Political news

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.


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:

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF

Florida Democrats met in Tampa this weekend to elect delegates for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. The political column, The Buzz, characterized the gathering as “sad – given the state of the party in Florida these days.”

Yet, several of the more seasoned party leaders are optimistic about the upcoming elections.

“I think Democrats are going to have a lot of good young people who are going to be running for statewide and local offices. I’m encouraged. I’m an optimist,” former governor and former U.S. Senator Bob Graham said.

As both parties turn to the general election, and the potentially pivotal role of minority voters, battles over voter identification and other new state election laws are intensifying.

In Florida, a battle is heating up on several fronts over who will be allowed to vote in the upcoming primary and the November general election.

In Tallahassee, a federal judge has blocked state elections officials from enforcing tough restrictions on groups that conduct voter registration drives.

And in Washington, the Justice Department has sent a letter to Florida telling it to immediately halt efforts to purge from the voting rolls people suspected of being noncitizens.

Republican Mitt Romney is running on the strength of his business background. He says he knows how to fix the economy, in part because of his success at Bain Capital. But history is not necessarily on Romney's side. Very few businesspeople have made it to the White House.

The transition from business to politics isn't necessarily an easy one.

It's the sort of question you toss out to a table full of politics buffs — sharing a pitcher of cold beer. (We'll provide the aficionados; you imagine the table and the cold pitcher.)

Which presidential election in American history most resembles the coming election between President Obama and Mitt Romney — and why?

If you're meeting with the King of Spain, and he's just broken his hip in a fall during a controversial elephant hunting trip...do you bring it up?

Gov. Rick Scott not only brought it up -- he opened the conversation with it earlier this week.

"I've ridden elephants, I've never tried to shoot one," Scott said to the 74-year-old king.

"Oh," the king replied.

(Awkward silence.)

Florida Governor Rick Scott sparked some controversy this week in his meeting with the King of Spain in Madrid.

Scott was in Spain this week to drum up business for Florida.

Instead, he dug up an incident the King was trying to get behind him. 

Scott repeatedly asked King Juan Carlos about his recent -- and controversial -- elephant hunt in Botswana.

The 74-year-old king damaged his public standing by going on the expensive hunt while the rest of Spain faces a major financial crisis. He also injured his hip. 

Romney Deficit Claim "Half-True"

May 24, 2012

When he was in St. Petersburg May 16, Mitt Romney said that the national debt and "unfunded liabilities"  means every American household owes $520,000.

Standing in front of a big digital clock tallying up the ever increasing deficit, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee said the deficit isn't all we owe.

There are also unfunded liabilities, which he said  "means promises made by the federal government where there is no money behind it to pay it. "

Steve Newborn

Mitt Romney is in the midst of a campaign swing through Florida. Around noon, he appeared at a fundraiser at the upscale Avila development north of Tampa. Earlier this morning, he appeared before several hundred people at the Mirror Lake Lyceum in St. Petersburg. There, standing before a clock ticking up the amount of the national debt,  he went on the offensive against President Obama's economic policies.

CNN iReport

You might remember the Tampa vs. Miami Cuban Sandwich smack-down. Now, it’s a showdown between national political convention host cities.

CNN iReport is sponsoring the “City Smack Down” between Tampa, host city of the Republican National Convention, and Charlotte, N.C., host city of the Democratic National Convention.

Associated Press

Governor Rick Scott's chief of staff Steve MacNamara abruptly resigned on Saturday amid allegations of steering state contracts to friends and using state employees to help him apply for a job in Montana.

In an interview Monday with WUSF News, Gary Fineout with the Associated Press said, "we were in the middle of working on another story about MacNamara when he resigned" and suggested that more reports could be forthcoming.

Click ABOVE to hear the complete interview with WUSF's Carson Cooper.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott's chief of staff, Steve MacNamara, quit Saturday after a week of press reports of questionable dealings. Why now?

1. The Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times team broke the news of a no-bid deal he made when he worked in the Senate: "a $5.5 million contract with Spider Data Systems for a software platform," Mary Ellen Klas reports, that benefitted a friend.

Gas prices may be going down, but they’re still a huge issue in the U.S. Senate race in Florida -- and each side is making some questionable claims, according to PolitiFact.

Republican candidate Rep. Connie Mack recently said, "I have always said that I would be for drilling." But Angie Holan of PolitiFact Florida says that claim received the group’s worst possible rating: Pants on Fire.

The Washington Post is reporting that during the uproar a few years ago over the CIA’s use of waterboarding, Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., told the agency he “wanted to find out for himself how it felt.”

That's according to a new book by former CIA official Jose Rodriguez. Rodriguez offers a spirited defense of the CIA’s use of waterboarding in the book, written with former CIA spokesman Bill Harlow.