Florida Democratic Party

Orange County Bar Association

Florida Democratic Party officials say they won’t rule out naming another challenger to state Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater in the wake of the party’s prohibitive nominee dropping out of the race. The party is searching for a replacement for Allie Braswell Jr., who stepped away from the race just days after entering it.

Last Thursday, the Central Florida Urban League President announced he’d mount a 2014 challenge to incumbent Florida CFO Atwater.

Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett is facing calls to resign from state Democrats. Bennett is accused of changing school grades during his tenure as Indiana’s schools chief, but the story in Florida seems more about politics than policy.

As head of Indiana’s public schools, Tony Bennett implemented a school grading system similar to Florida’s. The first year Indiana schools received a report card was 2012. But before the report cards were released, Bennett says he and other Indiana officials were made aware of problems:

The Florida Democratic Party is launching a campaign to expose who they say is the “Real Rick Scott”. Party officials say defeating Scott will be a challenge, especially since no big name Democrats have officially declared their candidacy for next year’s race.  

The Dems are taking to Twitter and Facebook in an effort to reach out to key independent voters.

Florida’s 2014 primary elections are a little more than a year away and there’s a striking lack of people at the top of each party’s ticket.  Governor Rick Scott has repeatedly delayed picking a running mate and there’s been no Democrat anointed as Scott’s likely opponent. The process leading up to those decisions could be turning into a standoff between the parties.

Scott's Search Begins

Democrats are blaming Florida Congressman Steve Southerland for the failure of a bill renewing subsidies to farmers and food vouchers for the poor.

Southerland’s amendment requiring recipients to show their looking for work, helped tank the bill when it came up for a full House vote. In a conference call, Jackson County Commissioner Jeremy Branch accused Southerland of making a political statement in a typically, a-political bill:

You may not think the GOP would greet President Barack Obama with open arms. But, a Republican Florida Congressman as well as the head of the state’s Republican Party welcomed the President to Florida Wednesday in their own special way.

Florida Congressman Trey Radel, who serves the 19th Congressional District in Southwest Florida, didn’t exactly put out the welcome mat. He says President Obama is continually showing lack of leadership, from the IRS Scandal in which conservative groups may have been targeted to Obama’s recent visit to Miami.

Latino Voters Shake Up Florida Elections

Nov 16, 2012

Analysts say President Barack Obama owes a big thank you to Latino voters, who many say made up a big chuck of his Florida win. That comes as a surprise to pollsters who predicted a Romney win. But for grass roots organizers in Florida, it wasn’t a surprise at all.

“I believe that we are the determining factor in the presidential election.” Says Julsea Arsen with the voter advocacy group Mi Familia Vota. She says the Latino population has grown dramatically throughout Central Florida. And she believes the group’s outreach in that area paid off big.

Patrick Murphy's Campaign

The Democratic newcomer who unseated Florida Congressman Allen West says the incumbent lawmaker’s call for a recount is unfounded. Patrick Murphy’s win against West is a major upset for Republicans. And, West is now refusing to concede defeat, citing disturbing irregularities” and ballots unaccounted for at a couple polls in Florida.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

Despite recording breaking turnout all across the state, there’ve also been several complaints about long lines and wait times of up to three hours at some Florida poll sites. So, Governor Rick Scott was asked to extend early voting hours. But, the Governor’s recent refusal to do so has some saying it’s pure “voter disenfranchisement.”

After looking at the long line forming at the Leon County Courthouse, Florida State University students

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

There are several complaints in Florida about early voting lines forcing people to wait three to four hours before casting their votes. Voting groups and Democrats are calling on Florida Governor Rick Scott to extend the early voting hours.

Barbara King is on her work break, and had plans to vote early. But, as she looks at the long line circling around the Leon County Courthouse building, her only thought is:

“Oh my God! I don’t know if I want to wait that long! I still have to go pick up my grandbabies.”

Jessica Palombo / WFSU-FM

Military veterans are speaking out against U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, who is in a tight reelection race against former state lawmaker Al Lawson for his District 2 Congressional seat. The veterans spoke at a Tallahassee press conference organized by the Florida Democratic Party on Tuesday.

A Florida lawmaker says he is now ready to concede defeat in the primary election, and is stopping efforts to challenge a ballot count. Democratic Representative John Patrick Julien of Miami says he’s now also seriously thinking about switching parties, but it's not a concrete decision as yet.

Julien says he’s seriously thinking of switching parties, but it’s not a concrete decision as yet:

WFSU

When Kamaria Jackson started attending Florida A&M University a few years ago, her tuition bill was about $2,000 to $3,000 a semester. Nowadays it’s around $5,000. Her mother makes too much money to qualify for federal financial aid. And that means Jackson has had to pay for her education out-of-pocket.

LHatter / WFSU

The Florida Democrats have been attacking Republicans for cuts to higher education and tuition increases. And as Lynn Hatter reports Wednesday Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith and former Governor Bob Graham raised the issue alongside university students.

The Republican-led legislature cut $300 million dollars from the state’s public university system this year and tuition rates have been climbing. Democrats say the state’s decision to cut higher education funding shows a lack of support for the state’s schools.

Ryan Benk

Florida’s Democratic Party Chairman joined state Congressional Candidate for District 2 Al Lawson on the campaign trail talking about why voters should not re-elect incumbent Congressman Steve Southerland. They held a roundtable discussion Thursday morning in Tallahassee with some of Florida’s seniors to talk about Southerland’s record on Medicare and Social Security.

A Leon County judge declined to set aside the state's new congressional maps Monday, saying opponents of the plans had not proven that the Legislature violated new anti-gerrymandering standards.

The ruling is the latest in a string of wins  for state Republican leaders.

The Florida Supreme Court has signed off on the Senate’s second attempt at drawing voting districts. But that doesn’t mean the Justices were completely satisfied with the approach taken by Senate leaders. Lynn Hatter reports while the body as a whole gave its approval, several Justices pointed out what they saw as flaws within the state’s redistricting process.

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