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They're Just Spending Fools: Florida Senate Campaigns' Top 5

Who among Florida Senate candidates is out there spending up a storm? Does it surprise you to know that they're all Republicans? Or, that the biggest spender of all is an incumbent who stands virtually 0 -- that's zero -- chance of losing even if he were stoney broke and sitting on a street corner rattling a money jar?

Why are they spending so much now? Don't worry, we'll be asking. In the meantime, here are the Big 5 spend-it-if-you've-got-it chart-toppers:

Mike Haridopolos District 26 Incumbent $ 341,324

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Top 5 Fundraisers in House Races

As in the Senate races, the House campaigns' Big Five fundraisers are all Republicans:


1. Dean Cannon Jr. District 35 $661,786

2. Will Weatherford District 61 437,946

3. Jose Diaz District 115 228,255

4. Ben Albritton District 66 184,000

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Top 5 Fundraisers in Senate Races

I give you the Big Five fundraising leaders among Senate candidates -- Republicans all:

1. Mike Haridopolos District 26 $707,475

2. Jack Latvala District 16 504,259

3. Anitere Flores District 38 487,820

4. Jim Norman District 12 450,560

5. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla District 36 444,835

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Times/Herald Holds Teachers Union Harmless, Apparently

The Times/Herald combo is good at "follow the money" campaign stories. They've been writing them for years, separate or together. There's always that sneering quality in the story's tone when their reporters write about the bad guys donating those Big Bucks to their favorite evil candidates. You can almost see the reporter's lip curl up at the corner.

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Watch the Video! Tallahassee's 'Tax Day' Tea Party Rally

So you think you know who Tea Partiers are? Not so fast! Take a look at Lane Wright's coverage of the "We the People" rally Thursday in front of the Old Capitol in Tallahassee. And then you decide.

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St. Lucie Wins $286,298 Federal Conservation Grant

Today often-left-behind St. Lucie County wasn't.

U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla. announced St. Lucie won a competitive $286,298 grant for Indian River and St. Lucie habitat conservation planning from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

"This grant will give some relief to local taxpayers and landowners by providing federal funds to support conservation efforts," Rooney said. "This funding will help identify areas of need and find potential habitats for some of Florida's threatened and endangered species."

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AFL-CIO Lawyer Coaches Teacher ... See For Yourself

While our reporter and videographer Lane Wright attempted to interview a teacher, a woman swooped in and whispered in the teacher's ear.

Teacher: OK.

Reporter: I'm sorry, was that anything to do with this interview?

Voice off camera: Yep.

Reporter: Was she coaching you on what to say?

Teacher: (Laughs).

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Tough to Find Fault With Vote-Yes-for-SB 6 Ad

It says what it means, this ad: more money for teachers whose students learned by year's end. That's performance pay. And isn't effective teaching what we all want in Florida classrooms?

SB 6 has bugs, no question, but its premise is right on. Have a look ...

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Union Prattle

The Florida Education Association, the state teachers union, complains the Florida House "is holding the final public hearing" of a controversial education bill in the middle of spring break ... "when they hope (teachers) are not watching or listening."

Wah, wah, wah.

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40 Houdinis

Senate President Jeff Atwater was as good as his word Wednesday, leading the Republican-dominated Senate to produce the balanced state budget he promised on Jan. 20. Said Majority Leader Alex Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, "We made tough decisions, addressed real problems ... without taking another dime in taxes from Floridians."

Senate leaders in more than 30 other states must be scratching their heads today, wondering how Atwater & Co. pulled off so much, so quickly.

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