Reporter William March has covered state and national politics since 1994. Email
Reporter Mike Salinero has covered Hillsborough County government since 2007. Email
Reporter James L. Rosica covers state government from the Tribune's Tallahassee bureau. Email
Florida Political Blogs:
Most Recent Entries
- Scott gets Q poll bump; Schale says “No biggie”
- Kentucky’s Beshear responds to Scott
- Lawmakers have sent all of this year’s bills to governor
- Scott next targets Kentucky to entice businesses, jobs
- Rangel, Clelland criticize Rouson
- Tant: J-J dinner raises $850,000, 1,300 attendees
- Fla. lawmaker on honeymoon when news breaks of ethics violation
- Scott vetoes mental health bill
- Curry: Maybe I’ll rent Rich a room
- Scott takes another jab at Nelson over sequestration and Nat’l Guard troops
- Legislature releases 2013-14 pre-session committee schedule
- New PhD now Ag Dept’s top economist
- Governor outlaws distribution of porn on school grounds
- Gov. Scott signs 34 more bills into law
- Scionti, Vance to run for judgeship
Scott gets Q poll bump; Schale says “No biggie”
Posted Jun 18, 2013 by William March
Updated Jun 18, 2013 at 03:15 PM
Democratic uber-operative Steve Schale, who spent the weekend squiring Charlie Crist around the Democrats’ Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Hollywood, says Gov. Rick Scott’s improvement in today’s Quinnipiac poll is a post-session bump like the one Scott got in 2012, but discounts its importance in a head-to-head matchup.
The poll showed Scott reaching the highest job-performance approval ratings of his tenure as governor, though still a net negative—43 percent approval to 44 percent disapproval. That’s up from negative 36–49 percent in a March 20 Quinnipiac poll.
Scott also improved his performance in matchups against Crist and Sen. Bill Nelson, though he still lost to each by 10 points—47-37 percent against Crist and 48-38 against Nelson.
Schale noted that Crist and Nelson both got more support from Republican respondents in the poll than Scott got from Democrats, particularly in the Tampa area.
“The more moderate parts of the state in the Bay area still aren’t there on Scott,” Schale said in an email blast. “Quite frankly, if he can’t change those Bay Area numbers, he isn’t going to win.”
Scott also faces a “huge” gender gap, Schale said—a 19-point deficit among women against Crist, and a 29-54 deficit among women respondents on whether they’d vote to re-elect him.
Schale, who ran Obama’s 2008 campaign in Florida, was at Crist’s elbow during the Democratic Party’s fundraising dinner this weekend, introducing him to power brokers in his new party.
The state Democratic Party also put out a news release denigrating Scott’s improvement, saying he has “spent the past five months flip-flopping and then flipping again on major issues to appease his Tea Party base and using all the powers of incumbency — including spending taxpayer dollars — to boost his abysmal numbers.”
Florida Republicans had comparatively little to say about the poll.
“We’re confident in the successful record of Governor Rick Scott; his continued focus on Florida’s economy, education and cost-of-living will continue to improve the lives of Floridians,” said a written statement from state GOP Chairman Lenny Curry.
Republicans may have trouble spinning 10-point deficits and negative job approval as positive, but they still have reason to be pleased.
If the poll shows nothing else, it shows that Scott’s performance is improving with the economy, which is likely to continue getting better—a worrisome sign for the Dems despite their pooh-poohing.
“The economy’s getting better … and improving economies tend to help incumbents,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of Quinnipiac’s University Polling Institute. In the poll, he noted, more respondents credited Scott for the rebounding economy than President Barack Obama.
Full results here.
Kentucky’s Beshear responds to Scott
Posted Jun 18, 2013 by James L. Rosica
Updated Jun 18, 2013 at 08:59 AM
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, is firing back at Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott, after Scott sent letters to Kentucky businesses, asking them to relocate to Florida.
“Gov. Scott’s description of the business climate in Kentucky is so far from the existing reality that one wonders whether he’s had too much of that Florida sun (and the high property taxes that go with it),” Beshear said in a statement to the Tribune received Tuesday.
“Far from being stagnant, our unemployment rate has actually dropped by 2.4 percentage points over the last three years and is at its lowest point since November 2008. Last fall, we ranked 2nd in the country in net growth rate of new jobs. We’re setting records with exports. Our auto industry is No. 3 in the country again (making 50 percent more cars from Jan. 1 to April 30 than we were a year ago). We’re also seeing an aggressive influx of foreign investment.
“The bottom line: Based on the litany of new businesses coming to Kentucky, and existing businesses expanding their workforces, product lines and facilities, I’m confident Kentucky offers an attractive business atmosphere.”
Kentucky joined the list of states with Democratic governors where Scott is using a letter-writing campaign to entice companies and jobs.
Lawmakers have sent all of this year’s bills to governor
Posted Jun 17, 2013 by James L. Rosica
Updated Jun 17, 2013 at 04:19 PM
The ‘bill train’ has stopped.
As of Monday, the Florida Legislature’s website showed no more bills to send to Gov. Rick Scott.
July 2 is Scott’s final deadline to review and act on the last of the 56 bills left on his desk. He is attending the Paris Air Show until Friday.
Of the 283 bills passed this legislative session, Scott has signed 220 into law and vetoed seven.
A bill can become law if he declines to act by the signing deadline, but no bills have yet been approved that way this year.
Remaining items include local bills such as HB 533, which changes Tampa’s city workers’ pension plan. It would allow those who work fewer than six years to get back money they put in “upon the termination or partial termination of the plan.”
Scott next targets Kentucky to entice businesses, jobs
Posted Jun 17, 2013 by James L. Rosica
Updated Jun 17, 2013 at 04:24 PM
Kentucky has joined Gov. Rick Scott’s list of states where he’s asking business leaders to relocate to the Sunshine State.
What do they all have in common? Kentucky—as does Minnesota, Illinois, California, Connecticut, New York and Maryland—has a Democratic governor.
“Kentucky’s formula of higher taxes and more spending is not working,” Scott, a Republican, said in a news release Monday. “Not only is Florida a great place for businesses, but it’s also a great place to get an education, and we will continue to work to bring more jobs and opportunities to Florida families.”
In his letter, he says he hopes Kentucky business owners “book a trip to Florida soon, and we hope you make it a ‘one way’ trip because we have the perfect climate for your business.”
Scott announced last month that Hertz, the second-largest U.S. rental car company, was relocating its corporate headquarters from Park Ridge, N.J., to Fort Myers.
He also asks Kentucky businesses to call him for a meeting: “I would love to tell you even more about the economic turnaround underway in our state and why Florida is the best state in the nation to live, work and raise a family.”
In his 2010 campaign, Scott promised to create 700,000 jobs in Florida over seven years. In April, he said he was closing in on the halfway mark, with more than 320,000 private sector jobs.
A staff member in Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear’s office said she was unaware of Scott’s email and asked for a copy.
On his website Monday, Beshear announced that Gazelle Inc., “the nation’s leading consumer electronics trade-in site,” plans a 37,500-square-foot processing center in Louisville, creating more than 400 new jobs and investing $22.3 million.
This week, Scott is in France with a Florida trade delegation, attending the Paris Air Show. He plans to meet with aerospace and aviation companies to promote job growth and business development here.
Rangel, Clelland criticize Rouson
Posted Jun 15, 2013 by William March
Updated Jun 15, 2013 at 03:40 PM
There’s been no attempt to unseat him, but incoming Democratic House leader Darryl Rouson of St. Peterburg absorbed some harsh criticism from a couple of fellow House Democrats at a caucus meeting this afternoon.
Rep. Mike Clelland of Crestview accused Rouson of alienating Democratic constituencies including the teacher’s union and trial lawyers; Rep. Ricardo Rangel of Kissimmee questioned Rouson’s decisions on hiring staff for the party’s House campaign fund.
“It’s my understanding that you’ve not brought together our major supporters, in fact you’ve alienated them,” Clelland said. “Everything you just said seems to be contrary to what I’Ve heard.”
Rouson denied the criticism, saying he has established a good relationship with the state trial lawyers’ political action committee, and worked to do so with political officials of the Florida Education Association; and he suggested that Rangel wanted to be on the party payroll.
“When you and Rep. Clelland are here for a little while, you will see that you talk about some things in house,” Rouson told Rangel, who like Clelland is a freshman, elected in 2012. “You don’t see the majority party bandying things about in the press.”