When Rep. Charles McBurney of Jacksonville learned Friday that a member of Gov. Rick Scott's staff had called, he didn't need to ask why.
A time-honored tradition in the governor's office is that the governor calls the person he picks for an appointment and staff members deliver the bad news to everyone else. McBurney was a finalist for a Jacksonville judgeship. He didn't get it....
The week-long candidate qualifying period closed at noon Friday in Tallahassee and at elections offices around the state, with the usual last-minute jockeying for political advantage.
Democratic Rep. Irv Slosberg of Boca Raton, wearing a bright orange "Let Irv Serve" ball cap, moved from one Senate race to another in the final hour of qualifying, and will challenge Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, in an Aug. 30 primary for the District 31 Senate seat in Palm Beach County....
Gov. Rick Scott has until Friday to appoint a new circuit judge in Jacksonville, and it may be the most closely-watched judicial appointment of his time in office.
The question is whether Scott will appoint state Rep. Charles McBurney, a Jacksonville Republican, to the court. McBurney has been the target of a well-organized effort by the National Rifle Association, which is trying to block his appointment because McBurney refused to hear a bill in the 2016 session that would have shifted the burden of proof from citizens to the state under the self-defense law known as "stand your ground." ...
Attorney General Pam Bondi can't run again because of term limits which is good for her, considering her recent run of controversies. But because this high-profile Cabinet office will be open in 2018, contested primaries are likely in both parties.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler, a Democrat, is letting people know he intends to run for an office that has been in Republican hands since 2002, the year another Broward County politician, Bob Butterworth, left office....
06/22/16 State Roundup
TALLAHASSEE — A famed Florida educator and civil rights pioneer, the state's best-known environmentalist and the founder of an iconic grocery chain were all nominated Wednesday to be enshrined in the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol.
A four-member panel (three other members were absent) selected a trio of visionaries: Mary McLeod Bethune, one of the most prominent African-American women of the 20th century; Marjory Stoneman Douglas, the leading champion of the Everglades; and George Jenkins, founder of the Publix supermarket empire....
A shorthanded four-member panel nominated three outstanding Floridians Wednesday to replace Confederate U.S. Army Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith and be enshrined at the National Statuary Hall at the nation's capitol in Washington.
The finalists will be sent to the Legislature, which will make the final decision.
Mary McLeod Bethune, an educator and pioneer civil rights activist who died in 1955, was the only unanimous choice. Publix Supermarkets founder George Jenkins got two votes, as did author and Everglades champion Marjory Stoneman Douglas....
When Kim McDougal replaced Melissa Sellers as Gov. Rick Scott's chief of staff, speculation in the Capitol centered on how long it would take McDougal to put her stamp on the plaza level operation.
McDougal, who in March became Scott's fifth chief of staff in five-plus years, has made her first major move. Gone is Frank Collins III, a top Sellers protege who has been a deputy chief of staff for the past two years. This week Collins moved to a newly-created job as a senior policy advisor to Transportation Secretary Jim Boxold. ...
Florida will dispatch 134 Highway Patrol employees, including 100 full-time state troopers, to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland to help with crowd control and security.
The state confirms it approved a request by Ohio officials for help and will send 134 people, including 34 support staff, to the GOP event from July 18-21. The estimated cost to Florida taxpayers will be $611,000, according to Beth Frady of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, who noted that Florida will be reimbursed by Ohio for all expenses other than salaries....
President Barack Obama's administration on Monday rejected Gov. Rick Scott's request for $5 million in emergency aid to help pay for costs related to the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
The denial came from Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a Floridian who directed Florida's emergency management agency before he went to work for Obama....
06/20/16 State Roundup
Term limits don't necessarily end political careers. They briefly interrupt them.
The qualifying period for federal, state and county candidates opened Monday in Florida with nearly two dozen former legislators looking for a return trip to Tallahassee.
There's nothing inherently wrong with that. In fact, the state needs more leaders with historical perspective and knowledge of the same issues that lawmakers face year after year....
Florida's week-long candidate qualifying period opened Monday with a "Rocky" start -- literally -- as candidates for hundreds of federal, state and county offices got on the ballot.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Democrat "Rocky" Roque De La Fuente ponied up a check for $10,440 to run for U.S. Senate. De La Fuente, who has been running a shoestring campaign for president, likely would be the fourth name on the Democratic primary ballot, joining U.S. Reps. Alan Grayson and Patrick Murphy and Pam Keith. De La Fuente got the Dave Barry treatment ("a loon with four buses in Iowa!") in The Miami Herald as he sought votes in that state's caucuses in January....
06/16/16 State Roundup
Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, the Florida House speaker-designate, urged his constituents to attend Thursday's vigil in New Port Richey in memory of the victims of the Orlando massacre.
"We will be standing together as one to show that we will not be defeated but instead grow stronger," Corcoran said.
In the past few days, however, some of Corcoran's constituents received a different message from him: a re-election campaign mailer that shows pictures of bullets as well as two photos of guns, including one in which Corcoran is holding a firearm....
Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, the House speaker-designate, is urging his constituents to attend a vigil Thursday in memory of the victims of the Orlando massacre. Sponsored by the city of New Port Richey, the event will be from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Sims Park. Participants are urged to bring a single flower to place in a wreath.
"We will be standing together as one to show that we will not be defeated but instead grow stronger," Corcoran said in announcing the event.
In the past few days, some of Corcoran's constituents received a different message from him: a re-election campaign mailer that shows pictures of bullets as well as two photos of guns, including one in which Corcoran is holding a firearm....
06/14/16 State Roundup
TALLAHASSEE — For more than five years, Gov. Rick Scott has been a fierce critic of the federal government in general and President Barack Obama in particular.
From a high-speed rail system to health care expansion to opening ties with Cuba, the Republican governor has been a vocal and partisan opponent of the Democratic president, has repeatedly sued the administration and recently chided Obama to "be a partner" in helping Florida fight the Zika virus....
The massacre in Orlando will rekindle a familiar debate in Tallahassee, probably with familiar results.
The subject is guns.
Omar Mateen walked into a gun store in Port St. Lucie and legally bought a powerful semiautomatic rifle and a handgun to carry out his murderous rampage.
He had been under FBI surveillance for nearly a year, but the feds closed the case and he kept his two Florida security guard licenses....