January 06, 2011

PPP survey: Rick Scott's "really bad off"

Public Policy Polling, which often polls for Democrats but has done a solid job of survey work, issued a report on the perceptions of new governors, and it shows Florida's Rick Scott is still rather unpopular.

According to PPP's blog:

Scott's the one who's really bad off with only 33% of voters seeing him positively to 43% with an unfavorable opinion. He has very little appeal to Democrats and independents and even within his own party less than half of voters rate him favorably. Although Scott's numbers are bad they are actually slightly better than they were right before the election, indicating that some voters are giving him a second chance as he prepares to take office.



January 05, 2011

Why Florida is 'absolutely' in play for Obama, Bill Nelson in 2012

Despite the whipping his party and candidate (Alex Sink) just received in November, wunderkind Florida Democratic strategist Steve Schale says all's not lost for Dems in the upcoming presidential elections. Here's his take:

Tis the season for speculation on 2012, so it came as no surprise that after my Holiday self-imposed no-telephone call break, I found several messages on my phone from reporters asking my take on whether Florida is truly a toss-up state for President Obama, especially after what here (and everywhere else) happened in November. 

My answer:  Absolutely.  There is no question that Florida in 2012 will be competitive.  For those who want to write off President Obama here, or anywhere for that matter, history has proven never to count him out.  Personally, I believe he can and will win Florida in 2012.  But more on that later.

There are lots of reasons why Florida will be competitive in 2012, but mostly the state's Presidential election make-up is vastly different than its Gubernatorial election make-up.  Look at the last five elections and you will see it doesn't really matter what happens in the Gubernatorial cycle, Presidential elections are always tight.

Schale's blog here 

December 17, 2010

Criminal investigators probe secret $500k gaming deal tied to David Rivera

The Miami-Dade state attorney's office is investigating more than $500,000 in secret payments from the owners of the Flagler Dog Track to a company tied to Congressman-elect David Rivera, The Miami Herald has learned.

Most of the money was paid in early 2008, weeks after Rivera -- then a member of the Florida House of Representatives -- helped run a political campaign backed by the dog track to win voter approval for Las Vegas-style slot machines at parimutuel venues in Miami-Dade County.

The dog track -- now called the Magic City Casino -- made three payments totaling $510,000 to Millennium Marketing, a company currently co-managed by Rivera's 70-year-old mother. Investigators are still trying to determine if Rivera himself received any of the money, or if anything about the transaction was illegal, according to sources close to the inquiry.

Rivera, a Miami Republican elected to Congress on Nov. 2, has previously denied working for the dog track, though he played a public role in supporting the pro-slots referendum campaign. Rivera never reported receiving any money from Flagler during his eight-year tenure in the Legislature.

Full story here

November 10, 2010

Rod Smith for Florida Democratic Party Chair?

Former Sen. Rod Smith, the recently defeated Democratic Lt. Gov candidate and a 2006 failed gubernatorial candidate, looks like he is pulling together strong support to replace Karen Thurman, outgoing Florida Democratic Party chairwoman, who saw one of the worst-ever defeats of her party at the polls Nov. 2.

We earlier posted that he was close to winning it. But Smith called us back and said he's not sure about what he'll do.

"I've had conversations, several since Monday," Smith said, declining to name names. "I'm not sure the job is mine. And I'm not sure I would take it if the job were offered. These are tough times for the party, so I need more time and I need to talk to more people. Obviously, the devil's in the details."

A number of current and former lawmakers say Thurman, whom we can't reach, favors Smith. And so do they. Smith said he'll meet with Thurman later. Democrats say he's simply the best choice.

Smith, an electrifying speaker and former prosecutor, is a good fit. He's well respected. He knows the legislative and electoral process. He understands the state, having run twice statewide. He's a strong fundraiser. He's well-liked by the gun lobby and agriculture community.

But does he look like the face of the Democratic Party in Florida?

Smith is from Alachua, about as far away culturally from Allapattah or South St. Pete or any other urban black district (i.e., the Democratic Party base) as you can get. But at least he's not from Tampa Bay, home of the three previous Democratic losers: Alex Sink, Jim Davis and Bill McBride. All failed to gin up the South Florida and minority vote. All of them lost. Then again, Buddy MacKay didn't fare much better in 1998 against Jeb Bush.

Smith, seemingly a no-show on the campaign trail this year in high-profile events, was the spearhead of the failed strategy to appeal to white, rural voters and conservative Democrats, who appeared to vote in droves for Republican Rick Scott's ticket. Meantime, South Florida Democrats -- and especially black Democrats -- felt a little left out. So many stayed home.

Alex Sink bears more blame for that than Smith. And perhaps Barack Obama and U.S. Senate Democrats are even more to blame. But still, it raises questions about whether the Democratic party is doomed in Florida mid-term elections. Or have they not had the right candidate or party leader? Is Rod Smith the guy who can help inspire enough Democrats -- who have a 600,000 registration edge over Republicans -- to actually vote the ticket? Can Smith actually get the party to run an effective absentee-ballot and early-vote program that matches the Republican Party of Florida? Obviously, we'll see (first he has to be named chair).


The three losers and Charlie Bronson

Three is the loneliest number on the Florida Cabinet.

A platform in the basement of the state Capitol has been the stage for some of the state's brightest political stars twice a month for the past four years. But Tuesday, it was more like a political gallows: Two seated behind the rostrum lost statewide elections last week, a third was defeated in the August Republican primary and the fourth was dissuaded from seeking higher office in behind-the-scenes political negotiations last summer. ``It's a new day in Tallahassee,'' Gov. Charlie Crist said.

More here

Politics meet the NFL in the Carroll family

It's the summer of 1999 and 12-year-old Nolan Carroll II, a talented little soccer player and track star, is rollerblading around his Jacksonville neighborhood with a stack of political fliers, going door to door to campaign for his mother.

He is racing his younger sister, Nyckie, and brother, Necho, to see who delivers the most leaflets for Jennifer Carroll, who is running for the U.S. House.

It became a ritual in the Carroll household over the next 10 years. Mom runs for office, kids canvass neighborhoods, wave signs on street corners, smile and shake hands at rallies. They got good at it, and whenever they could make a contest of their political duties, they did.

Politics and sports continue to consume the family. Nolan is now a rookie cornerback for the Miami Dolphins. His mother last week became Florida's lieutenant governor-elect, the first black and first woman elected to the post. She was also the first black Republican woman voted into the Florida Legislature seven years ago.

The family stayed up until the wee hours, awaiting word on the election result.

``I was so relieved when we found out they won,'' Nolan said. ``My mom has worked so hard, put so much into it, and it is amazing what she has accomplished. We talked about how we couldn't believe how blessed we both are, me in the NFL and her a lieutenant governor.''

More here 

November 06, 2010

Elections final Tally: Scott by 61,966 votes and no recounts

In what that Florida Department of Elections is calling in an email today it's "First Unofficial Final Tally," the  county breakdowns of Republican Rick Scott's win over Democrat Alex Sink are in. And the number is: 61,966 votes.

The final results include early voting, absentee, election day and provisional ballots and, according to the secretary of state, in a rarity for Florida, there are no recounts being ordered. 

Alex Sink casts blame on Obama and 'tone deaf' White House

Democrat Alex Sink, whose fate was yoked to the Obama administration like hundreds of Democrats, lashed out in an interview with Politico today, suggesting that the Obama administration mishandled the response to Gulf the oil spill, failed to appreciate the political damage done by healthcare reform and did grave damage to her candidacy in the state’s conservative Panhandle.

“They got a huge wake-up call two days ago, but unfortunately they took a lot of Democrats down with them,” said Sink told the online magazine. 

November 04, 2010

Scott's transition leaders: maverick voices and experienced hands

Republican Rick Scott held his first press conference as gov-elect to announce his transition team Thursday, declaring he is doing job interviews for Florida and openly soliciting applicants for state jobs on his new web site: www.scotttransition.com.

With Lt. Gov.-elect Jennifer Carroll at his side, Scott took questions for about 15 minutes in Fort Lauderdale, where the transition will be based. The job criteria: optimistic, hard-working people who believe in more private sector jobs and less government.  "We're rolling," Scott said. "We're going to get this started and we're going to keep this moving as fast as we can."

Scott turned to his most trusted advisor during this campaign to head up the effort to recruit and staff his new office. Washington lawyer Enu Mainigi, who has represented Scott in civil cases and successfully argued his case to throw out part of the state's public campaign finance law, will chair the transition team.

Mary Anne Carter, a Tennessee lawyer who as served as Scott's policy advisor during the campaign will be the transition's executive director. Carter first worked for Scott as director of Conservatives for Patients Rights, the political committee Scott formed to oppose President Barack Obama's health care plan.

Scott's advisory committee includes several old hands to Florida government who know both how to work the legislature as well as the Tallahassee bureaucracy, as well as some outspoken voices who have challenged the GOP leadership in Tallahassee:

Continue reading "Scott's transition leaders: maverick voices and experienced hands " »

November 03, 2010