12/05/16 State Roundup
Hillary Clinton's team had every reason to feel great about her Florida prospects by the time Election Day dawned on Nov. 8.
New Florida election data shows that Clinton led Donald Trump by nearly 250,000 votes from people who voted by mail or in person prior to Election Day, according to an analysis by a leading Democratic consultant. Most political experts expected Trump would outperform Clinton with Election Day, but Clinton's early vote lead was about 66 percent bigger than Barack Obama's in 2012, when he narrowly beat Mitt Romney in Florida....
As more data becomes available from Florida's 67 counties, a clearer portrait is emerging of how Trump won America's biggest battleground state --- which after this election I will cease describing as a must-win for the GOP because thanks to Wisconsin and Michigan Trump would have won the election even without Florida. The pride of Sewanee, Steve Schale, crunched the numbers as does so well. Read his full analysis here, but here is a snippet:...
12/03/16 State Roundup
As a Democrat coming into his first term in a U.S. Congress controlled by Republicans, Charlie Crist knew he was going to get the dregs of offices.
New representatives have no claim on the offices that are coveted for their locations, size or other features, so they get assigned the worst of the worst offices by lottery.
The lottery drawing was Thursday. How did Crist do? He picked 50 — out of 50....
U.S. Rep.-elect Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg, has picked an experienced Washington hand to serve as his chief of staff rather than going with a local political operator as many members do.
Austin Durrer, who spent nearly 13 years working for Democratic former U.S. Rep. Jim Moran of northern Virginia, will lead the former governor's Washington office. Durrer currently serves as chief of staff of the U.S. Commerce Department's Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA), overseeing the Department's data technology mission....
A new robo poll by Gravis Marketing finds Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson comfortably leading Republican Rick Scott in a hypothetical senate race, 51 percent to 38 percent. The incumbent expects a challenge from Gov. Scott in 2018, but Gravis also showed him leading Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi 50 percent to 35 percent....
Winner of the week
Pam Bondi. The attorney general and first top elected Florida official to endorse Donald Trump took a lot of heat for her ties to Trump, but last week the Tampa Republican was in New York meeting with the president-elect's grateful transition team. The Buzz prediction/recommendation: Bondi as Trump's drug czar.
Loser of the week...
11/19/16 State Roundup
A big wrinkle has cropped up in Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's deliberations about running for governor in 2018.
His name is John "For the People" Morgan, the publicity-loving personal injury lawyer who, fresh off of spearheading the legalization of medical marijuana in Florida, is now thinking about running for governor in 2018.
"There are some things I would like see done here in my state. Our state. I have a pretty clear vision of what Florida's next governor should do," the multimillionaire from the Orlando area wrote online last week, saying he has received an outpouring of support....
Trial lawyer John Morgan's flirtation with running for the 2018 Democratic nomination for governor could upend what already looked like a potentially strong field of Democratic contenders. The Buzz asked their thoughts about Morgan, who is not only a potential rival but also a Democratic top money raisser with a short fuse - not someone an ambitious Democrat wants to antagonize:...
Incoming Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran has little interest in continuing the tradition/charade of recent legislative presiding officers who acted like they were BFFs totally on the same page heading into a legislative session. Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, and incoming Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, appeared together Thursday at the Sayfie Review's 2016 Leadership Forum in Orlando, where clear dividing lines and tensions were on display....
Former state Sen. Jeremy Ring of Broward County is poised to run for chief financial officer in 2018. The investor and former Yahoo executive had been looking at running for governor but told The Buzz that the CFO post became more and more intriguing as he analyzed the job.
"I think I've been groomed for the last eight years for that," said Ring, 46, noting that he has been helping "drive the innovation economy" in .the private sector and led pension reform efforts in the legislature, where he was known as a pragmatic and generally moderate lawmaker....
11/15/16 State Roundup
ORLANDO — There aren't many elected Republicans in America happier about Donald Trump's election than Florida Gov. Rick Scott, an early Trump supporter in a battleground state dominated by Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio loyalists.
Not only is Scott a fellow super-rich businessman and political outsider who ran against the GOP establishment, he also ran a health care company, Columbia/HCA, that was targeted by the Clinton administration in the 1990s for Medicare fraud. So you can understand why Scott — a likely candidate for U.S. Senate in 2018 — is smiling big this week....
There aren't many elected Republicans in America happier about Donald Trump's election than Gov. Rick Scott, an early Trump supporter in a battleground state dominated by Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio loyalists.
Scott not only is a fellow super-rich businessman and political outsider who ran against the GOP establishment, he also happens to have run a healthcare company, Columbia/HCA, that was targeted by the Clinton administration for allegedly massive Medicare fraud. So you can understand why Gov. Scott - a likely candidate for U.S. Senate in 2018 - is smiling big this week....
Members of the Florida Council of 100 business group were surprised to hear the other day Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater say he won't run for office again. It's not a shock, given that the two-term CFO and former state senator sought the presidency of Florida Atlantic University in 2014 and at the last minute backed out of a widely expected run for U.S. Senate (We can only ponder whether he would have stepped aside for Marco Rubio). Still, the popular and respected Republican, 58, has always been in the mix of formidable candidates for statewide offices including governor or U.S. Senate....
It's Donald Trump's Republican Party now, but several of the Republican governors he repeatedly made uneasy over the past year will gather in Florida today to lay out their visions for governing.
The Republican Governors Association holda its annual conference today and Wednesday at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek where governors including Florida's Rick Scott, will preside over the first major gathering of GOP leaders since the election. Scott is the most enthusiastic supporter of the president-elect among the governors scheduled to attend....
Former Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford says he will decide whether to run for governor within 60 days.
I think I have to make a decision in the next 45 days internally. Between now and the end of the year I need to decide," said Weatherford, who celebrated his 37th birthday by joining Democratic state Rep. Ed Narain of Tampa for a post-election wrap up with the Greater Tampa Area Chamber of Commerce. "Politically, the timing is really good. On a personal front, I have an 8-year-old, a 6-year-old, a 4-year-old, and a 2-year-old and a bunch of businesses that I'm involved in, so it's hard to know if now is the right time."...