Former Congressman David Jolly, who ran against Obamacare in 2013, said in an interview Monday night that he now considers it a "safety net."
Jolly lost his seat in November to Democrat Charlie Crist and was suddenly unemployed with a pre-existing condition. "If I had to rely on it, I knew it was there," Jolly said of Obamacare on MSNBC. "And that's why the politics of Obamacare in 2017 are different than 2013. I lost my doctor and I lost my plan in 2013 and I was angry about Obamacare ..."
Access Democracy wants to improve voter participation and how elections are run
A new group run by two lawyers and veteran Democratic operatives specializing in voter protection efforts is launching a pilot program in Florida, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania to work with local elections officials to improve the voting process. Access Democracy, run by Obama's 2012 Florida Voter Protection Director Hannah Fried and Alexis Prieur L'Heureux, wants to help identify problems using specific data and partner with election officials to tackle problems such as long lines as well as support supervisor of elections candidates who want to improve access to voting.
The left-leaning advocacy group, FloridaStrong, released a web ad on Monday criticizing House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, and his successor, Rep. Jose Oliva, R-Miami, for attending a Koch retreat over the weekend.
Corcoran and Oliva "talk a big game when it comes to enacting transparency and accountability around how taxpayers are spent...until it comes to the Koch Brothers and their reckless corporate agenda that directly hurts Floridians' quality of life."
WASHINGTON - Seven Florida Republican House members are calling for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to recuse herself from the upcoming deliberation on the travel ban, asserting she has shown "bias" towards President Donald Trump.
“Your public criticism of Donald Trump during the campaign included statements such as ‘I can’t imagine what this place would be - I can’t imagine what the country would be - with Donald Trump as our president’ You referred to Donald Trump as ‘a faker.’ When asked about the possibility of Donald Trump winning the presidency, you responded, ‘I don’t want to think about that possibility, but if it should be, then everything is up for grabs.’ ”
Nearly 60 House members signed the letter, including Florida Reps. Ron DeSantis, Neal Dunn, Daniel Webster, Ted Yoho, John Rutherford, Bill Posey and Francis Rooney.
"As an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court," it reads, "you are required to recuse yourself in cases in which your ‘impartiality might reasonably be questioned’ and where you have a ‘a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party.’ ” …
Rick Scott appoints Jimmy Patronis (background) as CFO
Gov. Rick Scott on Monday appointed a long-time friend and political supporter, Jimmy Patronis, to replace Jeff Atwater as Florida's next chief financial officer, making him one of three members of the Cabinet that sets state policy on a wide range of issues. He'll take over Friday.
Scott made the announcement before a crowd of about 100 family friends and local business and political leaders at Captain Anderson's, a prominent local seafood restaurant run by the Patronis family that's marking its 50th anniversary this year.
"He's somebody I've known for a long time," said Scott, who recalled that Patronis was an early supporter in the spring of 2010 when most people gave Scott had "no shot" of getting elected governor. "One thing about Jimmy, whatever he tells you he's going to do, he's going to do. There's no question. He's not going to waver. He's not going to play games. He's a direct, honest person."
With his wife Katie and their two young sons alongside, Patronis choked up several times as he faced TV cameras. He called Scott "my friend and my mentor" and said the governor's record of improving Florida's economy has been "revolutionary." …
Former Senate President Don Gaetz joined the growing list of Republicans commending Public Service Commissioner Jimmy Patronis, whom the governor appointed today as the state's next Chief Financial Officer, replacing Jeff Atwater who is resigning to work in academia.
"He would be eminently qualified,'' Gaetz said Friday, reached after a fishing trip in Canada. He noted that he has known Patronis 10 years, that his son, Matt, was positioned to run against him in the state Senate seat Gaetz was vacating and that he sees Patronis' skills as a restaurant owner and manager helpful to being the man in charge of overseeing one of the state's most important agencies.
"He spent his entire life working and expanding and managing one of Florida's most successful small businesses,'' Gaetz said. "It's a very complex and very successful business. Jimmy has been pivotal in the expansion and success of the business." …
A Democratic district doesn’t seem like ideal territory for a conservative blogger but Javier Manjarres of the Shark Tank says he’s “exploring” a challenge to Rep. Ted Deutch of Boca Raton.
“It was clear that after the historic 2016 elections, Americans rejected the agenda and policies of the outgoing Obama Administration that they believe were threatening the American way of life,” Manjarres said Sunday on his website.
Detuch crushed his Republican opponent, Andrea McGee, in 2016.
Manjarres thinks he'd have a better shot, though it's unclear how he would play in the liberal district. His past could also be an issue.
Sens. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, and Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, were among the highest-ranking local lawmakers on the Florida Society of News Editors' "Sunshine Scoreboard."
In a new ranking of their voting records on open-government issues, the Florida Society of News Editors has bad news for state lawmakers.
Most of them don’t score very well.
The group, made up of three dozen Florida news organizations including the Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald, published a scorecard this weekend based on a review of how all 160 members of the Florida Legislature voted during the spring session.
In Tampa Bay, the FSNE analysis found, half of the 26 officials were deserving of a D grade, nine earned a C and four earned a B. There were no Fs among local officials and no A’s statewide.
The scorecard is based on how lawmakers voted on a list of priorities provided by the First Amendment Foundation, which is supported largely by newspapers and broadcast stations. A vote in line with the foundation earned points, while a vote against the foundation lost points. And sponsoring or co-sponsoring legislation put more points on the line.
Then state Rep. Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City Beach, left, and Gov. Rick Scott, tour downtown Panama City, Fla. on Tuesday, April 19, 2011. Scott will name Patronis CFO on Monday.
From the AP's Gary Fineout:
Florida Gov. Rick Scott is turning to a long-time political ally and former north Florida legislator to take over one of the top elected jobs in state government.
Scott on Monday will announce he's appointing Republican Jimmy Patronis to replace Jeff Atwater as chief financial officer. Atwater, who was first elected to the post in 2010, is resigning from the job before his term is over to become a vice president at Florida Atlantic University. Patronis, who helped his family run a well-known restaurant in Panama City, currently sits on the state panel that regulates utilities. He was a member of the Florida Legislature for eight years before Scott appointed him to the Public Service Commission.
"As a small business owner, Jimmy has been a successful job creator and has helped grow Panama City's economy," Scott said in a statement Sunday. "I know that he will bring his wealth of private sector experience with him to Tallahassee." …
Senate Budget Chief Jack Latvala did not hold back when asked in a local Miami TV interview Sunday about his potential Republican rivals in the 2018 governor's race.
Would Latvala, a Clearwater senator who has yet to declare a bid, make a better governor than Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who has?
"Oh, absolutely," Latvala told WFOR-CBS 4's Jim DeFede on "Facing South Florida." "Because I've actually made a payroll. I've actually paid workers comp claims. I've been in business all these years, while Adam has been in elected office since he was 22 years old."
What about House Speaker Richard Corcoran of Land O'Lakes, another possible contender?
"Richard is a trial lawyer at heart," Latvala declared. "That's his background: He's a lawyer with a law firm that lobbies now. I don't knonw how much he actually works and practices law. He's basically a government animal as well."
Latvala, who said he'll make a decision about whether to run in August, pitched himself as a practical alternative. …
Florida Speaker Richard Corcoran, left, and his successor, Rep. Jose Oliva of Miami, attended a three-day retreat hosted by the conservative Koch network.
In a potential run for governor, House Speaker Richard Corcoran has criticized special interests while claiming state government officials like him are more representative of Florida residents than officials in local governments.
This weekend, Corcoran was 1,880 miles away from Florida attending a three-day conference hosted by the Koch brothers' conservative network. Along with his successor as House Speaker, Rep. Jose Oliva and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, Corcoran was one of the few elected officials invited to mingle with hundreds of the nation's top conservative donors.
The event was held in Colorado Springs at the super-duper exclusive (and not very populist seeming) five-star Broadmoor resort in the Rocky Mountains, where rooms fetch between $500 to $1,000 per night.
In an interview with the Buzz following a Tampa campaign appearance Saturday, his first on the subject, Gillum hinted at political motives behind early problems for his campaign, which include the investigation.
At the same time, however, Gillum said he wasn’t accusing the FBI of any political motivation, and said, “It’s the FBI’s job to get to the bottom of exactly what’s gone on. If something illegal or untoward has occurred I’m going to do everything I can to assist them in bringing resolution to that situation.”
Gillum also proclaimed his innocence of any wrongdoing, and said the Tallahassee FBI field office approved a statement he released Friday saying he is not a target or subject of the investigation.
A federal grand jury has subpoenaed records from the city and a local community redevelopment agency concerning Tallahassee development projects and a developer who is a political ally of Gillum. …
Allison Tant. Remember the glory days of the Florida Democratic Party when Tant ran the show from 2013 through 2016? Okay, so the former party chairwoman may not have notched a lot of victories as party leader, but at least she didn't use racial language in a dumb argument with legislators like her successor, Stephen Bittel.
Loser of the week
Andrew Gillum. A pending FBI investigation into a development deal involving Tallahassee City Hall. A still-open Leon County Sheriff's Office investigation into Mayor Gillum's email practices. It may turn out there is no fire, but there sure is a lot of smoke threatening to cripple Gillum's campaign for governor.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has switched sides in pursuit of the Miami Marlins, and he’s trying to beat out former teammate Derek Jeter.
Bush has joined forces with businessman Tagg Romney in a group trying to buy the Marlins, two people familiar with the negotiations said Friday. The people confirmed Bush’s new role to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the parties involved in the sales talks aren’t commenting publicly.
One of the people said South Florida businessman Jorge Mas has contacted the Marlins to say he’s leading a group interested in buying the franchise, meaning at least three groups are pursuing a deal.
Bush and Jeter, the 14-time New York Yankees All-Star shortstop, led rival groups earlier this year. They then joined forces, but Bush dropped out in May.
Now they’re rivals again, and Jeter is still exploring financing options.
The Romney-Bush group also includes Quogue Capital investment fund founder Wayne Rothbaum, Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Glavine and former Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart. …
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About the blog
For Florida political news today, the Buzz is your can't-miss-it source. Tampa Bay Times writers offer the latest in Florida politics, the Florida Legislature and the Rick Scott administration. Keep in mind: This is a public forum sponsored and maintained by the Tampa Bay Times. When you post comments here, what you say becomes public and could appear in the newspaper. You are not engaging in private communication with candidates or Times staffers.