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The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

In first Spanish-language spot, Taddeo does Crist's campaign talking

Why did Charlie Crist pick Miami-Dade's former Democratic leader, Annette Taddeo, to be his running mate for governor? His first Spanish-language ad says it all.

 

The translation from the campaign:

“You work hard to pay the bills and raise your kids.

"As a working mother, I know how hard it is and Charlie Crist knows too.

"That is why I’m proud to be on the ballot with Charlie Crist as candidate for lieutenant governor.

"Together we will raise the minimum wage, reverse Rick Scott's $1.3 billion cut to education, and fight for equal pay for women.

"It’s time to have leaders who will fight for all Floridians, not just the rich."

"Vote for Charlie and me and that's exactly what we'll do."

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Commission releases a 'framework' for regulating medical marijuana

The fate of Amendment 2 will be decided in less than five weeks, but one group has already released its recommended framework for how a system that regulates medical marijuana would work.

The 12-member Florida For Care Blue Ribbon Commission, which includes Democrats and Republicans, and representatives of law enforcement, business, healthcare and other areas, has released proposed principles that range from patient protection to professional licenses and packaging. It addresses issues like physician requirements and continuing education, regulations on caregivers and a compassionate use registry.

Former state Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla, a Miami Republican, and vice chair of the commission, said he doesn't plan on voting for the amendment but he joined the group to help devise a plan that would incorporate different views and assist the legislature in determining safeguards if the amendment passes.

Constitutional amendments need 60 percent of the vote to pass. The polling average of the last major public surveys shows about 64 percent of Florida voters favor Amendment 2.

"I am against the amendment because I don't think enough research has been done," Diaz de la Portilla said, "but if the people want it and it passes, then we need to get it right.  ... If you have people who are for it and against it, what comes out is a better, well thought-out plan."

Despite his opposition, Diaz de la Portilla said Republicans and Democrats "have to be open-minded." 

The proposal is a "starting point," said the commission's chairman, Jon Mills, who is the Amendment 2 author and a former speaker of the House.

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Closely watched Florida House race heats up

One of Florida's most closely watched statehouse races will soon be playing out on Miami TV.

Both Democratic state Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez and his Republican challenger Daniel Diaz Levya have debuted new television ads. 

The two are running to represent a swing district in Miami-Dade County. The race is among the most competitive in the state.

In his ad, Rodriguez says he has "fought the special interests every step of the way to make sure our families have someone fighting for them."

The ad then paints Diaz Leyva as a "lobbyist who has stood up for insurance companies and big corporations."

Diaz Leyva used to be managing partner of Southern Strategy Group's office in Miami. He now practices real estate law with Foley & Lardner LLP.

His ad takes a more positive tone. It features the candidate with his family, and highlights his work with CHARLEE Homes for Children. 

"I'm running to create jobs, lower taxes and make our schools world class so our kids can compete in a global economy," the candidate says.

Watch both ads below.

 

 

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About that Democratic ground game in Fla

The folks at America Votes, a coaltion of 32 Democratic-leaning labor and other advocacy groups in Florida, are gearing up to defy conventional wisdom that says Democrats tend to stay home in midterm elections. Here's a memo from Josh Geise, Florida State Director of America Votes: …

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Worst state for voting lines in 2012: Flori-duh

From Chris Adams, McClatchy DC:

Voters in Florida waited far longer than those in other states to cast their votes in the 2012 election, hampered by long ballots and cutbacks in early voting options, according to a new report by congressional auditors.

Voters in the state stood in line more than 34 minutes on average, significantly longer than ballot-casters did in any other state reviewed by the Government Accountability Office, Congress’ watchdog.

The shortest waits? Alaska, at just 1.4 minutes.

Three others states had wait times about 25 or more minutes: Maryland, Virginia and South Carolina. But most of the others fell somewhere between five minutes and 20 minutes, on average.

In Florida, the GAO estimated, 16 percent of voters waited 61 minutes or more to cast their ballots — tops among the states surveyed.

“People should not have to stand in line for hours to exercise their constitutional right to vote,” U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, said in a statement.

More here

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New Putnam ad focuses on schools, Washington

With just five weeks until Election Day, state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam's re-election campaign is kicking into high gear.

The former U.S. congressman has a new TV spot that takes aim at Washington.

"Every day, Washington finds new ways to meddle with our dreams," he says. "And every day, as commissioner, I'm making sure they don't."

Putnam also talks about the need for better schools and technology so Florida's students can "compete with the world and win." That's somewhat outside of his duties as agriculture commissioner, though the department runs some school-based education programs.

The incumbent has raised $2.7 million for his campaign, state elections records show.

His Democratic challenger, longtime U.S. Department of Agriculture employee and environmentalist Thad Hamilton, has collected about $20,300.

Putnam's large haul may be a sign that he is looking to the future. He is already considered a strong candidate in the 2018 governor's race.

 

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Appeals court says Supreme Court should decide congressional districts

From the News Service of Florida:

A high-stakes legal battle about the constitutionality of the state's congressional districts should be fast-tracked to the Florida Supreme Court, a divided appeals court ruled Wednesday.

Under the ruling, the 1st District Court of Appeal would not take up a challenge to districts redrawn in August by the Legislature and to other decisions by a circuit judge. Instead, the case would go directly to the Supreme Court --- a relatively unusual move known as "certification" of the case to the higher court.

A panel of the appeals court, in a 2-1 decision, agreed on the certification issue with voting-rights groups that have waged a drawn-out legal battle about whether congressional district lines were drawn in 2012 and redrawn this year to favor Republicans. While the redrawn districts would not take effect until the 2016 elections, the majority of the appeals court pointed to the lengthy history of the case in deciding to pass it along to the Supreme Court.

"In this case, any doubts about the need for immediate review by the Supreme Court should be resolved in favor of certification,'' said the opinion, written by Judge Philip Padovano and joined by Judge Simone Marstiller.

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Appeals court defers to Supreme Court on congressional redistricting

From the News Service of Florida:

A high-stakes legal battle about the constitutionality of the state's congressional districts should be fast-tracked to the Florida Supreme Court, a divided appeals court ruled Wednesday.

Under the ruling, the 1st District Court of Appeal would not take up a challenge to districts redrawn in August by the Legislature and to other decisions by a circuit judge. Instead, the case would go directly to the Supreme Court --- a relatively unusual move known as "certification" of the case to the higher court.

A panel of the appeals court, in a 2-1 decision, agreed on the certification issue with voting-rights groups that have waged a drawn-out legal battle about whether congressional district lines were drawn in 2012 and redrawn this year to favor Republicans. While the redrawn districts would not take effect until the 2016 elections, the majority of the appeals court pointed to the lengthy history of the case in deciding to pass it along to the Supreme Court.

"In this case, any doubts about the need for immediate review by the Supreme Court should be resolved in favor of certification,'' said the opinion, written by Judge Philip Padovano and joined by Judge Simone Marstiller.Full Story

Crist retakes lead over Scott in new SurveyUSA/WFLA poll

Democrat Charlie Crist is nursing a slight 46-40 percent lead over Gov. Rick Scott in SurveyUSA's latest poll for WFLA-TV.

Crist's 6 percentage-point lead isn't so big because the likely-voter poll's error margin is 4.1 percent.

But it ain't the topline, it's the trend to note. And for the past two weeks, the momentum has been for Crist: a net 9 percentage point shift since last week and, compared to the poll released Sept. 9, an 11-point shift.

The movement in Crist's direction corresponds with Crist's increasing ad buys. Scott has been pumping more money into TV as well, but he hadn't been as closely answered as he is now.

Overall, the poll track in the governor's race indicates one clear takeaway: the race is close and prone to minor shifts.

A caveat about SurveyUSA's track: It has had some inexplicable shifts and the independent respondents in the poll have shifted the most. Two weeks ago, Scott led among independents by 13. Now Crist leads them by 8 -- a 21-point shift. …

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Carlos Lopez-Cantera steps up in new Rick Scott ad

It took a while for Gov. Rick Scott to overcome some internal resistance and realize that Carlos Lopez-Cantera would be his best choice for lieutenant governor, both because of his Tallahassee experience and his Miami roots. Nothing shows the smartness of the pick during this campaign season better than this Spanish-language ad (transcript from campaign below):

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PolitiFact Florida on the 'flippin' unbelievable' ad

A new ad with an old complaint against Charlie Crist calls it "flippin’ unbelievable" -- then recounts how Crist has flip-flopped on, well, many things.

The ad, put out by the Republican Party of Florida, could have chosen any number of Crist’s positions to highlight, but this one focused on four significant issues: party affiliation, the health care law, abortion and the stimulus. For the most part, it uses clips of Crist’s own contradictory comments before concluding, "That’s flippin’ nuts" and "Charlie Crist, typical flippin’ politician."

Crist as flip-flopper isn’t a new political attack, and it’s up to voters to decide whether his many changes of position are sincere or cynical. Many -- but not all -- seem to track with his change of party from Republican to Democrat.

As for the ad’s substance, it’s on solid ground for saying that Crist has changed positions on two issues and gets partial credit for the other two.

Read the full PolitiFact Florida report here.

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John Boehner talks up Jeb for president, again

John Boehner is once again talking up Jeb Bush for president, telling the Cincinnati Enquirer that "he's got a real shot" at winning because of his record as governor.

"He has a record of serious, big reforms," Boehne, said in an exclusive interview with the Enquirer. ...

"He can talk about Republican issues better than most anybody that we've got out there," Boehner said of Bush. "He's got a real record of reform as governor of Florida."

"And when you step back and look at what's likely to be the biggest issue in 2016, I think the issue is going to be competence," he said. "I think he could be a very competent candidate and could make that appeal."

Asked about the prospects of two other possible contenders - Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio - Boehner said they would both be "great" candidates. He suggested Portman could win the GOP nomination despite his support for same-sex marriage because there are "very few one-issue voters out there."

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Sunshine State Survey finds Floridians concerned about environment and crime

Feeling safe in public places and concern about the environment are two critical concerns for Floridians, according to a new Sunshine State Survey on guns and the environment, administered by the University of South Florida and the A. C. Nielsen Company.

"It's clear that Floridians are increasingly worried about security in public places," said Susan MacManus, the survey director and professor at USF's College of Arts and Sciences. "They're also getting a little more critical about what the state has been doing about the environment."

Floridians believe the state's performance in protecting the environment has dropped, the survey found. "Excellent" and "good" ratings for the state's protection of the environment fell from 49 percent in 2012 to 44 percent in 2014. In 2014, "poor" ratings are three times higher than "excellent" ratings (20 percent versus 7 percent).

Residents who are 35 to 54 years old with a high school education or less gave the state higher points compared to older residents aged 55 to 64 years old and college graduates.

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Democrat Rankin challenges CFO Atwater to a debate

A screenshot of the letter Rankin sent to Atwater.

William Rankin campaign

A screenshot of the letter Rankin sent to Atwater.

Democrat William Rankin has challenged Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater to a debate, but just like nearly everything else with Rankin's campaign the idea is not gaining much traction.

In a letter dated today, Rankin said he is willing to debate his Republican opponent "anytime and anywhere on the issues." Because they are both from South Florida, he suggested Palm Beach as a location and floated the ideas of a TV station or a local university as the setting.

"While you may find it more politically advantageous to publically attack the Democratic Governor of New York and the Democratic nominee for Governor of Florida, the people of Florida deserve something more; a CFO candidate that is focused on the relevant issues at home such as safe keeping of the state’s assets and solvency of public employees retirement fund, jobs and economic prosperity, human dignity issues, and lower insurance rates for the people of Florida and their families," Rankin wrote.

Atwater's campaign seems less than enthusiastic about the idea. Spokesman Brian Hughes would only say the candidates may "share a stage" at some point on the campaign trail, a far cry from a structured debate that Rankin proposed. …

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Kathy Castor wants federal investigation into pace of civil rights restoration in Florida

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor wants the Justice Department to investigate whether nonviolent criminals are being denied civil rights restoration in "due to multi-year and bureaucratic requirements imposed by the Florida Clemency Board."

“I believe that in operation Florida is violating the U.S. Constitution’s tenets of due process and equal protection,” the Tampa Democrat wrote in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder. “Therefore, I respectfully request that the Justice Department conduct a thorough investigation into whether legal action is warranted against the State of Florida for its effective bar on civil rights restoration for non-violent offenders."

Then-Gov. Charlie Crist made the restoration process easier but that was reversed in part under Gov. Rick Scott. "It is estimated that by this year’s elections, as many as 600,000 people who otherwise could have voted will be absent from Florida's polls," read a Castor news release.

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