Florida Five: Feds go deeper into shadow candidate scheme, Obamacare enrollment plummets in Fla

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

Joe Garcia
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo

Feds intensify investigation on Rep. Joe Garcia’s former campaign manager: Federal prosecutors are intensifying their criminal investigation of U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia’s former campaign manager and chief of staff who’s suspected of helping fund a phony tea-party candidate to siphon votes from a Republican rival in 2010. Prosecutors and a grand jury have issued at least four subpoenas in the case — two this year — and at least one witness has testified that Jeffrey Garcia was behind the alleged scheme to secretly prop up the shadow candidate, a former friend and business partner named Roly Arrojo. Read more

Obamacare enrollment plummeting: GOP lawmakers demand real numbers: Obamacare might be turning into a liberal’s worst nightmare. Florida, once a hotbed for signups on the health insurance exchange, is letting the president down. The Department of Health and Human Services boasted that 983,775 Floridians had enrolled as of May, but that number has since taken a nosedive. Insurance companies now say only 762,723 are enrolled – representing a 25 percent drop from original figures, according to the South Florida Business Journal. Read more

Rick Scott beats Charlie Crist on ethics, catches him on empathy: This week’s Tampa Bay Times poll contained plenty of bad news for Charlie Crist, outside of trailing Rick Scott, revealing why the Democrat simply isn’t living up to expectations as the general election season gets into full swing. Crist started his campaign with Florida voters seeing him as charming, charismatic and as somebody who cares about everyday people. Scott and his allies have been pelting Crist for months in attack ads running across Florida. But these attacks wouldn’t have had much impact if they were baseless. Read more

Many voters still unsure about medical marijuana amendment: Though early polling showed overwhelming support for medical marijuana in Florida, a new Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9/UF Bob Graham Center poll indicates that many likely voters are still unsure about a constitutional amendment that would allow it. “It’s not the slam dunk that previous polls suggested,’’ said Dr. Christopher McCarty, director of the UF Survey Research Center and director of the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research. “There are still a lot of people who don’t know about it, haven’t thought about it or haven’t made up their minds.’’ Read more

Latvala raises concerns over school voucher lawsuitSen. Jack Latvala, of Clearwater, isn’t the first Republican lawmaker to disagree with the union-backed lawsuit challenging the school voucher programBut he may be among the first offering to work with union leaders on the issue. On Wednesday, Latvala sent a letter to Florida Education Association President Andy Ford expressing his concerns about the legal challenge. “If the Tax Credit Scholarship Program were to be eliminated, there are nearly 70,000 students who now stand to receive scholarships under the program who would be deprived of their opportunityRead more

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