Rick Scott Archives - Page 5 of 280 - Florida Politics

Proposal seeks to ensure nursing home air conditioning

Amid continuing fallout from the deaths of residents of a Broward County nursing home after Hurricane Irma, a key state senator has filed a bill that would seek to prevent lengthy air conditioning outages at nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Chairman Rene Garcia, a Hialeah Republican, filed the measure (SB 372) Friday. It is the second Senate bill seeking to address the air conditioning issue, which has drawn national attention since the Sept. 13 deaths of eight residents of The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills. Four other residents subsequently died.

Hurricane Irma knocked out the nursing home’s air conditioning system on Sept. 10, leaving residents in the sweltering facility for three days.

Garcia’s bill, filed for the 2018 legislative session, would require nursing homes and assisted living facilities to have emergency power sources and fuel supplies that would last at least four days.

To meet that requirement, facilities could store generators and fuel supplies on-site or contract with companies that could provide them in a “timely” manner when requested. The bill also would require the Florida Public Service Commission to ensure that electric utilities prioritize restoration of electricity to medical facilities with 50 residents or more, including nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.

Garcia filed the bill a week after nursing-home and assisted-living officials gathered in Tallahassee for a daylong “summit.” That event, which included a panel discussion with Garcia and two other lawmakers, was called after Gov. Rick Scott‘s administration issued emergency rules aimed at requiring facilities within 60 days to install generators that could power air conditioning systems.

Industry officials have argued that it is unrealistic to carry out the rules within the 60-day timeframe — and the emergency rules last week drew legal challenges by industry groups LeadingAge Florida, the Florida Assisted Living Association and Florida Argentum.

Administrative Law Judge G.W. Chisenhall consolidated the cases Monday and scheduled a hearing for Oct. 12 and Oct. 13.

Regardless of the emergency rules, Garcia made clear during the industry summit that he expects lawmakers to address the air conditioning issue during the 2018 session, which starts in January

“The reality is we had one bad actor, and we just can’t allow that to happen again,” Garcia said. “Whatever the facts will come out … we just can’t wait for this investigation to go forward and do nothing. It’s going to happen. We’re going to move forward with some legislation in the state of Florida having to do with generators and alternative power. It just needs to happen.”

The Scott administration has stood behind the emergency rules. But in announcing the rules, it also said Scott will “aggressively fight for legislation to put this (generator) requirement into law in the 2018 legislative session.”

Justin Senior, secretary of the state Agency for Health Care Administration, has indicated facilities would not have to install generators that could cool entire buildings. He said they could comply with the rules by being able to cool portions of the buildings where residents could congregate for 96 hours.

Garcia’s proposal also adopts that approach, saying emergency power sources would need to be adequate to maintain a temperature of 81 degrees or cooler “within one or more areas of the facility having enough space to safely hold all of the facility’s residents.”

The deaths at The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills also led to debate about whether the facility should have been a priority for Florida Power & Light to restore power. The Garcia bill would seek to ensure that such facilities are prioritized in the future.

In the more-immediate aftermath of the Broward deaths, Sen. Lauren Book, a Plantation Democrat, filed a bill (SB 284) last month that calls for nursing home and assisted-living facilities to have generators that could supply power for at least five days.

Republished with permission of the News Service of Florida.

Enterprise Florida could give employee pay raises

Pay raises may be in store for some employees at the state’s business-recruitment agency as bonuses have been withheld this year.

Enterprise Florida President and CEO Pete Antonacci advised members of the agency’s Finance and Compensation Committee Friday of recommended increases as a way to keep employee salaries competitive with the private market.

“Salary adjustments were recommended for retention and marketplace competition purposes,” Enterprise Florida spokesman Nathan Edwards said in an email.

Details of Antonacci’s proposal were not immediately available. The proposal must still go before Enterprise Florida’s Executive Board, which has not set a date for its next meeting. Antonacci, a former general counsel to Gov. Rick Scott, previously recommended against using a bonus program that was approved under his predecessor.

In August, Scott sent a letter to the members of the boards of directors at Enterprise Florida and VISIT FLORIDA outlining his opposition to employee bonuses at both agencies.

“Employees are the key to success in any organization,” Scott, who serves as chairman of Enterprise Florida board, said in the letter. “But, after a long legislative session where the spending at these organizations was greatly debated, I do not believe that employee compensation should include bonuses at this time.”

Instead, Scott advised the agencies to review employee pay “to ensure that everyone is being compensated fairly relying on salaries rather than bonuses.”

Last October, Enterprise Florida handed out $448,662 in performance pay to 57 employees. A similar arrangement had been set up for the current year, before Antonacci joined the agency in early August.

VISIT FLORIDA, which gave out $440,915 in bonuses to 119 employees in May, has announced it has ended the performance reward program.

Republished with permission of the News Service of Florida.

Rick Scott proposes legislation banning business with Venezuela

Gov. Rick Scott Monday announced proposed legislation to prohibit the state, including all agencies, from investing in any company that is doing business with Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro’s government.

The proposal comes six weeks after the state’s State Board of Administration, which maintains the Florida Retirement System and its $150 billion in assets, voted to reaffirm that they would not invest in any companies or securities controlled by the Venezuelan government.

“In Florida, we have been absolutely clear: The brutal government of Nicolas Maduro must end and the people of Venezuela must be given total freedom and democracy now,” Scott said while speaking at the 2017 Latin American Summit in Miami.

Scott said he also was calling on all local governments and businesses in the state to stop doing business with the Maduro government, if they currently are.

“Let me be clear: This proposal is aimed squarely at the Maduro regime, not businesses who provide much needed goods and services to the Venezuelan people,” Scott said.

Scott has been unrelenting of his criticism towards Maduro — a trait familiar in the Trump administration, the Vatican, and other governments around the world — accusing him of undermining Venezuela’s democracy and plunging the country’s 30 million people into suffering due to food and medicine shortage.

In the past few months, Maduro has arrested and detained opposition leaders, and cracked down on street protests with lethal force.

In July he oversaw a disputed election for a special legislative body that took over the country’s parliament, ignoring a citizens referendum held in Venezuela and across the country that opposed that move.

More than 100,000 Venezuelan-Americans live in Florida, and the troubles there have captured the focus of Scott and Florida’s two U.S. Senators, Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson.

Scott is expected to challenge Nelson’s bid for re-election to his Senate seat next year.

Nelson has gone as far as to call for cutting imports of Venezuela oil as a response to Maduro’s actions.

Maduro called on his nation’s military leaders last week to prepare for war against the U.S., days after the Trump administration banned Venezuelan officials from entering the nation.

Jack Miles endorses Stockton Reeves in HD 47 race

Former Florida Department of Management Services secretary Jack Miles issued his endorsement Monday of Republican Stockton Reeves in the race for Florida’s House District 47 seat.

Reeves, a Winter Park businessman, faces Democrat Anna Eskamani, a Planned Parenthood executive, in the 2018 election race to succeed state Rep. Mike Miller, a Republican who is running for Congress rather than for re-election.

Miles, a former executive with Cigna, served as management services secretary under Gov. Rick Scott, and currently serves as a member of the board of directors of national and local non-profits, on the advisory board of four early stage, pre-initial public offering firms.  He also served as a trustee for Florida TaxWatch and a member of the TaxWatch Center for Government Efficiency, and also as a member of the Government Efficiency Task Force for the State of Florida.

“Stockton Reeves has always impressed me as someone with an understanding of financial planning and budgeting for the future,” Miles stated in a news release issued by Reeves’ campaign. “He helped start and grow several successful business ventures and served as a trustee for a cherished Central Florida cultural institution, the Maitland Art Center, for almost 20 years including an unprecedented three terms as its chairman.”

“He has overseen the growth of his family’s business from a locally based planning and design firm to one that now serves clients across the nation. That’s impressive because in the face of one of nation’s deepest recessions, they expanded by opening an office in Texas and today are working in sixteen states across the United States. Their client base is local governments so Stockton understands the importance of spending tax dollars wisely and seeking the best value for every expenditure,” Miles added.

“To grow and expand in uncertain economic times takes foresight, courage and planning. Stockton exhibits all of these qualities and I believe he would be an excellent representative for Central Florida and an asset to the state. His business experience and background would serve us all and that’s why I am proud to offer my help and support for Stockton. I truly believe he is best prepared to serve,” Miles concluded.

Rick Scott declares emergency in Florida for Puerto Rico, opens relief centers

Gov. Rick Scott declared an emergency in Florida Monday covering all 67 counties to provide assistance to Puerto Rico, and he announced the creation of Puerto Rican disaster relief centers in Orlando and Miami for people fleeing the devastation left behind by Hurricane Maria nearly two weeks ago.

“Today, to ensure Florida has every available resource ready to assist families displaced by Hurricane Maria, I signed Executive Order 17-259, declaring a state of emergency in all 67 Florida counties,” Scott stated in a news release issued by his office. “Puerto Rico was totally devastated by Hurricane Maria and so many families lost everything. With families displaced by Hurricane Maria already present and still arriving in Florida, it is critical that our state is prepared to provide the resources they need upon entering our state.”

The order includes authorizing the state’s adjutant general, Florida National Guard Army Maj. Gen. Michael Calhoun, to activate the Florida National Guard as needed. The order instructs newly-appointed Florida Director of Emergency Management Wes Maul to execute the state’s emergency management plan as needed. It instructs local authorities including law enforcement agencies to identify staff to coordinate local efforts. And it suspends any laws, rules, or orders that “would in any way prevent, hinder or delay any mitigation response or recovery action necessary.”

In a separate move, Scott announced the creation of disaster relief centers at Orlando International Airport, Miami International Airport and the Port of Miami, to assist Puerto Rican families displaced by Hurricane Maria. The centers, which will be fully operational Tuesday, will provide “all available resources from the state” to incoming evacuees.

Most of those efforts appear to be in response and anticipation of a mass exodus of Puerto Rican evacuees coming to Florida because their homes, towns, villages, and businesses were wiped out in Puerto Rico, leaving them with nothing to live on there. No one is certain how many would come, and any initial exodus has been slowed by the limited numbers of flights and ships available. Some have suggested more than 100,000 evacuees might come to the Sunshine State, particularly to areas such as Central Florida that already are home to hundreds of thousands of their relatives and friends.

Lawmakers and others, particularly Democats, had been calling on Scott to take actions all weekend, particularly to open the relief centers. On Friday,  state Sens. Jeff Clemens, Randolph Bracy, Jose Javier Rodriguez, Linda Stewart, and Victor Torres and state Reps. Janet Cruz, Robert Asencio, Daisy Baez, John Cortes, Nicholas Duran, Amy Mercado, and Carlos Guillermo Smith signed a letter to Scott urging him to open disaster relief centers for evacuees, and to take other steps. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham joined their call Sunday. Some, led by Smith of Orlando, also called on the Florida Legislature to hold a special session and “take action in preparation for the hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans expected to resettle in Florida in the near future.”

The governor’s office indicated these moves were in the works for nearly a week, and took time to set up.

Scott visited Puerto Rico on Thursday and said then he was willing to do whatever Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló  requested of Florida, but that his first goal was to help Rosselló help his constituents in Puerto Rico.

“Our goal is to make sure that while Gov. Rosselló is working to rebuild Puerto Rico, any families displaced by Maria that come to Florida are welcomed and offered every available resource from the state,” Scott stated on Monday.

 

Insurance chief pushes patient billing change

Nothing is going to slow down Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier from asking the Florida Legislature to prevent insured patients from being hit with high out-of-pocket costs for emergency medical transportation.

Not even pending recommendations from Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate Sha’Ron James, who a year ago assembled a working group on emergency medical transportation to study the problem and recommend solutions.

Altmaier this week shepherded through the Florida Health Insurance Advisory Board a recommendation to ban what is known as “balance billing” for emergency medical transportation, despite concerns from several board members. Altmaier chairs the advisory board, with seven of the board members agreeing to approve the legislative recommendation.

Four board members who had concerns about approving the recommendation were advised that they could abstain from voting instead of opposing the measure.

“I think the reason a special work group was put together to look at this is because it is a complex issue,” board member Molly McKinstry, a deputy secretary at the state Agency for Health Care Administration, said, referring to James’ group.

McKinstry stressed that she’s not opposed to the concept of balance-billing protections but said that it would be “premature” to vote on the Altmaier-backed recommendation without hearing from James’ panel first.

The Florida Health Insurance Advisory Board is a panel charged with making recommendations to the Legislature on how to improve the state’s health insurance market.

The balance-billing ban is the only legislative recommendation approved by the board for the 2018 session, which starts in January. But it’s a recommendation that could help give Altmaier’s boss – Gov. Rick Scott – a consumer-friendly health-care issue to use if he campaigns against U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson next year.

Advisory board member and Florida Blue attorney Mark McGowan had concerns with the recommendation, but his problems were more substantive.

Lawmakers in 2016 approved a balance-billing law that prohibits out-of-network providers from balance billing customers of preferred-provider organizations (PPOs) or exclusive-provider organization (EPOs) for emergency services or for nonemergency services when the nonemergency services are provided in a network hospital and the patient had no ability and opportunity to choose a network provider.

The law also establishes standards for determining reimbursement to the providers and authorizes providers and insurers to settle disputed claims under a dispute-resolution program.

That situation isn’t ideal in a town where there only is one emergency air-transportation provider, McGowan said. He expressed concern that, in attempting to fix the problem of insured customers getting hit with high bills, the state could create a situation that essentially forces insurance companies to pay whatever providers bill.

“There needs to be some sort of customary and usual charges figured out,” he said.

When McGowan asked if the advisory board would have an opportunity to revisit the issue after the vote, Altmaier suggested that the chances were slim. He said he wanted to have the recommendations finalized and in the hands of lawmakers when they hold their first round of interim committee meetings in October.

James told The News Service of Florida on Friday that she created her working group in October 2016 and planned to wrap up its meetings by October 2017. Her office would then spend the rest of the year analyzing data it had been given and listening to the testimony that was presented before finalizing recommendations by the end of the year.

“There’s no question there should be protections, the challenge is how they are applied,” she said.

James said it was appropriate for Altmaier, the top insurance regulator, to be aggressive on the issue and didn’t fault him for making the recommendation without her group’s work.

But Jeff See, who serves on James’ working group, disagrees.

“Any separate legislative recommendation in advance of the forthcoming plan from the working group is preemptive and sidesteps the group’s work over the past year to ensure fair coverage for beneficiaries who find themselves in dire circumstances in unforeseen emergencies,” he said in an email to the News Service.

Republished with permission of the News Service of Florida.

State prepares for influx from Puerto Rico

From schools to shelters, Florida is readying for an influx of people struggling for food, water and power in hurricane-damaged Puerto Rico.

Gov. Rick Scott said Florida doesn’t know how many people will make the trip from Puerto Rico. Also, Scott said it is unknown how many will decide to remain permanently in Florida or return to the Caribbean island.

But Scott, who traveled Thursday to the U.S. territory to tour the damage left by Hurricane Maria and on Friday went to the White House, said Florida is getting prepared for the displaced Puerto Ricans and is in “a good financial position” to help.

“We’ll be able to figure this out. Florida’s a welcoming state. We’re a tourism state. We love people coming here,” Scott told reporters Thursday night at Orlando Sanford International Airport. “But I know talking to their Gov. (Ricardo Rossello) their goal long-term is they want to build their island. They don’t want everybody to come here and stay here. They want to build their island. They’re very proud of Puerto Rico. If they do have to come here, whether it is for medical reasons, or whatever it is, they want people to come back.”

After lunch Friday with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at the White House, Scott told reporters in Washington that, “We’re going to do everything we can to help Puerto Rico.”

Trump is scheduled to visit Puerto Rico Tuesday.

Maria, a powerful Category 4 storm, pounded Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, two weeks after even stronger Hurricane Irma swept past the island of 3.4 million residents.

With power still out to a majority of the island, Florida’s U.S. senators have been calling for Trump to send the “cavalry” – in the form of the U.S. military – to help in Puerto Rico.

“There is a crisis in Puerto Rico where food, fuel, water and medicine is sitting at the docks and not getting out to the remote parts of the island,” Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson said in a prepared statement Thursday. “The situation calls for an immediate response by the U.S. military to provide security and distribution to these remote areas. As was said after Hurricane Andrew: `Where the hell is the cavalry?’”

Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted: “Conditions in parts of #PuertoRico getting worse. The main problem is a logistical one, the distribution of aid beyond #SanJuan. Likely need the @DeptofDefense to address some `battlefield’ like logistical challenges in #PuertoRico. This will NOT improve on its own.”

Scott told reporters after the White House lunch that he advised Trump and Pence of a need for more people and vehicles to deliver supplies.

Scott also said while many of the issues confronting Puerto Rico are similar to those that faced Florida after Hurricane Irma, being an island and having a mountainous terrain work against the relief work.

Scott has worked with seaport directors on Florida’s East Coast about speeding materials to Puerto Rico. But he said debris and damaged roads and bridges have kept many supplies at the Port of San Juan.

He has also called on Florida colleges and universities to offer in-state tuition for Puerto Rican students. Florida International University said Friday that it would do so for students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

State Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam also announced that Puerto Rican students displaced by the hurricane can get free school meals through the National School Lunch Program.

“To any families fleeing Puerto Rico and coming to Florida, you will not have to worry about how you’re going to pay for your child’s school meals,” Putnam said in a prepared statement.

Republished with permission of the News Service of Florida.

Bill Nelson: Puerto Rico response must ramp up now or drastic measures coming

The situation in Hurricane Maria-ravaged Puerto Rico is so bleak that the military response needs to shift from talk to all-out action today or “drastic measures” will have to be taken, Florida’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson declared in Orlando Wednesday.

“This is a disaster of gargantuan proportions,” Nelson said.

Speaking at the Acacia Puerto Rican Center in Orlando, and surrounded by numerous local Central Florida Puerto Rican community and political leaders, Democrats, Republicans and independents, Nelson lashed out at President Donald Trump‘s response as far too slow, combined with “happy talk … it’s just not realistic.”

Military involvement in the relief efforts began ramping up Thursday with the appointment of Army Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan to take command of operations, and Trump also announced a temporary suspension of the Jones Act, a 1920 maritime law that limits shipments of goods to the island.

Nelson and several others speaking at Acacia Friday including Florida state Sen. Victor Torres, charged that Trump finally began acting due to strong, angry, and growing pressure. Now, Nelson said, the actual efforts must turn dramatically immediately, and he and others contended that only the military has the logistical experience, training, equipment, and manpower to tackle the problems of impassable roads, no power, no running water and no communication across mountainous terrain.

“If we do not see this changing in the next day, and today, then drastic measures are going to have to be taken,” Nelson said. “But I do believe there has been enough agitation expressed to the administration, and to the White House, and to the Defense Department, and to the National Security Council, and to the FAA, and to the Department of Homeland Security. I think there’s been enough agitation including from this senator and my colleague Sen. [Marco] Rubio that we will see action starting right now.”

Nelson repeatedly said that he and Rubio are of one mind on what is happening in Puerto Rico and what needs to be done.

The consequences are that people already are dying inland from lack of food, water and other essentials, others said.

Natalie Rossy and Michael Maldonado just evacuated from Puerto Rico and joined Nelson, Torres and the others Friday. Maldonado said he watched someone die while they waited overnight in an un-air-conditioned airport. Rossy said it’s happening elsewhere.

“Things are much worse than what you see on television,” Rossy said. “We cannot wait until government or military or FEMA takes a plan because people are dying. People are starving. We need food and water.

“Please, we need your help. People can’t wait. Right now we need to take action. We need help. We really need, Mr. President, your help. We are American citizens,” she added.

“The people in the mountains, they are dying. They need help,” Maldonado said.

Nelson suggested that Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló was reluctant to criticize the federal government’s response so far because he does not want to anger the administration.

Torres criticized Florida Gov. Rick Scott for doing a flyover of hard-hit areas in Puerto Rico Thursday and not visiting people affected, and then saying he awaited requests from Rosselló on how Florida can help.

A former Marine, Torres added, “I know what the Army, what the Armed Forces can do. I know the [Navy] Seabees can reconstruct roads, build bridges, do things that nobody can think of because they have the capability, the know-how.”

“No more talk. Things are getting worse by the day,” Torres said.

Rick Scott backs raise for juvy officers

Gov. Rick Scott said Friday he will propose a 10 percent pay raise for juvenile detention and juvenile probation officers in his 2018-19 recommended budget.

That budget is expected to be revealed at The Associated Press’ annual legislative coverage planning session on Nov. 2 at the Capitol. 

Scott will recommend $8 million in pay raises to support officer recruitment and retention, a press release said. The state has more than 2,000 juvenile detention and juvenile probation officers.

“Over the past six and a half years, we have taken aggressive steps to reform Florida’s juvenile justice system,” Scott said in a statement. “Florida’s juvenile detention and probation officers have the important responsibility of working with youth in DJJ (Department of Juvenile Justice) care, but they also have the unique opportunity to help change lives and redirect our youth to a successful path.

“I look forward to working with the Legislature during the upcoming session to pass this 10 percent pay raise, which will ensure DJJ can hire highly qualified and dedicated detention and probation officers to help our youth and keep our communities safe for years to come.”

“The proposal builds on the Governor’s proposed $30 million investment in pay raises for our state law enforcement agencies to use for officer recruitment and retention, and the pay raises for state law enforcement and correctional officers included in the current year’s budget,” the release said.

The 2018 Legislative Session begins Jan. 8.

Report: Can Florida Republicans finally win back-to-back U.S. Senate races?

Over the past century Florida has never elected a Republican in back-to-back U.S. Senate elections, making the Sunshine State somewhat of a rare bird.

Despite having a veritable stranglehold on the state legislature, and the fact that it will have held the Governor’s Mansion for 20 years by the time Rick Scott leaves office, the GOP has yet to string together consecutive victories for U.S. Senate, notes Eric Ostermeier of Smart Politics.

The only other states that can claim the same are Montana and Hawaii, according to Ostermeier’s blog, the latter of which is young enough in its statehood that the trend hasn’t become generational.

It’s not like Florida Republicans have had a hard time winning statewide, either. One look at the governor and Cabinet, and a cursory glance at the campaign accounts of those looking to replace them next year, and it’s clear the Florida branch of the big tent party is suffering from an embarrassment of riches – RPOF simply outclasses FDP with its seemingly endless candidate bench, infinitely deep pockets, and perpetually motivated voters.

Of the 24 statewide races held in Florida since the turn of the century, GOP candidates have won 20. Nelson was the winner of three of those four, while former CFO Alex Sink holds the honor of being the only other Democrat since Walkin’ Lawton Chiles to win a statewide election.

And if it wasn’t for Chiles’ victory in his U.S. Senate contest against then-Congressman Bill Cramer, Republicans would have ended the streak back in 1970.

That election was decided by about 8 points. Not “close,” per se, but an examination of the half dozen opportunities Republicans had to put two of their own in the Senate since then certainly makes it look that way.

The first of those six wins came a decade later, when Paula Hawkins won in President Ronald Reagan’s landslide election in 1980. Two years later, Chiles won re-election by an astounding 24 points, cementing the legendary Florida Democrat’s reputation as a Cinderella smasher.

Former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham also proved a thorn in Florida Republicans’ side. Connie Mack III’s win in 1988 was followed up by Graham’s 35-point beatdown of Bill Grant in 1992, while Charlie Crist was smacked with a 25-point loss by the former governor in the 1998 election, four years after Mack won re-election.

Former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris and Connie Mack IV earned their double-digit Ls from Nelson following victories by Mel Martinez in 2004 and Marco Rubio in 2010.

But the times, they are a-changin’.

Nelson isn’t as spry as he was when he came into the Senate as a fresh-faced 59-year-old who was only a little over a decade removed from from becoming the first member of congress in space.

And none of his opponents had the kind of goodwill Scott built up among Florida voters during his master class on how to prepare the state for a Hurricane. In fact a Scott candidacy, which is almost a guarantee, would be orders of magnitude more viable than the bids by Harris in 2004 and Mack in 2012.

Sure, many voters may have cast their ballots for the Florida transplant begrudgingly, especially in 2014, but there’s no political spectre so damaging or memorable as the 2000 presidential election snafu that put Harris on TV sets nationwide.

And Mack is just Mack. He was a better than serviceable congressman, but he pussyfooted around the idea of running too much and too publicly in 2012, while Nelson had higher favorables and had the innate benefit of being a Democrat in a presidential election year.

Those advantages disappear next year, and one of the Democrats’ only noteworthy streaks in Florida could  disappear with them.

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