Blogs from around the state

Post on Politics Palm Beach County inspector general: deputy engineer voted 17 of 18 times to “short list” bidders who were her friends

McConnell (center)

Seventeen times out of 18, over three years, Palm Beach County’s Deputy County Engineer, Tanya McConnell, voted to “short list” for county projects firms which she herself described as “friends,” th county’s office of Inspector General has found.

Naked Politics Jeb Bush heads to Puerto Rico

@PatriciaMazzei

Jeb Bush's cross-country fundraising for his all-but-declared presidential campaign is taking him to Puerto Rico, that other Caribbean island to where many Florida Hispanic voters trace their roots.

OS Political Pulse House Speaker 2020 saga continues as faction withdraws Eisnaugle support

TALLAHASSEE – An ongoing fight among freshman Republican House members to become House Speaker for the 2020-2022 took another turn Wednesday, as a faction of members withdrew their support from Rep.

Naked Politics Sarnoff a no-show in first District 2 candidates forum

via @NewsbySmiley

The presumed front-runner for Miami’s District 2 commission seat was a no-show Wednesday night when the seven other candidates campaigning for the post participated in their first forum.

Teresa Sarnoff, wife of term-limited District 2 Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, missed the 7 p.m. event at Grove Isle, though her absence likely had no effect on the tenor of the gathering -- developers and City Hall.

Naked Politics Politico: George W. Bush calls himself Jeb's 'problem'

From Politico:

CHICAGO — Jeb Bush's candidacy has a problem, says brother George.

“Me.”

“It’s an easy line to say, ‘Haven’t we had enough Bushes?’ After all, even my mother said, ‘Yes,’” the former president told an audience of 7,000 health IT experts here on Wednesday.

Naked Politics Marco Rubio benefactors plan Florida fundraising events

@PatriciaMazzei

Marco Rubio's immediate concern as a presidential candidate is to raise money so he can compete in 2016 Republican primaries. And he will be doing that over the next few weeks in several Florida events.

Post on Politics Public interviews don’t deter administrator candidates

Make that three of the four external candidates who have told The Palm Beach Post that they will remain in the hunt to succeed Bob Weisman as the county’s next administrator.

OS Political Pulse DEP chief says 'climate change' at Senate hearing

TALLAHASSEE  -- Disputing reports that state agencies are prohibited from using the words "climate change," top environmental official Jonathan Steverson repeatedly uttered the phrase during a confirmation hearing Wednesday.

Naked Politics Five things to watch in Tallahassee Thursday

With the official acknowledgement that the legislative session will be heading into overtime because of the stalemate over health care policy, the campaigning on the issue heats up on Thursday. Meanwhile, the House meets in a all-day floor session while the Senate Appropriations Committee meets in a marathon hearing to take up 40 bills.

Here are a few things to watch:

Naked Politics 'No skeletons' in his closet, Marco Rubio says, gearing up for digging by rivals

@PatriciaMazzei

Marco Rubio's flurry of media interviews continued two days after the launch of his presidential campaign, each of them offering a glimpse or two of the Republican candidate's thoughts.

Naked Politics Schools guns bills stumble in Florida Senate

A proposal that would allow certain teachers to pack heat in public schools is on life support after the Senate Education Committee declined to vote on it for the second meeting in a row.

The measure (SB 180) could still come up as an amendment to a related bill.

Post on Politics Senator says, “sand…running out of the hourglass” on 2015 session

Senator says “sand is running out of the hourglass” on session

Florida’s battle over health insurance spawned an angry pushback Wednesday from Gov. Rick Scott’s administration, amid growing signs the Legislature is heading toward overtime.

Naked Politics Marco Rubio raises $1.25M online in first day of campaign

From the Associated Press:

Sen. Marco Rubio raised $1.25 million online during his first full day as a presidential candidate, a person close to the Florida Republican's campaign said Wednesday.

The first-term senator entered the race for the GOP nomination on Monday evening during a rally in Miami. A day later, his campaign made an aggressive digital push for donations. It quickly paid off.

PolitiJax Heading into May runoff election, three City Council candidates have backing of outgoing Council President Clay Yarborough

With his time in office soon ending, Jacksonville City Council President Clay Yarborough is supporting three Republican candidates running in the May runoff election.

Yarborough will back Mike Anania in the District 1 race and Al Ferraro in the District 2 race. Yarborough’s old district covered parts of Arlington that are now included in both districts, which were re-drawn going into this election.

PolitiJax Al Ferarro receives endorsement from former Republican rival in City Council District 2 race

After his elimination from the race for the Jacksonville City Council District 2 seat, former candidate Jack Daniels says he will do whatever he can to help fellow Republican Al Ferraro win the May 19 runoff.

Daniels finished third in the March 24 election behind Democrat Lisa King and Ferraro, earning 27 percent of the vote. 

Naked Politics Senate panel votes to confirm Florida's chief healthcare administrator

A Senate panel threw its support behind Florida’s top healthcare administrator Wednesday, but only after grilling her for more than 60 minutes about the deepening impasse over the healthcare budget.

The Senate Ethics and Elections Committee voted 8-1 to recommend that Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Elizabeth Dudek keep her job.

Naked Politics Gardiner tells Gov. Scott his tax cuts are 'on the shelf' in Senate

Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, had a phone conversation with Gov. Rick Scott Wednesday about the session's budget stalemate.

OS Political Pulse House Speaker: Legislature likely headed for overtime over Medicaid impasse

TALLAHASSEE – Lawmakers will likely need a special session to resolve a deadlock between the House and Senate over health care spending, House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, said Wednesday.

Naked Politics Miami asks Hollywood, Boca Raton to pay for downtown Tri-Rail station

via @NewsbySmiley

Miami city officials really, really want to help build a Tri-Rail station downtown -- and they want cities in Broward and Palm Beach counties to foot part of the bill.

On Wednesday, Miami's Chief Financial Officer Fernando Casamayor sent out letters to 11 municipalities to the north asking for money to help fund the $69 million project.

Post on Politics Will Weatherford not part of Florida GOP post-Atwater Senate landscape

Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, left, is one of the Republicans who could run for Sen. Marco Rubio’s seat in 2016.

Naked Politics Jeb Bush's claim about gun permits in Florida

Facing a long list of GOP presidential contenders at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush touted his own pro-gun rights record.

Bush took a friendly jab at another potential presidential contender in the room:

Naked Politics Will Weatherford's a no for Marco Rubio's Senate seat

@PatriciaMazzei

Former Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford won't be following in Marco Rubio's footsteps -- at least not yet.

Weatherford ended speculation Wednesday that he might run for Rubio's U.S. Senate seat next year.

Naked Politics House lets Senate take the lead on film incentives

The House is deferring to the Senate in an overhaul of tax credits to lure TV and film projects to Florida.

Set to consider amendments to its proposal (HB 451) Wednesday, House leadership postponed the bill while it watches how the upper chamber moves forward.

“We’re assessing what’s going on in the Senate with the issue,” Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, said. “We have every intention of moving that along.”

Naked Politics How Marco Rubio might step up his presidential game

via @LightmanDavid @CAdamsMcClatchy

WASHINGTON -- Marco Rubio is the Republican presidential field’s all-star newcomer, who looks great on paper and has limitless potential — but he’s also untested, unproven and unlikely to vault to the head of the crowded pack anytime soon.

Naked Politics Marco Rubio sticks up for tax plan to conservative critics

via @learyreports

Newly minted presidential candidate Marco Rubio on Wednesday defended a tax proposal that has come under attack from conservatives as a budget busting handout and political gambit to win votes from the middle class.

Naked Politics Miami commissioner talking tunnel from MIA to US1

via @NewsbySmiley

Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez thinks local politicians have buried their heads in the sand for years when it comes to addressing South Florida's traffic woes. He'd rather bury the traffic.

Post on Politics Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton: A tale of two presidential launches

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio during a break in a Monday night interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News, one of at least seven he’s done with national media outlets since launching his 2016 presidential campaign.

Post on Politics Judge won’t rehear Palm Beach County Inspector General suit

Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Catherine Brunson says in an April 9 order she won’t allow a rehearing on her March 12 ruling rejecting a suit by 14 cities over their paying for Palm Beach County’s Office of Inspector General.

Naked Politics Miami-Dade hiring a new county attorney

@doug_hanks 

Robert Cuevas, county attorney for Miami-Dade, is retiring later this year, according to the office of County Commission chairman Jean Monestime

OS Political Pulse Scott pollster: Public split on Medicaid expansion

TALLAHASSEE – A poll commissioned by Let’s Get to Work, Gov.