Politics1 reports a couple of interesting developments, both in the Sunshine State:

EX-NH US SENATOR CONSIDERS COMEBACK … IN FLORIDA After US Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) lost his race for re-election in the GOP primary last year, he moved to Florida and went to work as a realtor. The political problems began when Smith ran for President in 2000. During that run, he briefly left the Republican Party to seek the nomination of the Constitution Party — and gave a fiery Senate floor speech blasting the party for betraying conservative values. Shortly after leaving the Republicans, he quit the Presidential race and rejoined the GOP. Those moves contributed in large part to his 2002 defeat in the Senate race. Apparently, selling beachfront real estate is not as enticing to Smith as a return to politics. According to the Charlotte Sun-Herald, Smith said he’s been looking at the open US Senate seat race in the state ever since Bob Graham announced his retirement plans. “My wife and I certainly had no intention of re-entering politics when we moved here, but ever since Senator Graham retired, a lot of people have been asking me to run,” said Smith. “I’ll probably officially announce next month,” he added. Is he worried about being called a carpetbagger? Not at all, he explains: “Florida is a state that has a lot of people in transition, a lot of people move here. I think the key for voters of Florida is … an electable candidate who cares about the issues that they care about.”

My guess is his losing streak will extend to three.

AN EMBARRASSING OUSTER In a highly unprecedented move, Florida Governor Jeb Bush (R) removed an elected official from office Thursday for gross incompetence, mismanagement and neglect of duty. Traditionally, elected officials are only removed from office for criminal wrongdoing or a health incapacity. However, in the case of Broward County Supervisor of Elections Miriam Oliphant (D), Bush still seemed left with little other choice. Interestingly, nearly all local leaders from both major parties applauded his move. Oliphant — you may recall — was the inept elections official who failed to open some of her polls on time in the September 2002 primary, failed to staff the polls with people who even knew how to boot up the electronic voting machines, closed some of her polls hours early, and hid hundreds of mistakenly uncounted absentee ballots for months after the election. The county government was forced to step in for the November 2002 election with over 800 employees and entirely run the election for her. Since then, Oliphant fired most of the few remaining individuals in her office with any election management experience, gave pay raises to cronies, massively overspent her annual budget, failed to update her voter rolls, and this month conducted an election by mail which saw more total ballots returned to her office for bad addresses than the total amount of voted ballots returned by mail. Here are some excerpts from the very painful report by Secretary of State Glenda Hood’s Assessment Team Report to the Governor: “A mature democratic society does not accept the sophistry that an incompetent elected official should not be removed because his or her election demonstrates that he or she is what the people want … The [2002 primary] was an abysmal failure. Supervisor Oliphant’s gross mismanagement of that election is undisputed … dereliction of her statutory duties and unacceptable performance … a fundamental lack of understanding of how to successfully run [her] office … gross carelessness in the discharge of the Supervisor’s duties [and a] known historical inability to conduct a successful election on her own … a sobering example of what the dereliction of duty and incompetence exhibited by a single public official can produce … Oliphant has shown little remorse for the conduct … and a complete lack of understanding or concern for the consequences of her failure to meet even the minimum standards of care and practice for a Supervisor of Elections … It is unconscionable to continue to expend state resources to bail this Supervisor out of one failed election after another.” Just brutal. Bush replaced Oliphant with another black female Democrat — a respected school system administrator — which muted just about any criticism of the ouster. Here’s the kicker: Oliphant plans to fight her removal in the State Senate … and the former fashion model has told friends she may even seek re-election next year to a second term.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.