The Corcoran Report: August 2010

Campaign Season

Florida's primary election set for August 24th is less than a week away and candidates are fully engaged in fundraising and campaigning.

In addition to one U.S. Senate seat, Florida's statewide offices are up for election this year. Never before, since Florida's Constitutional change decreasing the size of Florida's Cabinet, have the members of Florida's Cabinet changed in one election cycle.

This year, Florida will experience a significant transition as the cabinet level posts of Governor, Attorney General, CFO and Commissioner of Agriculture will all be new faces or will be members who previously served in other capacities.

The primary election race for nomination as the Republican candidate for Governor has dominated the media and the airwaves, with more than $51 million being spent by Attorney General Bill McCollum and newcomer Rick Scott. Both tout extensive experience, Scott as a successful CEO and McCollum as a consistent and solidly conservative public servant. The race is expected to go down to the wire, as both candidates have polled ahead of one another at various points in the last several weeks.

On thing is sure. Come August 25th, Floridians will know who the candidates are for Governor, as well as for all other races down the ballot, and the campaign will begin in earnest to win in the general election in November.

Organization and Inauguration

Florida's new and incumbent House and Senate members will return to Tallahassee following the November election to be sworn in and to organize for the 2011 Legislative Session. Members will be appointed to committees and Florida's House Speaker and Senate President will assign committees the responsibility of studying and reporting on various issues, prior to the start of the session.

In January, Florida's new Cabinet members will be sworn in. As in previous administrations, we anticipate the new Governor will significantly change the Executive branch's agencies, beginning with naming new agency leadership. These changes will be reflective of the new Governor's policies and principles and will serve to advance the new Governor's agenda at the agency level.

State Budget

Florida's new cabinet and legislature will be faced with perhaps the worst state budget shortfall in history during the coming session. With the federal government's stimulus program set to end this year, Florida's anticipated shortfall is expected to exceed $6 billion.

Unlike the last two years, this revenue shortfall will not be filled with one time federal government funding. This means Florida's legislature will be faced with significant questions about whether to increase and expand revenue sources, as well as facing needs to significantly cut state government programs and funding.

Several key drivers of the state budget include Medicaid and education funding, as well as pension funding for government employees. Expect each of these issues to be debated throughout the coming session.


Every ten years, following the completion of the census, Florida's legislature will also redistrict Florida's congressional, state house and senate districts. These districts must meet requirements set by the U.S. Department of Justice to ensure fair and equitable representation and are also subject to oversight by the courts up to and including the U.S. Supreme Court.

Florida's House and Senate will be engaged during the 2011 session in dialogue and debate surrounding redistricting issues. Typically, redistricting becomes a singular issue of focus during the legislative session. This session, the dual issues of the state budget shortfall and redistricting promise a full and exciting session.

Public Notice

The public notice issue will return again this year. Representative Ritch Workman will likely again file legislation allowing local governments to use the Internet to replace newspapers to meet public notice requirements.

CPF will work with others, including FCPAN, to advance reasonable changes to Florida's public notice requirements to allow local governments and the private market to access lower rates and greater circulation by expanding public notice advertising to community newspapers.

We appreciate the opportunity to serve the members of the Community Papers of Florida. CPF staff and our team will continue updating you regarding the 2010 elections. As always, if you have specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact CPF staff or our office.


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