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Florida Democratic Party News Clips — April 17

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REPUBLICANS: ANYONE BUT CONNIE MACK IV Republicans fret about Connie Mack campaign [Times/Herald] "From Washington to Tallahassee to local GOP clubs, Republican professionals and activists are buzzing about Mack's underwhelming campaign and debut as a statewide candidate. Some want another candidate and on Monday a big name — Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater — announced he is considering jumping into the race."

WAIT, WHO? Could Atwater reconsider Florida Senate race? [Politico] "So as a number of restless Republicans are starting to cast about again for a fresh candidate, some have turned their eyes toward state CFO Jeff Atwater. The former state Senate president is known to be an ambitious pol, though to date he’s been viewed as a more likely candidate for governor down the line."

Florida CFO Atwater, of North Palm Beach, ponders run for U.S. Senate [Palm Beach Post] "Reflecting the unease some Republicans feel toward their party's crop of U.S. Senate candidates, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater said today that he's considering making a late entrance into the GOP Senate primary race."


IF YOU ARE WRITING ON THE BUDGET, Make sure to Read the Facts about the GOP's War on Education HERE

But don't hold your breath on JD TECH — Via AP's Gary Fineout @Fineout: @FLGovScott will not announce decision tday on fate of Florida Poly. He will not act on separate bill until later in the week.

Scott to sign state budget Tuesday at Jacksonville-area school [Times/Herald] "The location gives Scott a convenient backdrop to frame what is sure to be part of this year's budget message: the fact that the Legislature boosted public school spending by $1 billion, as he requested. But that will not quite make up for a cut of $1.3 billion in the current year's budget."

Scott keeps biggest turkey in state budget [Miami Herald column] "But last week, our great bird hunter, the fearless (some would say heartless) eliminator of budget minutiae, shrugged off a $2.2 billion turkey. He vetoed HB 177 that would alter the state’s infamously tough sentencing law to allow a limited number of non-violent drug offenders to leave prison and enter a drug treatment program after serving half, rather than the compulsory 85 percent of their prison sentence."

Gov. Scott faces new budget, same pressures with signing today [News Service of Florida] "Scott has touted the extra $1 billion — which school districts gripe will mostly cover enrollment growth and the loss of funds from other sources — since unveiling the budget proposal late last year…Also unresolved: What Scott plans to do about tuition increases the budget would allow and whether he plans to announce a decision on the drive by Senate Budget Chairman JD Alexander, R-Lake Wales, to accelerate the independence of the University of South Florida’s Lakeland campus."

Time's not right for Polytechnic [Ocala Star Banner editorial] "And that point, it seems, has been lost on the budget chairman Alexander. In a year when the Legislature cut Florida’s overall higher education budget by some $300 million, what business does the state have starting a new university? The answer, of course, is none."


ON THE CONGRESSIONAL FRONT — BUCHANAN FUDGES FILING (ANYONE SURPRISED?) OUT-RAISED BY FITZ, DEMINGS' WINNING BIO

Keith Fitzgerald collects more contributions than Vern Buchanan in first 3 months of 2012 [Bradenton Herald] "Without the loan, filings would have shown that Fitzgerald's campaign took in about $57,000 more in contributions than Buchanan's during the first three months of the year."

Democrats recruit candidates outside political arena [USA TODAY] "Demings, 55, has a biography that reads like a movie script. The daughter of a cleaning lady and a janitor, she is one of seven children and the first college graduate in her family. She spent nearly 28 years on the Orlando police force, where she made city history in 2007 when she became the first female chief. On her watch, Orlando's violent crime rate dropped."

OTHER NEWS WE THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Politics in the land of make-believe [Tampa Bay Times column] "First reaction to Rick Scott's public relations people creating a fake Miami Herald headline and photo on the governor's Facebook page: Who's still reading mainstream media? Second reaction: Can I try that?"

Rubio, Nelson split on Buffet Rule, Economic Fairness [Tampa Bay Times] "Senate defeats 'Buffett Rule' as Nelson, Rubio go party lineFlorida Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, was in favor of the rule; Republican Sen. Marco Rubio was opposed. It never had a chance of passing but Democrats hope it gives them an election year talking point, which was quickly offered by President Obama."