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The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Here's the Florida GOP's favorite moment of gov debate

The Florida GOP is sending far and wide a clip from the CNN gubernatorial debate where Charlie Crist suggests "It's worth it" if someone loses their job because of a minimum wage increase.


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Video highlights of the final Rick Scott-Charlie Crist debate

Video clips from the CNN debate:

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Four takeaways from the final Fla gov debate

The final televised debate between Rick Scott and Charlie Crist was certainly entertaining, much as boxing matches or arguments between two adolescents can sometimes be amusing to watch. If, however, viewers of the hour-long CNN debate Tuesday night hoped it would make them more enthusiastic about their choice or help them decide, they probably wound up disappointed.

Four takeaways from the high-stakes, final debate in Florida's tied race for governor.

1. Meet the Bickersons. It hardly seems possible for these two candidates to emerge even less inspiring than they were already after so many millions of dollars in negative ads, but they managed it. Truly, they sounded like squabbling children through much of the debate...

More here

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For the 6th time, at least, Rick Scott tells us there was $80 million in the budget for cancer funding

Gov. Rick Scott sure does love telling people about the $80 million in cancer center funding included in the 2014-15 budget that he signed into law earlier this year.

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa will get $25.5 million, the University of Miami's Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center will receive $16 million and the University of Florida Health Cancer Center gets $18.5 million. Combined with another $20 million in state dollars for two cancer research grant programs, and that adds up to $80 million in state dollars for cancer research.

Including one sent today, we count six press releases on Scott's website about the money. And we're not even counting what he sent the media in January when he first proposed boosting cancer research funding as part of his "It's Your Money Tax Cut Budget" proposal.

We start with this news release in March after the governor met with representatives of UF and Orlando Health to talk about the funding. …

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Rubio stumps for Steve Southerland, talks 2016

Sen. Marco Rubio extends a hand to U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland while media and campaign volunteers look on.

Tia Mitchell

Sen. Marco Rubio extends a hand to U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland while media and campaign volunteers look on.

U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, a Republican incumbent facing a serious Democratic threat on Election Day, got some help today from one of his party's rock stars.

Sen. Marco Rubio visited Southerland's office in Tallahassee this afternoon, meeting with the congressman and campaign volunteers. Both men thanked the staffers for helping with ground game and voter turnout, which will be crucial in this Northeast Florida race against challenger Gwen Graham that is currently too close to call.

"This election here is a choice between those two very different views of the future," Rubio said, "between a Demcoratic Party and a loyal Democrat who will go to Washington and support the Obama agenda that has brought us to this point where millions of people are worse off than they were four and five and six years ago."

Rubio called Southerland an effective lawmaker and encouraged the volunteers to work hard for him in the final two weeks of the campaign. …

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FSBA's Wayne Blanton announces his retirement

Florida School Boards Association Executive Director Wayne Blanton will retire in February, he announced Tuesday.

"It has been my honor and privilege to represent school boards and school board members for the last 40 years," Blanton wrote in an email to school leaders. "My professional career has been dedicated to representing public education and assisting local school boards to be the 'Voice of Education' throughout Florida. The friendships I have made and the professional relationships that have been developed over the past 40 years will never be replaced or forgotten. Upon deep personal and professional reflection, I will be retiring at the end of February, 2015."

Blanton said the FSBA will be establishing a timeline to name his successor.

(h/t to the Gradebook's @JeffSolochek for spotting the announcement)


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Groups work to mobilize immigrant, low-income voters

The Florida Immigrant Coalition is coordinating an effort to mobilize immigrant and low-income voters in advance of the Nov. 4 election.

Last week, volunteers with the Haitian Women of Miami knocked on more than 5,000 doors in Miami's Little Haiti, Miami Shores, North Miami and North Miami Beach neighborhoods. They both encouraged residents to vote on Election Day and collected absentee ballot requests.

"Our communities, black and latino, are not minorities any more, and we want to make sure our votes are felt as a growing new majority and a decisive voice this election," said Marleine Bastien, executive director of the Haitian Women of Miami. 

Two additional groups -- the Young American Dreamers and WeCount! -- have knocked on doors in Homestead, Florida City, Lakeland and Auburndale. They estimate they've visited at least 20,000 homes.

"Our canvassers are knocking on doors to encourage black and latino voters in Polk [County] to make their voices heard," said Daniel Barajas, of the Young American Dreamers. "Our communities have been ignored for decades, but through our efforts we will show them that our votes count and that they matter."


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Jeb Bush says Rick Scott gets 'resultados'

Jeb Bush made this ad for Gov. Rick Scott. It's a carbon copy of the ad Bush did in English. Bush has shown off his Spanish in a number of ads for candidates across the country, including Colorado U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner.

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Team Rick Scott: Charlie Crist's weak ground game is delivering us second term

FROM:         Tim Saler, Deputy Campaign Manager
TO:        Campaign Supporters
DATE:        October 21, 2014
SUBJECT:    Charlie Crist’s Early Voting Meltdown …

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Ads fly in Garcia-Curbelo contest

A flurry of ads in Florida's 26th Congressional District:

From the NRCC:

And from the DCCC:

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Stuff we learned about Tom Slade yesterday

Darryl Paulson, the retired USF St. Pete political scientist who had been working on a book about the rise of the Florida Republican Party, was kind enough to share with me his notes from his 2005 interview with Tom Slade. Some nuggets: …

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CNN is 'network of no' in final debate for governor of Florida

In CNN's amateurish early days as a 24-hour cable news outlet, critics called it the "Chicken Noodle Network." CNN has come a long way, but for tonight's final debate in the Florida governor's race, those three letters might as well stand for "Can't. No. Nope."

Political debates in Florida are a big deal, especially in a neck-and-neck race like this one between Gov. Rick Scott and Charlie Crist, and CNN is the sponsor of a live one-hour faceoff at 7 p.m. at WJXT in Jacksonville. The network is determined to protect its place as the exclusive host.

It's common for TV stations to let reporters watch the debate from a room near the studio so that both sides can grade their own and their opponent's performance afterward in a "spin room," but CNN said no. News outlets asked to stake out the candidates in WJXT's parking lot afterward and CNN said no. It's providing a filing room at a downtown hotel several miles from the TV station. …

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Boehner-backed Super PAC dropping $600k in Southerland-Graham race

Congressional Leadership Fund, a Super PAC with ties to Speaker John Boehner, is going to spend $600,000 in the Steve Southerland-Gwen Graham race. Its first salvo, to be made public later today, is this ad playing off President Obama’s comment that his policies are on the ballot.

The group's foray comes at a critical time in the race, a neck-and-neck battle that has attracted a growing mountain of outside spending. Congressional Leadership Fund is affiliated with the American Action Network and the ad campaign will run through Election Day. The ad below will also featured online, as a 15-second spot.

“Gwen Graham can try to masquerade as independent but North Florida voters won’t be fooled when she’s bankrolled by Washington Democrats,” said Emily Davis, spokeswoman for Congressional Leadership Fund. “North Florida families and seniors know that a vote for Gwen Graham is a vote for President Obama’s policies that are costing them more.”

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Clean energy coalition delivers petitions to governor

A group of clean energy advocates continued the drumbeat against Gov. Rick Scott's on Monday and delivered more than 92,000 signatures urging him to develop a strong plan for Florida to meet the requirements of the EPA's Clean Power plan. 

The group, called Florida’s Clean Future coalition, had school children, college students and parents pull red wagons with boxes of petitions to the governor's office at the state Capitol as part of an aggressive initiative by climate change activists to keep a focus on the issue in the governor's race. The EPA requires the state to have a plan to reduce carbon emissions in place by 2030 and the first deadline is in 2015. The governor has remained silent about his plans to address the issue. 

Last week, scientists, business and community leaders called on Scott to listen to their climate change solutions. Meanwhile, NextGen Climate, the political committee founded by California billionaire Tom Steyer to target climate change skeptics, has spent more than $12 million in Florida for a campaign to defeat Scott's re-election bid.


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GOP Pioneer Tom Slade dies at 78

Tom Slade, one of the smartest, funniest, and most consequential political operators in modern Florida history, died this afternoon at age 78, his sister confirms.

"I can't think of anyone as instrumental  in the development of the modern Republican Party as Tom Slade," said retired USF St. Petersburg political scientist Darryl Paulson, who has studied the state party exensively. "Jeb Bush many respects could not be possible without Tom Slade."

The folksy and blunt former Florida legislator and chairman of the Republican Party of Florida from 1993-1999, died Monday at Orange Park Medical Center following heart failure he suffered last week after choking on meat at a restaurant.

"Boss Slade," as he was known both fondly and not-so-fondly, was in many respects the perfect man at the right time for the Florida GOP as it was poised to become the majority party. A strategist, organizer, message maestro, money raiser, and occasional bully, Slade could pull disparate interests together. He capitalized on the momentum from Ronald Reagan, who made the GOP acceptable to lifelong Democrats in north Florida as well as Cuban-Americans in south Florida.

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