« June 2010 | Main | August 2010 »

249 posts from July 2010

July 31, 2010

Rare joint sighting of McCollum and Scott in Miami

Yesterday, Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott announced that he would attend the Miami-Dade Republican Party's annual Lincoln Day dinner. Not to be shown up, at 5:44 p.m. today came this notice from his rival, Bill McCollum:

"A scheduling addition note for our friends in Miami -- don't be surprised to see Attorney General McCollum this evening. He will swing by the Miami-Dade County REC's Lincoln Day Dinner..."

In his brief remarks, McCollum noted his endorsements from some of the elected officials in the room and perhaps the most popular Republican outside of it -- former Gov. Jeb Bush. "I'm counting on you to get out that vote on Aug. 24,'' said McCollum.

Scott appealed to the heavily Cuban-American crowd. "I know that the embargo is a big deal and we have to continue to worry about freedom for Cubans every day," he said.

Miami-Dade Republican Party Chairman David Rivera called for a united party after the polls close on Aug. 24. "We will wrap our arms around our nominee because it is that important,'' he said. "We must have a Republican governor in Florida."

The event raised more than $150,000, Rivera said. Also at the event were two of the Republican candidates for attorney general, Pam Bondi and Holly Benson, and the GOP frontrunner for chief financial officer, Jeff Atwater. Their races have been eclipsed by the marquee races for governor and U.S. Senate.

"All across the state I'm the band that plays right before the Rolling Stones...I'm Marco Rubio's warm-up act,'' Atwater quipped.

Awkward? Scott explains immigration stance to Hispanic crowd

The Republican frontrunner for governor, Rick Scott, got a polite but less-than-enthused reception yesterday from the Latin Builders Association in Miami, and some in the audience blamed his hardline stance on illegal immigration.

The politically influential LBA does not support states taking immigration policy into their own hands, as did Arizona, with its new law allowing police to question suspected illegals. Scott has pledged to bring a similar law to Florida. Rival Bill McCollum initially opposed the law and and has spent weeks trying to convince voters that he likes it after all.

The group asked Scott four questions. Immigration came first.

"Our federal government has failed to secure our borders. No doubt about it,'' Scott said. "I believe in the rule of law...The police should be able to ask someone if they are legal or not. It's common sense."

Scott and McCollum are expected to face tough questions on immigration when they face off in Miami Monday in a debate hoted by Univision. 

For all the millions of dollars Scott has been pouring out of his own pocket onto statewide television, he hasn't spent a cent yet on Spanish-language media. He said Friday that he cut a Spanish radio ad that morning.

Greene added to 'crooked candidates' list

Senate Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek's standing on a list of 11 'crooked candidates' by a watchdog group called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has provided ammununition for rival Jeff Greene's attacks. Don't look now but CREW is adding Greene to the list.

Gelber slaps Aronberg with 'politician' label

State Sen. Dan Gelber's first direct mail piece is landing in mailboxes this weekend and confirms the race is getting negative. It calls Sen. Dave Aronberg, his opponent in the Democratic attorney general race, that four-letter word this election year: "a typical politician."

It hits back at Aronberg for sending this recent mail piece attacking Gelber's connection to the Florida law firm representing BP in the oil spill. (See his recent controversial mail piece page 1page 2, page 3, page 4.)

Meet the wives of the Florida Senate race

Florida's Senate race is about four men elbowing each other in a fierce bid to join the most powerful legislative branch in the United States.

But behind the candidates' nasty accusations are four spouses with mirror ambitions. They are their husbands' ultimate political accessories, the lapel flag in human form: slim legs, coiffed hair, dazzling smiles, a walking thesaurus of their spouses' winning attributes.

Carole Crist. Mei Greene. Leslie Meek. Jeanette Dousdebes-Rubio. Read about them here.

Floridians: We would've liked to vote on an offshore oil drilling ban

Nearly three-quarters of Floridians support giving the state's voters a chance to decide whether to permanently ban offshore oil-drilling, a new poll shows.

The Quinnipiac University survey -- which comes a week after the Florida Legislature rejected Gov. Charlie Crist's proposal to put a referendum on the ballot -- shows that 72 percent of voters support such a move. And it comes as nearly half of those polled agree that there "is no need'' for a constitutional amendment because offshore oil-drilling is already barred by state law.

"Voters are obviously wary of offshore oil-drilling, given what's happened in the Gulf,'' said Quinnipiac pollster Peter A. Brown. But he suggested that it was unclear whether the issue would prove to be a factor for Crist's independent bid for the U.S. Senate.

"Whether it will be pressing on Election Day, that's another question,'' Brown said.

July 30, 2010

Obama: We got the Everglades back on the "danger" list

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is hailing today's decision by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee to once again add Everglades National Park to the list of World Heritage in Danger.

The Everglades has been on the World Heritage List since 1979, but was removed from the danger list in 2007 at the request of the Bush administration. The Obama administration asked the committee to put the park back on the list.

"The Everglades remains one of our world’s most treasured – and most threatened – places," Salazar said. "The federal government must once again stand up and meet its responsibilities to Everglades restoration so that one day we can remove the park from the list of sites that are in danger."

The list is intended to focus attention and, thereby, resources of the international community and encourage action to address those threats.

New public money totals released

Here's this week's update on the public money (this section of the public finance law is not affected by today's injuction on the so-called "millionaire's amendment.") Bill McCollum is the only candidate for governor taking public money -- for various reasons. Rick Scott won't take it. Alex Sink isn't sure if she wants it. And Bud Chiles wants it but hasn't yet qualified for it.

Governor: Bill McCollum: $1.7 million. Rick Scott: $0 Alex Sink: $0 Bud Chiles: $0.

Attorney General: Dave Aronberg: $290k. Dan Gelber: $353k. Holly Benson: $249k. Pam Bondi: $307k. Jeff Kottkamp: $259k.

CFO: Jeff Atwater: $586k. Loranne Ausley: $311.

Ag Commissioner: Scott Maddox: $196k. Adam Putnam: $317k.

Scott wins appeal in district court -- throws out McCollum's matching $$$

The 11th District Court of Appeal in Atlanta reversed a Florida court Friday and agreed to Republican Rick Scott's request for a prelliminary injunction halting Florida's public financing law, saying that the provision that allows his opponent to get an excess subsidy of taxpayer dollars violates his 1st Amendment rights.

Writing for the three-judge panel, Circuit Judge William H. Pryor said they agreed with Scott's argument that the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Davis v. Federal Election Commission "requires us to subject the excess spending subsidy to strict scrutiny. We conclude that even if the subsidy encourages participation in the public financing system and indirectly prevents corruption or the appearance of corruption, the excess spending subsidy is not the least restrictive means of doing so.

"Like the district court, we think it is obvious that the subsidy imposes a burden on nonparticipating candidates, like Scott, who spend large sums of money in support of their candidacies."

The decision will put an immediate halt to the matching money Attorney General Bill McCollum thought he was entitled to when his Republican opponent exceeds the state's $24.9 million spending cap, as expected. The numbers are due in today.

 Here's the 45-page ruling: Download Scott's appeal ruling. Some highlights:

Continue reading "Scott wins appeal in district court -- throws out McCollum's matching $$$" »

Mears, Foy leave S.S. Charlie Crist

Two of Gov. Charlie Crist's top aides, David Foy and Kathy Mears, are leaving the governor's office. Both are deputy staff chiefs. Foy is going to a "Fortune 500 company" in Texas and Mears next employer is unknown right now.