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Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014

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, The St. Petersburg Tribune and the Tribune/Scripps Capital Bureau.

State pension fund posts stronger than expected earnings

Published:   |   Updated: August 19, 2014 at 04:59 PM
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

The state’s pension fund beat expectations last fiscal year, earning a 17.4 percent return on investments and ending 2013-14 with a market value of $149.1 billion, the State Board of Administration announced Tuesday.

That return was stronger than the previous fiscal year’s 13 percent return in 2012-13.

All of the fund’s investments paid off last year, the board’s press release said. That resulted in a $16.7 billion reserve, even after paying out $5.9 billion in benefits last year.

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Fla. spent more than $2.46 million on governor’s, other security

Published:
By The Associated Press

(AP) — Florida taxpayers spent more than $2.46 million to provide security for Gov. Rick Scott as well as governors from other states.

A report released Friday showed the state spent that much on security July 2013-June 2014.

That’s slightly lower than the previous fiscal year when Florida provided extra security during the Republican National Convention held in Tampa.

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Cohn says Ross not representing Hillsborough

Published:
By William March

Alan Cohn, underdog Democratic candidate challenging Republican U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, blasted Ross at a Tampa Tiger Bay Club meeting Friday for being “part of the group that is responsible for the political paralysis in Washington,” and for not having an adequate presence in Hillsborough County.

Cohn, who lives in New Tampa on the western side of Ross’s District 15, noted that Ross has no office in Hillsborough County even though 60 percent of the registered voters in the district live in Hillsborough -- 249,260 of 418,817 registered voters, according to the state Division of Elections.

Ross lives in Lakeland on the eastern side of the district.

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Sheldon stays on the ballot for Fla. AG, judge rules

Published:
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

George Sheldon can remain on the ballot as a Democratic candidate for attorney general, a Tallahassee judge ruled Friday.

Sheldon’s Florida residency had been challenged because he lived and worked in Washington, D.C., for two years as an Obama administration official. He owns a home in Tallahassee.

After a two-hour hearing, Chief Circuit Judge Charles Francis decided Sheldon’s professional sojourn out of state didn’t disqualify him for holding office if elected.

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This one probably won’t decide the race, but ...

Published:   |   Updated: August 15, 2014 at 05:21 PM
By William March

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AG candidate Sheldon set to defend residency challenge on Friday

Published:
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

The argument has a ring of quantum physics to it, where a subatomic particle can be in two places at the same time.

George Sheldon, Democratic candidate for attorney general, says he was a Florida resident who at the same time enjoyed a “nonresident” exception from having to take required Bar classes, according to court documents.

Sheldon is facing a suit to knock him off the ballot; a Tallahassee judge will hear the case Friday. The primary election is Aug. 26, less than two weeks away.

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Sheldon ad embraces medical marijuana; Jeb Bush opposes it

Published:
By William March

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Gov. Scott approves new map of congressional districts

Published:
The News Service of Florida

Gov. Rick Scott has signed a new congressional redistricting plan, which passed during a special legislative session that ended Monday.

Scott approved the bill (SB 2A) on Wednesday, two days after lawmakers passed the measure on a nearly party-line vote.

Legislators redrew the map after a judge ruled that the existing District 5, represented by Democratic Congresswoman Corrine Brown, and District 10, represented by Republican Congressman Dan Webster, were crafted to help the GOP.

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Jeb Bush to join Gov. Scott on campaign trail

Published:   |   Updated: August 13, 2014 at 06:17 PM
The News Service of Florida

Former Gov. Jeb Bush, a popular figure among Florida Republicans and a potential presidential candidate in 2016, will join Gov. Rick Scott on the campaign trail Friday.

The two will appear in Homestead, according to Scott’s campaign. Few details about the appearance were immediately available.

“They will be visiting a business to highlight proposals to keep Florida working,” Scott campaign spokeswoman Jackie Schutz said in an email Wednesday.

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Democrats hold voter edge in larger Fla. counties, GOP elsewhere

Published:
By TBO.com staff

The News Service of Florida reports: Democrats hold a voter-registration edge in each of Florida’s seven most-populated counties, but Republicans have an advantage in many mid-sized counties, according to newly released voter-registration numbers.

Registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Hillsborough, Orange, Duval and Pinellas counties.

The largest margin for Democrats is in Broward, a longtime stronghold, where there are 540,249 registered Democrats and 234,693 registered Republicans.

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