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Marco Rubio one of only five US senators given 100% by Koch Bros.

Barely a year in office and he already excels at taking orders from his big donors. The astroturf group called Americans for Prosperity, aka the political tool of the right-wing Koch brothers, ranks Marco Rubio with four other US senators at 100 percent and A+ for voting as commanded all the time. This link will take you to the Think Progress report on the AFP congressional scorecard.

Curious how Rubio stands out from his three Miami-Dade fellow Republicans in Florida’s US House delegation. The ethically challenged David Rivera (FL-25) gets along with a B grade from the Kochs, and the middling C is given to Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18) and Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-21). The entire scorecard is available here.


Dan Gelber talks to Miami-Dade Democrats, hints at future race

Two years ago Dan Gelber was a state senator from Miami Beach, preparing to run for higher office in 2010. At first, we will recall, he sought the Democratic nomination for US Senate, vying for the seat once held by former Gov. Bob Graham but at that time by Mel Martinez, who became one of the early Republican quitters (Palin followed) – he gave up after four years in office, and we’d still like to know how Martinez’s arm was twisted (Jeb, can you enlighten?). And then it became apparent that the Democratic establishment (Can anyone say Clinton?) wanted US Rep. Kendrick Meek of Miami to get that slot – and how did that work out? (Can someone spell Sen. Marco Rubio, he of the empty smile?)

So Dan Gelber ran instead for the nomination for state attorney general, defeated another state senator, Dave Aronberg of Greenacres, and became part of the ticket headed by Alex Sink, who followed her husband Bill McBride into gubernatorial  defeat when the 2010 votes were counted. And Gelber, like the other Democrats at the top of the statewide ticket, lost too, part of the thorough whupping the party suffered nationwide in the year of the tea party.

To cut to the news here, Dan Gelber was featured speaker Thursday at a fundraiser for the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, and said he’s still looking for an electoral fight. Inspired by the brilliant job that Gov. Rick Scott is doing to alienate the public, Gelber made this listener think he’s not running for anything in 2012 and is more likely to plunge into the statewide pool in 2014, when Scott either will have quit or will try to buy Tallahassee again with his ill-gotten gains.

A thinking person would pause here and wonder why anyone risks sanity and fortune in running for office when such as Rick Scott is standing in the way. But this dunderhead forges on to report what Gelber said.

On Rick Scott: “What this guy is doing is unbelievable.… This guy has made me actually say, I miss Jeb Bush.… We have a governor who just does not care about Floridians…. To have a governor of the state of Florida who doesn’t care about the state, well that is something else.”

On his own future: ”I suspect I will end up in public office again, or at least putting myself up for that again.”

Advice to Democrats wondering what to do: “This is what you can work for … this next election is going to define our state and our nation for the rest of our lives…. If we do not throw all these guys out … I do not know what will happen to our state and the nation…. Ask yourself everyday, What can I do to save this state and save the nation.”

A prediction: “2012 is going to be our comeback…. If they can fuel an election with anger, we can do it with hope.”

And thanks to Daisy Black, party first vice chair and mayor of El Portal, for hosting the fundraiser.

FL-25: Democrats galore interested — Annette Taddeo, Joe Garcia, Luis Garcia

Juicy stuff at the Miami-Dade Democratic Party meeting tonight – two admirable Democrats announcing they’re on the verge of running for the US House seat held by David Rivera. Here it is only July 2011 and it seems that FL-25 is in the Democratic Party hot zone well before the 2012 campaign season. In Washington the party apparatus (the DCCC) urges us to keep the heat on Rivera, calling attention to his votes against Medicare. And we can hope that the investigators will pull no punches in looking at his income and campaign finances.

State Rep. Luis Garcia, in his third term representing District 107  in Miami-Dade County (Little Havana, South Beach), was introduced early in the meeting and said he’s about to decide on FL-25. His embryonic campaign speech centered on immigration and civil rights, not to forget the dismal reputation of the incumbent: “David Rivera is a crook, folks,” Luis Garcia said.

A short while later Annette Taddeo, who ran a spirited 2008 campaign against Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in FL-18, which is the mostly southern neighbor of FL-25, said she, too, is close to deciding on a run. And she treated the party activist regulars to a bit of what sounded like a campaign speech focused on health-care issues, though she said she had only come to participate in elections for the October state party convention.

Is that all? Hold the presses! Joe Garcia just returned my call and said from Washington: “News of my death is greatly exaggerated.” Joe Garcia ran in FL-25 twice, unsuccessfully, but hasn’t given up. “I am thinking about running, but we are talking about a phantom seat,” he said.

He regarded Taddeo and Luis Garcia as making premature moves when the shape of the district is unknown amid redistricting. Florida gained two US House seats to 27 from the 2010 census. The Republican-dominated state Legislature has barely started the process of redistricting and instead is fighting the fair-districts referendum results that mandate against gerrymandering.

Earlier Monday there was news that Alan Grayson is about to go official with a run to regain the Orlando-area seat he lost in the 2010 Democratic national debacle. This sounds like a lot of early action to boost Democratic numbers in the US House. (During the writing of this post, in came an email from Grayson confirming he’s running. http://www.congressmanwithguts.com/)

As Luis Garcia said, it takes only 24 seats to take the US House back. Would that Florida could contribute two or more of those.

FL-25 runs from the western suburbs of Miami across the Everglades to encompass part of Collier County on the Gulf Coast of Florida. The Miami precincts are heavily Hispanic.

Joe Garcia, a former county Democratic Party chair, lost to Mario Diaz-Balart in 2008 and to David Rivera in 2010 after Diaz-Balart switched to run in FL-21 after his elder brother Lincoln Diaz-Balart retired. Rivera is closely linked with Marco Rubio, elected in 2010 to the US Senate. When both were in the Florida Legislature, the two of them jointly owned a residence in Tallahassee and they famously were foreclosed on.

Against such Republican shenanigans, Democrats have attractive possible candidates. Annette Taddeo is a young mother and successful businesswoman, much younger than Luis Garcia, who’s Cuba-born and a former Miami Beach fireman and fire chief as well as Miami Beach city commissioner before running for the legislature and taking a Republican-held seat in 2006. Taddeo has good Hispanic credentials as her mother is Colombian; her late father was an Italian-American and Korean War veteran. Joe Garcia is a US-born son of Cuban immigrants. He served in the Obama Department of Energy at the sub-cabinet level before resigning to run for Congress in 2010, and he was in Washington Monday for talks at the White House, he said, when he returned your blogger’s call. Need I say the two Garcias are not related?

UPDATE: Thanks to Millie Herrera who pointed out two errors in the first run of this blog post. They are corrected now to show Luis Garcia represents District 107 (not 109), and that Annette Taddeo made one run for the US House in FL-18 ( not two).

Redistricting Florida: It’s getting started

At the Democratic Party Executive Committee meeting the other day in Miami, state Rep. Franklin Sands of Broward County warned us that the Republican majority in the state legislature, in addition to its other bad intentions, has budgeted $30 million of our taxpaper money to fight the redistricting amendments that passed last November to be in the Florida Constitution.

This is something we’ll have to fight against whenever possible. The Republicans are doing this because fair districts are their worst enemy. Fair districts in a state where Democrats are more numerous than Republicans will mean many more Democrats in the Florida state House and in the US House of Representatives than the present imbalances.

Today I happened on a blog that covers Florida redistricting: insidethelinesFla.com. We should all take note of it and follow it.

And here’s a video of an introductory session of the state Legislature body that will be our main target:

Florida legislature tackles education, tries to wreck it

This just in from Wake the State — find their rally near you on May 10.

Video report on how bad Florida’s governor is

This just came to my attention on Facebook, where I’m following the good Progressive Democrats at Awake the State.

For some reason the usual app for uploading a video isn’t working, but in the meantime, I’ll bet the URL above can be copied and pasted into the address bar and you’ll see a video report from the AFL-CIO on how things are going in Tallahassee. Our motto at this point should be Pushback!

UPDATE: I see the app worked even though it didn’t look as if it would.

FL = 18,801,310 people

That’s a rise of 17.6 percent from the 2000 census, and we will be adding two members of the US House of Representatives for a total of 27. In electoral votes, Florida will have 29, as we add the two senators to the members of the US House to get our votes for president.

It’s this sort of trick that short-changes the populous states when it comes to electing the president. In Florida it takes 648,321 people to represent one of the state’s 29 electoral votes, while Wyoming with a total population of 583,626 gets three electoral votes — two senators and one US representative —  or each electoral vote representing 194,542 people. Don’t ask your blogger to defend this travesty of one person, one vote.

When will reapportionment happen? Misery sets in as we realize the massive Republican majority in the Florida legislature, backed up the the Republican governor, may take until the late summer of 2012 to lay out the new lines of congressional districts and state legislative districts. In other words, incumbents (the vast majority are Republicans) will appear even more invulnerable when potential Democratic challengers don’t know district layouts until a few months before the 2012 election. For details, read Kenneth Quinnell’s analysis on the Florida Progressive Coalition blog.

The silver lining of that cloud may be that the Republicans also won’t know the lines.

With total US population almost 310 million, each member of the US House represents on average 710,767 people. No wonder their offices need squads of interns to answer the phone.

Another tidbit. A century ago when Florida didn’t yet have a million people, the state had four members of the US House.

Check it out at 2010.census.gov.

UPDATE: And when will the state legislative districts be redrawn? Hard to say, but for starters, the detailed data on local population changes are not yet available. The deadline to supply that is April 1. Check it out http://www.census.gov/rdo/pdf/StrengthInNumbers2010.pdf

That file takes a while to open.