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Reporter William March has covered state and national politics since 1994. Email
Reporter Mike Salinero has covered Hillsborough County government since 2007. Email
Florida Political Blogs:
Most Recent Entries
- Gaetz: Weatherford should be governor, senator “or even higher”
- New catch phrase for Scott? ‘It’s under review’
- Nelson, 501(c)(4) attack victim, says enforcing law would have prevent scandal
- Rich gets NOW endorsement
- Emily’s List again backs Ehrlich
- Jaroch: Tampa 912 “one of the first ones targeted”
- GOP Hispanic outreach official switches parties
- Castor, Crist, local Dems raise $$ for Graham’s daughter
- Joyner designated Senate Democratic leader
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Gaetz: Weatherford should be governor, senator “or even higher”
Posted May 22, 2013 by William March
Updated May 22, 2013 at 05:44 PM
State Senate Pres. Don Gaetz told reporters today he thinks House Speaker Will Weatherford of Wesley Chapel “should be governor of Florida, he should be a U.S. senator or even higher.”
The comments came during a tour of Tampa Bay Technical High School in Tampa by Gaetz and Weatherford, when reporters asked them about possible future political aspirations.
Weatherford, considered a rising star in the state Republican Party, danced around the question.
“My aspirations are to spend the next year working with the Senate president doing what we did (during his first year as speaker) and then going home and being with my three daughters who are under the age of five,” he said. “They don’t get to see me very much, and so that’s my priority.
“I know a lot of people who spend a lot of time worrying about the future, but the future takes care of itself,” he said. “It’s a huge honor to be the speaker of the Florida ... and I’m worried about that. I’m not worried about anything in the future.”
Gaetz, who isn’t known to have higher political ambitions, responded, “I don’t know if he has aspirations for higher office, but I have aspirations for him. Will Weatherford should be governor of Florida, he should be a U.S. senator or even higher, and my aspiration is to do the first fundraiser for him when he runs statewide.”
New catch phrase for Scott? ‘It’s under review’
Posted May 22, 2013 by James L. Rosica
Updated May 22, 2013 at 01:18 PM
Gov. Rick Scott’s office already has one catchphrase: “It’s Working.”
He might consider one more: “It’s Being Reviewed.”
One form or another of the word “review” is a favorite of the governor and his staff when asked the status of legislation and other state business.
For example, “We’ll review it and see what it does,” Scott said when asked whether he would sign a bill passed this year that speeds up the state’s capital punishment process.
“We’re reviewing it,” he said of another bill, which would have ended lifetime alimony in Florida. He ultimately vetoed that one.
“It’s under review,” a spokesman was quoted as saying, when asked whether Scott would sign a new death warrant for Miami killer John Errol Ferguson, whose federal appeal was recently rejected.
On Wednesday, asked for an update on the lieutenant governor search, Scott’s press office sent a brief email in response: “This is something we are reviewing.”
“It’s a standard rhetorical device designed to deflect attention away from a question,” explained Clay Calvert, a journalism and communications professor at the University of Florida.
Of course, it’s not unique to Scott or his administration; Obama spokesman Jay Carney has been called out for his constant use of “I appreciate the question” at press conferences.
“It usually means they don’t have a talking point,” Calvert said.
Nelson, 501(c)(4) attack victim, says enforcing law would have prevent scandal
Posted May 21, 2013 by William March
Updated May 21, 2013 at 06:12 PM
Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, himself a victim of millions in political spending by supposedly non-political 501(c)(4) groups, said in a congressional hearing they shouldn’t be allowed to do any political activity.
Nelson said the current IRS scandal over targeting conservative groups applying for 501(c)(4) status wouldn’t have happened if the IRS had enforced the law as written.
In the November election, independent consesrvative groups spent more than $20 million attempting to defeat Nelson in his re-election campaign against Connie Mack IV. Much of that spending was done by groups with the 501(c)(4) status, which allows them to avoid paying taxes on their revenue, and to keep their donors secret. Among them was Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS.
According the to the IRS web site, such groups can be involved in politics if it’s not their “primary purpose.”
Nelson’s comments came during questioning of former IRS interim director Stephen Miller by the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday. Miller was forced out of his job as result of the IRS scandal over targeting tea party groups.
Questioning Miller, Nelson said the law says such groups must be “devoted exclusively to charitable, educational or recreational purposes,” and the rule enforcing the law says the group must operate “exclusively for the promotion of social welfare.”
“How could you all in the IRS allow the tax breaks funded by the taxpayer [to be spent] on these political campaign expenditures?” Nelson asked. “I understand the king’s English, and it says the promotion of social welfare does not include direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns.
“How you interpret that to say that that does allow some intervention in political campaigns is beyond me.”
Miller didn’t respond directly to Nelson’s question about the origin of the IRS’s guideline that the groups can conduct some political activity.
In the past, Republicans, who now blast the IRS for targeting conservative groups, have criticized it for not targeting 501(c)(4) groups that were liberal-oriented, including some large groups that backed President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election. Democrats have said conservative groups should get more scrutiny.
Rich gets NOW endorsement
Posted May 21, 2013 by William March
Updated May 21, 2013 at 04:58 PM
The political arm of the National Organization has issued an early endorsement for Nan Rich, dark horse Democratic contender for governor.
According to an announcement from Rich’s campaign, Donna Slutiak, president of NOW’s political arm, called Rich “the best hope for Florida’s women.”
Rich, a former state senator from Weston, has a long history as a liberal on issues including abortion, gay rights and other social issues.
Former Gov. Charlie Crist, former state finance chief Alex Sink and possibly other Democrats are the 2014 race for governor, but Rich is the only prominent Democrat who has actually begun a campaign.
Emily’s List again backs Ehrlich
Posted May 16, 2013 by William March
Updated May 16, 2013 at 10:48 AM
Emily’s List, a national fundraising group that backs pro-choice women candidates for political office, is again backing Democrat Jessica Ehrlich in her campaign against U.S. Rep. Bill Young.
Ehrlich, a St. Petersburg lawyer who has worked as a congressional staffer, lost in 2012 to the 22-term Republican from Indian Shores; Emily’s List backed her in that race also. She recently announced she’ll run again in 2014.
The organization can provide a significant fundraising boost for candidates it supports. It solicits donations from members across the nation to candidates it chooses.
The organization announced Thursday it has put Ehrlich “on the list.” It says that means “candidates who show promising campaigns,” urging members to contribute to them, but whom it has not yet endorsed.
That list now includes half a dozen 2014 congressional candidates, including Gwen Graham, daughter of former Florida senator and governor Bob Graham. She’s running in a Panhandle district against tea party champion Rep. Steve Southerland.