Sunshine State News Blogs

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani will be hitting the campaign trail with Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday in South Florida. Besides the many New Yorkers who live in the Sunshine State, Giuliani focused much of his 2008 presidential campaign in Florida.

Scott and Giuliani are scheduled to campaign in Doral and Miami on Wednesday.

This is the second big-name Republican to campaign with Scott this week. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., hit the campaign trail with Scott on Monday.  

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The Congressional Leadership Fund, a Republican super-PAC, waded into North Florida on Tuesday, announcing plans to spend $600,000 against Democrat Gwen Graham who is running against U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla.


 

The new ads try to link Graham to Beltway Democrats like President Barack Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. In recent days, Graham has tried to distance herself from her party’s leadership, including saying she would not vote for Pelosi to be speaker.

“Gwen Graham can try to masquerade as independent but North Florida voters won’t be fooled when she’s bankrolled by Washington Democrats,” said Emily Davis, a spokeswoman for Congressional Leadership Fund, on Tuesday. “North Florida families and seniors know that a vote for Gwen Graham is a vote for President Obama’s policies that are costing them more.”

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The American Farm Bureau presented U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney with its “Friend of Agriculture” Award at a meeting this week in Wauchula.

“Congressman Rooney has worked tirelessly on behalf of farmers, ranchers and growers not just in Florida, but across the country,” said John Hoblick, the president of Florida Farm Bureau. “He was a driving force behind a new federal effort to combat citrus greening disease, which threatens to wipe out Florida’s citrus industry. He has been a leading voice to protect Florida agriculture from costly, unnecessary regulation. Congressman Rooney has truly been a friend to Florida’s agriculture community, and we’re proud to present him with this award.”

“The farmers, ranchers and growers are the lifeblood not just of Florida’s heartland, but of our nation,” Rooney said. “They produce citrus, beef, dairy, vegetables and everything in between – and if they don’t farm, we don’t eat. I’m honored to represent Florida’s farmers in Washington, and will keep working to make sure they can continue to provide us with a safe, affordable and abundant food supply.”

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The Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce (JAX Chamber) announced on Tuesday it opposes Amendment 2, a proposal to expand medical marijuana in Florida.

“Passage of Amendment 2 will produce uncertainty for small businesses at a time when we are coming out of one of the biggest recessions in decades,” said Ed Burr, the chair of government affairs for the JAX Chamber. “Businesses, especially small businesses, need a climate that increases productivity and limits risks and Amendment 2 does the opposite.”

Burr also pointed to the “Charlotte’s Web” bill passed by the Legislature and insisted the proposal was poorly worded and ambigious.

“The JAX Chamber considers Amendment 2 to be unnecessary and does not support the precedent of amending Florida’s Constitution for changes that can be made legislatively,” Burr said.

For Amendment 2 to pass, it needs 60 percent support on the November ballot.

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U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a member of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, said on Monday he will introduce a bill imposing a temporary travel ban on Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone nationals due to those nations being impacted by Ebola, shutting down any new visas. Rubio plans to bring up the bill in November when the Senate reconvenes. The measure would end the ban until the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) clears those nations.

“While Ebola’s deadly reach has proven to be a complex and unique international challenge, the many uncertainties surrounding this virus continue to threaten U.S. national security,” said Rubio on Monay. “Our biggest priority is ensuring that sufficient safeguards are in place to limit the spread of Ebola, contain it at the source, and protect Americans.

“We must take any and all necessary precautions to contain this virus – and common sense restrictions on travel from countries now confronting this epidemic is an important step,” Rubio continued. “The most effective way to combat this deadly virus is to address it at its source. This ban on issuance of visas does not mean we will be completely cutting off the affected countries from the outside world. We must continue to increase our assistance to those countries as they struggle to contain this outbreak. That is, ultimately, the only way we will be able to stop this outbreak and keep Americans safe from this horrible disease.”

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Florida TaxWatch released a study on Tuesday looking at the important role intermodal centers play in developing the Sunshine State’s economy.

"Florida is uniquely poised to move goods more efficiently than our neighboring states and other competitors," said Dominic Calabro, the president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch. "Expanding Florida's intermodal points will allow the state to more efficiently transfer goods and even people between seas, roads, rails, air, and space."

"Recent additions of new and improved intermodal centers will have a great economic impact on Florida's economy and consumers," said Jerry Parrish, Florida TaxWatch’s chief economist. "The centers will add to Florida's economy by providing high-wage jobs to Floridians, while also reducing the cost of goods purchased by Florida consumers."

The study can be read here.

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The third and final debate between Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Jacksonville, marking the beginning of the end of a close race to become Florida's next governor. 

The one-hour debate will be moderated by CNN anchor Jake Tapper. WJXT-TV anchor and reporter Kent Justice will co-moderate. 

The debate comes on the heels of last week's highly publicized debate in which Crist caused a frenzy by bringing a fan to keep him cool during the debate. The former governor stood onstage alone for seven minutes before Scott decided to join in the debate. According to debate organizers, the fan was against the rules and Crist should not have been allowed to take the stage. 

Scott suffered the biggest blowback from Fangate, while Crist and the Florida Democratic Party have used it as a rallying cry to show support for the former governor. 

Check back for more updates and live coverage of the debate tonight. 
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Former Florida state Sen. Tom Slade, best known for leading the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF), throughout much of the 1990s when the GOP surged to take control of the state, passed away on Monday at age 78. Slade had suffered heart failure last week and was being hospitalized at Orange Park Medical Center.

First elected to the Florida House in 1962 and to the Florida Senate in 1966, Slade witnessed the GOP’s rise to prominence in the Sunshine State. In the same year Slade was elected to the Senate, Claude Kirk became the first Republican to be elected governor of Florida in almost 100 years. But things took a turn for the worse for the GOP in 1970 when Kirk lost out to Reubin Askew for a second term and Bill Cramer was beat out by Lawton Chiles in the U.S. Senate race. Slade also had a rough 1970, losing his bid to become state treasurer and being in the same plane crash that injured Bill Young at the Tallahassee Regional Airport.

Slade resurfaced in the 1990s, chairing the Florida Tax and Budget Commission in 1990 and heading up the RPOF in 1993. During his time in charge of the RPOF, Republicans won the governorship under Jeb Bush, won control of both chambers of the Legislature and took a majority of seats in the state congressional delegation. More than 15 years after Slade left the RPOF, those majorities are still in place.

In 1999, Slade ran to be chairman of the Republican National Committee but came up short.

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A new poll shows the Florida gubernatorial contest is a dead heat.

On Monday, Rasmussen Reports released a poll of likely voters which shows Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist deadlocked with 47 percent each. Only 2 percent back other candidates while 4 percent remain undecided. Libertarian Adrian Wyllie was not included in the poll.

The poll of 1,114 likely Florida voters was taken from Oct. 15-17 and had a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.

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After its board of governors met over the weekend in Tampa, the Florida Medical Association (FMA) issued a statement on Monday, praising Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Department of Health for its Ebola readiness efforts.

“The Florida Medical Association wishes to acknowledge the high level of engagement by the elected officials of Florida, especially Gov. Rick Scott,” said Dr. Alan Pillersdorf, the president of the FMA. “We are also grateful for the leadership of the Florida Department of Health and State Surgeon General John Armstrong, M.D.”

The FBA also offered the following recommendations:

1. An ongoing educational campaign on Ebola infection coordinated by the Florida Department of Health based on current science and emerging evidence-based practices.

2. Isolation measures should be instituted for all individuals suspected of Ebola infection and continued until these individuals are declared free of infection based on current science and emerging evidence-based practices.

3. Medical evaluation, transportation, and care of individuals suspected or proven to be infected by Ebola will be based on current and emerging guidelines as well as best practices.”

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Sunshine State News hit the national airwaves on Monday. Your humble blogger appeared on “Midpoint” with Ed Berliner on NewsmaxTV to talk about the U.S. Senate races as Republicans look to wrest control of that chamber from the Democrats.

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Former Gov. Luis Fortuño, R-Puerto Rico, and former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferré appeared in a new Spanish language TV ad for Gov. Rick Scott. The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) launched the new ad on Monday. 

 

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“He’s a Republican," Ferré says in the ad via a translation provided by the RPOF.

“And he’s a Democrat,” Fortuño replies.

“Agreeing on anything isn’t easy,” Ferré says.

“But here's why we agree that Governor Rick Scott deserves your vote," Fortuño says.

“Scott’s working on improving our state’s transportation and that creates jobs," Ferré notes.

“On education, Scott secured historic funding, pay raises for teachers and lowered tuition that Charlie Crist increased," Fortuño says.

After running for the Democratic nomination in the 2010 U.S. Senate contest, Ferré backed Scott in that year’s gubernatorial nomination. Ferré endorsed former Florida Senate Minority Leader Nan Rich over Crist in the primary earlier this year.

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With two weeks to go in the Florida gubernatorial race, Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla., and his team linked Democratic challenger former Gov. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., to President Barack Obama in a new TV ad.

The ad from the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) was released on Monday morning and argues Crist has been a supporter of Obama, arguing he “backed Obama from the start,” showcasing his support of the president’s federal stimulus. Despite carrying Florida twice, Obama’s popularity has dropped in the Sunshine State with most polls showing him upside down.

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Former U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., announced this week that his was backing Wendy Rogers, the Republican candidate running against U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz. Rogers becomes the 14th candidate backed by the Allen West Guardian Fund PAC. West praised Rogers for her service in the Air Force and her efforts to reform the federal VA department.

“Wendy is an exceptional patriot,” West wrote supporters on Friday in an email. “You can be certain a battle-hardened veteran like Wendy will fight to get to the bottom of the incompetence and cronyism plaguing not just our VA system, but Washington as a whole. And there is no doubt we need her war-fighting experience to help shape an effective strategy against the foreign threats facing our nation.”

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With two and a half weeks until the general election, Gov. Rick Scott announced on Friday that the state unemployment rate dropped to 6.1 percent in September from 6.3 percent in August. In September, 12,800 private-sectors jobs were added across the Sunshine State.

“Today’s announcement that Florida businesses have created nearly 13,000 private-sector jobs is great news for Florida families,” Scott said. "Together since December 2010, Florida job creators have created 651,300 private-sector jobs. Florida’s unemployment rate has also dropped from 6.3 to 6.1 percent, the lowest it has been since June 2008. Our policies are working in Florida, and more and more Floridians are able to get a job and support their family, and we will keep working until every Floridian who wants a job can get one.”

Under Scott’s watch, the unemployment rate dropped from 11.1 percent in December 2010, the last month former Gov. Charlie Crist was in office, to its current rate. Crist is the Democratic nominee challenging Scott in November.

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The Florida Chamber of Commerce released a new TV ad on Friday, hitting former Gov. Charlie Crist as a trial lawyer and contrasting his economic record with that of Gov. Rick Scott. Crist has worked for Morgan & Morgan, one of the leading trial attorney firms in the state. 

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“Governor Rick Scott has Florida’s economy moving in the right direction again, and the last thing Florida needs is another trial lawyer in Tallahassee,” said Mark Wilson, the president and CEO of the Florida Chamber. “The trial lawyer agenda and lawsuit abuse hurts families and small businesses the most. Voters deserve to know that Charlie is a trial lawyer whose firm makes millions of dollars suing small businesses and families.”

Wilson also took a shot at Crist for using a fan in Wednesday night’s debate in violation of the rules.

“What we’re doing is helping educate voters so they will know the difference between job creators like Governor Rick Scott and trial lawyers like Charlie Crist,” said Wilson. “Knowingly violating the debate rules is consistent with a candidate who changes parties and positions based on political expediency.”

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Even as fellow Florida Democrats like U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson break with the White House and demand a travel ban on African nations impacted by Ebola, U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown says she opposes the idea.

“Although I support strong measures to prevent the spread of Ebola, including additional screening at airports, I do not believe that a travel ban would make the citizens of the United States any more secure,” Brown said on Thursday night. “In fact, according to several global health organizations, more travel restrictions are not going to make the world safer when it comes to Ebola; instead, they might make the situation worse

“Additionally, flight restrictions will only make it more difficult for lifesaving aid and medical professionals to reach West Africa,” Brown added. “Any discontinuation of transport will affect humanitarian aid, doctors, nurses, and human resources entering the affected countries. And according to the global health researchers who have modeled the risk of the international spread of Ebola, it is clear that the longer the outbreak goes on and the bigger it is, the more likely Ebola is going to spread beyond West Africa to the rest of the world and the United States. Certainly, the best way to prevent Ebola from spreading to the U.S. is to eradicate it in the afflicted West African countries. Beyond a doubt, it is imperative to prepare hospitals and providers to treat any cases in the U.S., as well as adequately funding our nation’s public health agencies.”

Brown insisted current safeguards are enough, despite a Liberian national infected with Ebola flying from Africa to Dallas.

“Travelers from the affected countries are already subjected to screening prior to departure from West Africa,” Brown said. "They are also subjected to additional, enhanced screening upon arrival in the United States. Certainly, imposing a ban would give travelers an incentive to evade detection or conceal their travel history, which would make it even harder to ensure they are properly screened before entering the United States.”

The First Coast Democrat said the Ebola scare showed how much America needed a surgeon general and hit Republicans for blocking the Obama administration’s nominee to that position.

“One other contributing difficulty is that the United States is currently without a surgeon general, since the former surgeon general departed in July 2013,” Brown noted. “Certainly, it is vital that the American people have a surgeon general to educate them about the disease and how to best protect their health. The surgeon general is America’s doctor, and the trusted medical spokesperson who can reassure the American public about the risk of exposure, and what precautions and protocols are being enacted to protect them. However, this position has been vacant for over one year and attempts to confirm Dr. Vivek Murthy have been blocked by Republicans since he was nominated in November 2013.”

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As Congress held hearings on the Ebola threat on Thursday, elected officials from Florida continued to push their own solutions.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said on Thursday that he backed the White House naming an Ebola czar, a proposal floated by U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., among others.

“If there’s a will, there’s a way,” Nelson said on Thursday. “This person should be at least temporarily based in a White House war room with direct authority from the president -- someone like former Surgeon General Richard Carmona, who has the requisite medical background and who served in that position under former president George W. Bush.”

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U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla., offered his take on the Ebola threat on Thursday, calling for President Barack Obama to show more leadership on the issue and supporting a travel ban on impacted African nations.

“The growing Ebola crisis in Western Africa, new cases here in the United States, in combination with the virus’ impact to other countries warrants the highest level of attention across all governments,” Crenshaw said. “At home, it’s clear we are not ready and have to do more to stop this deadly disease cold. This is a real threat to our nation’s health and security; quicker response and better procedures are needed.

“Moving forward, President Obama must assure a worried nation that Ebola will spread no further,” Crenshaw added. “That means a clearer flow of information and stronger display of leadership about how American lives, including front-line health care workers, will be protected. Among the steps he should consider is a temporary travel ban from Western African countries to the United States.

“Concerns about the possibility of this sort of outbreak prompted Congress to provide more Centers for Disease Control (CDC) funding than requested,” Crenshaw continued. “And, this morning, hearings on Capitol Hill have begun. Congress will continue to assess the response to date and how it can be improved, and the House stands ready to act if legislation is needed to counter Ebola’s growing threat. We pray for the safety of the U.S. military that has been called into action to stem Ebola’s tide and we keep all who are fighting against the ravages of this horrific disease front and center.”

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Incoming House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, named some of his leadership team on Thursday. Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples, will be speaker pro tempore while Rep. Dana Young, R-Tampa, will take over as House majority leader. Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, will head up the Rules and Calendar Committee while Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Trinity, who is scheduled to take over as House speaker after the 2016 elections, will lead the Appropriations Committee.

“Rep. Hudson has shown unfailing leadership in his role as chairman of the Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee,” Crisafulli said of Hudson. “He has tackled complex issues and has a willingness to fight for legislation that is in the best interest of all Floridians. He has served the House well and will be a great asset to me during this legislative term.”

Crisafulli offered praise for Young who is a key ally of outgoing House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel.

“As majority leader, I had the pleasure of working with Rep. Young who served as majority whip," he said. “I know firsthand that she has what it takes to be a great majority leader for our caucus. She is bold, knowledgeable, and has earned great respect in the Florida House.”

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Florida CFO Jeff Atwater released a Web ad on Thursday, highlighting his efforts on economic matters and transparency. Atwater holds a large lead in the polls over Democratic challenger William Rankin and ignores his foe in the new ad to focus on talking about economic opportunity and growth.

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"Jeff Atwater has been keeping promises and getting the job done for Floridians," said Brian Hughes, a spokesman for Atwater, on Thursday. "The pledge is Jeff's commitment to never stop standing up for Florida's taxpayers and consumers. When they need someone on their side, Jeff Atwater will always be there."

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U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., unveiled the “Contain Ebola and Stop the Epidemic (CEASE) Act” on Thursday. Ross’s bill will stop commercial flights flying to and from West African nations impacted by Ebola until the threat from that disease is over.

“President Obama’s comments stating that it’s ‘highly unlikely’ Ebola would reach our shores were completely wrong,” Ross said on Thursday. “Now, he is ignoring Congress’s letter requesting the restriction of air travel from countries in West Africa that are experiencing an Ebola outbreak. This is why I plan to introduce legislation that bans air travel, and also suspends the issuance of visas for travel, to the United States from countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. These bans will be lifted when the outbreak is declared to be contained and no longer a threat. I feel that discontinuing air travel is an obvious first step solution to combating Ebola in the United States. It’s frightening that our commander in chief presumes that Ebola will not spread in the United States and is only taking delicate precautions. Ebola has a death rate of 50 percent. How can you ignore this fact, and take a gambit with American lives by allowing people to travel to and from countries where the virus is quickly spreading?

“Now that two of our health care workers have contracted the virus I am putting my foot down,” Ross added. “This legislation is a more serious approach to preventing Ebola from further infiltrating our homeland. Airport security screening is a complete smoke and mirror approach to the virus and Americans aren’t buying it. I urge my colleagues to sign onto this legislation and hope Speaker Boehner will quickly call Congress back into session to debate my legislation.”

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In the aftermath of Wednesday night’s Florida gubernatorial debate -- which was overshadowed when Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla., did not come out immediately due to sparring with former Gov. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., using a fan -- the Florida Press Association (FPA) and Leadership Florida (LF), which sponsored the debate, released a statement on Thursday afternoon in which the FPA insisted the Crist campaign violated the rules of the debate. The statement reads as follows:

Last night’s debate began with a delay as the campaign staff from both campaigns were reviewing the rules as they related to the use of a fan. Both campaigns received a letter in advance from the debate organizers (FPA and LF) stating the format, logistics and other detailed information relating to the debate. The letter also specified that “candidates may not bring electronic devices (including fans), visual aids or notes to the debate, but will be provided with a pad and pen.” The Scott campaign signed and returned the letter on Thursday, October 9. The Crist campaign signed and returned the letter on Monday, October 13, but with the added hand-written note “*with understanding that the debate hosts will address any temperature issues with a fan if necessary.”

Dean Ridings, FPA president, received and reviewed the note and told the Crist campaign that the partners want all candidates to be comfortable, but that he expected that Bailey Hall, the newly renovated-facility at Broward College where the debate was to be held, would be maintained at a comfortable temperature, and if there was a temperature problem, the partners would deal with it appropriately.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday night, the temperature was checked on the stage under the lights, and was determined to be 67 degrees. Ridings then informed the Crist campaign that there was no temperature issue, and no fan would be needed, or permitted. At 6:20 p.m., the temperature was checked again, and was at 66 degrees, again, under the lights on the stage by the podium. Between 6 and 6:20 p.m., someone from the Crist campaign placed a fan under Charlie Crist’s podium, and they were again told that no fans would be permitted.

In the minutes before airtime, the communication among the campaigns, the producing television station and the debate partners was chaotic and there undoubtedly was some confusion, but Governor Scott never told Ridings or Wendy Walker, president, Leadership Florida, that he would not join the debate. Rather, the Scott campaign was waiting on resolution of the rules issue before Scott took the stage. The debate partners appreciate Governor Scott’s willingness to participate in the debate.

Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association did not anticipate or plan for the possibility that a candidate would not honor the debate rules. In retrospect, the debate partners should have been better prepared for this possibility. In addition, we regret that one candidate was allowed to take the stage and allowed to talk before the fan issue was resolved. Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association regret that the rules of the debate as discussed with both campaigns were not followed. However, we hope that this important debate of the issues discussed by both candidates is not overshadowed by this issue. The intent of this debate is to educate Florida's voters about the candidates’ views. We are pleased that this debate allowed for that to happen.

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Gov. Rick Scott released the 2013 tax returns of himself and his wife Thursday morning, just hours after he faced off against former Gov. Charlie Crist in one of the most widely-publicized debates in Florida history

Scott waited to file paperwork until Wednesday, the deadline to file tax returns for all who asked for extensions.  

Scott has consistently criticized Crist for not releasing the tax returns of his wife and has also trumpeted the disclosure of significant financial data, unlike his opponent.

See Scott's tax return here.
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A Frontier Airlines plane carrying a nurse who was infected with Ebola made a stop in Fort Lauderdale 24 hours after leaving Dallas.

The Fort Lauderdale stop was one of four others the plane made after leaving Dallas, according to a flight-monitoring website, flightaware.com. 

Frontier Airlines said it immediately grounded the plane after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notified it of the Ebola-infected passenger. CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said the woman should never have boarded the flight, but nobody at the agency stopped her despite her reporting a temperature of 99.5 Farenheit.
 
The woman flew from Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth Monday. The next day, the plane flew back to Cleveland and then to Fort Lauderdale. The plane was then flown back to Cleveland, then to Atlanta, then back to Cleveland before it was grounded.

The CDC has already contacted all passengers who flew on the same flight as the Ebola patient.
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Republican candidate Carol Platt insists she has momentum as she looks to upset U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., in November.

Having just won the endorsement of the Orlando Sentinel, Platt released an internal poll on Thursday showing her closing in on Grayson. The campaign poll from Data Targeting shows Grayson with 40 percent, Platt with 35 percent and Marko Milakovich, who is running with no party affiliation, with 7 percent.

The poll shows Grayson is treading water with 34 percent seeing him as favorable and 32 percent viewing him as unfavorable. Platt is largely unknown with 61 percent of those surveyed having never heard of her while 17 percent see her as favorable and 4 percent see her as unfavorable.

The poll of 305 voters in CD 9 was taken on Oct. 9 and Oct. 12 and had a margin of error of +/- 5.7 percent. 

"These numbers simply confirm what we've been hearing and seeing on the ground," Platt said. “District 9 is fed up with the representation they're getting from Alan Grayson and they're ready for someone new. We fully intend to win this race and will be working harder than ever in this final stretch."

With Democrats having more than an 8-to-5 advantage on registration, most observers have written this race off as safe for Grayson.

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Opponents of Amendment 2, a proposal to expand medical marijuana in Florida, pointed to a World Health Organization researcher’s study on the impact of marijuana.

“This study is one of the strongest signs yet that the regular use of marijuana carries tremendous unwanted health risks,” said Calvina Fay, the executive director of the Drug Free America Foundation. “Studies such as these confirm that efforts to legalize marijuana in Florida do not have the health and well-being of Floridians in mind.”

The report from Wayne Hall shows marijuana usage leads to addiction and higher risks of other problems including psychotic symptoms and schizophrenia.

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Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has a solid lead over her rivals in a new poll.

The poll of likely voters from Viewpoint Florida, which was unveiled on Thursday, shows Bondi taking 50 percent while former DCF Sec. George Sheldon, the Democratic nominee, gets 41 percent. Tallahassee attorney Bill Wohlsifer, the Libertarian candidate, gets 6 percent and 3 percent are undecided.

Bondi has secured Republicans with 77 percent backing her while 75 percent of Democrats are behind Sheldon. Voters outside the major parties go Bondi’s way with the Republican taking 50 percent of them while 33 percent are for Sheldon and 14 percent back Wohlsifer.

The poll of 1,050 likely voters was taken on Oct. 12 and had a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.

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A new poll shows Florida CFO Jeff Atwater routing Democratic businessman William Rankin.

The poll of likely voters from Viewpoint Florida finds Atwater taking 54 percent while Rankin garners 38 percent and 7 percent are undecided.

Atwater has the GOP base nailed down, taking 81 percent of Republicans while Rankin has the support of 69 percent of Democrats. Voters outside the two major parties break for Atwater, 56 percent to 35 percent.

The poll of 1,050 likely voters was taken on Oct. 12 and had a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.

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After reports emerged that Amber Joy Vinson, the second health care worker who came down with Ebola in recent days, flew across the country on a Frontier Airlines flight on Monday, Gov. Rick Scott called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to contact passengers who were on that airplane that day.

“The CDC announced that they are contacting those passengers on the airplane with nurse Amber Joy Vinson, and I am asking them to expand their contacts today to include all passengers traveling on that plane for the full 24 hours after Amber’s flight,” Scott said in a statement released on Thursday morning. “Within 24 hours of Amber’s flight with a low-grade fever, we know the plane made five additional stops – including one into and one out of our Fort Lauderdale Airport.

“The CDC has already admitted that they have been slow to respond to developing cases of Ebola, and we do not want to take any risk of Ebola coming to Florida,” Scott continued. “Their immediate action to contact all these passengers today is essential to explaining any potential health risks to themselves and their family. I want all Florida passengers to have as much information as possible directly from the CDC to ease any of their fears and understand any way they could have made contact with the disease.

“We continue to hope we will never have a case of Ebola in Florida, but unfortunately, we have seen from the CDC’s own admission that they have failed to get ahead of this disease’s spread in America to date – and we will do everything we can in Florida to get the CDC’s full engagement to protect our Florida health care workers, our citizens and our visitors,” Scott added. “Yesterday, we also requested the CDC conduct health care worker training with all Florida hospitals by conference call. Friday morning, I will meet again with our Florida Department of Health leaders and notify the public of what, if any, action the CDC has taken on our Ebola preparedness requests following that meeting.”

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