Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala was quick to respond this week to House Speaker Richard Corcoran's call to abolish public financing for statewide elections.
Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, wants the Constitution Revision Commission to place a measure on the 2018 general election ballot that would eliminate the financing system, which offers to candidates matching state funds for individual contributions up to $250. Under the system, candidates also pledge to cap their overall expenditures.
Corcoran, who is considering a run for governor, called the system “welfare for politicians,” noting that more than $10 million in public funding supported candidates running for governor and the three state Cabinet seats in the 2010 and 2014 elections.
But Latvala, a Clearwater Republican who is an announced candidate for governor and might use public financing in his campaign, said it is a non-issue in a race that should focus on the bigger problems facing the nation's third-largest state.
“No citizen ever mentioned public financing as (an) issue” Latvala tweeted. “Many ARE concerned about opioids, schools falling apart, water quality.”
“Asking @richardcorcoran to join me working on real issues that affect people's lives,” Latvala added.
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, a Democratic candidate for governor who might use public financing, also said Corcoran's initiative “missed the mark.”
“Not only was this exact measure already rejected by the voters in 2010, it fails to address the real problems with campaign finance here in Florida and post-Citizens United,” Gillum said, referring to a U.S. Supreme Court decision that unleashed more corporate financing of elections.
“Floridians want to have a real voice in their campaigns and we have too much corporate money and too little transparency right now,” Gillum said.
Candidates running for governor and the three Cabinet seats will not have to decide on whether to use public financing until June, when they officially qualify to run.
If the Constitution Revision Commission places the repeal proposal on the November 2018 ballot, the change would take effect in subsequent elections, assuming at least 60 percent of the voters agree with the measure.
SARASOTA GOP ADDS CHENEYS TO LIST OF `STATESMEN'
Former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney have joined the list of high profile Republicans to be feted by the Sarasota County Republican Party.
The local party will honor the Cheneys as “Statesman of the Year” and “Stateswoman of the Year” on Oct. 7.
Gov. Rick Scott got the award in 2016, and President Donald Trump was given the honor in 2015 while making noise about a White House run. Trump also got the award in 2012 as he questioned the authenticity of then-President Barack Obama's birth certificate.
Other honorees have included Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Fox News host Sean Hannity.
ACCURATE QUOTE OR FAKE NEWS?
Scott misspoke this week, and his office was indignant that the slip of the lip was put to print.
The Naples Daily News on Monday noted Scott seemed to mimic President Donald Trump's claim that blame was on “both sides” for this month's clash in Charlottesville, Va., that included an alleged white supremacist driving a car into a crowd of counter-protesters.
As he had done in the past, Scott on Monday repeated his disdain for the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis while steering clear of any criticism of his friend Trump.
But then Scott said, "There's no moral authority on both sides."
The newspaper reported that a Scott spokeswoman said the governor intended to say there was no “moral equivalency” between the white supremacist groups and the counter-protesters.
When the Daily News pointed out Scott deviated from his script, “diverging from an earlier position,” his office took the Trumpian approach to announce to the press corps that the story was “false.”
In an email to reporters, Scott spokesman McKinley Lewis said the Daily News “irresponsibly reported” a change in Scott's position.
“Governor Scott has been very clear on his stance against evil, hatred, white supremacists, Nazis and any forms of racism,” Lewis stated in the release. “And, he has said many times over the last week that there is absolutely no moral equivalency between the two sides in Charlottesville.”
Lewis then noted that “Scott inadvertently said the word `authority' instead of `equivalency' while meeting with reporters in Fort Myers today and the Naples Daily News reported this as a policy change. This is false and the Naples Daily News distorted the facts.”
But the Florida Democratic Party on Tuesday reacted to the initial “moral authority” comment, which the party called “revealing.”
“Instead of echoing Trump's hateful rhetoric, Scott should join his fellow Republicans, like Senator (Marco) Rubio, and condemn President Trump's statements, apologize for his own comments and tell Floridians that there were not `two sides' to the racist, anti-American and hate filled rallies America witnessed in Charlottesville,” Florida Democratic Party spokeswoman Johanna Cervone said in a statement.
GOAT-BLOOD DRINKING CANDIDATE FOR SENATE
Augustus Sol Invictus, who got 26.5 percent of the vote in a rare Libertarian Party primary for U.S. Senate in 2016, is now embracing the party of Trump.
Invictus posted on YouTube his plans to seek the Republican Party's 2018 nomination for U.S. Senate, a position many believe is the target of Scott.
Invictus, whose assumed name purportedly means "Unconquerable Sun God," has classified himself in the past as an “American fascist” and wrote a paper in law school supporting eugenics.
When running in 2016, he drew attention for having admitted to engaging in a ritual sacrifice in which he killed a goat and drank its blood.
Adrian Wyllie resigned as chairman of the Libertarian Party of Florida in 2015 after the rest of the party's executive committee was unwilling to openly oppose Invictus.
TWEET OF THE WEEK: “I'm truly saddened to hear the news that Sen. Greg Evers has passed away. He was always quick with a smile. A fun-loving joyful man.” --- Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa, (@DanaYoungFL) on former Sen. Greg Evers, who died in a single vehicle crash late Monday.