Florida Five: Rubio, Allen West beat DWS, Crist shows signs of falling apart again

Five of today’s top Florida political stories at your fingertips:

Battle lines intensify in marijuana debate: The battle over medical marijuana in Florida officially lit up Tuesday when a state sheriff’s association launched an “education” campaign to oppose it, two polls show the proposal remains widely popular, and an out-of-state casino magnate cut a $2.5 million check bankrolling the opposition effort.The $2.5 million contribution by Sheldon Adelson, owner of the Las Vegas Sands casino empire and a heavy contributor to Gov. Rick Scott’s re-election effort, not only juices the anti-marijuana movement, it effectively brings the medical marijuana debate into the governor’s race.The largest proponent of the amendment so far has been John Morgan, the Orlando trial lawyer and chief supporter of Scott’s Democratic rival, Charlie Crist. Read more.

Allen West on Obama resigningMarco Rubio, Allen West beat Debbie Wasserman Schultz in new poll: Despite being the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), a new poll shows U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., in poor shape if she runs for the U.S. Senate in 2016. Read more.

China-chinned Charlie Crist shows signs of falling apart again: Crist and his team can’t be happy about a poll released on Tuesday from Democrat pollster PPP. Not only is Crist tied with Rick Scott but his poll numbers are awful. Almost half of voters — 48 percent — see Crist as unfavorable and less than a third — 32 percent — view Crist as favorable. Crist’s numbers are below where Scott’s are. Scott’s strategy for the first half of the year seems to be working. Granted, Scott’s numbers are bad, but Crist’s are worse. Scott’s team seemed determined to go to work on Crist from the start, hitting him early and often. It works. Polls throughout 2013 showed Crist in great shape with the voters and easily besting Scott. But things have changed considerably. Read more.

campaign cashRick Scott, Charlie Crist keep the campaign cash flowing: The arms race continues between Rick Scott and Charlie Crist. Crist, trying to win back the governor’s mansion as a Democrat after a midlife political conversion, raised more than $2 million in cash in May for his campaign and a closely aligned political committee, newly filed records show.Scott, trying to win a second term and keep Republicans in total control of state government, brought in about $1.16 million in cash for his campaign and the sister “Let’s Get to Work” committee. But the state Republican Party, which is expected to play a huge role in Scott’s campaign, said it collected $3.54 million during the month. Read more.

Teachers challenge ruling on evaluation lawsuit: The Florida Education Association is appealing a federal judge’s dismissal of a lawsuit led in part by Alachua County teachers challenging the state’s teacher evaluation process.The lawsuit was filed last year by the FEA, the National Education Association and seven teachers and teachers unions in Alachua, Escambia and Hernando counties.It’s challenged the state’s method of evaluating more than half of its teachers in part by the test scores of students or subjects they don’t teach. Read more.

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