Florida has always been a state to watch, if only as a guilty pleasure or perhaps in self-defense. But some major political stars are aligning and the pundits are beginning to agree, Florida will really be a State To Watch from now at least through the 2016 election.
The personalities-of-the moment are here. The game-changing demographics are here. And the Florida stage is set for epic -- and deeply symbolic -- political confrontations.
In 2012, Florida remained the state that can't vote straight.
President Barack Obama sent Florida's GOP leaders in to shock by winning the state in November, and some Democrats followed his coattails to make the state slightly bluer. But while licking their wounds, Republicans remain in firm control of Florida's agenda.
On the Florida Roundup: The tragedy in Connecticut hits home in what some people call “The Gunshine State,”as Florida has over a million concealed weapons permits, the most in the country. Do you feel safer? We hear your reaction to Florida’s milestone. And will gun control be on the agenda in Tallahassee?
Gov. Rick Scott would be in serious trouble if an election were to take place today.
According to the latest Quinnipiac poll, his approval ratings remain in the cellar and 52 percent of Florida voters think he does not deserve a second term.
Republicans are the big asterisk in the survey of 1,261 voters taken last week. Sixty-three percent of GOP voters approve of the governor's performance and 55 say he deserves another term although 53 percent are hoping another Republican candidate replaces him in the 2014 election.
In what may be a preview of the governor’s race, former governor Charlie Crist directly criticized Governor Rick Scott before a U.S. Senate hearing on voting rights. Crist was critical of Scott for helping to pass a 2011 election law that limited early voting hours.
Former U. S. Sen. George LeMieux was once Charlie Crist's closest confidant as his chief of staff, so valued by the ex-governor that it was Crist who appointed him to fill out the term of the retiring Mel Martinez in the Senate in 2009.
But things have changed drastically in three years.
After an unsuccessful attempt at being elected to a Senate seat last year in the Republican primary, the Broward native is now chairman of the Gunster Law Firm in Fort Lauderdale.
Former Gov. Charlie Crist has a great resume, a moderate-to-liberal heart and he's just made a public and decisive rejection of the Republican Party. Does that mean he's automatically the next Democratic candidate for governor?