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220 posts from May 2012

May 26, 2012

Three way GOP FL Senate primary? Rep. Glorioso says he's "strongly considering" a bid

Florida Rep. Rich Glorioso of Plant City is strongly tempted to stop running for Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections and instead enter the race to replace Sen. Ronda Storms, who's leaving to challenge a porn-vexed property appraiser.

"I'm looking at it pretty seriously. It's last minute. But I've wanted to serve in the Senate," Glorioso said. "Ronda had two more years in her term.  And I was running for Supervisor of Elections because Ronda had the seat locked down. But now that the seat's come open. I have the experience, I've chaired approprations committees for the past four years."

Glorioso said he'll decide by Tuesday or Wednesday. He better move quickly. Rep. Rachel Burgin and former Sen. Pres. Tom Lee have announced they'll run. The seat could cost up to $1 millon to win.

Freshmen Rep. Shawn Harrison may run as well, making for quite a Republican Senate primary this Aug. 14.

UPDATE: Fla. Attorney General Pam Bondi not getting married this weekend

See this post from Miami Herald news partner Tampa Bay Times ...
http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/content/pam-bondi-plans-get-married-saturday

Rep. Rachel Burgin is all in vs. former FL Sen. Prez Tom Lee for state Senate

State Rep. Rachel Burgin officially announced today that she will run for state Senate District 24 against former Senate President Tom Lee.

It'll be quite a race for Tampa Bay. As noted yesterday, when incumbent Sen. Ronda Storms announced her resignation, Burgin has an edge in that she's an incumbent and moneyman Sam Rashid, who fashions himself as a kingmaker, might favor her more. Lee, whom the lobby corps dislikes for forcing lobbyist reforms, still has access to heavy-hitter fundraisers and knows the game better than the others.

Storms decision ultimately affects the insider Republican battle between St. Petersburg's Jack Latvala and St. Augustine's John Thrasher to be Senate President in two years. Storms was a vote for Latvala.

Here's Burgin's written statement: 

“I am humbled to have represented State House District 56 for the past four years. State Senate District 24 encompasses many residents I have had the honor of representing since 2008,” said Representative Burgin.

“Senator Ronda Storms has served our community well for many years. Her steadfast and tireless commitment to conservative values and principles and her dedication to our community’s children have been extraordinary. My commitment is to work tirelessly to advance our shared values and principles in the Florida Senate.”

“The Senate needs true leaders that are willing to take a stand on behalf of the constituents they represent not just the special interests that may want their vote. The people of Florida have told us they want fresh faces, good morals, strong ethics and hard workers in Tallahassee who refuse to participate in politics as usual. As I run this race I will work hard to listen and continue to represent the residents of our community in the Florida Senate”

May 25, 2012

Wedding bells will NOT be ringing for Pam Bondi and fiance this weekend in the Cayman Islands

UPDATE: Fla. Attorney General Pam Bondi not getting married this weekend

See this post from Miami Herald news partner Tampa Bay Times ...
http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/content/pam-bondi-plans-get-married-saturday

Jose Lambiet's Gossip Extra earlier reported ... 

Pam Bondi, Florida's  attorney general, is scheduled to get married to a Tampa doctor Saturday  afternoon in the Cayman Islands.

Bondi, 46, is set to tie the knot with fiance Gregory Henderson, an ophthalmologist, at about 5 p.m. at the Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman, according to several sources.

click here for more from Gossip Extra

 

 

Pam_bondi_wedding_party

Senator Siplin agrees to $3,000 fine for elections violations

State Sen. Gary Siplin has agreed to a $3,000 fine stemming from violations during his 2008 re-election campaign, the News Service of Florida reported today. The Florida Elections Commission is expected to finalize the settlement in August. Siplin is accused of leaving out information on campaign-finance reports and accepting an illegal campaign contribution from a phosphate-industry group.

It has been a rough week for the Orlando Democrat, known for breaking with his party on crucial votes and currying favor with Republicans for pet projects.

The Florida Times-Union published a report Sunday accusing Siplin and fellow Sen. Stephen Wise, R-Jacksonville, of using a shadow program at Florida A&M University to pass through funds to non-profits the senators are affiliated with. Senate leaders said they were aware of the program, but the matter still raised questions about the two senators' ability to influence the budget process.

The elections complaint against Siplin says he violated the law by failing to list the names and addresses of poll workers who were paid using campaign funds and that he received two $500 contributions from Florida Phosphate CCE before the primary, violating the $500 limit.

Continue reading "Senator Siplin agrees to $3,000 fine for elections violations" »

FL Sen. Ronda Storms to resign, run v. porn-vexed Tampa property appraiser. Former Sen. Prez Lee, Rep. Burgin, Rep. Glorioso could run

The porn-scandal engulfing the Tampa-area's property appraiser, Rob Turner, has so infuriated state Sen. Ronda Storms that she plans to resign office and run against him in the Republican primary.

"We need to restore honesty and integrity to the office," Storms said. "I'm not going to stand by silent. A Republican has to challenge him. We can't have no response and let the only political response to his actions come from the other side (Democrats."

Storms decision will set off a mad dash for her seat in Tallahassee and ultimately affects the insider Republican battle between St. Petersburg's Jack Latvala and St. Augustine's John Thrasher to be Senate President in two years. Storms was a vote for Latvala.

The names Storms has heard might want to replace her (or be persuaded to try): Former Sen. Tom Lee, her predecessor; Rep. Rachel Burgin, Rep. Shawn Harrison and, potentially, Rep. Rich Glorioso.

Lee and Burgin seem to be the most-favored. Burgin has an edge in that she's an incumbent and moneyman Sam Rashid, who fashions himself as a kingmaker, might favor her more. Lee, whom the lobby corps dislikes for forcing lobbyist reforms, still has access to heavy-hitter fundraisers and knows the game better than the others. Lee announced later that he'd run, Burgin is expected to confirm soon.

Storms will be missed by advocates for kids and the elderly. A fierce advocate, Storms was as complete a true Christian conservative as the state Capitol has seen in years. She walked the talk. She didn't just favor rights for the unborn, she was one of the few voices who consistently advocated for the least of these.

Storms could have a tough time winning the county-wide office. Democrat Bob Henriquez, a former House member, has filed to run and is an insider favorite.

Storms said she was angered by Turner for being "unrepentant" and remaining in office after aditting to the Tampa Bay Times that "he repeatedly sent pornography to his human resources director, a woman he fired Monday."

Turner said he fired Carolyn Filippone, a long-time employee of the public agency, for making false sexual discrimination claims about him to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in a complaint that included his porn sharing.

Continue reading "FL Sen. Ronda Storms to resign, run v. porn-vexed Tampa property appraiser. Former Sen. Prez Lee, Rep. Burgin, Rep. Glorioso could run" »

Add Miami-Dade mayor to chorus of South Fla. GOP'ers against uncapping Citizens insurance rates

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez joined other South Florida Republicans in opposing a plan by Citizens Property Insurance, the state insurer of last resort, to remove a 10-percent cap on rates for new policyholders.

Gimenez sent a letter to Citizens' interim president, Tom Grady, calling the proposal "very troubling and against the interests of all Floridians."

"I realize this is a difficult issue, but singling out new policies to carry a higher burden of insurance costs will have a devastating effect on the State's ability to attract businesses and create much needed jobs," Gimenez wrote in the May 18 letter.

Other Miami Republicans, including state Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and Sen. Anitere Flores, have also criticized the Citizens plan -- an indication that South Florida politicians are not willing to go as far as some of their party counterparts in what they are calling a risk-reduction campaign to avoid "hurricane taxes" after a major storm. Gimenez is a Republican, but serves in a non-partisan post.

"Trayvoning," the latest internet meme/outrage

Picture 8Apparently three to five guys on Facebook hit a nerve, especially in African-American media, by posting pictures of themselves as if they're  a hoodie-clad and Skittles-and-ice-tea-clutching Trayvon Martin after the Miami Gardens 17 year old was shot by George Zimmerman Feb. 26 in Sanford.

There's another photo-shopped image of President Obama holding Skittles and Arizona Ice Tea.

The Grio said it found the Facebook page yesterday with this explanation:

Trayvoning is when you Images

1. get hoodie

2. get skittles

3. get arizona

4. wear hoodie

5. go to florida

6. get shot :) Trayvon Martin was a 17-year-old African American male who was unarmed and got shot by a raciest [sic] mexican american.

Look out, planking, Tebowing or owling, Trayvoning has all the right ingredients (racial tension, sick humor and violence) to become a few-day sensation.

In response to this blog, Republican political consultant Rick Willson Tweeted/neologized this word: 'Memerage' n. A portmanteau word combining Internet 'memes' incl Photoshopping and captioning shit to piss people off."

Picture 6

 

The gun-shine state loves Stand Your Ground

Picture 4Florida is still the gun-shine state.

Though much maligned nationally, the state's "stand your ground" law at the center of the Trayvon Martin shooting case is well-liked by a majority of Florida voters, according to a new poll conducted by Quinnipiac University.

About 56 percent support the law and 35 percent oppose it, the poll released Thursday shows.

A majority opposes stricter gun-control laws. And a plurality of voters think that Tampa shouldn't be allowed to ban guns during the August Republican National Convention. But one place where an overwhelming majority Florida voters — 83 percent — think guns don't belong: the state Capitol.

That last finding drew a chuckle from gun-law critic Chris Smith, a Fort Lauderdale Democratic senator who's trying to amend "stand your ground" in the wake of the Trayvon shooting.

"Floridians love their guns," he said. "And they love the idea of "stand your ground". But when they learn it gives shooters immunity from arrest — when they learn it gives a tremendous presumption used by gangsters and thugs — then even my conservative friends think it should be changed."

But the National Rifle Association, which drafted the 2005 law and holds tremendous sway in the Florida Legislature, is fighting any changes to "stand your ground". The NRA for years has expanded gun rights and persuaded the Legislature to limit police, prosecutors and employers from controlling, monitoring or cracking down on guns.

The 2005 "stand your ground" law drew intense scrutiny after 17-year-old Travyon Martin, of Miami Gardens, was shot and killed on Feb. 26 in Sanford as he returned home from a convenience store. George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain, was charged with second-degree murder. He claims he shot the teen in self-defense.

Under the law, a person can "meet force with force" and can use deadly force if a person "reasonably" feels he's in mortal peril. The law eliminated a citizen's duty to retreat if confronted in public.

Zimmerman wasn't initially arrested and charged. Police cited "stand your ground". A national uproar ensued.

"Despite the controversy, public opinion seems to be solidly behind '"stand your ground"' and slightly against stricter gun control," said Peter Brown, assistant director of Quinnipiac's polling institute.

Support for the "stand your ground" law ran mostly along political party lines, the poll showed. Republicans overwhelmingly support it, 78-15 percent. Independents also support it, 58-35 percent. Democrats oppose it, 59-32 percent. Men back the law, 65-31 percent, while women favor it, 48-39 percent. Support is 61-31 percent among white voters. Hispanic voters support it, 53-36 percent. Black voters oppose it, 56-30 percent.

Continue reading "The gun-shine state loves Stand Your Ground" »

May 24, 2012

Temple Israel cancels Wasserman Schultz speech

Miami's Temple Israel yanked a program featuring Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz after a high-profile Republican donor quit the congregation in protest of the Democratic congresswoman's involvement.

Stanley Tate, a well-known philanthropist who started Florida's pre-paid college tuition program, resigned from the temple in protest after he learned Wasserman Schultz would be talking about Israel Friday night and he wouldn't get a chance at rebuttal.

Both are highly political people. As chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Wasserman Schultz is one of President Barack Obama's top mouthpieces. Tate is a co-chair of Mitt Romney's campaign in Miami-Dade County, and also has a national role in the GOP presidential candidate's campaign.  

Tate's resignation, first reported by the Shark Tank blog, came after he asked the temple's leadership to let him speak in response to Wasserman Schultz. When they wouldn't do so, Tate said he would leave the congregation.

"She's the chairperson of the Democratic National Committee," he said. "The topic is U.S.-Israel relationship. There cannot be any conversation on that topic, none,  unless it has to do with the politics."

It's not unusual for Florida politicians -- or any political figures -- to speak at religious institutions, and Wasserman Schultz's office said she is regularly invited to do so. The temple is just outside her congressional district, which straddles Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

The temple's president, Ben Kuehne, said that while they "certainly embrace the congresswoman's willingness to participate in one of our programs," the board decided "it's unwise to proceed with the program tomorrow."