Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

Kendrick Meek Top Recipient of Tobacco Dollars

Florida Rep. Kendrick Meek has been raking in the tobacco dollars, according to The Center for Responsive Politics.  Meek, the presumed Democratic frontrunner in the race to fill the seat of retiring US Senator Mel Martinez, has raised over $30,000 from tobacco interests.  Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader hailing from Kentucky, is the second highest recipient.  No other Floridians make the top 15.

It should come as no surprise that Meek has long had a reputation as a man who enjoys a good cigar.  He is, in fact, featured in this month’s Cigar Aficionado.

Filed under: Florida, Florida Politics, , , ,

Florida’s US Senators Now Have Earmarks on Web

Mel Martinez and Bill Nelson, Florida’s two US Senators, have now updated their websites to include any earmark requests they are seeking.  Nelson’s list can be found here and Martinez’s can be found here.  Nelson has also taken the additional step of listing his military requests separately.  They can be viewed here.  Opening up the earmark process is something just about everyone agreed was long overdue.  The US House went live last month.  Ander Crenshaw’s can be found here and Corrine Brown’s can be found here.

Filed under: Florida, Florida Politics, , , ,

Politicians on Twitter = B-O-R-I-N-G

Great column by Beth Reinhard in the Miami Herald – sharing how politicians on Twitter spell “booooring” in 140 letters.  For example, I’m sure we all wanted to know such facts like it takes Marco Rubio’s wife forever to blowdry her hair.

I joined Twitter this week. Does that make me a twit? (Please don’t answer that.)

This is not why I got into journalism. Spewing online quips limited to 140 letters isn’t the crusade for truth and justice I once envisioned.

But as a lucky survivor in the struggling media biz, I wanted to see what the cool kids were doing. Surprisingly, I learned a lot about Florida’s political twittering class.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Florida, Florida Politics, , , , , , , , ,

Marco Rubio Running for Senate

We’ve sort of known all along, but the official announcement is out. Last night, former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio (R-Miami) told Univision that he was running for the Republican nomination to succeed Mel Martinez in the US Senate. He is expected to make a formal announcement today via his website.

Of course, Rubio’s news sets up a titanic clash between he and Gov. Charlie Crist, who is also expected to announce as early as today, for the Republican nomination.

Filed under: Florida, Florida Politics, , ,

First Commercial against Crist U.S. Senate Run

With a hat tip to Postonpolitics.com:

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has made a preemptive strike in the race for Mel Martinez’s U.S. Senate seat by releasing a commercial criticizing Charlie Crist for considering a Senate run.

Filed under: Florida, Florida Politics, , , ,

Charlie, We Hardly Knew Ye

According to most political observers, and as evidenced by movement on the St. Pete Times Crist-O-Meter, it appears as if Charlie Crist is content to leave Tallahassee after only one term.  This is highly unusual for any Governor, but the Times cites rather apparent signs that Crist intends to run for the US Senate seat being vacated by Mel Martinez (R).

  • The Governor told State Senator Al Lawson (a candidate for Congress) that he would “see him in Washington”—an unusual statement seeing as they have no Washington trips planned together.
  • The State GOP Party continues to downsize, a sign that they realize competing with the Crist Senate fundraising machine may be a challenge.
  • Ag Commissioner Charlie Bronson has now stated he is interested in the Governor’s race.

Now, the question becomes, Can Charlie Crist win the GOP Senate Primary?

Filed under: Florida, Florida Politics, , , ,

Rubio Might Challenge Crist

It looks as if former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio (R-Miami) isn’t all that impressed by the supposed political powerhouse that is Charlie Crist.  Rubio has already staked out major differences with Crist that would make him [Rubio] more attractive the conservative wing of the Republican Party, particularly on the issue of gambling.  Now, “a source close to Rubio” says he may challenge Crist for the GOP nomination for the US Senate seat being vacated by Mel Martinez (R).  (Rubio may have been encouraged by the overwhelming boos that greeted Charlie Crist at a recent Miami Heat game.)

Former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio is considering running for the Senate whether or not Gov. Charlie Crist ultimately decides to run, according to a source familiar with his thinking.

Rubio, who previously said he would run for governor if Crist jumped in the Senate race, has shifted his thinking since the governor made some decisions that have been met with anger from the party’s conservative base.

What is particularly funny about this speculation is that the “source close to Rubio” is quite obviously Rubio himself.  After all, as soon as the article came out, Rubio Twittered it on his Twitter account.


Filed under: Florida, Florida Politics, , ,

Charlie Crist is Movin’ On Up

The speculation continues to grow about the political future of Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.  I have long maintained that, based on his short-term governing strategy, he appeared to be preparing for a run for the seat of retiring US Senator Mel Martinez.  (In other words, Charlie is Movin’ On Up.)  It seems that others around the state are beginning to share those thoughts, including the St. Pete Times.

[T]he Crist-O-Meter got a nudge toward the senate thanks to the state Republican Party.

The Florida GOP suddenly last week launched a series of e-mails attacking Democratic Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, over her questioning of a no-bid contract awarded by Attorney General Bill McCollum and over Sink talking about investing public money in toxic assets. State GOP Chairman Jim Greer may or may not know Crist’s plans, but he certainly seems to have decided it’s wise to start softening up the Democrats’ strongest contender for an open gubernatorial seat.

Filed under: Florida, Florida Politics, , , , ,

Mack vs. Geithner – Round 2

US Congressman Connie “Milquetoast” Mack has been mad at Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner for a while over Geithner’s handling of the bailout.  Yesterday began round two of their public fight.  In a press statement released by his own office, Connie Mack expressed his outrage and demanded that Geithner either resign or be fired for his handling of the bailout situation.  A press statement to force someone’s resignation?  Really?  That most likely means only one thing – Mack is gearing up for a run at Martinez’ US Senate seat.

Filed under: Florida, Florida Politics, , , , , ,

The New Media & North Florida Politicians

There was a fascinating article in today’s Miami Herald discussing how so many politicians are embracing social networking sites as a method of establishing communication with certain voter demographics that they might not otherwise interact with.  Much of this has been a result of the amazingly successful campaign of Barack Obama, which truly set the standard for interfacing social networking and political campaigns.  Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) is cited for her embrace of YouTube, and Florida Senator Mel Martinez (R) is interviewed about his newfound love of Twittering.  (Of course, I must mention…if you really want to follow a humorous elected Twitterer, follow Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO)—she’s a college basketball nut who Twitters about everything!)

So, where are North Florida politicians in this media revolution?  

Five of Jacksonville’s Nineteen City Council Members have a profile on Facebook.  Of those, only one appears to use it to engage in political discussion.  Two of the City’s Constitutional Officers have Facebook profiles, but neither appear to use it to promote their office or campaign.  The Mayor has no presence on Facebook—hardly surprising considering he doesn’t even have a published e-mail address on the City’s website.

Only one member of the Jacksonville City Council can be found on Twitter, which truly begs the question: “How is it that a Senator from Missouri can Twitter with her constituents, but a Jacksonville City Council member cannot?” Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Florida, Florida Politics, Jacksonville, Jacksonville City Council, Mayor of Jacksonville, , , , , , , , , , , ,

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