Five of today’s top Florida political stories at your fingertips:
Why Andrew Card is wrong about political families – This month’s election results were good (but not perfect) for political families. Many of the high-profile races in these elections featured prominent American political families. Florida joined the nepotistic political party by sending Democrat Gwenn Graham to Congress, defeating incumbent Republican Steve Sutherland, representing Florida’s second Congressional District. Graham’s father, Bob Graham, is the former Governor of Florida and a former U.S. Senator. She made no statement of her family’s political heritage in the election. Of course, one of the all-time American political families is also connected to Florida through leading politician, former governor, and perhaps future presidential candidate, Jeb Bush. Read more
Scott reshuffles press shop, hires new Cabinet aide – Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday announced Monica Russell as his new director of Cabinet affairs and made more changes to his communications shop in advance of his second term in January. Russell, 31, is a University of Florida graduate who was communications director at the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) before leaving to work as surrogates director for the Scott re-election campaign. John Tupps, 30, will be deputy communications director. A University of Tennessee communications grad, Tupps joined the Scott administration in 2011 and had been serving as press secretary. That post will be held by Jeri Bustamante, 29, who was campaign press secretary for Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera. She’s a former associate producer for WSVN, the Fox TV station in Miami. Read more
Florida woman in ‘stand your ground’ case accepts plea deal – A Florida woman who once had been sentenced to 20 years in a case that invoked the state’s “stand your ground” law has accepted a plea deal that will see her released from prison in January. Marissa Alexander of Jacksonville, Fla., was accused of firing what she said was a warning shot at her husband and two of his children during a domestic dispute in 2010. She was charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, convicted and sentenced under Florida’s mandatory minimum guidelines. Alexander’s legal team used the stand-your-ground law as part of her legal defense. Read more
Florida retail sales outpace the nation – Florida retailers are expected to exceed 2013 holiday sales this year. November marks the beginning of the holiday season and the start of retailers’ busiest days of the year. This year, Florida holiday sales are expected to be better than those in 2013, according to the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida.1 This is good news for Florida, since retail trade is the third-largest employer by industry, and general sales taxes make up 74.2 percent of the state’s General Revenue. Read more
Legislature faces difficult discussion on gambling deal – Re-upping a lucrative gambling deal between the state and the Seminole Tribe will be a crapshoot when lawmakers return to Tallahassee next year. A portion of the agreement, called a “compact,” signed in 2009 giving the tribe exclusive rights to conduct card games at seven of its facilities, dries up in July unless lawmakers and Gov. Rick Scott renew the deal. Insiders working on a new plan say it’s a heavy lift. “I do not believe it’s as easy as just deciding whether or not the tribe maintains the banked card games. When the issue goes into play, then all of the various interests are going to promote their goals,” said Senate Majority Leader Bill Galvano, a Bradenton Republican who played a major role in crafting the compact five years ago and is expected to take a lead again this year. “You will end up having a robust discussion if you address this issue. Given that the issue needs to be addressed by the end of session or by July, that means that discussion’s coming.” Read more
Plus — check out the cool graphic: The 2014 governor’s race votes and ad spending by Florida media market
For more Florida political news, visit BPR’s FLORIDA NEWS page
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