Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart has requested a big budget for Florida's education system -- a whopping $16.97 billion, which is $35 million more than the current year's budget.
Stewart says the additional money is needed to cover growing costs of student enrollment and help make up for $250 million of federal grants that expire this year.
If Stewart's budget request is approved, per-student funding would jump to $6,913.45, an increase of $126.77, or 1.87 percent, from last year, according to the Miami Herald.
Stewart said the proposed spending plan is “a continuation budget,” but pointed to several new initiatives that would take place. Among them would be $40 million to support technology in school districts, $8.9 million for math camps, $6.3 million to cover the cost of dual-enrollment courses in high schools and $582,000 to help school systems. The budget would also provide $8.4 million for principal training, and $5 million for school district professional training associated with the new Common Core State Standards, which are set to be fully implemented in Florida's schools by the 2014-2015 school year.
In addition to the K-12 system, the Department of Education oversees the Florida College System as well. State education officials are requesting $1.16 billion for colleges, which is an increase of 4.09 percent over last year.
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Wright will be working as the group's new press secretary.
“Florida is so important, diverse and politically complex when it comes to education,” wrote state director for StudentsFirst, Nikki Lowrey. “We have built a team that will help get our message out and help people understand how elevating teachers, empowering parents, and spending our tax dollars wisely will improve our children’s education.”
Earlier this year, StudentsFirst hired Troy Bell as its Florida outreach director and Kelly Garcia and Jamona Hayling as field coordinators. The organization, founded by former Washington, D.C., Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, supports school choice, accountability and merit pay for teachers.
Wright started his career as a TV reporter in Richmond, Va., and later transitioned into politics while working for Sunshine State News. In 2011, he served as Gov. Scott's press secretary.
Florida Sen. John Legg, R-Port Richey, took aim at newly minted Democrat former Gov. Charlie Crist who announced earlier in the week he would challenge Gov. Rick Scott in 2014.
"Here goes Charlie Crist again,” Legg said on Wednesday. “Charlie Crist is hoping we will forget everything about his career, including all his flip-flops. Crist is hoping Floridians will forget all his different positions on every issue. One thing is for sure, Floridians will remember his lack of leadership on jobs, economy, and education. Crist's leadership consisted of saying one thing to one group one day, and something totally opposite to another group the next. Florida needs a leader not a politician."
Moments after Jessica Ehrlich pulled out of the special election for the congressional seat opened by the death of former U.S. Rep. Bill Young, Republicans are saying Democrats at the national level are clearing the decks for former state CFO Alex Sink. Ehrlich had been the Democratic candidate who challenged Young in 2012.
Katie Prill, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Campaign Committee, said U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and her allies did not want a primary to hurt Sink’s chances.
“Instead of letting Florida families decide, Alex Sink and Washington Democrats forced their will on voters by demanding Jessica Ehrlich get out of this race,” Prill said on Wednesday. “It looks like the only candidate acceptable for Nancy Pelosi and her Washington attack dogs is an extreme liberal like Alex Sink who has a record of wasting Florida taxpayers’ money.”
Jessica Ehrlich, the St. Petersburg attorney who lost to Congressman C.W. Bill Young last year in an attempt to take his U.S. House of Representatives seat, announced Wednesday she is no longer running for Young's seat.
"This morning I am officially announcing that I am suspending my campaign for Congress," Ehrlich said. "I want to thank my amazing staff, donors, and volunteers for everything they have done for our campaign. In particular, I would like to thank the hard-working men and women of the labor movement who have supported my fight for Florida's middle-class families.
"I also want to thank the voters of Florida's 13th Congressional District for their continued support. While this is not the result I was hoping for, I remain committed to helping the families of Pinellas County, this state, and this country."
Ehrlich's announcement comes a week after former CFO Alex Sink announced she is running for the seat.
Young died in October after complications from a back injury and had served in Congress for 43 years.
Florida TaxWatch released its annual cost-savings and efficiency recommendations for Florida in "Modern Management & Sensible Savings" Wednesday, highlighting more than $1 billion in savings for Florida taxpayers without reducing state-provided services.
"The TaxWatch recommendations are designed to identify opportunities to improve efficiency and accountability while saving taxpayer dollars," said Dominic M. Calabro, president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch, the independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit taxpayer research institute and government watchdog. "Each recommendation contains a solution that our state's elected leaders can act upon to help the Sunshine State better serve its customers, who are ultimately Florida taxpayers."
Six comprehensive recommendations included in the report address replacement of the state's accounting system; information technology governance, procurement and state asset management; pension reform; criminal justice reform; state health insurance reforms; and revenue maximization.
"This report presents ideas that have been fully vetted by business leaders, public servants with knowledge of government operations, and TaxWatch research staff," said John R. Alexander, chairman of the TaxWatch Center for Government Efficiency. "These recommendations are responsible, proactive, and the right solutions for all Floridians. I am confident in my hope that Florida's elected leaders take these recommendations into consideration as they determine how to allocate taxpayer dollars in the coming Session and beyond."
One key recommendation of this year's report is to replace the state's antiquated accounting system, which is more than 30 years old. Replacing the Florida Accounting Information Resource (FLAIR) will, according to a press release from Florida TaxWatch, increase efficiency and transparency in Florida's $74 billion budget. The cost-savings recommendations included in the report may help offset the cost of a $500 million tax cut proposed by Florida lawmakers this year.
"Florida lawmakers have done an incredible job incorporating cost-saving measures in the budget during the last several years, but TaxWatch continues to recommend a few key improvements that will have a significant impact on Florida and its taxpayers," added Calabro.
TaxWatch has been publishing its annual cost-savings reports through the Florida TaxWatch Government Cost Savings Task Force since 2009. Since then, the Florida Legislature has incorporated many of TaxWatch's recommendations, resulting in more than $4.2 billion in savings for Florida taxpayers.
"Even as our policymakers and elected officials enter the fiscal year with a budget surplus, it is crucial that reforms are made to increase efficiency and reduce spending to ensure that Florida faces an economically stable future," said John B. Zumwalt III, Florida TaxWatch chairman. "It is our hope that the Legislature considers these recommendations while they determine how to spend Floridians' hard-earned dollars in 2014."
Despite his time as Hernando County sheriff, U.S. Rep. Rich Nugent, R-Fla., generally stays out of state politics. It was a little surprising to see the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) trot out Nugent on Wednesday to take aim at former Gov. Charlie Crist who launched a gubernatorial bid earlier this week.
Nugent hit Crist for seeking a U.S. Senate seat in 2010 instead of running for a second term as governor. Crist ran for the Republican nomination but, after being passed in the polls by Marco Rubio, left the GOP to run with no party affiliation. Crist joined the Democrats at the end of 2012.
"When times were tough and Florida families were facing huge job losses and record unemployment, Charlie Crist failed as governor,” Nugent said. “He abandoned our state during tough economic times to focus on his next runs for political office. We need a governor who we can trust to be laser focused on creating jobs, paying down our debt, and improving education. That governor is not Charlie Crist."
On Wednesday, Gov. Rick Scott added the Innovators in Tourism award to this year’s batch of Governor’s Innovators in Business Awards (GIBA).
“Florida’s tourism industry is responsible for 1 million Florida jobs and we want to make sure that this important part of our economy is rewarded,” Scott said on Wednesday. "Thanks to our job creators, Florida is becoming the top state for business in the country. I look forward to recognizing these innovative businesses for making sure families can live their American dream.”
“On behalf of the nearly 1.1 million Floridians employed in the hospitality industry, I’m grateful to Governor Scott for creating this new award that will recognize the significant economic impact tourism businesses bring to the state," said Will Seccombe, the president and CEO of Visit Florida.
2012 proved a record year for tourism in Florida with 91.5 million tourists who spent almost $72 billion in the Sunshine State, leading to 23 percent of the state’s sales tax revenue and more than 1 million jobs.
Nominations for the new award are due on Nov. 15.
As Florida Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, reaches her three-year term limit and leaves the board of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, her colleague Florida Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, joins it.
“The coming months offer our organization an extraordinary opportunity to ensure that our community is able to fully participate in the 2014 midterm elections and to make comprehensive immigration reform a reality,” said NALEO Educational Fund Chair Pauline Medrano on Wednesday. “We are proud to have these talented and committed individuals join the organization’s leadership and look forward to working with them and the rest of the board to assure that the policy priorities of Latinos are fully addressed.”
On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the chairwoman of the House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, tore into the United Nations after the General Assembly voted its disapproval of the American embargo on Communist Cuba.
“One would think that the representatives at the U.N. General Assembly live in a different universe from that of the Cuban people,” Ros-Lehtinen said. The dysfunctional international body voted against the U.S. embargo on Cuba, yet continues to ignore the increase in arbitrary arrests and detentions of pro-democracy advocates. For example, a young rapper is sitting in one of Castro’s gulags on the verge of death on a hunger strike and the Ladies in White continue to get harassed and beaten on a weekly basis by Castro’s state security agents, and in fact just this weekend at least 30 members of the Ladies in White were unjustly detained as they again tried to march to church to pray for the release of their family members and for freedom for the island. The U.N. should have better used the time it spent debating the embargo to instead punish the Castro regime and the Kim Jung-Un dictatorship for violating U.N. sanctions when the two tyrannies were transporting military weapons through the Panama Canal this summer.
“The sad reality is that this comes as little surprise when it was this very body that let a state sponsor of terrorism like Cuba run for a seat on its Human Rights Council and allowed Iran, a regime subject to U.N. sanctions for proliferation, to chair its disarmament conference,” Ros-Lehtinen added. “I commend our close friend and ally, the democratic Jewish state of Israel, for joining us in voting against this senseless resolution. Its vote reflects a sober understanding of the reality in Cuba that is utterly lacking in today’s broken U.N. system, reaffirming how desperately in need of reform this body is.”
Former governor Charlie Crist just jumped into the governor's race Monday, but his first fundraiser held Tuesday evening is rumored to have raised in the “half-million range,” according to an estimate from former state Sen. Steve Geller, one of the event organizers. The event was held at lawyer Mitchell Berger's home in Fort Lauderdale and an estimated 75-to-100 people attended.
The total includes both hard and soft money. Some donors who showed up said that they had already paid by credit card, but the actual amount will not be publicly available until campaign finance reports are posted.
The finance chairman of the Florida Democratic Party has been asked to resign because he will be hosting a fundraiser for former governor Charlie Crist, a violation of party neutrality in the primary contest between Crist and former state Sen. Nan Rich.
Andrew Weinstein, who works as a South Florida trial lawyer and major fundraiser for the campaigns of President Barack Obama, is one of many hosts of a fundraiser to be held in Fort Lauderdale Tuesday.
In a conversation with the Tampa Tribune, Rich said she discussed the issue with FDP Chair Allison Tant and party Executive Director Scott Arceneaux, and she was told they have asked Weinstein to resign his voluntary position.
“Chair Tant and Andrew Weinstein have had a number of conversations today and we’re not prepared right now to make any announcement,” said Josh Karp, spokesman for the FDP.
Charlie Crist and Nan Rich are the only nominees so far for the Democratic Party. Crist officially jumped into the race last week, but made his official announcement Monday.
Senate President Don Gaetz dismissed concerns from conservatives about Common Core State Standards on Monday after they expressed concerns about federal overreach through the national standards.
“You can’t dip them in milk and hold them over a candle and see the United Nations flag or Barack Obama’s face,” Gaetz said. “They’re not some federal conspiracy.”
The Senate president did leave open the possibility that the education standards could possibly be tweaked as a result of public hearings held in October if the standards prove to be weak in certain areas.
“I think the Common Core standards are good, solid standards. … So if there are ways that we ought to raise standards in order to reach higher and expect more of our students and more of our educational system, then let’s do that,” Gaetz said.
On Tuesday, Gov. Rick Scott announced that the United Services Automobile Association (USAA) will expand in Hillsborough County, investing more than $164 million and creating 1,215 new jobs over the next six years.
“The expansion of USAA in Hillsborough County will create over 1,200 new jobs for Florida families, meaning 1,200 families will have the opportunity to live their version of the American dream right here in the Sunshine State,” Scott said on Tuesday. “This is great news for Florida families and is another sign that Florida is becoming the No. 1 state for business. With nearly 370,000 jobs created in two and a half years and an unemployment rate below that national average, we know it’s working in Florida.”
“USAA is growing as the demand for our financial products and services among the military community increases,” Joe Robles, the CEO of USAA, said. “We’ve had a great team of employees in Tampa for 40 years and we are excited to grow that team in this great military community.”
One of the leading moderate Republicans in Tallahassee, Florida Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, ripped into former Gov. Charlie Crist on Tuesday. Latvala and Crist moved up the GOP ranks together in Pinellas County before Crist left the Republicans in 2010. On Monday, Crist launched a gubernatorial bid as a Democrat.
"I have known and observed Charlie Crist here in Pinellas County for almost 30 years,” Latvala said on Tuesday. “I know him to be a career politician who cares more about his own political ambitions than doing what's right for Floridians. Time and time again he has started running for the next higher office after barely being elected to the one he held at the time. We've seen him in action, ignoring his responsibilities as governor to focus on his own political campaigns for higher office. When Floridians were experiencing crippling job losses and record unemployment under his watch, he abandoned his job as governor to try to run away to Washington, D.C. Charlie is an example of failed leadership and we can't trust him at the helm again."
Americans understand there is no way to guarantee the privacy of their Internet searches, and now one out of two thinks it's likely the government has monitored their Internet activity or that of someone in their family.
A new Rasmussen Reports poll found 60 percent of Americans who use the Internet at least occasionally consider their Internet communications at least somewhat private now, with 21 percent who feel they are very private. Twenty-eight percent think their Internet activity is not private, with 8 percent who say it is not at all private.
But 75 percent of all Americans believe it is no longer possible to guarantee that an individual's Internet searches will remain private. Only 7 percent think such a guarantee is possible, while 18 percent say they aren't sure.
Fifty percent of likely American voters now think it is at least somewhat likely that the government has monitored their Internet activity or the activity of a member of their family, while a smaller number -- 35 percent -- considers that possibility unlikely.
People using the Internet daily are even more convinced their Internet activity isn't so private and believe government monitoring of their Internet activity is likely.
The survey of 1,000 adults was conducted Nov. 2-3. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.
Florida Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, ripped into newly minted gubernatorial candidate and new Democrat former Gov. Charlie Crist. Thrasher served as chairman of the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) during Crist’s last days as a Republican.
"Charlie Crist claims to care about Florida but we know he is not committed to our state,” Thrasher said on Tuesday. “As governor he failed to lead us during tough economic times and as a result, Florida lost 832,000 jobs under his watch and added $5.2 billion in state debt. Instead of buckling down and fixing the problems we were facing he focused more on his own political career, first auditioning to be John McCain's vice president and then later trying to escape Florida for the bright lights of Washington, D.C. Charlie's opportunism is apparent and he simply cannot be trusted again."
On Tuesday, former U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., doubled down on his support of U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., who is looking to defeat U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., next year. Republicans across the nation have pointed to this race as crucial to flipping the Senate in 2014.
“Representative Tom Cotton, candidate for U.S. Senate in Arkansas, urgently needs our help,” West emailed supporters on Tuesday. “Tom Cotton is a great American patriot, and we would all be well-served to have him representing us in the United States Senate. That's why the Allen West Guardian Fund has endorsed him."
West bashed the “far left” for “mercilessly attacking” Cotton and insisted “with less than one year until Election Day now, I suspect their assault will only escalate.”
Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart has requested a big budget for Florida's education system -- a whopping $16.97 billion, which is $35 million more than the current year's budget.
On Monday, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., demanded the Obama administration ramp up its efforts to help Alan Gross, an American relief worker accused of espionage by the Castro regime and who has been imprisoned for four years. Ros-Lehtinen accused the Obama administration of “kowtowing” to the Castro regime.
“Next month will commemorate the fourth year of the unjust imprisonment of Alan Gross in Cuba,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “The Castro regime must release Alan immediately without any preconditions. It would be a travesty to swap one U.S. citizen unjustly jailed in Cuba for four Cuban agents who were convicted in the U.S. for trying to infiltrate our military installations with the aim of undermining our national security interests. Such a deal would dishonor the memory of the four brave Brother to the Rescue members who were killed over international waters by those acting under direct orders from the Castro brothers. The Obama administration, and all responsible nations, must stop kowtowing to the Castro dictatorship and demand freedom on the island for Alan Gross and the rest of the 11 million people living under tyranny in Cuba.”
The Jacksonville Jaguars were not supposed to be in the spotlight in recent days. The Jaguars, clearly the worst team in the National Football League (NFL), had a bye on Sunday and First Coast football fans were supposed to focus on the Miami-FSU game which had national implications and, while the Georgia Bulldogs and Florida Gators have been disappointing this season, their game in Jacksonville is one of the city’s annual traditions.
But the Jaguars are once again in the news as they look to start the second half of the season after stumbling out the gate to a 0-8 start. WR Justin Blackmon, one of the few bright spots of the season, was suspended yet again on Friday for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policies and he won’t be back for the rest of the year. And now Tim Tebow fans ran a billboard this week urging Jaguars owners Shahid Khan to sign the former Gator star.
Tebow played at Nease High School in the area and played at the University of Florida. Tebow supporters had planes flying over Everbank Field demanding the Jaguars sign the quarterback. Earlier this year, Tebow was cut by the New England Patriots after stints with the Denver Broncos and the New York Jets.
“Mr. Khan, sign Tebow and we will fill the stadium. Signed, Jacksonville,” read the new billboard.
Actually, while the Jaguars haven’t scored a touchdown at Everbank Field this year, none of the team’s home games has been blacked out. The Jags head up to Tennessee on Sunday to take on the Titans this weekend before hosting the Arizona Cardinals on Nov. 17.
With a pivotal case on the role of religion in the public square scheduled for a U.S. Supreme Court hearing on Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., posted an op-ed over at Fox News on the importance of prayer to open legislative meetings.
“Wednesday morning, I plan to attend oral arguments at the Supreme Court of the United States for the case of Town of Greece, N.Y. v. Galloway,” Rubio wrote. “There, I’ll observe what will be an important moment in our country’s long tradition of protecting religious liberty. The town of Greece is the latest party to be thrust into the middle of our country’s debate over the right to public religious expression, and all it did to deserve this was allow prayer before sessions of its town council.
“The tradition of praying before meetings of governing or legislative bodies is common all across our country. In fact, it has been meaningful to me in my own career as a public servant,” Rubio added before pointing to his time in Tallahassee as an example.
“In the Florida state House, I often took time with my fellow state representatives to pray for the wisdom and discernment to properly serve our constituents. Now, every morning before debate commences in the U.S. Senate, we pause for prayer and reflection,” Rubio wrote. “Even the Supreme Court, which is now considering this case, has long begun every session with the proclamation, ‘God save the United States and this honorable court!’ These are just some examples of how religious freedom, including in the public square, is one of the things that unites us as a ‘nation under God.’
“As defenders of religious freedom, many of us were concerned by the lower court’s ruling in the case of the town of Greece,” Rubio continued. “The opportunity to deliver a prayer or reflection before the town council in Greece is open to individuals of all faiths, and those of none at all. Prayers have been said by members of various Christian denominations, the Jewish faith and a Wiccan. Nevertheless, because the town is overwhelmingly Christian, so are a large number of prayers. In spite of this obvious fairness to people of all beliefs, including atheists, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the town had violated the First Amendment prohibiting the establishment of religion. I found this ruling to be deeply unsettling, and the Supreme Court has rightfully agreed to hear the appeal. The decision has implications far beyond the legal realm, impacting American life, culture and government. I believe that part of what distinguishes America from the rest of the world is that we do not feel threatened by each other’s faiths.”
On Tuesday, Florida Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Wellington, took aim at former Gov. Charlie Crist who launched a bid against Gov. Rick Scott on Monday. Benaquisto bashed Crist for his ambitions, insisting he was always in campaign mode. While Crist held three statewide offices, he never bothered to run for a second term in any of those posts.
"Charlie Crist wants you to believe that he has changed and that this election is all about what's best for Florida,” Benacquisto said on Tuesday. “The reality is he's been on a lifelong journey, always in search of higher office and what's best for Charlie Crist. In the span of just four years he ran for governor, vice president and the U.S. Senate, all while Floridians faced hard economic times. Florida voters deserve more than an empty chair in the governor's mansion, they deserve someone that will work every day to improve Florida's economy and get people back to work."
Charlie Crist jumped into the governor's race on Monday and his new campaign team is chock-full of Democrats who weren't big fans of Crist or his administration when he was a Republican.
The chairman of Crist's political committee, Charlie Crist for Florida, is Bob Poe, who is a former chairman of the Democratic Party of Florida. Crist's top Florida adviser is Steve Schale, who worked for President Barack Obama.
Crist's top media staffer is Kevin Cate, who has also worked for former CFO Alex Sink as well as Obama. Joe Anzalone will also be joining Crist's team, serving as his pollster. The former governor's finance director will be Jessica Clark, who has worked with U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and Obama. Jim Margolis has also joined Crist's team for advertisements. Margolis produced the ads for Obama for both election cycles.
Crist emphasized that his campaign is "not about the past" when asked about the odd options by the Times-Union. Crist also said he expects trial attorneys from across the country to support him in his campaign. Crist himself has the support of well-known Democratic attorney John Morgan of the Morgan & Morgan law firm. Crist's formal announcement of his candidacy sounded oddly reminiscent of Morgan's television ads -- at several points, he said he was the governor "for the people" and even referenced an "army of angels" to help him in his campaign -- two slogans Morgan uses prominently in his advertisements.
"I hope it plays a big role in it," said Crist of Morgan, adding that he doesn't prefer the term "trial attorneys." He said he would instead call them "caring people from across the country."
"I know that the Republican Party of Florida has already started their $100 million campaign to try to vilify him. Calling him names. Questioning his motives. It won’t work," wrote Gelber on his blog. "Floridians know what’s going on. They have watched as a narrow swath of ideologues have taken over the Republican Party nationally and here in Florida, intent on purifying its ranks of officials who commit the high crimes of moderation or bipartisanship."
Gelber went on to say many Republicans and independent voters would understand why Charlie changed parties so many times.
"Tons of Republicans and independent voters understand why Charlie had no place in a Republican Party that has jumped the tracks because they feel like the Republican Party has abandoned them, too," Gelber wrote. "Floridians already know Charlie and like the fact that he represents the kind of bipartisanship that is so sorely lacking in this nation. They also know that Rick Scott is cut from the same cloth as these Washington, D.C., demagogues. Like his Washington brethren, Scott supported defaulting on our nation’s debt rather than upsetting his tea party base. And Scott’s policies as governor are four square with these political outliers."
Ultimately, Gelber said, $100 million wouldn't be enough to convince Floridians that Charlie Crist is the right choice for governor.
"It’s simple," wrote Gelber. "Floridians have concluded that Charlie has their back and Scott doesn’t. I’m not convinced that even $100 million can convince people to disregard their honestly held beliefs."
"With today's announcement, Charlie Crist has done something that's, in my mind, really breathtaking, not only in Florida but in the country," said LeMieux. "In my view, this is the largest change of position by a leading American political figure in as quick of a period of time as we've had in recent American history."
LeMieux went on to say that Crist has had "more positions than a gymnast" from being in three political parties over the last three and a half years.
"The Charlie Crist that I knew and had the opportunity to work with called himself a Reagan conservative," said LeMieux.
LeMieux went on to say that anyone who wants to be in a high political office has to have a guiding set of principles, which in Crist's case, are seriously in question.
"Leading Democrats ... have said it's unusual to have someone flip-flop, then flop-flip," he said. "This election is going to come down to credibility, and it's going to come down to believability and values that the people of Florida can look at and say 'This is where that person stands.' I think as this election sorts itself out, the people of Florida will realize there's only one person running for governor that has that set of core values that that person is willing to act upon, and that's Governor Scott."
Crist officially announced his candidacy on Monday in front of a crowd of about 150 people in St. Petersburg.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., ripped into old rival former Gov. Charlie Crist on Monday. Crist announced on Monday that he was running for the Democratic nomination to challenge Gov. Rick Scott in 2014. Rubio caught Crist in the 2010 Republican U.S. Senate primary, chasing the then-governor out of the GOP and to continue his bid with no party affiliation. Crist joined the Democrats at the end of last year.
"Floridians have a clear choice between a governor with a proven record of job creation, and a consummate political opportunist that can't be trusted,” Rubio said. “ Charlie Crist's governorship was underwhelming, to say the least. Rick Scott has proven himself very capable of cleaning up after Charlie's mess, creating jobs, and restoring Floridians' hope about the future."
Former Gov. Charlie Crist announced on Monday that he was going to run for governor again, this time as a Democrat. Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, weighed in later on Monday morning and ripped Crist in very personal terms.
"In four years Charlie Crist switched three times the core principles he said he would be faithful to -- Republican then independent now Democrat,” Gaetz said. “In private, Democrats have to be wondering, ‘Will he use us to be something else next year?' I respect, even honor opponents who stand by their principles. I cannot respect an opponent who has no principles and therefore no honor."
Keep Vern Buchanan in Congress, baby? Is Buchanan a PTP or an isolation man? Was he a diaper dandy in his first term?
As readers familiar with the catch phrases of one of the most popular commentators on ESPN may have guessed, Dick Vitale is supporting Buchanan’s re-election bid. Vitale and his wife Lorraine will be hosting a fundraiser for Buchanan on Wednesday night. Based in Lakewood Ranch, in recent years Vitale has grown increasingly active in the area and has become a Tampa Bay Rays fan.
With former Gov. Charlie Crist announcing on Monday that he was running for his old job in 2014, this time as a Democrat, Republicans at the national level turned to Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana to take aim at the new candidate. Jindal is the chairman of the Republican Governors Association and a possible presidential candidate in 2016.
“Charlie Crist was a failure as governor and is a pure political opportunist who is out for himself,” Jindal said on Monday. "Under Crist, Florida lost over 800,000 jobs, saw their unemployment rate surge from 3.5 percent to 11.1 percent, and experienced a budgetary crisis that left the state sinking faster and faster. And when the going got tough, Charlie dropped his rifle, abandoned his post, and ran away from the people of Florida. If you like losing jobs and are looking for a politician who blows with the wind, Charlie Crist is your guy. Senator Marco Rubio said it best: ‘I don’t know of anyone who in over a decade has run as a Republican, an Independent and a Democrat. He’s running out of parties.”
With the Virginia gubernatorial race looming on Tuesday, a poll released late Sunday and one released Monday morning find Republican candidate state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is a solid underdog against Terry McAuliffe, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
Quinnipiac University unveiled a poll on Monday morning which shows McAuliffe with 46 percent and Cuccinelli with 40 percent, while Libertarian Robert Sarvis takes 8 percent.
"Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli made the race to become Virginia's next governor interesting,” said Peter Brown, the assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “But barring a late surge of Republicans returning to the fold and independents jumping on the GOP train, Terry McAuliffe has a small but steady lead that is formidable entering the final day of the campaign. All year long, Cuccinelli has suffered from an inability to unite the Republican base, and if today's data holds true for another 24 hours, analysts may look back at his 85 percent of the GOP vote as his fatal flaw, while McAuliffe was getting 93 percent of the Democratic vote,"
Brown insisted Sarvis supporters can play a major role in shaping this race.
"Libertarian Robert Sarvis continues to get almost one in 10 votes, apparently taking many of the Republican and independent votes Cuccinelli needs," Brown said. "If Sarvis' supporters stay with him in those numbers it is difficult to see where Cuccinelli can find enough votes to turn his fortunes around.
"To make a comeback in the final hours, Cuccinelli will need to take virtually all the undecided; peel off a few percent from Sarvis and hope that his turnout operation is superior to that of McAuliffe,” Brown said in conclusion. “Obviously that is a long-shot formula for victory. The good news for Cuccinelli is that his supporters seem more enthusiastic about their guy than are the McAuliffe backers, but there just doesn't seem to be enough of them to get Cuccinelli over the top."
The poll of 1,606 likely Virginia voters was taken from Oct. 29-Nov. 3 and had a margin of error of +/-2.5 percent.
Public Policy Polling (PPP), a firm with connections to prominent Democrats, released a similar poll on Sunday night which finds Sarvis less of a factor. McAuliffe leads the PPP poll with 50 percent followed by Cuccinelli with 43 percent and Sarvis taking only 4 percent.
The PPP poll of 870 likely Virginia voters was taken Nov. 2-3 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.3 percent.