Marco Rubio says Jeb Bush's move toward a presidential run will have no effect on his own presidential deliberations. But among more than 150 savvy political pros who know Rubio, Bush, and Florida politics best the answer is clear: Bush's candidacy presents a nearly insurmountable obstacle to Sen. Rubio.
Nearly 80 percent of those surveyed for the latest Tampa Bay Times Florida Insider Poll said Rubio would be unable to raise enough money to mount a competitive campaign if Jeb Bush was also running. Only a quarter of them predict Rubio will actually run now that Bush is poised to do so....
Loser of the week
Jeb Bush. Bloomberg Businessweek delved into Bush's sideline as a budding private equity mogul, depicting him as another budding Mitt Romney. The piece raised tough questions about Bush's vulnerabilities as a candidate as well as his readiness to run.
Winners of the week
Marco Rubio, Mitt Romney. Any hint that Jeb Bush may not pull the trigger on a presidential bid is good news for potential contenders Rubio and Romney....
THE BUZZ: Big losses in North Florida in the governor's race catch the attention of Democrat strategists12/13/14News
As Florida Democrats continue their perennial soul searching over how they lost another critical election, most of the talk from the Charlie Crist camp has been about how Rick Scott and the Republicans outspent them by nearly two-to-one.
"I worry the lesson some people have is that it all came down to money and almost nothing else," said former state Democratic Party chairman Rod Smith of Alachua, who is quick to say Crist ran a strong campaign and "might have been the strongest" candidate Democrats could have fielded....
When it comes to picking the Republican nominee for president of the United States, the Florida GOP carved a special role for itself in the last two presidential campaigns: Self-entitled scofflaw.
Sunshine State Republican elected leaders, convinced that America's biggest and most diverse battleground state should have an outsized voice in selecting the nominee, unapologetically blew up their national party's carefully crafted primary schedules by setting Florida's primary earlier than allowed in 2008 and 2012....
12/12/14 State Roundup
When it comes to picking the Republican nominee for president of the United States, the Florida GOP carved a special role for itself in the past two presidential campaigns: self-entitled scofflaw.
The Sunshine State's Republican elected leaders, convinced that America's biggest and most diverse battleground state should have an outsized voice in selecting the nominee, unapologetically blew up their national party's carefully crafted primary schedules by setting Florida's primary earlier than allowed in 2008 and 2012....
We've shared clips of Kurt Kelly making his case to be elected chairman of the Republican Party of Florida next month, and clips of Blaise Ingoglia making his case. Today, it's Eric Miller of Martin County, who learned this year challenged the governor's hand-picked candidate, Leslie Dougher, and lost a surprisingly close contest - 69-106 - without even running a campaign....
The Florida GOP says it will release the the names of donors to Gov. Rick Scott's inauguration activities weekly. Here's the first batch:
US Sugar Corporation: $25,000
Allstate Insurance Company: $5,000
FCCI Services, Inc of Sarasota: $25,000...
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn faces no challenger for a second term, and he already sounds like a Democratic candidate for governor in 2016. He appears Sunday on Political Connections on Bay News 9 in Tampa, and along with the future of the Tampa Bay Rays stadium, mass transit, and other issues, Buckhorn spoke about keeping his distance from Charlie Crist this year and how Democrats can finally win the governor's mansion. Spoiler: By electing someone like him....
Bloomberg has a tough story on Jeb Bush out today about the former governor's investments, which include business deals with Chinese investors, offshore tax havens, and, overall, Romneyesque problems for a potential presidential candidate:
... Documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Nov. 27 list Bush as chairman and manager of a new offshore private equity fund, BH Global Aviation, which raised $61 million in September, largely from foreign investors. In November the fund incorporated in the United Kingdom and Wales—a structure, several independent finance lawyers say, that operates like a tax haven by allowing overseas investors to avoid U.S. taxes and regulations....
Marc Caputo on the newly released ONLINE poll by St. Leo University:
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush would handily carry his homestate in a crowded GOP primary and is the only Republican to marginally lead Democrat Hillary Clinton in a theoretical 2016 presidential contest, according to a new Saint Leo University Polling Institute survey.
Bush would pull 34 percent GOP support in a primary -- more than double former presidential candidate Mitt Romney's 15 percent and more than triple U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio's 10 percent, the poll shows. The other 15 potential candidates (yes, it's that kind of potential Republican primary) all pull single-digit support in Florida....
Yesterday, we featured a quick video chat with Florida GOP chairman candidate Kurt Kelly. Today, it's state Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, who currently also serves as vice chairman of the state party. The election is next month.
Gov. Rick Scott has endorsed the re-election of Leslie Dougher as Florida GOP chairwoman, but that has not stopped three challengers from stepping forward: Newly elected state Rep. Blaise Ingolia of Spring Hill, former state Rep. Kurt Kelly of Ocala and Martin County Republican State Committeeman Eric Miller. We caught up with Kelly, a social and fiscal conservative from Ocala who served in the Florida House from 2007 to 2010, when he ran unsuccessfully against Dan Webster for the right to challenge U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson....
Mike Hightower, the Tallahassee lobbyist least likely to sport an askew tie and a powerhouse Republican fundraiser (especially for Bushes), is joining Holland & Knight's lobbying team after more than three decades at Florida Blue. From a release:
Holland & Knight has expanded its Florida Government Advocacy Team with the addition of veteran healthcare lobbyist Mike Hightower as a senior policy advisor in its Jacksonville office....
Winner of the week
Satan. The Florida Department of Management Services last week approved a holiday display from the Satanic Temple of Tallahassee in the rotunda of the Florida Capitol, after the temple threatened to sue if its request was ejected again.
Loser of the week
Major Harding. The retired Florida Supreme Court justice has been picked for a no-win job guaranteed to infuriate a lot of people: Issue a student conduct hearing ruling on the sexual assault allegations against Florida State's Jameis Winston....
12/06/14 State Roundup
Florida Republican party leaders gathered in Tampa on Saturday for their quarterly board meeting, and we heard a fair amount of chatter about a potential upset in the upcoming election of a new chairman of the state GOP.
Gov. Rick Scott picked the current chairwoman, Leslie Dougher of Clay County, six months ago to fill the remainder of the term of Lenny Curry after Curry stepped down to run for mayor of Jacksonville. Scott endorsed her for re-election last month, and you might think that would decide the matter. It didn't. Three other Republicans — newly elected state Rep. Blaise Ingolia of Spring Hill, former state Rep. Kurt Kelly of Ocala and Martin County Republican State Committeeman Eric Miller — stepped up to challenge Dougher. The election is next month....