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Obama to top off fundraising events alongside Eva Longoria

While Paul Ryan and Joe Biden are in Kentucky on Thursday for their vice presidential debate, President Barack Obama will be in Miami for what is expected to be his final fundraising event of the campaign.

About 700 people are expected to attend the reception at the JW Marriott Hotel, where actor Eva Longoria will be the emcee.

No details yet for public events by Obama in Florida this week.

Hispanic poll result

As Mitt Romney supporters basked in his strong debate performance last week, some bad news appeared for him in the Sunshine State: A poll of Hispanic voters in Florida found Obama trouncing Romney 61 percent to 31 percent. That's double the margin of victory Obama had among Hispanics in 2008, when exit polls showed Obama received 57 percent of the Hispanic vote here and John McCain received 42 percent.

The Sept. 22-28 survey of 400 Hispanic Florida voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points. It was conducted for Latino Decisions, a group that advocates for more liberal immigration policies.

The Hispanic vote used to lean heavily Republican in Florida, because it was dominated overwhelmingly by Cuban-Americans in South Florida. But as other Hispanic voters have moved into Florida, especially Puerto Ricans in Central Florida, Democrats have gained ground.

Since 2006, the number of Republican Hispanics has grown 12 percent in the Sunshine State, while the number of Democratic Hispanics has spiked 60 percent and no-party-affiliated Hispanics has grown 50 percent. The number of Hispanic voters in Florida grew 39 percent since 2006, while the overall electorate grew just 10 percent.

The poll found 70 percent of Hispanic voters in Florida saying they were "very enthusiastic" about voting this year, and 57 percent stating they are more enthusiastic about this election than the one in 2008.

Sink's aide is back

Seven months after naming a new CEO to her economic development policy foundation, Florida Next, former Chief Financial Officer and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Alex Sink is again looking at leadership changes at her organization.

Steve Freedman, founder of the Institute for Child Health Policy at the University of Florida, had been tapped at Florida Next to succeed Sink's longtime right-hand man, Jim Cassady. Now Cassady is back with the title of interim CEO.

"I recruited Steve Freedman out of his retirement last spring. … Then his wife unexpectedly took an early retirement package from Bank of America and he decided he wanted to join her," Sink told Buzz in an email. "So Jim has agreed to come back in an interim capacity until the end of the year."

Sink is considering running for governor again in 2014, and many people saw the launch of her foundation a year ago as a vehicle to keep her profile high in Florida, just as Jeb Bush did with his foundation after losing his first governor's race. Florida Next, however, has had a low profile, though Sink says it is doing lots of work to help promote young entrepreneurs in the state.

Sink: "We are planning a couple of young leaders forums around the state, and I continue to speak about the importance of rebuilding our economy focusing on small businesses, entrepreneurs, innovators, and young people!"

Conservation fund

Former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham and a group of environmentalists launched a new drive Thursday for a 2014 constitutional amendment that would provide guaranteed funding for water and land conservation efforts in Florida for 20 years.

The Florida Water and Land Legacy amendment would use a third of the state's Documentary Stamp Tax revenue for environmental purposes such as restoring and acquiring land, protecting beaches, repairing the Everglades and managing the water supply.

"Approaching this in a long-term, multidecade basis … allows you to do good — and not political — project planning," said Graham, who also served as Florida's governor in the 1980s.

Ehrlich interviewed

Check out Jessica Ehrlich, the Democratic challenger to U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, on Political Connections today on Bay News 9 at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Times/Herald staff writer Toluse Olorunnipa contributed to this week's Buzz. Adam C. Smith can be reached at asmith@tampabay.com.

Winner of the week

Mitt Romney. The Republican nominee campaigning in Florida this weekend faced a much more confident Republican electorate after his strong debate performance. What's more, the RealClearPolitics average of recent Florida polls suggests Barack Obama has lost his narrow lead and now the race is dead even, 47 percent to 47 percent.

Loser of the week

Jessica Ehrlich. It's hard enough trying to unseat a Pinellas County institution like U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Indian Shores, but it's even harder when your former boss accuses you of padding your resume. Ehrlich denies doing anything of the kind. But in 2006 she briefly worked for former U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw of Fort Lauderdale, who last week said Ehrlich's website inflated her responsibilities.

Obama to top off fundraising events alongside Eva Longoria 10/06/12 [Last modified: Saturday, October 6, 2012 7:38pm]
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