Not a word has been uttered. Not a campaign ad has been created. Not a single news story has been written. Yet, this will be one of the most important decisions the next Florida governor will make – and it only happens every 20 years.
And Democrats, in particular, should be very worried.
Either Republican Rick Scott or Democrat Charlie Crist will appoint 15 members to a new Constitutional Revision Commission. The last time the Commission met was in 1997. When its work was done nine constitutional amendments went to voters including one that reduced Florida’s elected Cabinet from 6 members to 3 – increasing the power of the governor.
Thirty days before the start of the 2017 Legislature, the members of the commission will be picked. The Commission will hold hearings, examine ways to change the Florida Constitution, and then 6 months before the 2018 general election, place it proposed amendments on the ballot.
In addition to the 15 members chosen by the governor, the House Speaker and Senate President will each pick 9 members. Three members will be chosen by Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court. The Attorney General is an automatic member.
The governor picks one of the 37 members to serve as chairman of the commission.
When the 1997 commission was formed, Democrat Lawton Chiles was governor. Republican Toni Jennings was Senate President. Republican Dan Webster, now a member of Congress, was House Speaker. The Attorney General was Democrat Bob Butterworth.
With Chiles appointing 15 members, plus Democrat Butterworth, and the GOP legislative leaders appointing 18 members, the commission was politically balanced. The three appointees from the Chief Justice allowed a patina of impartiality.
Democratic candidate for Florida governor, Charlie Crist begins a three day campaign bus tour tomorrow.
Crowley Political Report suspects some folks from Republican Governor Rick Scott's campaign may show up along the way.
Here's the news release from the Crist campaign.
Crist to Launch Three-Day “Restore the Cuts” School Bus Tour
Tallahassee, Fla. – Charlie Crist, the People’s Governor, will launch a three-day school bus tour across Florida to highlight Rick Scott’s $1.3 billion cut to education – including $20 million to pre-K – in Tallahassee on Wednesday morning. The tour will continue with stops in Jacksonville on Wednesday, Orlando and Tampa on Thursday, and Miami on Friday.
In his first budget proposal, Rick Scott proposed cutting $3.3 billion from K-12 education – the legislature forced him reduce those cuts to $1.3 billion.
Wednesday, August 13 – Tallahassee à Jacksonville
What: Restore the Cuts Bus Tour Kick Off Press Conference in Tallahassee
When: Tomorrow, Wednesday, August 13th at 12:00PM
Where: Chain of Parks, 229 W. Park Avenue, Tallahassee, FL
During the first 10 seconds of these campaign ads, the footage is identical. After that, however, one ad blames Republican Governor Rick Scott for the problem. The other ad blames Democratic candidate Charlie Crist.
Voters are sure to be baffled.
The first ad is from NextGen Climate, largely funded by billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer who is spending millions on races around the country. He is helping Crist.
The Florida Republican Party wasted no time responding turning the attack back on Crist.
Republican Carl Domino is taking a page from the Charlie Crist playbook by running an ad against Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy before Domino has won the August 26, GOP primary.
Domino is clearly the favorite to win the six-person primary and many would be surprised if he lost the GOP nomination for the District 18 seat. The district is dominated by the Treasure Coast and includes part of northern Palm Beach County.
Murphy defeated Republican first termer, Allen West in a district that Mitt Romney won with 52 percent of the vote. Since then, Murphy has worked the district like a small town mayor. He also has not been shy about bucking the White House.
In Domino's first television ad, he reminds voters that Murphy supports ObamaCare and immigration reform. (Note: Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush also support immigration reform). Murphy is one of only a handful of Democrats to cross the aisle to support dozens of legislative fixes to the healthcare law.
Domino is getting little help from Republican leaders and is relying on his own deep pockets to foot much of the bill for his campaign.
Murphy, who is one of the congressional Democrats top fundraisers, is offering a centrist posture to voters. Roll Call recently changed its rating of the race from "Lean Democrat" to "Democrat Favored."
Domino's ad opens with these lines:
"Washington is broken and Congressman Patrick Murphy is a piece of the problem. Standing with Nancy Pelosi on issues like ObamaCare and amnesty for illegal immigrants."
"To fix Washington, Patrick Murphy is a bad fit."
Here is the Domino ad:
In Murphy's ad, he looks directly at the camera and begins with:
"I'm Patrick Murphy. Two years ago, I promised to be an independent fighter for you. Remember?"
The ad then shows a clip from his 2012 campaign where Murphy says:
"In Congress, I will work across party lines to make it happen."
You have to admire the gumption behind this latest Florida Republican Party video. It uses footage of Democratic candidate for governor Charlie Crist getting off a private jet. This voice over makes fun of Crist for using the jet "on the way to an event, get this, about green issues."
Yup, Crist uses private jets. Most statewide candidates do. Rumor has it that Governor Rick Scott has been known to enjoy traveling by private jet.
In fact, Crowley Political Report is a big fan of the private. Anyone want to give us a ride?
This just in from the Charlie Crist for Governor campaign. We should expect a quick response from Rick Scott's campaign.
Here is the release:
Crist Rolls Out Part One of “Fair Shot Florida: A Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Plan”
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. – Charlie Crist, the People’s Governor, today released the first part of his comprehensive middle class jobs and opportunity plan, “Fair Shot Florida.” The first part of the plan focuses on investing in the middle class - because Charlie understands the importance of growing our economy from the middle class out – not from the top down. The full plan can be viewed here.
“America’s economy has improved since the darkest days of the Great Recession – but Florida’s middle class families and small businesses could be doing better,” Crist said. “To ensure that everyone has a fair shot, Florida needs a governor who will invest in them, not just the big corporations. By restoring funding to education, giving Florida workers a raise, and investing in training programs that will prepare our workers for the jobs of the 21st century, we can expand the middle class and create sustainable economic growth.”
Just as Florida Governor Rick Scott has unfairly blamed his predecessor and now opponent Charlie Crist for jobs lost during the Great Recession, this Florida Democratic Party video attempts to suggest that Scott has not done all he promised about creating new jobs for Floridians.
This video relies a lot on company layoffs but ignores the simple fact that during Scott's term unemployment in Florida has dropped significantly.
Both sides are guilty of gross political exaggeration when it comes to talking about jobs.