Florida Five: DWS biggest election loser, Scott’s school choice stance fueled black support

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

debbie-wasserman-schultzDebbie Wasserman Schultz licks her wounds after brutal election for Democrats – Debbie Wasserman Schultz ranks as one of the biggest losers of the 2014 election cycle. While she had no problem defeating Republican Joe Kaufman last week, as chairwoman of the DNC, Wasserman Schultz is tarnished by her party’s loss of the Senate and gubernatorial defeats across the country. Wasserman Schultz should have bowed out from the DNC post after the 2012 elections. At least then she could have gone out on a high note with Barack Obama winning a second term. Instead, she stayed too long and made some major missteps and gaffes in the process. Already, there’s talk about who will replace her and Bob Beckel said on “The Five” on Fox News that he had been asked to lead the DNC. Read more

School choice backer Scott sees rise in black support in Florida– Florida Gov. Rick Scott did something Tuesday that Republicans rarely do in elections: He doubled his share of the African-American vote from the last time he ran, picking up 12 percent on Tuesday, according to exit polls. Education reform advocates such as former D.C. Councilman Kevin Chavous are pointing to that as proof that black voters responded to Scott’s support for school choice and his willingness to take on teachers unions. “That’s the reason why Rick Scott won that election,” said Chavous, now executive counsel for the American Federation for Children, a pro-school choice group. “He really had no base of support in the African-American community but for this one issue.” Read more

Marc Caputo: 10 takeaways from Florida’s 2014 elections – Those who ignore history are condemned to look like Florida Democrats in a midterm election. Before Tuesday’s Republican drubbing of Democrats at the polls, there were warning signs — lessons that should have been learned or heeded — that were either ignored or downplayed by Democrat Charlie Crist, his campaign or his supporters. Take, for instance, an August column headlined “Florida Democrats’ biggest problem is … Florida Democrats,” where I noted how poor primary turnout, especially in South Florida, was a potentially bad sign for Crist. One Democratic reader told me on Twitter that the column was full of “histrionics.” Read more  

The important lesson learned from Florida’s medical marijuana vote – Midterm elections may be over, but that doesn’t mean the number of issues that Congress and individual states are yet to tackle have been moved to the back burner. One particular hot-button issue that took center stage this election was the debate over legalizing marijuana. Citizens of Oregon and Alaska, as well as Washington, D.C., cast their ballots on whether or not to allow marijuana to be legalized for recreational adult use. In all three instances, voters were in favor of legalization, which may wind up bringing in significant long-term tax revenue generation for Oregon and Alaska. However, another key marijuana vote didn’t quite go as planned. Floridians cast their ballots on Tuesday to decide whether or not to allow marijuana to be used for medical purposes within the state. Read more

Galvano’s standing in Florida Senate is growing – State Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, has not finished his second full year in the Legislature, but he continues to land top leadership posts and flash clout that few have obtained in such a short period. Galvano last week was named the Florida Senate’s majority leader, a position that makes him a pivotal lieutenant for the Senate president. Galvano will help draft the Senate’s agenda and organize the Republican votes. “I’m very excited about this opportunity,” Galvano said. Practically speaking, it puts Galvano in the middle of just about every public policy issue that comes before the Senate. Read more

Bonus: Florida growls at craft breweries’ growlers

For more Florida political news, visit BPR’s FLORIDA NEWS page

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