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7 posts from November 9, 2012

November 09, 2012

Obama-machine casualty Chris Dorworth says goodbye to FL House he would have led

How the mighty fell amid the Obama machine.

A little while ago, Chris Dorworth sent an email to his Florida House colleagues saying goodbye. Dorworth, R-Lake Mary, was supposed to be House Speaker in just over two years. But he was knocked out by no-name Mike Clelland instead on Tuesday.

To my friends and colleagues in the Republican caucus of the Florida House:
Five years ago, I was given one of the greatest honors of my life when the voters of house district 34 elected me in a special election.  Two and a half years later, my classmates in the class of 2008 chose me to serve as the leader of their class.

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Angry emails from weary and embarassed voters flood Rick Scott's inbox

Florida residents have expressed their vitriol with the state’s troublesome elections process in waves in recent days, by firing off thousands of angry emails to Gov. Rick Scott.

From all over the state, Floridians have bombarded the governor’s email address with their voting horror stories, and their embarrassment that Florida was still counting votes long after Pres. Barack Obama was declared the winner of Tuesday’s election.

The messages—and the national ridicule--have not been reflected in Scott's public statements. He maintains that Florida “did the right thing.” Scott did say he would talk to his Sec. of State, Ken Detzner about possible fixes.

The email influx started as early as late October, as the shortened early voting period opened to massive and unprecedented lines that stretched for hours.

Wrote Pamela Snodgrass of Palm Beach County in late October:  “I just wanted to let you know that I am extremely disappointed in your lack of action.  I have tried to do early voting on 3 separate occasions.  Unfortunately,  the minimum wait time was 3 hrs in Palm Beach County (Lantana).  This is ridiculous!!  What are we to expect if we wait till election day?" VotingEmailsRickScott

As the early voting period neared its Saturday deadline and the lines persisted, many voters echoed pleas from top leaders calling on Scott to extend early voting into Sunday.

From Keith Mixon, of Palm Beach County: “Extend the early voting!!!  I am a citizen that takes my right and obligation to vote seriously.  I am not able to wait in line for up to six hours to vote.  This is ridiculous and I understand that you cut the early voting time IN HALF!  What are you thinking!!! OPEN THE POLLS AND EXTEND THE EARLY VOTING!”

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Ken Detzner to CNN: 'We could have done better'

Secretary of State Ken Detzner, facing a tough grilling from CNN's Ashley Banfield, concedes that "we could have done better ... we will do better" in handling the election in Florida as a growing chorus of voices is openly ridiculing the state for its latest electoral embarrassment. 

Detzner attributed the extarordinarily long lines at early voting sites to the length of the ballot and the fact that a record number of people participated in the election. But under Banfield's questioning, he said it's time for the Legislature to expand the types of early voting sites, beyond elections offices, city halls and libraries.

"Let's talk about the solution," Detzner said. "The solution is that in current Florida law there's a limit on the number of locations that supervisors can use in early voting. We need to take a very serious look at that and open up the number of locations."

Banfield, boring in, demanded Detzner explain why the state didn't anticipate the bottlenecks with  a truncated, eight-day early voting timetable and expand the number of sites.

"Again, we were following the law," Detzner said. "It appears as though now we need to redress the issue regarding the locations. The governor has asked me to look at that issue."  

Banfield concluded the interview with asking Detzner to remind his bos, Gov. Rick Scott, that he needs to "face the music" and appear on CNN to answer for the confusion and chaos at the polls.

-- Steve Bousquet

Dorworth loss sets off new race for 2014 speakership

Republican representatives elected in 2007 are jostling to replace, Rep. Chris Dorworth, who appears to have lost his seat in a shocking upset.  

Dorworth, a Lake Mary Republican who was in line to become Speaker of the House in 2014, lost narrowly to Mike Clelland, an underfunded Democrat and newcomer.

The apparent Dorworth loss, which came on a night of several Democratic upsets, set off a race to fill in the leadership gap for the competitive role of the Speakership.

Members of Dorworth’s class—which includes Reps. Steve Crisafulli, Erik Fresen, Matt Hudson and Charles McBurney—have reportedly been making moves to replace him.

That class has been considerably thinned by various resignations and election defeats. Former Reps. Eric Eisnaugle, Brad Drake, Scott Plakon, Mike Weinstein and Mike Horner all left the Legislature this year either via resignation or electoral defeat.

We'll update as we learn more.


Weatherford on the election: 'I'm over it,' calls for fixing snafus and state-based solutions

Incoming House Speaker Will Weatherford appeared on conservative talk radio's WFLA in Tallahassee Friday morning as host Preston Scott played the soundtrack to the movie "The Last of the Mohicans." 

"It's a little bit melodramatic don't you think,'' Weatherford said with a laugh.

Scott said "no load on you" but joked that he considered Weatherford, a Wesley Chapel Republican, "one of the last of the Mohicans."

Weatherford was asked how he felt on election night.

"I was going through the stages of grief,'' he said, before he went to bed at 3 a.m.

Scott said his listeners are both heartbroken and angry but Weatherford said: "I'm over it. The American people have spoken. Whether you like what they had to say or not in this race, whether you like the fact that President Obama is going to be the president of the United States for the next four years or not, he's going to be our president.

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From Flori-duh to clusterfu#!3ry, our elections are a running joke

Florida blew its chance to help determine the presidency, but did win a fabulous booby prize: another starring role in many a late-night and Internet punch line.

Jon Stewart, host of the popular Daily Show, looked on the bright side Wednesday night, noting that unlike during the infamous 2000 Bush-Gore race, the entire nation wasn’t waiting on Florida to figure out who won.

“Here’s the good news: The election was decided without them,’’ Stewart said, drawing a rousing cheer from his studio audience. “For once, Florida’s clusterf---ery is irrelevant.’’

He also indelicately compared the state map to a flaccid male organ and, in another nod to the 2000 fiasco, noted the inherent problem of giving “a 10-page novelette state ballot to people who couldn’t handle a [expletive deleted] one-page butterfly ballot.’’

The jokes, naturally, didn’t play quite as well with South Florida elections officials and political leaders.

More here

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/11/09/174216/florida-becomes-election-jokes.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_term=news#storylink=cpy

Dorworth falls further behind Clelland, now 123 votes short, recount set for Sunday

Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Mike Ertel released the following late Thursday night. After a review of provisional ballots Rep. Chris Dorworth has lost even more of his narrow margin against Democratic challenger Mike Clelland, who now has a net 123 vote lead.

From Ertel:

The canvassing board has just completed canvassing of all of Seminole County’s provisional ballots.  The updated numbers are here: http://www.voteseminole.org/links/ESR_2.pdf

In short, of the provisional ballots which were deemed eligible, Clelland received an additional 228 votes and Dorworth received an additional 142 votes.  The previous lead of 37 was increased to 123.  It is now Clelland-36,977, Dorworth-36,854.

Next step: we have submitted the results to the Florida Department of State.  In accordance with the parameters set by Florida law, I assume the Secretary of State will order a recount of this race.  We have already scheduled a canvassing board meeting for Sunday at 1 p.m. for the conduct of the recount.