Florida Five: Fla. Dems’ downer convention, Ben Carson’s Sunshine State tour

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

Debbie.Wasserman.Schultz sad
DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.

Florida Democrats rally for 2016 races, despite absence of Clinton, Sanders – Given Florida’s status as a swing state in the 2016 elections, the absence of the Democratic Party’s two major presidential candidates didn’t go unnoticed during the state party’s annual convention this weekend at Walt Disney World. Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were campaigning in other states and missed out on what Florida Democratic Party officials called a record-breaking gathering of the party faithful. Read more

Dump the Debbie Campaign: Why are we so complacent in defeat

Florida’s Democratic Senate primary will be long and nasty — Sen. Bill Nelson delivered the biggest understatement during a weekend-long state Democratic Party convention that was supposed to fire up activists for next year’s election. “This is a state that hasn’t elected a lot of Democrats recently,” he told hundreds of activists at a dinner Saturday night. Read more

Ben Carson: Debt, divisiveness threaten America – Dr. Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon and recently crowned GOP presidential front-runner, is stopping in Tallahassee on Monday as part of a five-day swing through Florida, a crucial battleground state. Carson’s visit comes as his poll numbers are spiking, which last week put him center stage during the third Republican debate. Read more

Bush says Rubio has ‘given up’ in Senate – Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Sunday he didn’t rebut Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in Wednesday’s debate because he was cut off, but if he had, he would have said the freshman senator has “given up” on Congress.  “The basic point with Marco isn’t that he’s not a good person or he’s not a gifted politician; everybody can see that. It’s that I have proven leadership skills,” Bush said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Read more

‘The presidency’s not a bookkeeping job,’ Marco Rubio says, defending experience – Marco Rubio defended his qualifications for the White House in a Sunday interview on CBS News’ Face the Nation, saying he has the right “ideas, “judgment” and “understanding” of major issues to be president. “The presidency’s not a bookkeeping job. It is not some glorified accounting job,” Rubio said. “The job of a president is to craft a vision for America’s future.” Read more

Bonus: Putnam seeks more pay for forestry firefighters

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

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