Florida Five: Obama-Crist bromance in trouble, Sheriffs back Rick Scott

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

Forty sheriffs, five of them Democrats, endorse Scott: Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign announced endorsements Tuesday from 40 sheriffs, including four from Tampa Bay. The list included five Democratic sheriffs: Susan Benton of Highlands, Jeff Hardy of Putnam, Gordon Smith of Bradford, Steve Whidden of Hendry and Stuart Whiddon of Glades. Those are small, conservative counties where sheriffs have a lot of clout. Voter turnout percentages in off-year elections typically are higher in small counties. Read more

crist-obamaIs the President Obama/Charlie Crist Bromance Fading?: We all remember the hug seen around the world. Republicans talked about it incessantly. Now Charlie Crist can’t stop talking about it, especially wherever there are African-American voters. President Barack Obama has become Charlie’s “go-to” topic when he can’t answer a question of any substance. Once a critic of the Affordable Care Act and President Obama, Charlie Crist has become his biggest cheerleader when trying to get Democratic votes. The man who went on record saying Sarah Palin was a more effective leader than President Obama is now singing the president’s praises for votes, but is that Obama connection fading? Read more

Former sheriff’s hard drive destroyed with hammer: The way it’s going, government hard drives might be the next protected class under federal law. U.S. Internal Revenue Service hard drives containing two years of emails from and to Lois Lerner, the senior tax official at the heart of the alleged political targeting of conservative nonprofits, have been “recycled” and the contents destroyed. So have six of her colleagues’ hard drives. A U.S. House oversight committee is investigating. Hard drive shenanigans aren’t just a federal issue. A Broward County Sheriff’s Office internal affairs audit has revealed information contained on outgoing Sheriff Al Lamberti’s hard drive was lost after his subordinates destroyed it with a hammer. Read more

All Aboard Florida scales back initial run: All Aboard Florida’s promised Miami-to-Orlando passenger rail service will initially run only between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, with trains rolling in late 2016, officials plan to announce today. The company plans to start building its downtown Fort Lauderdale station and double-tracking its South Florida segment late this summer as it works out the logistics of building the rest of the line to Orlando. Designs for the $30 million station — north of Broward Boulevard near Northwest Second Street –show a sleek modern steel and glass structure with a waiting area above the tracks and a bridge connecting passengers to a multistory lobby west of the tracks for ticketing, luggage handing and a lounge. Read more

Florida forced to stagger timing of payments: Florida is being forced to stagger payments to schools and health care providers because of limits with its 30-year old computer-based accounting system. State officials took the drastic actions because the current system can’t pay out $1 billion or more in a single 24-hour period. The state was forced to delay payments twice in June because it had gone over the daily limit. Last week the Department of Financial Services, the agency that handles the accounting system, asked all state agencies to alert them ahead of time if they want to make a payment of $5 million or more. Read more

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