From today's column:
...Much of Florida's political intelligentsia view him as a long shot, which makes sense. Latvala is old school, the kind of pragmatic, generally moderate Republican today's GOP primary electorate has shunned and pilloried in recent years. He looks more like a rumpled granddad who should lay off the ribeyes and ramp up his blood pressure meds than the sort of TV-primped candidate that usually wins statewide elections in Florida....
Reubin Askew tried. So did Bob Graham. And Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. When you've shown an ability to win statewide elections in America's biggest swing state, you're almost automatically a credible contender for president.
Could Rick Scott be the Floridian who finally winds up in the White House?
We surveyed nearly 200 experienced Florida political experts for our July Florida Insider Poll, and nearly seven in 10 said they don't expect our 64-year-old two-term governor and likely 2018 Republican nominee for U.S. Senate to seek the presidency. That, of course, leaves nearly one in three who exect he will....
CLEARWATER — Jack Latvala, the wily Republican state senator and longtime fixture of Tampa Bay politics, probably will announce his candidacy for governor on Aug. 16. He said as much to the more than 100 friends at his vacation home in Maine last weekend.
Much of Florida's political intelligentsia view him as a long shot, which makes sense. Latvala is old school, the kind of pragmatic, generally moderate Republican today's GOP primary electorate has shunned and pilloried in recent years. He looks more like a rumpled granddad who should lay off the ribeyes and ramp up his blood pressure meds than the sort of TV-primped candidate that usually wins statewide elections in Florida....
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King today made his case for how economic growth and fighting climate change go hand in hand. His rivals for the Democratic nomination, Gwen Graham, Andrew Gillum and possibly Philip Levine, make climate change and environmental protection top priorities too....
Our latest Florida Insider Poll asked most of the smartest and most experienced politicos in Florida about the race to succeed former state Sen. Frank Artles in Miami-area Florida Senate District 40. Among the more then 190* participants (56 percent of them Republicans, 38 percent Democrats), more than two thirds expect the GOP to hold onto that competitive seat.
"The problem for Democrats in the SD40 Special is that the electorate that will show up will be disproportionally older Cuban compared to normal midterms or presidential cycles," said on Democrat. "This is a group that still votes GOP down ballot and has no trouble splitting their ticket."...
The Tallahassee Democrat reports:
The Leon County Sheriff's Office has concluded its investigation into Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum's use of political email software paid for by the city.
LCSO spokesman Lt. Grady Jordan said the report has been turned over to State Attorney Jack Campbell's office.
Jordan said the report makes no recommendations but is "merely a presentation of our investigation and the facts." Any decision to bring charges related to the investigation would be the decision of Campbell's office.......
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham is scheduled to headline the Hillsborough Democratic Party'sannual Kennedy King Dinner fundraiser Sept. 16 at the Hilton Downtown Tampa. It's the biggest fundraiser of the year for the party. Tickets go for $100 each and sponsorships cost up to $10,000. People can register here....
The husband of the former Florida chair of the Trump campaign obtained a front-row seat to a June 2016 House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing for Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian attorney who had met with Donald Trump Jr. at Trump Tower eight days prior....
We hear Republican State Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, sounded like a probable candidate for Florida governor as some 120 friends and political allies gathered at his place in Boothbay Harbor, Maine to celebrate his second wedding anniversary to wife Connie -- and buzz about his possible run for the Republican gubernatorial nomination against Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and possibly Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran and U.S. Rep. Ron. DeSantis....
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham announced endorsements from some prominent grassroots Democrats:
Former Florida Young Democrats Treasurer Andrew Bell
Democratic National Committeeman & Former Florida Democratic Party Vice Chair Alan Clendenin
Brevard County Democratic Veterans Caucus Chair John Frazier
State Committeewoman and Former Chair of the Jacksonville Planning Commission Lisa King
Former Florida Young Democrats President Shannon Love
State Committeeman John Parker
Democratic Progressive Caucus Founding Member & Former Wakulla DEC Chair Rachel Pienta
Florida Democratic Party Committee on Clubs Chair & Treasurers of the Democratic Disability Caucus Beth McMillen
American Muslim Democratic Caucus Miami-Dade Regional Director Duysevi "Sevi" Miyar...
07/12/17 State Roundup
Adam Putnam's 2018 gubernatorial campaign has been in the works for years, and the Republican agriculture commissioner has amassed $11 million in his campaign accounts.
But that's not stopping formidable Republicans like House Speaker Richard Corcoran and state Sen. Jack Latvala from plotting primary challenges. Nor is it keeping U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis of northeast Florida from mulling a primary challenge, or ending widespread speculation that a wealthy outsider could jump in....
Well, here's something we haven't seen in a long time: New state campaign finance reports show that in the three months ending June 30, the Florida Democratic Party raised $1.67 million, and the Republican Party of Florida raised $339,000.
This is what happens when the governor, Rick Scott, and the leading candidate for the GOP nomination for governor in 2018, Adam Putnam, and the GOP members of the Florida Senate are concentrating on filling their own political campaign accounts, instead of the party's. It probably doesn't help either that Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran is also now concentrating his energy on his own political committee, rather than the state GOP led by Blaise Ingoglia, who spent considerably more than he raised in the latest quarter...
New York boots corrections contractor, while Rick Scott gives its generous president plum appointment07/10/17 Blog
The bull dog journalists at the great Florida Bulldog report that Armor Correctional Health Services, which provides health care services to jail inmates across Florida and whose president is a generous donor to Rick Scott and the Florida GOP, is no longer allowed to bid on contracts in New York State. But five months after settling a lawsuit by New York's attorney general and paying $350,000 in penalties, Gov. Rick Scott rewarded Armor's president:...
07/08/17 State Roundup
Time for a few snapshot generalizations about Florida's 2018 gubernatorial race, based on the money raised by the candidates' political committees in June.
1. Democrats are struggling mightily to raise serious money in their first competitive gubernatorial primary in many years. Some of this probably is related to uncertainty about personal injury John Morgan's potential candidacy (a nice excuse for donors to stay on the sidelines), and some of it due to a sense that the race has yet to really gel. ...