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Florida Democratic Party News Clips — April 19

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GOP'S CONGRESSIONAL REDISTRICTING MAPS UNDER FIRE

Dems battle GOP congressional district map lines in court [Palm Beach Post] "Marc Elias, attorney for seven Florida voters the state's Democratic Party has gotten to serve as plaintiffs in the case, said the latest plan just builds on the current map, created in 2002, which turned Florida into "the most gerrymandered state in the country…'We started with a gerrymandered plan and we continue in 2012 with a Republican Legislature's gerrymandered plan,' Elias said."

Arguments begin over redistricting Florida's congressional districts [Times/Herald] "At issue is the congressional redistricting map passed by legislators in February and whether it respects the political and geographic boundaries, creates districts as compactly as possible, and properly protects the voting rights of minorities. A group of citizens, the Florida Democratic Party and the Fair Districts coalition have sued to invalidate the map. They allege it violates the new anti-gerrymandering standards imposed by voters in 2010."

Democrats, Coalition Ask Judge to Reject Congressional Redistricting Map [AP] "Lawyers for the Florida Democratic Party…alleged that lawmakers used a provision requiring them to protect minority voting rights as a pretext to violate other standards by intentionally favoring incumbents and Republicans and in some cases drawing 'grotesque' non-compact districts that fail to follow geographic and political boundaries."

BAD INK FOR ROMNEY (AND RUBIO) ROMNEY'S WOES [Tampa Bay Times] "Mitt Romney has accomplished something remarkable: After six years of running for president, millions spent on TV ads and copious debates, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee remains a stranger even to his supporters…But the focus group of voters in the battleground region hosting the GOP convention in 130 days underscored another finding in those polls: Many Republicans remain unenthusiastic about their likely nominee, who still has work to do today with his base."

Romney/Rubio? Not exactly a DREAM ticket [Miami Herald column] "More fundamentally, the notion that simply dangling a person with an Hispanic surname will negate the feeling among many Hispanics, based on the coarseness of the illegal-immigration debate, that one political party doesn’t much like them, is simplistic at best, insulting at worst. It would be like saying that adding Rep. Allen West to Romney’s ticket would win over African Americans"

Latinos are Deeply Divided over Marco Rubio [Fox News Latino] "He opposes immigration reform measures that would not first secure the border and more strictly enforce the laws already in place. He supports English as the country’s official language, and has praised Arizona’s controversial immigration enforcement law, which is scheduled to come before the U.S. Supreme Court on April 25."

Marco Rubio Stands By His Friend — But At What Cost? [ABC News] "What Rubio has not done – and recently told POLITICO he never will — is break his ties to David Rivera. Featured prominently in the non-partisan “Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington” 2011 “Most Corrupt” list, Rivera has been “under investigation by at least five different law enforcement agencies for a range of violations,” including payments he allegedly received in connection with the successful campaign (led, at times, by his mother’s consulting firm) to legalize slot machines at horse and dog-racing tracks."

AIN'T THAT PRECIOUS Elder Mack hits back at two newspapers, reporters [Tampa Tribune] "The Connie Mack IV Senate campaign is lashing out against the “liberal media,” singling out two newspapers and two reporters…And the campaign is rolling out its big gun for the attack: It’s in a letter from Mack’s father, former Sen. Connie Mack III, an elder statesman among Florida Republicans, to donors and supporters. The fracas follows comments by state Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater saying he is seriously considering jumping into the race. It also follows a weekend story by Caputo and Smith saying Republicans were disillusioned by Mack’s “lackluster” campaign."

Connie Mack Gets His Daddy to Yell at Mean Liberal Media Bullies [Miami News Times]
Connie Mack III doesn't like the way we cover Connie Mack IV [Miami Herald]
The Macks vs. the liberal media [Politico]
Connie Mack III joins Connie Mack IV’s feud with Miami Herald, Tampa Bay Tribune  [Orlando Sentinel]

SEE ALSO: Mack has missed dozens of votes due to political activity [Tallahassee Democrat] "Florida Rep. Connie Mack IV has missed nearly four of every 10 votes this year, a result of his Senate bid and his decision to stump for Mitt Romney in the state's Jan. 31 presidential primary."

MEANWHILE…Poll: Bill Nelson up double digits on GOP challengers [The Hill] "Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) is holding a steady lead over the Republicans vying for his seat, a poll released Wednesday showed."

ON THE CONGRESSIONAL FRONT — FITZ TO HOLD CALL ON BUCHANAN, RIVERA'S DIRTY LAUNDRY GET'S AIRED, DCCC BIG AD BUY TROUBLE FOR GOP

HAPPENING TODAY: Keith Fitzgerald to hold press call challenging ethically challenged Vern Buchanan to release tax returns. From the advisory: "Fitzgerald will challenge Vern Buchanan to release his 2011 tax returns.  According to the New York Times, Buchanan is reportedly under investigation by the IRS and has a history of failing to disclose his financial interests.  Recently, House Congressional Ethics investigators found there was a “substantial reason to believe” that Buchanan broke federal law by failing to report more than $14,000 in income over four years."

SOUTHERLAND UNDER FIRE: DAY 2 — SOUTHERLAND'S GONE WASHINGTON, FDP ASKS HAVE YOU SEEN THIS CONGRESSMAN WITH NEW FLYER

Rivera's dirty laundry is aired [Miami Herald] "For example, the FDLE found that Rivera, a Miami Republican, charged travel expenses to both his campaign accounts and his legislative office account — resulting in $29,500 in double-billing from 2006 to 2010, the records show. But prosecutors said they could not charge Rivera with felony theft, because state law says any charges based on false travel vouchers must only be misdemeanors — and must be prosecuted within two years of the offense."

RE: Rivera [AP] "'He’s still failing to raise money,' Florida Democratic Party Spokesman David Bergstein said in a statement. 'He still doesn’t have the support of the GOP. He’s still on the wrong side of the issues that matter to Florida’s middle class, and we’re still going to win FL-26.'"

Democratic House campaign’s big ad buy includes Tampa [Tampa Tribune] "Ehrlich spokeswoman Gwen Rocco called the news 'a serious signal that national Dems believe this is a race we can win.'”

Allen West on Communist Comments: I Have No Regrets [Huffington Post] "Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) said Tuesday that he doesn't have any regrets about saying last week that as many as 80 House Democrats are members of the Communist Party, an incident that drew harsh criticisms."


OTHER NEWS WE THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Students are shortchanged, pre-K to 12 [Florida Times Union LTE from Andy Ford, president, Florida Education Association] "But the governor wants you to forget about how he slashed funding for our public schools in his budget a year ago and how for the past five years schools have been asked to do much more with much less support."

Gov. Rick Scott veto hurts legal assistance program for poor [Miami Herald] “A $2 million veto by Gov. Rick Scott will mean fewer attorneys to represent low-income residents through foreclosure proceedings, domestic violence hearings and consumer fraud cases, legal aid officials and a top Democrat lamented Wednesday.”