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Florida Democratic Party News Clips — March 1

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FDP CHAIR SMITH AND OBAMA SENIOR STRATEGIST AXELROD RALLY STUDENTS

Smith and Axelrod encourage students to get involved [Florida Alligator] "The chief strategist of President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign and the chairman of the Florida Democratic Party encouraged students to re-elect the president at a rally Wednesday night."

Chairman Rod Smith and David Axelrod  rally students to re-elect President Obama [Gainesville Sun] "Smith used the example of his father, a farmer who never graduated high school, to illustrate the desire of parents for their children to advance themselves through a college education. Axelrod echoed Smith's comments, saying that stances from the Republican candidates on issues like opposing the auto industry bailout are helping increase Obama's poll numbers."

LEARY AND SMITH GIVE US THE STATE OF THE GOP PRIMARY: 5 things we've learned in the Republican presidential primary campaign [Tampa Bay Times] "The struggle was another reminder that Romney suffers from an energy deficit among the Republican electorate. Exit polls show Santorum, who made a big push on social issues, captured voters who strongly identified as conservatives. A long battle can make a candidate stronger (witness the 2008 Democratic primary). In this case, though, it has only weakened Romney…Romney never built the strong grass roots network needed to pull waves of small dollar donations, instead relying on wealthy donors. And of his donors, 66 percent have reached the maximum $2,500 for the primary according to the Campaign Finance Institute compared with 18 percent for Santorum and 17 percent for Gingrich."

FLORIDA DEMOCRATIC PARTY FIGHTING FOR FAIR DISTRICTS IN COURT

Florida Democrats fight for Fair Districts in court [AP] "The Republican-controlled Legislature drew its redistricting plan 'in the dark' and the House and Senate maps should be sent back so lawmakers can try again after receiving some guidance from the Florida Supreme Court, a Democratic lawyer told the justices Wednesday…'The Legislature this time operated in the dark and necessarily didn't have your opinion,' Mills told the justices. 'Their interpretation may be interesting, but your interpretation is binding.'"

Justices hearing Florida redistricting arguments [Tampa Tribune] "The challengers argued that lawmakers continued to “pack” Democratic-leaning black voters into a small number of minority districts, which allows the GOP to win in surrounding districts."

Redistricting maps divide Supreme Court [Orlando Sentinel] "The net effect of the new maps is that while congressional and legislative districts become more compact…they also become slightly safer for both parties on average, according to an Orlando Sentinel analysis of voter-registration and voter-performance data.

Justices seek input on how to handle new redistricting rules [Miami Herald]  "Quince responded that if the court was simply required to rubber stamp the Legislature’s maps, 'what is the point of the Supreme Court review?...Since there are new standards, shouldn’t the court have an additional obligation here?'”


ROCKING THE VOTE: Florida voter restrictions challenged [Politico] "Florida will become the latest battleground in the national fight voter ID on Thursday, when a federal judge will hear a suit brought by Rock the Vote and other civic groups over new restrictions."

FLASHBACK: Fla Dems rally over 400 to protest GOP voter suppression law at "Our Voice, Our Vote" rally [FOX Tampa]


LEGISLATURE

Trouble at home? [Tampa Bay Times] "A week after the dust-up over the 2014 Senate presidency fight that provoked teeth-clenching anger and charges of betrayal within the normally subdued Repubican caucus, Senate Rules Chairman John Thrasher has sent out a "Decorum Memo" to his fellow colleagues.

As state universities brace for $300 million one-time cut, they're on their own with tuition [Tampa Bay Times] "Heading into Round 4 during an 8:30 a.m. meeting tomorrow, here's what the two chambers have agreed on so far: A $300 million one-time cut from the general revenue funds of the state's 11 universities."

Pushing through Tea when they should be improving the economy [Miami Herald] "HB 277 would require pregnant women to wait 24 hours before receiving an abortion, among many other things. Democrats grilled sponsor Rep. Rachel Burgin, R-Riverview, for close to an hour about her bill, questioning its restrictions on new abortion clinics, a requirement that physicians who perform the procedure undergo yearly ethics training, and making the state report demographic information about each abortion to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among other elements of the bill."

Bill barring wage-theft ordinances passes House [Sun Sentinel] "A controversial bill that would prevent municipalities and counties from enacting laws to protect workers from wage theft passed the Florida House on Wednesday. The bill was approved 77-38. HB 609 would kill a Miami-Dade ordinance to help low-income workers recover unpaid wages. Similar legislation is pending in the Senate."

Suing the Florida Republican Party is…Former Florida Republican Party Chairman

Greer lawsuits will be heard in Tallahassee, judge rules [Miami Herald] "Greer filed suit against the party and Senate President Mike Haridopolos and former party chairman Sen. John Thrasher, R-St Augustine, last year after the party refused to honor a 2009 agreement to pay Greer $124,000 severance to leave."

Sanford judge: I'm moving Greer v. Florida GOP to Tallahassee [Orlando Sentinel] "Greer, the state party's former chairman, alleges the party cheated him out of a $123,000 severance package, the deal he brokered when he stepped down in 2010, disgraced by an American Express spending scandal."