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3 posts from November 10, 2012

November 10, 2012

With all 67 counties in, Obama still the Florida winner, now ahead by more: 73k votes

Palm Beach County, which lagged behind the 66 others, has finally finished counting its absentee ballots and it only helped President Obama.

Obama picked up a net 6,910 more votes over Republican Mitt Romney. That helped increase Obama's overall lead in Florida to 73,694. That's an increase of mroe than 15,600 since Thursday, when The Herald first reported Obama had little chance of losing and that a Romney adviser acknowledged the Republican loss.

Obama's lead now stands at 50.01 percent (4,234,522 votes) to Romney's 49.13 (4,160,828 votes). The results are due now at the Secretary of State's office.

Counties are still counting provisional ballots, which are cast when a voter's status is in doubt. And overseas ballots are still not in. The former often favor Democrats. The latter have favored Republicans. But Obama has pulled relatively strong military support, so the chances that Romney can make up for the loss with overseas ballots looks less and less likely as Obama's lead has grown.

The race won't officially be called until Nov. 20, when the state canvassing board meets to certify the results.

Election fall-out helped Miami's Jose Oliva secure speakership -- for 2018

Jose OlivaMiami Rep. Jose Oliva has secured enough Republican votes in his class to be designated House speaker in 2018-20.

Six years is a long time to wait but, in the just-because world of legislative politics, traditions die hard. So it was no surprise that, despite the election-year upset of incoming House speaker Chris Dorworth, the tradition of collecting pledges for the two-year post continued unabated this week.

By Friday, Rep. Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, had quickly won the pledges to replace Dorworth after Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, dropped out. Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Trinity, remained the GOP choice for 2016-18.

But the post-election day scramble also allowed Oliva, the CEO of Oliva Cigar Company who has been campaigning for the post since he was elected in a special election in June 2011, to secure enough support from his colleagues to become speaker in 2018-20.

Like Miami's most recent House Speaker Marco Rubio, Oliva is a "red shirt" freshman, having moved into office on a special election. He has a head start on the job but officially becomes part of the class elected in the subsequent election, those elected on Tuesday who are term-limited out of office in 2020.

Oliva had faced the prospect of being challenged for the speakership by two former legislators, Frank Farkas of St. Petersburg and Alex Diaz de la Portilla of Miami. Both lost on Tuesday as the wave of Obama supporters crushed Republicans in a handful of newly-drawn House districts.

Now, Oliva's supporters tell us, he has secured the pledges free and clear. Dorworth even acknowledged it in his fairwell note to colleagues on Friday.

The line-up of Republican speakers for the Florida House looks this way: Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, 2012-14; Crisafulli, 2014-16; Corcoran, 2016-18; Oliva, 2018-20. That is, of course, another election day doesn't get in the way.

As Charlie Crist emerges as the most vocal opponent of Rick Scott is campaign in sight?

President Barack Obama’s narrow victory over Mitt Romney in Florida this week has Democrats eager to seize the momentum to focus on the next hurdle: defeating Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

Party leaders are thumping their chest that the triumph was a repudiation of the tea party, a signal that the state party is out-of-touch and a blueprint for unseating Scott, the most unpopular governor in Florida in two decades. But Democrats have one big problem: no standout candidate to challenge him.

“Working on that one,’’ joked Scott Arceneaux, director of the Florida Democratic Party.

Their bench includes former legislators, failed former candidates, and a long list of mayors. Only state Sen. Nan Rich, of Weston, who is little known outside Tallahassee, has announced she is in the race.

Then, there is Charlie Crist.

The populist former governor is undergoing a metamorphosis that is substantial even by political standards. He left his party in 2010 as a candidate for U.S. Senate, ran without party affiliation and lost to Republican Marco Rubio.

As an independent, he has since spent this election cycle campaigning aggressively for Obama, chastising his former party for an “extremist” agenda, and, in the last week, he has been accelerating criticism against Rick Scott.

When Scott refused to extend early voting hours as Crist had done in 2008, Crist tweeted “indefensible.” When Scott defiantly defended his decision Friday, Crist sent out a link to his statement and added: “I don’t think the people would agree, Governor.”

He told the Herald/Times that he believes Scott and the GOP were engaged in voter suppression that “created a backlash” and he spent election night making the cable television rounds with a similar message. More here.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/11/09/v-fullstory/3090139/could-democrats-tap-former-gov.html#storylink=cpy