A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.
MARCO RUBIO SHOWCASES FOREIGN POLICY CHOPS AT COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
Sen. Marco Rubio showcased his foreign policy experience at an event on Thursday at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, as another Republican presumed to be on Mitt Romney’s vice presidential shortlist visited Israel.
Rubio said he is “convinced without a shadow of a doubt that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program,” and reluctantly expects that negotiations with and sanctions upon the Mideast nation will fail. In that case, “a military option may be necessary.”
MORE MARCO: “Rubio is carving a space out for himself as a champion of the Internet and is on the leading edge, along with Rep. Darrell Issa, of a new wave of Republican leadership on issues like Internet privacy and regulation,” writes Zeke Miller of BuzzFeed.
“Rubio helped kill SOPA, and he’s campaigning against everything from Net Neutrality to a Chinese push for new international regulations. A ‘generational’ battle for a Senator who tweets, but leaves Facebook to his staff.”
Jeb Bush will speak before Paul Ryan’s Budget Committee today.
GEORGE LEMIUEX ENDORSED BY TWO MORE STATE LEGISLATORS, BRINGING TOTAL TO 35
George LeMieux today announced the endorsements of State Representatives Rich Glorioso and Jimmie T. Smith, totaling 35 state legislators endorsing his candidacy for US Senate.
“As the primary gets closer, opinion leaders across the state continue to support our campaign for US Senate,” said George LeMieux. “I am honored to receive the endorsement of state legislators throughout Florida. Rich and Jimmie serve their districts well and I am proud to have them on our team.”
VERN BUCHANAN CAMPAIGN RESERVES $4 MILLION IN TV COMMERCIAL TIME
Republican Congressman Vern Buchanan has claimed the airtime from August 1 through November 5, with a two-week hiatus in late August, reports Politico.
“The lion’s share will go to all four network affiliates in Tampa, with $350,000 for the Sarasota ABC affiliate and $400,000 set aside for cable. Tampa is one of the most important markets in one of the top swing states. Buchanan is being targeted by national Democrats, and placing the buys early means his commercials can run against the more-coveted shows.”
Memo with more details on where the money will go: http://bit.ly/KfuvN6 .
BUCHANAN’S OPPONENT, KEITH FITZGERALD, THINKS THE MASSIVE BUY REEKS OF DESPERATION
Keith Fitzgerald’s campaign manager said Buchanan’s ad buy signals how desperate the congressman is as he tries to win re-election, while embroiled in questions about his ethics and business dealings.
“Representative Vern Buchanan is on the ropes,” Adam Scott said in a statement. “Under constant investigation for ethical misconduct and financial improprieties. Abandoned by his party leadership. Laboring at home under his mind-boggling vote to turn Medicare over to the private insurance companies.
REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION ADDS 4 VETERAN STAFFERS TO HELP MAKE THE TRAINS RUN ON TIME
The Republican National Convention Thursday announced that it’s hired four veteran political operatives to manage the official program, conduct floor operations and help support communications for the August 27-30 event.
>>>Todd Cranney as director of delegate outreach.
>>>Jim Dyke as senior advisor, a role that will include supporting convention communications.
>>>Tony Feather as director of whip operations.
>>>Anne Hathaway as convention program director.
FEDERAL JUDGES STRIKES PART OF STATE’S ELECTION LAW BECAUSE IT IMPOSES “HARSH” RESTRICTIONS ON GROUPS THAT REGISTER VOTERS
A federal judge has issued an injunction barring enforcement of part of the state’s new election law, saying that a 48-hour deadline for groups to turn in new voter registration forms is “harsh and impactical.”
Key aspects of the ruling
- “If the goal is to discourage voter-registration drives and thus also to make it harder for new voters to register, the 48-hour deadline may succeed. But if the goal is to further the state’s legitimate interests without unduly burdening the rights of voters and voter- registration organizations, 48 hours is a bad choice.” [Page 8]
- “Even if the limitations on mailing do not render these provisions unconstitutional, they plainly run afoul of the National Voting Rights Act.” [Page 12]
- “Allowing responsible organizations to conduct voter-registration drives—thus making it easier for citizens to register and vote—promotes democracy.” [page 25]
MUST-READ OP-ED — JOY REID ON THE GOP GAMING THE VOTE
“Scott’s purge is of a piece with other GOP drives to make it harder for the kinds of people who tend to support Democrats: union members, young voters, people with Hispanic (or for that matter, Haitian) surnames, to cast a ballot,” writes Joy Reid in the Miami Herald. “And whether it’s voter ID laws, snuffing out “souls to the polls” on Sunday; firing U.S. attorneys who wouldn’t go along with trumped-up voter fraud probes, as happened during the George W. Bush years; or harassing would-be balloters by comparing their names to lists of felons (thanks, Jeb!) or lists of supposed foreigners, the goal is the same. It’s about combating the coming doom that awaits a political party increasingly dependent on a diminishing commodity: older, white voters.”
Meanwhile, Hillsborough County suspends its voter purge: Craig Latimer, chief of staff to Dr. Earl Lennard in the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections office, tells Creative Loafing that his office received 72 names from Tallahassee labeled as “noncitizens” on April 13. The SOE’s office then sent certified letters to those citizens informing them that they were ineligible to vote, adding that if they disputed that claim, they could come to the SOE’s office to prove otherwise. … Latimer says that five people came to the office with their birth certificates proving they were born in the U.S. Another citizen came with a passport that also indicated U.S. citizenship.
QUOTE OF THE DAY # 1: “So at that point it was obvious it wasn’t very credible and reliable information, so we suspended any further action.” — Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Lattimer on Rick Scott’s voter purge.
SCOTT ADMINISTRATION WILL APPEAL DRUG TESTING RULING
Gov. Rick Scott has followed through on his vow to appeal a federal court ruling that blocked drug testing of state employees. Scott’s attorneys last week filed a notice of taking the case to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.
POLL: 50% OF FLORIDIANS SUPPORT CASINO GAMBLING, 43% OPPOSED
Overall, 50% of voters supported the idea, while 43% opposed it and 7% were unsure. “However, sub-group analysis tells a very different story, which illustrates the many political cross-currents,” writes pollster Paul Fallon.
The idea was supported by a majority of men (56% to 39%), but opposed by a plurality of women (44% to 47%). Similarly, it was supported by a majority of 18-to-29 year olds (59% to 31%), but opposed by a plurality of senior citizens 60 years of age or older (44% to 47%). Results by political party paint another picture of how treacherous the topic may be, as it was supported by a majority of independents and voters of other minor parties or those who are unaffiliated (57% to 36%), and plurality of Democrats (48% to 42%), but Republicans were divided about it (48% to 48%). Moreover, a majority of white voters supported it (53% to 40%), while Hispanic/Latino voters were split (48% to 48%), and it was opposed by a majority of African-Americans (35% to 55%).
MORE FLORIDIANS ON FOOD STAMPS DESPITE INCREASE IN JOBS
A record number of South Floridians continue to receive food stamps even though the economy shows signs of recovery in the unemployment rate. The state’s record number of food stamp recipients keeps growing although the recession officially ended almost three years ago, said Erin Gillespie, spokeswoman of the Florida Department of Children and Families that oversees the federal food program. Continue reading here.
>>>The Department of Environmental Protection on Thursday denied that a regulatory official was suspended for refusing to issue a permit, as a newspaper reported earlier this week – but wouldn’t say why Connie Bersok was put on paid leave.
>>>The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has asked a federal judge to extend deadlines for proposing revised water-quality standards for Florida rivers and streams.
>>>A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Labor confirmed Thursday that the agency is looking into changes in Florida’s unemployment law that some advocates for jobless Floridians had challenged. “If any state is found to be out of compliance, we will work with them to develop and implement a corrective action plan,” said a statement emailed by spokesman Jason Kuruvilla.
>>>South Florida Congressman David Rivera has filed a measure billed as an alternative to the DREAM Act, seeking to provide for certain college students who are in the country illegally to get “conditional non-immigrant status.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY #2 – “You should come boar hunting with me sometime,” US Rep. Dennis Ross to reporter Ben Terris.
MIKE HIGHTOWER VOICES SUPPORT FOR AARON BEAN IN SD4
Aaron Bean, a small business owner and former Florida State Representative, today announced that former Chair of the Duval County Republican Party Mike Hightower has endorsed him in his candidacy for the newly-drawn Florida Senate District 4 seat, which includes Duval and Nassau Counties.
“I am a proud member of the Bean team!” said Hightower, who is also a member of the State Republican Executive Committee. “Aaron is the tough conservative we need to fight for Jacksonville and our surrounding communities. Aaron’s proven conservative record from his time in the Florida House as part of Duval delegation and his ability to immediately have a seat at the table if elected to the Senate make him the best candidate for Senate District 4. Aaron has my full support, and I intend to rally my fellow business leaders to stand with us!”
Reps. Daniel Davis, Erik Fresen, and Charles Van Zant endorsed Rachel Burgin for State Senate.
Rep. Rick Glorioso will continue running for Hillsborough Co. Supervisor of Elections, rather than run for State Senate.
Surfside city commissioner Sheldon Lisbon said Thursday he’s getting into the race for House District 100, setting up a primary against Rep. Joe Gibbons.
The Florida Chamber is backing Wilton Simpson for the State Senate.
STAT OF THE DAY: Nearly 300 congressional and legislative candidates have gathered enough valid petition signatures to appear on this fall’s ballot
DEPARTING THE CAPITOL BUREAU: The Tampa Bay Times‘ Katie Sanders, who is coming back to St. Pete. Look for Michael Van Sickler to join the Times’ Tallahassee bureau.
EMAILS I DIDN’T OPEN: Anything — and I mean anything — that has to do with Wisconsin or Scott Walker or recall this or recall that! Memo to DailyKos and MoveOn, etc.: I live in Florida; the only time I care about Wisconsin is, well, never.
EXCERPT WORTH READING — Boar hunting with Dennis Ross
“Ross leaned forward in his seat to size up my multicolored socks, my oversized glasses, my untamed hair. “Of course, if it makes you more comfortable, we can donate all the meat to a food bank,” he said. It was a diplomatic gesture. If Ross had overestimated how much I might object to killing an animal for sport, I could forgive him. In Washington, people tend to rely on signals to get a sense of each other: party affiliations, voting records, socks. Subtleties get lost. I started thinking that the only way to really understand Dennis Ross would be to join him in his natural habitat.” Read the full story here.
NEW TO THE TWITTER: @FLPolyVision — The Polk County community driven support group for Florida Polytechnic University.
TWEET OF THE DAY: Keith Olbmerman twitter-battling with former RPOF Spox Brian Hughes: @KeithOlbermann: @GoMeteoric I see you base your “strategies” on rumors and bullshit websites.
ALOE TO SOOTHER THE BURN: DesignShack ranked the best and worst state government websites in the country. Unfortunately, Florida’s came in at #50.