Sunburn — The morning read of what's hot in Florida politics — 11.5.18 - Florida Politics

Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 11.5.18

Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.

By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Daniel McAuliffe, Jim Rosica, and Drew Wilson.

Damn it, it 4:31 a.m. and I need to get Sunburn out and then I realize today is David Johnson‘s birthday. His is the rare one that prompts me to stop what I was doing and insert this mention at the top of ‘burn. Because he, with his intelligence, charm, and friendship, deserves such placement. Happy birthday, D.J.

I know, I know. You want the damn poll numbers. Don’t worry; we’ll get to them.

But first, people keep asking me where I believe the race for Florida governor is, especially since I last week predicted a decisive Andrew Gillum win.

Well, in a nutshell, it comes down to this. Democrats are looking at the early voting numbers, and they want to be confident, but after 2014 and 2016, they’re skittish. Saturday Night Live perfectly captured the anxiety many Democrats are feeling the day before the election:

Whether it’s a worried mother (Heidi Gardner) lashing out at her children, a local florist (Kate McKinnon) chugging vases full of alcohol, or a medical doctor (Jonah Hill) huffing laughing gas, the SNL political ad perfectly captures the current state of anxiety Democrats are facing. The sketch’s absurdity was funny, but it was all coming from a place of urgency as the ad made it clear people need to get out and vote.

Meanwhile, the Republicans are equally confident. They believe they have the Democrats right where they want them: Parity with the Democrats in early voting, not losing Independents as badly as the polls suggest, and with tens of thousands more high-propensity voters just waiting to cast their ballot on Election Day.

It’s that last item that should worry Democrats.

I asked Dr. Dan Smith Sunday night how many high-propensity Republican voters were still on the sidelines. By high-propensity, we’re talking about voters who have cast a ballot in four out of the last four statewide elections.

His response:

Ryan Tyson of Associated Industries of Florida uses a different formula to determine voter propensity. In his model, he says there are 196K more Republicans than Democrats left to vote. While Tyson concedes that Democrats have done a tremendous job of turning out the ‘Obama coalition,’ he believes there’s as much evidence to conclude that the Trump coalition is turning out.

Donald Trump won Election Day by more than 300,000 votes. Neither Ron DeSantis or Rick Scott are Trump, but Republican voters see them as his proconsuls in this state. Even if Democrats go into Election Day winning the early vote, they still must win the Independent vote by a wide-enough margin to hold off the expected Republican counterattack.

This is what I call the “Glory” scenario. It’s based on the Academy Award-winning film that ends with the 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry attacking Fort Wagner.

As night falls, the regiment is pinned down against the walls of the fort. Attempting to encourage his men, Col. Shaw (Matthew Broderick) is killed. Tripp (Denzel Washington) lifts the flag, rallying the soldiers to continue, but he too is soon shot dead. Forbes (Cary Elwes) takes charge, and the soldiers break through the fort’s defenses. On the brink of victory, Forbes, Rawlins (Morgan Freeman) and the remnants of the 54th are fired upon by a reserve of soldiers.

Maybe it’s not the best metaphor … nor is it probably wise to use any metaphor connected to The Civil War when writing about the racially-charged race for Governor, but it’s one of the best finales in any movie and always worth watching.

Anyway, here are the results of the final statewide survey from St. Pete Polls. Click on the links to read the full polling report.

Andrew Gillum 50%, Ron DeSantis 45%

Bill Nelson 50%, Rick Scott 46%.

— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —

@RealDonaldTrump: In all the time I’ve been President, almost two years, never once did Senator Bill Nelson call me to ask for help for the Great State of Florida. I never see him until election time … Lake Okeechobee and all of the hurricane money were a passion for Rick Scott, who called endlessly on behalf of the People of Florida. Vote @ScottforFlorida!

@AnitaKumar01: Instead of Pensacola, FL Republicans had hoped Trump could visit Daytona Beach, which sits along the all-important I-4 corridor, the swing area of the swing state But his schedule allowed him instead to appear at a rally in Pensacola, where many people will likely come from AL

@JenniferJJacobs: Ex-Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden, in surprise appearance at Trump rally in Florida, delivered this line: “Trump plus God is a majority.”

—@JoePClements: No serious analyst looks at the (EV) numbers and sees anything but a tide lifting pretty much everyone’s turnout. Not that there can’t be a Blue Wave, but nothing in the EAV returns shows that definitively.

@AbelHarding: .@FlaDems knocked on my door twice today for @AndrewGillum. (I’m guessing they circled back the second time because I didn’t answer the first … or second.) Meanwhile, the @RonDeSantisFL campaign has texted me links to negative stories on Gillum. Which method is more effective?

@Rihanna: FLORIDA: You have the opportunity to make history this election. Let’s #bringithome. Vote @AndrewGillum. And VOTE YES on Amendment 4 to restore voting rights to folks who have already paid their debt to society. VOTE on November 6th!

@DJGroup: If just 37.8% of RiRi’s 88 million followers vote in Florida Tuesday based on propensity models and age breaks it could be very interesting fodder in a @steveschale blog.

—@TroyKinsey: Should @AndrewGillum be elected #Florida’s first African-American Governor Tuesday, national Republicans will have their eye on him. In today’s Times, @FrankBruni writes Trump hand Corey Lewandoski believes Gillum has “caught lightning” as a possible 2020 presidential contender.

@MDixon55: I’m not sure that this year will come down to turn out.

—@SenatorGainer: .@BayDistSchools need shoes. Lots of them. All sizes. These kids lost everything. We are doing better on clothes, but we need shoes. Fast.

— LATEST TURNOUT FIGURES —

More than 4.8M ballots cast ahead of Election Day” via Florida Politics — Nearly 376,000 mail ballots and early votes were reported to the state Division of Elections Sunday, making for more than 4.8 million pre-Election Day votes for the 2018 general election. The day saw Democrats cut into the GOP’s lead by more than 29,000 votes, while unaffiliated and minor party voters further diluted the Republican share of the early vote with another 85,385 ballots recorded Sunday. … As it stands, 1.97 million registered Republicans, 1.94 million registered Democrats and 920,904 independent voters have exercised their franchise. Percentage-wise, Republicans lead Democrats by 0.6 percentage points. Independent voters have cast 19 percent of ballots recorded thus far. … Eight counties — Baker, Citrus, DeSoto, Madison, Manatee, Sumter, Suwannee and Union — had not reported updated totals for the day as of Sunday evening.

How thousands of already cast Florida ballots could be tossed aside without voters knowing” via Pema Leavy of Mother Jones — Florida is one of a handful of states with a signature-matching law. Such laws require that the signature on the envelope of an absentee ballot match the signature on file with county election officials. In a state with razor tight races for governor, US Senate, and many House of Representatives seats, absentee ballots rejected over signature issues could prove greater than the candidates’ margins of victory. Signature problems affect voters of all of all parties and demographics, but data shows young and minority voters, as well as registered Democrats more broadly, are more likely to have their ballots rejected. While Florida counties are required to notify and provide voters with signature problems a chance to correct them before Election Day, county procedures vary widely, and the same demographic groups are less likely to be given an opportunity to fix any error.

— TOP STORY —

Donald Trump uses Pensacola rally to urge voters to elect Ron DeSantis and Rick Scott” via Jim Little of the Pensacola News-Journal — More than 3,000 people filled the new ST Engineering hangar at the Pensacola International Airport Saturday night to see Trump and erupted into thunderous cheers as Air Force One pulled up to the hangar. “Look at that crowd,” Trump said as he took the stage. “That’s a nice crowd. If this election is based on crowds, they might as well cancel it because we won.” Trump has been holding his campaign’s “Make America Great Again” rallies almost every weekend in the last month ahead of the midterm elections and will have done 11 rallies in the week leading up to Election Day. Trump’s rally in Pensacola was the second in Florida this week.

Ron DeSantis and his wife, Casey DeSantis, yesterday joined President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for a rally in Pensacola.

Trump says Democrats would ruin Florida, his second home” via Darlene Superville of The Associated Press — Trump argued that Gillum would “destroy Florida” and claimed that Gillum’s policies would be a “total nightmare” for the state.“ You have only one choice, Ron DeSantis for governor,” Trump told thousands of cheering supporters at a rally at Pensacola International Airport, with Air Force One park right outside of the hangar. “If you want to pay high taxes, you ought to vote for the mayor of Tallahassee,” Trump said. “You will destroy the state that I love.” Trump noted that he also calls Florida home; his Mar-a-Lago estate is located in Palm Beach, and he spends most weekends there in the winter. He also said of the Democrat: “Andrew Gillum is not equipped to be your governor. It’s not for him.”

— GILLUM VS. DESANTIS —

Millions: Andrew Gillum and DeSantis’ money race for Governor” via Danny McAuliffe of Florida Politics — More than $106 million later, Republican DeSantis and Democrat Gillum had all but wrapped the books on their eye-popping cash race for Florida Governor. Each candidate closed their campaign accounts Thursday, recording just shy of $29 million between the two of them … Each candidate’s political committees are still active. But as of Friday, they combined for a total of more than $77 million raised. DeSantis, the now-former congressman from Ponte Vedra Beach, raised about $1 million more than Gillum, Tallahassee’s ‘leadership mayor.’ Gillum has currently raised $52.5 million, DeSantis $53.5 million.

Former President Barack Obama orders lunch with Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum and Sen. Bill Nelson at the Coyo Taco restaurant in Miami. (Image via Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Poll: Gillum ahead by 3 (but survey leans Democratic)” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Another pollster is showing a lead for Gillum in the race for Governor. The latest survey from Vox Populi has Gillum earning 47 percent support to DeSantis’ 44 percent, with 9 percent of voters undecided. Big grain of salt here: The sample is made up of 42 percent Democrats, 36 percent Republicans, and 22 percent independents or “other” voters. That +6 Democratic lean would be an incredible outlier among midterm elections in the past 40 years.

As campaign nears close, Gwen Graham slams ‘anti-woman’ DeSantis” via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics — Saturday evening, she broke that relative silence with an unambiguous statement of support for Gillum, and a sharp rebuke of DeSantis as potentially “the most anti-woman Governor in Florida history.” “The stakes could not be higher for Florida women. During his time in Congress, Ron DeSantis was one of the most anti-women and extreme members of Congress,” Graham said. “From voting against equal pay to opposing our right to choose, DeSantis has made clear his opposition to women’s rights. But most disturbing is his 2013 vote against the Violence Against Women Act — legislation that has played a critical role in saving lives and reducing domestic violence.”

Gillum confident ‘souls to the polls’ will give Democrats the early-vote advantage” via Alex Daugherty and Lesley Clark of the Miami Herald — Registered Democrats entered the day trailing registered Republicans in early-vote totals by a slim 28,000 vote margin, and the last-minute push by Gillum and Democrats across the state focused on black churches could give Democrats a tiny advantage in registration totals heading into Election Day. Republicans have held the early-voting advantage for years in Florida. “At this point, we’re typically five or so points behind Republicans in early vote and absentee vote,” Gillum said. “I think we’re a point behind, we’ve closed the gap substantially. Considering that Democrats lose the last few races by less than a point, we’re feeling great heading into Election Day.”

Um, OK — “Michael Cohen encourages people to vote for Gillum” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida — Trump’s ex-attorney took to Twitter to back Democratic Florida gubernatorial candidate Gillum: “GetOutAndVote,” Cohen tweeted responding to a tweet from Gillum that said “I believe that we will win — but only if we vote.” Cohen also retweeted the Gillum message. Cohen last month called the Trump administration “craziness” and urged people to vote. “Listen, here’s my recommendation. Grab your family, grab your friends, grab your neighbors, and get to the poll, because if not, you are going to have another two or another six years of this craziness,” Cohen said in an interview with CNN. “So, make sure you vote.”

Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs endorses Gillum in new video” via Danny McAuliffe of Florida Politics — “I am so proud to endorse Andrew Gillum, who will become the first black Governor of Florida,” Combs says in a video published by the campaign. Combs, who is black, said he’s not just supporting Gillum “because he’s black, it’s because he’s the best man for the job.” A music producer and entrepreneur — whose business endeavors have ranged from spirits to clothing and media — Combs is estimated to have a net worth of $820 million, according to Forbes. Combs said he aligns with Gillum because of the Tallahassee Mayor’s stance on criminal justice reform. Combs also noted Gillum’s support for legalizing recreational marijuana, raising the minimum wage and expanding publicly funded health care.

To view the video, click on the image below:

Fired Gillum campaign worker remains fired up about politics” via Rachel Stamford of the Orlando Sentinel — On Sept. 29, UCF grad Manny Orozco Ballestas made national headlines when he was fired from the Gillum campaign after a now-deleted Instagram picture and tweets were unearthed by a local blogger. Orozco Ballestas was wearing a shirt that said “Dumbf—istan” and had made offensive tweets about women and President Trump between 2012 and 2013. Since Orozco Ballestas was let go, he has not only reflected on his actions, which he called “immature,” but also on how he can continue his political activism in Central Florida. When asked if he saw Orozco Ballestas continuing political activism in Central Florida, Daniel Robles, a senior political science major at UCF, said there wasn’t a doubt in his mind. “There’s a future for Manny, and I hope someone will give it to him.”

At DeSantis rally, Sonny Perdue says Governor’s race ‘so cotton-pickin’ important’” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida — “Public policy matters. Leadership matters,” said Agriculture Secretary Perdue said at a Lakeland rally. “And that is why this election is so cotton-pickin’ important to the state of Florida. I hope you all don’t mess it up.” Perdue is a former governor of Georgia. “You would have to ask Governor Perdue about any of his remarks,” Stephen Lawson, a spokesman for DeSantis’ campaign, said by email. “We were happy to have him in Polk County campaigning with us.” The phrase “cotton-pickin'” bedeviled another Trump Republican earlier this year when the president’s former deputy campaign manager, David Bossie, apologized in June for telling a black guest on Fox News, “You’re out of your cotton-pickin’ mind.” Before Bossie could apologize, program host Ed Henry called the phrase “deeply offensive and wholly inappropriate.”

’America’s Mayor’ Rudy Giuliani slams ‘failed Mayor’ Gillum” via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics — Former New York City Mayor Giuliani bolstered the gubernatorial campaign of DeSantis in Daytona. “America’s Mayor,” who was in prime form at his first stop for the campaign, was most quotable when bashing Democratic candidate Gillum. Calling Gillum a “socialist” and a “failed mayor running for governor,” Giuliani said the election would be a ten-point spread “if the media covered it fairly.” “How about just fair coverage? How about the good things DeSantis might have done … instead of the one or two things he might have done wrong, I don’t know what they are,” Giuliani said.

Ron DeSantis was joined by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani & Attorney General Pam Bondi and nearly 1,000 enthusiastic supporters for a visit to the Volusia County Victory Office.

Assignment editors — U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Lara Trump will join DeSantis for a series of get-out-the-vote rallies: 8:30 a.m., Bobcat of Jacksonville, 1182 Suemac Road, Jacksonville; 11 a.m., Orange County victory office, 1329 N. Semoran Boulevard, Suite 109, Orlando.

Assignment editors — Rubio joins DeSantis at an event, 11 a.m., Freedom Pharmacy, 3901 E. Colonial Dr., Orlando.

Assignment editors — The Gillum for Governor campaign bus tour continues: 11:30 a.m. Central time, sunrise worship Center, 2645 Pebble Hill Road, Marianna; 2:30 p.m. Eastern time, Get-Out-The-Vote Fish Fry, Wakulla Community Center, 318 Shadeville Road, Crawfordville; 4:30 p.m. Eastern time, Gillum and elected officials rally supporters and voters, Four Freedoms Park, 112 Range Street, Madison; and 5:30 p.m. Eastern time, Gillum rallies with elected officials, Monticello Opera House, 185 W. Washington St., Monticello.

Assignment editors — Democratic Lt. Gov. nominee Chris King will campaign across the I-4 Corridor: 11 a.m., King joins U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist for a get-out-the-vote volunteer canvas, FDP Coordinated Campaign Office, 5100 N 1st Ave., St. Petersburg; 1 p.m., King joins former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, 2318 Lyndhurst Drive, Sun City Center; 4 p.m., King joins U.S. Rep. Darren Soto and state Sen. Victor Torres, FDP Coordinated Campaign Office, 104 Church Street, Kissimmee.

— NELSON VS. SCOTT —

Scott, Bill Nelson race to finish line after bruising campaign” via Ledyard King of USA TODAY — After millions of dollars, thousands of TV ads and scores of bruising personal attacks, Florida’s nationally watched Senate race between Democratic incumbent Nelson and GOP Gov. Scott is right where it started months ago: a virtual tossup. When Scott formally kicked off the race in April by announcing he would challenge Nelson, the contest was already being shaped by three forces: the shadow of President Donald Trump on the state following his election in 2016, the arrival of thousands of Puerto Ricans to Florida following Hurricane Maria’s devastation last year, and the Parkland gun massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February. Those factors remain in play, but others are crowding the agenda, including the state’s red tide crisis, the impact of Hurricane Michael and a gubernatorial race at the top of the state ticket that features fierce partisans who have energized their bases.

Scott fortune a ‘blessing from God,’ Lindsey Graham says” via Florida Politics — A Friday Scott rally featured Sen. Graham, and the highlight of the red-meat remarks was insight into Scott’s process of deciding to run for Senate. “When I heard Rick was running for the Senate, I got on my knees and said a prayer,” Graham said. “He’s the one guy who could make this a race. Because Florida’s expensive and incumbents are hard to beat.” Graham noted that Scott “started with nothing, and has lived the American Dream. He’s put a lot of his own money into this race. I asked Rick about this, and he said ‘this money is a blessing from God and we’re going to use it for good,’ ” Graham quoted Scott as saying. Graham quipped that “you can do a lot of good as a U.S. Senator.”

Tweet, tweet:

— NOTES FROM THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL —

We asked 22 Floridians what they’re thinking about this election year. Here’s what they said.” via Eve Samples of the Treasure Coast Newspapers — Despite their differences, common themes emerged from these Floridians: They feel alienated by the political extremes; They are concerned about Florida’s environmental future; They want leaders who will bring financial stability to their families and businesses; tThe youth of Florida inspires them. The art of listening gets shortchanged in this era when so much competes for our attention; when the most brash views get the most attention. When the din of campaign season quiets after Tuesday’s election, we hope the voices of everyday Floridians will be more clearly heard.

Democrats lead in House preferences, but positive views of the economy and concern about border security may buoy Republicans, poll finds” via Dan Balz and Scott Clement of The Washington Post — According to a new Washington Post-ABC News national poll registered voters prefer Democratic candidates for the House over Republican candidates by 50 percent to 43 percent. That marks a slight decline from last month when Democrats led on the generic congressional ballot by 11 points, and a bigger drop from August when they enjoyed a 14-point advantage. Democrats also have a 51-to- 44 percent advantage among likely voters identified by The Post. That seven-point margin, which is in line with other polls taken in the past two weeks, puts Democrats roughly within range of what they probably will need in the overall national vote for the House to capture a majority from the Republicans, based on calculations from previous midterm campaigns.

Border security is one of the top issues on the minds of voters in 2018.

Hurricane Michael’s devastation in Florida GOP rich Panhandle could impact midterm election” via Ana Ceballos of the Naples Daily News — Michael has taken its toll on this GOP stronghold, which includes Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Jackson, Gulf, Liberty, Washington and Gadsden counties. All but Gadsden, which leans Democratic, help make up the deep red swath of Republican support throughout Florida’s Panhandle. The counties are lagging in early voting turnout and absentee ballots returned compared to the rest of the state, with two — Liberty and Jackson — serving as the only counties in the state that saw a decrease in ballots cast early with five days left before Election Day compared to the same period during the 2014 midterm election. Data shows these eight counties combined during the last midterm in 2014 had a voter turnout percentage that matched the statewide turnout with five days before the election. This year, they are falling behind the statewide turnout rate by six points, mostly because of a drop in absentee ballots returned.

Happening today — Early voting continues in hurricane-affected counties of Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf and Jackson counties. An executive order from Gov. Scott extended the early-voting deadline in those counties.

Feds ask for help in policing the vote Tuesday — North Florida’s top federal prosecutor says to let him know of any “complaints of election fraud or voting rights abuses” as part of the U.S. Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program. U.S. Attorney Christopher Canova said he “will be on duty as District Election Officer in the Northern District of Florida while the polls are open. He can be reached at 850-942-8430. In addition, the FBI will have special agents available … to receive allegations of election fraud and other election abuses on Election Day.” The local FBI office can be reached at 904-248-7000. Complaints about possible violations of federal voting rights laws — such as intimidating or bribing voters, or marking ballots for voters without their input — can be made directly to the department’s Voting Section at 1-800-253-3931 or 202-307-2767, by email at voting.section@usdoj.gov, or by complaint form here.

Key to election security, Florida’s voter rolls have troubled tech history” via Pat Beall of the Palm Beach Post — Long before Florida’s online voter registration system malfunctioned and temporarily throttled back new registrations last month, long before Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher called it a glitch-prone “mess” in need of review, Florida’s system for maintaining voter registration records was dogged by reports of serious flaws. Everything from software security to unauthorized access to voters’ personal information were among the problems cited in Auditor General reports and follow-ups from 2006 through mid-2015. Last month, Bucher discovered a new problem: Just as Floridians are poised to head to the polls for the most contested midterm elections in recent memory, the state’s brand-new online voter registration system crashed … you don’t have to fiddle with the vote-counting software to fiddle with the vote.

In Florida, Republican candidates are talking about climate change — because they have to” via Zahra Hirji of BuzzFeed News — In Florida in 2018, there’s no debate: Hurricanes, rising seas, and algal blooms are influencing voters. The lingering visuals of dead fish and muddied oceans have made people care about the environment. Both Democratic and Republican campaigns told BuzzFeed News that Florida voters are bringing up these issues. So in response, the candidates are talking about it. They talk about it differently, though. Republicans will talk about resiliency and, occasionally, about rising seas (especially if they’re in Miami). But most of the time, they stay focused tightly on the way environmental disaster impacts local business, infrastructure, and tourism — and not the underlying cause. Democrats, meanwhile, are far more likely to link climate change to hurricanes and red tide, use it to push for renewable energy, and describe it as an urgent, even existential problem.

Groups making final push to get Hispanic voters to the polls” via Bianca Padró Ocasio of the Orlando Sentinel — “We’re on the right track, but this doesn’t end until 7 at night Nov. 6,” said Ben Monterroso, executive director of Mi Familia Vota. “I think this year our community realized that not voting has negative results.” The organizations, including the nonpartisan LatinoJustice PRLDEF and the Florida Immigrant Coalition, announced Thursday they were ramping up efforts at Central Florida precincts to make sure voters are provided with Spanish-language materials and were not being turned away at the polls. LatinoJustice will have volunteers stationed outside early voting sites in Lake, Polk, Seminole, Hillsborough, Orange and Osceola counties throughout the weekend and on Election Day. Among registered Hispanic voters statewide, there are about 856,500 Democrats and 536,000 Republicans. About 790,000 registered Hispanics are not affiliated with any party.

These are the stakes for LGBTQ Floridians in the 2018 election, advocates say” via Kirby Wilson of the Tampa Bay Times — The state’s lack of anti-discrimination protections is one of the reasons why advocates — and recent history — say the 2018 elections could play a huge role in shaping the future of LGBTQ rights in Florida. In particular, the next governor could do two major things to end anti-LGBTQ discrimination in the public arena, advocates say. He could sign the Competitive Workforce Act, a law, or sign an executive order with similar language banning discrimination in state offices and public housing. “The support in Tallahassee for statewide nondiscrimination protections has been strong and bipartisan for years,” said Nadine Smith, the co-founder and CEO of Equality Florida, one of the state’s largest LGBTQ rights advocacy groups. “The problem really has boiled down to leadership’s unwillingness to let the bill move.”

Politics and the pulpit: Have we crossed the line?” via Gary White of the Lakeland Ledger — Evangelical leaders — those from Protestant denominations that emphasize conservative positions on such social issues as abortion and gay rights — have been aligned with the Republican Party since the rise of the Moral Majority movement in the late 1970s. Evangelicals supported previous Republican presidents, from Ronald Reagan through George W. Bush. The ardor with which prominent evangelicals have embraced Trump, though, seems a different phenomenon, said R. Marie Griffith, director of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis. Griffith said it seems that even churches have become more politically segregated in recent decades. “It does feel that way, in the sense that I think 20 or 30 years ago you had religious congregations that were often populated by people across a wide political spectrum,” she said. “More and more congregations themselves have sort of regrouped, or people have regrouped themselves, until there tend to be congregations that are nearly all Republican and other congregations that are nearly all Democrat, or at least liberal. Has that created the polarization, or is it a result of it?”

— MORE NOTES —

Nikki Fried holds slim lead in final poll of Ag. Commissioner race” via Florida Politics — That’s according to a new survey from St. Pete Polls. The poll, commissioned by Florida Politics, found Fried leading by just under a percentage point with 6 percent of voters still undecided. The same survey found Democratic gubernatorial nominee Gillum with a 2-point edge over former U.S. Rep. DeSantis as well as a slim lead for current Gov. Scott in his campaign to oust Democratic U.S. Sen. Nelson. In each of the three measures, the Democratic candidate had a significant edge in the early vote while the GOP nominee led among voters yet to cast their ballot. Those leads came despite Republicans outnumbering Democrats in early ballot returns. As of Saturday, nearly 4.5 million Floridians had cast their ballots early.

Nikki Fried is holding a slim lead in the final poll of the Agriculture Commissioner race.

Dog-racing ban still polling under required 60 percent” via Florida Politics — A new poll suggests a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at ending live dog racing in Florida may not pass. The survey by St. Pete Polls shows a total of 50 percent polled are for Amendment 13, while 38 percent are opposed and nearly 12 percent are still undecided just a days before the general election. Amendments, however, need no less than 60 percent approval to be added to the state’s governing document. That means the campaign to pass the measure will need to convince many of the uncertain to come over to their side in the next few days. More significantly, of those who said they already voted, 53 ½ percent voted ‘yes,’ a little over 38 percent voted ‘no.’

—“If amendment banning greyhound racing passes, what’s next for Sanford Orlando dog track?” via Kate Santich of the Orlando Sentinel

Missing: Ross Spano’s financial disclosure required to run for Congress” via William March of the Tampa Bay Times — A California graduate student with interest in politics said he filed a complaint to the U.S. Justice Department about the failure to file. Spano said he “understood it was filed” by his staff, but that if it hasn’t been, “We’ll make sure it’s done promptly.” The report could show a source for the personal money Spano has put into his campaign, $104,500 as of Oct. 17. Spano’s state financial disclosures, filed as a state House member, which require less information than the form for federal candidates, don’t appear to show enough cash available to provide that amount. Asked about that, Spano said, “State disclosures don’t require us to indicate anything that my wife has. … She can certainly loan it to me.”

Oops: Retracted ‘With Honor’ negative ad was back on the air” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — A retracted ad from pro-veterans group With Honor criticizing Democratic congressional candidate Lauren Baer is apparently still on the air, after it was broadcast on WPTV in West Palm Beach. In a statement, With Honor says the ad was run in error, and that the organization is investigating why the ad was still running as of Friday night. As reported by Florida Politics, the ad hammers Baer over an article she wrote while at Harvard, criticizing American foreign policy in the aftermath of 9/11. In a statement to Florida Politics, With Honor says that was a mistake. “With Honor has found out that the NBC affiliate accidentally aired the wrong ad. They did receive our media buyer’s traffic change on (Oct. 25) as requested.”

Florida’s Congressional District 26 selected as part of ‘Axios 8’ — Mike Allen writes in his “Axios AM Deep Dive” from Saturday that the eight races “include not just high-profile races, but ones that would only be competitive if the ‘blue wave’ is massive. The bottom line: Democrats are still riding a blue wave — but it’s not strong enough to help them win all the races that looked within their reach earlier in the cycle.” Of CD 26, he writes, “Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo is trying to keep his seat in a district won by Hillary Clinton. In September, he was leading Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell 47 percent to 44 percent, but now she’s leading 45 percent to 44 percent.”

Donna Shalala will ‘get it done for us,’ say supporters in new ad” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Shalala is letting her supporters make her closing argument to voters in the campaign’s final ad of the 2018 midterm elections. Shalala is competing for the seat in Florida’s 27th Congressional District against Republican nominee Maria Elvira Salazar and nonparty affiliated candidate Mayra Joli. Shalala’s new spot, titled “Getting It Done for Us,” features multiple supporters of her campaign reading off a list of reasons why they plan to cast their vote for the Democrat. The video cuts between different supporters as they all make their case. “The only way to take on Donald Trump and change Washington is by electing someone who’s taken on the toughest battles for our community and won,” the various supporters say.

To view the ad, click on the image below:

Alex Rodriguez records robocall for Shalala” via Tal Axelrod of The Hill — Former professional baseball player Rodriguez recorded a robocall for Shalala. “Hi, this is Alex Rodriguez asking you to support my friend Donna Shalala for Congress. Donna Shalala is a great Miamian who was president of the University of Miami for 14 years and led us to new heights. In addition to educating fellow Miamians, Donna also helped to create over 5,000 jobs with an annual economic impact of six billion for South Florida,” Rodriguez said in the call.

Maria Elvira Salazar files complaint with IRS for ‘misleading’ mailer attacking health care stance” via Martin Vassolo of the Miami Herald — Salazar, who is running to replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in Florida’s 27th Congressional district, said she wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act but maintain the federal law’s protections for patients with pre-existing conditions. Under current law, championed by then-President Barack Obama and a Democratic Congress, health insurance companies can’t deny coverage or charge patients more because of health problems they had before their new health coverage began. In a political mailer sent to a voter in District 27, the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit states that Salazar does not “support requiring health insurance companies to cover individuals with pre-existing conditions” and that her opponent, Democrat Donna Shalala, does.

— DOWN BALLOT —

Attacks step up on Mel Martin, but little promo for Tommy Wright” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — A barrage of Republican advertising in state Senate District 14 offers input on Democrat Martin’s political agenda — whether real or imagined. Mailers picture comparisons of Martin’s platform to government funding for cougars in treadmills and assign views on term limits Martin never stated. But one thing largely absent from political discourse in the race? The name or face of GOP candidate Wright. Wright, meanwhile, has been completely mum. Florida Politics caught up with Wright when he attended a rally for Trump in Fort Myers. Wright declined to speak about the race, and stressed he isn’t talking to any media.

Final poll of SD 18 offers hope to both Dana Young and Janet Cruz” via Florida Politics — Cruz is inches ahead of Young in the battleground race for Tampa-based Senate District 18. A new survey from St. Pete Polls found Cruz with a point-and-a-half lead over Young with 7 percent of likely voters still undecided, that lead falls well within the poll’s margin of error. … Cruz’ lead stems from a 12-point advantage in the early vote, 54-42 percent — more than two-thirds of those polled said they had already cast their ballots. Young has more than a shred of hope, however, thanks to the voters who are waiting until Election Day favoring her by a wide margin: 53-32 percent. … Young holds a 5-point edge over Cruz among women, which counters the national trend of female voters preferring Democratic candidates in the 2018 cycle. Meanwhile, male voters prefer Cruz 51-44 percent. … The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

Young finishes SD 18 campaign with pair of ads” via Florida Politics — Finishing up her re-election bid for Senate District 18 strong, Young released two testimonial ads — one with her mom, Nancy Duden, and the other with Andrew Pollack, dad of Meadow Pollack, who was killed during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy. The testimonial ads speak to Young’s character, as well as her record of fighting for Florida’s kids through education policies and funding or supporting school safety reform, crisis training, and mental health services During the 2018 Legislative Session.

To view the ad with Pollack, click on the image below:

To view the ad with Duden, click on the image below:

Margaret Good spends nearly half a million — again” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — The final financial reports before the Nov. 6 general election show Good through Nov. 1 raised $542,192, and that she spent $487,292 as of Nov. 1. The bulk of that money has gone into advertising blasting airwaves and mailboxes in Florida House District 72. Good spent $62,160 between Oct. 20 and Nov. 1, mostly on advertising with 76 Words in Washington, D.C. and with GPS Impact in Iowa. While boosting name recognition never hurts, it’s worth noting Good already won an election in the district earlier this year.

Robert Asencio tops Anthony Rodriguez in fundraising once again” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — The final campaign finance reports are into the Florida Division of Elections, and they showed Democratic state Rep. Asencio once again ahead of Rodriguez. Rodriguez has kept it competitive in recent reporting periods. But Asencio has brought in more outside money in each of the last four reports filed with the state. Asencio earned just over $37,000 from Oct. 20 to Nov. 1 while spending more than $33,000. A handful of interest group chipped into Asencio’s re-election bid, including clean energy group Ygrene Energy Fund, Florida Workers’ Advocates, and Latino Rising. Asencio’s spending mainly went toward a pair of ad buys for $13,000 and 12,1000 each.

With $200 million in play, tax vote carries high stakes for Palm Beach County schools” via Andrew Marra of the Palm Beach Post — Palm Beach County public schools are betting big that voters will support a four-year property tax hike to pay for higher teacher salaries and more police officers, psychologists and counselors at schools. With $200 million a year in play, the high stakes have many educators nervous. The school board has approved spending up to $372,000 on a promotional campaign to raise awareness about the referendum. Teachers have debated for weeks on social media whether they would risk being fired if it fails. Elevating those concerns, Schools Superintendent Donald Fennoy last month conjured a doomsday scenario if voters reject it, saying that it “will necessitate dramatic budget cuts across all schools and departments.”

Pensacola Mayor’s race likely most expensive in history, attracts state political action committee” via Jim Little of the Pensacola News-Journal — The two candidates running for Pensacola Mayor have raised nearly $425,000 collectively. That number is more than double the $195,760 raised during the first “strong mayor” race in 2010 between the five candidates who filed to run at that time. Pensacola City Councilman Brian Spencer has outraised Escambia County Commissioner Grover Robinson by more than $90,000, for a campaign chest of $258,164. Robinson has raised $166,747 for his campaign. Most of the fundraising and spending occurred during the Primary Election when the race was narrowed down from a pool of six candidates. Since the primary on Aug. 28, Spencer has raised more than $93,300 and Robinson has raised more than $44,300. But the candidates’ campaign money is not the only money in the race. A statewide political action committee has gotten involved in the race and is sending out flyers attacking Robinson for taking a salary during his 12 years on the commission. County Commissioner’s salaries are set by the state and are not a local decision.

’Dark day for Tallahassee politics’: City commission campaigns get nasty in last week” via Jeff Schweers of the Tallahassee Democrat — Tallahassee residents have been bombarded with flyers and TV ads painting certain mayoral and city commission candidates in a negative light. In the race for City Commission seat 3, a flyer distributed by Citizens for Principled Leadership shows restaurant and bar owner Jeremy Matlow’s mug shot from the Alachua County Jail when he was arrested several years ago for selling counterfeit T-shirts with the UF logo on them. The same organization, whose chairman is Republican Party campaign strategist and lobbyist Bill Helmich, also sent out a slick, two-page mailer supporting Matlow’s opponent, Lisa Brown, CEO of Tallahassee-Leon Federal Credit Union. “It’s a dark day for Tallahassee politics,” Matlow said in a video posted on his Facebook page. “You get to the last week of the election and campaigns start to get desperate. Today we learned our opponent and her allies in the Republican Party decided to throw mud.”

— STATEWIDE —

Lauren Book among potential targets for accused mail bomber” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — FBI agents came to Book’s home to inform her of concerns that a pipe bomb may yet be sent to her, the Plantation Democrat said. “When I went into this, I knew politics could be messy,” Book said, “but not somebody sending you a pipe bomb filled with glass to blow you and your kids up.” Book wasn’t home when agents arrived. She was at the airport about to fly to Tallahassee for a United Way Women’s Leadership Breakfast to hear CNN host and author Lisa Ling speak. But husband Blair Byrnes and her two infants were at home. As she sat at an airport ready to board a plane, Book listened to FBI agents brief her from her living room while her children napped upstairs. The agents told Book that Cesar Sayoc, the man investigators believe sent explosive materials to more than a dozen left-leaning public figures in American politics, had also done research on Book’s record of public service.

Lauren Book learned she was among the potential targets for the accused mail bomber.

What lawmakers should be reading: “Death of a Manatee County informant” via Chris Anderson of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Family and friends of Christopher Boston say, given his long history of addiction, he should never have been used as a confidential informant by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office … (He) was shot and killed and dumped by the side of the road … “Rachel’s Law,” which was the first comprehensive legislation of its kind in the country, (was) implemented in 2009. It took important new steps toward holding (law enforcement) agencies more accountable by requiring them to provide guidelines for the safety of informants and also by requiring them to refer certain informants to substance abuse treatment programs. But some feel that the statute did not go far enough.

PSC to weigh plan for electrical repairs” via the News Service of Florida — Florida Public Utilities, which serves about 13,000 customers in Jackson, Calhoun and Liberty counties, filed the proposal Thursday at the state Public Service Commission. Under it, the utility would pay upfront costs for electrical repairs to homes and then recoup the money from the customers over the following year. The program would be optional for customers and would finance repairs up to $1,500. Florida Public Utilities would not charge interest on the money used for repairs but would collect a $20 administrative fee.

Sweetwater commission candidate who bemoaned corruption accused of cocaine dealing” via David Ovalle of the Miami Herald — Jose Mejia, 29, was arrested at his Sweetwater home and charged with three counts of cocaine trafficking. Two other men, Christopher Laboy, 24, and Angel Bedecia Campo, 63, were also arrested and charged. The arrest was made by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which had help from Sweetwater police, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Miami-Dade prosecutors. FDLE did not release details of the investigation, saying only that it began after agents got “information from a confidential source.” Mejia was booked into a Miami-Dade jail late Friday. It was unclear if he had a defense lawyer. The candidate maintained an active campaign website and Twitter page, but is not on Tuesday’s general election ballot. Sweetwater is not scheduled for an election until 2019. He is challenging Sweetwater Commissioner Manuel Duasso.

Sweetwater Commission candidate Jose Mejia arrested on cocaine trafficking charges.

They already felt unwelcome in Tierra Verde. Then they saw the ‘graves’ of Trump’s critics” via Susan Taylor Martin of the Tampa Bay Times — Judson Kidd and James Donovan are a gay couple with an adopted black son. From the day they moved into their waterfront house last summer, they never felt welcomed in the conservative, overwhelmingly white community of Tierra Verde. Neighbors never waved or introduced themselves, they said. One mother yanked her daughter away when she started to play with 2-year-old Van. Then came Halloween, and the disturbing decorations at the big house up the street. The yard had been transformed into a graveyard. “CNN,’’ was written on one white cross, with a gruesome gray skull at its base. Other crosses bore the names of Democrats Hillary ClintonNancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. A firepit contained a jumble of bones and a cross marked “George Soros,’’ the Jewish billionaire who supports liberal causes. “This is pathetic,” he said of the graveyard display. “Can’t we take the politics out of Halloween?” That elicited a quick response: “You’re disgusting. If you don’t like it why don’t you move.”

— TRAGEDY IN TALLAHASSEE —

A gunman fatally shot two women at a Florida yoga studio, wounded five other people and then killed himself on Friday.

The two women killed were Dr. Nancy Van Vessem, 61, a faculty member at Florida State University, and Maura Binkley, 21, a student at the university.

A shooting at Tallahassee yoga studio left 3 dead, including the gunman.

More details are unfolding about the gunman, 40-year-old Scott PBeierle. As of Sunday evening, it had been reported that Beirle had recorded misogynistic videos and had a history of harassing women, including instances of sexual harassment.

The community: Florida State University came together Sunday evening for a candlelight vigil to honor the victims of the shooting. “We understand that this attack is having ripple effects throughout our community, and we are providing support and comfort to the students, families and friends of all those affected,” FSU President John Thrasher said in a statement.

From Gillum: The Tallahassee Mayor broke from the campaign trail Friday night and spent time with officials and members of the media in the capital city. “I’m deeply appreciative of law enforcement’s quick response to the shooting at the yoga facility in Tallahassee today,” tweeted Gillum shortly after the tragedy.

For more updates: The Tallahassee Democrat is aggregating facts as they unearth here.

Dr. Nancy Van Vessem worked to make community better” via Ashley White of the Tallahassee Democrat — An internist, and chief medical officer for Capital Health Plan where she worked for more than 20 years, she was largely responsible for the national recognition of the insurance group, said Assistant Medical Director Dr. Moritz Dehler. “She was always looking for the best she could for the community at large,” Dehler said. “Her vision of taking care of the quality of the doctors we engage and the affordability of keeping the health plan in reach of state workers and people who have access to it was her mission.” Yoga was a safe haven for Van Vessem, a private joy in life. Dehler worked with her for 15 years, the last decade or so in her role as CMO. He saw her Friday afternoon in the CHP parking lot as she headed out to the Friday night class. She had a big smile on her face.

Maura Binkley‘just wanted to help other people’” via Ashley White of the Tallahassee Democrat — The 21-year-old Florida State student was working on a lesson plan and had just asked her mom for advice on the right thing to wear for her interview. She wanted to nail it. “She just wanted to help other people,” said her dad Jeff Binkley. “That’s all she ever wanted to do.” His bright, beautiful only daughter was killed Friday evening when a gunman opened fire at Hot Yoga Tallahassee on Thomasville Road. It was a place she would go to maintain a balanced workout, something that was important to her. Binkley said Tallahassee police told him the incident was a random act. On Saturday, he and his wife, Margaret, drove to Tallahassee from the family’s hometown of Atlanta to meet in person with investigators.

— OPINIONS —

The retrenchment election” via David Brooks of The New York Times — In urban America people talk about Trump constantly. In rural America, people generally avoid the subject. Even if 80 percent of the locals support Trump, you never know how somebody will react if you mention his name — they might call you a racist — so it’s not a safe topic of conversation. The other big impression I get is that grand canyons now separate different sectors of American society and these canyons are harder and harder to cross. As Emma Green noted in The Atlantic, for many, progressivism isn’t just a set of political beliefs; it’s a set of liturgies, rituals and moral doctrines for the secular unchurched. Politics is no longer mainly about disagreeing on issues. It’s about being in entirely separate conversations. The Venn diagram is dead. There’s no overlapping area.

Why I’m voting for Andrew Gillum (a Democrat!)” via Ana Navarro of CNN — DeSantis ran a primary campaign in which he portrayed himself as Trump’s Mini-Me. His signature issue during the primary was building a wall, which is weird because, well, Florida is not a border state. It’s a peninsula surrounded by water on three sides. Trump weighed in heavily in favor of DeSantis during the primary, who is now deeply in his debt. I don’t want a Trump echo chamber for governor in Florida. I want a governor who puts the interest of the state above loyalty to a president of his party. Both Trump has personally attacked Gillum and me. Both Gillum and I were the targets of Twitter threats by Cesar Sayoc. Within hours of Sayoc’s court arraignment, Trump was attacking Gillum, calling him a “thief” and claiming that if elected, he would “turn Florida into Venezuela.” That last part really strikes a raw nerve for me.

Voters should end Florida’s partisan, racist policy of denying voting rights to felons” via Fabiola Santiago of the Miami Herald — A recent Palm Beach Post investigation uncovered just how unfair, partisan and arbitrary the current system of restoring rights can be: Scott’s brand of justice has kept Democrats and African-American felons from getting their rights restored at much higher rates than Republicans and whites. Blacks accounted for 27 percent of those who had their voting rights restored but 43 percent of those released from prisons. In fact, Scott has granted voting rights to the lowest percentage of blacks in 50 years, the Post found. It’s stunning to watch a video that shows the indignities endured by people who have served their time and have filed an application to be allowed to vote again and waited for years for this hearing. They’re asked demeaning questions that have no relevance whatsoever, like by how many partners they have conceived their children. If you think that a crime committed and atoned for shouldn’t determine who you are for the rest of your life, you need to give Amendment 4 a yes vote.

— MOVEMENTS —

Personnel note: Baylor Johnson leaving American Civil Liberties Union of Florida — Johnson is departing this week as the civil-rights organization’s Communications Director to join the ACLU of Texas, he said Friday. He’ll be deputy communications director there. “This was an opportunity to return to my home state and be nearer to family, while also staying in a communications leadership position within an organization I care deeply about, and I was excited to take it,” he said. He’s been with ACLU of Florida since 2010, starting as Online Advocacy Coordinator. The Lone Star State native graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2008, his online bio says. Among other things, he was a legislative aide in the Texas House of Representatives for Democratic state Rep. Paula Pierson, who served 2007-10.

Personnel note: Orlando Sentinel hires FSU sports reporter — Chaunte’l Powell tweeted last month that she was leaving the Albany (Georgia) Herald for Tallahassee, to cover Florida State University athletics for The Orlando Sentinel. “I’m incredibly excited to start this new chapter and equally thankful for the last four years here in Albany,” she wrote. Powell covered Albany State. She got her degree in print journalism from Hampton University in 2012. She then did stints at New Mexico’s Roswell Daily Record and in radio before landing in Albany in 2014.

New and renewed lobbying registrations:

Howard Adams, Pennington: Florida Alliance for Assistive Services & Technology

Brian Ballard, Ballard Partners: Florida Network of Youth and Family Services

Kim CaseMark DelegalBob Martinez, Holland & Knight: Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority

Rebecca DeLaRosa: Palm Beach County

Leslie DughiFred Karlinsky, Greenberg Traurig: TransForce

Edgar Fernandez, Anfield Consulting: Shark Allies

David Harvey, David F. Harvey & Associates: Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office

Ryan Kimmey: Florida Osteopathic Medical Association

Nancy Stewart, Nancy Black Stewart: Capital Insurance Agency

Mark Vincent: New York Life Insurance Company

Nigeria’s main opposition party has signed up a million-dollar Trump lobbyist ahead of 2019 elections” via Yomi Kazeem of Quartz Africa — The People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria’s main opposition group, has signed up Ballard Partners … ahead of general elections next February. The firm will earn $1.1 million per year. The PDP’s presidential candidate is Atiku Abubakar, Nigeria’s vice president from 1999 to 2007 and former ally of current President Muhammadu Buhari. Among its many duties, documents suggest Ballard Partners will work with a “special focus in the coming months on maintaining political and security conditions free of intimidation and interference in order to ensure the success and fairness of Nigeria’s national election for president in 2019.” Ballard Partners will also advise the PDP on enhancing US-Nigeria relations.

— ALOE —

Not so big three: Noles, Gators and Canes all lose, again” via Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press — The “Big Three” of Sunshine State football are struggling simultaneously right now, in historic fashion. Florida lost to Missouri 38-17 on Saturday, Florida State fell against North Carolina State 47-28 and Miami lost to Duke 20-12, a trio of defeats that marked only the third day in the last 40 years where all three played and lost. Losing on the same day also happened on Oct. 30, 2004, and Oct. 8, 2011 — it didn’t happen last weekend because Miami lost to Boston College on Friday night, before Florida lost to Georgia on Saturday and Florida State lost 59-10 to Clemson. Take away the 2004, 2011 and 2018 debacles, and the most recent instance of Florida, Florida State and Miami losing on the same day was Oct. 14, 1978. “We didn’t play very well, at all,” Florida coach Dan Mullen said Saturday.

ICYMI from Takeaways from Tallahassee’: New cigar bar slated for capital — The Urban Tallahassee website reports that the old Lester & Company Fine Jewelry store at 926 N. Monroe St. will become the city’s newest cigar lounge. The bar is an offshoot of Cigars of Tally, the Market Street outpost that’s been around for several years and owned by Lila Jaber and her husband Saed. Jaber, a former Public Service Commissioner, is now Regional Managing Shareholder for the Gunster law and lobbying firm. She confirmed the news last week, saying they plan to open early next year. The development means Fuma Cigar Social, the cigar bar next to Lucky Goat Coffee also on North Monroe, will have competition within walking distance.

The Lester & Company Fine Jewelry store on Monroe Street will be making way for Tallahassee’s newest cigar bar. (Image via Urban Tallahassee)

Swipe left, swipe right: Political campaigning invades dating apps” via Kristina Peterson and Natalie Andrews of The Wall Street Journal — With the midterms fast approaching, and young people generally less likely than those older to vote, apps and events typically used for finding romance are instead being deployed by those who want to entice their fellow citizens to come to a polling station. Phoenix-area resident Sarah Lasker sought out eligible swing voters on the dating app Bumble, seeking to promote Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema’s tight race in Arizona against GOP Rep. Martha McSally for an open Senate seat. Some responded appreciatively. Others sent photos of themselves wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, a sign that her attempts to politically woo them weren’t successful. Political conversations are fine on Tinder, said a spokeswoman for the Match Group Inc.-owned app, but political solicitation or advertising isn’t. Users can report people for violating the terms of service, and some have been banned for campaigning, she said.

Happy birthday — Celebrating over the weekend was state Rep. Blaise Ingoglia.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Orlando Rising and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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