LISTEN LIVE

Politics

Political news

Professor says Florida's Voter Purge List is Flawed

Jul 3, 2012
Joe Skipper / Reuters

Most Florida counties are not complying with the state’s plan to remove possible non-citizens from the voter rolls. One political researcher at the University of Florida says the state is working from a flawed list.

Daniel Smith has testified in front of Congress about Florida’s voting laws. He runs a popular blog about election laws and practices. He says election supervisors are justified in defying the state.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott spent the weekend expressing his opposition to President Obama's Affordable Care Act.  He appeared on Fox News, CNN and CNBC.  He announced he will not expand Medicaid in the state or allow open health insurance "exchanges."

But PolitiFact Florida says Scott needs to recheck his facts:

Scott: Medicaid expansion will cost the State $1.9 billion a year.

PolitiFact Ruling: False

New polls show that President Obama's shift in deportation policy appears to have had the intended effect of boosting his support among Latino voters, many of whom have been adrift since 2008 and uninterested in the presidential election.

University of South Florida

With Election Day still four months away, the anger and elation felt in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Care Act may die down slightly by November. But if the economy is issue-1 on people's minds when they go to the polls, USF Political Science Professor Dr. Susan MacManus says healthcare reform will likely be issue-1a.

"Clearly the economy and jobs is still going to be preeminent," she said. "But what this ruling does do is to now interweave healthcare as a cost item and a job creation item into the debate. So in that way, it sort of joined the two issues."

Even in Washington, a city where hyperbole rules, it still seems difficult to overstate how big a win the Supreme Court's decision on President Obama's signature piece of domestic legislation is for the man in the Oval Office.

The Affordable Care Act is so identified with him, after all, that its opponents quickly dubbed it "Obamacare," a term supporters at first eschewed but later came to embrace.

Florida is a perennial battleground state in presidential elections. And within Florida, the area around Orlando is a battlefield where the terrain has changed radically.

It used to be a tossup. But four years ago, Barack Obama won in Orlando — or technically in Orange County — with 59 percent of the vote, a margin of almost 80,000 votes.

What happened in Orlando?

There were several things: The Democrats registered a lot of black voters. Obama ran well among independents. But the biggest difference was the number of new arrivals to the area.

In the land of legislative freshmen, sophomores can be kings.

That's a dynamic that will play out around much of the country after the fall elections. Come January, about half the nation's roughly 7,400 legislators will be totally new on the job or have only two years' experience, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Thousands lined up around the gymnasium at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa to see President Obama speak.

This was his second Florida stop of the day. The first was in Orlando this morning.

Those attending stood in line for hours in the heat. Perhaps surprisingly, there weren't too many complaints.

It was perhaps the highlight of his Tampa speech -- President Obama slammed GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney for being an "outsourcing pioneer."

Here's what Obama said:

We can reform our tax code in a way that’s fair and responsible, which by the way means, let’s stop giving tax breaks to businesses that ship jobs and factories overseas.

Let’s reward companies that create jobs in manufacturing right here in the United States of America.

Mr. Romney disagrees with this.

WUSF

Here are some excerpts from President Obama's prepared remarks at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, via the White House:

We’re going to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion.  I have a detailed plan that will cut spending we can’t afford, strengthen programs like Medicare for the long haul, and reform our tax code in a way that’s fair and responsible. 

My plan will stop giving tax breaks to businesses that ship jobs and factories overseas, and start rewarding companies that create jobs and manufacturing right here in the United States of America. 

Hispanic Voters Are More Diverse in Florida

Jun 21, 2012

In Florida, 13 percent of eligible voters are Hispanic. But not all Hispanics vote the same way.

This week, both Mitt Romney and President Obama are giving dueling speeches to Latino elected officials meeting in Orlando.

It's a sign of just how important the Hispanic vote is in swing states like Florida. But USF political science professor Susan MacManus says Hispanic voters in Florida are a diverse group.

A group called the 60 Plus Association is running an ad in Florida claiming Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson was the "deciding vote" for the health care law.

It turns out that group is using TV ads to call the votes of senators from a number of states the "deciding vote" on the health care law.

That's what PolitiFact Florida found out when they checked out the Florida ad.

Former U.S. Senator George LeMieux is throwing in the towel, he announced on his You Tube channel today.

It's not a complete surprise. He's been trailing badly in the polls since Rep. Connie Mack IV got into the race.

But in another way, it's a little unexpected, because LeMieux went after Mack with a series of controversial ads that painted him as an irresponsible playboy.

Romney on Rubio: He IS Being Vetted for V.P.

Jun 20, 2012

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Tuesday that his campaign is "thoroughly vetting" Marco Rubio as it searches for a running mate despite reports that the Florida senator is not being considered.

ABC News and The Washington Post cited unnamed advisers in reporting that Rubio, R-Fla., wasn't on the short list for the No. 2 spot on the GOP ticket.

DonkeyHotey

Republicans dominate the Florida Senate -- so much so, that many run unopposed.

But this year, more Democrats are challenging Republicans. The reason is a little-known loophole in campaign finance law.

State senate candidates typically raise hundreds of thousands of dollars.   And when they run unopposed, they can give that money to the state party to use on more competitive races.

But political consultant Peter Schorsch says Democrats have found a way to keep that money out of GOP coffers.

Free tickets to see President Obama at the Dale Mabry Campus of Hillsborough Community College are available for pickup today.

Tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis at these locations:

Steve Newborn / WUSF

When the attention of the political world turns to Tampa in August for the Republican National Convention, groups like Occupy Tampa say they'll be ready. They've been active for nearly a year, and are planning non-violent protests around the city.

On a recent Saturday night, about 20 people gathered in a circle to plan for the protests. They're at a postage-stamp sized park that's been the site for Occupy Tampa for many months now.

The sun has finally gone down after a blistering hot day. A young man starts to speak:

More than 15,000 protesters are expected to flood the city of Tampa in August for the Republican National Convention.

We asked three Tampa-area activists what they stand for and what they hope to accomplish:

saintpetersblog.com

Governor Scott wants to be among those who provide recorded greetings to passengers at Tampa International Airport, especially during this summer's Republican National Convention.

It is illegal under Florida law for state officials to accept gifts from lobbyists or organizations that hire lobbyists.

Free publicity is considered a gift for politicians.

But the Florida Commission on Ethics concluded that the messages can be considered a gift, but a gift with no value.

You know things are going badly when the person at the front of the room has to say, "This is not going well." The fireworks at Iowa's Republican State Convention began even before lunchtime Saturday. At one point during the day, the parliamentarian threatened to kick out the next person who tried to speak out of order.

If Saturday's convention is any indication, Mitt Romney may not be in for smooth sailing at this summer's national convention in Florida.

Mother Jones magazine is reporting In April, GOP congressional candidate Henry "Trey" Radel III landed in a cyberscandal dubbed "Domain-gate" when it was discovered that his campaign committee had purchased web addresses related to his GOP rivals and created sites slamming them.

Report: Gov. Scott was Purged from Voter Rolls in 2006

Jun 14, 2012

News Service of Florida is reporting that six years before he made national headlines, Gov. Rick Scott found himself being purged from voter rolls after local election officials thought he was dead.

Collier County election officials on Thursday confirmed that the governor was required to vote with a provisional ballot for the 2006 primary and general election after county officials mistook him for Richard E. Scott, who died in January 2006 and had the exact same birthday -- 12/1/1952 -- as Florida's 45th governor.

City of Tampa

About 200 mayors from across the country attended the Annual Conference of Mayors in Orlando this week. The conference invites mayors to seminars and forums ranging on topics from sustainable energy policies, to gun violence, to how to use social media to better a city.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn says this conference gives him a chance to share some quality time with other mayors.

Florida Government

Florida's Secretary of State is suing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for refusing access to a federal database containing information about citizenship.

The State of Florida wants to use the federal database to verify the citizenship of Florida voters and purge non-citizens who may be registered illegally. But, the federal government has said the SAVE (Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements Program) database is not comprehensive and lists mostly green-card holders and naturalized citizens.

Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor says she's ready for the Republican National Convention.

That doesn't mean she is underestimating what a huge security challenge this is.

"I knew from doing my research that this was probably going to be the biggest event that I would be involved in, in my law enforcement career," Castor said in an interview with WUSF's Florida Matters.

MyFloridaHouse.gov

Almost nobody in Florida knows who Nan Rich is...and she'd trounce Gov. Rick Scott if she ran against him.

That's the conclusion of a PPP poll that also says Scott is less popular than the polarizing Miami Heat star LeBron James.

By the way, Nan Rich is minority leader of the Florida Senate, and she's announced her intention to run for governor in 2014.

Purple Strategies

Mitt Romney has taken the lead in Florida and Ohio according to  a new poll of swing states from Purple Strategies. A Sayfie Review exclusive shows Romney with 49 percent vs. Obama with 45 percent among Florida voters.

But, President Barack Obama still leads overall  by 2 percent in the Purple Poll. That's down from the April Purple Strategies survey.

One of the state's largest voter education groups has decided to once again start registering new voters. This comes on the heels of a judge's decision to overturn part of Florida's new voter registration law.

Last week, a Federal district court judge ordered the state to stop enforcing new restrictions on registering voters.

Provided to WUSF News

The Sarasota City Commission narrowed its search for a new City Manager to five finalists today during a commission Meeting at City Hall.  The finalists will be invited to Sarasota later this month for on-site interviews with the City Commission, citizens panel and various department heads. 

The finalists are:

Pages