The District 13 race: Local boy vs. machine-backed outsider

On Wednesday, I sat down for lunch with David Jolly. Despite his jeans and untucked button-down shirt, he looks like a congressman. He has a low-key and modest demeanor, but his personal style doesn’t make him a slouch. Although no freshman member of Congress from Pinellas County (or Hillsborough, for that matter) could fill Bill Young’s shoes, Jolly is the most qualified and prepared to hit the ground running.

For her part, Alex Sink, the hand-selected candidate of Democratic Party leaders in Washington, looks good on paper (other than she’s not from the district), but as a campaigner, she’s more awkward than Miley Cyrus teaching an etiquette class. The party bosses must have forgotten Sink’s lackluster personality is why Rick Scott is governor

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune, January 25, 2014

On Wednesday, I sat down for lunch with David Jolly. Despite his jeans and untucked button-down shirt, he looks like a congressman. He has a low-key and modest demeanor, but his personal style doesn’t make him a slouch. Although no freshman member of Congress from Pinellas County (or Hillsborough, for that matter) could fill Bill Young’s shoes, Jolly is the most qualified and prepared to hit the ground running.

Congress_Race_Florida
Photo: Sink and Jolly. (campaign photos)

For her part, Alex Sink, the hand-selected candidate of Democratic Party leaders in Washington, looks good on paper (other than she’s not from the district), but as a campaigner, she’s more awkward than Miley Cyrus teaching an etiquette class. The party bosses must have forgotten Sink’s lackluster personality is why Rick Scott is governor. What they didn’t forget was Continue reading “The District 13 race: Local boy vs. machine-backed outsider”

Scott narrows field for lieutenant governor to two

The largely symbolic position carries no constitutional or statutory authority other than as the person who is next-in-line of succession in the event of the governor’s death, resignation or incapacitation. The position comes with an annual salary of $125,000, a small staff, and an office and travel budget of approximately $500,000. The desire to attend lots of funerals of second-tier elected officials and other so-so VIPs, as well as putting on a happy face at Lincoln Day Dinners and various other events as the governor’s surrogate are job requirements.

By Chris Ingram

Sources close to Governor Rick Scott tell me that Scott has narrowed the field of potential appointees to fill the lieutenant governor position to just two people: Hillsborough County Commissioner/former state representative Sandra Murman and Miami-Dade property appraiser/former state representative Carlos Lopez-Cantera.

The position has been vacant for ten months following the resignation of former LG Jennifer Carol. Carol resigned after being questioned by law enforcement about her role in an illegal gambling operation. Carol has not been charged with any crime and later said she was “forced” to resign. 

Carlos_Lopez-Cantera
Lopez-Cantera
MurmanSandra-240x300
Murman

 

The largely symbolic position carries no constitutional or statutory authority other than as the person who is next-in-line of succession in the event of the governor’s death, resignation or incapacitation. The position comes with an annual salary of $125,000, a small staff, and an office and travel budget of approximately $500,000. The desire to attend lots of funerals of second-tier elected officials and other so-so VIPs, as well as putting on a happy face at Lincoln Day Dinners and various other events as the governor’s surrogate are job requirements.

The post is largely viewed as a political “dead end” as no modern lieutenant governor from Florida has ever gone on to further elective office. 

Commissioner Murman told me this morning that she, Continue reading “Scott narrows field for lieutenant governor to two”

Ideological opposites set a good example

Kevin and I scheduled the day for him to attend his first meeting as my guest weeks in advance of the actual date. I had all but forgotten which day it was when I invited Tim to attend as my guest the same day. When I realized they were coming on the same day, a slight panic set it.

Panic because I wasn’t sure how it was going to go over with these two ideological polar opposites sitting together at the meeting. I considered telling one of them a little white lie to keep him from coming to the meeting on the same day as the other.

By Chris Ingram

Earlier this week, Kevin Beckner and Tim Euler were inducted into the Rotary Club of Tampa. I was proud to have sponsored both of them as members of the Tampa club, which celebrates its centennial anniversary next year as part of the international civic organization.

Kevin Beckner is a Hillsborough County Commissioner, a Democrat, and the county’s only openly gay elected official. He had spoken at the club earlier in the year and was interested in Rotary, so I invited him to come back as my guest and consider joining.

Tim Euler is the new Head of School at Cambridge Christian School in Tampa, where my girls are students. Tim is an unapologetic Christian conservative and a Republican. Tim moved to Tampa from Orlando over the summer, and we developed a friendship; as with Kevin, I asked him to be my guest at Rotary.

Kevin and I scheduled the day for him to attend his first meeting as my guest weeks in advance of the actual date. I had all but forgotten which day it was when I invited Tim to attend as my guest the same day. When I realized they were coming on the same day, a slight panic set it.

Panic because I wasn’t sure how it was going to go over with these two ideological polar opposites sitting together at the meeting. I considered telling one of them a little white lie to keep him from coming to the meeting on the same day as the other.

I decided to Continue reading “Ideological opposites set a good example”

Schorsch plays loose with the facts

I spoke to Speaker Weatherford today and here is what he said about Schorsch, “He is not on my payroll. All we have ever done is paid for ads on his website. He’s never been a consultant for me. Ever.”

Speaker Weatherford on Peter Schorsch: “He’s never been a consultant for me. Ever.”

By Chris Ingram

Friday kudos to the Republican Party of Florida’s Communications Director, Matt Moon for calling a spade a spade.

I am referring to the RPOF’s Memo of today to national media outlets warning them of the dangers of dealing with, or taking “as credible” anything that rolls out of the cave of one Peter D. Schorsch. Schorsch of course is the blowhard blogger who fancies himself as a journalist when it is convenient, and claims he is not a journalist when it is not. Publisher of the website St.Petersblog, his ego generally arrives about 30 minutes before he does. Schorsch it has also been well documented by multiple media outlets plays loose with the facts, typically ends up being the story for people whom he consults for and has a lengthy criminal background (including Grand Theft, Scheme to Defraud). Bottom line is, he is bad news from his head to his toes.

Pictured: Peter Schorsch. Photo courtesy of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

 

Several political candidates and elected officials have told me over the years they advertise on his site because their consultants have said if you do, Schorsch is less likely to write nasty things about you. This is apparently a heck of a way to make a living which Schorsch is fond of bragging about.

So today, the RPOF took on Schorsch with a memo (see below). In response to the memo, and once he got over being excited when he realized he would “be the news” again, Schorsch published on St. Petersblog the following: Continue reading “Schorsch plays loose with the facts”

Crist to run for governor. Or perhaps not…

It was also disclosed yesterday by the Tampa Bay Times that Crist stooge Peter Schorsch has filed for a permit to have a rally in a St. Petersburg park on November 4th. Schorsch’s wife is also a close Crist confidant. Schorsch has denied the permit is connected to Crist, but Schorsch is a proven liar who has a lengthy criminal record and is not someone whose word about politics is to be taken seriously. That Crist appears to continue to associate himself with the likes of people like Schorsch suggests Chuckles hasn’t learned from past associations with criminals including Jim Greer and Scott Rothstein.

Ever the chameleon, Crist could be changing colors again

By Chris Ingram

Now that former Rep. Bill Young has been interred, expect a flurry of political jockeying to replace him.  Young’s son, brother, and wife, former Mayor Rick Baker, Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos, and former County Commissioner Neil Brickfield are among Republicans who have been mentioned as possible candidates to succeed him. Former CFO and gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink is the leading Democrat mentioned. She is joined by talk of county commissioner and former state Senator Charlie Justice, and state Representative Janet Long as potential candidates, among others (Justice said on Friday he would not run).

Lost in most of the chatter is attorney Jessica Ehrlich, who was the 2012 Democratic nominee and has continued to campaign for the job even before Young’s retirement announcement and subsequent death.

Yet despite posting the strongest challenge to Young in twenty years, she hasn’t won any bonus points with establishment Democrats who care more about winning than rewarding Ehrlich for not just being a political opportunist.  

aTooTan Charlie 2
Caption: That’s one box of Fruit Loops you might want to take a pass on. (Drawing by Jake Fuller)

Who the candidates will be, and when the election will be held remains unclear. Florida law is vague about the date of a special election to replace a member of the House of Representatives. Unlike replacing a member of the U.S. Senate, vacancies in the House of Representatives cannot be appointed. So there will be an election, we just don’t know when the governor will set it.   

While the rest of the political intelligentsia chatter about a Baker versus Sink race, or all the “what ifs?” concerning Young’s various family members, one person not so frequently mentioned whom I think may very well run, is former Governor Charlie “Too Tan” Crist. Sound crazy? Perhaps, but in politics, anything is possible.

When he’s not pitching his skills as a trial lawyer to take your slip and fall accident or parking lot fender-bender case to court, Crist is said to be forming a campaign team for another run for governor. I haven’t ever bought the notion that Crist would run for governor again — and have speculated it’s been an act all along that he would, in order for Crist to maintain a high profile and build up his fundraising base so he can run against Bill Young.  That’s what I expected to happen. Now that young has died, Crist can run in a much easier open seat and land himself a job as Congressman for the next twenty years if he wants it.

Yesterday he unveiled an odd campaign website that looked like a typical candidate’s website, but it was missing two things. Those two things were: Continue reading “Crist to run for governor. Or perhaps not…”

A year after Tampa, can the GOP fix itself with a third party?

Unfortunately for the GOP, there is truth to both concerns, and the present dichotomy between these two views from within the party is unenviable.

The problem is compounded by the fact that millions of people are abandoning the Republicans (as well as the Democrats), preferring instead to register with no-party affiliation.

So what is the GOP to do?

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune, August 27, 2013

One year ago, the GOP convention came to town, albeit delayed for a day because of sensitivities to what Tropical Storm Isaac, brewing in the Gulf of Mexico, might do.

As Isaac passed and the party began to convene, Republicans began what they thought was the last leg of their road to retake the White House. The convention ended up being a seemingly seamless and perfectly choreographed affair — unless you consider the Isaac issue, Clint Eastwood’s performance with “Obama’s chair,” or the fact that the assembled delegates on the convention floor looked whiter than a bowl of cottage cheese.

Mitt Romney left the convention without much movement in the polls, and days later, the Democrats met in Charlotte, where they held one of their most successful conventions in recent times.

The hopes of Republican voters jumped after the first debate, but Romney couldn’t sustain the enthusiasm and lost big to Obama on Election Day.

Caption: Delegates cheer for Mitt Romney at the Republican Convention in Tampa last year.
Caption: Delegates cheer for Mitt Romney at the Republican Convention in Tampa last year.

For the GOP, the Tampa convention and the Romney campaign with the flaws that came with the candidate are now mere asterisks in the annals of party history. The question is, what have we learned since, and when will the party change?

Since the election, the most common comments I hear about the party contain one of two views, one being Continue reading “A year after Tampa, can the GOP fix itself with a third party?”

The facts about the IRS scandal

No one expects government to win any popularity contests, but if our country is to get beyond this IRS scandal – right the wrongs, restore some trust in government and solve problems facing the nation– Republicans and Democrats need to work together to uncover the facts, and a reluctant media needs to report the truth.

By John Wehrung
 
Fueled by an irrational paranoia over the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United coupled with a deep-seeded animosity towards their political ‘enemies,’ the Obama White House, it is becoming abundantly clear, was more involved than it had previously admitted with the unjust targeting of conservatives groups by the IRS.
 
In an unjustifiable process by the Obama IRS begun in 2009, the heavy hand of government has been misused to intimidate and disenfranchise voters in the last two elections and violate the free speech and voting rights of millions of Americans.
 
The dots are there; they just need to be connected in a fair way with politics kept to a minimum.
 
National Review reported that Lois Lerner, director of the Internal Revenue Service under fire for singling out conservative groups, sent letters to 15 such groups from March through April of 2012, which directly links the IRS targeting from the Cincinnati office back to Washington, D.C.
 
The Washington Post recently reported that from 2009-2011, the IRS delayed or denied all but three “tea party” applications, while in the same period it approved applications for 65 “progressive” groups – twenty times that of conservatives.
 
The Daily Caller analyzed the visitor’ log at the White House during the Tea Party targeting, which showed then IRS Chief Doug Shulman had twice as many White House meetings (118) than Continue reading “The facts about the IRS scandal”