HAPPENING TODAY AT 12:30PM: FDP CHAIR ROD SMITH TO HOLD PRESS CALL ON REDISTRICTING — contact David Bergstein at 850-222-3411 for call-in info.
Today, Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith will hold a press call to discuss the redistricting process underway in Florida and rebut recent claims made by Florida Republicans. The Florida Legislature reconvenes for a special session this week to take up redistricting, in the wake of a historic rejection by the Florida Supreme Court of the Senate’s proposed map. Chairman Smith will discuss the implication of the ruling, lay out the party’s commitment to leading the legal challenge moving forward and discuss the possible implications of last week’s ruling on the congressional map.
FDP Launches the "GOP Baggage Bracket" [Tampa Bay Times] "Florida Democrats have launched a new web page smacking Republicans they say are laden with baggage." Make your week one pick for which Republican has already accumulated the most Florida baggage here.
CONNIE MACK'S HANGOVER: BAD PRESS OVER BAR-BRAWLS AND HISTORY OF RECKLESS BEHAVIOR CONTINUES
Connie Mack IV’s history of violence [Salon] " LeMieux, trying to make conservative voters forget about his long association with hated ex-Republican ex-governor Charlie Crist, is fighting dirty, accusing Mack of awful things like not paying child support (false) and having a bizarre history of public brawling, leading on one occasion to his arrest. That one’s… true."
Connie Mack IV's early woes: Young and foolish, but he says a victim, too [Florida Times Union] “AP: Mack broke his ankle during the fight with Gant and later sued the baseball star and Calico Jack's, the now-closed Atlanta bar where the fight took place.”
See also: [CBS], [Washington Post], and [Miami Herald]
CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE EHRLICH EARNS “ON THE LIST” DESIGNATION FROM EMILY’S LIST [EMILY'S LIST] "Jessica Ehrlich, candidate for Florida’s new 13th Congressional district, today was placed “On the List” by EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics. Ehrlich announced her candidacy only two weeks ago and is already working to build a strong coalition around her campaign to represent Pinellas County in U.S. Congress."
STEARNS, UNDER INVESTIGATION BY THE FBI, PLAYS TO THE TEA PARTY
Stearns questions Obama birth certificate [News-Service of Florida] "Headed toward a contentious primary, U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., has raised questions about the legitimacy of President Obama’s birth certificate, The Hill reported."
Meanwhile…Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll forced to deny job offer to Clay Clerk of the Court…Let's see what the FBI Says… [Florida Times Union] "Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll denied being involved with offering a job to Clay Clerk of the Court James Jett, who has accused U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns of plotting to buy him out of the August Republican congressional primary…Jett said he gave Carroll's name to the FBI after she confirmed the job offer to his political consultant."
GOP'S BUDGET SLAMMED
A budget only special interests could love [Tampa Bay Times Editorial] "The $70 billion spending plan is a study in niche tax breaks financed on the backs of local governments, the courts, public schools, universities, hospitals and in-state retailers. With every legislative seat up for re-election this November, voters should take note…When the dust settled late Friday night, Republican leaders had restored just $844 million of last year's $1.35 billion cut to public schools. And due to enrollment growth, the additional cash will translate to just $150 more per student next year, far less than the $542 cut per student in the current school year. Just how far has Florida's commitment to public school students fallen in five years? About $750 per student."
Missed Opportunities [Miami Herald editorial] "What cripples Florida in attracting businesses is its struggling public education system — K-12 and colleges and universities. Accountability measures continue to improve quality but funding — despite $1 billion more this year to make up for $1.45 billion in cuts the previous year — continues to play catch-up."
In Tallahassee, Breaks for Business. Families? Not So Much [Florida Center for Investigative Reporting] "To fill a $2 billion budget hole, the legislators slashed higher education spending by $300 million, the Bright Futures scholarship program by $350 million and state worker pensions by $1 billion. They eliminated some 4,400 state jobs and cut hospital payments by hundreds of millions."
Tuition Battle: Students Target Scott [Capital News Service] "Florida college students are taking their fight against tuition increases to Governor Rick Scott."
OTHER NEWS WE THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW
Obama campaign dropping mailers in Florida to highlight health care law [Tampa Bay Times] "Starting this week, the DNC will send nearly 200,000 mail pieces (sample at left and in the jump of this blog) to women voters as outreach events are held across the state. On Wednesday, "Nurses for Obama" will kick off, using nurses to spread the word in their community. The week of March 26 will be dedicated as "Women's Week of Action."
Something to hide…Risky Rubio amassing massive research team [Politico] "Sen. Marco Rubio is furiously trying to regain control over a personal narrative and political image that have taken some hits lately."
DCCC Launches Website Chronicling Republican Scandals [Huffington Post] “The site's launch comes on the heels of allegations that several House Republicans have violated campaign finance laws. Federal officials are currently looking into allegations that Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), who serves as vice chairman of finance for the National Republican Congressional Committee, reimbursed employees for contributing $90,000 in illegal straw donations to his campaign as well as accusations that he failed to disclose relevant business positions at more than a dozen companies. ”