Just when you thought the U.S. Senate race could not get more dramatic, billionaire Jeff Greene, who made his fortune in real estate, filed papers this morning to run for the Democratic nomination. Greene had had a colorful life to say the least-he waited tables at the Breakers growing up and the best man at his wedding was Mike Tyson. Yes, that Mike Tyson. U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek is the favorite in the race with former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre and former North Miami Mayor Kevin Burns also in the race.
Attorney General Bill McCollum, the leading Republican gubernatorial candidate, spoke out against Gov. Charlie Crist leaving the G.O.P. to continue his campaign for the U.S. Senate as an independent.
“While not surprised by his decision, I am deeply disappointed Governor Crist has left the Republican Party,” said McCollum. “It is a short-sighted maneuver that directly contradicts his previous pledges to remain in the primary race.”
Republicans are weighing in on Gov. Charlie Crist’s decision to abandon the Republican Party to continue running for the U.S. Senate as an independent. “At a time when people are demanding a return to conservative values Charlie Crist headed the opposite direction,” said Holly Benson, a candidate for attorney general who Crist appointed to head the Agency for Health Administration. “Now, he has abandoned not just our values but also the party faithful – the leaders, the volunteers and the voters – who helped him every step of the way.”
Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp may have been Crist’s running mate in 2006, but he is off the Crist band wagon in 2010.
“I hope the Governor's decision today to run for the United States Senate as an independent candidate, rather than as a Republican, will have no impact on our personal relationship,” said Kottkamp. “However, as a lifelong Republican I am committed to supporting my party and the principles I have fought for my entire life. I will support the Republican nominee for United States Senate.”
With Gov. Charlie Crist rumored to be going independent, incoming Democratic leaders in the House and Senate came out today to back U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek’s bid.
"Kendrick is committed to issues of mutual concern, from providing seniors with the best health care available to enhancing the special U.S.-Israel relationship to creating jobs in our communities,” said incoming Senate Minority Leader Nan Rich, D-Weston. “Kendrick needs to be our next U.S. Senator and we will work hard to elect him to serve all of Florida in November." .
Speaker Larry Cretul, R-Ocala, offered a fond farewell to the House today. With incoming Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, and House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, R-Delray Beach, offering Cretul praise for taking over after Ray Sansom resigned in disgrace, Cretul thanked family, staff and House members of both parties. A picture of Cretul has now been hung in the House, next to Marco Rubio’s portrait. There are no plans to put a picture up of Sansom.
Jeb Bush has come out against Arizona’s tough new immigration laws, and now another prominent Florida Republican has emerged to blast the measure. U.S. Rep. Connie Mack has attacked the new law.
“We all agree that inaction by both the Bush and the Obama administrations has compounded this problem and forced states like Arizona to take drastic measures,” said Mack. “But the new Arizona law strikes a severe blow to freedom and the principles that make our nation strong.”
Mack even said the measure reminded him of what the Gestapo did in Nazi Germany.
Is Florida looking for a U.S. Senate candidate who is even more conservative than Marco Rubio? Bernie DeCastro, the Constitution Party candidate, thinks so. DeCastro was in Tallahassee today to fill out his paperwork to run for Senate.
A former inmate himself who was paroled in 1984 and pardoned by the late Lawton Chiles, DeCastro now is based in Marion County where he runs a work release facility, helping inmates and addicts got on with their lives.
What Florida political office is the most undermined by terms limits? It just might be the agriculture and consumer services commissioner. Since December 31, 1888 when L.B. Wombwell took office only nine other people served in the position. Granted, this includes the long tenures of Nathan Mayo who was in the office for more than 36 years and Doyle Conner who served 30 years. But only ten people have held the office in almost 125 years which is the same figure as the papacy. That’s compared to 22 U.S. presidents and 30 governors of Florida over the same period.
Democrats continue to promise that they can hold up bills moving over from the Senate. With the House needing 2/3 of its members to waive the rules to hear some bills, the 44 House Democrats will hold up numerous measures unless Republicans strip language concerning ultrasounds and abortions from a health care measure that passed the Senate yesterday.
Rep. Jim Waldman, D-Coconut Creek, offered some insight into what the House Democrats were up to. “We want to deal with the issues of Florida,” said Waldman. “They’re not sending us up here to deal with ultrasounds.”