Five of today’s top Florida political stories at your fingertips:
Virginia consulting firm big winner in Florida election, collects $69 million as top vendor for midterm – Campaign finance documents for the record setting midterm elections show some of the winners among the media and consulting corps. Candidates and committees spent millions on companies to produce commercials and buy broadcast airtime. Millions was also spent to gather signatures and reach voters by mail. An Alexandria, Virginia firm was a big winner, leading the Top 10 List of vendors for the 2014 election. Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican Party of Florida spent $69.3 million through the Multi Media Service Corporation. Three Florida companies appear on the list, Majority Strategies of Ponte Vedra Beach, NoiseWorks Media of Coral Gables and Contribution Link of Tallahassee. More than $157 million was spent through or with the 10 companies. Read more
Broward Dem chair tries to point to some wins – After Florida Democrats took a beating on Election Day, Broward Democratic chairman Mitch Ceasar posted a message on Facebook trying to find some silver linings. “The Crist Campaign had informed me that they needed a Broward margin of approximately 175 thousand votes. Broward delivered 176 thousand. This is a substantial increase over 2010,” he wrote. “That was accomplished even through many of our senior super voters have been lost over the last four years. We spent advertising dollars in the minority community.” Broward voted for Democrat Charlie Crist but the 44 percent turnout lagged behind the statewide average, helping Republican Gov. Rick Scott keep his seat. Read more
Bipartisan coalition to push for ban against anti-gay and LGBT discrimination in the workplace – Looking ahead to the 2015 legislative session, Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce has hired a team of bipartisan political operatives to push for a ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. President Obama’s top 2012 Florida strategist, Ashley Walker, will be campaign manager of the coalition. She’ll be joined by longtime Republican lobbyist Towson Fraser, who was communications director for former House Speaker Allan Bense; Ann Herberger, a Miami-based Republican fundraiser and an advisor to former Gov. Jeb Bush; and Christina Johnson, a Tallahassee public relations executive who worked with the Republican Party of Florida and the Republican National Committee. Johnson said she’s not aware of any new legislation banning anti-gay and gender discrimination being filed yet for the 2015 session. Read more
Thrasher, Fuchs confirmed as new presidents of FSU, UF – The Board of Governors confirmed two very different men Thursday as presidents of the state’s top public universities. State Sen. John Thrasher was confirmed as Florida State University’s next president and W. Kent Fuchs was approved as the University of Florida’s new president. Thrasher, who won re-election Tuesday, will now step down from office. He will ride in his alma mater’s Homecoming Parade this weekend and officially starts work Monday. “To now be officially the president is just going to be a thrill,” the St. Augustine Republican said after the vote. W. Kent Fuchs, provost at Cornell University, won’t start his new job at the University of Florida until January. Before the confirmation votes, Board of Governors Chairman Mori Hosseini asked both men to make the same three-part pledge. Thrasher and Fuchs each agreed to keep students safe, tuition low and work to improve the state university system as a whole. Confirmation by the Board of Governors is required for new public university presidents, but is largely a formality. Read more
FL ballot amendments: Medical pot and court packing out, environmental spending in – About 11 p.m. Tuesday night, a Twitter account called “Charlie Crist’s Fan” messaged Gov. Rick Scott, asking for a job. “Hey @ScottforFlorida, you looking for someone to keep you cool? Let me know, bro,” the unknown author wrote in plain view of 2,115 followers. Scott, the incumbent Republican, had just defeated newly minted Democrat Charlie Crist by 1.2 percent, or 70,000 votes, in one of the most expensive and negative governors’ races in history. The candidates — and by extension Florida — became a national laughingstock after a tiff over Crist’s personal Vornado fan during a debate last month. Read more
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