Florida Five: Fundraising binge hits Tallahassee, Former House speaker seeks legal fees

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

Fundraising binge begins for lawmakers – Days before the Florida Legislature convenes for its annual 60-day session, state lawmakers already are busy and shifting into overdrive — raising money from special interests, that is. In what has become an annual rite, most state legislators are in an all-out fundraising binge, collecting as many checks from special interest groups as possible before the legislative session formally starts on March 3. Read more

marcorubio2Florida Politicians on standby until Marco Rubio makes up his mind for 2016 – Jeb Bush might be getting the national headlines but Marco Rubio is holding the cards when it comes to Florida politics. Right now, quite a few Florida politicians are waiting on Rubio’s decision for 2016 as they chart out their own political courses. Bush looks near certain to run for president in 2016 and Rubio is increasingly looking like a presidential candidate himself. Rubio’s been pretty clear that if he runs for president, he won’t seek a second term in the Senate. Read more

Former House speaker wants state to pay his legal fees – A one-day trial is underway to decide whether taxpayers should pay the legal fees owed by former Florida House Speaker Ray Sansom. Sansom wants the state to pay nearly $1 million owed to the lawyers who successfully defended him against a 2009 indictment. During the first part of the Thursday trial, Sansom’s criminal defense lawyer testified that former House Speaker Dean Cannon had promised to pay the fees. But then Cannon told attorney Stephen Dobson he couldn’t do it “politically.” Cannon declined to comment on the trial testimony. Read more

Gov. Scott faces big hurdles to push his legislative agenda – On the night he won re-election in November, a beaming Gov. Rick Scott bolted on stage to rowdy chants of “Four more years!” Dismissed by pollsters as a likely loser, Scott clawed his way to victory, using his personal fortune to pay for a pounding barrage of TV ads that doomed rival Charlie Crist. Near midnight, a giddiness filled the ballroom of the Hyatt in Bonita Springs as a relieved Scott declared an end to a long, brutal campaign. “You know what they say about democracy,” Scott told supporters. “It’s messy, but it’s absolutely the best form of government there is.” Messy doesn’t begin to describe the start of Scott’s second term. Read more

Mayor blasted in TV ad for calling slow kids ‘dummies’ – West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio was an educator for 30 years but is now defending the use of the word “dummies” to describe slow learners. In a new ad paid for by Tallahassee committee Voters Response, Muoio is shown during a reporter media briefing in August, responding to a question about grouping slow learners together all in one charter school. The ad shows a video of Muoio saying “You’re talking about ability-grouping kids and putting all the dummies in one place,” The ad then goes on “Did Jeri Muoio really say that?” and reruns Muoio saying “dummies” two times. Read more

19TH HOLE BONUS: On wind-blown day in Florida, Rory McIlroy struggles and Jim Herman leads

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

Cheryl Carpenter Klimek

Cheryl Carpenter Klimek has been a political consultant handling public affairs, political campaigns and PAC management for nearly 20 years.
Cheryl Carpenter Klimek

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