Florida Politics Category

The District 13 race: Local boy vs. machine-backed outsider

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune, January 25, 2014

On Wednesday, I sat down for lunch with David Jolly. Despite his jeans and untucked button-down shirt, he looks like a congressman. He has a low-key and modest demeanor, but his personal style doesn’t make him a slouch. Although no freshman member of Congress from Pinellas County (or Hillsborough, for that matter) could fill Bill Young’s shoes, Jolly is the most qualified and prepared to hit the ground running.


Photo: Sink and Jolly. (campaign photos)

For her part, Alex Sink, the hand-selected candidate of Democratic Party leaders in Washington, looks good on paper (other than she’s not from the district), but as a campaigner, she’s more awkward than Miley Cyrus teaching an etiquette class. The party bosses must have forgotten Sink’s lackluster personality is why Rick Scott is governor. What they didn’t forget was (more…)

Waiting anxiously (snicker) for a new ‘Flori-duh’ lieutenant governor

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune, January 14, 2014

The best-kept secret in Tallahassee that is of zero consequence to Florida is who will Gov. Rick Scott select to be his lieutenant governor (and when will he do it).

For a guy who has built his entire political purpose around “jobs,” this is one job he can’t seem to fill. And who can blame him? The position is largely ceremonial, having only one constitutionally delegated power — to succeed the governor in the event of his death, resignation or incapacitation.


Photo: Governor Rick Scott.

Any politician with the slightest yearning for a political future would take a pass if offered the opportunity to serve as lieutenant governor. In modern times, the lieutenant governor from Florida has never gone on to higher elective office.

This doesn’t keep Tallahassee insiders and political pundits from debating over which demographic group (women, blacks, Hispanics) Scott needs the most help with in his re-election campaign — and speculating whom he will pick to fill the biggest electoral demographic void. This is complete bunk, of course, because with the exception of the newly-minted lieutenant governor’s immediate family, pretty much no one is going to vote for Scott just because his lieutenant governor is black, or female or Hispanic.

Even though (more…)

Scott narrows field for lieutenant governor to two

Monday, January 13th, 2014

By Chris Ingram

Sources close to Governor Rick Scott tell me that Scott has narrowed the field of potential appointees to fill the lieutenant governor position to just two people: Hillsborough County Commissioner/former state representative Sandra Murman and Miami-Dade property appraiser/former state representative Carlos Lopez-Cantera.

The position has been vacant for ten months following the resignation of former LG Jennifer Carol. Carol resigned after being questioned by law enforcement about her role in an illegal gambling operation. Carol has not been charged with any crime and later said she was “forced” to resign. 






The largely symbolic position carries no constitutional or statutory authority other than as the person who is next-in-line of succession in the event of the governor’s death, resignation or incapacitation. The position comes with an annual salary of $125,000, a small staff, and an office and travel budget of approximately $500,000. The desire to attend lots of funerals of second-tier elected officials and other so-so VIPs, as well as putting on a happy face at Lincoln Day Dinners and various other events as the governor’s surrogate are job requirements.

The post is largely viewed as a political “dead end” as no modern lieutenant governor from Florida has ever gone on to further elective office. 

Commissioner Murman told me this morning that she, (more…)

Ideological opposites set a good example

Friday, December 20th, 2013

By Chris Ingram

Earlier this week, Kevin Beckner and Tim Euler were inducted into the Rotary Club of Tampa. I was proud to have sponsored both of them as members of the Tampa club, which celebrates its centennial anniversary next year as part of the international civic organization.

Kevin Beckner is a Hillsborough County Commissioner, a Democrat, and the county’s only openly gay elected official. He had spoken at the club earlier in the year and was interested in Rotary, so I invited him to come back as my guest and consider joining.

Tim Euler is the new Head of School at Cambridge Christian School in Tampa, where my girls are students. Tim is an unapologetic Christian conservative and a Republican. Tim moved to Tampa from Orlando over the summer, and we developed a friendship; as with Kevin, I asked him to be my guest at Rotary.

Kevin and I scheduled the day for him to attend his first meeting as my guest weeks in advance of the actual date. I had all but forgotten which day it was when I invited Tim to attend as my guest the same day. When I realized they were coming on the same day, a slight panic set it.

Panic because I wasn’t sure how it was going to go over with these two ideological polar opposites sitting together at the meeting. I considered telling one of them a little white lie to keep him from coming to the meeting on the same day as the other.

I decided to (more…)

A Christmas wish list

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

This year’s list includes Charlie Crist!

Photo: Charlie Crist

Photo: Charlie Crist


By Chris Ingram

With Thanksgiving past us, it’s time to start thinking about Christmas.

I only want a handful of things for Christmas, and fortunately for my loved ones, they didn’t have to fight people at the mall at 4 a.m. on Black Friday to get me what I want. Because nothing I want is sold in stores.

Here’s my hodge-podge list of what I want for Christmas.

Fix our roads. I would ask for less traffic on our area roads, but that isn’t going to happen. So instead, I am asking for a few things related to traffic that we can all do to make our roads safer and less congested.

First, I wish that everyone who feels the need to instantly respond to Tweets, texts, emails, and Facebook postings on their mobile device while driving, would put the darned things down and just drive before they rear-end someone and make some trial lawyer rich.

Second, I’m asking that people who feel the need to (more…)

The Pros and Cons: Should medical marijuana be legal?

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013


Special to The Tampa Tribune Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thanks to a well-funded effort by ubiquitous trial lawyer John Morgan, Florida voters are likely to get the opportunity to vote for, or against, approving the use of medical marijuana next November.

For most supporters, the issue of medical marijuana is a highly emotional issue based on personal beliefs and scientific evidence that is often criticized by the establishment. Meanwhile, opponents say approving marijuana usage for medicinal purposes is a mere foot in the door that will eventually lead to approval of recreational marijuana use. That, they say, will lead to greater use of harder drugs and create more societal ills.

Personally, I have never used marijuana or other illegal drugs, and wondered what all the fuss is about. But I know plenty of people across the social spectrum who smoke pot, and it seems no more harmful than alcohol. The libertarian in me says take a laissez-faire approach: If it does no harm, let the individual decide for himself.

The “facts” on medical marijuana are as diverse as the people who smoke it. Credible studies from one side are countered with convincing conclusions by the other – and both sides have strong and plausible points.

At over $40 billion annually, enforcing our nation’s marijuana laws is expensive. Pot is big business not just for dealers, but for those who enforce our drug laws. And marijuana has the potential to be a boon for the pharmaceutical industry. If scientists are able to package the benefits of marijuana into a pill, it would be a gold mine for the drug companies. Those companies have a vested interest in keeping weed unavailable to patients in its natural state.

For the pro-legalization point of view, I spoke at length on two occasions with John Morgan. To date, Morgan has put more than $1 million of his own money to get the medical marijuana issue on the ballot next year.

For the opposing view, I spent a day with Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee, discussing the issue as we patrolled the streets and went on a scheduled security check over Hillsborough County in a sheriff’s office helicopter.  (Click here to read the full column in Sunday’s Tampa Tribune.)

Gee still

Click on image to quick link to video interview with Sheriff Gee.

Morgan still

Click on image to quick link to video interview with Sheriff Gee.


Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him at: Chris@IrreverentView.com.

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Schorsch, Crist and the Tampa Bay Times

Saturday, November 16th, 2013

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Bay Times seems to be in a funk. Of late, the newspaper has shown poor judgment and a lack of journalistic standards. On two recent occasions the paper has shown why readers may be abandoning it – it lacks credibility. Meanwhile, cross-bay rival the Tampa Tribune’s (which I contribute a column to, but am not employed by) circulation numbers have increased – one of just two Florida dailies to post increased circulation  numbers last year.

In addition to perpetually having a thing for publishing exhaustingly long, one-sided, front-page stories about the Church of Scientology, the paper is starting to show low standards of journalism and good judgment. Unfortunately for readers, they may not even recognize it.

Here are two examples:

Proving the Times‘ bias against Rick Scott

On Friday, the Times’ online “Buzz” section posted a story by the paper’s political editor, Adam Smith about how Florida “political insiders” view a variety of state and local political matters. The insiders survey is something Smith does on occasion, and which I have regularly participated in. Friday’s “Buzz” post was about what insiders think about the governor’s race and likely match-up between Governor Rick Scott, and former Governor Charlie Crist (among other subjects). No harm there, but the devil is in the details. 

As part of Smith’s posting, he includes a list of all of the “insiders” who participated in the poll (participants must be invited to do so by Smith). On the list this week were the usual assortment of regulars, but one name on the list struck me as odd and inappropriate for being a participant. That name: Charlie Crist.

cristcharlie 057

Caption: The Tampa Bay Times certainly loves Charlie.

Yes, the Tampa Bay Times conducted a survey about Florida politics and included one of the candidates being surveyed about for his opinion about his own race! That’s like asking the CEO of McDonalds, “Who makes the best hamburger?” What do you think he is going to say?

To make matters worse, when I inquired with Smith about (more…)

Beetle Bailey, er, Charlie Crist, starts his march to the sea

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune, November 6, 2013

If Charlie Crist was a comic book character, he would be Beetle Bailey.

Beetle Bailey is known for being loose, lackadaisical and utterly likable. He also is something of a knucklehead, more interested in pursuing a good time than achieving anything of merit.

Like Beetle Bailey, Crist is extremely personable and is a master campaigner who knows how to make people feel good. They both also share a longing for fun and a free-spirited nature — which is great when you’re a comic character who is a hapless private in the Army. Not so great when you’re expected to lead the nation’s fourth-largest state.

images CRIST3

Outside of being likable, Crist has little else to offer. He is an empty suit and a political opportunist who does not have convictions. As someone who lacks significant accomplishment in life outside of politics, Crist is the poster-child of a career politician who is a member of the political class. His 2010 U.S. Senate campaign opponent, Marco Rubio, is also a member of this group. These political ladder-climbers lack the real-world skills, life experiences and business practices to effectively lead our country. For the best and most well-known member of this group, look no further than Barack Obama.

All three of them have been given (more…)

Schorsch plays loose with the facts

Friday, November 1st, 2013

Speaker Weatherford on Peter Schorsch: “He’s never been a consultant for me. Ever.”

By Chris Ingram

Friday kudos to the Republican Party of Florida’s Communications Director, Matt Moon for calling a spade a spade.

I am referring to the RPOF’s Memo of today to national media outlets warning them of the dangers of dealing with, or taking “as credible” anything that rolls out of the cave of one Peter D. Schorsch. Schorsch of course is the blowhard blogger who fancies himself as a journalist when it is convenient, and claims he is not a journalist when it is not. Publisher of the website St.Petersblog, his ego generally arrives about 30 minutes before he does. Schorsch it has also been well documented by multiple media outlets plays loose with the facts, typically ends up being the story for people whom he consults for and has a lengthy criminal background (including Grand Theft, Scheme to Defraud). Bottom line is, he is bad news from his head to his toes.

Pictured: Peter Schorsch. Photo courtesy of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.


Several political candidates and elected officials have told me over the years they advertise on his site because their consultants have said if you do, Schorsch is less likely to write nasty things about you. This is apparently a heck of a way to make a living which Schorsch is fond of bragging about.

So today, the RPOF took on Schorsch with a memo (see below). In response to the memo, and once he got over being excited when he realized he would “be the news” again, Schorsch published on St. Petersblog the following: (more…)

Crist to run for governor. Or perhaps not…

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

Ever the chameleon, Crist could be changing colors again

By Chris Ingram

Now that former Rep. Bill Young has been interred, expect a flurry of political jockeying to replace him.  Young’s son, brother, and wife, former Mayor Rick Baker, Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos, and former County Commissioner Neil Brickfield are among Republicans who have been mentioned as possible candidates to succeed him. Former CFO and gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink is the leading Democrat mentioned. She is joined by talk of county commissioner and former state Senator Charlie Justice, and state Representative Janet Long as potential candidates, among others (Justice said on Friday he would not run).

Lost in most of the chatter is attorney Jessica Ehrlich, who was the 2012 Democratic nominee and has continued to campaign for the job even before Young’s retirement announcement and subsequent death.

Yet despite posting the strongest challenge to Young in twenty years, she hasn’t won any bonus points with establishment Democrats who care more about winning than rewarding Ehrlich for not just being a political opportunist.  

aTooTan Charlie 2

Caption: That’s one box of Fruit Loops you might want to take a pass on. (Drawing by Jake Fuller)

Who the candidates will be, and when the election will be held remains unclear. Florida law is vague about the date of a special election to replace a member of the House of Representatives. Unlike replacing a member of the U.S. Senate, vacancies in the House of Representatives cannot be appointed. So there will be an election, we just don’t know when the governor will set it.   

While the rest of the political intelligentsia chatter about a Baker versus Sink race, or all the “what ifs?” concerning Young’s various family members, one person not so frequently mentioned whom I think may very well run, is former Governor Charlie “Too Tan” Crist. Sound crazy? Perhaps, but in politics, anything is possible.

When he’s not pitching his skills as a trial lawyer to take your slip and fall accident or parking lot fender-bender case to court, Crist is said to be forming a campaign team for another run for governor. I haven’t ever bought the notion that Crist would run for governor again — and have speculated it’s been an act all along that he would, in order for Crist to maintain a high profile and build up his fundraising base so he can run against Bill Young.  That’s what I expected to happen. Now that young has died, Crist can run in a much easier open seat and land himself a job as Congressman for the next twenty years if he wants it.

Yesterday he unveiled an odd campaign website that looked like a typical candidate’s website, but it was missing two things. Those two things were: (more…)

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