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Florida Democratic Party News Clips — March 19

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GAETZ'S MAP: SECOND MAP WORSE THAN THE FIRST -- CONTINUES TO PROTECT INCUMBENTS, DRAWING FIRE FROM ALL SIDES

New Senate district map ticks off both parties [Times/Herald] "Democrats warned that the Senate’s second map is as flawed as the first one and chastised the exercise as a stalling tactic intended to avoid implementing the new Fair Districts standards. The map 'brings us no closer to complying with the court’s ruling and is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt by the GOP Senate leadership to stall the implementation of Fair Districts and cling to their gerrymandered power,'’ said Florida Democratic Party chairman Rod Smith in a statement. 'Not only have they thwarted the will of 63 percent of Florida voters, they are now thumbing their nose at Florida’s Supreme Court.'”

Proposed Fla. Senate redistricting map released [AP] "Gaetz' proposed revision, though, would continue to keep nearly all incumbents from running against each other and would maintain an overwhelming GOP majority, critics said."

Senate tries again with new map [Orlando Sentinel] "The first Senate map didn't pit a single incumbent lawmaker against another. And the new map released Saturday doesn't create many incumbent match-ups either."

Senate tries again on redistricting maps [Times/Herald]
New Senate redistricting plan unveiled [Gainesville Sun]
Rod Smith accuses Gaetz's of stalling by offering up another flawed map [Tampa Bay Times]
FDP Takes Quote of the Week[WCTV]

COURT STRIKES DOWN GOP STALLING TACTIC ON CONGRESSIONAL MAP Challenge of congressional maps won't be delayed [Times/Herald] "The state Democratic Party and a coalition of voter groups hoping to invalidate the boundaries of Florida's 27 congressional districts will be allowed to make their case during a trial next month."

RUBIO SLAMMED FOR RESTORE VOTE, "SELF-SERVING," "SHOCKING AND DISAPPOINTING" Rubio's misguided priorities [PNJ Editorial] "U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio's self-serving explanation of his vote against the RESTORE Act — he was the only U.S. senator on the Gulf Coast to do so — can't disguise how shocking and disappointing the vote was."

SOUTHERLAND IN TROUBLE Southerland's district takes a Democratic turn [News-Herald] "Redistricting in Northwest Florida has sliced thousands of Republicans from Congressional District 2, leaving some Democratic Party officials hopeful about the odds of recapturing the seat from U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland this year…'He’s too extreme for his district,' Bergstein continued. 'He was swept into office with the tea party and he’s voted against his constituency ever since.'”

GOP'S ASSAULT ON EDUCATION STILL GETTING BAD MARKS

A vital question [Gainesville Sun Editorial] "In the face of five straight years of state budget cuts — in which hundreds of millions of dollars of university funding have been lost — settling the question of who has tuition and fee authority grows more crucial with each passing year."
Polytechnic questions [Tribune Editorial] "The faculty have had their academic careers jeopardized and students have had their education plans disrupted solely because a manipulative politician had to have his way."
Education get's lackluster session [WFSU] "The education agenda took a backseat to more pressing issues."

OBAMA CAMPAIGN ON OFFENSE Obama campaign quietly revs up push to win Florida [Orlando Sentinel] "While Republican presidential candidates dig in for what has become a long, bitter fight for the GOP nomination, Barack Obama's re-election campaign is quietly trying to take control in Florida."

Biden To Visit South Florida Next Week [FLDemocracy]
Obama's re-election campaign focuses on women's health [Palm Beach Post]
Obama campaign touting positives of health care act [Tampa Tribune]

OTHER NEWS WE THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Lawsuits pile up after Legislature finishes its work [Times/Herald] "For the second consecutive year, the conservative agenda of Florida lawmakers and Gov. Rick Scott appears likely to be settled in a courtroom."

State get's low marks for ethics [Miami Herald] "The State Integrity Investigation report, conducted by a coalition of groups including the Center for Public Integrity, gave Florida a “C-“ grade for transparency, ranking the state 15th nationwide."

Gay Republican activist quits Miami-Dade GOP [Miami Herald] “With this, I am publicly renouncing any and all affiliation with the Republican Party. I am joining the fight against its politics, its messages, and its candidates. With this, I publicly commit my support to the Democratic Party and its candidates. And I specifically endorse the re-election of President Obama.  To do anything less is unconscionable.”