Sunday, August 20, 2006


Being that early voting begins tomorrow for the primary across Florida, it is only inevitable that some of the major newspapers will announce endorsements in at least some of the statewide races. So that's where we will begin this morning.

The Orlando Sentinel has offered readers their recommendation for Attorney General Charlie Crist in the Republican gubernatorial primary, saying that he "outshines the unprepared [State Chief Financial Office Tom] Gallagher". On the Democratic side the endorsement goes to Congressman Jim Davis of Tampa, noting that he is the candidate "with substance and a solid record that shows he is prepared to lead Florida". Among the local endorsements that the Sentinel makes today: Jay Wheeler for the District 1 seat on the Osceola County School Board.

Crist and Davis also receive the endorsement of the Tampa Tribune. While reminding readers of Crist's successes as Attorney General and his decision to buck the party leadership in the Terri Schiavo case, the Tribune criticizess the campaign of primary opponent Tom Gallagher, saying that "next to Katherine Harris, no one has run a worse campaign". Davis' endorsement editorial notes that "He is a good listener, digs into details and can be trusted to do what he says he will do. He takes principled stands, is honest to a fault and champions causes for seniors, veterans and kids".

Another endorsement for both men comes from Jacksonville and the Florida Times Union. The opinion in favour of Crist says that "Not only does he have a better chance of winning in November, he would be better able to continue the policies of Jeb Bush", while Davis' endorsement reads that "one senses Davis wouldn't turn the clock back to the pre-Bush days as thoroughly as [Primary opponent State Senator Rod] Smith.

That's smart politically, and it also would make for better government"

Davis also received an endorsement today from the Bradenton Herald

It should not be any surprise that Rod Smith received the endorsement of his home-area newspaper, the Gainesville Sun. He was the area's State Attorney before enterting the Legislature, where he represents Alachua and several other counties in the region. The endorsement says that Smith "has the political capital to undo some of the damage that's been done to public education these past eight years, find the right balance between environmental protection and economic growth, protect Florida's fragile water resources and get a handle on the state's runaway health care costs without restricting access to quality care." In another statewide race, the Sun backs State Senator Walter J. "Skip" Campbell, Jr. in his bid for the Democratic nomination for Attorney General.

Smith and Crist get the nod in their respective primaries from today's South Florida Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale. The editorial calls Smith's record "he more impressive of the two [in the Democratic primary], and his familiarity with the Legislature and state government gives him the edge". It also notes that Crist "embraces traditional GOP positions, including keeping taxes low and limiting the role of government. He would reduce the state sales tax on telecommunications services".

The Republican U.S. Senate race gets the attention of the Miami Herald, who offers it's endorsement to LeRoy Collins, Jr., touting his conservative credentials as "solid, from being pro-life to supporting the effort to build democracy in Iraq. Mr. Collins supports a sustained effort against terrorists, wants stiff U.S. border protections against illegal immigration and believes in setting high standards to achieve educational excellence".

Today's Sarasota Herald Tribune endorses Christine Jennings in the Democratic primary for the District 13 congressional seat, calling her "a better, and better prepared, candidate than she was two years ago". And in the increasingly bitter GOP primary for that seat, the recommendation goes to longshot State Representative Nancy Detert of Venice, noting that she has "at least two things that neither [Vern] Buchanan nor [Tramm] Hudson can offer: A solid record of effective, principled legislative experience...A political philosophy unencumbered by dogma".

The St. Petersburg Times editorial page offers endorsements in 11 area legislative seats. Unfortunately, there was a link problem on their Web site which did not allow me to access most of those recommendations early this morning.

Today's Fort Myers News Press uses it's editorial space to review the recommendations it has offered during the past couple of weeks in local and judicial races. It has not made endorsements in statewide races yet.

Nearby, the Naples Daily News presents it's endorsements in the three positions to be decided on the Collier County School Board. Local races are also the focus of today's endorsements in the Palm Beach Post. Both newspapers previously announced their statewide recommendations.

Here at home, the Lakeland Ledger makes it's endorsements in the County Commission primary races. The Ledger recommends former commissioner Robert Connors in the Democratic primary for the District 2 seat, semi-retired businesswoman Betty Hill in the District 2 GOP primary, and former commissioner Bruce Parker in the District 4 Republican primary.

The only endorsement offered today in the Pensacola News Journal is in favour of the penny sales tax referendum to help pay for the impact of growth in Santa Rosa County, one of the fastest growing areas of the Panhandle.

Some newspapers are looking at other issues:

Florida is an auto-dependent state, which is the concern in today's editorial of the Daytona Beach News Journal. That problem only increases with the addition of new development, and cities and counties are having to address transportation concurrency by December 1. It notes that developers would have an option of contributing a "fair share" into a local transportation fund which could be used for fixing such problems.

In Melbourne, Florida Today is criticizing the latest move by Governor Bush and the Cabinet to establish a commercial insurance pool which it says puts more of the burden on the consumers while giving the insurance industry "a free ride", and that while the state's new mitigation programme has begun which encourages resident to strengthen their homes against hurricanes, it does not mandate lowered insurance rates when they do.

The Ocala Star Banner calls it "chintzy". The word refers to how little the state offers to operate a state facility; namely, the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion. Only $500,000 last year, only after Governor Bush had vetoed it several times. And the Marion County Commission balked at the $10 million price tag for expansion plans over the next several years. Calling the facility "a remarkable cultural, educational and economic asset for our community", the Star Banner hopes the funding can be found without raising fees.

And the Tallahassee Democrat applauds two pieces of good news about education getting a needed boost: Florida State University's announcement that it has received $113 million in private donations during the past year, and that generous local artists showing their willingness and ability to help at the Arts in Education Expo held yesterday at Tallahassee Community College.

Hey, it's Sunday! Make it a great day!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Detert does not stand a chance at winning, and all the real endorsements went to Buchanan. At least we know the newspapers aren't racist like Hudson.

11:42 PM  

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