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Meek, Greene Debate Sets Tone for Florida Politics 2010 [VIDEO]

This is a wild and crazy year in politics throughout the United States and I have jumped in the frying pan with several folks on a local level here in Miami but I am not the subject of this post. You must and I mean must check out one of the hottest races around which is the Florida U.S. Senate race.

Scrappy rivals surprised Gov. Charlie Crist, an early sure winner as the Republican nominee and Congressman Kendrick Meek, the early Democrat nominee. Former Florida Speaker of the House Marco Rubio gained so much momentum in the GOP race that Crist is now running as an Independent. Meek, poised to become the first black U.S. Senator from Florida, now faces strong competition from wealthy businessman Jeff Greene.

Meek and Greene recently sat down for a debate in Palm Beach County. If that debate is any indication of how the rest of this race will be run; get ready for fireworks. As a side note, political newcomer, Rick Scott has shocked the Republican power base by moving ahead of political veteran Bill McCollum in the GOP race for Florida Governor.

To add to the mayhem, Democrat Alex Sink finds herself in a race with the namesake of a very popular former Florida governor, Lawton Chiles. Insert deep sigh here.

The ascendency of Scott and Greene beg at least two questions: Are voters so dissatisfied with career politicians that they will elect newcomers? Are political seats being “bought” by wealthy newcomers? Think on that.

FL Gov. Crist Picks LeMieux to Fill Senate Seat

George LeMieux and Charlie Crist Florida Gov. Charlie Crist selected his former Chief of Staff and friend George LeMieux to fill the remaining months of the term of U.S. Senator Mel Martinez who retired early from the seat.

The names of several high profile individuals had been floated for weeks. Crist, a candidate for the seat in 2010, chose his friend and was quickly bashed for his selection by opponents, U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek and Former FL Speaker of the House Marco Rubio.

LeMieux is likely the next best choice for Gov. Crist rather than actually appointing himself to the seat. The LeMieux selection essentially dissed the nine applicants including several seasoned legislators. It also leaves the U.S. Senate without a HIspanic member. 

No doubt, Crist's advisers don't fear a significant backlash of Hispanic voters because of his rejection of Hispanic candidates. Rubio will, no doubt, use this selection against Crist throughout the rest of the campaign. The actual impact of Crist's decision remains to be seen.

Florida GOP Courts Black Voters on Juneteenth

Today is Juneteenth. The Republican Party of Florida sent out the message below regarding the celebration:

Republicans Herald "Juneteenth" And The End Of Slavery

Tallahassee - Representative Jennifer Carroll, Chairperson of the Republican Party of Florida’s African American Republican Leadership Council, and RPOF Chairman Jim Greer today released the following statement regarding "Juneteenth," a celebration recognizing June 19, 1865, the day the last American slaves learned that they were free:


"'Juneteenth' is a celebration of the day when the last remaining slaves received word that President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation, resulting in their freedom. As the Party of Abraham Lincoln, the Republican Party of Florida is built on the foundation of freedom, and this principle is as important to us today it was so many years ago, when President Lincoln helped to found the Republican Party as the anti-slavery party," said Representative Carroll. "Over 140 years, we have championed these convictions. From the Civil Rights laws of the 1860s to the landmark 1954 decision in Brown vs. the Board of Education, which called for the end of segregation in public schools, the Republican Party has always been an advocate for civil rights."


"Republicans are still spearheading reform today, including efforts to increase access to homeownership among African Americans, provide quality education for all children, and ensure strong support for small businesses. We are proud to share the same core beliefs of lower taxes, less government, and more freedom as many African American families, and this is why we will continue to fight for the African American vote," said Chairman Greer.


That is a very nice message but what does it really mean when leading Republicans such as Rush Limbaugh continue to spew hatred and treason in this country? And what does it mean when GOP activists such as Rusty DePass feel comfortable openly insulting first Lady Michelle Obama?
Is the GOP finally getting it? Rep. Jennifer Carroll, my sorority sister, is a very attractive black woman. Is she the face the GOP want us to envision instead of Rush? There's a lot more work to do to overcome the damage some Republicans have done. I guess this is a move in the right direction for Florida but action speaks louder than words.

Meek Set as Democratic Nominee for FL U.S. Senate Seat

Dan Gelber Meek State Senator Dan Gelber announced he is dropping out of the Florida U.S. Senate race. He leaves Kevin Burns in the race with clear frontrunner Kendrick Meek. Gelber will enter the race for attorney general which is probably a wise move. Current attorney general Bill McCollum vacates the seat to seek the Republican nomination for governor of Florida. It's time for musical chairs in Florida politics, folks.

Meek will likely face current Florida governor Charlie Crist in the Senate race. It will be quite interesting. Meek has raised more than a million dollars and has a strong political machine behind him. Crist is immensely popular but has ticked off the more conservative base in the GOP and has Miami's Marco Rubio chomping at his heels.

Pundits predict Rubio to go the way of Gelber and switch to another race. Can you say Lt. Governor Rubio? Seems like a wise move for Bill McCollum to add Rubio the ticket to garner the Hispanic vote. Stay tuned.

Florida Politics is Heating Up

OK, good people. The dominoes that represent Florida politics are falling and falling fast. Gov. Charlie Crist announced his run for the U.S. Senate on Tuesday and FL CFO Alex Sink announced her run for Florida governor on Wednesday. The Republican Party of Florida quickly ran their "Floridians Won't Sink Florida" e-mail blast after Sink's announcement.

Conventional wisdom says Attorney General Bill McCollum will jump in the Florida governor's race as Sink's Republican challenger.

Fellow Republican Marco Rubio, the only other Republican candidate in the U.S. Senate race, has criticized Crist's moderate views and early endorsements by Party brass thus far. Crist is the perceived frontrunner but you never know what may happen in politics. Expect a spirited race with Democrats Kendrick Meek, Dan Gelber and Kevin Burns who've already begun campaigning.

Stay tuned.



Florida Waiting for Governor’s Decision on Senate Run

Crist Florida Gov. Charlie Crist must make good on a promise to announce his decision on running for the U.S. Senate. He promised to wait to make the announcement after this year's Legislative Session. Well, after an extended Session that resulted in few moments of delight; the time is now.

Crist, a popular Republican governor, is seen as a likely frontrunner in a race that already includes fellow Republican Former Florida Speaker of the House Marco Rubio and Democrats Kevin Burns, Mayor of North Miami; State Senator Dan Gelber and U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek.

You may recall Gov. Crist on the short list for VP for John McCain. One criticism was his bachelor status; well, he's married now. Crist definitely has that Kennedy charisma that the GOP desperately needs and can easily be seen as the top of the GOP's presidential ticket in the near future --- maybe 2012 or better yet, 2016.

Well, the speculation should end this week --- perhaps as early as tomorrow. If Crist decides to get in the Senate race, some already announced candidates would likely resign from the race. Only time will tell. It would also open up an interesting race for the Governor's seat.

Count State Senator Dan Gelber In FL U.S. Senate Race

Dan_Gelber Florida State Senator Dan Gelber has officially thrown his hat in the ring for the Florida U.S. Senate seat to be vacated by Mel Martinez in 2010. Two weeks earlier, U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek officially announced he would seek the seat. A Meek win would be historic, as a victory would make him the first black elected statewide in Florida.

Gelber, a South Floridian like Meek, was widely known to base his decision to run on whether Florida CFO Alex Sink would also seek the seat. Since she decided not to run, the race is really wide open.

Meek and Gelber are both Dems. One is black and the other Jewish in a state that hasn’t been known for selecting ethnically diverse candidates in elected state leadership positions. Martinez, a well-connected Cuban-American, won his seat by a narrow margin in 2004. President Obama won Florida in the 2008 General Election but that was the result of a lot of hard work and a lot of money.  Will the Obama effect last until 2010?

Like Obama, the victor will likely be the one that can raise the most money to get his message across to voters. Meek has started strong with a presence on the internet and campaign materials prominently displayed in Miami-Dade County and likely throughout Florida. Momentum for the Democratic ticket for this senate seat is swinging toward Meek based on some high profile folks who’ve lined up behind him but don’t count Gelber out of this one just yet.Kendrick_meek

Another important factor is the 2008 presidential primary. Meek was an ardent supporter of Hillary Clinton while Gelber was an early and strong supporter of Barack Obama. How those decisions influence voters in this race still remains to be seen. Some folks still haven’t gotten past that in spite of the public Kumbaya moments between the Clintons and Obama during the general election.

As the Dems campaign, let’s see who lines up on the Republican side. FL Attorney General Bill McCollum? Former Speaker of the House Marco Rubio? The race for this seat will be hot so stay tuned.

Do you think Florida voters are ready to elect either of these gentlemen or will the seat remain in the Republican column in 2010?



© 2009, Vanessa: Unplugged!, www.vanessabyers.net

Vote for this blog for Best Political Blog and for Best Blog Design in the 2009 Bloggers Choice Awards.


Barack Obama’s Excellent Adventure

It's almost midnight and I'm watching Senator Barack Obama and President Bill Clinton in Kissimmee, Florida at a rally of I don't know how many people but there are a lot of them. As usual, it's a rainbow coalition and the energy transcends the television screen.

There is no way, unless there is finagling, that McCain-Palin can win this election. Not unless there is foolishness involved, does logic not tell me that Americans overwhelmingly support Obama-Biden. Voters are out in record numbers here in Florida. Polling hours have been extended, young people are voting in numbers never expected, registered Democrats outnumber Republicans and the Obama-Biden Team is campaigning as if they are 20 points behind. They are calling and canvassing neighborhoods to get people to the polls to cast their ballots. Did I mention the team of lawyers who are manning the polls to address any problems that voters may have? This is serious, y'all.

Obama started this evening with that highly anticipated infomercial that was unbelievable. There is no way that anyone with a heart could not have been touched by that presentation of the Obama platform through vignettes on Americans coping with our troubling economy, health care needs, broken promises of funding retirement and improvements needed in education.

I'm not saying that John McCain should throw in the towel but I do sense the continued implosion of his campaign as the November 4th voting date approaches. As McCain continues to try the failed kitchen sink strategy deployed by the Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign during the primary phase, he appears more desperate and less presidential.

We are less than 6 days away from making history. We are not measuring drapes for the White House but we are confident that Americans will do the right thing and vote for change that we all need in America.



© 2008, Vanessa: Unplugged!, www.vanessabyers.net

Vote for this blog for Best Political Blog and for Best Blog Design in the 2009 Bloggers Choice Awards.



HBO’s ‘Recount’ Must Be a Great Movie Because It Pisses off the Republicans and the Democrats

I can hardly wait for HBO's broadcast of the movie 'Recount'. It's the story of the infamous 2000 U.S. presidential election that was literally stolen from the Dumbocrats by the Rethuglicans in Florida.

The movie trailers have been particularly interesting with eerily similar physical likeness of former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris by Laura Dern. Critics claim that Dern's portrayal of Harris is much like a skit from Saturday Night Live. If anyone thinks that will stop me from watching the movie ---how wrong they are. Hah!

I'm also a huge Kevin Spacey fan and look forward to watching him the role of Ron Klain, Al Gore's Chief of Staff. I'm also a Florida voter who still doesn't really know if her vote actually counted or not. You can read more about the movie at the HBO website.

I can tell you that I'll watch the movie Sunday night and likely watch it several times when it's re-broadcast. Hanging chads…pregnant chads…Bush-whacked uncounted ballots in Florida…Holler back and let us know what you think of the movie.

And Hillary Clinton supporters wanted a re-vote of this year's Florida primary by mail? I don't think so.

Another taser victim dies in Miami

Xavier Jones, 29, died after a Coral Gables police officer Tasered him on Friday morning at University Inn Condominium, 1280 S. Alahambra Cir., near the University of Miami.


Miami-Dade Detective Carlos Maura said the man had been disruptive at a party and resisted arrest. Police officers responded to a call about a scuffle about 2 a.m.


After Jones became disruptive inside one of the apartments, a security guard attempted to remove him from the property and the confrontation spilled outside. Maura said the man was belligerent, so a police officer used a Taser stun gun to restrain him prior to arrest.


There needs to be an immediate investigation into the use of Tasers. It seems that law enforcement has lost their minds. Aren't Tasers supposed to stun, not kill? But if pregnant women are being Tasered, the rest of us should surely be on guard.


Pregnant women tasered:

Malaika Brooks, Seattle, WA

Leslie Donaldson, Alachua County (FL)

Valreca Redden, Trotwood, OH



Stunning Revelations: The untold story of Taser-related deaths