November 15, 2010

Sink blasts legislators for caving to special interests rejecting override on drug bill

Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink issued the following statement Monday blasting House and Senate leaders for backing down from agreement to override a veto their previously unanimous support of HB 5603, a bill aimed at limiting the cost of workers compensation claims when medications are repackaged.

According to campaign finance reports, as reported by the News Service of Florida, a company that can directly benefit from the bill, Automated Healthcare Solutions, gave more than $1 million to campaign spending accounts head by  incoming Senate President Mike Haridopolos and House Speaker-designate Dean Cannon. The company also gave the Florida Republican Party another $735,000 and gave Gov.-elect Rick Scott's political committee $145,000.

"This gives the appearance that the Florida Legislature and Governor-elect Rick Scott are getting square with the special interests who funded their campaigns,” Sink said. “This was a perfect opportunity to save taxpayers millions of dollars and reduce workers’ compensation costs for Florida businesses. Once again, Tallahassee business-as-usual prevailed.” 

Cannon said legislators agreed to let Gov. Charlie Crist's veto stand because the measure had received bi-partisan support, including a letter written on Friday by outgoing House Democratic Leader Franklin Sands.

November 06, 2010

Alex Sink casts blame on Obama and 'tone deaf' White House

Democrat Alex Sink, whose fate was yoked to the Obama administration like hundreds of Democrats, lashed out in an interview with Politico today, suggesting that the Obama administration mishandled the response to Gulf the oil spill, failed to appreciate the political damage done by healthcare reform and did grave damage to her candidacy in the state’s conservative Panhandle.

“They got a huge wake-up call two days ago, but unfortunately they took a lot of Democrats down with them,” said Sink told the online magazine. 

November 03, 2010

Gov. Rick Scott; Sink concedes

Democrat Alex Sink conceded defeat about 10:30 Wednesday in a surprise announcement in Tampa. She had said she would wait until all votes were counted.

Gov.-elect Rick Scott is to make a statement shortly after noon. Sink called Scott Wednesday morning and conceded, urging him to find ways "to bring Floridians together rather than tear them apart.

"He certainly understood he needs to be the governor for all of Florida and that's my top line message for today," she said. "The winner of this race was going to need to think of ways to pull Floridians together as oposed to pulling them apart or any kind of partisan politics."

At a press conference in Tampa, she said "we lost because of forces beyond our control -- between money and the mood of the country."

Sink said that despite those forces, she would not have done anything different.  "This race was decided by less than 100,000 votes. So we just felt a little bit short."  

- MARY ELLEN KLAS

Palm Beach's votes are in: Sink gains 12,687, not enough to win

Sometime in the wee hours of the morning, Palm Beach County finished counting.

In what now appears to be a once-a-decade tradition, the Democratically-heavy coastal county became ground zero in determining the election. With all 789 precincts reporting, Palm Beach reported that Democrat Alex Sink had collected 216,438 votes -- 12,687 more than the totals on the Florida Division of Elections web site, which had given Scott a 72,000-vote margin.

That is enough to lower the gap, to 68,277. (Scott got another 8,960 too.) So for Sink, it's not enough to win. And, absent a major discrepancy at a polling place, it is not enough to even trigger a recount. That number is estimated at about 27,000.

The Sink camp was still interested in holding out for the results of the 32,000 straggling votes from early voters in Hillsborough County, Sink's home county. No word yet on when they will brief the media on their plans.

While Sink's party closed up at midnight, Republican Rick Scott addressed his remaining supporters and the media at 2 a.m. "We look forward to finishing the count," Scott said. "We know we're going to win."



 

Little counties pack big Republican punch for Rick Scott

Though all votes haven’t been tallied in Democrat-rich Palm Beach County yet (it's just after 5 a.m. Wednesday), Republican Rick Scott looks as if he beat Democrat Alex Sink statewide by about a percentage point: 49-48. That’s the same margin that the exit polls predicted about 8 p.m. Tuesday.

While success has many fathers, Scott owes a good debt of gratitude to North Florida counties. These rural tracts helped nudge Scott past Sink. Consider his lead in just three otherwise little-seeming counties:

Okaloosa: 27,674
Clay: 27,287
Santa Rosa: 22,151

Together, those three account for enough votes (77,000) to exceed Scott’s statewide lead (72,000) over Sink.

The big margins run up by Scott in most rural Florida areas largely negated the leads that Sink built up in the cities. And her margins in the cities, especially South Florida, weren’t big enough. She only edged Scott by 15 percentage points in Miami-Dade, where she pulled in 68,000 more votes than Scott. (There could be a Rubio Effect that attracted Miami-Dade voters to the Republican ticket).

Continue reading "Little counties pack big Republican punch for Rick Scott" »

Sink won't concede but 'will wait to have all the voices heard'

Alex Sink told a crowd of about 300 people at her election night party in Tampa at 12:15 that the results have been as expected: a nail-biter.

She called it a "classic Florida election,'' that's "coming down to the wire in what looks to be a dead-even race,'' she said. "We're Floridians, so we know what it means to count every single vote. So, this is what we're going to do. We're going to let the people of Florida -- all the people of Florida -- have their voices heard."

The crowd erupted in applause and started chanting "Alex, Alex." The message was clear: the crowd could leave but the campaign will remain awake, awaiting the results. The unofficial prediction: the numbers will narrow and a recount will be inevitable.

November 02, 2010

It's starting to look like Governor Rick Scott

Republican Rick Scott leads Democrat Alex Sink by 200,000 votes right now, and at the current rate of returns, it doesn't look like Sink can catch up. It's not over yet. But it's real close.

Consider: Scott rolled up huge numbers in all the northern counties, which gave him 10,000 or more votes. Sink is only making gains in Broward, Miami-Dade, Orange and Leon (though there's something up in Palm Beach and Hillsborough). What's more, she's only up by 7 percentage points in Miami-Dade. A big turnout could help Sink in Broward, which 912,000 voters, but only 29 percent of their vote has been counted. So it's marginally possible she could make up the difference there and in Palm Beach.

But the rest of the state looks red. All the Cabinet seats look like they've been won by Republicans. Three Democratic congressmen lost their seats and a fourth looks like he's on his way to losing to a GOP candidate.

Sink party subdued as music plays 'another one bites the dust'

At the lavish Marriott Waterside on Tampa's marina, the election night crowd for Alex Sink is growing but quiet. Two giant big screen televisions broadcast MSNBC's play-by-play of election results around the country. A DJ pipes in loud rock music. It was "Another One Bites the Dust." It's now "Only in America." The crowd lets out an occasional cheer as the television shows a rare Democratic win. The latest cheer came with the network's call of Mario Cuomo as New York's next governor.

Sink and her family, along with key supporters including state Sen. Arthenia Joyner, Bud and Kitty Chiles and Sen. Alex Villalobos are still watching returns in a hotel room. Drinks are flowing downstairs, and the shrimp and hors d'oeurves are being steadily consumed. But with the early returns of their last best hope of a Democratic statewide victory looking tighter and perhaps less promising than they had hoped, everyone is mellow.