Sunshine State News feed en Jay Fant Beats Paul Renner by 2 Votes Banker Jay Fant was declared the winner of the Republican primary to replace Rep. Daniel Davis, R-Jacksonville, in the Florida House on Friday. After the Duval County Elections Supervisor held a machine recount and examined ballots, Fant beat attorney and Navy veteran Paul Renner by 2 votes: 5,962 to 5,960. <br /><p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 21:18:03 +0000 Kevin Derby 5920790 at Florida TaxWatch Marks Labor Day by Noting Job Growth With Labor Day being celebrated on Monday, Dominic Calabro, the president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch weighed in on Friday, noting an increase of private-sector jobs in the Sunshine State over the last year. <br /><br />"Monday, Sept. 1st, Americans will celebrate Labor Day, a time to thank our nation's workers for their role in building economic growth and prosperity,” Calabro said. “This year, more working Floridians have reason to relax and celebrate the long weekend. From July 2013 to July 2014, Florida saw an increase of 208,500 private, nonfarm jobs.<br /><p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 18:56:56 +0000 Kevin Derby 5920735 at NRCC Chairman Goes to Bat for Carlos Curbelo Against Joe Garcia On Friday, U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), sent out a fundraising email on Carlos Curbelo’s behalf, attempting to link Joe Garcia with U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Walden warned Republicans that Democrats planned to support Garcia with their checkbooks and called for Republicans to open their wallets for Curbelo. <br /> <p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 15:10:49 +0000 Kevin Derby 5920640 at Lee County May Reconsider Vote to Opt Out of Testing The Lee County School Board, which voted to opt out of statewide standardized testing this week, could be pumping the brakes on its decision to leave testing behind. <br /><br />The board will be meeting next Tuesday to discuss the vote and consider rescinding its decision. <a href=";utm_medium=twitter" target="_blank">The News Press reported</a> board member Mary Fischer, who served as the tiebreaker for the 3-2 vote, requested the meeting.<br /><p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 15:02:32 +0000 Allison Nielsen 5920639 at Nan Rich Joins Charlie Crist on Statewide Unity Tour Former Florida Senate Minority Leader Nan Rich will be attending unity rallies across Florida on Thursday with former Gov. Charlie Crist who beat her in the Democratic gubernatorial primary on Tuesday. But Rich could not resist a final shot at Crist who refused to debate her during the primary campaign . <br /><br />“Last night I spoke with Charlie Crist to congratulate him,” Rich posted on Facebook on Wednesday. “It was a brief call, I didn't feel like debating him.”<br /><br />Rich offered more enthusiasm later on Wednesday in another Facebook post. <br /><p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 14:54:02 +0000 Kevin Derby 5920345 at Pam Bondi Wins Endorsement of State Troopers Association The Florida Association of State Troopers (FAST) endorsed Attorney General Pam Bondi for a second term on Thursday. Bondi, a Republican, faces Democratic nominee former DCF Secretary George Sheldon and Libertarian Bill Wohlsifer in November. <br /><br />“As a prosecutor in the 18th Judicial Circuit, Pam Bondi proved herself a strong advocate for justice,” said Mike Kirby, FAST’s chairman, on Thursday. “That has carried over into her job as attorney general and she continues her commitment to the safety and well-being of Florida’s citizens and visitors.<br /><p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 13:53:38 +0000 Kevin Derby 5920327 at Rick Scott Names Lester Bass to Duval County Court On Wednesday, Gov. Rick Scott named Lester Bass, a longtime figure in Jacksonville legal circles, to the Duval County Court, replacing Judge Russell Healey who was elevated to the circuit court. <br /><br />Bass has been a general magistrate and hearing officer in the 4th Judicial Circuit for more than a decade and worked as an assistant public defender in Hillsborough County and an assistant state attorney in the 4th Judicial Circuit which covers parts of the First Coast. <br /><p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 13:41:23 +0000 Kevin Derby 5920325 at College Football Helps Florida Economy, New Study Shows With the kickoff of the college football season set for this weekend, including the national champion Florida State University Seminoles starting the season against Oklahoma State, a new study from Florida TaxWatch finds the seven Division I NCAA football teams in Florida help boost the Sunshine State’s economy. <br /><br />"Florida taxpayers should be cheering on Florida football programs this year, because Florida team wins create value for the state," said Dominic Calabro, the president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch, on Thursday.<br /><p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 13:29:09 +0000 Kevin Derby 5920318 at Lee County to Opt Out of Statewide Tests The Lee County School District voted Wednesday evening to be the first in the state to opt out of standardized testing. <br /><br />By a vote of 3-2, the Lee County School Board decided to pull the district out of statewide testing, effective immediately.<br /><br />According to the <a href=";utm_medium=twitter" target="_blank">News Press</a>, Wednesday's meeting was full of people both in support of and opposed to opting out of testing. <p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 01:31:42 +0000 Allison Nielsen 5920241 at Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal Sues Feds Over Common Core Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announced Wednesday he will be filing a lawsuit against the federal government for violating states' rights by implementing the Common Core State Standards. <br /><br />Jindal's lawsuit says states were given monetary incentives through federal grants to join in and implement the standards, which Jindal says violates the 10th Amendment. <br /><p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 18:01:44 +0000 Allison Nielsen 5920067 at Rick Scott Showcases Vehicle Registration Fee Cut After winning the Republican primary on Tuesday, Gov. Rick Scott reminded Floridians on Wednesday that his $400 million cut of vehicle registration fees, one of his chief legislative priorities this year, takes effect on Sept. 1. <br /><br />Scott insisted these fees were “tax increases” which then-Gov. Charlie Crist signed off on back in 2009. Despite having spent most of his political life as a Republican, Crist won the Democratic primary on Tuesday and will face Scott in November. <br /><p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 14:41:07 +0000 Kevin Derby 5919980 at Jeff Brandes Wins the Backing of the FMA With Tuesday marking the end of primary season in Florida, focus now turns to the general election. That was clear on Wednesday morning as the Florida Medical Association PAC (FMA PAC) announced it was backing Florida Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, over Democrat Judithanne McLauchlan in what is expected to be one of the most competitive legislative races come November. <br /><p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 14:33:49 +0000 Kevin Derby 5919978 at Primary Upset: John Cortes Beats Florida Rep. Ricardo Rangel John Cortes, the vice president of the Florida Hispanic Caucus and a retired New York City corrections officer, pulled off a major upset in the Democratic primary on Tuesday by beating state Rep. Ricardo Rangel, D-Kissimmee. <br /><br />With 5,494 votes counted, Cortes had 2,843 votes (51.75 percent) and Rangel had 2,651 (48.25 percent). <br /><p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 02:25:19 +0000 Kevin Derby 5919851 at Joe Negron Cruises in Republican Primary Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, routed challenger Brandon Cannon in the Republican primary on Tuesday. <br /><br />With almost 35,500 votes counted, Negron had 85.4 percent while Cannon took 14.6 percent of the vote. <br /><br />“I really appreciate this community’s vote of confidence in the commitment we share for protecting our environment, supporting our seniors and safeguarding our constitutional rights," Negron said after his big win. “I look forward to continuing our grassroots campaign in the general election.”<br /><p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 01:28:50 +0000 Kevin Derby 5919804 at Geri Thompson Easily Beats Gary Siplin in Democratic Primary Florida Sen. Geri Thompson, D-Orlando, beat Victoria Siplin to win a seat in the Senate back in 2012 and, on Tuesday, she bested former Sen. Gary Siplin, the husband of her old foe, in the Democratic primary. <br /><br />With more than 23,400 votes cast, Thompson was well ahead, taking 64.1 percent while Siplin mustered 35.9 percent. <br /><p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 01:23:23 +0000 Kevin Derby 5919801 at Carl Domino Wins GOP Nod to Challenge Patrick Murphy After losses in state legislative primaries in 2010 and 2012, former state Rep. Carl Domino won the Republican primary to take on U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., in November. <br /><br />With 75.5 percent of the vote in, Domino took 38 percent followed by former Connecticut state Rep. Alan Schlesinger with 24.7 percent. Nurse and conservative activist Beverly Hires took third with 14.1 percent followed by businessman Brian Lara with 12.6 percent. Former Tequesta Councilman Calvin Turnquest garnered 6.9 percent followed by businessman Nick Wukoson with 3.8 percent. <br /><p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 01:04:20 +0000 Kevin Derby 5919789 at Carlos Curbelo Wins Primary to Take on Joe Garcia; David Rivera Flops With the support of former Gov. Jeb Bush and former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Miami-Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo won the Republican primary to challenge U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., in November. Garcia ranks as one of the top Republican targets in the nation. <br /><p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 00:57:57 +0000 Kevin Derby 5919785 at Alcee Hastings Easily Beats the Field in CD 20 U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings easily bested two candidates in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. <br /><br />With 21.6 percent of the vote, Hastings was cruising with 78 percent of the vote. Jean Enright stood in distant second with 15.8 percent while former heavyweight boxing contender Jameel McCline was in single digits with 6.2 percent. <br /><br />Hastings, who was first elected to Congress back in 1992, will be a heavy favorite in November in this strongly Democratic district. Jay Bonner has the Republican nomination while Luis Fernandez is running with no party affiliation. Wed, 27 Aug 2014 00:47:19 +0000 Kevin Derby 5919780 at Alan Grayson Will Face Carol Platt in November in CD 9 Carol Platt from the Osceola County Realtors Association won the Republican primary on Tuesday night to challenge U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla. <br /><br />With 96 percent of votes in, Platt, who had the backing of former Gov. Jeb Bush, took 54.4 percent in the primary. Navy veteran Jorge Bonilla came in a distant second with 29.8 percent and businessman Peter Vivaldi took third with 15.8 percent of the vote. <br /><br />Grayson easily beat Nick Ruiz on the Democratic side, taking more than 74 percent of the vote. <br /><p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 00:38:50 +0000 Kevin Derby 5919777 at Jeff Miller Triumphs in CD 1 U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., easily bested Republican primary challenger John Krause in Tuesday’s primary. With more than 44 percent of votes in, Miller had 77.4 percent and Krause 22.6 percent. <br /><br />Miller will face businessman Jim Byran, who has the Democratic nomination, and businessman Mark Wichern who is running with no party affiliation. This Panhandle district is a Republican stronghold, making Miller a heavy favorite come November. <br /><br /> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 00:32:35 +0000 Kevin Derby 5919771 at Charlie Crist Wins Democratic Primary It's finally official: former Gov. Charlie Crist will face Gov. Rick Scott in November's general election.<br /><br />According to the Florida Division of Elections' website, Crist had snagged 74 percent of the vote. Former Sen. Nan Rich took 26 percent of the vote.   <br /><br />"Democrats across Florida are ready to work harder than we’ve ever worked to elect Charlie Crist governor of Florida,” said Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant on Tuesday evening. <br /><br /><em>This is a developing story. Keep checking back for more details. </em> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 00:13:48 +0000 Allison Nielsen 5919755 at John Mica Easily Beats 3 Candidates in CD 7 GOP Primary A member of Congress for more than two decades, U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., easily bested three Republican opponents in the primary on Tuesday. With more than 63 percent of the vote in, Mica took almost 72 percent while his closest opponent, David Smith, took 19.1 percent. Don Oehlrich stood in third with 5.1 percent and Kelly Shirley lagged behind with 3.9 percent. <br /><br />Mica will be a heavy favorite in November over Democrat Wes Neuman and Al Krulick, who is running with no party affiliation, in this secure Republican district. Wed, 27 Aug 2014 00:10:12 +0000 Kevin Derby 5919754 at Glo Smith Beats Twee Lowe to Take on Corrine Brown Former gubernatorial aide Glo Smith beat businesswoman Twee Lowe on Tuesday in the Republican primary to challenge U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., in November. With more than 63 percent of votes counted, Smith took 63.5 percent while Lowe garnered 36.5 percent of the votes cast. <br /><br />Smith will have an uphill climb against Brown who has represented parts of North Florida in Congress since first winning her seat in 1992. Brown represents a solidly Democratic district. Wed, 27 Aug 2014 00:02:40 +0000 Kevin Derby 5919743 at Ander Crenshaw Holds Off Ryman Shoaf in CD 4 With 83 percent of precincts in, U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla., held off a spirited Republican primary challenge from retired Navy Capt. Ryman Shoaf. Crenshaw took more than 71 percent of the vote while Shoaf took less than 29 percent of the vote. <br /><br />Crenshaw should be secure in November though he does face challenges from two candidates with no party affiliation: Gary Koniz and Paula Moser-Bartlett. Deb Pueschel will be running as a write-in candidate. With no Democratic challengers, Crenshaw should easily hold on to his congressional seat which he first won in 2000. Tue, 26 Aug 2014 23:54:35 +0000 Kevin Derby 5919739 at Ted Yoho Crushes Jake Rush in CD3 Primary Freshman U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., won the Republican primary on Tuesday, easily holding off attorney Jake Rush. With almost 14,000 votes in, Yoho had 73.4 percent of the vote. Rush had been agressive, hitting Yoho on a number of fronts, but he never recovered from stories and photos showcasing his role-playing hobby that made national headlines. <br /><p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 23:50:18 +0000 Kevin Derby 5919738 at Jeff Atwater: Charlie Crist 'Didn't Care' About Suffering Floridians As primary voting began to wrap up Tuesday afternoon, Florida's chief financial officer focused his efforts on ripping the likely Democratic nominee to face Gov. Rick Scott in the general election.<br /><br />CFO Jeff Atwater ripped into former Gov. Charlie Crist for "walking away" from thousands of needy Floridians during his time in office, leaving behind his responsibilities as governor for higher political ambitions. <br /><p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 20:38:27 +0000 Allison Nielsen 5919655 at Marco Rubio Warns Obama Against Going it Alone on Immigration Despite his leading role with the “Gang of Eight” on immigration reform, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., warned President Barack Obama that any efforts he makes on immigration reform should be done with the approval of Congress. Rubio wrote Obama on the matter on Tuesday. <br /><p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 17:33:47 +0000 Kevin Derby 5919598 at NRCC Goes After Gwen Graham on Obamacare in New TV Ad The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) launched a new ad on Tuesday hitting Democrat Gwen Graham on President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law. Graham represents Democrats’ best chance to flip a congressional seat in Florida as she runs against U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla.<br /><br /><div class="pp_media alignnone"><div class="emvideo emvideo-video emvideo-youtube"><div id="media-youtube-1" class="media-youtube"> <div id="1" class=" swfobject">Sorry, you need to install flash to see this content.</div> </div> </div></div><br /><p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 13:54:30 +0000 Kevin Derby 5919533 at Steve Southerland Cheers NOAA Funds Going to Apalachicola Oyster Fishing U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., cheered Monday’s news that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will send $6.3 million in disaster assistance to Apalachicola Bay’s oyster fishing industry which has dropped 60 percent in the last two years. <br /><p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 13:31:30 +0000 Kevin Derby 5919526 at Marco Rubio Wants Latin American Nations to Return Ambassadors to Israel From his perch on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., teamed up with three of his colleagues -- U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and U.S. Sen. James E. Risch, R-Idaho -- in sending a letter to five Latin American leaders, asking them to restore full diplomatic ties with Israel by returning their ambassadors to that nation. The senators wrote the presidents of Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador and Peru, all of whom recalled their ambassadors from Israel in protest of that nation’s recent actions in Gaza.<br /><p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 13:20:24 +0000 Kevin Derby 5919522 at