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305 posts from August 2010

August 31, 2010

Penthouse CEO raising money for Crist

Politico: Florida Gov. Charlie Crist will get a late fundraising burst for his independent Senate bid from Penthouse CEO Marc Bell, according to an invitation obtained by POLITICO.

The evening event will be held at Bell’s Boca Raton home on Oct. 7, less than a month before Crist faces Republican Marco Rubio and Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek in one of the most closely watched Senate races in the country.

The invitation requests $500 per person to attend the general reception and $2,400 per couple for a VIP photo opportunity.

Bell, who also heads FriendFinder — one of the world’s largest social networking and multimedia entertainment companies — has long played in political races, donating to Democratic and Republican candidates. He gave to President George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign, as well as to then-Gov. Mitt Romney's and Sen. John McCain’s bids in 2008. This cycle, he’s mostly invested in helping to protect Democratic incumbents, donating to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Florida Reps. Ron Klein and Ted Deutch.

Rubio’s campaign declined to comment on the fundraiser, but a spokesman for Meek told POLITICO, “Besides being a lifelong conservative, Crist’s only consistent position is that he will say or do anything to get elected.”

Crist-Meek-Rubio to debate on Univision Sept. 17

Charlie Crist, Kendrick Meek and Marco Rubio will participate in a Sept. 17 debate on Univision, the network said today.

The hourlong debate will begin at 1 p.m. and shown commercial free at 11 p.m. in Miami, Orlando, Tampa and Fort Myers/Naples as well as on Univision's WQBA 1040 Miami and on www.Univision23.com.

Update: Supreme Court removes health care and redistricting amendments

In two lengthy 22-page opinions, the Florida Supreme Court voted 5-2 to uphold two lower court rulings and removed Amendments 7 and 9 from the November ballot. Amendment 7 aimed to dislodge the redistricting amendments (#5 and 6) and Amendment 9 was a plebescite on Obama's health care reforms. The court also threw off a property tax amendment, Amendment 3, written by the legislature, for faulty language.

Chief Justice Charles Canady and Justice Ricky Polston, the courts conservative members, were the opposing votes on the decisions relating to Amendmetns 7 and 9. The judges also precluded the circuit court from re-addressing the challenge to Amendments 5 and 6, filed by U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown.

Here are links to the opinions: Amendment 9, Amendment 7, Amendment 3, and Amendments 5 and 6.

Chiles expected to end bid for governor

It appears that Bud Chiles' days as a candidate for governor are numbered. We are hearing considerable Buzz that Chiles is calling supporters to tell them he is ending his independent bid. An announcement is likely to come Thursday.

Democrat Alex Sink had lunch with Chiles on Tuesday in Miami but declined to discuss the conversation.

The timing of his expected announcement is not coincidental -- Thursday is the last day before overseas ballots begin printing. Chiles name -- the same as popular former Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles -- was expected to pull votes from Sink in her battle against Republican Rick Scott.

Chiles' campaign has not confirmed the news, but the candidate himself suggested last week that he does not want to play the role of spoiler.

Continue reading "Chiles expected to end bid for governor" »

Sink lists names of Republicans who aren't under the unity banner

As Republican Rick Scott tours the state with the top Republican officials Tuesday for their unity rally intended to heal their internecine primary wounds,  Democrat Alex Sink sent out this little list. It's the names of Republican elected officials from South and Central Florida who have endorsed Sink's gubernatorial campaign:

West Palm Beach City Commission President Kimberly Mitchell, Orlando City Councilman Tony Ortiz, Okeechobee County Sheriff Paul May, Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston, Aventura City Commissioner Luz Weinberg, Ft. Pierce Mayor Bob Benton, Palmetto Commissioner Brian Williams, Belleair Commissioner Tom Shelly, Atlantic Beach Mayor Mike Borno, and Ocala City Council Member Mary Rich.

 "Alex Sink has the experience and problem-solving approach that we need in our next Governor," said Mitchell, the West Palm Beach City Commission president in a statement.  "Sink understands the needs of Florida's business owners and will make sure the Florida's small businesses have the right support to thrive and grow."

Charlie Crist's floppery is weirder than Andy Warhol

After a while, a Charlie Crist reversal and a reversal of his reversals can dull the senses. So what's a conservative to do? The folks at rightchange.com found the answer in this tribute to Andy Warhol.

Flores takes herself out of contention as Scott's running mate

Flores Miami state Rep. Anitere Flores, one of the most frequently-mentioned names on Republican Rick Scott's list of lieutenant governor options, has taken herself out of the running.

Flores, who turns 34 next week, just won a primary contest for Senate District 38, the seat now held by Sen. Alex Villalobos, said she's not ready to leave the district.

"I’ll just say that, no matter what happens, it’s important for me to stay in my community,'' Flores told the Herald/Times moments before joining Scott, former Gov. Jeb Bush and other prominent Republicans for a unity rally. "I think it's important for Rick and his campaign to make a decision that is the best fit for them and for me it’s important to remain in my community where I can be most helpful to my community."

Mannuel MaronoFlores likes another Scott ally, Sweetwater Mayor Manny Marono, who has been either commissioner or mail of the tiny town of 14,000 since 1995. Says Flores of all the attention: "The best thing is Rick Scott has recognized the importance of South Florida and the importances of Miami Dade."

Scott must announce his running mate by the end of the day Sept. 2. The candidate must be 30 years of age who has lived in the state for the last 7 years.

WSJ: Alcee Hastings use of travel stipend questioned

From the Wall Street Journal: "Congressional investigators are questioning a half-dozen lawmakers for possibly misspending government funds meant to pay for overseas travel, according to people familiar with the matter.

"The investigation follows a Wall Street Journal article in March that said lawmakers had used daily cash stipends, meant to cover certain costs of official government travel overseas, to cover expenses that appeared to be unauthorized by House rules. An independent ethics board has referred the matter to the House ethics committee.

Continue reading "WSJ: Alcee Hastings use of travel stipend questioned" »

Delaney, Galvano not interested in LG

Two Republican names that have surfaced frequently in Rick Scott’s running mate speculation both confirmed Tuesday that they are not interested in the job.

University of North Florida President John Delaney, a former mayor of Jacksonville, would not confirm whether Scott’s people approached him about joining the ticket. But Delaney said he just signed a five-year contract extension at UNF and is not interested in leaving. “I’m staying in Jacksonville,” he said.

State Rep. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, said he was approached last week by aides to Scott who wanted to gauge his interest in applying to be the next lieutenant governor. (Scott's campaign said he wasn't on the short list.) Galvano, a termed-out member of House leadership and a 2012 Senate candidate, said the timing for him is all wrong.

“It’s not something I’m interested in,” Galvano said. “I want to focus on my business and my family.” He said all three of his children have started the year in new schools. Galvano was vetted as a potential running mate for Charlie Crist in 2006.

-- Steve Bousquet

-- Steve Bousquet

August 30, 2010

Thrasher to ask party officials to release full forensic audit

Republican Party Chairman John Thrasher has received and reviewed the long awaited forensic audit of party finances under the administration of indicted chairman Jim Greer and will ask party executives next week to make it public, party officials said Monday.

Katie Gordon Betta, RPOF spokesman, said the 50-plus page report by auditors Alston & Bird, includes "nothing they hadn't seen coming,'' she said. Thrasher ordered the report after allegations surfaced that high ranking legislators and staff had misused party credit cards for personal use, misused expense reports and that Greer entered into a secret fundraising contract with former RPOF executive director Delmar Johnson.

Only Thrasher and two others, party CFO Richard Swarttz and executive director Ronnie Whitaker, have reviewed the report, she said. Thrasher will ask party officials to release the report at the Sept. 11 quarterly meeting in Orlando. The discussion will take place behind closed doors, Betta said.