Florida Five: Jacksonville mayoral race has 2016 implications, Carly Fiorina blasts Hillary in So. Fla.

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

Lenny Curry
New Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry

Florida GOP cheered by win in Jacksonville mayor’s race – In a race that many are calling the first round in the 2016 election cycle battles, Republicans in Florida scored a significant victory on Tuesday night, when Republican Lenny Curry defeated the incumbent Democrat Mayor of Jacksonville Alvin Brown. Curry, the former Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, defeated Brown 51 percent to 48 percent. While the Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville’s hometown paper, was quick to point out the influence of local issues on the race — the city is facing serious funding issues, especially regarding police and fire pensions, and violent crime is a top concern — the election still has major implications for 2016. Read more

Related: How did Lenny Curry win mayoral race? Republican vote came out in force

Republican hopeful Carly Fiorina, in South Florida, blasts Hillary Clinton – It took just moments Wednesday for Carly Fiorina to deliver what’s become her trademark: withering criticism of Hillary Clinton. The crowd of more than 200 Republicans at the Palm Beach County Convention Center loved it. And they loved it again when the Republican presidential candidate heaped on more criticism of the Democratic presidential candidate at the end of her speech. “Hillary Clinton cannot be president of the United States. Not because she is a woman. Hillary Clinton cannot be president of the United States because she is not trustworthy,” she said. Read more

Florida’s crime rate lowest in 44 years – Florida’s crime rate last year was its lowest since the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) started tracking crime statistics in 1971. The state’s annual crime report for 2014 was released Wednesday. The total number of crimes last year fell 3.6 percent from 2013. Nonviolent crimes were down 4.1 percent, and violent crimes fell 0.7 percent. Read more

Congressional Republicans lobby Obama on health care pool – A dozen Florida Republicans in Congress urged President Barack Obama on Wednesday to renew a low-income health care pool that the state has used while refusing to expand Medicaid.  Sen. Marco Rubio and 11 members of the U.S. House signed a letter to Obama saying that Florida should not be coerced into expanding Medicaid. “This federal program has been working to help low-income families in our state access health care for many years until HHS recently told state officials that their decision to continue funding was `linked’ to the state’s decision to expand Medicaid under Obamacare,” they wrote. Read more

Tom Lee on Tallahassee budget impasse: “We don’t know how this is going to play out” – As state lawmakers prepare to complete unfinished business in Tallahassee in a special session slated to begin in twelve days, one of the most important members of the 120-member state Legislature said on Wednesday that he’s not exactly sure what to expect when the House and Senate return next month to the Capitol to hammer out a budget agreement. “We really don’t know how this is going to play out,” said Brandon area state Senator Tom Lee, the Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman. Read more

ICYMI: Wasserman Schultz: No need for pesky judges, Dems will tell you what’s ‘unacceptable’

Beware! Two Florida cities rank as worst in U.S. for mosquitoes

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