The emergence of Rick Scott was a reminder of how many super-rich people live in Florida and have the potential to upend politics. It didn't work out so well for billionaire Democrat Jeff Greene (Gov. Scott is merely a multimillionaire), but one never knows when someone unconnected to Florida politics might emerge to shake things up.
So when Forbes last week released its latest list of billionaires — including 27 Floridians — we couldn't resist peeking at voter registrations. Turns out 14 of them are Republicans, 10 are Democrats, one is an independent and two are not registered. Meet our billionaires, courtesy of Forbes:
Micky Arison, 61, Bal Harbour, Carnival Cruises, not registered; William Koch, 70, Palm Beach, oil, investments, R; Terrence Pegula, 60, Boca Raton, East Resources, R; Malcolm Glazer, 82, Palm Beach, Tampa Bay Bucs, sports, real estate, R; Igor Olenicoff, 68, North Palm Beach, real estate, R; H. Wayne Huizenga, 73, Fort Lauderdale, investments, R; Phillip Frost, 74, Miami, pharmaceuticals, D; Robert Rich, 70, Islamorada, Rich Products, R; Ted Turner, 72, Lamont, cable television, D; Wilbur Ross, 73, Palm Beach, investments, D; Albert Ueltschi, 93, Vero Beach, FlightSafety, R; Fred De Luca, 63, Fort Lauderdale, Subway, no party; Jeff Greene, 56, Palm Beach, real estate, investments, D; Isaac Perlmutter, 68, Palm Beach, Marvel Entertainment, R; Bharat Desai, 58, Fisher Island, Syntel, D; Edward DeBartolo Jr., 64, Tampa, shopping centers, not registered; George Lindemann, 74, Palm Beach, investments, R; Chris Cline, 53, Palm Beach Gardens, coal, D; Michael Heisley, 73, Jupiter Island, manufacturing, R; S. Daniel Abraham, 86, Palm Beach, Slim-Fast, D; Tom Golisano, 69, Naples, Paychex, R; Norman Braman, 78, Miami, car dealerships, art, R; Alfred James Clark, 83, Vero Beach, construction, R; Charlotte Colket Weber, 68, Hobe Sound, Campbell Soup, R; Peter Lewis, 68, Coconut Grove, Progressive Insurance, D; Edmund Ansin, 75, Miami, Sunbeam Broadcasting, D; John Henry, 61, Boca Raton, finance, D.
Scarborough talks Senate
There was a weird exchange Friday between Florida U.S. representative turned MSNBC host Joe Scarborough and the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee. The Hill reported that NRSC chairman John Cornyn had been encouraging Scarborough to run for the Senate against Bill Nelson, prompting the NRSC to deny the story and clarify that the conversation had been about him running in New York state, where Scarborough spends most of his time.
Scarborough responded that they talked about Florida, but that he loves his TV gig. The NRSC responded to that by blasting him:
"Not only did Sen. Cornyn not ask him to run for the Senate in Florida, but for a number of reasons it stretches the bounds of credulity to even see why he would be considered a strong, viable candidate in Florida this cycle," said executive director Rob Jesmer. "There are already a number of far stronger candidates looking at the Florida Senate race and we are confident that any one of them can beat Bill Nelson in 2012. But we wish Joe the best of luck in his New York Senate pursuits and we remain fans of his cable show."
State parks golf plan scrapped
It seems Arnold Palmer and his Orlando-based golf course design company were not crazy about the plans by Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders to give Jack Nicklaus exclusive rights to develop golf courses at state parks in five regions of Florida.
"There are alternative options than using our state parks for 'new' golf course development," the company told the Orlando Sentinel.
Two bills, crafted by state Rep. Patrick Rooney and state Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, were withdrawn Friday. Rooney, R-West Palm Beach, cited the deluge of reaction to the plan.
Outgoing Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio appears today on Political Connections on Bay News 9 at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.