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Monday, Aug 03, 2015

Fresh Squeezed

A Florida Politics Blog

Made fresh, never frozen, here's the juice on local and state politics from the staff of The Tampa Tribune and The St. Petersburg Tribune.

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Joyner to Jeb Bush: “Acknowledge your mistakes and unequivocally apologize”

Published:
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

The state Senate’s top Democrat is chiding former governor and current presidential candidate Jeb Bush over his voting-rights record.

In a one-page letter that cites legislation and Scripture, state Sen. Arthenia Joyner of Tampa called Bush out on voter-roll purges and cutting early voting, among other things.

“If you are indeed sincere about being inclusive, then you need to first acknowledge your mistakes and unequivocally apologize directly to the community you wronged,” she wrote on Thursday.

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State Senate districts next to be redrawn in third special session of year

Published:   |   Updated: July 28, 2015 at 04:17 PM
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

A lawsuit over the boundaries of Florida’s state Senate maps was settled Tuesday, with lawmakers agreeing to go into an Oct. 19-Nov. 6 special session – the third one of this year – to redraw the political maps.

What comes out of that 18-day meeting could reshape the Tampa Bay area’s political landscape.

Three local Senate districts, among others, were called unconstitutional gerrymandering by the plaintiffs in the now three-year-old suit, brought by the League of Women Voters of Florida and Common Cause.

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Dueling letters show blackjack battle heating up

Published:
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

The battle over blackjack between the state and the Seminole Tribe got a little hotter after dueling demand letters on Monday.

The state’s top gambling regulator sent a letter to Tribal Chairman James Billie, asking when the Seminoles were closing down blackjack tables at their Florida casinos.

After all, Ken Lawson wrote, the two sovereigns have “enjoy(ed) an unprecedented amount of cooperation ... and good will.”

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Mason-Dixon poll: No clear favorite in U.S. Senate race

Published:
Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster in Naples

There is no clear favorite in either the Democratic or Republican primaries to fill an open U.S. Senate seat, according to a Mason-Dixon poll released Monday.

According to a poll of 500 registered Republicans, U.S. Rep. David Jolly (Tampa Bay area) would be the choice for 16 percent of respondents; ten percent of people said they would favor Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera.

U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis (northeast Florida) was the choice for 9 percent, while Rep. Jeff Miller (Panhandle) was the choice for 8 percent. Todd Wilcox (political newcomer) was favored by 2 percent.

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Seminole Tribe edges toward federal lawsuit over blackjack rights

Published:
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

The state of Florida and the Seminole Tribe are one step closer to squaring off in a federal courtroom over the tribe’s right to continue offering blackjack at its casinos.

Those casinos include the Seminole Casino Hotel in Immokalee and the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa, which alone generates more than $1 billion yearly for the tribe.

An agreement to give the Seminoles exclusive rights to blackjack and other banked card games expires next Friday, and renewal talks went nowhere earlier this year.

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Former Lt. Gov. agrees to $1,000 fine to resolve ethics case

Published:
The Associated Press

Florida’s ethics panel and former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll have reached a deal over allegations that she broke the state’s ethics law.

The Florida Commission on Ethics unanimously approved the deal Friday with no comment.

Carroll, a Republican, did not attend the meeting.

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Jeb Bush scales the heights of ‘Mount Tallahassee’

Published:
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

Presidential contender Jeb Bush jokingly refers to the state capital as “Mount Tallahassee,” but on Monday the mountain came to him.

Bush, Florida’s governor from 1999-2007, preached to a roomful of political faithful about 200 strong at Florida State University’s conference center.

He kicked off what his campaign is calling a series of domestic policy speeches about how he will change the culture of what he calls “Mount Washington,” over which his father and brother presided for roughly half of the last quarter-century when they were president.

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Fla. Lt. Gov. will run for Rubio’s Senate seat

Published:
Staff and wire report

Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera is jumping in the race for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Marco Rubio, who is running for president.

The 41-year-old Miami Republican made his official announcement in a YouTube video ahead of an appearance in South Florida.

“The most important job I’ll ever have is as a husband to my wonderful wife Renee and as a father to our two beautiful girls,” he said in the announcement video. “As a family, we’ve decided that I’m running for the U.S. Senate, so your kids and mine, can continue to live in the kind of country that gave my family the blessings of liberty and freedom that only America offers.”

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Special from TCPalm: Will firebrand opponent change Murphy’s message?

Published:
Isadora Rangel in Stuart

U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy has walked a political tightrope between being a Democrat and a Republican, but a progressive rabble-rouser who’s challenging him in the Senate primary could upset his balance.

Touting his bipartisanship is a strategy that so far has worked well for Murphy, a Republican-turned-Democrat who’s won twice in the GOP-leaning but independent-voting congressional District 18.

The question is, which Patrick Murphy will show up on the campaign trail — the progressive or the moderate — now that outspoken liberal U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson will give him his first serious primary challenge since 2012.

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Fla. Supreme Court orders state’s congressional districts be redrawn

Published:
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday ordered that boundaries of eight of the state’s congressional districts be redrawn, saying a recent redistricting process was “tainted by unconstitutional intent to favor the Republican Party and incumbents.”

The decision actually went further than a trial court’s ruling, ordering that local districts held by Republican David Jolly and Democrat Kathy Castor now be reconfigured “to avoid crossing Tampa Bay.”

The 5-2 ruling, written by Justice Barbara Pariente, said that lawmakers don’t have to redo the entire map, but acknowledged that “adjacent districts affected by the reconfiguration ... must also be redrawn.”

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