With less than two months before the election, Republican Pam Bondi's campaign for attorney general is hiring someone who knows the office: Sandi Copes, the current spokeswoman for Attorney General Bill McCollum.
Copes, who is taking a two-month unpaid leave from the AG's Office, starts Wednesday as the campaign spokeswoman from Bondi's Tampa headquarters. It's her first foray in to the campaign world.
After hearing from Russell Kentof the attorney general's office about all the disagreements they're having with oil spill claims czar Kenneth Feinberg, who doesn't think that many of the businesses affected by the plunge in tourism should be compensated, the governor's oil spill recovery task force unleashed a tirade of complaints about the Obama-appointed lawyer.
Carol Dover, executive director of the Florida Restaurant Association, said that after four meetings with Feinberg her association has hired three law firms to negotiate with him about how to resolve their differences. She called it "nothing but a totally verbal battle...he tells us one thing and rolls out paperwork that says another."
Her attorneys yesterday even threatened that if Feinberg didn't back off the emergency protocol he had established for the first round of claims, they would "continue to go to the media and call off negotiations."
Here's Bill McCollum as he spoke to reporters after the Florida Cabinet meeting discussing his failed bid for governor and why he won't endorse Rick Scott.
Bill McCollum called Rick Scott Wednesday to congratulate him on his victory in the GOP primary -- but he refused to endorse him in the race.
"I still have serious questions ... about issues with his character, his integrity, his honestly, things that go back to Columbia/HCA and I have not had the occasion to really actually even get acquainted with him," McCollum said after the Cabinet meeting. "As other voters will do I will judge him throughout this campaign."
So much for GOP unity ...
McCollum said he also spoke to Democrat Alex Sink and independent candidate Bud Chiles. He declined to go into detail about any of the conversations.
Republican Sen. Paula Dockery who initially ran for governor only to see the Republican establishment back Bill McCollum, gushed in a press release last night about Rick Scott's win and the lessons for the Republican Party of Florida:
"For too long, true Republican principles have been put by the wayside in favor of the special interest agendas that fund the party elite. I wholeheartedly look forward to what tonight's election results mean: a revitalized party that is beholden only to the conservative electorate who demonstrated their trust and confidence with the power of their vote."
RPOF didn't want to touch it. Spokeswoman Katie Betta wrote:
I apologize, but we are not able to send this out as it violates the portion of our e-mail policy that relates to negative comments regarding the RPOF and/or other Republicans.
If there is any way you can revise this release, I’d be happy to run it through our political department again.
It's the same RPOF that trashed Rick Scott's "false rhetoric." It then censored Scott's attempted rebuttal on the grounds that he was making inappropriate comments. More here on that.
Newly crowned GOP gov. candidate Rick Scott is slowly mending fences with the guys who supported opponent Bill McCollum in their effort to tear him down.
After being stunned into radio silence after Scott won, Senate President Mike Haridopolos, House Speaker Dean Cannon and House Republican leader Adam Hasner sent out written statements of support. Haridopolos faced the press today, swallowed his pride and said he was ready to "bury the hatchet."
Scott said he didn't sleep last night, has been besieged with calls and hasn't been able to keep track of his emails. So he's not sure who has reached out to him. Except for one guy.
"I know McCollum hasn’t called me," Scott said.
Sound familiar? McCollum in 2004 held out his endorsement of Mel Martinez in their bruising U.S. Senate primary.
Scott faces Democrat Alex Sink in the primary (along with indie Bud Chiles). Even she reached out to Scott. She called him last night to congratulate Scott on his victory and, according to a spokeswoman, "emphasized that she hoped this would be a race focused on the issues."
Haridopolos backed Jim Norman, Ellyn Bogdanoff, Lizbeth Benacquisto and Miguel Diaz de la Portilla who all won handily in the primaries and saw other conservatives like John Thrasher and Thad Altman win party bids for re-nomination.
He is trying to get a two-thirds majority (27) to make the Republican agenda virtually unstoppable and right now Haridopolos said he is predicting at a 28 member majority. "I was very aggressive about playing in Republican primaries because I wanted to make sure the Senate is a fiscally conservative place to do business,” he said. “I think last nights victories are a sign that if I support somebody, I’m going to be there 100 percent for them.”
The only race where he made an endorsement and didn't win: governor.
Rick Scott won the GOP primary, but immigration advocates caution he's going to have a tough time attracting support from Hispanics -- given his strong championing of Arizona's immigration law.
"While it did in the short term help Scott emerge from the primary, it leaves him in the position of almost being a dead man walking when you look at his favorability rating," said Fernand Amandi, vice president of Democratic pollster Bendixen & Amandi. "How does Scott tap into any Hispanic support I think is a key question for Florida."
He and GOP lobbyist Ana Navarro, who dropped her support for Bill McCollum after he backed legislation even tougher than Arizona's, suggested on a conference call that it was McCollum's walkback on immigration that at least partly cost him the primary. McCollum won Miami-Dade -- but turnout there was below that of the rest of the state, Amandi said.
"You look at a three point loss and the county with the biggest number of Hispanic Republicans being Miami-Dade underperformed," Amandi said. "Several factors were in play but how could one of them not have been the 11th hour move on immigration...which alienated a significant amount of his Hispanic Republican supporters."
Right around midnight on primary day, the Republican Party of Florida establishment got a message from an old friend: Delmar Johnson, the party's former executive director. Johnson, ousted as part of the Jim Greer scandal that rocked the party earlier this year, tweeted this message:
Buzz will save you searching for your Bible. Here are the verses, as found in the King James version:
"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."
The timing so soon after Bill McCollum's shocking loss to Rick Scott in the Republican primary for governor hardly seems a coincidence.
And Greer's wife, Lisa, had this message on her Facebook page: "Boy that Karma sure can be a bitch."