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Winner and loser of the week in Florida politics

The mass shooting in Parkland and passionate student activists appear to have shifted the political landscape on gun control
Rep. Ted Deutch, seated, engages with Sen. Marco Rubio during the CNN town hall on the Parkland school shooting.
Rep. Ted Deutch, seated, engages with Sen. Marco Rubio during the CNN town hall on the Parkland school shooting.
Published Feb. 25, 2018|Updated Feb. 25, 2018

Winner of the week

Marco Rubio. Our famously cautious senator showed guts attending a CNN town hall knowing he would be attacked for his gun rights views and face grieving victims. It seems like a no brainer, but it scared away other Florida Republicans. He also showed a spine by departing from the NRA on arming school teachers was and about raising the minimum age to buy rifles, and not ruling out restrictions on magazine clip sizes.

Runners-up

Mental health advocates. Never have we heard Republicans more enthusiastic about mental health spending in Florida. One respected group ranks the state worse in per-capita mental health funding than every state and the District of Columbia.

Youth activism. The passionate and eloquent activism of the students in Parkland forced politicians to take notice and respond as they haven't before.

Rick Scott, Donald Trump, Richard Corcoran, Joe Negron. Raising the minimum age of rifle purchases may be at best a baby step, but these Republican leaders bucking the NRA  even slightly to enact more gun control is unprecedented in modern history and shows they listened to parents and students and are at least capable of compromise.

Loser of the week

Shawn Harrison. The Tampa state representative's longtime aide and friend was comfortable telling a reporter that impassioned Marjory Stoneman Douglas students on TV were actors, not survivors. Lord knows what unhinged sentiments he shared with his boss over the years without repercussions.

Runners-up

Rick Scott. The governor who presided over two mass shootings looked like a wimp by skipping CNN's town hall. And he looked like a petty partisan by calling for the FBI director's immediate resignation, when his own administration was among the numerous government agencies who fell short on this tragedy.

Broward Sheriffs Office, FBI, Florida Department of Children and Families. Big missteps by each failed to protect the lives of 17 teens.

Adam Putnam. The chief accomplishment he touts on the campaign trail is speeding up concealed weapons permits. Neither that nor his boast of being a "proud NRA sellout" have the same appeal after last week.

Richard Corcoran. Thundering about sanctuary cities potentially killing Floridians' children rings hollow after years of barely addressing mass shootings that actually have killed Floridians' children.

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