Sunshine State News Blogs

Florida TaxWatch noted on Wednesday that legislators will have a small surplus -- $336.2 million -- in the 2015 session. While this is the fourth year in a row there was a surplus, the projected surplus is less than half of what it was this year.

Dominic Calabro, the president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch, said the surplus was a result of job growth.

"More Floridians are working and paying their taxes, which has enabled our government to receive a budget surplus for the past four years," said Calabro on Wednesday. "However, even with a small surplus, it is crucial that lawmakers spend the hard-earned money of Florida taxpayers as carefully as they do for their own families."

"The $336 million surplus needs to be put into context," said Kurt Wenner, the vice president of tax research for Florida TaxWatch. "It is only 1.1 percent of projected general revenue spending. It is also based on leaving only $1 billion in reserves, much smaller than what recent legislatures have left. The budget process will again be very competitive and it is our hope that each project will be thoroughly vetted by the full Legislature."

"Florida has the opportunity to save hundreds of thousands more dollars through cost savings implementation, which would help put more money in the pockets of Floridians, or allow Florida to provide a higher level of service to its citizens," Calabro said.

The group also released its latest Budget Watch on Wednesday.

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The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) will release a TV ad on Wednesday featuring former Gov. Jeb Bush backing Gov. Rick Scott. In the ad, Bush ignores Democratic candidate former Gov. Charlie Crist though he throws a subtle jab, contrasting him with Scott.

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“In my experience as governor, I found that there are two kinds of politicians,” Bush says in the ad. “Those that are driven by personal ambition and those that deliver results. Rick Scott delivers results. Under Rick Scott’s leadership, our state is moving forward again. Unemployment has been cut in half. And more than 600,000 jobs have been created. And Rick is increasing our investment in education.”
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A new poll from CNN and ORC International shows a tight battle between Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist in the Florida gubernatorial race.

When looking at likely voters, the CNN/ORC poll has the race dead even with Scott and Crist taking 44 percent apiece. Libertarian Adrian Wyllie garners 9 percent of likely voters.

When the poll turns to registered voters, Crist holds a small lead, beating Scott 42 percent to 40 percent. Wyllie takes 10 percent of registered voters.

The poll of 850 registered voters was taken from Oct. 9-13 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent. The poll of 610 likely voters was taken during the same period and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.
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Despite carrying Florida twice, President Barack Obama is upside down in Florida.

Gravis Marketing released a poll on Monday which shows Obama remains underwater in the Sunshine State as a solid majority -- 56 percent -- of those surveyed disapprove of his performance in the White House. Only 37 percent approve of Obama’s performance while 7 percent are undecided.

The poll of 1,023 registered voters in Florida, most of whom say they are very likely to vote, was taken from Oct. 11-12 and had a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.
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A new poll shows Amendment 2, a proposal to expand medical marijuana in the Sunshine State, is in jeopardy.

Gravis Marketing released a survey which shows 55 percent say they will back Amendment 2 while 39 percent are opposed to it and 7 percent are undecided. For Amendment 2 to be added to the Florida Constitution, it needs 60 percent on the November ballot.

The poll of 1,023 registered voters in Florida, most of whom say they are very likely to vote, was taken from Oct. 11-12 and had a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.
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A poll released on Monday shows Gov. Rick Scott with a narrow lead over former Gov. Charlie Crist in the Florida gubernatorial race.

A poll from Gravis Marketing finds Scott ahead with 44 percent, Crist on his heels with 42 percent and 14 percent undecided. Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie -- who has polled in the high single digits in most polls and has cracked double digits in a few -- was left out of the survey.

The poll of 1,023 registered voters in Florida was taken from Oct. 11-12 and had a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.
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Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is asking the Florida Supreme Court to rule on same-sex marriage in the Sunshine State. On Monday, Bondi filed an appeal with the 3rd District Court of Appeal asking them to consider ruling on allowing gay couples to marry in Florida.

Bondi's filing comes on the heels of a U.S. Supreme Court decision last week when the justices rejected appeals to gay marriage rulings in five states --Virginia, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Utah and Indiana. 

"Until recently, the issue was squarely before the United States Supreme Court, and it appeared that a definitive answer was coming," wrote Bondi. "Several certi-orari petitions from several states asked that court to take up the issue and rule. Even those who had prevailed below sought Supreme Court review. The United States Supreme Court had the opportunity to answer the question with a decision binding on all citizens. That decision -- had there been one -- would have ended these cases and all others like it."

Because of this decision, Bondi wrote, Florida's courts will have to rule on the issue without the U.S. Supreme Court's guidance. 

Several Florida judges ruled earlier this year that the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, but their rulings were stayed pending appeal.


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Amendment 2, a proposal to expand medical marijuana use in Florida, is in serious trouble according to a poll released on Monday.

The poll, commissioned by SaintPetersBlog and taken by St. Pete Polls, shows 52 percent of those surveyed support Amendment 2 while 39 percent oppose it and the remaining voters are undecided. When the undecided voters are asked if they are leaning one way or the other, opposition to Amendment 2 creeps up to 40 percent while support moves up to 54 percent.

For Amendment 2 to be added to the Florida Constitution, it will need 60 percent on the November ballot.

The poll of 3,128 Florida registered voters who said they were planning to vote in the election was taken from Oct. 8-11 and had a margin of error of +/- 1.8 percent.
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A new poll shows the Florida gubernatorial race is down to the wire with three weeks to go.

St. Pete Polls took a survey on behalf of SaintPetersBlog which shows Gov. Rick Scott with the narrowest of leads, holding off Democratic challenger former Gov. Charlie Crist 44 percent to 43 percent. Libertarian Adrian Wyllie takes 8 percent while 5 percent are still undecided.

When the 5 percent who are undecided are asked if they have a preference, the numbers barely move. In that scenario, Scott moves up to 45 percent while Crist remains on his heels with 44 percent. Wyllie stays with 8 percent.

Both Scott and Crist are upside down in the poll. Scott is seen as favorable by 41 percent of those surveyed while 51 percent see him as unfavorable. Crist is seen as unfavorable by 52 percent of those surveyed while 40 percent view him as favorable.

The poll of 3,128 Florida registered voters who said they were planning to vote in the election was taken from Oct. 8-11 and had a margin of error of +/- 1.8 percent.
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Remember Yinka Adeshina, the Republican gubernatorial candidate who had a slew of ... interesting campaign donations?

Well, as it turns out, the Tallahassee Police Department arrested Adeshina Monday on two counts of fraud for submitting false reports to the Department of State. Adeshina had been on a three-week-long vacation in Nigeria.

In her reports, Adeshina said she raised $182,000 for her election bid. But a quick background check on the donors she listed in her report yielded puzzling results -- many did not exist and the FDLE ultimately believes she simply made them up to show the Department of State she had raised more than $150,000. Under Florida law, any candidate who raises more than that amount is eligible for matching funds from taxpayers. 

Although she never got the taxpayer cash, Adeshina did give the Department of State fake information to get the money. 

She's currently being held on a $10,000 bail.

Keep it weird, Florida politics.  

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The University of Florida announced the top three candidates for its 12th president on Monday, inching the Gators one step closer to selecting a new president for the university. 

The UF Presidential Search Committee selected Dr. W. Kent Fuchs (provost, Cornell University), Dr. David W. McLaughlin (provost, New York University) and Dr. Sibrandes Poppema (president, University of Groningen, The Netherlands) as the final three candidates out of a pool of 15. They will each be interviewed on Tuesday. 

The search committee will interview the candidates beginning at 7:30 a.m. at the UF Hilton Hotel and Conference Center in Gainesville. Once the interviews are completed, the committee will select the most highly qualified and refer them to the board of trustees for further interviews scheduled for Wednesday. 

The university hopes to select a president by Wednesday, Oct. 15.
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Monday might be Columbus Day but most Americans don’t consider it that important according to a new poll.

Rasmussen Reports released a poll which shows only 8 percent of adults think Columbus Day is one of the most important holidays while 45 percent say it is one of the least important and 43 percent of those surveyed think it ranks between the two extremes.

The poll of 1,000 American adults was taken from Oct. 10-11 and had a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.

Still, there’s no rush to abolish the holiday. Last year, a Rasmussen poll found only 26 percent of those surveyed want to get rid of Columbus Day while 58 percent think it should still be celebrated.
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Appearing on “America’s Newsroom with Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum” on Fox News on Monday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., criticized the Obama administration’s handling of Middle Eastern affairs as Islamic State (IS) forces threaten to take Kobani in Syria.

“We’ve been talking to Turkey,” MacCallum said. “Turkey now says that they will allow us to begin missions from Turkey. Do you think we should be pressuring them as well to put ground troops on the line in this fight?”  

“Yeah,” Rubio replied. “In fact, we shouldn’t be pressuring them at all. They should be wanting to do this. Kobani is on their border. In essence, all of those refugees, and the people fleeing a certain massacre, they are all going to go into Turkey. The problem with Turkey is that this whole issue has become enmeshed into their own domestic politics. I mean, they view the Kurds on the other side of the border as equally bad. So, in their mind, they’re not quite sure what to do from a domestic political perspective.

“But the bottom line is in the short term, the Turks have more at stake here than we do,” Rubio added. “And they’re members of NATO. They should act like a member of NATO.”

“We are sending an assessment team to begin the training process,” MacCallum said. “The belief is that there’s about 4,000 fighters, perhaps, that are ready to be trained from the moderate forces in Syria. Are we really at this stage where we’re beginning to assess how many people are available, and that we’re going to send in an American assessment team to start working on this?”  

“I support all those things,” Rubio answered. “That would be great. The problem is that this conflict is moving much faster than our ability to identify, train, equip and place in the field these rebel elements, or anybody for that matter. IS is not going to sit around and wait for us to train the rebels. By the time they’re ready to go, it may be too late. As you can see from the progress they have made. And it’s not just in Kobani. It’s the progress they’ve made now on the outskirts of Baghdad and other parts of the country.

“Let me tell you – if they succeed in Kobani, it will completely demoralize our ability to rally any sort of forces on the ground to confront them,” Rubio continued. “That’s when people strip off their uniforms, they abandon ship, they abandon their post. It has a psychological impact.”

“Well, John Kerry is singing a very different tune,” MacCallum noted before pointing to a quote from Kerry.

“Kobani does not define the strategy of the coalition with respect to Daesh,” Kerry said. “Kobani is one community, and it’s a tragedy what is happening there. And we don't diminish that. But we've said from day one it is going to take a period of time.”

“Sounds to me like he is preparing everybody for failure there,” MacCallum said.

“That’s an absurd statement,” Rubio answered. “I’ll tell you why. Imagine for a moment if you are a Sunni or a Shia, for that matter, on the ground in Iraq, who’s preparing to go out and fight and confront ISIS, and you’re all fired up because the U.S. is hitting them from the air. And yet despite these airstrikes, they keep winning. Now you’re thinking to yourself, ‘You know, these guys are unbeatable. They’re invincible. Despite airstrikes, they’re taking major cities. Why would I join a losing side? It’s better for me to flee into Turkey, or Jordan, or Lebanon or anywhere for that matter.’ It would be deeply demoralizing to this effort to allow them to take territory. And for John Kerry to say that, proves to you how out of touch they are about this reality. They are doing anything they can to disengage us from this process by doing the least amount possible. And it’s leading to this terrible outcome.”
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With three weeks to go in a contentious election against Democrat Gwen Graham, U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., released a TV ad on Monday playing up his national security credentials and tying his opponent to President Barack Obama and U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

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“America faces serious challenges in an increasingly uncertain world,” said Southerland on Monday. “That’s why I voted to end the Beltway bickering and secure our borders now.  And it’s why I voted to give the president the tools necessary to defeat ISIS in the Middle East.  Now more than ever, we need leaders who are willing to put politics aside and work together to make the world a safer place for our children and grandchildren.  There’s too much at stake to do anything less.”
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Former state Rep. Carl Domino, the Republican candidate running against U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., took to the national airwaves on Monday, appearing on “MidPoint” with Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV.

Domino said he wanted to push solutions in Congress and pointed to his record in Tallahassee.

“In my eight years in the state Legislature, I produced solutions to problems,” Domino said. “There’s a lot of solutions to problems out there.”

Asked by Berliner about President Barack Obama‘s federal health-care law, Domino called the law a disaster, insisting “there’s a lot of progress” in health care due to the free market.

“You don’t tear a house down because there’s a leaky roof,” Domino said, calling the law a “redistribution of wealth” while continuing to lash out against it.

“Did we really need the Affordable Care Act?” Domino asked, pointing toward advances in technology and insisting costs were going up.

Despite his jabs at Obama, Domino refused to blame the White House for the Ebola death in Dallas and backed travel restrictions to impacted African nations.
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The Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) announced on Monday it opposed Amendment 2, a proposal to expand medical marijuana in the Sunshine State. If Amendment 2 gets 60 percent on the November ballot, it will be added to the Florida Constitution.

“AIF’s board of directors opposes Amendment 2 because of the myriad known and unknown complications it will render to Florida businesses,” said former U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney, R-Fla., the president and CEO of AIF. “The practical and legal inconsistencies that Amendment 2 will heft onto our current workers’ compensation, drug testing, workplace safety, disability, discrimination and health care laws, to name a few, will create confusion that breeds litigation and increases the cost of doing business.”
“Florida businesses cannot afford the tarnished image this amendment would bring to our business-friendly state, nor the negative consequences that increased marijuana use and availability will have in our neighborhoods and communities,” Feeney added. “Simply put, Amendment 2 is bad for business and bad for Florida.”
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With a third presidential bid a real possibility, Vice President Joe Biden turned his attention to the Sunshine State and went to bat for former Gov. Charlie Crist, the Democratic candidate challenging Gov. Rick Scott in Florida. Biden is hitting the campaign trail for Crist on Monday.

In a fundraising email sent out on Monday morning, the notoriously gaffe-proned Biden even insisted Crist was reminiscent of himself since the former governor "speaks from the heart."

“Charlie Crist and I have more in common than just our love of the beautiful state of Florida,” Biden wrote. “Whether it'll help him out politically or not, the man always speaks from his heart. He cares deeply about the people he meets -- he listens to their stories and takes them into account when he's making decisions. His good heart is why I'm proud to join Charlie in Florida today. I know he'll be an incredible fighter for Florida's middle class.”

Earlier on Monday, Scott linked Crist to President Barack Obama’s economic policies.

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Republican congressional candidate Carol Platt’s team came out swinging at U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson’s, D-Fla., campaign on Monday, accusing it of placing signs on private property without the owners’ permission.

“Alan Grayson's campaign is in hot water with dozens of property owners for placing signs on their property without permission,” the Platt campaign insisted in an email to the media on Monday. “Prominent local businessmen, homeowners and ranchers alike have complained that Grayson and his team have trampled, trespassed and generally disregarded their private property rights.

“Team Platt has remained committed to honor, trust and hard work in their campaign and has been forced to spend time helping property owners take down the opponents’ signs,” the Platt campaign continued. “Our campaign has received more than a dozen phone calls from angry property owners within the district, appalled that Alan Grayson has placed a campaign sign onto their property without permission. Not only did the Grayson camp disregard the property owners' rights, they also did not have the decency to return phone calls from the property owners, as well."

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With a report out from the Wall Street Journal that Democratic gubernatorial candidate former Gov. Charlie Crist is hesitant to have President Barack Obama stump for him in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott looked to link the two on economic issues.

“Our state is turning around because we have done the exact opposite of Washington,” Scott said on Monday. “We threw out the Crist-Obama playbook of higher taxes, more debt and more spending. We made government get out of the way of Florida job creators by undoing Charlie Crist’s tax increases and 15 percent year-after-year tuition hikes on college students. The results of our pro-growth policies are clear – businesses have created more than 640,000 new jobs. And even though we have more work to do to get every Florida family working again, I hope President Obama can make a trip to the Sunshine State soon to see the results of our pro-growth policies – even if he is not invited on the campaign trail with Charlie Crist.”
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U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., penned an op-ed at Fox News’ website on Friday, making the case for school choice, insisted it helps children from lower income families do better. Praising Florida's school choice options, Rubio maintained changes in education and technology made school choice options more necessary and argued teacher unions often block the path to real reform. The essay can be read here.

Rubio wrote:

Parents everywhere share a common dream: we all want our children to have the chance at a life better than our own. This has propelled the progress of our nation and has become an essential part of the American dream. To give children this chance, every parent should be given the right to choose the learning environment that best fits their child's unique needs.

In the 21st century, the definition of “public education” is changing rapidly. It used to mean giving school districts all the taxpayer dollars raised to educate kids, and letting the districts assign children to public schools according to zip code. Fortunately, we are moving to a new definition: letting parents direct taxpayer funds -- with proper accountability -- to different providers, even different delivery methods.

Last year in my home state of Florida, over 40 percent of children educated with taxpayer funds didn’t attend their zoned public school. They attended district-run magnet schools, charter schools, virtual schools and dual enrollment programs with colleges. This customization has enabled Florida to have great achievement gains for its lower-income and minority children over the last decade.

For 13 years, Florida’s Tax Credit Scholarship Program has played a critical role in this progress. The program provides tax credits to companies that donate to scholarship-granting organizations. It’s been so successful in Florida that I used it as a model for federal legislation I’ve introduced.

Today roughly 68,000 low-income parents use the program to send their child to a school that better fits his or her unique learning needs. Test scores show that these children were the lowest performers in their public schools when they left but now see learning gains equal to children of all incomes.

Incredibly, in spite of this clear success, the Florida teachers' union and the Florida School Boards Association filed suit in August to shut down the program.

Should the suit succeed, these 68,000 needy children – 70 percent of which are either African-American, or of Hispanic or Haitian descent – will be evicted from their chosen schools. Further, hundreds of private schools in Florida serving minority children will be forced to close their doors.

Although this is happening in Florida, it should concern all parents across the entire country who want and deserve the freedom and opportunity to give their kids better education options.

It is also not some abstract legal case. These are real people.

I've personally visited some of these schools and talked to parents and children whose lives have been touched by this program. I'm outraged that unions have put their own wants over the needs of these children and families.

The teachers' union claims to be suing to end the program because funding has "reached a tipping point."

But that simply isn't true. The program represents less than 2 percent of our state’s K-12 budget, and it actually saves taxpayers over $50 million every year.

The real reason the union wants to shut the program down is simple: it doesn't like having to compete with private schools for lower-income students.

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The team behind Miami-Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo, the Republican candidate running in CD 26 in South Florida, released a Web video on Friday taking aim at U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla. The new ad uses Garcia’s words against him, looking to undermine the Democrat’s arguments on why he deserves a second term in Congress.

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After reports emerged that a health-care worker was infected with the Ebola virus in Dallas Sunday afternoon, Gov. Rick Scott asked Florida hospitals to launch mandatory training for health-care workers on the disease.

“In light of what happened in Dallas, we want to make sure those health-care professionals on the front lines have the training and equipment they need to protect their health and safety,” Scott said. “We are asking every Florida hospital to mandate that all health-care professionals undergo Ebola preparedness training to ensure knowledge of protocols and availability of necessary personal protective equipment. It is very important for Florida hospitals to have the protective gear recommended by the CDC to ensure our health-care professionals are safe in the event we ever have a case of Ebola in Florida.

“We’re asking Florida hospitals to notify the Department of Health when their personnel have undergone the mandatory training programs,” Scott added. “In Florida, we are continuing to hope for the best while we prepare for the worst and learn from the developments in Dallas to further improve our own preparedness efforts.”
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A new poll finds most Americans want an end to the era of big government, with more than half of them saying they view the federal government unfavorably.

The Rasmussen Reports poll of 1,000 likely U.S. voters found 64 percent of respondents viewed the federal government as "somewhat unfavorable" or "very unfavorable," while only 28 percent said they viewed the federal government as "somewhat favorable." A minuscule number  -- 4 percent -- of voters said they view the government as "very favorable."

Most voters prefer smaller governments with fewer services and lower taxes -- 59 percent said they favor such a type of government. On the flip side, 28 percent said they'd prefer a larger government with more services and higher taxes.

Voters still aren't convinced the era of big government is over just yet. Less than a quarter (18 percent) said big government's reign is over, but a little more than half (53 percent) said the era hasn't ended just yet.

Nearly half (48 percent) said they want the era of big government to end, with 27 percent saying they don't want it to end and 25 percent who aren't sure. 

The survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted Oct. 7-8 by Rasmussen Reports.
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Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist duked it out for their first of three televised debates Friday morning in Miramar, but both candidates mainly stuck to their talking points and pointed fingers at each other on a wide range of issues.

In the debate, hosted by WSCV-Telemundo 51, Crist said he would support expanding Medicaid as well as increasing the minimum wage, while Scott said the state cannot afford Medicaid expansion and said he was opposed to increasing the minimum wage. Crist was also quick to attack Scott over public education funding.

"We need a governor who understands (the) importance of public education, who will fund and not cut it," he said. 

On the issue of gay marriage, Scott said he believed in traditional marriage, but that the issue was ultimately up to the courts to decide. 

Other issued discussed included Ebola, DREAMers and medical marijuana. 

The debate will air at 7 p.m. Friday.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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A new poll shows Miami Dade School Board Member Carlos Curbelo, the Republican nominee, has the edge on U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla.

The poll from Saint Leo University Polling Institute shows Curbelo taking 46 percent while Garcia garners 42 percent.

“Congressman Garcia is in a weaker position than he may have hoped for with less than a month to go in the campaign,” said Frank Orlando, a political science instructor at Saint Leo University. “Curbelo, the Republican challenger, can take satisfaction in knowing that over twice as many voters view him as strongly favorable than strongly unfavorable.

“There’s still time for Garcia to make a move, but he must court independent voters,” Orlando added. “Although demographics and a gradual shift in Cuban political identity are making the district more Democratic, Garcia must also win a greater share of Republican votes, a hallmark of his successful 2012 campaign.”

The poll of 400 likely voters was taken from Oct. 1-Oct. 6 and had a margin of error of +/- 5 percent. More than an eighth--54 of the 400 voter interviews--were conducted in Spanish.
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With reports emerging that President Barack Obama wants to close the terrorist detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by using executive power, a prominent Republican congressman from the Sunshine State is pushing back.

“Why is the White House even discussing this as we battle a brutal enemy that has beheaded two Americans?” asked U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., the only member of the Florida delegation to sit on the Ways and Means Committee. “Bringing dangerous terrorists into the U.S. makes no sense and sends the wrong message to our enemies and allies.”

Guantanamo currently houses almost 150 prisoners.
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U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., announced on Friday that he was backing Republican challenger Carol Platt over U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla.

"Carol is a principled leader with the ability to work across party lines for the betterment of our community, state and country,” Rubio said. “We need Carol in Washington because she will fight for Central Florida and to help more people achieve the American dream. She's the kind of uniting voice our state and our country need right now. I'm proud to give her my full support."

"I am so honored to have Senator Rubio's support,” Platt said. “He is a fantastic example of the kind of leaders our country needs more of, and I know that with his help, I will defeat Alan Grayson in November."
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On Thursday, Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF), a super-PAC connected to the conservative American Action Network (AAN),announced plans to get active in North Florida as U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., tries to fend off Democrat Gwen Graham. CLF plans to spend $600,000 in ads attacking Graham.  

“Gwen Graham may talk about the North Florida way, but her record shows she only operates the Washington insider way,” said Dan Conston, a CLF spokesman.
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A new poll shows Amendment 2, which would expand medical marijuana use in Florida, having enough support to pass at the November ballot. Earlier this week, WFLA/Survey USA released a poll which shows only 51 percent of likely voters back Amendment 2, below the 60 percent needed to pass.  

The University of North Florida (UNF) released a poll on Thursday showing Amendment 2 in much better shape. UNF finds 67 percent of likely voters back Amendment 2 while only 28 percent of those surveyed oppose it.

When asked about legalizing marijuana for recreational use, a majority of those surveyed -- 53 percent -- oppose the idea while 44 percent support it.

The poll of 471 likely voters was taken from Sept. 29-Oct. 8 and had a margin of error of +/- 4.74 percent.

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A new poll from the University of North Florida (UNF) shows former Gov. Charlie Crist ahead of Gov. Rick Scott in the hotly contested Florida gubernatorial race.

The poll of likely voters shows Crist taking 43 percent of those surveyed while Scott garners 38 percent. Libertarian Adrian Wyllie takes 10 percent.

When Wyllie is taken out of the mix, Crist retains a 5 percent lead, beating Scott 47 percent to 42 percent.

The poll of 471 likely voters was taken from Sept. 29-Oct. 8 and had a margin of error of +/- 4.74 percent.

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