Rick Scott

Florida GOP leaders have failed

By Brian E. Crowley
Trump is back on Twitter this morning.
He says nothing about the murdered Capitol Police Officer. He says nothing about the violence at the Capitol. He says nothing about the destruction. Instead, he defends them and tells them they will "have a giant voice in the future."
The responses to his tweet are equally disturbing. Sadly, I fear the violence we saw Wednesday from the Trump fringe is just the beginning and not the end.
Dc violence
And even as Florida's GOP members of our congressional cowered under their desks yesterday, few understand today that what they say and do has consequences.
As of this moment, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis still has not challenged Trump for inciting the riot. Video of Trump and his family and senior officials watching monitors of the crowd just before he went on stage, demonstrates just how eager they all were for the crowd to take action. And Trump, telling the crowd that he would walk with them to the Capitol (egging others to take action while hiding on the sidelines is typical of bullies), got exactly what he wanted as the rioters rampaged through the Capitol.
Did any of this convince Congressman Matt Gaetz to shut-up. No. Instead, the child-congressman took to the floor not only to falsely protest the election results, but to claim that Antifa had blended in with Trump supporters so they could attack the Capitol.
Congressman, have you no shame? 
And of course, not surprisingly, some of the thugs looting, destroying, defecating the Capitol were Florida "patriots." 
Thank you for being dumb enough to post your pictures on social media. The FBI, Capitol Police, and other investigators appreciate it. Your neighbors may be thrilled to know they live next to someone willing to attack our Capitol. Your employers may take note as well. And if you own a business, don't be surprised if you lose a few customers.
Where was DeSantis? Marco Rubio? Rick Scott? 
This sad, after-the-fact comment from DeSantis, (the same father who used his small child in a build the wall campaign commercial), "In no way have I supported any type of lawlessness or anything like that" is spineless.
And now, a gentle reminder to the mob. You are not "patriots." You are thugs. 
Real Patriots understand why the Founders established a House and Senate. It is there for disagreements to be seriously debated and compromises reached. The Founders did not envision a system in which everyone would leave happy about the results. Our leaders, and the voters who chose them, have failed miserably in living up to those ideals.
Moments ago, Trump tweeted again. He says he will not be going to the inauguration. 
Meanwhile, there are posts from "patriots" threatening even more disruption during the inauguration. 

High Tops and Politics - Mister Geppetto did what?

In Florida politics you can run but you can't hide.

High Tops and Politics chases it all from Tallahassee to Mar-a-Lago as only veteran political journalist Brian Crowley and political strategist Mary Anna Mancuso can do.

Join us for our often amusing run through the Sunshine State.

Episode 6 - A problem with Starbucks and cellphone? Will Florida drones be wearing badges? Are Florida elections safe? Is the GOP undermining local government? This week's High Tops Award, and much more.


High Tops and Politics - The Mystery of the Double Knot

In Florida politics you can run but you can't hide.

High Tops and Politics chases it all from Tallahassee to Mar-a-Lago as only veteran political journalist Brian Crowley and political strategist Mary Anna Mancuso can do.

Join us for our often amusing run through the Sunshine State.

Episode 5 - Should Florida take on Alexa? Donald Trump's favorite Bush. Do Florida voters matter? Roxie gets moxie. The mystery of the Double Knot. This week's High Tops Award, and much more.


Ron DeSantis quits, Rick Scott looks shameful


By Brian E. Crowley

Florida Republican nominee for Governor, Ron DeSantis just announced that he is quitting Congress immediately so he can run full time for governor. In fact, his resignation is even more than immediate. He is time warping the effective date to Sept. 1.

As a low rung member of Congress, his impact there was minimal but that is not unusual for members in their first years on the Hill. DeSantis, with enormous help from President Trump and Fox News, easily knocked out Republican establishment favorite Adam Putnam in the GOP primary.

Now, we are in the early stages of what will be a blistering general election between arch-conservative DeSantis, and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum who swings hard left. 

Meanwhile, Governor Rick Scott demonstrated what a soulless state leader is has been in a video of him talking to felons asking for a return of their voting rights.  Florida and Scott in particular were skewered Sunday night on HBO's Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

Oliver is not only funny and merciless, but as he often does, he closely examines an important issue and gives his audience something to think about. In this case, he urged viewers to vote to restore felon voting rights in November.

It is a must watch video. If nothing else, watch Scott, who wants to replace Democrat Bill Nelson in the U.S. Senate, at about the 6:45 mark. No matter how you feel about the issue, every Floridian should be embarrassed by Scott's callousness. His lack of compassion is chilling.



Are Florida Republicans leaderless?

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Rick Scott talks guns at the White House

Florida Gov. Rick Scott spoke at the White House this morning at a gathering of governors hosted by President Trump.

Here is the White House transcript of Scott's remarks:

GOVERNOR SCOTT: Well, the first thing I want to do is I want to thank the President for making something happen. All of us, as governors, know, in any jobs we've had, you have to get something done. If you -- anybody that has gone through one of these -- and if you've gone to the funeral of a 14-year-old girl that her parents just loved her, you know that you have to make a change.

 So what we've done in the last -- I guess, it's a little less than two weeks -- we've looked at what other governors have done. We've brought people together. I'm very appreciative of what the President has done by bringing us all together to talk about this, and also what he did last week by bringing people together because it has created momentum to make sure something happens this time, that we dont go through this and nothing happen.

So, in our state, the way I've done this is I've broken it down into three things. Number one, we're going to have school safety. No parent in our state is going to say, "I'm concerned whether my child can go to school safely." If you go to school in Florida, you're going to know that your child can come home safely. If you're a teacher, if you work at one of these schools, you're going to know you're going to come home safely. That's step one.

We're going to spend $500 million. I have two weeks left in my legislative session; I'm not waiting for the federal government. We're going to invest $500 million, and we're going to have significant law enforcement presence at every public school in our state.


Continue reading "Rick Scott talks guns at the White House" »

Why Rick Scott should not run for the Senate. It's not what you think.



By Brian E. Crowley

Many believe that most mornings Florida Governor Rick Scott looks in the mirror and sees the Sunshine State's newest U.S. Senator. Certainly Republicans hope he is right.

Scott is their perfect candidate. He can largely pay his own way. He has won two statewide races. And most importantly, he could knock off a three-term Democrat - Bill Nelson - and perhaps help the GOP keep control of the Senate.

Those are swell reasons for the Republican Party to cheer him on but the fact is that Scott might just be miserable as a United States senator. Unless, his plan is to retire to the Senate - and he would not be the first, Scott might be better off not running.

Let's start with why Scott would be miserable.

Continue reading "Why Rick Scott should not run for the Senate. It's not what you think." »

Jeb Bush should stop talking and start running for the Senate



By Brian E. Crowley

Sometimes the saddest thing is watching a politician who has been booted from the stage. No matter how happy they say they are, one can always see the longing to be back. Sometimes they run again. Sometimes they pontificate from the sidelines, with fewer and fewer people paying attention. Jeb Bush has been doing a lot of pontificating lately.

He is clearly still ticked off at his humiliating 2016 defeat. He has the good fortune of being able to blame his loss on Donald Trump, a character he breezily dismissed when much of the Republican world presumed Bush would be their nominee.

One can only imagine how it felt when in the early debates he stood center stage and then as his poll numbers dropped found himself standing further on the edge while Trump took his place at center stage.

Partly, Bush continues to blame Sen. Marco Rubio.  In the Bush world, once Jeb decided to run, no loyal Florida Republican would dare to challenge him. Rubio, considered at the time one of the leading figures in what many believed would be a new GOP, saw no reason to stand aside for his elder.

Today, Bush still pokes at Rubio.

During an interview with USA Today's Alan Gomez, Bush, talking about immigration, said, "God forbid you actually took on something that was controversial and paid a political price. That's the  attitude in D.C. right now. Certainly Sen. Rubio is no different in that regard."

During a podcast with The Federalist, Bush chastised Rubio again. "When you're that talented and knowledgeable about subjects you need to step up," said Bush. "I think he's being too cautious."

So about that stepping up stuff. Perhaps, it's time for Bush to step up. Chirping from the sidelines makes him sound more like a parent yelling at the umpire during a middle school baseball game.

Continue reading "Jeb Bush should stop talking and start running for the Senate" »

Floridians should be ashamed at what happened in the state Senate today

Senate President Joe Negron failed. The Florida Senate failed. Florida Republicans failed. With a silly slap on the wrist, they are simply tolerating a member of the senate using the harshest of racist words - nigger.  

Republican Senator Frank Artiles stood on the Senate floor Wednesday and read a scripted apology. Negron removed him as committee chairman and considers that punishment enough.

Artiles blew it by not resigning.

Negron blew it by not moving to expel him.

Now, Artiles should not resign. He should face the humiliation of being tossed out of the Senate. 

Here is what happened according to the Miami Herald's Patricia Mazzei:

Miami Republican Sen. Frank Artiles dropped the n-word to a pair of African-American colleagues in private conversation Monday night — after calling one of them a "f------ a------," a "b----" and a "girl," the two senators said.

Over drinks after 10 p.m. at the members-only Governors Club just steps from the state Capitol, Artiles told Sens. Audrey Gibson of Jacksonville and Perry Thurston of Fort Lauderdale that Senate President Joe Negron of Stuart had risen to his powerful GOP leadership role because "six n-----rs" in the Republican caucus had elected him.

Artiles later told Gibson and Thurston that he'd used the word "n----as," suggesting the slang term was not meant to be insulting, Gibson and Thurston said. It's unclear whom Artiles was referring to, since the only black senators in the state Senate are all Democrats — and none of them backed Negron's bid to lead the chamber.

Artiles apologized to Gibson late Tuesday afternoon, after he'd been reported to Republican leaders and reporters started asking questions.

It is important to note that Artiles did not attempt to apologize until he was caught.

He even told the Herald he has no intention of resigning and plans to run for reelection in 2018.

Basically, Artiles was offering a FU to the Senate and his constituents.

The members of the Black Caucus are calling for Artiles to be ousted.

Negron should move quickly to do so.

This is not the first time that Artiles has acted like a bully. This is not the first time that he has harmed the reputation of the Senate. This is not first time that he has insulted others.

Peter Schorsch - in a must read column about Artiles - reports:

A lobbyist, who shall remain unnamed, said it was reported to him after he left the Governors Club that same night that Artiles called him and another person who works in the Capitol “faggots.”

That’s according to two friends of the lobbyist, who told him of the exchange later in the evening. The lobbyist then told me.

This issue is no longer about Artiles. This issues falls squarely in the lap of the Senate President and the entire Senate. 

And frankly, perhaps it is time for Gov. Rick Scott to stand up and speak out. 

Florida is better than this.

Or are we?


Are Florida Republicans leaderless?

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Are Florida Republicans a leaderless party?

Who is the leader of the Florida Republican Party?

Governor Rick Scott? Marco Rubio? Adam Putnam? Pam Bondi? Jeff Atwater?

Or perhaps Jeb Bush?

Or – are Florida Republicans so fractured that there is no single leader of the party?

Today’s Florida Republican Party is very different than the one Bush took over when he staged a coup in 1994. He showed up in that year’s governor’s race as candidate who had never run for office, had limited campaign experience and a business background marked by notable failures. Like Donald Trump, what he did have was a name everyone knew – Bush.

With the help of his family name, Bush easily pushed aside more established GOP candidates to become the party’s nominee for governor. Bush would narrowly lose that election to incumbent Democrat Lawton Chiles, but the GOP would take over the Senate and the Florida Cabinet. And Bush began his reign has the undisputed leader of the Florida Republican Party.

Today, Florida Republicans are rudderless. The party that Bush ruled with a firm hand for more than a decade, is fractured. The slide began with the election of Charlie Crist as governor in 2006. It’s hard to believe now that at one point Crist was among those being considered to be John McCain’s running mate in the 2008 presidential campaign.

Crist, much like his arch-enemy Marco Rubio, was always a malleable Republican shifting direction as fit his political ambitions. Florida Republicans tolerated Crist because, well, he was governor. And by golly, if a Floridian became vice president that would be swell too.

Bush deeply cared about the machinery of politics. He put his best people in the right places. Crist could care less. He turned the party machine over to the now notorious Jim Greer who plundered the party coffers and ended up in prison.

Crist’s hold on the party was so tenuous that a faux hug from President Obama led to screams from Eler
the hard right and opportunity for Rubio. The once moderate Rubio found maneuvering room by suddenly becoming an ardent follower of the emerging Tea Party movement. Many establishment Republicans laughed at the notion that Rubio could successfully challenge Crist who decided he would rather be a U.S. Senator than run for a second term as governor.

It was a calamitous moment for the Florida GOP and it began the cracking of party unity.

Rubio became a hero of the Tea Party and as the 2010 primary approached, his ardent followers were overwhelming the GOP establishment. And Republicans who had been lukewarm about Crist suddenly had an opportunity to abandon him

Crist leaves the GOP to run as independent. Rubio captures the party nomination and goes on to win a three way race defeating Crist and Democrat Kendrick Meek.

At the same time, a stranger arrived in town – Rick Scott.

Continue reading "Are Florida Republicans leaderless?" »

It is time to stop blaming Big Sugar


By Brian E. Crowley

SHAKING MONEY TREEIt is time to stop blaming Big Sugar.

Yes, Big Sugar is winning. It owns the governor’s office, the cabinet, and the Florida Legislature. It has power over much of Florida’s congressional delegation.

Formidable Tallahassee reporter Mary Ellen Klas did a masterful job this week with an in-depth story in the Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times about the power of Big Sugar.

Between 1994 and 2016, a review of state Division of Elections records by The Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times Tallahassee bureau shows, the sugar industry — led by United States Sugar and Florida Crystals — has steered a whopping $57.8 million in direct and in-kind contributions to state and local political campaigns.


The Sugar industry has been masterful. No matter what successes the environmental community has had – passage of the 1994 Everglades Forever Act, the 1996 Polluter Pays Amendment to the Florida Constitution, the 2000 Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (sign by President Bill Clinton with then Gov. Jeb Bush by his side), or the 2014 Water and Land Conservation Act – the Sugar industry has been able to either slow down implementation or thwart the intent.


By owning a stable of elected officials. By hiring top teams of lobbyists. By having connections in critical government agencies.

And, nothing they do is illegal. Sugar simply plays the game of politics better than their opponents.

As Klas reported:

“I can tell you, first hand, that the industry is directly involved with every decision this Legislature makes,” said Eric Eikenberg, CEO of the Everglades Foundation which for decades has fought the sugar industry over the causes and solutions of the Everglades and was a chief of staff to former Gov. Charlie Crist. (Note: I previously was a media consultant for the Foundation.)

Eikenberg works hard to make sure the Foundation’s voice is heard in Tallahassee but it is an often frustrating experience.

Eikenberg was part of the Crist team that put together the deal to buy U.S. Sugar land. At the time, the company applauded the deal and was eager to get out of the sugar business. But when U.S. Sugar wanted out of the contract it fought hard. And they found a willing ally in the newly elected governor, Rick Scott (to whom they contributed handsomely) who said hell no about buying the land.

No matter the setback, the sugar industry always comes out ahead.

But it is time to stop blaming them. Perhaps it is time to blame the environmentalists.

Continue reading "It is time to stop blaming Big Sugar" »

Rick Scott tells Marco Rubio to pound sand

RickScottGovernor Rick Scott is urging Florida voters to take a look at his buddy, businessman Carlos Beruff, as their choice to be the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate.

Washington GOP leaders begged Marco Rubio to run for a second term and, after much staging, Rubio "reluctantly" announced this week that he would oblige them.

Whoa!, said Scott in post on Facebook earlier today.

When I ran for office in 2010, I was a political outsider and the entire Republican establishment was against me. They already had their hand-picked candidate and it wasn’t me.

But, the voters of Florida spoke and I was elected Governor.

Carlos Beruff is a good friend of mine, a businessman and an outsider to politics. The voters of Florida deserve the opportunity to consider his candidacy alongside Senator Rubio and make their own decision.

The opinions of the political class in Washington are not relevant to the voters of Florida. Florida Republicans will pick the nominee on their own.

Translation - pound sand Marco.

One suspects that the Rubio camp is not happy with the Governor.  



Florida Governor Rick Scott says it is time for stop Trump efforts to end.

Rick ScottMoments ago on Florida Governor Rick Scott's Facebook page, he said, "it is time for the "Stop Trump" movement to end."

Scott has long supported Trump even though he did not formally endorse Trump during the Florida primary. In his Facebook post this afternoon, Scott it is time for "Republicans to come together."

Here is Scott's post:

It is time for the ‘Stop Trump’ movement to end. Yesterday’s election results show that the anti-Trump efforts didn’t work.

Republicans now need to come together. Donald Trump is going to be our nominee, and he is going to be on the ballot as the Republican candidate for President. The Republican leaders in Washington did not choose him, but the Republican voters across America did choose him. The voters have spoken.

If the anti-Trump groups don’t stop now, their efforts will be nothing more than a contribution to the Clinton campaign.

The damage that President Obama has done to our country is serious and substantial. We cannot afford another four years of liberal incompetence, and that is exactly what Hillary Clinton would bring.

We’ve had an extensive debate amongst ourselves, it is now time to get serious about winning in November. This was a hard fought campaign, but now is the time for Republicans to unite.

Florida Governor Rick Scott loves Donald Trump

This is the kind of silliness that Florida Governor Rick Scott has become known for in the Sunshine State. In a lengthy Op-ed in USA Today, Scott sings the praises of Donald Trump and then says but golly, "I have no plans to endorse a candidate."

Well that's courageous as hell.

Scott shows his love for Trump throughout his opinion piece.

Political pundits are shocked that Donald Trump is leading in the polls. The same thing happened in 2010 when I entered the Florida gubernatorial race against the already anointed and establishment-endorsed sitting Republican attorney general. One establishment member even said to me “how can you be Governor? I don’t know you."

RickScottLet's pause: Did Scott just take a slap at establishment candidate Jeb Bush? Or Floirda U.S. Senator Marco Rubio?

Back to Trump:

I know Donald Trump personally, and while I currently have no plans to endorse a candidate before Florida’s March presidential primary, there is no doubt that Donald is a man who speaks and tweets his mind freely. But, I don’t think his ability to give the most interesting interviews or speeches is the only thing that has him leading in the polls. I think he is capturing the frustration of many Americans after seven years of President Obama’s very intentional government takeover of the American economy.

Let's pause again.

Not an endorsement? Seriously? 

We are mere weeks away from the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary and Scott writes high praise for one of the candidates. 

Once again, Scott proves that he really thinks most voters are a bunch of dummies. 

Soon Scott drifts off to brag about his accomplishments.  You can read Scott's non-endorsement, endorsement here.

Conservative group goes after Patrick Murphy on ISIS

Better Florida Alliance has a new web video suggesting the Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy is weak on ISIS and too eager for more gun control.

Murphy is a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio. Murphy is being challenged in a hot-lead battle with Democratic U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson.

Which begs the question - why is a conservative Florida group injecting itself in the Democratic primary? Why is the group attacking Murphy?

Interestingly, as reported by Peter Schorsch in October, the group is led by two folks with connections to Florida Governor Rick Scott - Brian Burgess and Josh Cooper. According to Schorsch, Cooper is executive director of Better Florida Alliance and the Scott supporting Let's Get to Work. Burgess was Scott's communications director.

Burgess told Times/Herald Buzz the ad will run on social media during the Holiday break.

Perhaps the ad is a suggestion that Florida Republicans would rather be up against Grayson than Murphy.

Is the ad fair?



Is the air fair?

Bill Nelson to run for reelection

Florida Senator Bill Nelson announced today he will run for a fourth term. The Democrat made the announcement during a speech at the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches.

Nelson chose not to comment about the likely candidacy of Republican Gov Rick Scott.

Nelson will be 73 next month and recently recovered from prostate cancer. Nelson, who was joined at the event by his wife Grace, also talked about his support for the deal with Iran, the threat of a congressional budget showdown, and speculated that Vice President Joe Biden will not run against Hillary Clinton.

After the speech, Nelson was on the phone for a lengthy conversation with former President Bill Clinton. Grace Nelson also spoke with the former president.

Charlie Crist says he is running if

AbbyCharlie Crist Tweeted a few minutes ago that if the Florida Legislature redraws the congressional map with in a way that favors him - he will run for Republican U.S. Rep. David Jolly's seat.

With the Florida Supreme Court telling the legislature that it violated the Florida Constitution with gerrymandered seats, our fine legislative leaders are being forced to do it over again. This is creating the likelihood that Jolly's seat with move in a more Democratic Party direction.

Jolly is announcing this evening that after a short stint in Congress, he wants to move on the U.S. Senate.

Crist, who has gone from Republican to Independent to Democrat, all in an effort to, well, help Crist, lost to Marco Rubio for senate and then narrowly lost to Rick Scott in the governor's race.

So now, he may be handed a congressional seat for which to run.

Unless, Republican leaders can figure out a way to screw him because they hate him.

Is Crist out of magic tricks? 

We'll soon find out.

Here's his Tweet:

Charlie CristVerified account‏@CharlieCrist

"If the new congressional map includes my home, I intend on running to serve the people again."

Embedded image permalink
12:00 PM - 20 Jul 2015



"If the new congressional map includes my home, I intend on running to serve the people again." pic.twitter.com/MYkFTCy1mS

Marco Rubio says get rid of outdated leaders does he include Jeb Bush?

 Florida Senator and 2016 presidential candidate Marco Rubio sent a video for his appearance today at Governor Rick Scott's economic summit in Orlando. In the video, Rubio raps "outdated leaders." It is an ongoing theme of his campaign. 

Attending the summit is "I'm still kinda thinking about it even though sometimes a slip-of-the-tongue has me admitting I'm a candidate" former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. 

Which leaves one wondering are Rubio's remarks intended to sweep Bush into the net of old fogies?

Rubio: "While our economy is transforming our policies and our leaders are not. Our outdated leaders continue to cling to outdated ideas. . . .Time has come for a new generation of leaders."

So tell us Senator - are you including Jeb Bush among the old timers?


Jeb Bush says politically it is very dangerous and could end his career

Jeb Bush believed he was starting a revolution.  "This is huger than huge and bigger than big," wrote Bush in a 1 a.m. email to Sally Bradshaw his chief of staff.

Bush also thought it might cost him a second term as Florida governor. 

"If we are unsuccessful . . . I will be Governor for four years whether that is the time I want to serve or not," he wrote to Bradshaw and her husband Paul, a Tallahassee lobbyist.

It was April 27, 1999.  A few hours earlier, Bush had learned that a legislative conference committee had approved his sweeping plan to reform education.

"I really don’t think many people understand the significance of our plan passing. In fact, I am certain that they don’t," wrote Bush.

Bush's A+ Plan  - the father of Common Core - would become law two months later. Bush's sweeping plan would fundamentally change Florida schools, throw open the doors to state-funded charter schools, make student testing a continuing measure of a school's success, and each Florida school would annually be graded from A to F. 

Since the plan's adoption, it has faced withering opposition from teacher unions and school administrators. Parents worry that students are being taught only what they need to know to pass the mandated tests. And as Bush's education philosophy morphed into a national Common Core movement, Republican conservatives would balk fearing a federal takeover of student education.

While Bush could not predict then that he would be a presidential candidate in 2016 forced to defend Common Core and education reform, he did foresee potential political peril.

 "I believe it is huge," wrote Bush. "Politically, it is very dangerous."

"It is more than worth the risk," Bush continued. "I think it will work. It is certainly worth the risk!"

 Bush closes his wee hour email sounding excited, and perhaps a bit overwhelmed by his success.

Continue reading "Jeb Bush says politically it is very dangerous and could end his career" »