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141 posts from August 2006

August 25, 2006

It's God's will

US Rep Katherine Harris may not be worried about poll numbers that show her 30 points behind Sen. Bill Nelson - possibly because there's a higher power involved.

In an interview with Florida Baptist Witness, Harris notes that "God is the one who chooses our rulers." She dimisses the separation of church and state as a "lie we have been told" and notes that "if people aren’t involved in helping godly men in getting elected then we’re going to have a nation of secular laws. That’s not what our founding fathers intended and that’s certainly isn’t what God intended."

She notes later in the interview that "if you are not electing Christians, tried and true, under public scrutiny and pressure, if you’re not electing Christians then in essence you are going to legislate sin. They can legislate sin. They can say that abortion is alright. They can vote to sustain gay marriage."

The entire interview is available here http://www.floridabaptistwitness.com/6298.article

The weekly newsjournal of the Florida Baptist State Convention also features interviews with two of Harris's Republican primary rivals, LeRoy Collins and Will McBride, along with both Republican gubernatorial candidates, Charlie Crist and Tom Gallagher, and Democrat Rod Smith.

Crist still has sizable lead new poll says

Contrary to claims by supporters of Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, he trails Attorney General Charlie Crist by 10 percentage points in a new poll of Republican voters -- not 7 percentage points. The numbers according to the poll by the Florida Chamber of Commerce: Crist 39 percent, Gallagher 29 percent, no opinion 29 percent. In June, a chamber poll showed Crist leading Gallagher 42 percent to 23 percent.

The poll also shows that in the Republican primary for U.S Senate Katherine Harris still leads with 27 percent, besting her closest rival Will McBride who comes in at 11 percent. Gov. Jeb Bush has an 80 percent approval rating among Republicans.

In anticipation of new polls, Crist and his campaign have maintained that they expect the race to tighten in the days leading up to the Sept. 5 primary.

"Don't they always,'' said Crist this morning at a campaign stop in Jacksonville. "Game on, baby. Let's rock and roll. It's all going to be good as long as we stay focused, as long as we work hard. I have confidence."

A source inside the Crist campaign says their own internal polls show that Crist is up by 19 points.

Harris doesn't want to get up that early

Republican U.S. Sen. candidate Katherine Harris apparently has canceled an 8:30 a.m. scheduled appearance at the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club in Miami Beach.

Get a load of this e-mail from Mike Burke of the breakfast club: "Contrary to a confirmation given to TMBC Tuesday night, Katherine Harris will not honor her longstanding commitment to appear at the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club on Aug. 29. Since this cancellation was delayed in order to make it impossible to obtain a speaker who would actually show up, we are holding this date open. Perhaps this weekend's round of changes in the Harris campaign will produce adult supervision. And no, we will not move the TMBC to Versailles to build a crowd for a photo-op. My apologies. I promise to book no more novelty acts in the future.''

Update: One of Harris' three GOP rivals, Will McBride, is offering to be the "relief pitcher."

Crist pounds Gallagher in new ad

The campaign of Attorney General Charlie Crist has insisted that their poll numbers show that the attacks launched during the last 10 days by Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher haven't had much of an effect. Gallagher has insisted that Crist is "pro-choice" and is a liberal, while Crist insists he is "pro-life" and a consistent conservative. But maybe the ads are having an impact. How else do you explain the decision by the Crist campaign to put a new TV ad in circulation less than 36 hours after their last TV ad started running?

The Crist new ad rips Gallagher as a flip-flopper who has gone from liberal to conservative and someone who likes to tax Floridians. The script goes like this: "Your're Tom Gallagher and you've got problems. You've run for Governor three times: liberal, pro-choice, anti-gun, and so pro-tax you supported the largest tax increase in state history. Taxing Tom Gallagher. Desperate, you try to flip flop, confessing: "Each time you run, you're a different person." But you're still Taxing Tom Gallagher, no conservative, still loves higher taxes, even opposing Charlie Crist's property tax cuts. Charlie Crist: endorsed by the NRA, a positive, pro-life Ronald Reagan Republican we trust."

The ad is playing on the fact that Gallagher once had a moderate stance on abortion and that he once proposed the "Penny for Prisons" tax. Gallagher also recently told a group that he was opposed to Crist's proposal to let counties double the homestead exemption from $25,000 to $50,000.

And in the past, Gallagher has been in favor of some gun control measures, including one to ban the sale of guns to anyone between the ages of 18 and 20.

Harris attacks Nelson

U.S. Sen. candidate Katherine Harris announced a statewide ad buy attacking Sen. Bill Nelson and touting a sex-crimes law she helped pass.

Here's the text:

"Katherine Harris.  A gutsy woman who fought for conservative values and won.   Harris sponsored Carlie’s law to get tough on sexual predators and pedophiles. Bill Nelson is a do-nothing liberal Senator who hasn’t passed a meaningful bill in six years. And as insurance commissioner Nelson’s actions caused insurance rates to soar and Floridians paid the price.  Florida needs a gutsy fighter, not a do-nothing Senator."

Nelson spokesman Dan McLaughlin responded: "Liberal? No, not true. She's trying to apply labels that don't sit. He's voted to approve more than 95 percent of the president's judicial appointments.

"A do-nothing Senator? Again, not true. Bill Nelson was as instrumental as any member of congress to keep oil rigs off Florida's shores. Just this year, among others, he got through the Senate the bill that allows people to get cheaper prescriptions from Canada."

"As for insurance, Katherine Harris is clueless about the marketplace. She's just flat out clueless. Insurance rates were 55 percent less on average when he was commissioner, compared to today. Maybe she wasn't paying attention, but eight hurricanes hit this state in less than two years."

"The Republican Party has failed you"

So said Rep. Juan Zapata, R-Miami, who blames the political influence of the insurance industry for many of the problems in the insurance market. And he singled out one man: Rep. Don Brown, R-Defuniak Springs, who chaired the House insurance policy council and is an insurance agent who's "in the pocket of the insurance industry,'' Zapata said.

Zapata made the comments Saturday at a Coral Gables "idea raiser" event spawned by incoming House Speaker Marco Rubio, who left just before the wheels fell off in the room. Miami's WINZ 940 AM radio host Jim DeFede got a hold of the tape of the meeting from Miami Rep. Julio Robaina, played it on the show this morning and then phoned a confused Don Brown.

"His name’s Don Brown. And you know how we talked about the Panhandle exempting themselves [from the building code]. Well, that’s the guy who’s the chairman of the insurance committee, Don Brown," Zapata said on the tape.

"And I will tell you this much, on the record, and I hope he hears this: He is in the pocket of the insurance companies."

Robaina tried to stop him, but Zapata continued.

"I wish Speaker designate Marco Rubio was here. I hope he doesn’t chair an insurance committee because it would be a disservice to all of you."

Said Brown: "I can only tell you that, there is no question I have about 30 years experience as an insurance agent. I can just tell you in that 30 years on three different occasions that arbitrary decisions by insurance companies have almost bankrupt me and I would simply respond I am not a fan of insurance companies any more than any one else." He later said he didn't know Zapata had such feelings, but said, "I won't bring this up with him. At my age, I've learned some things are better left unsaid."

Not Zapata. Here's how he began his rant, agreeing all the while with incoming House Minority Leader Dan Gelber, a Miami Democrat: "The Republican Party has failed you, and not because we haven’t tried but I think we haven’t tried hard enough. And I think it’s obvious by the results. I think for far too long we created a system that really benefited the insurance companies. And we have been afraid."

Strange bedfellows in the Everglades

Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Davis of Tampa and Republican U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw of Fort Lauderdale are both using an Everglades cleanup measure pushed by Big Sugar in 2003 to club opponents in their respective races.

Davis has repeatedly assailed his Democratic rival for governor, state Sen. Rod Smith, for voting for a bill that environmentalists said would weaken pollution standards and delay the restoration of the national park. In their first debate televised statewide, Davis pointed to $1 million in ads the sugar industry has run on behalf of Smith, who comes from rural Alachua and chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Shaw has lauched a similar attack against his re-election challenger, Democratic state Sen. Ron Klein of Boca Raton. Klein also voted for the 2003 legislation and has taken $16,500 in sugar money. Shaw's latest ad barks: "Big Sugar. Pumping Pollution into the Everglades. Pumping Campaign Money to Tallahassee politicians like Ron Klein."

Perhaps Klein and Smith are commiserating over a sugar-laden cup of coffee...

Crist forced to defend his abortion stance

Attorney General Charlie Crist, the frontrunner in the Sept. 5 GOP primary for governor, is being forced to explain his position on abortion in the wake of TV ads calling him "pro-choice." Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who has received the endorsement from Florida Right to Life, also raised questions about Crist's position in their first televised debate earlier this week. More here.

August 24, 2006

LG audition for Jennifer Carroll?

State Rep. Jennifer Carroll, in what may be an audition for another job, gave a rousing introduction for Attorney General Charlie Crist at a dinner-time meeting of the Leaders for Tomorrow Republican Club in downtown Jacksonville. The Green Cove Springs Republican told the group of 75 people, which consists primarily of black Republicans, that Crist did not change his stances on issues just because he was running for higher office and did not "flip-flop." Crist's rival, Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, contends Crist is hard to pin down on such high profile issues as abortion.

"He didn't change his tune just to run for governor,'' said Carroll. "He was consistent. This is C squared. Charlie Crist. Consistent conservative."

The 46-year-old Carroll is viewed by many as a potential running mate for governor. She's a veteran of the U.S. Navy, served as secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs under Gov. Jeb Bush, and was the first black female Republican elected to the Florida Legislature. When asked if she has been given a lieutenant governor questionnaire to fill out by the Crist campaign, Carroll refused to answer, smiling and saying "Get out of here." Crist and other top campaign staff have refused to answer any questions about who they may be considering for a running mate.

Crist says no

At a campaign stop in DeLand, Attorney General Charlie Crist told a would-be supporter "No." The question: Would the Republican candidate for governor support the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment? Democratic legislators the last few years have filed bills in Tallahassee calling for ratification of the amendment _ which fell three votes short of making it in the U.S. Constitution.

"I'm really disappointed in his answer, because I really like him," said Rachel Sieg, president-elect of the Business and Professional Women of Florida and a Republican. "If he's not going to help women...I'm not going to be a happy camper."

Crist explained to Sieg that he believed discrimination was already outlawed under the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution and that the ERA was not needed. Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher earlier this week complained that Crist never takes a stand on an issue and wants to be "everything" to "everybody." When asked about it today, Crist said: "I say no all the time."