A.G. Gancarski, Author at Florida Politics - Page 5 of 437

A.G. Gancarski

Ron DeSantis declares run for Governor, sets up two-man GOP race

True to his word, Rep. Ron DeSantis made news on Fox and Friends.

On Friday, he announced his decision to run for Florida Governor — a decision that seemed made months ago, with the groundwork for a campaign being laid slowly and surely.

“As you remember a few weeks ago, the president tweeted support for me as a candidate for Governor of Florida. So, today we’re going to be filing the paperwork to begin that effort,” DeSantis said.

“As a military officer, an Iraq veteran, and a proven conservative, with the support of the president, I’m in a position to exercise the leadership that can build on the great work that Governor Rick Scott has done to advance economic opportunity, reform education, and drain the swamp in Tallahassee that needs to be drained just like Washington,” DeSantis added.

“While this is an important step towards running for Governor, an official campaign kick-off will take place later this month,” DeSantis continued.

DeSantis rolled out an impressive financial team earlier this week, with more than 50 Floridians stretching from Miami through the Panhandle and featuring Palm Beach billionaire Thomas Peterffy; and more than two dozen national names, topped by Las Vegas casino mogul and conservative political rainmaker Sheldon Adelson.

DeSantis’ state financial leadership team includes Republican donors and timeshare moguls Jackie and David Siegel of Windermere; Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus; Palm Beach fundraisers Gay and Stanley Gaines; and Art Hudson of Orlando.

In addition to Adelson, the national committee includes David Bossie of Dallas, who is chairman of the Citizens United political activism organization and was a deputy campaign director for Trump; Republican financier Rebekah Mercer of New York; Dick Uihlein of Chicago, a big backer of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Club for Growth; and Christian-conservative cause financier Foster Friess of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

The GOP race for Governor is shaking out to be Tallahassee interests backing Putnam versus DC interests backing DeSantis. This raises interesting questions for Richard Corcoran, the House Speaker and undeclared candidate. Can he compete with these machines?

Putnam has on-hand roughly $15 million; he began December with more than $2.5 million in his campaign account. Putnam also added just over $1.1 million in December to his political committee Florida Grown, which started December with more than $12.8 million on hand. DeSantis, no doubt, will be able to catch up. Billionaire-stacked finance team aside, he has nearly $1.7 million in his U.S. House account that can be transferred into the gubernatorial run, and a political committee, Fund for Florida’s Future, which has about $2 million on hand.

Corcoran’s Watchdog PAC had nearly $4.69 million on hand when December began.

DeSantis also touted this week a robopoll showing him leading Adam Putnam in what will be — at least until the end of the Legislative Session — a two-man race for the GOP nomination for Governor.

POLITICO popped the survey this week.

“The automated ‘robopoll,’ which had a sample of 1,423 likely GOP voters, had DeSantis with 28 percent, ahead of state Agriculture Commissioner Putnam (25 percent), and Corcoran (3 percent),” the POLITICO write-up asserts.

President Donald Trump on Dec. 22 tweeted: “Congressman Ron DeSantis is a brilliant young leader, Yale and then Harvard Law, who would make a GREAT Governor of Florida. He loves our Country and is a true FIGHTER!”’

That endorsement of DeSantis matters bigly also. 84 percent of Republicans polled view Trump favorably. And 36 percent see themselves as “Trump Republicans.”

Notable: this is the only survey that shows DeSantis even within the margin of error of Putnam — but that could change soon.

Florida Politics asked Florida Gov. Rick Scott about the Putnam/DeSantis race this week.

The Governor was less than voluble, saying only that he had not endorsed.

A sharp response came from the Putnam campaign Friday morning, in a press release that called DeSantis a “Washington insider” running for another office after a “failed U.S. Senate campaign” in 2016.

“Floridians need a Florida First conservative like Adam Putnam to serve them as their next Governor, not a Washington D.C. insider,” said Putnam spox Amanda BevisB.

“In true Washington insider fashion,” Bevis added, “Congressman Ron DeSantis announced his latest campaign from an empty TV studio to broadcasters in New York. DeSantis is a typical Washington politician who is focused on nothing more than his next promotion. Last election he wanted to be a Senator – now he wants to be Governor…Floridians deserve better.”

Democratic candidates were eager to welcome DeSantis to the fray.

Democratic frontrunner Gwen Graham asserted that “Ron DeSantis running as Trump’s hand-picked candidate with the backing of out-of-state billionaires may endear him to the most partisan primary voters, but he is too extreme for Florida.”

“While DeSantis has dedicated his time in Congress to protecting Trump from Mueller and becoming a Fox News star,” Graham added, “we look forward to a vigorous debate on the real issues that affect Florida families most. Ron DeSantis’s support for privatizing public schools, his denial of climate change and his votes to cut Medicare are just out of touch with Florida families.”

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, in a Tweet, called DeSantis Trump’s “handpicked candidate.”

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine went further, calling DeSantis an “alt-right extremist” in a fundraising email.

Material from Florida Politics’ Scott Powers and the News Service of Florida was used in this post.

Cobranding links Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, NFL Jaguars

The 2015 Jacksonville Mayoral campaign is just a memory now. And the alliance between former Mayor Alvin Brown and Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan has a newsreel quality.

It almost seems quaint.

In 2014, when it seemed like Brown was a slam dunk for re-election, the city signed off on an ambitious capital investment: $43 million into EverBank Field upgrades, highlighted by the so-called world’s largest scoreboards.

There was criticism from what passes for the left in Jacksonville, but the gambit paid off. The big-ticket spend cleared City Council with ease, and Khan was among the biggest supporters of Brown for re-election.

Was it personal affection? Not necessarily. It was business.

Lenny Curry won the election, of course, and within months of that win, Khan became Curry’s leading supporter.

And Curry, who prioritized building a relationship with Khan, has done so. They align politically and professionally, with a shared vision for Jacksonville.

Since 2015, Khan has dumped $200,000+ into Curry’s “Build Something That Lasts” political committee.

Sources familiar with the dynamic describe Curry and Khan as close, and even when Khan and Curry are forced to deviate on issues — such as the decision of Jaguars to kneel during the National Anthem at a game this year, when Khan stood up for free speech and Curry served up red meat, saying the decision to kneel was “stupid” — the attitude can be summed up as “see you on the other side.”

During Curry’s era, money has been poured into the stadium complex also.

A $90 million capital investment paid for a covered practice field, an amphitheater, and stadium renovations, which were in place for this NFL season; the city of Jacksonville paid for half of that, and no one dared vote against it on the pliant City Council.

That amphitheater will be featured on Friday, as Curry will host a “Bills Bustin’ Bash,” a pep rally before the first home playoff game in years.

Skeptics point out that between the Curry and Brown eras, almost $90 million of city money went into stadium renovations. The city’s bed tax will be used to pay off the financing on that over a course of decades, meaning that maintenance costs for other city facilities will be paid for out of the general fund.

Curry, by the standards of Jacksonville Mayors, is more enthusiastic about NFL football than any of his predecessors.

Jaguars’ quarterback Blake Bortles is a personal friend, and Curry has predicted double digit wins for the team each of the three seasons he has been Mayor.

The NFL Network is often on in Curry’s office, the deep dive into sports a reprieve from the pressures of dealing with Jacksonville stakeholders.

But on this Friday, Curry himself was on the NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football,” where the Mayor talked up his team and his town.

“This is the show that I wake up to almost every morning,” Curry said.

Curry went on to discuss the city’s excitement about the game — and owner Shad Khan.

“Jacksonville is on fire. The fans are excited,” Curry asserted.

“When Shad bought the team, there was a new energy,” Curry said, describing “economic development” as one of the benefits.

“Our downtown and working with him and investing there is going to look very different in the next five or ten years,” Curry added, a potential allusion to an “entertainment zone” concept Curry has floated with friendly media in recent weeks.

Curry also addressed Bortles on the program.

“He’s my QB 1. He’s the team’s QB 1. The fan’s QB 1,” Curry said. “Blake can get the job done when he needs to.”

“I know Blake personally … he is mentally tough. All this noise doesn’t get to him,” Curry added.

Curry also discussed Jaguars’ all-world cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

“He’s just a competitor,” Curry said, describing Ramsey “locked in” during pregame warmups.

“A good person … but a competitor,” Curry added, floating a description that some might use to describe the Mayor himself.

After the TV hit, Curry went on to set up a wager with the Mayor of Buffalo.

If the Jaguars win, Buffalo sends wings. If the Bills win, Jacksonville sends Firehouse subs and craft beer.

AG hopefuls Jay Fant, Ashley Moody attack each other before state GOP meeting

Personal attacks percolate in the Republican race for Attorney General, with Rep. Jay Fant and former Hillsborough Judge Ashley Moody giving and receiving fire.

The timing is no accident: Moody and Fant — and every other important Florida Republican — will be at the meeting of the state party this weekend in Orlando.

Fant’s broadside against Moody was pushed out in an email to supporters Thursday. It essentially saw the campaign doubling down on attacks made in December, when Fant called for Republican Party of Florida chairman Blaise Ingoglia to bar Moody from the meeting.

That call was rejected.

The email, written by Fant campaign chief of staff Carolyn Tucker, says the meeting is “ONLY FOR REPUBLICANS,” and should exclude Moody, “a proven Clinton liberal.”

“Clinton liberals, like Ashley Moody, don’t believe in securing our borders, won’t crack down on sanctuary cities, and won’t protect Florida’s Stand Your Ground Laws … as a liberal judge, Ashley Moody betrayed second amendment conservatives (more revelations on that subject coming VERY soon),” Tucker continues, calling Moody a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

Moody’s campaign fired back.

“A conservative Republican since college, it is astounding and disheartening to learn a fellow Republican, Jay Fant, continues to baselessly attack me.  His willingness to send misleading and false information is quite different than the Jay Fant who ran for the State House in 2014.  Back then, he insisted that clean campaigning in the primary is critical to our Republican Party,” Moody asserted.

Moody countered Fant’s attack on her SYG position also.

“I am a strong supporter of our 2nd Amendment rights and Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. I am the only candidate for Attorney General who has actually granted Stand Your Ground immunity to an individual using deadly force with a firearm to protect himself.”

Moody wasn’t done.

“My loving and incredible father, who taught me respect for the rule of law and the importance of faith and honesty, is a federal judge who had the backing of Republican U.S. Senator Connie Mack throughout the bipartisan nomination process, even though he was ultimately appointed by then President Clinton.

“Regardless of who appointed my father, as a 42-year-old woman, a mom, a former federal prosecutor, and former judge, for Jay Fant to assert that I can’t have political views different than my father is offensive,” Moody said.

“I believe in strictly adhering to the protections of our Constitution, enforcing our laws, and securing our borders.  As a wife of a federal law enforcement officer, I have the utmost respect for law enforcement, which is why my candidacy has been endorsed by 30 Republican Sheriffs from across the state,” she added.

Meanwhile, mud is flying in Fant’s direction also — from the former chair of his hometown Duval County Republicans, Cindy Graves.

Graves is not backing a candidate in this race; however, she is bringing up the most serious oppo against Fant in an email with a provocative title: “How a statewide Florida candidate cost FDIC $82 million.”

Graves charges Fant with “the destruction of the most conservative bank in the South, as the man responsible for bankrupting” First Guaranty Bank.

Graves notes that Fant “is very well funded as the bank failure did not affect his own wealth. At the time of the bankruptcy, he built one of the most enviable river estates in Duval County.”

This bank scandal, says Graves, “is the best-kept open secret in Florida politics.”

We reached out to Melissa Stone of the Fant campaign for comment on this.

“The facts are that when the federal government bailed out big banks with taxpayer money during the Great Recession, Jay Fant was working in a small family-owned community bank. Small businesses like his didn’t get a big government bailout. The big boys who caused the mess got paid and the little guys were left holding the bag,” Stone said.

“Bad government policy killed that small business, but fortunately depositors and taxpayers lost nothing. Bad policy has bad consequences. Bad policy on Stand Your Ground laws, for example, by an Attorney General who doesn’t believe in them could leave Floridians vulnerable to unwarranted prosecution when they take action to protect their lives, their homes and their families. Jay supports Florida’s strong Stand Your Ground laws, but not everyone running for Attorney General does.”

Florida pols oppose proposed offshore oil drilling; Donald Trump isn’t worried

So much for the “partner in the White House.”

Gov. Rick Scott enjoyed lunch with President Donald Trump on New Year’s Eve, but Scott is finding President Trump’s position on offshore oil drilling hard to digest.

“Based on media reports, it is likely that the Department of the Interior will consider Florida as a potential state for offshore oil drilling – which is something I oppose in Florida,” Scott said.

“I have already asked to immediately meet with Secretary Zinke to discuss the concerns I have with this plan and the crucial need to remove Florida from consideration,” Scott added.

“My top priority is to ensure that Florida’s natural resources are protected, which is why I proposed $1.7 billion for the environment in this year’s budget,” Scott continued.

At Thursday’s White House briefing, Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the President wasn’t all that worried about Scott’s opposition to the proposal.

“Our goal certainly isn’t to cross Gov. Scott. We have a great relationship with him. We’re going to continue working with him on a number of issues. Just because we may differ on issues from time to time doesn’t mean we don’t have an incredibly strong relationship. We’ll continue those conversations with him,” Sanders said.

We have reached out to Gov. Scott for comments on this seeming dismissal of his position.

Scott joins his likely opponent in this year’s Senate race, Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson, in opposing the expansion of offshore drilling proposed by the Trump White House.

“This plan is an assault on Florida’s economy, our national security, the will of the public and the environment. This proposal defies all common sense and I will do everything I can to defeat it.”

Sen. Marco Rubio also opposes expansion of drilling.

“I have long supported the moratorium in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, which is not slated to expire until 2022, and introduced legislation to extend the moratorium until 2027. As the Department of Interior works to finalize their draft plan, I urge Secretary Zinke to recognize the Florida Congressional delegation’s bipartisan efforts to maintain and extend the moratorium in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, and remove this area for future planning purposes,” Rubio said.

Time is of the essence.

The Washington Examiner reports that Interior Secretary Zinke seeks to roll out a plan starting in 2019 that would allow the most ambitious offshore drilling program ever.

Florida politicians may oppose it. But does the White House care?

Andrew Gillum slams Jeff Sessions’ reversal of federal cannabis policy as racist and ‘deluded’

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rolled out plans to reverse the Cole Memo, an Obama-era policy of detente in the federal war against cannabis, on Thursday.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum was the first — and as of Thursday morning, the only — candidate in Florida’s 2018 field to decry Sessions’ move.

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions is dangerously deluded about our nation’s drug policy. This decision is not rooted in science or justice — though that’s little surprise since he has compared marijuana to heroin,” Gillum asserted.

“While people of every walk of life smoke marijuana,” Gillum added, “the criminal penalties for doing so are far less equal. He has made his goal crystal clear: put more young people and people of color behind bars.”

Sessions’ move was teased since his confirmation hearings; his entire political career has seen him in opposition to increasingly liberal cannabis policies in states outside the southeast, a region characterized by a robust prison lobby and enforcement policies notoriously harsher for African-American males than other demographics.

Sessions — then a U.S. Attorney in Alabama — said he believed the Ku Klux Klan “were OK until I found out they smoked pot.”

In 2016, then Sen. Sessions said, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana … not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized.”

Gillum is showing momentum in the race for Governor, touting $250,000 raised in December.

He tends to run behind Gwen Graham in polls of the Democratic field, leading other candidates.

The Trump White House is embroiled in internal crisis, and perhaps this move serves as a distraction.

Meanwhile, for a candidate like Gillum, a forthright position on this issue separates him from the rest of the field.

Buffalo Bills didn’t deserve columnist’s ‘pathetic’ rant

Something can be said, I guess, for a columnist who takes something good occurring in a city and reduces it to rubble, even as a misbegotten grab at gravitas.

That’s the positive side of Rod Watson’s attempt in the Buffalo News to throw cold water on the Buffalo Bills making the playoffs. Truth be told, in the next few days, the Bills will lose to Jacksonville in reasonably ignominious fashion.

Of all the teams the Jaguars could draw, the Bills were the best option. Their offense runs through LeSean McCoy, who may not even play Sunday. Otherwise, they have an average quarterback and position players.

But the Bills were a great story — they hadn’t made the playoffs since Bill Clinton was president.

However, Watson decided to piss all on Buffalo’s parade — one of the few reasons the city have to celebrate since the Marv Levy era — in a minimus opus: “Playoff game? Please don’t tell me any more about it.”

We can’t possibly be so psychologically pathetic that having a football team make the playoffs for the first time in 18 seasons becomes the most important thing in town,” he writes.

Whether that’s “psychologically pathetic” is a matter of interpretation. All

What’s not up for argument: Watson, bereft of column ideas, chose the easy tactic of trolling his readers — many of whom see the Buffalo Bills as a cornerstone identity of the once-great industrial city.

The writer goes on to insult football fans — drawing on a Psychology Today discussion of “super-fandom” as a source — something appropriately middlebrow.

“It pointed to the ‘shirtless, body-painted guy screaming himself hoarse’ with a game focus so intense it was as if he were on the field … watching someone play triggers mirror neurons that make the fan feel almost as if he is the doer through a ‘vicarious sense of success’.”

Let’s assume Watson has a valid point — all spectator endeavors are pure “triggers” of “mirror neurons.” Then why consume media or spectacle at all? Why read columns — the chances are the act of reading itself is just “vicarious writing.”

Best not to take chances!

Watson offers (theoretically sober) reminders of “what’s going on in the real world.”

Of course, this leans on stock caricatures — warmed over leftovers from last year’s nightcap network talk shows.

“We have a president well on his way to becoming America’s first dictator, while he and ‘rocket man’ threaten to blow up the planet. We have environmental and civil rights protections being shredded, agency heads neutering their agencies and a tax bill that expands the massive gap between the haves and have-nots.”

That’s some sober-minded analysis! Is it particularly local, or relevant to the concerns of people in Buffalo? Not as rendered. 

Watson is just repackaging some familiar complaints (mostly from left-of-center commentators), all which have been rendered before.

“At the inevitable watch parties, we should use halftime for mass therapy sessions to reaffirm what should be obvious: There are things more important than Tyrod Taylor’s quarterback rating. A city with Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan masterpieces, Underground Railroad sites and a burgeoning medical campus should not have to fixate on LeSean McCoy’s all-purpose yardage.”

McCoy, in many ways, is one of the all-time greats at running back. Buffalo is lucky to have him — the Bills went many years struggling to fill that position, with busts like C.J. Spiller complemented by Fred Jackson, a small college player whose scrappiness came to embody Buffalo football during the many lean years between playoff appearances.

For what it’s worth, the Bills will probably be one and done, with the deal closed by halftime. The team is as mediocre — McCoy aside — as its town’s newspaper columnists.

Watson could have waited a few days to bemoan the state of the world. Problems in Buffalo — as in most major cities — are both institutional and generational.

He took the one glimmer of hope Buffalo sports fans have felt recently and used it to illuminate a dark column. 

It’s the oldest trick in the book.

And, like most tricks, it seems played out, and just a bit sad.

Help wanted: GateHouse Media seeks statewide political reporter

Interested in writing about the hurly-burly of Tallahassee politics? GateHouse Media has a job for you.

The Legislative Session is fast approaching; the job, posted Dec. 21, has yet to be filled.

“GateHouse Media’s Florida newspapers are seeking an aggressive, multi-talented Capitol Bureau reporter to enhance the group’s coverage of statewide issues for a range of newspapers whose coverage areas span nearly the entire state, from the Panhandle, to inland agricultural areas to the coasts,” the posting asserts.

Indeed, for those who might expect a local reporter to focus on statewide issues relevant to the local market, that coverage area offers a wide scope.

Panama City, Gainesville, Ocala, Jacksonville, Daytona Beach and Sarasota — all major metros with discrete needs and expectations from their legislative delegations.

“This reporter needs a voracious appetite for all things Florida, a willingness to depart from the herd in story selection and storytelling and an ability to juggle the demands of daily developments during the often chaotic days of the legislative session with the need for deeper dives into investigative pieces and data crunching, political analysis and the issues important to GateHouse’s diverse readership,” the posting adds.

And there is more, of course.

“The position also requires a reporter who can adeptly balance the immediate demands of digital news production with those of print, inform readers about the people who are making the policy decisions that will affect their daily lives and how – particularly those representing the areas covered by GateHouse’s papers – keep track of the special interests that influence decisions and get beyond the mechanics of what’s happening in Tallahassee to telling readers why it matters,” the posting continues.

There’s a lot to unpack in that 76-word sentence. And a lot of seemingly contradictory expectations, as a reader in Panama City and a reader in Jacksonville may have different views on what’s happening and why it matters.

“The beat demands a mix of daily, enterprise and longer-term investigative pieces that complements, rather than duplicates, what’s available from the wires,” the posting concludes.

GateHouse offers a map of Florida markets on its website, yet that map is incomplete, not reflecting recent acquisitions of Morris Publishing properties in Jacksonville, Daytona and St. Augustine.

Until late last year, Jacksonville’s Florida Times-Union had a dedicated Tallahassee “bureau chief”: Tia Mitchell.

Mitchell was to “rebuild the paper’s presence in the state’s capital.”

But she has moved on, covering the DeKalb County beat for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

And the Florida Times-Union and other GateHouse properties will maintain an umbrella presence, one that “complements” the work of the Associated Press and News Service of Florida.

In Jacksonville, there have been some changes in the Florida Times-Union model already.

One such change: the outsourcing of printing operations, which leaves 50 workers contemplating job searches before local print operations are shuttered in February.

That outsourcing of printing could affect distribution of papers and force writers covering late events to offer truncated versions of local stories for the print edition — referring readers to the internet for the full story.

Daily journalism faces myriad challenges. And political journalism clearly is no exception.

In a state where population continues to grow, it is notable that daily newspaper subscribers in GateHouse markets will have to rely on “one size fits all” political coverage, reporting that by its very nature cannot drill into the unique intersection of local and regional players and their statewide representatives.

In Rick Scott’s Florida, job growth is a matter of perspective

Tuesday saw Florida Gov. Rick Scott in Jacksonville, trumpeting job growth at St. Johns Marine Group, a full-service ship repair and maintenance company in Jacksonville.

The company has added 20 jobs recently.

Events like this are familiar scenes for media in Northeast Florida and urban areas of the Sunshine State.

Scott touts job creation, but there are caveats raised by the critics.

Of the 17,045,000 in Florida’s civilian non-institutional population, 9,754,000 are employed — a rate of 56 percent. This is below a 60 percent rate nationwide, and mirrors a typical 4 percent lag between Florida (with its large 65+ population) and the country.

Job creation has yet to turn that tide.

The jobs, of course, aren’t everywhere. The leaders in unemployment rate in the state are Hendry County (7.3 percent), Hardee County (6.1 percent) and Citrus County (5.3 percent).

Per the Florida Chamber, 53.7 percent of Florida counties have fewer jobs than they did in 2007.

And there are questions that have been raised about the quality of such jobs, in terms of ability to live off the wages of what used to be a traditional 40 hour work week.

Florida Politics asked Scott about these metrics, including the perception among many that Florida’s wave of job creation privileges quantity over quality.

Scott pivoted from those concerns, instead hewing to a more familiar narrative.

“It’s been exciting what’s happened these last seven years. We’ve added 1.5 million jobs. Our unemployment’s gone from 10 percent down to 3.6 percent. Every county in the state has seen a drop in their unemployment rate,” Scott said.

“We’re going to continue to work both in our large counties and our rural counties to get more jobs,” Scott said.

“What you see in our state is the labor force is growing at multiples of what the rest of the country is. The job market is growing at multiples of what the rest of the country is. People are coming to Florida. Numbers came out last week — over 340,000 people have moved to the state since last June. We’ve had a significant number of people move here from Puerto Rico and they’re getting jobs,” Scott said.

“We still have about 230,000 job openings in this state, so this state’s on a roll.”

 While some numbers speak to the state being on a roll, others paint a different picture — that of a state still struggling with the challenges of 21st century economic diversification.

Lenny Curry to talk ‘Sacksonville’ on ESPN Sunday NFL Countdown

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry is a hardcore NFL fan, so much so that one of his life goals will be completed this weekend on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown.

The reason: the Jaguars are hosting a playoff game, and Curry proclaimed standout defensive end Calais Campbell the mayor of “Sacksonville.”

An ESPN producer reached out Tuesday via email:

“We are heading down to Jacksonville this week to speak to the Jaguars defensive line, and Calais Campbell, who last month you proclaimed as the ‘Mayor of Sacksonville.'”

“Would you have a window of availability any time on Thursday or Friday to be interviewed on camera about your proclamation? We’d be happy to conduct the interview in your office as it would only take about 15 minutes (we would just need about an hour or so to setup),” the producer wrote.

While we haven’t confirmed Curry’s participation in this, sources familiar with his thinking say there is no way he would miss this opportunity.

Campbell, a tenth-year player from Miami, has 14.5 sacks on the season; the big-ticket free agent holds the franchise record.

The Jaguars are favored in Sunday’s tilt against the Buffalo Bills by upwards of 7 points. Tickets for the game are sold out and are the hottest ticket among the wildcard games on the resale market.

The Jaguars are a #3 seed in the AFC playoffs, meaning that barring a string of upsets in the first two rounds, this will be their only home playoff game.

Rick Scott remains coy about 2018 U.S. Senate, governor races

New Year’s Eve found Gov. Rick Scott lunching with President Donald Trump.

Trump has all but anointed Scott to be the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate this year, and Republicans have obliged that path by clearing the field for the Governor.

In Jacksonville Tuesday, Scott faced now-familiar questions on this race … as well as his feelings about the Governor’s race, which sees Trump backing U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis to replace Scott as Governor.

Scott faced the questions, yet he didn’t come close to answering them.

Scott noted that in terms of the Governor’s race, he hasn’t endorsed yet — and gave no indications of preference.

Regarding a potential run for Senate. Scott noted that he has “390 days” in office, again punting on that question, even as reporters asked him straight up if he was running for Senate.

Most informed speculation has been that Scott won’t make his plans known either way regarding the Senate race until the end of the Legislative Session in March.

Clearly, he’s in no rush to make pronouncements on the GOP nominee to succeed him either.

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