered Democrats, 3.89 million registered Republicans and 1.88 million voters who registered with no party affiliation. So that means the Republican voting ranks grew and the NPA ranks grew but the numbers of Democrats actually declined.

Signs can go up in Foley race

The First District Court of Appeal has ruled that election supervisors can put up notices informing voters that a vote for former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley is actually a vote for State Sen. Joe Negron. The appeals court overturned a lower court decision that blocked the supervisors from putting up the notices. The court, however, said that the notices could not just mention Negron, but must also mention Democratic candidate Tim Mahoney as well as other candidates on the ballot.

The three-judge panel said the initial notice proposal from Secretary of State Sue Cobb "may be suggested as favorism" on behalf of Negron. Click here to read the ruling:Download court_ruling.pdf
The Florida Democratic Party said it will not appeal the decision.

Ads coming fast and furious

With 10 days left before Election Day, the airwaves are filling up with political ads. Two new ones in the governor's race will go up Saturday. The Republican Party of Florida will begin airing an ad called "Prescription" that touts the fact that Attorney General Charlie Crist supports the reimportation of drugs from Canada in the U.S. (U.S. Rep. Jim Davis supports this as well.) You can watch at www.rpof.org. This is the 11th ad that the party has done on behalf of Crist.

The script is as follows: "My dad's a family doctor and I believe healthcare is a fundamental right. As attorney general I started MyFloridaRx.com--a website to allow you to save money on prescription drugs. As governor, I'll negotiate to lower your drug prices. give every Floridian a prescription drug card and work to import safe and cheaper prescription drugs from Canada. My opponent voted against importing drugs from Canada and that's wrong. I'm Charlie Crist and I'll never stop working for you. Charlie Crist-a better vision for Florida's future."

Davis is coming out with own ad titled "Stay the Course" and it's available on his website www.jimdavis2006.com. "You can trust Charlie Crist. To do what? The St. Petersburg Times says Crist has no immediate plan for tax relief. No tax relief for businesses and renters. On education, a strong defender of the current system. Insurance? The Palm Beach Post calls his plan pay, hope and wait. No tax relief for four years. Nothing for renters or small businesses. No changes in education. No plan to lower insurance rates. Trust Charlie? You sure can. To stay the course."

The Bush factor

Running for re-election to his 14th term, Fort Lauderdale Republican Rep. Clay Shaw has carefully sought to distance himself from President Bush. A new internal poll from his Democratic challenger's camp might explain why.

According to the poll conducted for state Sen. Ron Klein, the Democrat leads the incumbent 48 percent to 42 percent - with 66 percent of the district agreeing that Shaw "votes too often with President Bush and the Bush agenda."

Shaw has not entirely distanced himself from Bush: First Lady Laura Bush is to attend a fundraiser tonight in Palm Beach for Shaw.

Klein's campaign said the poll was conducted Oct. 24 to 26 among 500 general election voters in the district. It carries a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.

The race is among three too-close-to-call congressional races in Florida that could determine which party controls the House.