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210 posts from August 2011

August 26, 2011

Dockery comes to the defense of Buss, raises questions about privatization

Paula dockery Sen. Paula Dockery, a three-time chairwoman of the Senate committee that handles prison issues, came to the defense of departing Department of Corrections Secretary Ed Buss on Friday, saying that he made the mistake of speaking his mind on the controversial prison privatization effort. Buss resigned abruptly Wednesday after six months on the job. 

“The governor hired Ed Buss from Indiana because of his record as a reformer,’’ said Dockery, R-Lakeland. “I think Secretary Buss arrived with the expectation that he would have to autonomy to make changes but I think the governor – and/or his inner circle – was uncomfortable with that autonomy.

 “My gut would tell me that of all the issues that have come up, privatizing prisons was the deciding factor.”

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New poll tests Allen West, Vern Buchanan vs Nelson

A new Sachs/Mason-Dixon poll find that U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan would have a slight lead over the field of prospective Republican U.S. Senate candidates if he jumped in, but he's not especially competetive against Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson.
The poll was conducted before south Florida Congressman Allen West ruled out running for senate, and it included West and Buchanan among the prospective Republicans. Here are the results of the hypothetical primary:

Vern Buchanan  14%
Allen West     11%
Adam Hasner    8%
George LeMieux 7%
Craig Miller   5%
Mike McAlister 2%  
David Gee      1%
Undecided  52%

A recent Quinnipiac poll included only the announced candidates and found McCalister narrowly leading the field with 15 percent support.

The Sachs/Mason-Dixon poll included several matchups against Bill Nelson:
Nelson 49%, LeMieux 34%, Undecided 17%
Nelson 45%, Hasner 34%, Undecided 21%
Nelson 45%, Buchanan 35%, Undecided 18%
Nelson 44%, West 38%m Undecided 18%

Jim Greer still heading to trial

From the Orlando Sentinel:

An Orlando judge has refused to throw out criminal charges against Jim Greer, former chairman of the Florida GOP, setting aside defense claims that prosecutors and agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement had failed to follow the law as they built their case against the fallen politico.

That means that Greer still faces all six counts handed down by a statewide grand jury that accuse him of secretly setting up a shell company then using it to funnel $125,000 into personal bank accounts.

On Tuesday, Greer's attorneys traveled to Tallahassee and took sworn statements from hree high-profile Florida GOP leaders: House Speaker Dean Cannon, former party Chairman John Thrasher and General Counsel Jason Gonzalez.

Greer's lawyers thought he probably wouldn't be going to trial -- a statement made after they deposed top Republicans.


The GOP Senate forum video: 2hrs 15 minutes of conservatism

Here's the video of last Saturday's Republican Senate candidate forum hosted by the Florida Family Policy Council (thanks to the tweet alert from Adam Hasner supporter Sarah Rumpf).

August 25, 2011

FEC asks Rep. David Rivera to explain campaign debt

The Federal Election Commission has asked Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami, to elaborate on why there's new debt on his most recent campaign finance reports.

An amended report filed in July from the second quarter of the year "discloses a substantial increase in the amount of debts from those disclosed on your original report," the FEC noted in a Aug. 9 letter to his campaign. "Please amend your report or provide an explanation to clarify why this additional activity was not provided with your original report."

Rivera, a once-prolific fundraiser, has had a difficult time raising money since he's been under investigation for his relationship with a dog track. Fundraising reports released in July show the Miami Republican took in just $33,500 and spent $40,584.82.

He spent $10,000 -- about a third of the money raised -– on fundraising consulting for Capital Strategies and GF Strategies. He also paid $6,038.13 to the Washington law firm of Patton Boggs. The report shows his committee's debts and obligations total $151,580.58, including nearly $90,000 for media expenses through the Victory Group, and more than $46,000 for fundraising consulting to Capital Strategies and GF Strategies.

The FEC has asked Rivera to provide an explanation for the debt discrepency by Sept. 13. "Requests for extensions of time in which to respond will not be considered," the agency noted.

Rivera, asked Thursday about the FEC inquiry, brushed off questions while at a book party for  Armando Valladares, a former ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Council.

"You'll have to ask Nancy," Rivera said, referring to his campaign treasurer, Nancy Watkins. "They didn't send it (the letter) to me. They sent it to Nancy." 

Is job growth in Texas enough to get Rick Perry elected?

He burst into the Republican presidential field with typical Texan bravado, corralling attention from his rivals and promising to "work every day to make Washington, D.C., as inconsequential in your life as I can." And while many Republicans wait for another contender, supporters of Texas Gov. Rick Perry say his jobs record is all that matters when the country is mired in economic crisis.

"Everything else is a lesser priority," said A.K. Desai, a St. Petersburg health care executive who is hosting Perry's first Florida fundraiser on Sept. 13.

Less than two weeks into Perry's campaign, a Gallup poll shows him leading the pack with 25 percent support among Republicans and GOP-leaning independents. That's 11 points ahead of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Never mind that Perry, previously a Democrat, campaigned for Al Gore's 1988 presidential run, raised eyebrows by saying if Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke orders the printing of more money it amounts to treason, and implied that Texans might get so fed up with Democratic actions in Washington that they would clamor for secession.

Since Perry became Texas governor 11 years ago, the state has added 850,000 jobs, more than all other states combined.

That's the crux of his campaign and the mantra of his backers.

"I can't tell you that I understand the entire recipe, but I believe that Perry has an eye for developing an environment in which jobs can be created and people can get to work," said Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, Florida's next Senate president, who endorsed Perry hours after he declared but has never met him.

Poll: Obama trailing Romney in Fla, neck and neck w Perry, Bachmann

A new Sachs/Mason-Dixon Florida Poll finds Barack Obama trailing Mitt Romney in America's biggest battleground and in a dead heat with Texas Gov. Rick Perry among Republicans.

"Unlike 2008, if the election were held today, President Obama would face a stiffer headwind to hold onto Florida and its 29 electoral votes against a top-tier Republican challenger - and that could cost him reelection," said Ron Sachs, President of Ron Sachs Communications. "Judging by the poll, President Obama's success in 2008 will be more difficult to duplicate in 2012. The Presidency will go to the candidate with the message that resonates with Florida's unique and diverse population and the resources to ensure that message is received by voters across the state."

Among the findings of the August Sachs/Mason-Dixon Florida Poll:

***51 percent of Floridians would vote for Governor Romney compared to 43 percent for President Obama;

***In a hypothetical matchup with Texas Governor Rick Perry, Perry leads with 46 percent to Obama's 45 percent;

***President Obama leads Congresswoman Michele Bachmann 46 percent to 44 percent; and

***41 percent of Floridians approve of President Obama's job performance while 56 percent disapprove. Fifty five percent of independents disapprove.

In April, a Sachs/Mason-Dixon poll found 51 percent of Floridians disapproving of President Obama's job performance.  In that poll, Governor Romney led President Obama in a hypothetical matchup with 48 percent for Romney and 43 percent for President Obama.

The August Sachs/Mason-Dixon Florida Poll also found Governor Romney leading all Republican hopefuls:

Mitt Romney   28%
Rick Perry   21%
Michelle Bachman  13%
Herman Cain   7%
Newt Gingrich  5%
Ron Paul   4%
Rick Santorum  2%
Jon Huntsman    -
Someone Else   3%
Undecided   17%

The April Sachs/Mason-Dixon poll found Governor Romney leading all GOP candidates with 23 percent of the vote.  In that poll, Romney led over candidates including former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, billionaire Donald Trump and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

The Sachs/Mason-Dixon Poll was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc. of Washington, D.C. from August 18 through August 22, 2011. A total of 625 registered voters were interviewed statewide by telephone.  All stated they vote regularly in state elections. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percent.

In addition, the survey also includes an over-sampling of 300 likely Republican primary voters for questions only on the GOP primary.The margin for error for the Republican primary voter sample is plus  or minus 5.8 percent.

Scott on Buss resignation: 'Things happen'

JD Alexander says Buss' forced resignation was a good move

Jd alexander Sen. JD Alexander said Thursday that the forced resignation of Department of Corrections Secretary Ed Buss on Wednesday was warranted. He told reporters after meeting with Gov. Rick Scott that he doubted the department's claim that the privitization effort could "cripple the agency" because of a potential $25 million owed to staff for comp time, vacation pay and sick leave if they lose their jobs.

"Whether or not that number ever comes to pass is questionable,'' said Alexander, the Senate budget chief who allowed the private prison plan to be quietly inserted into the budget without debate in the final days of the session. "I support the governor's change in the secretary.''

Legislators tucked into the budget the requirement that all 12 major prisons in the Department of Corrections Region IV be run by private companies. The region encompasses an 18-county area from Ocala southward, and includes about 3800 employees.

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Scott asks Charles Corley to continue as Elder Affairs secretary

Gov. Rick Scott named Charles Corley as Elder Affairs secretary, a job he has held on an interim basis twice since 2006.

Corley was one of six agency heads Scott asked to stay on through his transition.

Corley was first named an interim director in 2006, as then Gov. Charlie Crist took office. He became the department's deputy secretary and chief of staff before Crist appointed him to the top job again in June 2010.

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