Monday, August 28, 2006

Harris Watch

"Pink Sugar" Pushes God, as the Money Runs out

Oh, Katie.

Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL) has set fire to her own ambitions yet
again, this time declaring
to reporters, "if you're not electing Christians, then in essence you are
going to legislate sin."

It's increasingly clear to observers that the Harris for Senate campaign has
become, in essence, a Civil War re-enactment of Sherman's march through Atlanta,
with Harris playing Sherman and her campaign playing Atlanta. Even the tone of
media coverage of her antics seems to have shifted, to be no more or less than a
somber and respectfully brief, unflourished recounting of the mayhem that she
has caused.

That's probably because she's down roughly 30 points in recent polls, so her
self-immolating displays hardly matter. Hence reporters are more likely to give
only a spare report of the facts, insert an obligatory Democratic
"outrage" quote, make a sympathetic call to Harris' spokeswoman for
whatever clean-up statement she's allowed to give, and call it a day.

What's more, it turns out Harris may not even have the money to fund her own
self-destruction. The $10 million of her own money she promised to pour into her
campaign -- which was necessary, because she couldn't raise outside funds to
keep going -- doesn't exist, according to a new report.

Apparently, she doesn't stand to inherit money
from her father's fortune, as she had said; it's all going to her mother.

As a result, Harris reportedly told her senior staff she would have to sell
her numerous properties to come up with the money. Yet "[n]one of the
properties have gone on the market," notes St. Petersburg Times
reporter Anita Kumar, who broke
the story.

"Republican operatives and political watchers say the Harris campaign
may have seen the last of her personal resources," Kumar writes.

I understand there's a big swath of folks whose politics move them to hope
she won't ever come to grips with her long odds, her money problems, and her
cartoonish inability to portray herself as a viable candidate. But on a human
level -- isn't it just a little bit sad to watch this?

at The muckraker

Monday, August 21, 2006


HarrisWatch: Campaign Bravely Toes Line between Farce, Tragedy

By Justin Rood -

The Orlando Sentinel's Jim Stratton brings us scenes from what's left of the Harris
campaign Thursday, which hosted a campaign rally at which none of the nine elected officials listed on the event's flyer showed up.
Stratton, whose comic sensibility appears matched only by his eye for tragic detail, reports that one official, State Sen. Daniel Webster, R-Winter Garden, insists he never endorsed Harris nor promised to attend any rally. Harris insisted the man was lying.
They called back twice and said he'd be here," Harris told the Sentinel. "He said he was going to be here on the stage with me today."
As a result, Stratton reports, "the most prominent official on hand was former state Rep. Allen Trovillion, who left office four years ago." Trovillion appears not to have been listed on the flyer.
Without the nine guest stars, Harris was alone in addressing a crowd of about 40 people -- and that number includes the reporters and campaign aides.
Here's how Stratton describes it:
Harris spoke in an airplane hangar that seemed to highlight the modest size of the crowd. She said a last-minute location change -- required because a tree fell on the hangar where the event was supposed to be held -- kept crowd numbers down.
Airport officials, however, said no hangar had been damaged by a tree and that the rally was in the hangar that had been originally booked.
Harris spoke for 10 minutes, saying she is the only candidate with the conservative credentials to defeat Nelson. When she finished, red, white and blue balloons dropped onto an empty stage, rendered unnecessary by the sparse crowd.
Comic? Certainly. But there's a sense of sadness, which Stratton brings out with his close:
Not everyone backing Harris is so upbeat.
This week, as Harris made the rounds at a Winter Park political gathering, U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney said he continues to back her -- but he does so primarily out of a sense of duty.
"I endorsed Congresswoman Harris a year ago," Feeney said. "I made a commitment, and I'm going to live up to that commitment."
Feeney was then asked why he offered such a tepid endorsement.
"I won't disclose publicly what I said to Katherine privately," he said. "But that notwithstanding, she decided to run."
Moments later, Feeney added, "It's very sad."

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Davis Goes Condo; Things Get Nasty

posted at FLA Politics

"Jim Davis campaigned for governor at four heavily Jewish retirement condos Monday, the same day an attack ad questioned his support for Israel. He faces Rod Smith in the Democratic primary Sept. 5." "Broward retirement homes host gubernatorial hopeful Davis".
"The Democratic campaign for governor took a nasty turn Monday as an obscure political group bankrolled by a giant sugar grower attacked U.S. Rep. Jim Davis of Tampa for missing a congressional vote supporting Israel in its burgeoning war against Hezbollah." "Mailers attack Davis for missing pro-Israel vote".See also "Group's flier attacks Davis on Israel", "Democratic gubernatorial contest gets testy" and "Campaign for governor takes negative turn".
Who is behind the attack piece?
Sugar growers sure seem to be doing a lot to get Democrat Rod Smith elected governor.
First, the industry steered thousands of dollars in contributions directly into Smith's campaign account -- including at least $14,000 from employees, family members and affiliated companies of the state's two largest growers, U.S. Sugar Corp. and Flo-Sun/Florida Crystals.
Then, U.S. Sugar and a pair of subsidiaries plowed $205,000 into a separate political group that paid for mailers and phone calls on Smith's behalf.
And now this: U.S. Sugar and a subsidiary pour $100,000 into another group that attacks Smith's rival in the Democratic primary, Jim Davis."Smith's Sweet Tooth or His Achilles Heel?". See also "Outside groups remain armed and ready".
Fortunately for Davis, "Jewish Supporters Come to Davis' Defense".

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Insurance companies shower Fla. politicians with donations to get rate hikes

By Mark Hollis South Florida Sun-Sentinel

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida's teetering property insurance industry got what it wanted this year from the state: new power to raise consumer prices. The Legislature crafted the industry incentives as insurers poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into election campaigns of lawmakers, state political parties and candidates for statewide offices. Insurers now can automatically raise prices for homeowner coverage 10 percent without any state review. And to make Florida even more enticing to property insurers, legislators tossed in $250 million in loans for insurers willing to expand in this state.The changes have been hailed across the country by the insurance industry as a big help to do business in a hurricane-battered state.Consumer activists say it was a giveaway to an industry that already gets its way in Tallahassee.Analysts say the legislation was not a surprise, given the industry's consistent political donations.``It's always hard to say that the money bought something specifically, but the money certainly buys the industry access to decision-makers,'' said Sue O'Connell, research director for the Institute on Money and State Politics, a nonpartisan watchdog group based in Montana. ``It opens doors and allows them [insurers] access in a way that the typical citizen may not have. It also seems pretty clear from the way that industry distributes its donations that Florida is a pretty important state to the insurance companies.''Since 1996, the property insurance industry has given $11.2 million to Florida candidates and state political parties, with roughly three of every four dollars to Republicans, according to research by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.The 2006 campaigns already have received at least $1.7 million from the property insurance industry, state records show.O'Connell has examined property insurance industry campaign contributions across the country over three election cycles -- 2000, 2002, and 2004 -- and found Florida is vital to the property insurance market, judging by where the industry spends its campaign donations.She said that in 2004, Florida ranked No. 10 among all states in total contributions from political donors. But in candidate contributions from the property insurance industry, she said, Florida politicians ranked second in the nation, behind only California that year.Most donations to GOPThe insurance industry has given the bulk of its money to the party in power, the Sun-Sentinel has found. At least $4 million has been given in the last decade to the Republican Party of Florida, mainly from industry trade groups and associations but also from insurers, their lobbyists and executives.By contrast, the Florida Democratic Party received slightly more than $1 million.The contributions represent a small fraction of what's given each year to state parties and candidates in Florida. Other industries, such as telecommunications businesses, home builders and real estate agents, give more. Sun-Sentinel research found that about 2 percent of what's been given to all Florida campaigns and state parties since 1996 -- or $11.2 million of more than $557 million -- can be reported as having come from the property insurance industry.Campaign finance analysts say the Florida insurance industry still packs a political wallop. That power was on display May 16 when Gov. Jeb Bush signed into law the 156-page property insurance bill that guarantees higher policyholder costs and bigger insurance industry profits.``This is the most significant, comprehensive property insurance legislation that has been enacted since Hurricane Andrew,'' said Len Brevik, the national executive vice president and chief executive officer of the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents. He said it's ``precisely the kind of innovation'' that Congress should mimic.Critics call it a politically timid and anti-consumer answer to what ails Florida's insurance market. The law has been criticized in recent weeks by Democratic candidates for governor and some Republicans, such as state Rep. Randy Johnson of Winter Garden, a candidate to be Florida's chief financial officer.``The insurance crisis has crept on the kitchen tables of Floridians and they are mad about it and responding to it. ...,'' Johnson said of reaction to increased rates. ``It is about insurance company greed, plain and simple.''While some candidates criticize the law as an industry sellout, Florida's top insurance regulators, such as state Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, a Republican running for governor, say it was just the start of a solution. His 2006 gubernatorial campaign has received at least $379,000 in donations from the insurance industry. Only the Republican and Democratic state parties and Bush's gubernatorial campaigns have received more money from the state's insurers than Gallagher has taken in for his 2006 race for governor.He also has received at least $369,000 in industry donations during previous campaigns for other state offices, including the one he holds.


Sunday, August 06, 2006

Hold Them Accountable

Speaking to the Democrats Of Broward County, Florida

Any Elected Democrat, Democratic Operative, Democratic Fundraiser or Union Leader, Who Supports:
Clay Shaw for Congress District 22, Jim Scott County Commission District 4, Ellyn Bogdanoff, Florida House 91 or Susan Goldstein Florida House 97, Republicans ALL.

I am not suggesting a Purging of these Self interested self serving ideological TRAITORS . I am suggesting that Democrats who want to have a Majority in Washington, a Strong Democratic voice in Tallahassee, and a Progressive Broward County, hold these Democrats ACCOUNTABLE, we must hold them accountable NOW and we must hold them accountable after the elections.

If these Democrats want to know how it feels to be held ACCOUNTABLE tell them to Wait until Wednesday and Call 1-800-Joe-Loserman

Any other Democrat in any other State or County who has Democrats helping Republicans for their own self interests, I suggest you warn them the same.

Ron Mills 954-682-2261
Broward County, Florida