Leading the Day – Florida Republicans Breath Collective Sigh of Relief ( for now ) as former Chair admits to ONLY Four Counts of Grand Theft
Bracketing Rubio — FL senior to join DNC Call TODAY at 1:30 PM ET re: the truth behind Rubio’s failed record with middle-class Floridians
Will Rubio Stance on Domestic Violence Law Hurt GOP Fence-mending with Women? [Palm Beach Post, 2/8/13] “Senate debate on the measure Thursday highlighted the partisan divide on one key issue — granting tribal authority over non-Indians in domestic abuse cases — despite widespread support for reenacting the law. The vote, expected early next week, could also prove a trial for Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, dubbed ‘The Republican Savior’ on the cover of Time magazine and tapped to deliver the party’s response to President Barack Obama’s state of the union address next week. . . But Rubio voted against bringing the bill up for a vote, one of just eight senators to do so. He also voted against reauthorization last year, citing concerns raised by the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence over money in the bill set aside for sexual assault programs.”
Rick Scott’s Continued Reinvention
Tea Party Trouble Ahead for Florida Republicans [Orlando Sentinel, 2/10/13] “The romance between Florida Republicans and various tea-party groups, which reached its zenith when Gov. Rick Scott unveiled his first state budget to a tea-party crowd in 2011, has clearly cooled. And tea-party activists are feeling left out — if not spurned. The past seven months have not been kind to the movement that once was seen as a fresh base of ideas and volunteers for Republicans.”
OUCH. Scott’s Economic-development Efforts More Words than Deeds [Orlando Sentinel, 2/10/13] “One of Gov. Rick Scott’s central selling points to economically rattled voters in 2010 was his direct line to Corporate America. He promised to cut corporate taxes, make Florida’s business climate the best in the country and sell the turnaround job in executive suites around the world… But when it comes to evaluating whether Scott’s policies have been a catalyst in Florida’s economic turnaround, the evidence is thin. So far, his efforts have focused more on words than deeds.”
Greer Today, Gone Tomorrow…Or is he?
Greer Pleads Guilty to Four Counts of Theft, Money Laundering [Orlando Sentinel, 2/11/13] “Ousted former Florida GOP chairman Jim Greer this morning abruptly ended what was expected to be a painful unraveling of state party secrets by entering a surprise plea to criminal charges. He pleaded guilty to four counts of theft and money laundering. The state dropped the fraud count. The sentence has not yet been announced. His guilty pleas could result in a total sentence of 35 years in prison. No word yet on whether there’s an agreement on time he’s to serve. That will play out at a March 27 sentencing hearing. Greer is being sent home.”
THE TRIAL IS GONE BUT THE BAD HEADLINES REMAIN…
Florida Republicans Brace for a Fraud Trial, and an Airing of Old Grudges [New York Times, 2/9/13] “The surroundings are far from opulent and the cocktails will have to wait, but as political events go, this one is expected to draw a who’s who of present and past Florida political notables: a former governor, a former State House speaker and a former State Senate president are all expected to drop by, and the current State House speaker, too.”
Details of Bahamas Frolic Could Emerge in Jim Greer Trial [Tampa Bay Times, 2/11/13] “The gathering five years ago has gained a life of its own in the criminal case against former Florida GOP chairman Jim Greer, who has been charged with money laundering and grand theft for allegedly diverting about $200,000 in party funds to a corporation he created. The trip itself isn’t tied to Greer’s legal problems, but details of the weekend could surface in testimony at his trial, which begins with jury selection today in Orlando, or remain secret, depending on which lawyers win out.”
The Hits Keep Coming from the RPOF
Republican Pioneer Doc Dockery Switches Parties [Tampa Bay Times, 2/10/13] “But it says a lot about the evolution of the GOP that today Dockery is registered under ‘no party affiliation’ and no longer feels comfortable or especially welcome in the party he helped build. He’s hardly alone in thinking the party has lost its way. ‘Look at what happened in the presidential primary. It was embarrassing. … It was very difficult to sit there and think this is my party… ‘And this thing about 47 percent? We want to exclude 47 percent of the people who are citizens and eligible to vote in this country? (Mitt) Romney was representing much of the thought of the Republican Party when he said that, and I don’t think that way,’ said Dockery, who changed his party registration about two years ago… ‘I saw us becoming more and more of a closed party and people accusing others of being RINOs (Republicans in Name Only). When I was very active in Polk County Republican politics, we had what (Ronald) Reagan would call a big tent. Hell, we’re down to a teepee now. Folks aren’t welcome unless they can pass a litmus test on a lot of issues. That’s got to change if the Republican Party ever hopes to win another presidential election.'”
Florida Democrats in the Headlines
Grayson Returns Emboldened [Roll Call, 2/10/13] “They got rid of me for two years, but now I’m back,” Florida Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson said with a wide grin. To clarify, the Alan Grayson — the insult-dishing, left-wing lightning rod, cable TV mainstay — is back. Grayson lost re-election in the GOP wave of 2010, in a district no Democrat had won for 34 years before him. In 2012, Grayson was elected in a different district — one drawn to safely elect a Democrat. He won by 25 points, making him no longer an enticing target for the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Rick Kriseman Takes on Bill Foster for St. Petersburg Mayor [Tampa Bay Times, 2/11/13] After teetering on the idea since 2009, Rick Kriseman will challenge Mayor Bill Foster in this year’s election. The former City Council member and state representative plans to formally announce his candidacy today at City Hall.
Frankel to Bring Mother of Newtown Victim as Guest to State of the Union [Palm Beach Post, 2/11/13] Freshman U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, will bring the mother of a 7-year-old killed in the Newtown massacre to Tuesday night’s State of the Union as her guest. Frankel’s office announced that Lynn McDonnell, whose daughter Grace was among the 20 children and six staff killed by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December, will attend President Barack Obama‘s speech as Frankel’s guest. McDonnell’s husband will attend as the guest of U.S. Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod, D-Calif.