FLA DEMS WIN REDISTRICTING FIGHT — COURT REJECTS SENATE MAPS
Statement from FDP Chair Rod Smith: “Today’s ruling is a victory for the people of Florida. This ruling confirms what we had anticipated, that the Senate map violated Fair Districts. We applaud the court for stepping in to implement the will of the voters of Florida. We look forward to getting down to the business of drawing maps that comply with the expectations of the people, as expressed in these constitutional amendments.”
Dems Win Huge Victory As Senate Redistricting Plan Rejected by Court [Palm Beach Post] “‘Today’s ruling is a victory for the people of Florida.’ said Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith. ‘This ruling confirms what we had anticipated, that the Senate map violated Fair Districts.’”
NAN RICH ON REJECTION OF SUPREME COURT MAPS [TB TIMES] “‘The Supreme Court saw the same troubling issues of discrimination and favoritism as the Senate Democrats who voted against these maps, and which go against every fiber of the Constitution’s new anti-gerrymandering amendments overwhelmingly passed by the majority of Florida’s voters. I urge the Senate, as it returns in a special session to redraw the rejected maps, to carefully heed that will, and submit fairer maps as the voters demanded.’”
CHAIRMAN ROD SMITH SENDS LETTER TO GOV. RICK SCOTT: BUDGET IS AN "ASSAULT ON THE MIDDLE CLASS," URGES VETO
From the letter: "Even worse, while Floridians are recovering in these tough economic times, this Republican budget adopts an extreme Tea Party agenda, giving breaks to corporations ahead of protecting and strengthening the middle class. The GOP wasted critical hours this session focused on the wrong priorities. From wasting time trying to ram through legislation to restrict women’s health care, to attempting to privatize Florida prisons for the benefit of a large political contributor – these are just a glimpse into the myriad of ways the GOP avoided the job Floridians sent them to do: invest in Florida’s future and strengthen our economy."
CLIFF STEARNS FBI INVESTIGATION EXPANDING, ENSARING BOEHNER, LT. GOV. CARROLL, RPOF
THIS EXCUSE EXPIRES TODAY -- What does Gov. Rick Scott think of his Lt. Governor's name being handed over to the FBI? [Florida Times Union] "‘We’ll focus on PIP,’ he said when asked about it Thursday. He responded with the same line when asked a follow-up question about the issue… When asked for more information, Scott’s press office sent this statement:" ‘Right now Governor Scott is focused on passing accident fraud reform."
The Florida Times Union runs down the latest on the exploding scandal here.
Horne denies allegation he tried to bribe opponent of Stearns [Gainesville Sun] "Jett on Wednesday claimed that Horne and Orange Park businessman Jud Sapp, a prominent Republican Party fundraiser, had — with Stearns' knowledge — petitioned Jett to quit the race for the 3rd Congressional District and endorse the Ocala Republican. In return, Stearns and his backers would help secure a job in state or federal government for Jett or pay off Jett's campaign debts, Jett said. He said the FBI, which recorded conversations about the deal, was investigating the matter.Jett said he told investigators that Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll had confirmed the offers to his campaign consultant, Matt Justice, who then related them to Jett. On Thursday, Carroll, through her spokesman, declined to comment"
Clay Clerk to Congressman: man up and admit wrongdoing [WOKV]
Clay Clerk of Courts James Jett claims Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) is trying to buy him out [Washington Post]
Clay Clerk Accuses Stearns of Trying to Buy Him Out of Race [Huffington Post]
Republican Challenger Accuses Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) Of Trying To Bribe Him [ThinkProgress]
FBI investigating bribery allegations against Congressman Stearns, Boehner? [SharkTank]
Read James Jett notarized and signed "chronology of events" here.
BONUS, AMATEUR HOUR AT THE MACK CAMPAIGN: Senate candidate Connie Mack IV touts Stearns support & endorsement THE DAY AFTER the FBI investigation breaks
MORE POSITIVE ECONOMIC NEWS: U.S. Extends Its Run of Strong Job Growth Another Month [New York Times] "In yet another sign of a strengthening recovery, the United States added 227,000 net jobs in February, the third consecutive month of gains over 200,000. The unemployment rate was unchanged from 8.3 percent in January, the Labor Department reported Friday, as nearly a half million people who had been staying on the sidelines rejoined the search for work. The strong job growth numbers could bolster President Obama’s effort to make the case to voters that his economic policies are working."
OTHER NEWS WE THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW
Florida's voter suppression law taking it on chin in court [Bradenton Herald] "Words uttered a year ago could provide part of the justification for overturning the law, coming back to haunt state Sen. Mike Bennett. Back then, the Bradenton Republican stated during debate on the legislation, 'We do make it convenient for people to vote but I got to tell you I wouldn't even have any problem making it harder.'"
RESTORE ACT championed by Sen. Bill Nelson Passes [Sen. Bill Nelson] 'Today’s vote was a huge step toward making sure any fines against BP end up in the local communities harmed by the company’s oil spill,' Nelson said after passage of the Gulf of Mexico restoration amendment. 'Otherwise, the money would go into the federal treasury – and, there's no telling where it might go from there.'”
Demings gets a nod from DC Democrats [Orlando Sentinel] "Former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings, now a Democrat candidate for Congress, got a small shout-out from her party’s leaders today when her campaign was described as critical to Democratic efforts to regain control of the U.S. House."