Florida Five: Pot backers plot strategy, What’s in store for 2016?

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

Medical marijuana neon sign
Photo credit: Mysuncoast.com

Medical marijuana backers plot strategy after loss – Medical marijuana supporters in Florida are vowing to push forward after losing at the ballot box. A day after Amendment 2 narrowly failed, its chief backer said Wednesday that he would lobby state lawmakers to take up the issue, or attempt to get it back on the ballot in 2016. Orlando trial attorney John Morgan said he thinks Republicans’ fear of the initiative reappearing during a presidential election may sway lawmakers to revisit the issue in Tallahassee next session. Read more

Governor Scott’s win in Florida provides lessons for 2016 – Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s re-election on Tuesday once again demonstrated the Republican Party’s dominance in statewide elections, having won five successive gubernatorial races. Presidential elections are another matter. Twice over the last six years Florida voted for U.S. President Barack Obama, and political observers warned against reading too much into the Republican Party’s win on Tuesday when looking ahead to the 2016 presidential elections. A major national prize, Florida trails only California and Texas in electoral votes. Unlike those states, solidly Democratic and Republican, respectively, Florida is decidedly up for grabs. In the last 10 presidential contests, the state has voted for the winning candidate nine times, nearly evenly split between Republican and Democratic hopefuls. Read more

Republican turnout, wave overwhelmed Crist – The Democratic plan meant to get Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s gubernatorial seat for the next four years failed on Tuesday evening. Those plans fell apart, as a robust ground game from Republicans, Scott’s massive financial edge and the GOP wave that swept the nation propelled Scott to a second term by a narrow margin. Unofficial results showed Scott carrying about 48.2 percent of the vote, with Crist picking up almost 47.1 percent. By the day after the election, Crist’s allies were saying what many Democrats across the country were saying: Given Obama’s unpopularity and voters’ sour mood, the former Republican Crist never stood much of a chance. Read more

Florida official: Expect even more to vote early in ’16 – About half of the people who voted in Tuesday’s general election cast ballots before Election Day, and Secretary of State Ken Detzner expects to see more Floridians voting early in 2016. Detzner told reporters that county supervisors of election need to be prepared for an increased number of early voters during the presidential contest in two years. He said a meeting planned for early December in Orlando with county supervisors will include talks on early-voting locations and hours “so that people, they turn out in greater numbers generally in a presidential race, that they are not inconvenienced and there are no long lines.” While the results from the this year’s general election won’t be official until Nov. 18, a little more than 3 million of the 6 million Floridians who voted did so with absentee ballots or by going to one of the state’s nearly 330 early-voting locations. Read more

Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, appointed majority leader of Florida Senate for 2014-16 term – State Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, has been appointed the majority leader of the Florida Senate for the 2014-16 legislative term, officials announced Wednesday. Senate Republican President-designate Andy Gardiner said Galvano “has proven he has the support of our caucus, and is ready to lead in this important role.” “Many members of our Senate Republican Caucus have known Sen. Bill Galvano for a number of years,” wrote Gardiner. “We have witnessed his strong work ethic, innate intellect and willingness to tackle tough issues – all characteristics that enabled him to quickly rise to positions of leadership during his service in the (Florida) House, and now the (Florida) Senate,” wrote Gardiner, R-Orlando, in a memo released by Galvano’s office. Read more

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