Florida politics

In year of Democratic hopes, GOP comes out on top in Florida

Nov 19, 2018
Wendy Whitt

This was the year Florida's Democrats spoke ambitiously of ending their 20-year journey in political exile in this battleground state. Instead, election results after a tense and bruising recount showed Republicans coming out on top for governor and even picking up a U.S. Senate seat.


The 2018 mid-term election is barely settled but longtime political watchers are already reading the tea-leaves for 2020. Noted Republican and Democratic  political strategists say the legal battles of this year are only a prelude for upcoming elections, with no sign of political divides healing anytime soon. 

Florida’s Senate President-elect Bill Galvano hosted members of the Capitol Press Corps Friday, fielding questions about the election, upcoming session and beyond.

Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

Counties across the Tampa Bay area are racing to meet the required Thursday 3 p.m. deadline to recount votes in three statewide elections.

Throughout the summer, politicians heard from Floridians angered by the latest bouts of toxic blue-green algae in the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers, along with a festering red-tide outbreak on the Gulf Coast.

Eillin Delapaz / WUSF Public Media

The push to get out the vote is in full force, as vote-by-mail ballots hit local post offices on Tuesday.

Florida's Democratic candidate for agriculture commissioner says a second bank has terminated her campaign account because she supports medical marijuana.

Daylina Miller/ Meredith Geddings / WUSF Public Media/FL House

Both of the candidates running for Florida governor, Andrew Gillum and Ron DeSantis, announced their lieutenant governor Thursday morning. 

We're only weeks away from the state’s primary election; Florida’s Stand Your Ground law is back in the news; and a new transportation initiative may be on its way to the November ballot. We talk about these issues and more on our monthly news roundtable.

Host Robin Sussingham talks to Steve Contorno, a reporter for the Tampa Bay Times; WUSF reporter Cathy Carter; and Janelle Irwin with the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Caribbean American Civic Movement

A small street festival outside Miami features booths adorned with Puerto Rican flags. A band plays salsa music as vendors offer specialties from the Caribbean island such as rice with pork and chickpeas. There's also a woman working her way through the crowd with a clipboard, her white T-shirt emblazoned with the words "Your vote, your voice, your future."

On this week's Florida Matters More podcast, host Robin Sussingham is joined by Zac Anderson of the Sarasota Herald Tribune; and WUSF's Steve Newborn. They discuss politicians who've shaken things up this year, like House Speaker Richard Corcoran and attorney John Morgan, plus what they consider the most under-reported stories of the year.

Be sure to subscribe to Florida Matters More, and get the view from the "other side of the mic" every week.

3 Candidates Qualify In House Race

Sep 29, 2017
Florida House of Representatives

Two Democrats and a Republican had qualified early Thursday afternoon to run in a special election to replace former state Rep. Alex Miller, a Sarasota Republican who recently resigned.

Carson Frame / WUSF News

Governor Rick Scott’s campaign to save the Visit Florida tourism marketing agency and Enterprise Florida’s business incentive program came to Tampa Monday. A House committee voted to eliminate both of the public-private partnerships last week.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

On the campaign trail in Florida, Donald Trump asserted that the presidential elections could be “rigged.” That’s a touchy subject for a state that was mired in controversy over the presidential ballot count in the 2000 election.

“Among all the offensive things he (Trump) said this week, that’s probably like number seven,” said Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in response to Trump's claim.

District 64 Residents Without Representation

Dec 16, 2014

Tuesday was the deadline for candidates to enter the House District 64 race for a special election. It means residents of this district won't have anyone looking out for their interests in Tallahassee during the upcoming legislative session. 

The previous incumbent, Republican James Grant, and write-in candidate Donald Mathews are running again to be House District 64’s next representative. Mathews was not eligible to run because he was not living inside the district at the time of qualifying. This district covers northwest Hillsborough and eastern Pinellas. 

 Craig Latimer, Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections said Tampa Engineer Miriam Steinberg, also a Republican, did not qualify this time for the race. 

Will Florida Ever Be a Battleground Again?

Nov 13, 2014

The state is inexorably becoming more diverse, with growing populations of blacks, Hispanics and Asians, and fewer and fewer of the aging whites who’ve buoyed Republican prospects in years past. If each racial and ethnic group votes the same way and turns out at the same rate as they did in 2012, according to a simulation by Patrick Oakford of the Center for American Progress, the Democrats’ margin would expand to 3.4 percent. "It doesn't mean Republicans will never win Florida,'' said Democratic political consultant Joe Trippi. "But it means it will become more and more of an uphill fight.''

What will the Florida Legislature look like with Republican Rick Scott or Democrat Charlie Crist as governor? A lot depends on whether Republicans not only retain control of the Legislature, but regain a super majority -- making their policy decisions veto-proof.

'Put the Middle Class First' Bus Stops in Tampa

Oct 23, 2014
M.S Butler

Charlie Crist's running mate for lieutenant governor, Annette Taddeo, joined the bus tour called "Put the Middle Class First" to Tampa today. She talked about issues such as raising the minimum wage, making college more affordable, and protecting Social Security and Medicare.

Taddeo joked about Gov. Rick Scott's  second debate performance and says she and Crist would start by making Medicaid expansion a priority for Florida's uninsured.

USF's Sunshine State Survey 2014 Results

Sep 12, 2014

USF's school of Public Affairs and Neilsen's annual Sunshine State Survey was released Thursday. The annual survey checks up on how Floridians feel about a variety issues.

USF Political Scientist Susan MacManus said Floridians believe unemployment is still the most important issue the state faces.

In the end, Mark Darr had to give in.

Darr, the Republican lieutenant governor of Arkansas, announced Friday that he will resign Feb 1. Earlier this month, he agreed to pay the state ethics commission $11,000 in fines for making personal use of campaign funds and receiving improper expense reimbursements from the state.

Darr called his errors "careless and lazy," but said they were not intentional violations of the law. In a series of interviews with Arkansas news outlets Tuesday, Darr said he would refuse to resign.

When it comes to things like the economy, taxes, health care and education, is it better to live in a red state or a blue state?

Some argue that red-state tendencies toward lower taxes and less regulated, more free-market systems make them ideal places to work and raise a family. But others counter that residents of blue states are wealthier, have more educational opportunities and benefit from a commitment to a social safety net.

Charlie Crist Not Welcome at Young's Funeral

Oct 22, 2013
Bill Branson / National Institute of Health

Though many politicians will be attending Congressman C.W. "Bill" Young's memorial service this Thursday, one in particular was told to stay away. Young's widow, Beverly, sent an e-mail to former Florida Governor Charlie Crist, telling him he is not welcome at the service.

Dr. Susan MacManus, political scientist at the University of South Florida, says her guess is Mrs. Young didn't want a spectacle that turned into a political event...

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Currently, there’s only one Florida Democrat actively campaigning for governor and she is accusing Republican Gov. Rick Scott of running the state like a dictator.

“The problem with his administration is that he believes he doesn’t have to talk to legislators,” former State Sen. Nan Rich said.

Watch as the south Florida Democrat tells Florida Matters her take on Scott and if she would cut taxes as governor.