08/27/16 State Roundup
The federal government's decision to stop using private prisons shines a spotlight on one of GEO Group's favorite politicians: Marco Rubio.
Few candidates have gotten more help from the Boca Raton-based company, including $80,400 in the past month alone.
GEO Group employees and a political action committee gave $30,400 to Rubio's Senate campaign while the PAC gave $50,000 to the super PAC supporting Rubio....
On paper, state Rep. Mike Hill of Pensacola Beach looks like everything Republicans would want in a legislator. A captain in the Air Force, father of three and a State Farm agent with a grade of 97 out of 100 this year from the Florida Chamber of Commerce. Not perfect, but close.
As it turns out, that 97 was far from perfect, and polls suggest that barring a miracle, Hill will lose his Republican state Senate primary on Tuesday to Rep. Doug Broxson, R-Gulf Breeze, in a race featuring one of the toughest TV ads of this primary cycle....
TALLAHASSEE — For years, a small group of top Florida political leaders quietly prodded the federal government to be more aggressive in rooting out political corruption in the state capital.
The bipartisan group, led by Florida's senior statesman, former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, got a polite thank you from the U.S. Department of Justice, and nothing more.
"Very few prosecutorial and investigative resources are dedicated to scrutinizing activities of our largest units of state government," Graham told former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder....
Signs like this one will be popping up regularly across the Sunshine State, as pro-Amendment 4 forces urge voters to vote yes now -- and no later.
Many groups supporting Amendment 4 on next Tuesday's primary ballot are also working to defeat Amendment 1 on the Nov. 8 ballot. Amendment 1 is actually a business-backed ballot initiative that critics say is deceptively pretending to be a consumer-friendly proposal, when in fact it is pro-utility and anti-consumer....
Republicans can't vote in Democratic primaries in most cases. But that doesn't stop Republicans and their political allies from trying to influence the outcome of those races. In Tampa Bay, Broward and Palm Beach counties, GOP forces are flexing their muscle in a covert attempt to decide the outcome of races. The GOP's preferred Democrats are Rep. Darryl Rouson in Tampa Bay, Jim Waldman in Broward and Rep. Irv Slosberg in Palm Beach....
More than 1.2 million Floridians have cast ballots for the statewide primary next week. Through Wednesday morning, more than 975,000 people had voted by mail and nearly 257,000 had cast ballots at early voting sites. Based on that pace, turnout is likely to exceed the primaries in each of the past two cycles in Florida.
About 111,000 more Republicans have voted so far than have Democrats....
TALLAHASSEE — Republicans and their allies in the state Capitol are flexing political muscle in three hotly contested Democratic primary races in a covert attempt to shape the makeup of the Florida Senate for years to come.
In Tampa Bay's hardest-fought Senate primary, where black Democrats could be decisive, a new mailer in support of Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, makes it appear he has the support of President Barack Obama (he doesn't). The mailer was paid for by a group supported by Republican interests....
House Speaker-Designate Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, updated House members Tuesday on planned changes to committees, staffing, a rewrite of the rules and other issues.
Corcoran said revisions to the House committee structure will be released by Sept. 30 and that his leadership team, including the majority leader and all committee chairmen, will be announced on Nov. 9, the day after the general election. Corcoran has not named any chairs, but it's widely expected that Rep. Carlos Trujillo, a Miami Republican, will chair the budget-writing Appropriations Committee....
As primary mail ballot returns in Pinellas County approach 100,000, a county canvassing board has begun scrutinizing ballots that have been set aside as defective.
Meeting for the first time on Monday, the three-member board reviewed 159 ballots and rejected 29 of them, most of them because the signature on the ballot envelope didn't match the signature of that voter on file. Five other ballots were rejected because the ballot envelope was signed by someone other than the voter. ...
Donald Trump is revisiting his hard-line immigration policy and looking a bit like Gov. Rick Scott, who two years ago decided to tamp down his own tough talk on the subject. The full column is here.
Donald Trump could have saved himself a lot of aggravation over immigration.
He could have sought expert advice from another politician who promised to crack down on illegal immigration, only to accept the verdict of a broken promise when it didn't happen. Later, he muzzled his anti-immigrant talk during his re-election.
That politician would be Florida's Rick Scott, who was twice elected governor of a state where Hispanics continue to be a growing political force and who is chairman of a pro-Trump super PAC....
In the heart of Tampa Bay, Pinellas County's push to get all voters to vote by mail is significantly boosting turnout.
As of Monday, 15 percent of all county voters had cast ballots -- eight days before the Aug. 30 primary. At this pace, Pinellas turnout will easily eclipse the turnout of 23 percent in the last presidential-year primary in 2012 and already exceeds the 12.5 percent in the 2008 presidential-year primary....
It’s called a primary, but the election on Aug. 30 could be a defining moment for the Florida Legislature.
Across the state, primary races soon to be decided by a relative handful of voters may determine whether the Florida Senate stays on its moderate course or shifts to the right as new battles loom over abortion, education, guns and the environment.
The primary may decide whether Gov. Rick Scott will have more friends in the Capitol next spring, and whether deep-pocket newcomers can duplicate Scott’s success and use their personal wealth to catapult themselves to office....
A recent poll by a statewide business group has Sen. Jeff Clemens leading his Democratic primary opponent, Rep. Irv Slosberg, in their race for a state Senate seat in Palm Beach County.
The poll, conducted by The Kitchens Group for the Florida Chamber of Commerce Political Institute, has Clemens with 34 percent and Slosberg with 22 percent and 30 percent undecided, with 6 percent for the third Democrat in the District 31 race, Emmanuel Morel....
U.S. Senate | Libertarian primary
For the first time, a minor party will have a statewide primary for U.S. Senate. Augustus Invictus and Paul Stanton are vying to be on the Nov. 8 general ballot as the Libertarian Party nominee. Only registered Libertarian Party voters are eligible to vote. There are about 24,000 such voters in Florida.
About the job: A U.S. senator represents the state of Florida for a six-year term at a salary of $174,000 a year....