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Florida Democratic Party News Clips — April 23

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ATWATER OUT — GOP NERVOUSNESS, 2012 STARTING TO LOOK LIKE 2006 Looking beyond Connie Mack and U.S. Senate race [Miami Herald] "Jeff Atwater’s just-ended flirtation with a U.S. Senate bid speaks volumes about the nervousness of Florida Republicans these days…but the drama is about more than just Mack or the Senate race. It’s about a Republican Party grappling with ebbing fortunes compared to the red-wave of an election year in 2010. It’s about a movement nagged by a sense of perpetual disappointment that stretches to the top of the ticket."

ALERT: KATHERINE HARRIS ANALOGY CFO Jeff Atwater announces he will not run for U.S. Senate [Tampa Bay Times] "To us at the Buzz, running for Senate seemed like a no-lose, no-brainer for Atwater where, at worst, he would ramp up his statewide profile without risking his CFO seat. That two Republicans who participated in our latest Florida Insider Poll likened the Connie Mack campaign to Katherine Harris' in 2006 points to the skepticism about Mack's strength."

The truth about Senate candidate Connie Mack's gas price claims [Tampa Tribune editorial] "Is Mack really willing to risk oil and tar mat spills on Florida's spectacular beaches — the very basis of our coastal tourism economy" 

FDP CONDEMNS GOV. SCOTT'S CREATION OF JD-U, GOP EDUCATION POLICY SLAMMED IN THE PRESS

FDP condemns Scott's creation of JD-U [Tampa Bay Times] "As the state's other universities are about to see their coffers drained by hundreds of millions of dollars, Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed a bill creating Florida Polytechnic…The Florida Democratic Party called the move 'an appalling and wasteful power play by the Republicans in Tallahassee.' 'The people of Florida didn't ask for this university,' said party spokeswoman Brannon Jordan, 'they don't need it and can't afford it.'"

Scott's hollow education commitment [Times Editorial] "Gov. Rick Scott's commitment to cost-efficient government is as phony as his pledge to produce more math and engineering students. If the governor were sincere in those pursuits, he would have vetoed an expensive new university and endorsed a modest $2 million investment in a proven program to teach algebra to middle school students. Instead, the governor signed into law late Friday the creation of Florida Polytechnic University, just three days after vetoing the money to expand the innovative digital math effort. It adds up to just another calculating politician who says one thing and does another."

Giant tuition hike for students isn't the answer [Times Editorial] "Florida's retreat on investing in public higher education is now crystal clear: For the first time, students at the University of South Florida and other public universities are expected to pay more than half the cost of their education due to shrinking state support."

Gov. Scott's Actions on Education Does Not Match Bold Claims [Lakeland Ledger Column] "Gov. Rick Scott played a shell game in front of our kids last week. He insulted Floridians when he maked theater out of signing a budget that he claims restores funding to public education, when in fact the $1 billion for education does no such thing."

Creation of Florida Poly shows need to remove politics from state education system [Tampa Bay Times column] "One of my newest friends works for the Chronicle of Higher Education and I asked her how much the magazine has written about Florida's university system. She assured me it covers our universities, and now with Gov. Rick Scott foolishly hastening the creation of Florida Polytechnic, it has new material."

ON THE CONGRESSIONAL FRONT — NEW DETAILS OF RIVERA'S PERSONAL SCANDALS COMING TO LIGHT, FITZ WINS THE WEEK

INVESTIGATION OVER, BUT NEW DETAILS OF RIVERA'S PERSONAL & FINANCIAL SCANDALS EXPOSEDUnraveling Rep. David Rivera’s maze of campaign finances [Miami Herald] "In a memo wrapping up their case, Miami-Dade prosecutors said Rivera 'essentially live[d] off' campaign contributions for almost a decade while serving as a part-time state lawmaker, paying mortgages on four different properties and jetting around the globe though he never held a full-time job or earned more than $28,000 a year."

Rep. David Rivera Lived off His Campaign Accounts [Eye on Miami] "Read the article, there is plenty more! It is important to point out his roommate for a few years was Senator Marco Rubio. Like he didn't know what Rivera was up to."

Winner of the Week: Keith Fitzgerald [Tampa Bay Times]  The former state representative from Florida is looking increasingly like a serious challenger to U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan. The DCCC has reserved $2.5-million in TV time in the Tampa market and in the first quarter of the year Fitzgerald actually raised more money than Buchanan - $291,000 to $234,000."

Fitzgerald challenges Buchanan to make 2011 federal income tax return public [Bradenton Herald] "Keith Fitzgerald, Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, published his 2011 federal income tax return to his website Thursday and challenged incumbent Vern Buchanan to do the same."

Oh to be a fly on the wall at this event -- Southerland hangs out with West [Politico] "The group at the event, which is attended by donors, operatives and some opinion-makers, will include West, Rep. Bob Turner - the Queens congressman who replaced Anthony Weiner and is now running for Senate in New York - Raul Labrador, Joe Walsh, Jim Jordan, Ann Marie Buerkle, Victy Hartzler and Steve Southerland."

OTHER NEWS WE THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Marco Rubio working to distance himself from Ryan-Romney budget [St. Peters Blog] "As the Romney VP search process moves forward, it is likely that Rubio’s strong position against Medicare and Social Security will bear a greater weight than ever before on his political marketability."

Vice President Joe Biden visiting Everglades today [Sun Sentinel] "Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit the Everglades on Monday and tour a portion of Everglades National Park, according to the White House."

Good ol' days voting law undermines democracy [Orlando Sentinel Editorial] "Indeed, a recent New York Times analysis of registration data — while not providing undeniable connection — suggests Florida's regressive "reforms" have left behind many voters. Since May, when the law kicked in, nearly 82,000 fewer voters have registered, compared with the same stretch during the 2008 presidential campaign."