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237 posts from November 2011

November 30, 2011

Gov. Rick Scott to spend his birthday in Orlando, Kissimmee

birthdaycake.jpgHappy birthday to Gov. Rick Scott, who turns 59 on Thursday.

He'll spend the day in Orlando, where he's meeting with Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, participating in an "education roundtable" at Neptune Middle School in Kissimmee and attending the Manufacturers of Florida Summit in Orlando.

Scott is also planning a "jobs announcement" over the lunch hour at the Florida Cattleman's Association headquarters in Kissimmee.

Photo credit cakecentral.com.

Bob Graham blasts legislature for reversing 40 years of enviro progress

Surrounded by environmental officials of previous governors, former Gov. Bob Graham forcefully urged Gov. Rick Scott to reverse the environmental damage done by legislators last session and “now lead.”

In a rare rebuke, Graham said the 2011 legislature  “reversed 40 years of Florida’s progress in water and land conservation.’’

“We are in a time machine which has now delivered us back to the 1960s,” he said to a rally of activists and former officials of previous administrations outside the OId Capitol.

Graham stopped short, however, of condemning Scott for failing to renounce the deep budget cuts that led to massive reductions in staff and funding at water management districts around the state.

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Obama nominates Robin Rosenbaum to federal bench

The White House announced Wednesday that the president is nominating Judge Robin S. Rosenbaum to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Rosenbaum has served as a U.S. magistrate judge for the Southern District of Florida since 2007. 

From 1998 until her appointment to the bench, Rosenbaum was an assistant U.S. Attorney in the same district, where she served as chief of the economic crimes section in the Fort Lauderdale office beginning in 2002. Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s office, Rosenbaum clerked for Judge Stanley Marcus on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in 1998. She worked as a litigation associate at Holland & Knight from 1996 to 1997, and served as staff counsel at the Office of the Independent Counsel in Washington D.C. from 1995 to 1996. 

She began her legal career as a trial attorney at the Federal Programs Branch of the U.S. Department of Justice from 1991 to 1995. She received her J.D. magna cum laude in 1991 from the University of Miami School of Law and her B.A. in 1988 from Cornell University.

"Throughout their careers, these nominees have displayed unwavering commitment to justice and integrity," President Barack Obama said of Rosenbaum and two other nominees announced Wednesday. "Their records of service to the public and the legal profession are distinguished and impressive and I am confident that they will serve the American people well from the United States District Court bench. I am honored to nominate them today."

PPP: Connie Mack 40%, George LeMieux 12%

From Public Policy Polling:

In the Florida Senate primary Connie Mack IV is stronger now than he was before he decided not to run before he decided to run. In late March Mack was polling at 28% in a Republican primary. Now we find him leading the way with 40% to 12% for George LeMieux, 4% for Mike McCalister, and 3% each for Adam Hasner and Craig Miller.

Name recognition is certainly a big part of Mack's early advantage. 57% of voters are familiar with him compared to only 29% for LeMieux, 18% for Hasner, and 17% for McCalister and Miller. But this is interesting to note too:

-Among voters familiar with Hasner, Mack leads Hasner 41-5.

-Among voters familiar with LeMieux, Mack leads LeMieux 40-25.

-Among voters familiar with McCalister, Mack leads McCalister 36-15.

-Among voters familiar with Miller, Mack leads Miller 36-8.

The bottom line? Name recognition is certainly an important part of the equation, but even when you account for that Mack's well ahead. And he has strong numbers across the ideological lines of the GOP, getting 44% with 'very conservative' voters, 43% with 'somewhat conservative' ones, and 32% with moderates.


High-placed source: Allen West considering primary bid v. Tom Rooney

It's tough getting elected as a Republican in the People's Republic of Broward County, one of the bluest stretches of Florida's political real estate. Still, US Rep. Allen West pulled it off in 2010, when he bested Rep. Ron Klein.

But now it the Florida Senate's proposed map for Congressional seats indicate it could be even tougher for the tea-party favorite to win District 22. The proposed district is 4 percent more Democratic than it currently is.

And that could be bad news for Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta.

"Allen's strongly considering making a move," said a highly placed source affiliated with West's camp. "It's not a big move, just a few miles away."

West's best move -- running for U.S. Senate -- still appears to be off the table. But West gave it a second thought recently, another source said. And he could jump in that race, though it's less likely.

All this talk is both premature and potentially too late. On one hand, the Legislature has yet to meet to sign off on the plans. And the Florida House hasn't even proposed its own version. But, sources in the Legislature tell us that the House is more inclined to adopt major portions of the Senate's Congressional map. So West needs to start making noise now, in part because legislators will have to decide whether to help him. Rooney has a key connection in the Legislature: uber-lobbyist and political fundraiser Brian Ballard, who has represented the gambling interests of the representative's family for years.

Two new state Constitutional amendments, though, make any help tougher for any candidate because they ban legislators from intentionally favoring or disfavoring incumbents or political parties. But miraculously, the Senate's plans just happen to favor Republicans overall. So the help is possible, if not coincidental. Read here for more on that.

There's a little bit of history in this possible move by West.

In 2002, the last time the Legislature draw its maps, the Legislature initially tried to protect D-22 incumbent Clay Shaw by taking Republicans away from D-16 incumbent Mark Foley. Foley's camp said it was a "recipe for a primary." And the Legislature backed off the proposal (Shaw went on to lose to Flein, and Foley went on to resign his seat in the so-called "page-turner" sex scandal.

Florida is Newt Gingrich country as Cain collapses, Romney wanes

In the latest episode of As the Republican Electorate Turns, one-time poll cellar dweller Newt Gingrich is the new star on Florida's political stage.

But unlike other presidential frontrunners, Gingrich’s support looks strong, with 41 to 47 percent of voters favoring the former House Speaker, according to surveys released by InsiderAdvantage and Public Policy Polling, respectively.

Mitt Romney’s support is at 17 percent and starting to wane, both polls indicate. And Herman Cain is all but done for. He’s polling at 15 percent, a decline as he faces yet another sex-related allegation that he disputes.

Cain isn’t dead yet. It’s dangerous to make those predictions in this race. Just ask Gingrich, who was once polling in the single digits and barely had a staff. At one debate more than a month ago, another campaign noticed that Gingrich and his wife were the only ones in his entourage.

“The biggest reason for Newt Gingrich's rise is that he's picked up the voters of Herman Cain and Rick Perry as their campaigns have fallen apart,” said Tom Jensen, with Public Policy Polling, wrote in an analysis.” But these numbers make it pretty clear he's doing more than that- some of Mitt Romney's '25%' is starting to fall off and move toward Newt as well.”

Romney has lost 13 percentage points since the last survey conducted in September by Public Policy Polling, which typically surveys for Democrats. Republicans also view Romney less favorably. The two polls also indicate that Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum are stuck in single digits in Florida.

Florida is a closed primary state -- only Republicans can vote for their nominee. The primary is Jan. 31. The state carries bragging rights, major media attention and a good load of delegates that can help the winner secure the party's nomination at the Republican National Convention, which will be held in Tampa this year.

In the general election, Florida is key for Republicans. Because Democrats usually win the big states of California and New York, Republicans need the Electoral College votes of Florida and strongly conservative Texas to have  a shot at winning the White House.

The Public Policy Polling analysis shows Gingrich appeals to Tea Party conservatives, moderates and senior citizens – the most crucial segment of the electorate in a state like Florida.

“Florida has one of the oldest Republican electorates in the country and with voters over 65 he's at 54%,” Jensen wrote in an analysis. “That sort of support from seniors has become the rule for Newt in our polls.”

The poll, along with the InsiderAdvantage survey conducted for the Jacksonville Times Union on Tuesday, was part of a one-two punch for Romney, who was in the state yesterday. Often, when a candidate appears in a state, he gets a little lift in the polls.

The poll results came as a big surprise to InsiderAdvantage pollster Matt Towery, who used to work for Gingrich years ago and has been critical of his former boss at times.

“I am totally shocked by these numbers,” Towery told the Times Union. “Newt Gingrich is winning nearly 50 percent of the independent vote, but more importantly, the Republican vote which makes up the vast majority of the Florida Republican primary.”

State regulator retires to take a job, he thinks, with barrel racing track

Jim BarnesAnother turn in the Tallahassee revolving door involves Jim Barnes, a former investigator with the state's Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering. The 19-year veteran of the department resigned Nov. 21 to reportedly take a job at the newest horse track to open shop in Florida, the barrel racing and cardroom venue in the tiny North Florida town of Gretna owned by Creek Entertainment. Today is his last day. Download Resignation letter-Barnes

Among Barnes' jobs was to review permit applications. The department said he did not review the controversial permit to authorize barrel racing as a pari-mutuel game for Gretna. That decision is currently being challenged by the Florida Quarter Horse Association which views barrel racing as an unsanctioned pari-mutuel game in Florida and dangerous to quarter horses.

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Ron Paul's Miami presence

From a press release:

Miami, FL – The Ron Paul 2012 Presidential Campaign is having the grand opening of its South Florida campaign headquarters located in Miami.

A grand opening celebration for the new office, which has already commenced operations, will take place at 3 P.M. on Saturday, December 3rd at the South Florida headquarters, located at 13971 SW 140th Street (near Tamiami Airport).

The event, which regretfully Dr. Paul is not scheduled to attend due to scheduling conflicts in Iowa and New Hampshire, is to be followed by the opening of a Palm Beach area office in the coming weeks.

“The excitement being generated by Ron Paul’s Constitutionally-limited government, sound money and pro-growth message has caused the grassroots support to swell and launch a grassroots effort to make a tremendous impact here,” said Hector C. Roos, the Ron Paul 2012 Presidential Campaign’s South Florida Regional Coordinator.

Members of the Miami-Dade Republican Executive Committee will make a speech in support of Ron Paul at 3 P.M.

The South Florida campaign effort is being spearheaded by the grassroots organization RonPaulVolunteers.org a network of Ron Paul supporters working to bring the message of Dr. Paul to the nearly one-third of Florida's population living in the three most populous counties in Florida, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach.

The grand opening event will include a meet and greet with volunteers and campaign staff, who will familiarize volunteers with some aspects of plans to target the Miami-Dade and the Tri-County area. Staff will distribute campaign materials such as yard signs and bumper stickers, and food and refreshments will be served amid a family-friendly atmosphere.

For more information please visit www.ronpaulvolunteers.org

Rep. Dwight Bullard will run for mom Larcenia's Miami state Senate seat

From a press release:

Miami, FL  (November 30, 2011) –This morning State Representative Dwight Bullard announced his candidacy for State Senator in the 39th District. The seat is currently held by Sen. Larcenia Bullard, who cannot seek reelection due to term limits.

“Public service is what I have been brought up around and enjoy doing” said Bullard, “The opportunity to go back to Tallahassee and protect the interests of the communities that have shaped my child and adulthood is one that I excitedly embrace. I have two terms in the Florida House of Representatives and 13 years as a public educator to help guide my legislative decisions as a State Senator. I will fight for job growth, strengthen our children’s education, and protect our neighborhoods, families, and seniors.”

Like many public employees, Bullard has experienced firsthand the effects of the economic downturn these past three years, but has continued to strive for success in everything he does. Currently, Bullard is a State Representative in the 118th district, as well as continuing to serve as a teacher at Coral Reeef Sr. High School. Bullard is a community leader, serving in several community and civic organizations.

Bullard said his priorities if elected to the senate are to implement more fiscally and socially responsible state budgets, support policies that help employers create and retain jobs in Florida, and ensure that local schools receive state funding they need to meet children’s academic and extracurricular needs. Bullard also intends to promote legislation that will effectively capture the true intent of the taxpayers in Florida.

“I am running for this office because I want to bring that same experience, commitment and vision I have always brought to my personal and professional life to the State Senate” stated Bullard. “The state of  Florida needs a leader that it can count on, a leader with strong relationships and a willingness to fight for what is right. I will work hard for the 39th District just like I have worked hard my whole life.”

Bullard lives in the community of Richmond Heights where he was raised by his parents Hon. Edward Bullard (a former State Representative) and Sen. Larcenia Bullard. He received a B.S. in History with a minor in Education from Florida A&M University.

The not yet drawn 39th District will likely include portions of Miami-Dade County as well as Monroe and surrounding counties.

For more information about Dwight Bullard and his campaign, please visit www.dwightbullard.com or join his Facebook group Dwight Bullard for FL State

Benjamin Netanyahu's war on Christmas?

Tis the season for some on the right to claim some on the left are waging a "war on Christmas."

But what happens if it's Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's administration that's getting all un-jolly? Check out the commercial below, sponsored by Netanyahu's Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, which The Atlantic says is airing the spots in "at least five American communities that warn Israeli expatriates that they will lose their identities if they don't return home."

Here's the other spot: