Five of today’s top Florida political stories at your fingertips:
Names emerging for 2018 governor’s race – With another four years till the next election for governor, it’s a little awkward being a political heir apparent. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam held a post-inauguration open house in his Capitol office last week, chatting and taking pictures with a long line of friends and admirers. The crowd included Bruce Borders, a north Florida man who trains riderless horses for tributes to fallen soldiers, police and firefighters. Borders, wearing a cowboy hat, was with Koda, his Australian Shepherd dog, and friend Eddie Roberts, a Suwannee County farmer. “Come on over here,” Borders said to Roberts. “You want to meet the next governor of Florida?” Read more
Seven southern states plan their own Super Tuesday for 2016 race – A potential Southern Super Tuesday with as many seven states voting near the start of the presidential primary calendar could become a pivotal moment in the 2016 GOP nomination battle. Georgia’s secretary of state is leading an effort to hold a regional primary on March 1 next year that could include Texas and Florida, the nation’s second- and third-most-populous states. Non-Southern states also could hold elections that day. The timetable could boost candidates who can afford expensive media markets and who have ties to the region, among them former Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio , both of Florida, and Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. Read more
Marc Caputo: Sen. Rubio’s ambitions and Florida’s political dominoes – Marco Rubio is expected to run for president. All that’s really in doubt is the year: 2016, 2020, 2024? What’s not uncertain is that the U.S. senator has a tough decision to make: does he make a longshot bid and give up his seat or does he run for president and then seek reelection? Either way, there’s increasing political chatter that Rubio is well-positioned to run for governor in 2018. And then, if he wins, there’s a good chance Gov. Rubio will run for president — 2020 would be attractive if a beatable Democrat is president. Read more
Legislature’s offer to not renew card games for Seminoles: bluff or bargain? – This could be a lucky year for owners of dog tracks, horse tracks and even Miami’s resort casino promoters. The state’s budget outlook is so good that Florida legislative leaders have suggested that they may not renew a key provision of the gambling agreement — known as the compact — between the state and the Seminole Tribe that allows the tribe to run blackjack tables and other banked card games at its casinos. Read more
Amendment 1 spending plans begin to take shape — This week Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet will consider the purchase of a 669-acre tract in Charlotte County that could help improve water quality and wildlife habitat in the area. State officials will pay $3.15 million for the land, which is part of the Charlotte Harbor Flatwoods project in the Florida Forever program. State environmental officials said acquisition of the property, which includes the removal of a cattle operation, will help “jump-start an ecosystem restoration project that has been stalled for decades.” Scott and the Cabinet will also consider a $9.77 million purchase in the Corkscrew Swamp in Collier County — another Florida Forever project with similar environmental benefits. Read more
Bonus from PA: Florida Governor Coming to Philly to Poach Jobs
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