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6 posts from June 13, 2014

June 13, 2014

For second time this month, South Florida politicians drop in on Iowa politics


For the second time in two weeks, a lawmaker from South Florida is dipping a toe into Iowa politics.

On June 2, it was U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican and potential 2016 presidential candidate, who dropped in to give an assist to state Sen. Joni Ernst in her bid to win the GOP primary for an open U.S. Senate seat. Turns out Ernst probably didn’t need the help, going on the next day to cruise to an unexpectedly easy win in the five-person field (she pulled 56 percent of the vote despite being massively outspent by one of her competitors).

Ernst now faces U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, a Democrat from the northeast part of the state; early polls have her ahead.

On tap Friday is a visit from one of Braley’s House colleagues, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat from Weston who doubles as the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

For Iowa Republicans, this is a significant weekend, with a state party convention set for Saturday in Des Moines and three possible presidential candidates scheduled to appear (Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania).

According to The Des Moines Register, Wasserman Schultz is on hand to “counterbalance all that conservative speechifying” and that she will stress that the GOP has been taken over by the tea party.

Senate candidate Ernst has already attempted to counter that counterbalance; her campaign says Wasserman Schultz is an ideal spokeswoman for “Beltway Bruce Braley,” who they are working to portray as out-of-touch with Iowans.

Nan Rich fundraising off Rick Scott's signing of abortion restriction into law


Democrat Nan Rich hasn't always moved quickly to respond to political opportunities, but she wasted little time Friday capitalizing off of Gov. Rick Scott's decision to sign a new late-term abortion ban into law.

"This is an outrage, and we have to do something. Florida needs a pro-choice governor, so I need your help," Rich, a little-known former state Senate Democratic leader from Weston wrote in an email fundraising pitch.

"I’m the only pro-choice candidate for Florida. I need your support if we are going to finally – finally! – protect women government interference," Rich wrote.

The Democrats' frontrunner, former Gov. Charlie Crist, calls himself "pro-choice" as well. However, as a Republican, he once ran as a "pro-life" candidate. Either way, Crist didn't hop on the abortion bill signing as quickly as Rich.

Conventional wisdom used to hold that abortion was more of a plus for Republicans than Democrats in Florida because anti-abortion activists were more motivated by the issue. But increasingly, it has helped bring women -- specifically unmarried women -- voting Democratic in the state and nation. 

Another sign of public sentiment over abortion: 55 percent of Florida voters in 2012 rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that said "public funds may not be expended for any abortion or for health-benefits coverage that includes coverage of abortion."

But the governor's race is a mid-term election, when liberals and Democrats disproportionately stay home, so the sentiment over abortion and how it plays in this race is anyone's guess.

It's also clear, however, that Rich wants it to be in play.

Rick Scott signs new late-term abortion restriction bill into law

From the Associated Press:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Abortions will be illegal in Florida if a doctor determines that the fetus could survive outside the womb.

Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill Friday that redefines that state's current third trimester abortion ban.

Current law prohibits abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy unless the mother's life is at risk. The new law will require woman to have a doctor determine whether a fetus is viable before having an abortion.

The law takes effect July 1. It keeps an exception if a mother's life is at risk or to prevent irreversible physical impairment of a mother's major bodily function.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

UPDATED David Beckham team says Miami remains 'preferred choice' for MLS franchise


Is David Beckham, in the face of obstacles in Miami, looking for another possible home for his Major League Soccer expansion franchise?

A local spokesman for Miami Beckham United declined Friday to confirm a Yahoo Sports report that, citing an unnamed source, said Beckham could leave town to take over the Chivas USA team in Los Angeles instead.

"We don't discuss specifics of proposals," publicist Tadd Schwartz said in a statement. "Miami is our preferred choice and we are working hard to give the people of the city what they want and deserve, however we have always said that there are other cities that would welcome an MLS club owned by David and his partners."

UPDATE: MLS President Mark Abbott denied the Yahoo Sports report in an interview with the Miami Herald on Friday afternoon.

"I don't know where that report came from," he said. "There's no discussion about that right now. The league is not engaged in this conversation with [Beckham's group] about Chivas."

It's possible, of course, that Beckham's group is having discussions that MLS has not yet been involved in.

St. Leo Poll: Rick Scott 43%, Charlie Crist 41%


Another day another poll in the governor's race, this one from Saint Leo University. It shows Gov. Rick Scott leading Democrat Charlie Crist by an inside-the-error-margin amount of 43-41 percent.

Those results aren't surprising. Scott has spent at lest $12 million in unanswered TV ads statewide and Crist has spent zero since mid-March, which coincides with Saint Leo's last poll that showed Crist was up 43-39 percent.

Bottom line: $12 million unanswered TV ads has moved the needle a net 6 points in Scott's favor. So that's $2 million per point. 

As with other polls, Saint Leo's indicates Scott is struggling to get near 50 percent. Nearly every major survey shows the governor stuck between 42-45 percent. But that doesn't matter (especially in a multi-candidate race that will feature a Libertarian candidate; likely Adrian Wyllie).

Elections are about who gets the most votes. Not who gets a pre-determined percentage.

**UPDATE NOTE: It looks like all of Saint Leo's polling is done online now, which makes me a little nervous about the results (although they jibe with others). Here's more about the methodology.

Here's the last time we mentioned Saint Leo and here's its write up now:

Continue reading "St. Leo Poll: Rick Scott 43%, Charlie Crist 41%" »

Miami-Dade property appraiser drops lawsuit filed by predecessor Carlos Lopez-Cantera


Property Appraiser Lazaro Solis has dropped a lawsuit against Miami-Dade filed by his predecessor, Carlos Lopez-Cantera, over the powers of his county office.

Lopez-Cantera asked the Miami-Dade Circuit Court in August to rule on how much control, if any, the county mayor and commission has over the elected property appraiser. Judge Jose M. Rodriguez has yet to decide the case.

In January, Florida Gov. Rick Scott appointed Lopez-Cantera his lieutenant governor. Solis, Lopez-Cantera's deputy, assumed the property appraiser office on an interim basis.

That prompted the county to file a new motion to dismiss the case, noting the lawsuit -- now in Solis' hands -- was challenging the very law that put Solis in power. Solis responded Thursday with a motion for voluntary dismissal.

Solis said he feared a ruling upholding the county's argument that he didn't have legal standing would sway the judge or diminish the strength of an eventual ruling.

"I believe in the merits of the case," he said. "However, I was caught in a technicality."

When a new property appraiser is elected this fall, he or she could turn to the courts again. Commissioner Esteban "Steve" Bovo tried to get voters to clarify the property appraiser's powers with a ballot question, but his colleagues defeated the measure on the dais.

This post has been updated to clarify Solis' position.