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7 posts from June 11, 2014

June 11, 2014

Meet Charlie Crist's campaign team


Democrat Charlie Crist is ready to announce his new campaign team, a mix of new and old names (it doesn't include everyone in advisory or consulting positions).

“We are building a grassroots, people-focused team that represents Florida’s diversity. That’s how we will defeat Rick Scott and put Florida’s middle class back in charge," campaign manager Omar Khan said in a written statement.

Here's the email:

Continue reading "Meet Charlie Crist's campaign team" »

Plaintiffs file closing arguments and proposed order in redistricting trial

The coalition of voters challenging Florida's congressional districts filed a 30-page closing argument Wednesday, peppering the brief with blacked out sections that attempt to shield references to the political consultant Pat Bainter and his company.

They also filed their version of what they would like to see Judge Terry Lewis order, when he rules on the case by the end of the month. 

The defendants, the Florida House and Senate, will file their answer on Friday. More to come. 

Download Plaintiffs closing brief

Download Plaintiffs proposed order

Lawmakers -- but not Rick Scott -- celebrate immigrant tuition bill


Latvala NunezBroward College hosted a celebration today to thank legislators for passing a law that allows undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition. Bill sponsors Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, and Rep. Jeanette Nunez, R-Miami, joined Democratic members of the Broward legislative delegation to accept a resolution from the college's Board of Trustees thanking them all for supporting the issue.

Student "dreamers" were on hand to talk about the effects of this law and a separate bill that allows military veterans to pay in-state tuition, too. "They wanted to show their appreciation," Latvala said.

He described the event as having a pep-rally-like atmosphere, a stark contrast to the quiet manner in which Gov. Rick Scott signed the immigrant tuition bill, HB 851, over the weekend. Behind the scenes, Republican lawmakers who backed the legislation stewed that the governor blocked their opportunity to celebrate the historic legislation by choosing not to hold a public bill signing.

The governor held a campaign event nearby today in Boca Raton, where he talked up his higher education and tuition policies. But he chose not to attend the Broward College celebration, Latvala said. "I tried to get the governor to go, but they had something else that they wanted to do."Latvala Nunez group

The governor's office did not immediately respond to our inquiry about why he didn't attend the immigrant tuition celebration. We'll update this post if there is reason to.

(The first picture is from Latvala's Facebook page. The second picture was tweeted by Sen. Maria Sachs.)

Study: Florida is one of the most corrupt states

Fortune magazine digs into the results of a study that compared corruption data to state budgets to come up with a list of the most corrupt states. Florida cracked the top 10.

An excerpt:

A new study from researchers at the University of Hong Kong and the Indiana University estimates that corruption on the state level is costing Americans in the 10 most corrupt states an average of $1,308 per year, or 5.2% of those states’ average expenditures per year.

The researchers studied more than 25,000 convictions of public officials for violation of federal corruption laws between 1976 and 2008 as well as patterns in state spending to develop a corruption index that estimates the most and least corrupt states in the union.

Based on this method, the the most corrupt states are:

1. Mississippi
2. Louisiana
3. Tennessee
4. Illinois
5. Pennsylvania
6. Alabama
7. Alaska
8. South Dakota
9. Kentucky
10. Florida

That these places landed on the list isn’t exactly surprising. Illinois, which has gain notoriety for its high-profile corruption cases in recent years, is paired with states like Mississippi and Louisiana, which are some of the least economically developed in the country. The researchers also found that for 9 out of the 10 of the most corrupt states, overall state spending was higher than in less corrupt states (South Dakota was the only exception). Attacking corruption, the researchers argue, could be a good way to bring down state spending without hurting services that people need.

Read more here.

The Miami link to Eric Cantor's polling firm


The stunning primary loss Tuesday by Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia put the polling firm working for his campaign, McLaughlin & Associates, in the spotlight for failing to measure the popularity of challenger David Brat.

Pollster John McLaughlin predicted Cantor would win by 34 percentage points. Instead, he lost by 10.

That same New York firm appears on the campaign expenses of Miami-Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo, a Republican running for Flroida's 26th Congressional District. Last year, Curbelo's campaign paid the company $11,990 for polling, federal elections records show.

Curbelo indicated Wednesday that he's not worried. Polling for his campaign is being performed by Jim McLaughlin, the firm's CEO, not John, the company's president.

"Jim McLaughlin is a top-notch pollster with a record of accuracy and professionalism in the South Florida market," Curbelo said. "We are fortunate to have him on our team."

Bogdanoff is in -- rematch against Sachs and Sen prez fight awaits

Ellyn_Setnor_Bogdanoff_(R-25th)Former state Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff announced Wednesday she's ready for a re-match against Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Boca Raton, in the Democrat-leaning district that straddles Broward and Palm Beach counties.

In a note to her followers, Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, said she expects the match-up will be hard work but wants "the opportunity to serve our community."

Sachs defeated Bogdanoff two years ago by five percentage points in one of the most bitterly-fought and expensive legislative campaigns of the 2012 election.

After sitting out for two years, Bogdanoff has been heavily recruited to run by Sen. Jack Latvala who is counting on her support to bring him the title of Senate president in 2016. Latvala, R-Clearwater, and state Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, are rumored to be locked in a 13-13 tie and Bogdanoff has pledged to support Latvala and be rewarded with a high profile post.

But before Bogdanoff faces off against Sachs she may have a primary challenger -- Joseph Bensmihen of Boca Raton, a wealthy owner of a home health company, is rumored to be ready to run in the GOP primary.

Negron said in a statement that,  contrary to previous reports, "I am not backing possible candidate Joseph Bensmihen in the District 34 Senate seat."

In an interview Bogdanoff said she will focus on jobs, the economy, children’s issues and criminal justice reform. Asked about her primary opponent, Bogdanoff said that he has financially supported her and volunteered for her in the past.

“I’m running against Maria Sachs,” she said.

Bogdanoff said the race will be different this time because it's not a presidential election year.

“I won’t have Obama on the top of the ticket,'' she said. "You can’t compare a presidential election race to an off-year race in terms of trying to overcome a national election and all the noise that is being made. ...  It was a banner year -- a Democratic sweep, everybody saw that.”

Bogdanoff wouldn’t cite a specific fundraising goal or estimate about what the race will cost but predicted it will be lower than two years ago since voter turnout will be lower.

The race already promises to be divisive. Sachs was a prime sponsor of legislation to report greyhound injuries at race tracks. On Wednesday, the Florida Greyhound Association put out an alert to its members urging them to contribute to Bogdanoff’s campaign. 

Sachs has already raised $193,000, according to campaign reports and has spent about $24,000.

Staff writer Amy Sherman contributed to this report.

Here's Bogdanoff's note: 

Continue reading "Bogdanoff is in -- rematch against Sachs and Sen prez fight awaits " »

Florida State University hires new firm, restarts presidential search


Florida State University hired a new search consultant Wednesday with hopes of moving past the acrimony and mistrust that has plagued its hunt for a new president.

Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates got the FSU job almost by default. Bill Funk submitted his resignation as search consultant Monday and the university’s second choice is now working for the University of Florida. The Storbeck firm helped New College of Florida choose a president in 2012 but has relatively little experience in the state.

Search committee Chairman Ed Burr said the panel remains “committed to hiring the best president possible ... in the most open and thorough process” but did not specify a timeline.

Read more here.