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Wednesday, Sep 17, 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.

McLauchlan challenges Brandes to ‘debate,’ but they disagree on what that means

Published:   |   Updated: September 17, 2014 at 05:43 PM
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

The opposing campaigns for Senate District 22 (Tampa, St. Petersburg) seem to have different ideas on what constitutes a “debate.”

Democrat Judithanne McLauchlan on Wednesday released a letter she sent to GOP incumbent Jeff Brandes, challenging him to a series of three debates.

“Voters deserve to hear where Sen. Brandes and I stand on a number of issues affecting Pinellas and Hillsborough counties,” said McLauchlan, a political science professor at University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

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Crist: Morgan “not interested” in judgeship

Published:   |   Updated: September 17, 2014 at 04:34 PM
By William March

In the aftermath of an embarrassing video of Orlando superlawyer and medical marijuana backer John Morgan making an extempore, profane and apparently somewhat inebriated speech in a Polk County bar, Republican critics have tried to tie Morgan to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist.

They’ve suggested that Morgan, who’s also Crist’s employer, is backing Crist because he wants to get appointed to a judgeship if Crist wins.

“Possibly Florida’s next Supreme Court justice?” says a Republican Party video on the Morgan episode.

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Tallahassee PR firm drops suit against former client Eric Brody

Published:
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

A Tallahassee public-relations firm announced on its website it was dropping a $375,000 lawsuit against former client Eric Brody, a brain-damaged and paralyzed Broward County man.

Sachs Media Group “amicably resolved all outstanding issues” with Brody’s guardianship, the legal entity that represents his interests, the firm said Friday in a joint statement with the guardianship.

The firm said it did so “without receiving any payment for the services it provided over an extended period.”

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Voting purge protester sentenced for letters to Republicans

Published:   |   Updated: September 10, 2014 at 05:23 PM
By Elaine Silvestrini

When James Webb Baker Jr. read about Gov. Rick Scott’s efforts to purge voter registration roles of ineligible voters, he got mad.

To the Seattle engineer, Republican officials in Florida were trying to suppress turnout by Democrat-leaning Hispanic voters through letters sent by election officials questioning the recipients’ eligibility to vote.

So Baker created his own copycat letters and sent them to Republican Party donors in Florida, a violation of the law.

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Tallahassee’s Press Center no longer for sale

Published:
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

The Florida Press Center – the capital’s home-away-from-home for many of the state’s newspapers, wire services and television and radio stations – is no longer for sale.

The three-story building, owned by the Florida Press Association, was taken off the market last week after being listed for about a year, president and CEO Dean Ridings said.

“We did not want to be in the real estate (management) business anymore, but we also did not want to give the building away,” he said. “We weren’t interested in a fire sale.”

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Crist give Florida Dems $2.5 million

Published:
By William March

$2.5 million donation

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Democratic AG candidate Sheldon announces support from moderate Republicans

Published:   |   Updated: September 9, 2014 at 04:45 PM
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

George Sheldon, the Democratic candidate for attorney general, Tuesday announced the formation of a bipartisan panel supporting him.

Stressing that his supporters were “moderate Republicans,” Sheldon’s move places himself in the political middle as it tries to put incumbent Republican Pam Bondi in the right wing.

Sheldon said that Bondi’s recent television ad highlighted her efforts against prescription painkiller abuse, “but she couldn’t run an ad on her position on medical marijuana ... or marriage equality.”

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New Bondi ad focuses on her fight against drugs

Published:   |   Updated: September 8, 2014 at 04:26 PM
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

As a prosecutor, Pam Bondi saw crime and brutality fueled by drugs.

And that - pretty much word for word - is her opening salvo in a new television ad for her re-election as state attorney general.

Bondi, a former assistant state attorney in Hillborough County, stands in a dark alley as police lights flash in the background.

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Tampa Bay legal aid group gets $500K to help domestic violence victims

Published:   |   Updated: September 8, 2014 at 03:51 PM
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

Bay Area Legal Services will receive nearly $500,000 under the STOP Violence Against Women grants initiative, Congresswoman Kathy Castor announced on Monday.

The money will go toward “civil and criminal legal assistance for adult and youth victims of domestic violence, dating violence and sexual assault,” Castor said.

The grant came through a program created by the U.S. Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA.

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Mason-Dixon: Scott up 2 points

Published:
By William March

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