THE GOP'S BIG, BIG PROBLEM Immigration stance keeps Hispanics sour on Romney [Palm Beach Post] "The Republican Party's attempt to woo Hispanic voters this election year has so far been a rough ride. And last week that journey hit another speed bump…452,619 were registered as Republicans and 564,513 Democrats."
Florida battleground features full slate of competitive House, Senate races [The Hill] "A growing Hispanic population, dissatisfaction with Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Romney’s problems with the GOP base — could all push voters toward Democratic candidates."
Younger Cuban-American voters shift away from the GOP and toward an independent outlook [Tampa Bay Times] "Overall GOP support among Cuban-Americans has dropped by nearly 20 percent in since 2000…While Cubans enjoy protected status under U.S. law, Moreno said, they are no less sensitive to the debate: 'At some point Republicans sound not anti-immigration but anti-Hispanic.' When they register to vote, Hispanics are turning to the Democratic Party or to no-party-affiliation, a sign the GOP's hard-line stance is turning them off."
RUBIO "NOT BEING SERIOUSLY CONSIDERED" Mitt Romney's mantra: Avoid John McCain's mistakes [Politico] "Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who is not being as seriously considered as popularly believed because aides don’t see him as experienced enough or appropriately vetted."
Sen. Marco Rubio's claim on student loan bill is false [Politifact] "Rubio's statement gives the impression that all kinds of mom-and-pop operations might be subject to new, additional taxes, when actually the bill is aimed squarely at high-income professionals. The bill's intent was to close a loophole on people who were avoiding payroll taxes, taxes that they're supposed to be paying anyway. We rate Rubio's statement False."
FL SEN: MACK'S CAMPAIGN "ROCKY AT BEST" Senate race in Fla. off to a slow start [Washington Post] "But Mack’s introduction to the world of statewide politics has been rocky at best and has had national Republicans fretting that the road to the Senate majority will have to wind through states other than Florida. For one thing, there’s Mack’s colorful past, which has unspooled since he entered the race in November. "
Is Mack Campaign Getting Desperate? [Political Press] "Which makes you wonder if desperation is beginning to set in for the Mack campaign, as it continues to struggle with the basics, like penning a credible press release, in its thus far fruitless effort to put this race away."
ON THE CONGRESSIONAL FRONT — WEST IN TROUBLE, LOSER OF THE WEEK Patrick Murphy says he's tied with Allen West in race for Congress [Palm Beach Post] "Regardless of whether you believe Democrat Patrick Murphy's poll that says he's tied with Republican U.S. Rep. Allen West, there's no disputing the underlying competitiveness of the new Palm Beach-Treasure Coast District 18 congressional seat that emerged in this year's redistricting."
Runner up loser of the week: Vern Buchanan [Tampa Bay Times] "Congressional ethics investigators report that Buchanan appears to have tried to get a former business partner to lie to investigators looking into allegations of illegal campaign fundraising activity."
REARRANGING DECK CHAIRS ON THE TITANIC A necessary exit for Steve MacNamara, the governor's chief of staff [Tampa Bay Times editorial] "As usual, MacNamara had an excuse and denied any suggestion of impropriety…But Scott campaigned as an outsider with a new approach to government. There was nothing new about the way his chief of staff dismissed critics and helped friends."
Gov. Rick Scott’s embattled chief of staff resigns [Times/Herald]
Gov. Scott's top aide resigns in wake of disclosures [AP]
Scott chief of staff MacNamara resigns, cites media attention [Orlando Sentinel]
Steve MacNamara: Five Reasons He Had to Quit [WFSU]
Gov. Rick Scott’s chief of staff draws ethics complaint [Times/Herald]
OTHER NEWS WE THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW
Mayor Alvin Brown winner of the week [Tampa Bay Times] "The mayor of Jacksonville last week vetoed his City Council's plan to spend $750,000 on new furniture for a new county courthouse. The old furniture is fine, said the mayor, who is expected to be overridden by the council. Still, it sounds like Brown is the one with his finger on public sentiment in these tough times."
One more insult to teachers [Tampa Bay Times column] "Clearly, our conservative lawmakers who dominate Tallahassee are not cheerleaders for our public schools. They are busy devising new ways to redirect public funding to for-profit institutions by, among other tactics, lowering per-pupil spending and strapping local districts with unfunded mandates."
In Florida, Registering Voters A Whole New Game [NPR] "As the general election campaigns ramp up, that may begin to change. President Obama's re-election campaign has 27 field offices throughout Florida where it's training volunteers on the new voter registration requirements. The campaign says it's beginning an active voter outreach effort that it will carry through Election Day. Florida's Republican Party is gearing up for a similar effort."
Florida's legacy of misdirected reapportionment [Ocala Star Banner editorial] "The battle over redistricting legislative seats in Florida has once again resolved itself in a way that limits the voice of many Floridians. Republicans have drawn House and Senate districts with the goal of maintaining their super majorities in both houses and appear to have been successful in doing so."
Hispanics, NPAs more likely to face noncitizen voter purge than whites, GOP [Miami Herald] "Hispanic, Democratic and independent-minded voters are the most likely to be targeted in a state hunt to remove thousands of noncitizens from Florida’s voting rolls, a Miami Herald computer analysis of elections records has found."