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Mitch Perry Report for 11.24.15 — Did Rick Scott release something Monday?

If you’re a reporter, you didn’t have to be in Jacksonville Monday to learn the details of Gov. Rick Scott‘s $79 billion budget.

That’s because the governor’s press office helpfully sent out email after email to highlight aspects of the vast budget throughout the day, where the highlights include $1 billion in tax cuts and cutting 863 state jobs.

There has been a lot of news from Tallahassee of late, because the Legislature will convene for the 2016 session in less than two months. There’s one more week of committee hearings beginning Monday, then start up in January and break on March 11, conveniently just days before Florida presidential primary voters go to the polls.

March is late in the process, compared to 2008 and 2012, when the GOP-led Legislature broke the rules (as did the Democrats in 2008) and decided to put their primary in January in order to be relevant in the choosing of the president.

It worked, sort of, for the GOP, in that Florida really was the key state for John McCain in ’08 (over Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani) and Romney (over Newt Gingrich) in 2012.

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What about this year? The fun thing to watch for will be to see whether the polls hold, and Donald Trump defeats Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio in what is a winner-take-all delegate situation.

But how much attention will Florida even get? The fact is, four other states will vote that day: Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, and Ohio. The RNC set the schedule up so that not until March 15 could states have winner-take-all primaries, meaning that (we hope) the race could be very up in the air at that point. In all, 20 states will vote in advance of Florida’s March 15 primary.

In other news …

Kathy Castor voted with the majority of Democrats against the bill that would have slowed down the process or allowing Syrian refugees into the U.S. last week, but she does agree with critics that President Obama must do a better job of describing his strategy to combat the Islamic State.

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A report by OPPAGA, the Florida Legislature’s public policy agency, says that Florida’s civil asset forfeiture laws are ripe for reforming.

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In a surprising development in Palm Beach County politics, Democratic candidate Melissa McKinlay, arguably the front-runner at least on the Dem side to succeed Patrick Murphy in the CD 18 race, dropped out of the race Monday.

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After a Fox-13 report last week questioning whether the Hillsborough PTC can lobby legally, state Sen. Jeff Brandes wants state Attorney General Pam Bondi to give an opinion on the issue.

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Carlos Lopez-Cantera posted a video touting his Senate campaign Monday. It features the lieutenant governor boasting that he’s a Florida Republican, not a Washington creature (like two of his opponents).

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And Martin O’Malley makes a rare fundraising appearance in the Sunshine State next month at the condo of famed urban development guru Richard Florida.

Written By

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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