Peter Schorsch, Author at Florida Politics - Page 4 of 401

Peter Schorsch

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.

Last Call for 11.1.18 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

The campaign behind a proposed constitutional amendment to ban live greyhound racing in Florida may have gotten an unexpected though indirect boost from a “bully pulpit.”

The Washington Examiner reported Thursday that Lara Trump, President Trump’s daughter-in-law, has “won the quiet backing” of Amendment 13 from her father-in-law.

The president is “busy on the bigger issues of keeping GOP control of the House and Senate, not state initiatives.”

“In his mind, he wants to do the right thing for everything that’s out there,” she told the newspaper. “Whether you’re talking about dogs, or whether you’re talking about the economy, he wants to see the right thing happen.”

The news comes the day after GOP National Spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany tweeted that she is “supporting a ban on dog racing in my home state of Florida!”

“A dog dies every 3 days because of this terrible practice,” she said. “I voted YES on Amendment 13 in Florida!”

Lara Trump also joined Attorney General Pam Bondi for a fundraiser this August to benefit the Protect Dogs-Yes on 13 campaign, formed to persuade voters to vote for the amendment. Bondi has been a Donald Trump ally and advocate.

“I feel greatly about animals and am doing whatever I can to be helpful,” Lara Trump told the Examiner this week. She is married to married to Eric Trump, the president’s second son.

“We certainly hope that we are on the edge of victory here.”

Evening Reads

Donald Trump’s nationalism is breaking point for some suburban voters, risking GOP coalition” via Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns of The New York Times

Democrats in prime position to take House, but battleground district poll shows wild cards remain” via Scott Clement and Dan Balz of The Washington Post

Democrats need a systematic polling error to win the Senate” via Nate Silver of

Florida TV political ad spending tops $229 million” via Anthony Man of the Sun Sentinel

Losing ground? Andrew Gillum, Bill Nelson shed support in CNN poll” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

Big-name black celebrities, from entertainment to politics, helping boost Gillum” via Anthony Man of the Sun-Sentinel

Francis Rooney calls Gillum an “existential threat to state via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

Ron DeSantis, a Trump ally, struggles in Florida as racial flare-ups come to fore” via Patricia Mazzei and Stephanie Saul of The New York Times

Andrew Warren, Gillum supporter, scolds DeSantis for law and order claims” via Dan Sullivan of the Tampa Bay Times

The Jewish vote is key in Florida, and DeSantis just picked up a huge endorsement” via Philip Wegmann of The Washington Examiner

Ex-employee claims CFO Jimmy Patronis fired her over politics” via Gary Fineout of The Associated Press

Polls show support for Florida ballot measure to automatically restore voting rights to felons” via Anthony Man of the Sun-Sentinel

With Honor adds another $155K in TV time to support Brian Mast” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

Direct mail round-up: ‘Liberal’ Tracye Polson has ‘liberal’ friends and ‘liberal’ donors” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

Chris Latvala’s not expecting to ‘shellack’ his opponent” via Janelle Irwin of Florida Politics

HD 69 voters face yet another onslaught of anti-Jennifer Webb attack mailers” via Janelle Irwin of Florida Politics

Mike Caruso facing questions after pair of disputed endorsements” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

Supreme Court rules car can be a ‘weapon’” via The News Service of Florida

Quote of the Day

“You are a despicable divider; the worse social poison to afflict our country in decades. This ad, and your full approval of it, will condemn you and your bigoted legacy forever in the annals of America’s history books.” — D.C. lobbyist and former Florida GOP chair Al Cardenas, born in Cuba, addressing Donald Trump in a tweet about an immigration-related ad.

Bill Day’s Latest

Breakthrough Insights

Wake Up Early?

State candidates, political parties and committees face a Friday deadline for filing final finance reports before the Nov. 6 general election. The reports will show finance activity through Thursday.

Semiretired Tampa Bay Times columnist Daniel Ruth speaks at the next meeting of Café con Tampa. Admission is $12, which includes a breakfast buffet. That’s 8 a.m., Upstairs at Oxford Exchange, 420 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. (You may want to arrive early; parking is limited because of nearby construction.)

Republican nominee for Governor Ron DeSantis will go to breakfast with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio in Pasco County. That’s at 8:30 a.m., Spartan Manor, 6121 Massachusetts Ave., New Port Richey.

Thomas Johnson, general counsel of the Federal Communications Commission, is slated to speak during a luncheon meeting of the Economic Club of Florida. That’s at noon, FSU Alumni Center, 1030 West Tennessee St., Tallahassee.

Former President Barack Obama headlines a pre-election rally with U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum in South Florida. Doors open at noon, Ice Palace Films, 59 NW 14th St., Miami.

DeSantis hosts a ‘meet-and-greet’ with supporters. That’s at 5 p.m., Yabba Island Grill, 711 5th Avenue S., Naples.

Looking Ahead

Saturday will be the final day of early voting in counties including Alachua, Baker, Brevard, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Columbia, DeSoto, Dixie, Escambia, Flagler, Gilchrist, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Holmes, Indian River, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lake, Lee, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Monroe, Nassau, Okaloosa, Okeechobee, Pasco, Putnam, Santa Rosa, Sarasota, St. Johns, Sumter, Taylor, Union, Wakulla, Walton and Washington counties.

The Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission will begin interviewing candidates for three seats that will open on the Supreme Court in January. That’s Saturday at 9 a.m., Miami International Airport Hotel, Terminal E, Miami.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will join Republican nominee for Governor DeSantis for a rally on Saturday. That’s at 12:30 p.m., Rocking H Ranch, 2200 Ewell Road, Lakeland.

The Rev. Al Sharpton will rally to ‘get out the vote’ in South Florida for passage of Amendment 4, which restores voting rights for nonviolent ex-convicts. That’s Sunday, 7 a.m. at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, 21311 NW 34th Ave., Miami Gardens; 7:45 a.m. at New Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, 1350 Rev. Dr. Arthur Jackson Jr. Blvd., Miami; 10:15 a.m. at New Birth Baptist Church, 2300 NW 135th St., Miami.

AFSCME Florida and Faith in Florida sponsor a “Souls to the Polls” event with Community Bible Baptist Church, Faith In Action Ministries, and St. Peters Missionary Baptist after worship. Live entertainment, food, and games for kids will be provided. There will also be a motorcade and bike run to the polls. That’s Sunday, starting at 1 p.m., South Dade Regional Library, 10750 SW 211 St., Cutler Bay.

Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 11.1.18

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

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

Halloween is in the books, and while many of us are coming down from a sugar high, Florida pols still have their hands out for more.

The fundraising cutoff for the 2018 election ends tonight at midnight and, hopefully, a reprieve from the flood of fundraising emails will come with it — but not before one final blitz. The closing hours for collections features some pleas that range from dignified to desperate and reassuring to fear mongering.

Ron DeSantis is still putting the Trump brand to work, telling supporters that he needs another $715K before he faces POTUS. If he doesn’t scrounge that skrill, the former Congressman says he won’t be able to promise Trump he’ll emerge victorious Tuesday.

Andrew Gillum’s Wednesday morning ask told Democrats it was time to put up or shut up and put his platform next to DeSantis’ and asking his backers whether they wanted him or DeSantis to win. If the former, its time to ante up so he can “bring it home.”

Trump’s presence in the Sunshine State was the nut graph for most solicitations, but a couple more Presidents were asking for a fistful of dollars: Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter.

The 94-year-old Georgian said for $26, donors could ensure Dems take back the U.S. House, but the promise of a quadruple match may be masking a bit of desperation. For the real bargain hunters out there, the DLCC is offering a better multiplier.

On the other side of the aisle, Matt Gaetz’ pre-deadline email was a greatest hits list of conservative consternation. If Gaetz — a lock for re-election — is going to rebuff Democratic plans to “destroy the Senate, pack the Supreme Court with liberal justices, shatter the electoral college, and impeach our president” he needs $20 from you. Pronto.

In case you missed it: “Why I believe Andrew Gillum is about to bring it home” by Peter Schorsch (I also thought Charlie Crist would win in 2014, so take this column with a grain of salt)

Breaking overnight: “Rick Scott PAC spends $10M on last-minute media blitz” via Florida Politics — New filings with the Federal Elections Commission show New Republican PAC, the political committee backing Scott’s Senate bid, has pumped nearly $10 million into media buys since the end of last week. …  24-hour finance disclosures show Scott’s committee put down more than $900,000 for a media placement opposing his Democratic rival, incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson, on Friday. Filings uploaded Wednesday show the committee followed that up with another slate of media buys totaling $8.78 million this week. … At the end of the pre-general election reporting period, New Republican PAC had raised more than $19.75 million and had spent more than $18.5 million of that cash. The most recent of the committee’s 24-hour reports show it has now spent $29.5 million during the 2018 election cycle.

Correction for an item in Wednesday’s Sunburn: “Creature from the Black Lagoon” was filmed in Wakulla Springs, near Tallahassee, not Silver Springs. Thank you to the many, many, many people from Wakulla Springs who pointed this out to me. 


@RealDonaldTrump: Paul Ryan should be focusing on holding the Majority rather than giving his opinions on Birthright Citizenship, something he knows nothing about! Our new Republican Majority will work on this, Closing the Immigration Loopholes and Securing our Border!

—@TheDaraKam: A guy wearing a “CNN Fake News” T-shirt outnumbered by fans of ⁦@Acosta⁩ who line up for selfies while awaiting ⁦@realDonaldTrump

@MarcoRubio: Our politics is an angry fight over how bad things are here in America. Ironically one of the things we fight about the most is the fact that because life in America is so good, we have too many people risking their lives & breaking our laws to come here & have children born here.

@EricBoehlert: Trump supporter entering rally in Florida just told MSNBC she voted w/ paper ballot this year because George Soros controls all the voting machines, so she doesn’t trust them. have a nice Wednesday

@KKfla737: Worth noting thus far based on VBM/Early voting the four worst turnout counties in the state have been #HuirricaneMichael affected, solidly Republican ones in the western Panhandle. Perhaps not enough conversation anymore about how the storm has impacted turnout?

@Fineout: trying to figure out what it means when a statewide campaign tries so hard to use a Harry Potter pun in a campaign fundraising email … yeah, know it’s Halloween, but … patronus?

—@Scott_Maxwell: I’m voting against casino amendment 3. Yet even I can tell you the ads that anti-3 forces are running are some of the most ridiculous ones on the air this year. This amendment has nothing to do with schools.

—@SenatorGainer: Special thanks to Senator @darrylrouson for joining me today in #BayCounty for CARE (Chemical Addictions and Recovery Efforts) w/Wanda Campbell, CEO, and her team. Despite damage/loss of their own homes, they are still at work providing services and holding up local families

@ShevrinJones: Some say they don’t celebrate Halloween, but yet wear an ugly mask of gossip, hate, lovelessness, and other things every day. Take the mask off and treat people right!

—@CaitOConner: There are two kinds of people on Nextdoor: the people posting that they have Jell-O shots for adult trick-or-treaters and the people posting addresses to avoid.

@KayneWest: My eyes are now wide open and now realize I’ve been used to spread messages I don’t believe in. I am distancing myself from politics and completely focusing on being creative !!!


Halloween saw 340,000-plus ballots marked received by county supervisors of election, bringing the total vote up to 3.41 million. Republicans again led in the daily tally, though only by a hair.

The GOP’s 137,279-ballot haul came in just 855 ahead of the 136,424 new votes pouring in from registered Democrats. Third- and no-party voters accounted for the other 67K pre-Election Day votes reported to the Florida Division of Elections on Wednesday.

The Republican share of the vote did tick down by a couple tenths of a percent, though the major parties remain essentially deadlocked at 42-40 percent, advantage GOP.

Of the 3.46 million mail ballots deployed, nearly 56 percent have completed the return trip. Republicans buoy that measure, now 61 percent of the way through their stack. By comparison, 54 percent of Democrats and 49 percent of independents have come through.

Of the 1.53 million still in the wild, 522K is in the hands of GOP voters, 637K went to registered Democrats, and 372K were sent to independents.

In 2014, 73 percent of requested mail ballots were returned, and Republicans managed to build up an advantage of 128K votes in the final VBM tally. That lead has halved to 65K this cycle. Likewise, the Democrats’ 2,500-vote lead in EV is significantly less than the 37K advantage they held at the end of the 2014 cycle.

The last day of early voting is Saturday.

Early voting shows record numbers in election for Governor, Senator” via Melanie Paine of the Fort Myers News-Press — 3 million ballots already cast, beating the 2014 midterm numbers as voting continues into the weekend. Registered Republicans have a slight edge over Democrats in early voting, but more Democrats are voting early than did in the last midterm. Right now the Republicans are ahead when it comes to early voting by more than 50,000 more ballots cast than Democrats, Florida Department of Elections data show. But more than a half-million voters with no party affiliation have also voted, and polling suggests those voters are leaning Democratic. Here’s another factor: Most of the 1.6 million outstanding absentee ballots requested were sent to Democrats or voters registered without a party affiliation, which could be a good sign for Democratic candidates.

— “The Gillum effect? In Florida’s largest black-majority city, a surge of early voters” via Doug Hanks of The Miami Herald


Fort Myers Trump rally: Base psyched like it’s 2016” via Christene Stapleton of the Palm Beach Post — Amid a sea of red hats, a roaring crowd and a few dozen somber journalists in a holding pen, President Trump strolled slowly on stage in Fort Myers on Wednesday night and did what Donald Trump does best: Whip up a his base with a punch list of accomplishments, insults for the media as well as promises to build a border wall, stop a reported immigrant caravan and lower taxes. And his base cheered every one of the pledges. … Like shoppers waiting for a Black Friday deal, Trump’s most devout followers slept in front of the Hertz Arena in Estero on Tuesday night. Others came at dawn and waited in 80-plus degree temperatures without complaint until the doors opened at 4 p.m.

“‘Lock him up!’: Florida Trump crowd bashes opponents of Ron DeSantis, Rick Scott” via Marc Caputo of POLITICO Florida – The Scott-DeSantis rally with Trump in Fort Myers — the capital of one of the most politically engaged Republican counties in the state — highlighted the partisan nature of Florida’s 2018 midterm election, in which both sides are ginning up their base voters with the two most popular figures in each party: Trump and former President Barack Obama, who visits Democrat-rich Miami on Friday. … The campaign event in the packed arena six days before Election Day showcased the classic hits of a Trump rally revival, replete with impromptu crowd chants of “USA!” and “CNN sucks!” and a new variant on an old theme: “Lock him up!” — a reference to the federal investigation swirling around … Gillum. … Trump praised Scott’s post-storm crisis management, which gave him a national platform but which unexpectedly failed to boost his poll numbers. “He takes a problem. He turns it into an asset,” Trump said. “He’s a talent.”

Ron DeSantis greets Donald Trump on his Halloween trip to Florida.

Joe Henderson: Trump hit talking points and Dems better listen” via Florida Politics – I’ll tell you what I saw in this rally. I saw motivated people who believe in this President. I saw enthusiastic support for DeSantis and Scott. It’s accurate to say  Gillum’s crowds have been wildly enthusiastic too. I know what the polls say. Gillum and Nelson appear to have the momentum with time running out. The polls were wrong before. Democrats, beware. This race isn’t over until the last ballot is counted. To believe otherwise is to invite déjà vu on Nov. 7, and Donald Trump can tell you all about that.

Florida Democrats on GOP: Voters shouldn’t be ‘tricked’via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Ahead of President Donald Trump‘s Halloween visit to Florida, Florida Democrats warned voters not to get “tricked” regarding the GOP’s record before next week’s midterm election. Democratic U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor, Ted Deutch and Val Demings spoke to reporters Wednesday, highlighting what they see as flaws in Republicans’ agenda during the 115th Congress. “President Trump and Republicans are selling out the American people at every turn,” Castor said. “Donald Trump’s coming to Florida on Halloween. And we want to make sure that Florida voters aren’t tricked.”

Donald Trump’s rally in Estero raises the rancor of Florida Democrats.


Depending on the pollster, the race between DeSantis and Gillum will either come down to the wire or Gillum will cruise on Election Day.

Pick your poison: A poll out of USA Today/Suffolk University showing Gillum up 45-44 percent or the Ipsos/Reuters/The University of Virginia Center for Politics poll pegging the race at 50-44 percent, advantage Gillum.

Both Wednesday polls agree on a few key things: DeSantis’ has 44-percent support, Gillum holds a double-digit lead among women, and third- and no-party voters are leaning toward the Tallahassee Mayor over the former Congressman.

The Andrew Gillum/Ron DeSantis race could come down to the wire, or could be a blowout.

But the polls couldn’t be further apart when it comes to their sample. Republicans outnumbered Democrats 48-43 percent the Ipsos poll — the one showing Gillum up 6 points. Conversely, Democrats outnumbered Republicans 37-36 percent in the USA Today poll. That gulf between expected GOP and Dems turnout about right, but their share of the whole is a ways off.

For reference, the split between the major parties was about 2 points in the last midterm election, with Republicans on top. Many experts expect that gap will close to about a point when all the votes are tallied.

Which outfit has it right — or whether they’re both wrong — will be revealed in less than a week.

—”Here’s a poll that shows Ron DeSantis leading race for Florida governor” via Dan McAuliffe of Florida Politics

Telemundo poll: Hispanics favoring Gillum, Bill Nelson” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Republicans still have a solid block of support from Florida’s Cuban-American community but Puerto Ricans and other Hispanic voters are breaking strongly toward Gillum and Nelson, giving the Democrats sizable leads overall among Hispanic voters. Overall, Gillum has a 51 percent to 40 percent advantage versus DeSantis among Hispanic voters in Florida’s governor’s race; and Nelson has a 54 to 39 advantage among Hispanic voters over Scott in Florida’s U.S. Senate race, according to the new poll done by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy for the Spanish-language TV network of Telemundo’s Florida stations. The poll found majorities — in some cases, huge majorities — of Hispanic voters favor a number of policy positions supported by many or all Democrats and generally opposed by Republicans, notably for national health care, various immigration reforms.

Will DeSantis’ or Gillum’s health care plan cover more people? Experts weigh in.” via Emily Mahoney of the Tampa Bay Times — Policy experts who took a closer look at DeSantis’ health care plan said it lacks a clear way to lower costs and would leave more people uninsured than Gillum’s proposal to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. DeSantis’ plan emphasizes that a patient should know how much their health care really costs, vowing to enforce a 2016 law that proposed a state website for patients to view health care costs at different facilities. The plan also suggests encouraging insurance companies to share their savings with customers by making “cash payments” to them — an idea one expert found unsatisfactory to reduce cost. Gillum has instead shifted to a more moderate approach: expanding Medicaid in Florida, an option allowed under the Affordable Care Act that would steer billions of federal dollars to cover an estimated 700,000 Floridians. Experts said the Medicaid expansion would result in a greater reduction of the uninsured rate in Florida, compared to DeSantis’ plan.

RGA, DGA double down in final week of Governor’s race” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida — The Republican Governors Association this week gave another $1 million to DeSantis’ political committee, bringing its election cycle total to $3 million. The group also poured another $300,000 into cable TV ads in the Democrat-heavy Palm Beach media market and aimed $1 million toward a digital ad campaign focused on swing voters. It’s the biggest infusion of cash the RGA is doing in any state over the final two weeks of the 2018 midterms. On the other side, Gillum got another $500,000 infusion of cash Wednesday from the Democratic Governors Association, which has put $8.5 million into the race and is Gillum’s biggest direct donor. That’s on top of $1 million it is has given to the Florida Democratic Party to boost its research and minority voter turnout efforts. Both sides are in final messaging mode of what has been an intensely negative general election.

Gillum committee pulls in $2 million” via the News Service of Florida — The Forward Florida committee reported $2.02 million in contributions dated Tuesday and had about $4.68 million in cash on hand heading into next week’s election. The latest influx of money included $250,000 from the statewide law firm Morgan & Morgan; $250,000 from the Pensacola-based firm Levin Papantonio Thomas Mitchell Rafferty Proctor; $200,000 from Jacksonville trial attorney Steve Pajcic, who was the 1986 Democratic nominee for governor; $200,000 from Sallyn Pajcic, the widow of Steve Pajcic’s late brother and law partner, Gary; and $100,000 from the Tampa-based firm Swope, Rodante P.A.

’I’ll be different’: Destiny is on the line for Gillum in Florida governor bid” via Nada Hassanein and Jeff Schweers of the Tallahassee Democrat — What lit the spark? Maybe it was that moment two decades ago, on a paddle boat ride on the St. Johns River, when Gainesville High Student Activities Director Linda Awbrey predicted Gillum would be governor one day. “I would really like to do that,” was Gillum’s response. Twenty years later Awbrey stood at a podium in Kleman Plaza to help kick off Gillum’s campaign for governor. “I’ve had the privilege of teaching many special students … but none were as gifted as Andrew in the leadership field,” Awbrey told an enthusiastic crowd of 300 people that day. “Young Andrew was different.” That drive coupled with a desire to help others, an idealistic nature wedded to a strong sense of responsibility, are hallmarks of Gillum’s message as the charismatic mayor of Tallahassee crisscrosses the state in the waning days of the 2018 election.

New Gillum ad highlights Florida’s diversity, inclusivity and unity — The minute-long digital ad talks of Florida’s greatest strengths — diversity and unity. Narrated by Gillum, “Diversity” calls on Floridians to come together and stand against divisive rhetoric meant to divide the state: “So let’s stand together against politicians that use race to divide us. So let’s stand together against rhetoric that pits us versus them. So let’s bet on each other instead of against each other.”

To view the ad, click on the image below:

—“Gillum stumps in Panhandle, pushes back at President Trump’s jibes” via James Call of the Tallahassee Democrat

Jimmy Buffett to hold concert Saturday for Gillum, Nelson” via Danny McAuliffe of Florida Politics — The event, free of charge, is open to the public. Buffett’s “small acoustic set” will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Meyer Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach. With less than a week away from the election, Buffett is making clear that he’s now firmly behind the Democratic Party and their candidates. “If you haven’t noticed yet, there is an election next Tuesday, and I am glad to support Mayor Andrew Gillum for Governor, and my longtime friend Sen. Bill Nelson for re-election,” Buffett said.

America’s largest Jewish weekly endorses DeSantis — The Jewish Press, America’s largest Jewish weekly publication, is endorsing DeSantis for Governor, citing his support for the relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and his strong support of Israel. The endorsement also chastised Gillum, stating his support for the BDS movement and the Iran Nuclear Deal, both of which threaten the security and sovereignty of Israel and highlight his consistent disregard for the well-being of the Israeli people and Florida’s Jewish community. In their endorsement, the paper wrote: “We urge our Florida readers to come out on November 6 and vote for Republican and Trump supporter Ron DeSantis for governor. Throughout his career, DeSantis has been a vocal supporter of Israel. He has supported the relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, has strongly opposed the BDS movement and, if elected, would seek to promote trade between Florida and Israel.”

Police chiefs back DeSantisvia Florida Politics — If Republican DeSantis doesn’t win the election for Governor next week, it won’t be for lack of police support. Halloween Wednesday brought the latest love from LEOs, courtesy of the Florida Police Chiefs Association. In marked contrast to previous law enforcement endorsements that condemned Democrat Gillum, the police chiefs eschewed excoriation of the Tallahassee Mayor. “Florida Police Chiefs want a Governor who supports law enforcement, the principles of the association and will protect our communities. The FPCA proudly supports Congressman Ron DeSantis for Governor. As a former prosecutor, he understands the sacrifice our law enforcement officers make when they put on their uniforms every day.”

Assignment editors — Republican Lt. Gov. candidate Jeanette Nuñez will attend a meet-and-greet with Congressman Carlos Curbelo and state Rep. Holly Raschein, 5 p.m., Key Largo Fisheries, 1313 Ocean Bay Drive, Key Largo.

Assignment editors — The Gillum for Governor bus tour continues: 8:30 a.m., Salute! On the Beach, 100 Atlantic Blvd., Key West; 10:30 a.m., Gillum joins state Rep. Kionne McGhee, Florida City Vice Mayor Sharon Butler, congressional candidate Debbie Murcasel-Powell, Miami-Dade College, Homestead Campus, Café Patio (in front of Building D), 500 College Terrace, Cafe Patio, Homestead; 12 p.m., Gillum joins McGhee, local elected officials and candidates, Chicks N’ Wings, 10918 SW 184th Street, Miami; 1:30 p.m., Gillum and McGhee joins state Sen. Annette Taddeo, Apostle Carlos L. Malone, Sr., elected officials and candidates, volunteers, Bethel Church, 14440 Lincoln Boulevard, Miami; 2:30 p.m., Gillum and Taddeo, Kendall Branch Library, 9101 SW 97th Ave., Miami; 4 p.m., Gillum joins North Miami Mayor Dr. Smith Joseph, North Miami Councilman, County Commissioner Jean Monestime, North Miami Public Library, 835 NE 132nd Street, North Miami; 5 p.m., Gillum and state Sen. Oscar Branyon join Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert, Miami Gardens Councilmember Lisa Davis, North Miami Public Library, 835 NE 132nd Street, North Miami; 7:30 p.m., Gillum joins School Board Member Dr. Steve Gallon, Traz Powell Stadium, Miami-Dade College North Campus, 11380 NW 27th Avenue, Miami.


A Rick Scott story part II — how political giving and getting is done” via Dan Christensen of Florida — Since shortly after Scott was sworn in as governor in 2011, he and the Republican Party of Florida have raked in nearly $1.2 million in contributions from companies owned or controlled by Dr. Daniel Dosoretz, the ambitious founder and former chief executive of giant 21st Century Oncology. State election records show that many of those contributions appear to have been timed to influence the award of a billion-dollar state Medicaid contract by the Scott administration’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) in 2014. If so, they worked. Over the next year — from March 2014 until March 2015 — 21st Century and other Dosoretz companies gave the Republican Party of Florida another $430,000. The company also gave Let’s Get to Work another $30,000.

Why some Florida voters associate Scott with toxic algae” via Dino Grandoni of The Washington Post — Scott’s campaign contends his critics are unfairly sliming him with the algae outbreaks. His spokeswoman notes the algae is “naturally occurring.” That’s true, but scientists say pollution flowing into state waters can feed algae growth. When Scott entered office on a wave of tea party populism in 2011, the South Florida Water Management District was on the verge of closing a deal to purchase more than 150 acres of land owned by sugar-cane farms that sent nutrient pollution into Lake Okeechobee. The transaction stood to reduce pollution that’s choking the lake significantly. Scott helped nix it, calling the agreement a boondoggle. For that reason, some voters have associated the outbreaks of algae with the state’s governor rather than its senior Senator.

New Senate Majority ad paints Scott, Trump as ‘political twins’ — “Same” highlights how much Scott has in common with Trump, with each giving tax cuts to the rich. “Rick Scott and Donald Trump are a dangerous, ethically-challenged pair that together will give tax breaks to the rich while threatening Floridians’ Social Security, Medicare and health care,” said Hannah Hurley, spokesperson for SMP. “Floridians need a leader that will always fight for them; putting their needs before the desires of a political party or party bosses. Rick Scott will never be that leader. With Rick Scott in Washington, he would be another vote for Trump 100% of the time and Floridians deserve better than that.”

To view the ad, click on the image below:

Scott digital ad calls Floridians to ‘come together’ — “Coming Together” highlights Scott’s experience “seeing people come together to help those in need following Hurricane Michael,” and the Governor’s commitment to that attitude to Washington. “Bill Nelson has chosen to end this campaign by inciting fear,” Scott said in a campaign statement. “Senator Nelson said that our country was becoming so divided that we were becoming like Rwanda — when genocide happened. Nelson seems to see us slipping into that kind of disaster … but that’s not what Florida is about.”

To view the ad, click on the image below:

Scott departure will force state plane decision” via Jim Turner of the News Service of Florida — Florida leaders will soon have to determine how exactly the new governor and Cabinet members will be able to travel the state after Gov. Scott, who use a private jet, leaves office. But so far, the campaigns of DeSantis and Gillum have not outlined how the winner of would travel when no longer driving and flying on the dollars of political contributors. “All of that is premature,” Stephen Lawson, a DeSantis spokesman, said in an email. “The only thing we’re focused on is working hard toward a big win on Nov. 6.” But former Gov. Bob Martinez said plans such as transportation are among the issues the next governor, whoever it may be, needs to have someone working on now.


The Red Tide Rick nickname is branded on the Governor, as some Floridians have tried to place on him squarely the blame for environmental concerns like toxic algae outbreaks.

But other issues, reports Jim Turner in the News Service of Florida, may have distracted enough negative attention away from the term-limited Governor as he seeks to ascend the U.S. Senate.

And maybe not.

Distractions: Scott traveled the state ahead of Hurricane Michael’s landfall. Afterward, he left the campaign trail to focus on cleanup efforts. That could’ve weakened the intensity of the red-tide-fueled ire held for Scott beforehand, according to Kathryn DePalo, who teaches in Florida International University’s Department of Politics.

Green is blue: “University of Central Florida political science professor Aubrey Jewett said people who put water quality and the environment as the top issues likely would vote for Bill Nelson and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum,” according to Turner. “But the numbers may not be enough for any true wave.”

One more thing: “Some of the areas hit hard by water problems, such as Martin County and Lee County, are usually Republican strongholds,” writes Turner. To Juan Penalosa, executive director of the Florida Democratic Party, that could be a good thing. Reports Turner, “Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente drew 11.4 percent of the vote against Scott in the GOP Senate primary and 25 percent in Martin County, where the water issues have long been a major topic.”


Sean Shaw calls on Ashley Moody to answer for Trumpvia Florida Politics Shaw, according to polling, is down in the Attorney General race to Republican Ashley Moody. Shaw’s campaign seems to be betting that digital spots can turn the tide, as it dropped two on Wednesday. The negative one is the most compelling: The minute-long ad shows Moody, a former judge from Hillsborough County, extolling President Trump at a “Trump Club” meeting for standing up against the “fake news attacks … brilliantly and without distraction.” Following that: a series of Trump’s greatest hits in megamix form, including the crowd-pleasing tribute to John McCain (“I like war heroes who weren’t captured”), the club banger “President Obama … is the founder of ISIS,” and the chestnut “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and not lose any voters.”

To view the ad, click on the image below:

Moody ad touts ‘cops giving props’ — The newest digital ad from Republican Attorney General candidate Moody features a bipartisan group of Florida Sheriffs giving props for the former federal prosecutor and county judge. “Florida’s Attorney General fights crime and enforces the law,” the ad says “Moody’s done both. Sean Shaw’s done neither.”

To view the ad, click on the image below:

State Rep. Cord Byrd, Reggie Garcia talk Amendment 4 — The Tallahassee lawyer/lobbyist who specializes in clemency issues and the Jacksonville Republican recently sat with FiTV’s Brad Swanson (President & CEO of Florida Internet & Television) to discuss the proposed constitutional change that would restore voting rights to nonviolent felons.

To watch the 13-minute segment, click on the image below:

Miami Heat legend Alonzo Mourning cuts ad supporting Amendment 6 — Former Miami Heat player and NBA legend Mourning joined his wife, Tracy, in showing their support for Amendment 6, which would give crime victims’ rights equal to the accused or convicted without taking any rights away from those who have been accused or convicted. The Mournings join Alonzo’s former Miami Heat teammate Shane Battier in support of Amendment 6, promoted by Marcy’s Law for Florida.

To hear the ad, click on the image below:

Assignment editors — The Southern Christian Leadership Conference, co-founded by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., will join area ministers to announce support of Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida. Dr. Charles Steele Jr., SCLC president, will attend. That’s at 11 a.m., Bethel Missionary Baptist Church (2nd-floor sanctuary), 224 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Tallahassee.


GOP group touts GOTV efforts ahead of electionvia Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — The Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF) is doing its best to stop any ‘blue wave’ on Election Day. CLF is one of several Republican groups aimed at protecting the GOP majority in the U.S. House. While some analysts peg Democrats as the favorites to take over the House in next week’s elections, CLF’s money and on-the-ground efforts show the group has other plans. Still, CLF spokesperson Courtney Alexander acknowledges the organization is not blind to the challenge facing Republicans on Nov. 6. “We knew that this cycle was going to be a really challenging cycle,” Alexander said. “So we made an aggressive goal at the beginning of the cycle to raise and spend over $100 million,” Alexander said. And Alexander says CLF surpassed that goal, raising and spending more than $150 million nationwide. Of that money, just over $5 million was poured into Florida.

Florida Family Action launches “Operation Panhandle Votes” — Orlando attorney John Stemberger, president of the Christian group, sent an email this week seeking volunteers and others “to drive people to the polls in hurricane-damaged areas of North Florida.” The organization aims to “conduct a herculean ground voter turnout operation.” Many in the Panhandle “are only eating one meal a day at a church or shelter feeding facility, sifting through the rubble of their destroyed home and or just living in hotels,” Stemberger said. “We want to go to them directly and offer a sandwich, a drink, a prayer and a ride to the polls.” He seeks 50-100 people for the effort, and “can take people who are willing to work a minimum of three days, so you don’t have to work the full six days from Friday, Nov. 1 to Tuesday, Nov. 6.” Food, “modest lodging, transportation and fuel reimbursement” will be provided from Tallahassee to the area of work in the hurricane-hit areas. The online application can be found here. Be warned, though: “Days will be long, and the work will be between 9-10 hours a day.”

Parkland dad who praised Republican congressman now campaigning for Democratic challenger” via Anthony Man of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Fred Guttenberg plans to campaign with Democratic congressional candidate Lauren Baer. Baer is challenging freshman U.S. Rep. Brian Mast in a district that includes northern Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties. The Baer campaign said Guttenberg would knock on doors in the district as part of the candidates Get Out The Vote effort days. “Fred is urging residents of Florida’s 18th District to vote for Lauren and flip it from red to blue,” the campaign said in an alert to the news media. Guttenberg has offered praise for Mast, the person he’ll be campaigning against and Baer hopes to oust. On Monday, Guttenberg campaigned with Democratic gubernatorial nominee Gillum. “In addition to his support of doing more for gun safety, he will also restore decency and civility along with strength to this office,” Guttenberg wrote on Twitter.

With Honor ups investment into Brian Mast’s re-election bid — With Honor, a political committee that works to get veterans elected to Congress, spent another $156,000 on TV ads to bolster UMast’s re-election chances in Florida’s 18th Congressional District. The new spending makes for $907,680 in pro-Mast expenditures in the 2018 cycle to date. The first-term Republican is running against Democrat Lauren Baer in the Treasure Coast district once held by former Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy.

Miami GOP candidate says birthright citizenship should be ‘reviewed’” via Martin Vassolo of the Miami Herald – Although more than three million votes have already been cast in Florida ahead of Election Day next week — and more than 20 million people have voted early nationwide — an 11th-hour policy issue was unexpectedly sprung on voters Tuesday, as news broke of President Trump’s proposal to reform birthright citizenship. … Salazar, the Republican candidate for a hotly contested congressional seat in Miami-Dade County, gave her thoughts on the president’s proposal to change birthright citizenship with an executive order. The former broadcast journalist, running for Florida’s 27th congressional district seat, said the birthright citizenship of the 14th Amendment should be reviewed, calling it a “complicated” issue. … She added: “The first clause of the 14th Amendment needs to be reviewed, but I think the president is saying what I think my community shares, the fact that we do not want abuses,” Salazar said.


What Jose Oliva is reading: “Republicans are outspending Democrats 5 to 1 in key statehouse racesvia Vox — Even with a renewed focus on flipping crucial state legislatures and down-ballot races blue, Democrats are finding themselves outspent by Republicans yet again … Republicans are out-fundraising Democrats more than five to one in key state legislative races including the Pennsylvania and Michigan Houses. Democratic candidates are also being outspent by nearly five to one in the Florida House and Wisconsin Senate; nearly three to one in the Texas House; and by two to one in the Arizona Senate. Republicans control more than two-thirds of the state legislatures in the United States, and Democrats are desperately trying to win back some chambers.

Mike Fasano impostor sending bogus political robo-texts in state Senate race” via Mark Douglas of WFLA TV — There’s a political impostor posing as Pasco Tax Collector Fasano, stirring up voters with fake endorsements for Republican state Senate candidate Ed Hooper. “I was shocked to hear this,” Fasano said. Fasano’s shocked because he insists he was completely unaware of the robo-text messages landing on Pasco voters’ cellphones until some of them started calling him to complain about the intrusion. “I reached out to Ed [Hooper] and his team immediately and said, ‘I did not give you permission to use my name in a text message,’ plus there’s no disclaimer,” Fasano said. Fasano endorses Hooper as a fellow Republican but claims he never gave the OK for any kind of cellphone solicitations. “I don’t do that,” Fasano said. “I would never do that.”

’Werewolf’ Lindsay Cross: Republican spending priorities are scary” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — Senate candidate Cross wants voters to know the current Republican-led Legislature’s spending priorities are far scarier than ghosts and goblins this Halloween. Cross took to Facebook donning a wolf mask in condemnation of conservative priorities. Cross is running against incumbent District 24 Senator Jeff Brandes, a Libertarian-leaning Republican. “It’s clear that your priorities are not their priorities,” Cross said. “During his time in office, my opponent has voted to lower taxes for oil drillers and limit the rights of people that have been unpaid.”

To view the video, click on the image below:

Anthony Sabatini ‘blackface’ picture surfaces via Jacob Ogles from Florida Politics A photograph of Republican state House candidate Anthony Sabatini in blackface made its way to media inboxes around the state, the week before voters decide whether to send him to Tallahassee. The 30-year-old Howey-in-the-Hills Republican, running for House District 32, said the picture dates back to his sophomore year in high school, when he was 16 years old. He said no racial animus played a role in the costume choice. Sabatini said he dressed as one of his closest friends, Brandon Evans, running back for the football team and point guard for the basketball team. In turn, Evans dressed as Sabatini.

Anthony Sabatini dressed in high school as friend Brandon Evans.

Will Collier County approve its first penny sales tax?” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Business leaders in the region hope so, and have rallied behind the One Collier effort for a penny tax to raise capital for needed assets. “We have always believed the reach and mission of the chamber goes beyond the economy and the businesses,” said Michael Dalby, president and CEO of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce. “It’s also about the place we do business.” That’s why the Chamber pushed for a sales tax referendum to fund capital improvements. The measure, if passed, will raise a projected $490 million over seven years. That money will go toward building new workforce training facilities, expanding affordable housing options and increases mental health and addiction rehabilitation resources.


Economic impact of Michael is $1.5B and growing according to HAAS Center dashboard” via Kevin Robinson of the Pensacola News Journal — Officials are still early into the process of assessing the damage and disruption caused by Hurricane Michael, but the numbers are already staggering. The University of West Florida’s Haas Center has placed the economic impact of Hurricane Michael at $1.5 billion based on data on timber industry losses in 11 Florida counties and insured storm surge losses in Bay and Gulf counties. Amy Newburn, assistant director of the Haas Center, said she couldn’t begin to speculate on what the total economic impact of the storm would be, but noted, “$1.5 billion is just dipping a toe in the water.”

Former House Speakers helping launching initiative for hurricane recovery — Former Speakers Allan Bense and Will Weatherford will launch the program in a media conference call at 2 p.m. Speakers from Volunteer Florida, the Florida Chamber, the Florida Chamber Foundation, the Florida League of Cities, the Florida Association of Counties, United Way of Florida, the American Red Cross, and the Florida Press Association will join. The initiative is designed to keep the continuing needs of communities in Florida’s Panhandle top of mind following Hurricane Michael. The call-in number is (888) 392-4564, and the access code is 7409409#.

St. Joe evaluates damage after Michael” via the News Service of Florida — While saying the majority of its properties “incurred minimal or no damage” in Hurricane Michael, The St. Joe Co. said in Securities and Exchange Commission filings that it is continuing to evaluate losses. The company, long a major landowner and developer in Northwest Florida, said its Bay Point Marina in Bay County and Port St. Joe Marina in Gulf County “suffered significant loss requiring long-term restoration and remain closed. The company maintains property and business interruption insurance, subject to certain deductibles, and is currently assessing claims under such policies; however, the timing and amount of insurance proceeds are uncertain and may not be sufficient to cover all losses.” Also, the company said it lost about 3 percent of its timber, primarily in eastern Bay County and Gulf County.

Who pays for out-of-state power company crews, equipment and supplies?” via Patrick McCreless of the Panama City News Herald — Gulf Power has a disaster fund to pay for the thousands of out-of-state linemen and extra equipment needed to rebuild Bay County’s electrical system after Hurricane Michael. But whether that fund can cover the whole recovery cost isn’t yet known. “None of that has been thought about yet,” Jeff Rogers, spokesman for Gulf Power, said of the total cost to restore electricity. “We’ve been focused only on restoration … but over the next couple of weeks, we’ll get more information.” Rogers said the company has a disaster fund set up with the state to pay for situations like the hurricane, which knocked out power in the county three weeks ago. Money for the fund comes from portions of customers’ electricity bills, Rogers said.

‘I will not sign this’: Mexico Beach City Council meeting tackles controversies since Michael” via Alex Thorson of — Those in Mexico Beach found some sense of normalcy after the small town was hit hard by Hurricane Michael almost three weeks ago. The city gathered Tuesday afternoon for the first public city council meeting since the storm. Tensions were running high and residents shoulder-to-shoulder and in the hallways as Mexico Beach officials began to piece a broken city back together. Mayor Al Cathey said other city officials asked him to sign a resolution limiting his authority. “I don’t know why this is in here. I will not sign this. I’m gonna do my job that I was elected to do,” Cathey said.


Scott seeks another shot at screening Supreme Court nominees via Michael Moline of Florida Politics — Gov. Scott has asked the Florida Supreme Court to reconsider allowing him to begin screening replacements for three of its justices, arguing the court may have “misapprehended” his arguments that he holds that authority. The court issued an order Oct. 15 declaring that only the next Governor has the authority to replace Justices R. Fred Lewis, Peggy A. Quince, and Barbara Pariente, who face mandatory age-related retirement at midnight between Jan. 7 and Jan. 8, as Scott’s term ends. “The petition … filed in this case did not ask this court to determine the scope of the gubernatorial appointment power. Instead, the petition is directed entirely to the nomination process,” the governor’s motion says. “As a result, the parties’ briefs, in this case, did not address the scope of the appointment power. And the Governor had no occasion, in this case, to present legal argument on the significant and disputed constitutional question that was the subject of previous litigation between the parties.”

Court rejects attempt to backdate workers’ compensation policy” via Michael Moline of Florida Politics — You can’t buy workers’ compensation insurance to cover an injury that has already happened, a state appeals court ruled. “Uninsured persons cannot experience a loss, then scramble to get insurance and fail to disclose their loss, and then have the cost of their loss borne by the new insurer,” Judge Timothy Osterhaus wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal (DCA). The case started in May 2016, when a construction vehicle ran over Sorto’s foot on a job site, resulting in a “bad” injury. His employer, subcontractor JAM Construction, called its broker to arrange a claim, not knowing that he hadn’t finalized coverage. The broker secured a policy from Normandy Insurance Co., effective at 12:01 a.m. on the morning of the accident, but didn’t disclose the injury.

Florida websites peddle far-right news but owner, and motives, remain hidden” via Tim Johnson of — Search the website of American Gun News, and you’ll find no clue of who posts the content. Same goes for Patriotic Viral News, Liberty Video News, Conservative Zone and 21 other websites, many with strong right-wing views. Together, the 25 sites get a combined average of 2 million views a day, maybe more, so they have clout, especially in election season. For a period, all were hosted by a Tampa-based data center … still under the radar are a profusion of websites, often with no hint of ownership, that traffic on the hyperpartisan sentiments rippling through the country. They dwell in an unregulated area, enjoying freedom of speech protections and liberty to divulge nothing about themselves. The lack of transparency about who runs such websites is vital given the history of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.

Sex for speed bumps: Ethics panel finds probable cause that Florida mayor misused his position” via Antonia Noori Farzan of The Washington Post — Catherine Padilla wanted speed bumps in her Lantana, neighborhood. In August 2015, the town council granted her wish … this winter, Padilla told local media outlets and the Florida Commission on Ethics that David Stewart, Lantana’s mayor since 2000, had asked her to have sex with him in exchange for installing the speed bumps, and she had rejected his advances. The commission announced it had found probable cause that Stewart “misused his position to attempt to obtain a sexual benefit for himself,” and “solicited sex from a constituent based on an understanding his vote, official action, or judgment would be influenced.” Stewart told the Palm Beach Post that it would be inappropriate to comment. He vehemently denied the accusations when they became public in February, calling them “totally and completely false.”


Pushing every button’: Trump mobilizes the government in campaign’s final days” via Ashley Parker and Philip Rucker of The Washington Post — Trump in recent days has made aggressive moves aimed at pushing policies that could boost Republicans next week — deploying thousands of troops to the U.S.-Mexico border in the most massive such operation since the Mexican Revolution, floating the idea ending birthright citizenship and warning he intends to halt the caravan of Central American migrants. The president has also moved to lower Medicare drug prices and suggested the idea of a 10 percent tax cut for the middle class, sending administration and congressional officials scrambling to assemble a new tax policy. The cumulative acts reflect the extent to which Trump has transformed parts of the federal bureaucracy into a factory of threats, directives and actions — an outgrowth of a campaign strategy which the president and his political advisers settled on as their best chance to hold the Republican congressional majorities.

Spotted: Matt Gaetz on “Trish Regan Primetime” — The Panhandle Republican sat for an interview on the Fox Business show “to discuss immigration, Don Lemon, and the sexual assault scheme against Mueller/FBI investigation.”

To watch the interview, click on the image below:


Andy Pelosi, Igor Volsky: Guns have no place at the polls” via Florida Politics — Intimidating someone with a firearm at a polling place is illegal. In 2016, we saw numerous instances of people bringing firearms to the polls and given our divisive political climate; it’s not improbable that we may experience similar acts of intimidation come November. The president’s characterization of his political opponents as “an angry left-wing mob” who “oppose law and order, fairness, freedom and justice” only heightens the threat. But in light of the focus on gun issues in Florida this election season, the intensity the issue generates among some who carry firearms, and the growing hostility in our political discussion, a group of nonpartisan organizations, including the two we lead, are launching an educational campaign called Guns Down at the Polls to ensure everyone can safely exercise their right to vote.

Nadine Smith: ‘Rainbow wave’ may decide key Florida races” via Florida Politics — At a time of renewed political attacks on LGBT Americans, the pro-equality vote — the ‘Rainbow Wave’ — may prove decisive in Florida’s midterm election. Candidates ignore this growing voting bloc at their peril. Equality Florida has invested deeply in connecting with voters for whom LGBT rights are the motivating issue. We have identified 1.3 million voters in Florida for whom a candidate’s positions on marriage equality, gay and transgender workplace protections, and LGBT youth are definitive. We represent a game-changing voting bloc in a state where fewer than 65,000 votes decided the last two races for Governor. The days of using LGBT issues as a wedge are waning.

Don’t buy lies about health care” via the Gainesville Sun editorial board — Scott is apparently counting on voters to be unaware or forget that he built his political career on opposition to the Affordable Care Act, which protects people with pre-existing conditions from being denied coverage. Nelson voted to pass the ACA while Scott has long backed efforts to repeal it. Republicans across the country are employing a similar strategy. Faced with the popularity of the act’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions and coverage of people who were previously uninsured, these candidates are hiding from their records and claiming they now back such measures. Voters who want to retain the law’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions and hopefully expand its coverage should look at the records of Scott and DeSantis rather than their campaign rhetoric in making their decisions in this fall’s election.


Former Healthy Kids chief joins dental firm” via the News Service of Florida — MCNA Dental, a managed-care company that was recently awarded a five-year Medicaid contract, has hired former Florida Healthy Kids Corp. director Rose Naff as its vice president of operations. Naff most recently worked as director of the Division of Medical Services for the Arkansas Department of Human Services. Arkansas split Medicaid policy and operations, and Naff focused on the operations side. She left Arkansas in July. Naff is best known in Florida as the former executive director of the Florida Healthy Kids program, where she worked for 18 years. She later ran the Florida Health Choices program, which the Legislature created to try to serve as a health care marketplace. The program shut down after it ran out of money and was unable to stake out a role in Florida’s insurance market after the passage of the federal Affordable Care Act.

Congratulations to Rose Naff, former CEO of Florida Health Choices.

New and renewed lobbying registrations:

Josh AubuchonMark Delegal, Holland & Knight: Heineken USA

Emily BuckleyChris Moya, Jones Walker: CEV Multimedia

Christina Brodeur, Ballard Partners: Florida Network of Youth and Family Services, Inc

Edgar CastroNelson DiazAllyce Heflin, Southern Strategy Group: Association of Florida Colleges, Bradford County School District, Florida Virtual School

Larry CretulChris SpencerRobert Stuart, GrayRobinson: Hillsborough County Aviation Authority

David Custin, David R. Custin & Associates: St. Thomas University

Eric Douglas: Waymo

Eric DuPont: The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America

Marty FiorentinoJoseph MobleyMark Pinto, The Fiorentino Group: The Ferber Company

Andrew Ketchel, Capital City Consulting: Osceola County

Stephen McDaniel, Meenan: Florida Fire Sprinkler Association

Lane Stephens, SCG Governmental Affairs: Grant Thorton

Kyle Shephard: City of Orlando

Samuel VergheseJeanette Yaeger, One Eighty Consulting: ATOS IT Solutions and Services

— ALOE —

5 ideas for what to do with all that leftover Halloween candy” via Genevieve Shaw Brown of Good Morning America — Halloween candy buyback: The Halloween Candy Buy Back website is a great tool to find out where your kids can take their extra loot. Support the troops: There are a few options for donating your candy to troops overseas. One is called Soldier’s Angels. Plug in your ZIP code on their website and find a donation location near you. Switch Witch: Parents can buy the Switch Witch toy and book to gear up for the “switch” before Halloween or they can simply swap out the candy for healthier grist or treat a la the tooth fairy. Trade it in for Reese’s peanut butter cups: If you’re Reese’s lover and will be in New York City on Wednesday, you’re in luck. There’s an actual Reese’s vending machine that will allow you to trade the candy you don’t want for Reese’s peanut butter cup.

Yes, you can do something with that leftover candy (other than eating it).

Billions of pounds of pumpkin will go to the landfill after Halloween” via Perry Miller of — More than 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkins will be thrown out in the U.S., adding tons of waste to landfills. When we throw those pumpkins out, they decompose and release methane — a harmful greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Is our pumpkin waste ruining the environment? It’s certainly an issue, but the U.S. Department of Energy is working on the problem by teaming up with industry experts to develop integrated biorefineries, which are facilities that can efficiently convert plant and waste material into affordable biofuels. As of right now, none of the refineries are in full operation. In the meantime, keep enjoying your pumpkins. Carve them, decorate them and — after October 31 — eat or compost them to reduce the food waste.

Happy birthday belatedly to former U.S. Rep. (and soon-to-be-dad) David Jolly. Celebrating today are Danny Martell and Holly Moore.

Last Call for 10.31.18 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

Beware “the leftist horde!”

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz’s fundraising emails are like a master class in framing for one’s base. One message this week alerted to that very horde “trying to do everything possible to transform our very way of life.”

That’s “destroy the Senate, pack the Supreme Court with liberal justices, shatter the electoral college, impeach our president — they will undermine our entire government just to set up a leftist dictatorship.”

Don’t worry: “Matt is doing everything possible to stop them.”

(Oddly, one word rarely or never seen in the Panhandle Republican’s emails? “Republican.”)

Another recent email slammed the “Mainstream Media and radical leftists,” who are “doing everything possible to take down Matt and give the Speakership to Nancy Pelosi.”

The agenda? “Open borders for the caravan, socialized health care, silencing conservatives, raising taxes on everyone.”

But Gaetz, once deemed the “Trumpiest Congressman in Trump’s Washington” by GQ, is “out there fighting hard to keep conservatism alive and well in our country.”

Evening Reads

Donald Trump making sure the Florida Governor’s race is all about him” via S.V. Date of Huffington Post

Florida Democratic congressional members blast Trump comments about Andrew Gillum as ‘fabricated and unacceptable’” via Mitch Perry of the Florida Phoenix

Florida governor’s race gets down in the gutter” via Marc Caputo of POLITICO Florida

The improbable run of Gillum” via David Catanese of U.S. News & World Report

Poll: Gillum 45%, Ron DeSantis 44%” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

This poll shows Bill Nelson, Ashley Moody, Jimmy Patronis leading” via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times

Why some Florida voters associate Rick Scott with toxic algae” via Dino Grandoni of The Washington Post

Should Florida’s Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner expand the state’s marijuana industry?” via CD Davidson-Hiers of the Florida Phoenix

Outside money boosting Kristen Carlson past Ross Spano” via William March of the Tampa Bay Times

Republicans sending more support to Brian Mast in re-election bid” via Ali Schmitz of TC Palm

Anthony Sabatini ‘blackface’ picture from high school surfaces” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

Barbara Cady hoping HOA reform message is game-winner in HD 42” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

Mountains of money pour into Broward state House race” via Dan Sweeney of the Sun Sentinel

Florida websites peddle far-right news but owner, and motives, remain hidden” via Tim Johnson of McClatchy

Broward Republicans issue cease-and-desist to failed candidate Javier Manjarres” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

Political ads are leaving the sappy music behind” via Jeff Dufour of National Journal

Quote of the Day

“Forget the polls. I could care less about the polls. There was not a single poll showing me winning the Democratic primary.” — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum.

Bill Day’s Latest

Breakthrough Insights

Wake Up Early?

The University of West Florida Board of Trustees will discuss certifying that the Pensacola school has used proper funding sources for building projects after disclosures that the University of Central Florida improperly paid for projects. That’s at 9 a.m. Central time, University of West Florida, UWF Nautilus Chamber, 11000 University Parkway, Pensacola.

The Florida Supreme Court is expected to release its regular weekly opinions at 11 a.m.

The University of North Florida Board of Trustees will take up a 2019-2020 legislative budget request. That’s at noon, University of North Florida, Osprey Commons, Jacksonville.

Former House Speakers Allan Bense and Will Weatherford will help launch an initiative for hurricane recovery in a media conference call. Speakers from Volunteer Florida, the Florida Chamber, the Florida Chamber Foundation, the Florida League of Cities, the Florida Association of Counties, United Way of Florida, the American Red Cross, and the Florida Press Association will join. That’s at 2 p.m. The call-in number is (888) 392-4564 and the access code is 7409409#.

The Central Florida Commuter Rail Commission’s Customer Advisory Committee is slated to meet. That’s at 5 p.m., LYNX Central Station, 455 North Garland Ave., Orlando.

Florida State University will hold an event to launch its new Civil Rights Institute. The event will include speaker Desmond Meade, who is helping lead an effort to pass a constitutional amendment in November that would restore the voting rights of most felons after they have completed their sentences. That’s at 5:30 p.m., Florida State University, Dunlap Champions Club (West), Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee.

State Sen. Dana Young hosts a “get out the vote” rally with special guest, state Rep. Jamie Grant. Both are Tampa-area Republicans. That’s at 5:30 p.m., The Barn at Stark Farms, 6930 Lutz Lake Fern Road, Odessa.

U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney, a Republican, will speak during a dinner held by the Tiger Bay Club of Southwest Florida. That’s at 6:30 p.m., The Marina at Edison Ford, 2360 West First St., Fort Myers.

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation and state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis’ office are expected to take part in a town-hall meeting to assess insurance-related needs after Hurricane Michael. That’s at 6:30 p.m. (Central time), Holmes County High School, 825 West Highway 90, Bonifay.

Vern Buchanan and David Shapiro - CD 16

Vern Buchanan primed to survive unprecedented negative assault in CD 16

Despite being outspent and hammered by PACs on everything from health care votes to yacht purchases, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan appears primed to stave off a challenge from Democratic attorney David Shapiro in Florida’s 16th.

The polls have been clear for quite a while. October polls have shown Buchanan with a growing, outside-the-margin lead: St. Pete Polls found the Republican lawmaker up by a touchdown at the start of the month, a far cry from the quixotic internals Shapiro was touting shortly after his primary victory.

Since June, national Democrats and outside groups — or “dark money” groups, according to the Buchanan campaign — such as Floridians for a Fair Shake have dumped millions into Shapiro’s bid to knock off Buchanan, an unprecedented barrage to be sure.

But Buchanan’s district has started to coalesce behind their longtime Congressman as Shapiro’s operation has seemingly capsized, squandering what momentum it managed to build in the wake of yacht-gate.

From his offspring’s off-color comments, to news of the DCCC yanking their TV buys in CD 16 overshadowing his otherwise stellar fundraising haul, the iron’s been unkind to Shapiro — and he’s not blameless.

Taking the bait and making the voguish “No-Nancy Pelosi-for-Speaker” pledge has worked for some, but it’s probably a poison pill for those looking to get some party money.

The tight ship at Buchanan HQ offers a stark contrast to the fourth quarter flop by Team Shapiro.

Unlike Shapiro’s solecism in the speaker race, Buchanan didn’t lean into the yacht attacks nor did the campaign backtrack on his votes for the GOP tax bill, despite its mixed reception among his electorate.

Instead, the campaign pounded the pavement and kept their focus on some of the more bipartisan ventures Buchanan has made during his time in DC, pitching him as an “independent leader” fighting for solutions to combat the opioid epidemic and other woes facing the Sunshine State.

That’s not to say Buchanan didn’t land some body blows — his campaign hammered Shapiro early and often over his investment portfolio including some stocks of big pharma companies, major polluters and gun companies. The incumbent pitched those investments (included in ETFs, to be fair) as flying in the face of Shapiro’s campaign platform, namely his commitments to environmental protection, gun control and a crackdown on opioids.

Buchanan was also able to dig up some financial disclosure drama of their own, finding Shapiro had violated reporting rules by failing to disclose his ownership of a Colorado rental condo, right on the heels of Shapiro’s admission he’d omitted some in-kind contributions on his finance reports.

After Shapiro’s early wins made CD 16 look like it could be in play, most forecasters have taken note of the momentum shift and put the district right back where it started: “Likely Republican.”

As it stands, Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight sees Buchanan’s re-election as a near certainty, giving him a 6-in-7 chance of earning a seventh term with the final spread expected to come in at 53-47.

Election Day is Nov. 6.

Sunburn for 10.31.18 — Happy Halloween!

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

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

Happy Halloween, Sunburn readers.

In case you missed it, here is Ella Joyce’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Display for 2018.

President Donald Trump will bring his “Scare The Dickens Out Of Everyone Tour” to Estero outside of Fort Myers tonight for a Halloween hoedown sure to contain overstuffed helpings of red meat for the faithful who will attend.

With the midterm elections less than a week away, the President has been in full attack mode as he jets around the country spreading fear, loathing, and the end of the world as we know it unless Republicans hold on to their majorities in the House and Senate.

In an interview Monday with Fox News, the President called Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum “a stone-cold thief” but offered no proof to back up that statement.

Gillum responded on Twitter, declaring, “I heard @realDonaldTrump ran home to @FoxNews to lie about me. But as my grandmother told me — never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, but the pig likes it.”

Trump will no doubt stump for Gillum’s opponent, Republican Ron DeSantis, as well as Rick Scott, who is trying to unseat Democrat Bill Nelson in the U.S. Senate.

The President could also choose to defend his move to send 5,200 U.S. troops to secure the nation’s southern border against a caravan of migrant workers and their families working their way on foot toward what they hope will be a better life.

He also might bring up his (possibly illegal) plan to eliminate so-called “birthright citizenship” for children born in the United States but whose parents are undocumented immigrants.

Donald and Melania Trump pass out candy on the White House lawn. 

The President may be itching for a court fight on that one that would put him squarely up against the so-called “citizenship clause” in the 14th Amendment, adopted in 1868, which states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

The press can expect to receive its usual smackdown, and he might repeat his line about Democratic super-donor Tom Styer, who the President called “a stumbling lunatic.” Styer was one of the targets of pipe bombs sent through the mail last week.

And, of course, he always likes to trumpet his handling of the economy, and that should go over well with the crowds who began lining up Monday outside Hertz Arena in Estero to get the best seats for the rally that begins at 7 p.m.

This will be Trump’s 37th rally in Florida, dating to when he announced his intention to run for President. If you miss this one, there is another Trump rally planned for Nov. 3 in Pensacola.

Rick Scott mum, Ron DeSantis supports Donald Trump’s proposal to end birthright citizenship” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida — Scott and DeSantis are considered two of Trump’s closest political allies but are taking different approaches to the president’s proposal, which was floated a week before Election Day. Scott, who raised $20 million for Trump’s 2016 presidential bid, is noncommittal. “I have not seen the details of what the president is suggesting and would need to fully review the proposal,” his campaign said in a statement. “My priorities continue to be securing the border and fixing the long-broken immigration system.” The question is more difficult for Scott, who is in a race where both he and Nelson have tried to run toward the middle, seeking to file off any extreme policy edges and appeal to moderate voices. DeSantis, though, is in a race that has been focused on base voters on both sides. He and Gillum have not drastically changed campaign messages from those used in contentious primary contests. DeSantis said at an event in Tampa that he supports the idea, but is not sure it would survive the courts.

Trump Halloween masks ‘extremely popular’ at Halloween megastore in Fort Myers” via David Dorsey of — The masks and wigs were hard to miss upon entering the year-round, Halloween Megastore off U.S. 41. Trump masks haven’t been the most popular at the store located at 5120 S. Cleveland Ave., in Fort Myers. That distinction, this year, has belonged to the Marvel character Black Panther, said store manager Stephen LaRosa. But Trump by far has been the best-selling politician’s mask, he said. “We’ve sold probably a hundred of them,” LaRosa said.


@SenBillNelson: The Constitution says that if you are born in the USA you are an American citizen. You cannot change that with an executive order.

@WillWeatherford: Mr President — as a person of Faith, I believe we should not be a society that punishes children for the mistakes of their parents. This concept is bad policy, bad politics and unjust!

—@JMartNYT: More than any other race, Trump will own this loss should DeSantis fall short

—@Fineout: .@FLGovScott in campaign fundraising email blast says “with our most recent ad buy, we are severely under budget” Scott has put more than $61 million of his own money into the Senate race so far.

@KevinCate: The @AndrewGillum #GillumSurge in Polk County, Florida — a county Trump won by 14 points. Can’t fit any more people in here. Incredible

—@SteveSchale: I’m not a fan of how Q polls, to be honest. They tend to be pretty noisy. … They are exceptionally noisy. They often land the plane ok, but for example in 12, they had us anywhere from -6 to +9, and the race never moved more than a 3-4 points all cycle. They float self Id, which in a state where partisanship is stable & on the file, leads to noise.

—@GrayRohrer: National campaign reporters with book deals, if you aren’t on the phone with your agents pitching “Surefire Intelligence” as the name of your 2018 tome, well you’re missing out

—@JChristianMinor: Former @fladjj Secretary @cdaly74 was met with smiles, tears and a standing ovation as she was honored for her 2 decades of service to Florida’s youth & families at DJJ’s Restoring Hope Training Conference Cc: @BallardFirm who is blessed to have such a servant leader

—@ChrisHandJax: Former Governor & Ambassador Adlai Stevenson said it best: “As citizens of this democracy, you are the rulers and the ruled, the law-givers and the law-abiding, the beginning and the end.” Please utilize the most basic skill of effective citizenship. — #Vote.

@MDixon55: Carmel M&Ms are an abomination, and anyone who hands them out is looking to get their trees full of toilet paper. There is one industry where we need no innovation or new things: candy


Pre-Election Day voting breached the 3-million-vote mark Tuesday after another 325,000 mail ballots and early votes came were reported to the Florida Division of Elections.

Republicans won the day with 135,482 reported votes, and their nearly 1.3 million ballots checked so far keep them with the 42 percent share of the total vote they’ve enjoyed for several days running. Democrats came a few thousand votes behind, adding 128,866 ballots to their tally for a total of 1.23 million to date for a likewise steady 40 percent share.

The remaining 60,291 votes added in the Tuesday update came from third-party and NPA voters. The running total for “other” voters stands at just over 574,000 one week out from Election Day.

That GOP’s 2-point lead in the early vote is a point down from their 3-point lead heading into Election Day 2014, but Republicans are better situated than they were two years ago, when they trailed Democrats in VBM and EV ballots by 1.5 percentage points.

The ever-growing haul has nearly surpassed the 3.18 million votes cast before Election Day 2014, and indicates the Sunshine State may see up to 7.5 million total votes in the midterm. Tuesday also saw the number of returned mail ballots eclipse the 50 percent mark, with 1.8 million returned to county supervisors and 1.64 million still in the wild.

Democrats have 681,000 of those unreturned ballots while Republicans have 565,000 and the remaining 395,000 in the hands of independent voters.

Post-Hurricane Maria Puerto Ricans won’t swing Florida’s election” via the Miami Herald — Less than 8,500 Democrats and Republicans who registered before the 2018 primary election did so with cellphone numbers containing Puerto Rican area codes, giving them eligibility to vote in the primary, though most Puerto Ricans register without affiliation. Going into Tuesday’s election, they make up about 0.8% of the state’s total 2.2 million Hispanics who can vote in the November election. It’s possible that newly arrived Puerto Ricans could have obtained a Florida-based phone number, but the latest release of the state’s voter file does not provide any indication that new arrivals will usurp Cuban-Americans in South Florida or Puerto Ricans already in Florida as the state’s two biggest and most important Hispanic subgroups. A recent study by the University of Florida suggests that between 30,000 and 50,000 Puerto Ricans settled in Florida after Hurricane Maria, lower than previous estimates of 200,000 or more.

Tweet, tweet:



No trick: Retailers are expecting a near-record-breaking amount of Halloween-related purchases this year.

According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, an affiliate of the Florida Retail Federation, consumers are expected to spend around $8.9 billion by Halloween’s end — nearly enough to crack the record of $9.1 billion. While that sum is a nationwide calculation, FRF doesn’t expect the Sunshine State to be an outlier.

Halloween spending is expected to reach record levels, retailers say.

“With Florida’s economy surging and numerous statewide economic indicators remaining positive, we expect another strong year for spending on Halloween candy, costumes, decorations, and other themed purchases,” FRF President and CEO R. Scott Shalley said. “This should mean another robust sales opportunity for retailers who market their goods and scare enough consumers into their stores.”

In total: a third of those sampled in the survey plan to hand out a greeting card or two, while two-thirds say they’ll pick up a costume. Three-quarters will buy decorations, and all but a few will stock up on candy for kids a the door.

En vogue: Costume-wise, Disney dominates. Marvel, Star Wars — the list goes on.

Staying in?: You’re not alone. Most American adults won’t be out knocking on doors. Seven out of 10 polled said they’ll handle the door for at least part of their evening, while the other 30 percent will be escorting kids around the block.


Here’s why Trump is so focused on the Governor’s race.” via Lawrence Mower of the Tampa Bay Times — There’s a good reason why he’s so interested: It’s critical to his chances for re-election in 2020, according to his former White House political strategist, Steve Bannon. If a Republican occupies the Governor’s Mansion, he could steer donors, party leaders and even the machinery of government in directions that benefit a presidential candidate. (The governor appoints the secretary of state, the state’s chief elections officer, for example.) And Trump would have no more loyal acolyte than former Congressman DeSantis, who used Trump’s endorsement — and only Trump’s endorsement — to win the Republican gubernatorial primary this year.

Florida is important to Donald Trump for one good reason: 2020.

—“Trump rallies, tweets help turn Florida campaign into national one” via Gray Rohrer of the Orlando Sentinel

Do Never-Trumpers matter? We’re about to find out.” via David Smiley of the Miami Herald — Never-Trumpers, that shrinking segment of the Republican Party that can’t fathom to support someone who has shattered every norm of the presidency, are weighing a nuclear option as the Sunshine State approaches the midterm elections. Faced with a choice between an unabashed liberal and a Trump apprentice in the race for governor, they are crossing the thin red line and voting for a candidate who wants to raise the minimum wage and hike corporate taxes. In some cases, Republicans are voting for Gillum, not because of anything he says or stands for, but because they believe a defeat for GOP nominee DeSantis would be a high-profile indictment of Trump and the first step toward ending the president’s reign. For those who refuse to cede the direction of the party to someone they view as an emperor without clothes, Gillum is a means to an end.

—“DeSantis’ short political career sets stage for bid to become Florida Governor” via Ana Ceballos of the Naples Daily News

Assignment editors — DeSantis will host a rally, attend a ‘meet and greet’ event, then join President Trump at his “Make America Great Again” rally.

— 8 a.m., Dolphin Aviation Inc., 8191 North Tamiami Trail #100, Sarasota.

— 10:30 a.m., Leroy’s Southern Kitchen & Bar, 201 West Marion Ave., Punta Gorda.

— 7 p.m., Hertz Arena, 11000 Everblades Parkway, Estero.

Assignment editors — The Gillum campaign bus tour will continue with stops in North Florida.

— 8 a.m. (Central time), St. John Divine Church, 620 E. Jordan St., Pensacola.

— Noon (Central time), Arlene Williams BBQ, 4900 Mobile Highway, Pensacola.

— 1:30 p.m. (Central time), Harbor Docks, 538 Harbor Blvd., Destin.


Grandma rips Bill Nelson as ‘more and more confused’ in New Republican PAC ad” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — The 30-second spot “Generations” launches in a statewide TV campaign from the independent super PAC that Gov. Scott set up to support his Republican bid for Nelson’s Senate seat. As a trio of women, apparently a grandmother, mother, and granddaughter sitting in a diner, the mother observers that Nelson has been running for office as long as she has been alive. “And the things he’s been saying lately? Poor man seems more and more confused,” Grandma tells her daughter and granddaughter, hitting as hard as any of the New Republican commercials yet on the still-not-explicitly stated open suggestion that Nelson, 76, is losing his mental competence.

To view the ad, click on the image below:

Hispanic Leadership Fund launching ads supporting Rick Scott” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — The radio ads declare that Scott understands how hard Hispanics work and that is why he has been working so hard to support them. It extols Scott’s jobs creation record in Florida — more than 1.5 million new jobs in eight years — and dismisses his opponent Nelson as an “out-of-touch career Washington politician.” It does not name Nelson. The English ad declares, “As a successful businessman, Rick Scott knows how to create jobs better than out-of-touch career politicians. Those jobs help us care for our families, buy a house, start a business, pay for health care, or get a college degree.” The Spanish ad says the same.

To hear the ad, click on the image below:

’Election year conversion’: Nelson on Scott’s health coverage stance” via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics — “I support forcing insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions,” Scott said in a recent ad spotlighting his hard-luck youth. “For Sen. Nelson, it’s just another political issue. But for me, it’s personal.” Nelson is skeptical of what he deemed an “election-year conversion,” he told reporters. “He has tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which gives protection. An insurance company can’t deny you insurance if you have a pre-existing condition. There are eight million people in Florida who have a pre-existing condition.” Even asthma, Nelson said, qualifies as such. Scott has “tried to repeal the law for the last seven years. He’s done everything he could to undermine it. And then allows the state of Florida to sue to declare that provision of the law unconstitutional,” he added.

Scott a ‘desperate politician who is losing,’ Nelson says” via Florida Politics —A house that Nelson sold decades ago has become, improbably, an issue in his re-election campaign against Scott. The deal in question involved property Nelson purchased in McLean, Virginia, in 1983, while he served in the U.S. House. Nelson bought the land for $145,000 and built a $1 million home in the Washington suburb. Nelson in September 1989 sold the property for $3.4 million to a company belonging to Middle East businessman Rafik Hariri, then an adviser to Saudi Arabia. Hariri went on to become Prime Minister of Lebanon. Republicans say the sale amounted to an illegal campaign contribution. Nelson says that’s hogwash from a failing campaign. “This is an untruthful false statement by a desperate politician who is losing and who tried to divert attention from the fact that he has profited off of public office in the eight years he’s been governor,” Nelson said.

Sierra Club opens ‘Scott’s House of horrors’” via Florida Politics — “Halloween is right around the corner, and, tbh, there’s some super scary stuff going on this year. Bomb threats, white nationalism, embattled midterm elections, and a new IPCC report that predicts climate catastrophe by 2040 if we don’t get our act together and transition to renewable energy ASAP,” the BuzzFeed quiz reads. After a primer on the challenges climate change is expected to bring to the Sunshine State, the Sierra Club takes aim at Scott, whom they said has “repeatedly denied the existence of human-caused climate change, and throughout his political career has been in cahoots with the fossil fuel industry.” The quiz takes the Halloween theme and runs with it, casting the Republican U.S. Senate candidate as everything from fortuneteller with a magical ability to deny climate change to a vampire “sucking Florida’s lifeblood with cuts to environmental protections.”

White Republican felons fare better when Scott restores voting rights” via Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel — A new study by the Palm Beach Post found that Scott restored voting rights to a lower percentage of blacks and Democrats — and a higher percentage of whites and Republicans — than any Florida governor in the past half-century. In one case, Scott restored an ex-offender’s rights after telling the governor he’d previously voted for Scott … illegally. Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist restored rights to roughly equal numbers of whites and blacks. Under Scott, the Post found the proportions changed — to more than 2-to-1. While black men, for instance, accounted for 38 percent of all people released from prison, the Post found they accounted for only 16 percent of those for whom Scott restored rights. The full Florida Cabinet votes on restoration. But the governor must agree.


Assignment editors — U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders will headline a rally at the University of Central Florida “to encourage students and all Floridians to get engaged, vote and volunteer in the final stretch of the campaign.” That’s at 11 a.m., CFE Arena at UCF, 12777 Gemini Blvd. N, Orlando.

Matt Caldwell ads show ‘No Bull’ approach” via Florida Politics — Two new ads from GOP Agriculture Commissioner candidate Matt Caldwell emphasize the farm and grime aspects of the job — and also highlight the North Fort Myers’ sense of humor. One 30-second spot, titled “No Bull,” features Caldwell in a field with a bovine co-star, rattling off political clichés with down-home aplomb. A second spot released the same day includes highlights from his “#2LaneTravels” tour of the state. It’s titled “Dirty Jobs” and draws heavily from the reality show of the same name’s themes and style.

To view one of the ads, click on the image below:

—“When Florida elects a CFO, it’s also choosing the state’s top arson investigator” via Andrew Pantazi of the Florida Times-Union

Marsy’s Law supporters launch final videos in campaign — Marsy’s Law for Florida released its final series of videos featuring crime victims, survivors and advocates who have shared their personal reasons for supporting Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida, a measure that would place a new set of specific crime victims’ rights in the state constitution. The crime victims and survivors appearing in these video series not only share their stories of how crime has forever altered their lives, but also describe ways in which they feel the criminal justice system has ignored them, left them without a voice and revictimized them. One video feature State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, who shares her perspective on how we can strengthen victims’ rights and protections in our state constitution without weakening or removing any of the rights currently afforded to those accused or convicted of a crime.

To view the video of Aleta Jarrett of Tallahassee, whose father and her brother were murdered, click on the image below:

The view the video of Rundle, click on the image below:


Lauren Baer a ‘limousine liberal?’ GOP ad says yes” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is attempting to frame Democratic candidate Baer as a limousine liberal ahead of next week’s vote in Florida’s 18th Congressional District. The ad also hits a familiar note for the GOP, as it tries to tie Baer to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. The NRCC’s new ad is titled “Plans,” and argues Baer’s policies will hurt the everyday American. “We work harder,” the ad’s narrator begins, before transitioning to a mock-up of Pelosi and Baer riding together in a limousine. “Liberal politicians live better. Under Lauren Baer, the divide would grow. Lauren Baer and Nancy Pelosi would move us toward government-run health care, get rid of tax cuts for families, slice the child tax credit in half.

To view the ad, click on the image below:

Assignment editors — TV personality Montel Williams and Democratic congressional candidate Mary Barzee Flores will join health care advocates “to call for an end to the GOP’s continued war on Floridians’ health care” as part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour, 11 a.m., Borinquen Health Care Center, 3601 Federal Highway, Miami.

NRCC ad argues Debbie Mucarsel-Powell will ‘threaten’ the environment” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — The NRCC, which aims to elect Republicans to the U.S. House, hits what it calls Mucarsel-Powell’s shady ties to donors in its new ad titled “Threaten.” “What’s with Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and all these shady characters?” the ad’s narrator asks. “We know about her shady money from a Ukrainian militia leader accused of bribery, embezzlement and murder. But now we learn that her family profits off a company that repeatedly violates environmental laws, and her campaign is flooded with dirty coal money, the very polluters that threaten our way of life in the Keys. If Debbie Mucarsel-Powell is with them, she can’t be with us.”

To view the ad, click on the image below:

Republican Anthony Rodriguez accused of rental mismanagement in new ad” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Republican Rodriguez, a candidate in House District 118 and owner of Florida Advanced Properties, is being accused of neglect and mismanagement by two residents at a residential property in Kendall managed by his company. Those allegations come in the form of a new digital ad from the Florida Democratic Party, featuring those allegations. The 30-second spot includes testimony from Francisco Arbelaez, who has a mortgage for one of the units located at 15665 SW 82nd Circle Lane in Kendall. Arbelaez says Florida Advanced is responsible for collecting Arbelaez’ mortgage payments, which are made to U.S. Condo Association. He says he’s lived at the property since 2001. But following Hurricane Irma in 2017, Arbelaez says the property has not been given proper attention.

To view the ad, click on the image below:


A new report from The Center for Responsive Politics estimates more the final spending tally for the 2018 election cycle will hit $5.2 billion nationwide, a $1 billion increase over the previous record when adjusted for inflation.

So far, $4.7 billion of that cash has already been spent. And unlike past cycles it’s Democrats, not Republicans, leading the way. The Center estimates Democratic candidate spending at more than $2.5 billion, putting them $300 million ahead of $2.2 billion spent by their GOP rivals.

The spending disparity is particularly wide in U.S. House races, where Dem candidates have raised $951 million thus far compared to Republican candidates’ to-date haul of $637 million. That extends to GOP-leaning seats, where most Democrats are keeping pace as well as “toss-ups,” where Republicans are getting blown out of the water.

The gulf is smaller in U.S. Senate races, where the split is $513 million to $361 million, advantage Democrats. Then again, there are 26 Senate Democrats up for re-election compared to just eight Republicans.

The source of the blue team’s edge? Women. The study found Dem campaigns have received a whopping $308 million in contributions from women, dwarfing the $90 million raised by their Republican counterparts.

Mega-donors are still making a mega impact, however, and most of their funds are heading to GOP pols. Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and fellow billionaire Richard Uihlein have anted up more than $150 million for R candidates, while the top Democratic donors this cycle, Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg, have spent $89 million. Bloomberg had previously pledged to plunk down $100 million this cycle.

—”Female candidates break barriers, except when it comes to money” of The New York Times


Hurricane insured losses top $2 billion” via the News Service of Florida — As of Monday afternoon, 108,560 claims had been filed, with estimated insured losses at $2.034 billion. The largest number of claims, 77,239, involved residential property. By far, the largest number of claims were in Bay County, where 64,731 had been filed. Jackson County had the second-largest number of claims as of Monday afternoon, with 11,195. It was followed by Leon County, with 7,131 claims; Gulf County, with 6,281 claims; Gadsden County, with 4,497 claims; and Calhoun County, with 3,317 claims.

Election problems in the Panhandle may impact election results” via Niala Charles of — Hurricane Michael destroyed many of the election centers, and the area is still struggling to get back on its feet. “They lost their homes, and if your ballot was sitting on the kitchen table, you lost your ballot with it too,” Susan Bucher, the Supervisor of Elections in Palm Beach County. Bay, Gulf, and Jackson counties were hit the hardest, an area that holds almost 160,000 registered voters. Jackson County Supervisor of Elections Sylvia Stephens says turnout will be lower. “The first thing that’s on their minds is their homes, their safety, food, welfare, where they’re going to sleep,” she said.

Tourism marketing backed after hurricane, red tide” via Jim Turner of the News Service of Florida — The VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors approved an $8.89 million marketing campaign intended to address the hurricane and red-tide issues and protect the state’s brand by stressing what is open across the state. The agency has been using Facebook to post videos of parts of the Panhandle that weren’t hammered by Hurricane Michael on Oct. 10 and plans a website will go live Thursday to provide information outlining what is open, said Staci Mellman, VISIT FLORIDA’s interim chief marketing officer. The site will also encourage visitors to try new areas. “If they like a certain kind of beach, maybe they might like something else,” Mellman said. The crisis-response campaign, which is something VISIT FLORIDA officials admit they have had to become experts at the past few years, will expand as counties still digging out from Michael are able to start welcoming visitors.

Utilities won’t pester disaster zone customers for payment — The Public Service Commission voted Tuesday to waive regular monthly billing while ratepayers recover from Hurricane Michael. The waivers apply to Duke Energy Florida’s 28,523 customers in Bay, Gulf, Franklin, and Wakulla counties, and to 13,000 Florida Public Utilities ratepayers in Jackson, Calhoun, and Liberty. The utilities will notify customers when willing resumes, and will work out payment arrangements when needed. “Because so many homes and businesses, as well as roads, have been damaged or destroyed, mail delivery has been suspended in many areas,” PSC Chairman Art Graham said. “Customers can now focus on recovery without worrying about their bill.”

Party held for homeless baby born in wake of hurricane” via The Associated Press — The family of a baby who spent his first night out of the hospital in a Walmart parking lot after Hurricane Michael just got a surprise baby shower. Wilmer Capps, his wife Lorrainda Smith and their baby Luke were surprised on Tuesday after they were told to show up at the Walmart for a hurricane recovery meeting. They were greeted with the best news they’ve had in a while: a year’s supply of diapers, a food voucher, and a cake with rubber duckies on it that said, “Walmart loves Luke.”

Tweet, tweet:

After Michael, where to celebrate Halloween in hard-hit towns” via Ashley White of the Tallahassee Democrat — Hurricane Michael has played a trick on some recovering small towns leaving debris as the scariest thing in front of most houses. Because of the dangers from lingering downed trees and power lines, door-to-door trick-or-treating is being discouraged. Instead, the festivities are being replaced with community events. The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office is encouraging trick-or-treating as normal. Apalachicola: Trunk-or-treat: 6-8 p.m., downtown Apalachicola, Avenue D from Main Street to Riverfront Park. Carrabelle: Lighthouse Reopening Party: Candy, free moonlight tower climbs, free Keeper’s House Museum tours. 6-9 p.m., Crooked River Lighthouse, 1975 US-98 W. Carrabelle Christian Center: Trunk-or-treat. 6:30 p.m., 142 River Rd, Carrabelle. First Baptist Church of Carrabelle: Trunk-or-treat, 6-8 p.m., 206 SE Avenue A.


State, business groups target local minimum wage” via Jim Saunders of the News Service of Florida — Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office and major business groups urged the Florida Supreme Court this week to prevent the city of Miami Beach from moving forward with a local minimum wage. Bondi’s office and the business groups filed briefs arguing that the Supreme Court should uphold lower-court rulings that said a state law bars Miami Beach from gradually increasing its minimum wage to $13.31 an hour in 2021. The case also has drawn attention from local governments, which have sided with Miami Beach. The legal battle stems, in part, from a 2004 voter-approved constitutional amendment that gave Florida a higher minimum wage than the federal rate. Bondi’s office and the business groups argue that another state law — known as a pre-emption law — effectively requires Florida’s minimum wage to be the same throughout the state and blocks local governments from passing higher rates.

Consumer sentiment declines for third month in a row, but the economy is strong via the University of Florida — Consumer sentiment among Floridians fell three-tenths of a point to 97.8 from a revised figure of 98.1 in September. This is the third consecutive month with a decline in consumer sentiment in Florida. Of the five components that make up the index, three increased and two decreased. Floridians’ perceptions about current economic conditions were mixed. Perception of one’s personal financial situation now compared with a year ago dropped 3.9 points from 91.8 to 87.9, the greatest decline of any reading this month. The decline is shared by all socio-demographic groups except men and is strongest among women, plummeting 13.7 points.

Looking ahead: Florida TaxWatch publishes guide for ‘whoever’ wins gubernatorial election” via Danny McAuliffe of Florida Politics — Whoever wins, the nonprofit state government watchdog is hoping to provide a helping hand. “We’re looking forward to helping him, and his team get a quick jump from the campaign to government,” TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic Calabro said. “The important thing is when the election is over, we can put aside those partisan differences, and we look first and foremost at how Florida is second to none.” The handbook, more than 60 pages long, provides a preview of the roles and responsibilities of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, as well as a listing of “prominent issues facing Florida,” ranging from big-ticket items like public education spending to abstract but important policies like gaming and affordable housing.

Florida invests $3.5M to finish Everglades highway project” via The Associated Press — Gov. Scott announced the funding atop a new 2.6-mile (4-kilometer) span of the elevated Tamiami Trail. A 1-mile (1.5-kilometer) section was raised in 2013. The completed project will allow water to flow under nearly 6 miles (9.5 kilometers) of the highway into Everglades National Park. Scott also directed the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to request $40 million more in state money to complete the project.

Gov. Rick Scott announces a $3.5M investment to finish Everglades highway project.

Sexual harassment claim against Florida Senate allowed to continue” via Elizabeth Koh of the Tampa Bay Times — Rachel Perrin Rogers, a top aide to Sen. Wilton Simpson had alleged in a discrimination complaint filed against the Florida Legislature in January that she had been retaliated against once she filed a sexual harassment claim against former state Sen. Jack Latvala. The state Senate’s lawyers filed a motion to dismiss the complaint late last month, but this week, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission indicated her case would continue to proceed. The lawyers had argued that they had insufficient due process and that Perrin Rogers’ claim was insufficiently substantiated, which the court asserted did not meet the threshold for dismissal. The judge, Alexander Fernandez, also took issue with lawyers’ arguments that the “Florida Legislature,” which is named in the suit, is not technically her employer because the Senate is, though the Legislature is listed on Perrin Rogers’ pay stubs.

House seeks to defend medical marijuana law” via Jim Saunders of the News Service of Florida — House lawyers last week requested approval to help defend the law, which was designed to carry out a constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana. A Leon County circuit judge this month sided with a Tampa-based firm that contends the 2017 law did not properly follow the constitutional amendment, in part because the law capped the number of medical-marijuana licenses that can be issued. In a motion filed last week seeking to intervene in the case, House lawyers contended that the 2017 law was carefully crafted to carry out the voter-approved constitutional amendment and to comply with federal guidance about medical- marijuana issues. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, though it has been legalized for medicinal and recreational uses in various states.

Florida’s Stand Your Ground law is unconstitutional, Miami’s top prosecutor tells high court” via David Ovalle of the Miami Herald — A South Florida organization of prosecutors that includes Miami-Dade State Attorney Fernandez Rundle is telling the Florida Supreme Court that the latest version of the state’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law is unconstitutional. The League of Prosecutors, in newly filed court documents, asked justices to strike down the law because it unlawfully forces state attorneys to try cases involving self-defense claims before a judge, not a jury. “There is nothing specialized or unique about this defense that the common juror cannot understand,” according to the brief. Fernandez Rundle, the longtime elected top prosecutor in Miami-Dade, also filed a brief joining in the effort — the first state attorney to break with Attorney General Pam Bondi, whose office is defending the broadened “Stand Your Ground” law passed by the Florida Legislature last year.

State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle is attacking Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.

Duke Energy cleared to drop contract with power plant — The termination agreement, approved Tuesday by the PSC, will save customers as much as $35 million. Duke has been buying power from the Ridge Generating Station in Auburndale since it began operating in 1994, and was to have continued doing so through 2023. However, the plant, which converts waste including scrap tires, into electricity, is no longer cost-effective, the commission concluded. Duke has ample supplies without the facility. “The good news is that this termination agreement saves Duke customers millions of dollars,” PSC Chairman Art Graham said.

Regulators OK Gulf Power plan to share tax savings with customers” via Michael Moline of Florida Politics — Gulf Power Co. will return $9.6 million in its savings from the 2017 federal tax cuts under a deal the Public Service Commission approved Tuesday. The “flow-back,” effective Jan. 1, follows more than $103 million in tax savings the company already began returning to its ratepayers. The settlement followed negotiations between Gulf Power, the Office of Public Counsel, the Florida Retail Federation, the Florida Industrial Power Users Group (FIPUG), and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy over the arcana of the federal tax code. “The bottom line for the average customer is savings of about $32 per year that will begin in January,” Gulf Power President and CEO Stan Connally said in a written statement.

Florida A&M hires lobbyist Peter Harris to direct its medical marijuana projects” via Byron Dobson of the Tallahassee Democrat — Harris is a 1990 graduate of Florida State University’s College of Law. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1987 from the University of Miami. Since 2011, Harris has been a consultant or senior policy adviser in Florida, mostly as owner of Peter Harris & Co., where he’s worked with local, state and federal agencies. Harris said his background includes advising “a leading national medical cannabis company on a variety of issues.” Other clients have included the Florida State Medical Association, the Florida Hospital Association and the Florida Pharmacy Association. He’s also advised the Florida Department of Health on issues such as smoking cessation and minority health issues, a connection that may be helpful in FAMU’s initiatives that are coordinated with the DOH.

TaxWatch says Halloween treats taxed trickily” via Florida Politics — Every year, Florida TaxWatch, the nonpartisan government watchdog, uses Halloween to demonstrate the state’s boggling rules on what gets taxed and what doesn’t. “Groceries are generally exempt from Florida sales tax, but candy can get confusing,” the group’s 2018 handout says. Most candy is subject to the 6 percent state sales tax (and any applicable local sales tax), as long as it costs at least 10 cents. “Seventeen states are like Florida and do not consider candy to be groceries and, therefore, tax it at the full rate,” TaxWatch says. But “it gets tricky.” Our favorite: Marshmallow-based candy is taxable, but marshmallows themselves are exempt. Also, “chocolate and glazed or sugarcoated fruit is taxable, but chocolate chips and glazed fruit are exempt when ‘advertised or normally sold for use in cooking or baking.’” Moreover, “all these treats can be covered in chocolate, candy, honey, or yogurt and remain tax-free.”

Florida teens makes Halloween capes for preemie superheroes” via The Associated Press — The babies in the neonatal intensive care unit at a Florida hospital may not remember their first Halloween. But they’ll have costumes, thanks to a 13-year-old middle schooler who made more 100 capes featuring emblems from Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman and The Incredibles. Rachel Maretsky tells the Orlando Sentinel it’s the second year she’s made the capes for babies at Winnie Palmer Hospital in Orlando, who she calls superheroes. She says she’s already gearing up to do the project again next year.

Tweet, tweet:

New 689 area code to debut in Central Florida next summer” via Marco Santana of the Orlando Sentinel — The Florida Public Service Commission announced on its website that it would start to roll out phone numbers with a 689 area code on June 4 in areas now served by 321 and 407. John Manning, senior director of the North American Numbering Plan Administration, which oversees forecasts of dates an area code will run out of numbers, said in a May 16 letter that 407 numbers would run out within 12 months. The 407 area code serves Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and parts of Lake and Volusia counties.


Robert Mueller investigators probe Roger Stone conference calls” via Drew FitzGerald and Shelby Holliday of The Wall Street Journal — Special Counsel Mueller’s investigators are examining comments by Stone — a longtime adviser to Trump — about WikiLeaks during a series of conference calls he hosted in 2016, according to a witness in the probe and another person familiar with the matter. In at least two August conference calls advertised online to the public and promoting himself as “the ultimate political insider,” Stone told callers about WikiLeaks’ plans to release information that he said would affect the 2016 presidential campaign before the election, according to people who listened to the sessions and recordings of one of the calls published online. Investigators have collected records and interviews related to the bi-weekly conference calls, according to the witness — Jason Sullivan, a social-media specialist who organized some of the conference calls on Stone’s behalf — and the person familiar with the matter.

Roger Stone is not dressed for Halloween.

Despite new law, Florida will still ‘fall back’ for end of Daylight Saving Time” via The Associated Press — The “Sunshine Protection Act” aimed to make Daylight Saving Time permanent in Florida, meaning those in the Sunshine State would no longer have to set their clocks back an hour each November. That’s because the measure cannot take effect unless Congress changes federal law to allow it. The state would have to be exempt from the Uniform Time Act of 1966; both Hawaii and Arizona have exemptions, though they stay on standard time rather than recognizing Daylight Saving Time. Sen. Marco Rubio introduced two bills in the U.S. Senate to facilitate Florida’s bill: one to exempt the state from the Uniform Time Act, and another that goes one step further by making Daylight Saving Time permanent nationwide.

The Trumps celebrate Halloween at the White House with candy and spooky music” via Emily Heil of The Washington Post — A military band played the themes from “The Addams Family,” “Harry Potter” and “Bewitched” as the first couple greeted a stream of costumed kids. The Trumps (who weren’t in costumes) continued the annual tradition amid festive decor — cornstalks wound their way around the marble columns leading to the Truman Balcony, fog machines created an eerie mood and the area in front of the South Portico seemed to have sprouted a pumpkin patch. “Beautiful!” the president could be heard exclaiming as he admired the kids’ finery. He tossed candy — full-size Twizzlers and Hershey bars were the treats of choice — to the father of one group. Activities included a display of an astronaut suit by NASA, a tractor from the Agriculture Department and emergency vehicles from the Department of Health and Human Services.

The ‘Saturday Halloween movement’: a petition beseeches Trump to reschedule the spooky celebration” via Isaac Stanley-Becker of The Washington Post — A solution to this irksome scheduling has been suggested by the Halloween Industry Association, which represents companies whose interest in ensuring Americans can properly spook one another each year is hardly opaque. The group, which also calls itself the Halloween & Costume Association, is petitioning Trump to move Halloween to the last Saturday of October. It’s called the “Saturday Halloween Movement,” and it might just be the cause that can unite the country. Who, after all, even knows why Halloween is observed Oct. 31? The timing of the celebration reflects its origins in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when ghosts of the dead were believed to return and walk the Earth at the end of the harvest and on the cusp of winter, as the History Channel explains. The Halloween industry says there are now more pressing concerns. “It’s time for a Safer, Longer, Stress-Free Celebration!” the petition declares.

Trick or treating on a school night is fueling the Saturday Halloween movement.

David Jolly to host political talk show on radio” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — “David Jolly: Unbiased and Unplugged” will air from 1 to 3 p.m. weekdays on AM 820 News in the Tampa market and AM 1060 News on the Space Coast. Genesis Communications own both stations. “I’m excited to join the Genesis lineup,” Jolly said. “Florida, especially the I-4 corridor, is an increasingly important political landscape, and it’ll be great to reach it through the Genesis network.” The show will include political commentary, interviews with guests and listener calls. Jolly will also post daily political commentary on the News Talk Florida website.


Just vote No (except for Amendment 4)” via the Tampa Bay Times editorial board — Of the 12 amendments to the Florida Constitution on the ballot, only Amendment 4 deserves your vote. It would automatically restore voting rights for most felons who have completed all the requirements of their sentences, including serving prison time and paying restitution. The other 11 constitutional amendments do not deserve to pass. Generally, the amendments placed on the ballot by the Florida Legislature were politically motivated, and too many amendments placed on the ballot by the Constitution Revision Commission combined multiple, complicated subjects. That may have been legal, but it certainly wasn’t in the public interest.

Mark Wilson: Florida’s future is worth protecting; yes on Amendment 3” via Florida Politics — The Florida Chamber of Commerce has long advocated for restraint in amending Florida’s Constitution. We believe our constitution should only be amended in rare and extraordinary circumstances. Amendment 3, which would require voter approval of future gambling expansion, meets that threshold. Keep in mind, Florida is creating 1 out of 11 new jobs in America. We don’t need the casino industry; they need Florida. There is no end game here. No matter how many casinos might be approved, there always will be pressure for more. We have seen this in other states, where the gambling industry continues to push for expansion even in markets so glutted that existing casinos are losing business and even going bankrupt, sometimes at taxpayer expense. Casinos represent the past, whereas Florida is moving into the future. Florida has come too far to go down this path without the people of Florida having a say. I’ll be voting yes on Amendment 3 because Florida’s future is worth protecting.


The witching hour is upon us.

Halloween is expected to leave Florida Retailers are flush with cash. In fact, the National Retail Federation expects All Hallows is expected to produce a $9 billion rake at the register.

After grabbing some garb for the kiddos and something sweet for the strangers sure to come a-knocking, there’s the question of what to do with the rest of the night.

With a hump-day Halloween, the answer for most will be a lazy night on the couch zoning out to a few classics rolling on cable or, more likely, Netflix.

Sunshine State cinema savants can pocket this piece of trivia: Creature from the Black Lagoon was shot in Florida — more specifically, Silver Springs and Jacksonville. The definitive “deep ones” is a classic, but few other “Fresh from Florida” films have garnered the same clout in the 64 years since it bowed.

Fun fact: Much of the Creature from the Black Lagoon was filmed in Silver Springs.

If the MPAA gets its way, that could change. Helping with the trade association’s film incentives fight are Will McKinleyVan PooleAngela Dempsey and Fred Dickinson of PooleMcKinley, with an assist from H. French Brown of Dean Mead.

Of course, not everyone is into creature features. For those that want a little Sci-Fi mixed in, all-time greats such as It Came from Outer Space, Alien or The Thing are good picks. Space travel is in vogue right now, with both the Elon Musk-backed SpaceX and the Jeff Bezos-backed Blue Origin shooting rockets from the Sunshine State to the stars.

Lobbying takes a different skill set than rocket science, so SpaceX has tapped Taylor Biehl and Jeff Sharkey of Capital Alliance Group, and Blue Origin has locked in Brian Ballard and Mathew Forrest of Ballard Partners. Here’s hoping the free market keeps those two corps in competition — Bezos-Musk doesn’t have the same ring to it as Weyland-Yutani.

Back on terra firma, there’s another tech revolution in its nascent phase: Autonomous vehicles.

Unlike the nightmare-inducing Maximum Overdrive, the AVs apparently safe enough for St. Pete Sen. Jeff Brandes to hop in the non-driver’s seat. Starsky Robotics and Google (via Waymo) are among the many AV players in Florida.

Starsky Robotics has chosen to automate its advocacy needs by signing with Jonathan Kilman and Paul Lowell of Converge Government Affairs. Waymo has five members of the Southern Strategy Group lobby corps on retainer — Rachel Cone, Paul Bradshaw, Oscar Anderson, Brian Bautista, and Clark Smith.

If staying local and handing out candy doesn’t sound appealing, maybe a ticket to Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights is in the cards.

While the park’s cast works late into the night to deliver frights, Universal has a trio of firms helping in-house lobbyist Melanie Becker get through the Legislative Session intact: Paul Hawkes and Timothy Stanfield of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, Erik Kirk of PooleMcKinley and Margaret Timmins of Timmins Consulting.

Those making the trek to the City Beautiful will need to book a place to stay, of course, and Expedia can guide you away from haunts like Overlook Hotel. When the booking site needs to get work done in Tallahassee, it turns to Jennifer GreenMelanie Bostick and Timothy Parson of Liberty Partners of Tallahassee.

— ALOE —

A brief Halloween history of pets in costumes” via Jen Miller of Vox — Of the $9 billion Americans are expected to spend on Halloween this year, $480 million of that is on our pets, according to the National Retail Foundation. That’s up from $5.8 billion total and $220 million on pets in 2010 … The greyhound of Louis XI, king of France from 1423 to 1483, wore a red velvet collar with 20 pearls and 11 rubies, and Louis’s successor, Charles VIII, had robes made for his dog and marmot, according to Medieval Pets. Queen Victoria dressed her dog in a “scarlet jacket and blue trousers” … In the 1910s, Harry Whittier Frees took pictures of cats getting married, cats at a picnic, a dog watering flowers, and a dog sewing pants that were used in postcards, kids’ books, and magazines. From 1929 to 1931, MGM made “All Barkie” Dogville Comedies that featured dogs doing very human things like dancing and going to war. The National Retail Federation predicts that the most popular costumes this year for cats and dogs will be pumpkin, hot dog, bumble bee, devil, cat, dog, lion, Star Wars characters, superhero, and ghost.

Pet costumes are a $480 million business.

How much candy would it take to kill you? About 262 Halloween treats, scientists say” via Donovan Harrell of McClatchy — Scientists developed a test called the LD50 to determine the strength of potentially deadly substances … “It stands for lethal dose 50 percent,” toxicologist Hans Plugge told The Wall Street Journal. “You take 10 rats, feed them a dose, and if five of them die, you’ve determined the LD50. It’s pretty straightforward.” When it comes to candy, a typical “fun-sized” treat contains about 9.3 grams of sugar … The average adult would have to eat around 5.4 pounds of sugar — at one time — for it to be potentially deadly, according to the ACS. That would translate to around 262 pieces of “fun size” candy, according to the video. As for the kids celebrating Halloween, it’s unlikely that the average American child around the age of 10 could eat a lethal amount of candy, Plugge told The Wall Street Journal. “More than likely, they’d throw up before reaching the lethal dose,” Plugge said.

Like a good scare? Here are five haunted hotels with stories fit for true-crime files.” via Liz Langley of The Washington Post — The Island Hotel & Restaurant, Cedar Key: This place has several spirits, including a Confederate soldier and a little boy who reportedly drowned in the cistern in the basement. (Ghost stories being difficult to document, there are differing versions of many of the tales in this report.) During Prohibition, rumor has it, a prostitute was murdered in the hotel. Now, gentlemen who stay in that room may get a “peck on the cheek,” owner Andy Bair says, from a very friendly ghost. And the “portal” room? That belonged to Bessie Gibbs, a cheerful soul who owned the inn from the 1940s through the 1970s. The whole hotel has a very relaxed, beachy, comfortable feel to it, but Bessie’s coral-colored quarters feel eerily magnetic, as if inviting me to stay. Forever. And ever.

Where Americans need the most help carving pumpkins via Christopher Ingraham of The Washington Post — A little more than one-third of Americans told Gallup in 2006 that they “usually” celebrate Halloween by carving a pumpkin. And, if Google search data are to be believed, some of us have a more natural knack for making faces out of orange gourds than others. The phrase “how to carve a pumpkin” … is a pretty useful proxy for pumpkin-carving ineptitude: search it yourself, and you can see the top results include how-to’s from the likes of Martha Stewart (“Tip: Prevent exposed areas of the pumpkin’s flesh from turning brown by applying a film of Vaseline”), (“I personally use power tools and extreme techniques, but many of the methods that I use to carve pumpkins apply to anyone”), and The New York Times (“An annual tradition like carving a jack-o’-lantern can become a mindful moment by cultivating what is known as beginner’s mind”). According to Google, the states most lacking in this fundamental knowledge are clustered mostly in the South — Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi all lead the nation in how-to pumpkin carving searches. North Dakota and Hawaii also stand out as places with a relatively high interest in pumpkin tutorials. On the flip side, New England, the Great Lakes region and parts of the plains show a relatively low amount of these searches, suggesting that folks in these places can get right to it without needing to consult an instruction manual.

For those in the South needing help carving pumpkins, there is help out there.

Why Halloween pop-ups suddenly possess so many dead retail spaces” via Taylor Telford of The Washington Post — This year, Americans will drop about $9 billion in celebration of Halloween, and its carnival of escapism, a chance to flaunt yourself or disappear into someone else. The holiday’s craziness and camp are fun precisely because they are temporary — and so are the stores that sell it to us. For the pop-up stores, which capture about 35 percent of the annual Halloween market, according to the National Retail Federation, the scramble begins before summer. Their gold mines are the graves of major retailers that have gone under; Toys R Us, Sports Authority, Circuit City often offer ideal homes, with lots of space and high visibility, but the stores aren’t necessarily picky, said Motti Farag, a real estate broker with CBRE. It’s a win for landlords, who get a tenant that will pay higher rent for just two or three months of occupancy.

Meanwhile, it’s never too early … “What Gen Z wants for Christmas” via Cara Salpini of — When it comes to the holidays, retailers don’t have to have fancy store concepts to capitalize on Gen Z’s love of experience. According to data from Bazaarvoice, buyers in the 18-29 demographic, which includes both younger millennials and some older Gen Zs, are increasingly interested in gifting experiences for the holidays. While nearly all (90%) still plan on giving physical gifts, a significant segment (30%) plans to give experiential gifts this year, with crafting (47%), foodie (45%), travel (41%) and romantic gifts (35%) ranking highest for the demographic.

Happy birthday to the incredibly talented, always-awesome-to-work-with Allison Aubuchon, Step Up For Students’ Jon East, Public Service Commissioner Andrew Fay, and our old friend Harold Hedrick.

Last Call for 10.30.18 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

The Democratic Attorney Generals Association (DAGA) is using HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” in its latest fundraising email.

This Sunday’s episode featured a segment on “state attorneys general,” highlighting “just how important Attorneys General races are to protecting our democracy,” DAGA said.

In Florida, incumbent GOP Attorney General Pam Bondi is term-limited. Vying for the job now is Democratic state Rep. Sean Shaw and Republican former judge Ashley Moody, both from the Tampa area.

Shaw has promised, for example, “he will investigate whether Trump’s Florida businesses, including the Trump International Beach Resort in Miami, have been involved in laundering money from wealthy Russians.”

He also promised to “join a lawsuit by Democratic attorneys general in Maryland and the District of Columbia seeking to uncover whether Trump has illegally received ‘foreign emoluments,’ payments from foreign powers banned in the Constitution, through his businesses.”

“Democratic AG campaigns are in the spotlight like never before, and Republicans are pouring MILLIONS of NRA and Koch money into these races to prevent a blue wave,” the DAGA email says.

Evening Reads

Democrats regain momentum in final days of battle for U.S. House” via Elena Schneider of POLITICO

GOP holds slight edge with 3 million ballots in Florida cast” via The Associated Press

Will ‘red tide’ algae in Florida turn some Republican voters ‘blue’?” via Lisa Desjardins of PBS

Polls say there are Andrew Gillum-Rick Scott voters. Here’s what we know about them.” via Steve Contorno of the Tampa Bay Times

Scott walks away when asked if he supports Trump ending birthright citizenship” via Alex Daugherty of the Miami Herald

Ron DeSantis: Trump is right to want to end ‘birthright citizenship’” via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times

Scuffle and shoving break out at Ron DeSantis appearance in Tampa” via Eric Glasser of 10 News

Gillum responds to Trump attacks: ‘Never wrestle with a pig’” via Caitlin Oprysko of POLITICO

Trump’s coded anti-Semitism puts Florida’s Jews at far more risk than Gillum ever could” via Kartik Krishnaiyer of The Florida Squeeze

Chief Financial Officer post is up for grabs in a race that became nasty” via Diane Rado of the Florida Phoenix

Matt Caldwell ads show ‘no bull’ approach to ‘dirty jobs’” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

Florida to gain 1.4 million voters if felon measure passes” via Jon Kamp of The Wall Street Journal

Gus Bilirakis took $6,810 in campaign contributions from pharmacy operators indicted in billion-dollar fraud” via Tracy McManus of the Tampa Bay Times

Some Democrats gripe that Lauren Book is holding back in Senate battle” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida

Sexual harassment claim agains Florida Senate allowed to continue” via Elizabeth Koh of the Miami Herald

Republican Anthony Rodriguez accused of rental mismanagement in new ad” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

Inside the making of 2018’s most brutal campaign ad” via Reena Flores and Derek Robertson of POLITICO

Quote of the Day

Shot: “Let me ask you this: He had a thousand-dollar ticket given to him to go to this play (‘Hamilton’). It’s not like going to see ‘The Avengers’ on a Saturday afternoon.” — GOP candidate for Governor Ron DeSantis.

Chaser: “Folks are asking me to answer for which caterer does what? I’ve done more events than I could count. I couldn’t tell you anything about a food venue or, quite frankly, whether somebody cooked it or catered it.” — Democratic candidate for Governor Andrew Gillum.

Bill Day’s Latest

Breakthrough Insights

Wake Up Early?

Republican nominee for Governor DeSantis will host a rally, attend a ‘meet and greet’ event, then join President Donald Trump at his “Make America Great Again” rally.

— 8 a.m., Dolphin Aviation Inc., 8191 North Tamiami Trail #100, Sarasota.

— 10:30 a.m., Leroy’s Southern Kitchen & Bar, 201 West Marion Ave., Punta Gorda.

— 7 p.m., Hertz Arena, 11000 Everblades Parkway, Estero.

The Gillum for Governor statewide campaign bus tour will continue with stops in North Florida.

— 8 a.m. (Central time), St. John Divine Church, 620 E. Jordan St., Pensacola.

— Noon (Central time), Arlene Williams BBQ, 4900 Mobile Highway, Pensacola.

— 1:30 p.m. (Central time), Harbor Docks, 538 Harbor Blvd., Destin.

The Florida Commission on Offender Review will consider cases from across the state. That’s at 9 a.m., Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.

Staff members for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio will hold “mobile” office hours in Osceola and Marion counties.

— 9 a.m., Advance Community Outreach, 2260 East Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway, Kissimmee.

— 12:30 p.m., Marion County Library, 2720 East Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala.

The state’s Reemployment Assistance Appeals Commission will meet at 9:30 a.m., 101 Rhyne Building, 2740 Centerview Dr., Tallahassee.

The Florida Retirement System Actuarial Assumptions Conference will meet at 10 a.m., 117 Knott Building, the Capitol.

TV personality Montel Williams and Democratic congressional candidate Mary Barzee Flores will join health care advocates “to call for an end to the GOP’s continued war on Floridians’ health care” as part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour. That’s at 11 a.m., Borinquen Health Care Center, 3601 Federal Highway, Miami.

U.S. Sen. and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders will “rally progressives” to get out the vote for Gillum. Sanders will appear with Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor Chris King and Democratic candidate for Attorney General Shaw.

— 11:30 a.m., University of Central Florida, CFE Arena, 12777 Gemini Blvd. North, Orlando.

— 3:30 p.m., University of South Florida, Fowler Fields, 116600 USF Bull Run Drive, Tampa.

Trump will hold a rally in Lee County. Areas of Southwest Florida are a Republican stronghold, and turnout in the region could play an important role for GOP gubernatorial candidate DeSantis and U.S. Senate candidate Rick Scott in their closely watched races. Trump held a rally in July in Tampa that boosted DeSantis in the Republican primary. That’s at 7 p.m., Hertz Arena, 11000 Everblades Parkway, Estero.

Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 10.30.18

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

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

Florida Democrats may not get their full wish list this year, but a new poll from the University of North Florida gives the party a ray of hope that they can go three outta five on the statewides.

The poll found Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum with an outside-the-margin lead over his Republican rival Ron DeSantis, 49-43 percent. Their party bolsters both candidates, but independents are breaking hard toward Gillum, preferring the Tallahassee Mayor over the former Congressman by a 25-point margin.

A new poll gives Andrew Gillum an outside-the-margin edge of six points over Ron DeSantis.

The U.S. Senate race still shaping up to be a tight one, but as many polls have shown in the final sprint toward Election Day, incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson holds a slim lead over Republican Gov. Rick Scott, 47-46 percent. Similar to the contest to replace Scott in the governor’s mansion, Nelson is jetting ahead among unaffiliated voters, 53-36 percent.

Ditto in the Ag Commissioner race, where Nikki Fried holds a 2-point lead over Matt Caldwell thanks to her double-digit edge among independents.

The Democratic edge in the new poll could stem from the sample setting the independent vote at 19 percent rather than the 17ish percent share they currently hold in the early vote.

UNF also measured the restoration of voting rights ballot question, Amendment 4, and found it with a rock-solid 69 percent approval thanks to super majorities of Democrats and independents backing it. A majority of Republicans did, too, but only by 53-37 percent margin.

Those results are a little cheerier than what St. Pete Polls put out Monday. That poll found Amendment 4 above water 60-33 percent with 7 percent undecided — still enough to crack the 60 percent threshold for passage, but only by a hair.

That same poll brought some dour news for the numerous Florida pols who’ve backed Amendment 6, which would add a “crime victim bill of rights” to the state’s governing document. Voters were split 43-42 percent, virtually assuring its defeat come Election Day.

Could Mary Barzee Flores be 2018’s sleeper upset? — Barzee Flores is quietly building momentum in her challenge to Mario Diaz-Balart in Florida’s 25th Congressional District. … former VPOTUS and working-class hero, Joe Biden, endorsed her … The Naples Daily News endorsed her over the Republican two Sundays ago … And MDB has been taking it on the chin repeatedly over the last few weeks.

… First, it was the rabble-rousing activist/blogger Grant Stern breaking a story that Diaz-Balart may have committed a federal crime by lying on a mortgage application … Then came a one-two punch of brutal stories from CBSMiami’s Jim DeFede. One a broad piece about the intersection of guns and politics in 2018 … Then an equally devastating piece that basically implied a pay-to-play nexus between Mario’s seat in Congress and the foreign lobbying contracts of his brother.

… The makeup of this district remains favorable for the incumbent, but if election night ends up bringing a blue wave to Florida, this could well become a historic upset to the Miami political landscape.


@WSJ: Treasury estimates it will issue $1.338 trillion of debt this year, the most since 2010, amid higher government spending and stagnant tax revenue

@RealDonaldTrump: In Florida, there is a choice between a Harvard/Yale educated man named @RonDeSantisFL who has been a great Congressman and will be a great Governor — and a Dem who is a thief and who is Mayor of poorly run Tallahassee, said to be one of the most corrupt cities in the Country!

@MitchEPerry: At White House news conference, @PressSec is asked about @realDonaldTrump tweeting that @AndrewGillum is “a thief.” She responds that official is under FBI investigation and refer you to that “and doesn’t want to get into specifics” because of Hatch Act.

@Fineout: ah a visit to Sun City Center by @RonDeSantisFL — some political traditions remain intact in 2018 even if nearly all the others have fallen by the wayside …

@BethReinhard: Usually a handful of Reps — including Ron DeSantis of FL — attend David Horowitz’s Restoration Wknd. But in fallout during FL gov campaign over his attendance, only Rep going next month to Palm Beach is Louis Gohmert of TX. “Anyone who comes now is a target,” Horowitz said.

@GNewburn: Senator Rouson is the greatest champion of savings clause reform in Florida. Without his leadership Amendment 11 would have been impossible.

—@MarcACaputo: 16 minutes and 8 seconds. That’s how long it took me, an informed voter, to vote all of the 7-page ballot after skimming all the questions in Miami-Dade County Study up. Read your local paper. If you can, vote early in person or vote by absentee ballot (but beware of errors)

@GusKenworthy: If you think celebs should “stick to _____” and not be allowed to voice their political opinions that’s fine but then don’t you even think about discussing sporting events, TV shows/ movies, music, etc. because you aren’t a professional athlete, actor, or recording artist …

@Keribla: Oh GUYS I know what I’m going to be for Halloween. I’m going to be a records request. I’ll make everyone wait 10 days to tell them if I’m coming to the party and then I’ll show up four months late and heavily redacted, once my presence is totally irrelevant.

@AnaCeballos_: Oh oh. Halloween is two days away, and the bags of candy have been opened.

—@AGlorios: I wonder how many people die from colds from cancer because they skip out on their urgent care appointment bc the waiting room is, well, an urgent care waiting room. (I have the cancer and am, therefore, allowed to make dark jokes like this).


Another day, another couple hundred thousand votes cast in 2018 elections.

The latest figures from the state’s 67 county election supervisors show nearly 2.75 million Floridians have already exercised their franchise, or nearly two-fifths of the 7 million votes expected to be cast this election cycle.

Republicans are still up overall as well as in the mail ballot count. Of the 1.15 million GOP voters who’ve completed their ballot, 725,309 did so by mail, and 433,585 did so at the polls. The final update of the day shows Republicans are holding steady with a 42 percent share of the total vote.

Democrats took back the lead in EV number, but only by a hair — their 441,889 votes at the polls come in about 8,300 votes higher than the Republican’s total. When it comes to VBM, Monday saw another 11,580 D ballots delivered back to supervisor’s offices for a total of 661,539 mail ballots received so far. Dems’ 1.1 million ballots officially put them over the 40 percent mark in the vote share thus far.

Unaffiliated and third-party voters have cast a combined 486,773 by post and at the polls, a 30,000-vote bump from Sunday’s total. Those in the “other” crowd make up just shy of 18 percent of the total vote.

There are still 1.73 million mail ballots in the wild, with Democrats in possession of 717,862 and another 601,460 in the hands of Republicans. Other voters have the remaining 411,057.

—“How the minority vote could be important in Florida’s midterm election” via WTSP

—“In Central Florida, early voters have already topped 2014 totals” via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel


Donald Trump campaign releases nationwide midterm ad — “We Can’t Go Back” depicts a working, suburban mother reflecting on tough times and the optimism she now has for the future of her family. She notes “how far we’ve come” now that “things are starting to change,” but warns that “the future worth fighting for is not guaranteed” as she chooses to vote Republican in the midterms. The ad placement is one of the largest investments the Trump Campaign has made to back victory for the GOP in the midterm elections “to ensure that Trump can continue to implement his America First agenda with the support of GOP majorities in the House and Senate.”

To view the ad, click on the image below:

Shots fired into Volusia County Republican Party satellite office, police say” via Bianca Padro Ocasio of the Orlando Sentinel — At least four shots were fired into the Volusia County Republican Party’s office in South Daytona, police said Monday. No one was injured, according to South Daytona police Capt. Mark Cheatham, but the shooting broke the offices’ front window and caused some damage to the drywall inside. … No eyewitnesses have been identified, and investigators are in the process of tracking down surveillance footage from neighboring businesses, Cheatham said. Volusia County Republican chair Tony Ledbetter told WFTV that “some sick person,” which he identified as “Democrats,” took their anger out on his office. … Police have not released any information about potential suspects, their political affiliations or motive for the incident. … The League of Women Voters of Florida and the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence called the incident “domestic terrorism” that comes on the heels of a mass shooting that claimed 11 lives at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday.


Donald Trump, showing no evidence, calls Andrew Gillum a ‘thief’” via Ryan Nobles, Greg Krieg and Devan Cole of CNN — Trump launched what opponents decried as a racially loaded attack on Gillum, labeling him a “thief” without evidence and claiming that, as mayor of Tallahassee, Gillum oversees one of the country’s “most corrupt cities.” Gillum responded less than an hour after Trump’s attack and, like the last time they clashed, mocked the President for not engaging him more directly. “On Twitter, there is a choice between having the courage to @ the person you are trash talking, or not,” Gillum wrote. “@realDonaldTrump is howling because he’s weak. Florida, go vote today.”

Latest haul pushes matching funds over $8 million” via Jim Turner of the News Service of Florida — The release of the latest weekly checks also showed that Democratic Agriculture Commissioner candidate Nikki Fried has qualified for the taxpayer-funded program, which provides matches for individual contributions of $250 or less to candidates’ campaigns. Fried, an attorney and lobbyist from Fort Lauderdale, got a check for $117,627 on Friday. She became the 10th statewide candidate this year to participate in the program — though four of those candidates lost in primaries. Fried’s Republican opponent, state Rep. Matt Caldwell, has decried the program as “campaign welfare.” The biggest user of the program this year has been Republican DeSantis, who drew a check for $279,046 on Friday and has now received just over $2.3 million from the state.

Latest documents claim Gillum paid for fundraising trip with official office account” via Arek Sarkissian of POLITICO Florida — Gillum paid for the Feb. 12, 2016, round-trip flight from Tallahassee to St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport with an official Mayor’s office expense account, the Tallahassee Democrat reported last year. However, the newly released records provided by the lawyer of former Gillum ally Adam Corey under a subpoena issued as part of an investigation by the Florida Commission on Ethics indicate the flight was expressly for Gillum to meet with potential donors to his gubernatorial campaign. Gillum’s 2014 mayoral campaign finance reports show he had moved $10,000 to his official mayoral office account about the time he won the local office in 2014. State law restricts the use of the account to only official city business. Monday’s release of records was the third time Tallahassee lawyer Chris Kise provided the public with a glimpse into Corey’s consultant relationship with Gillum amid a highly publicized FBI corruption investigation of Tallahassee City Hall.

Ron DeSantis used to criticize Obama-era energy investors. Now one is hosting his fundraiser” via Danny McAuliffe of Florida Politics — Before he was a statewide candidate, DeSantis denounced the cozy relationship between the federal government and some private businesses. But it now appears the Republican nominee for Governor is willing to be wined and dined by those linked to the very same practice. Among the hosts of a Monday night fundraiser for DeSantis is William “Wilber” James, co-founder and general partner of RockPort Capital … one of the top investors in the now-bankrupt solar panel manufacturing group Solyndra Inc. Before going under in 2011, Solyndra received a $535 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy. After the company’s demise, Republicans — including DeSantis — had used the incident to describe a sort of crony-capitalist relationship between the federal government then overseen by President Barack Obama and companies like Solyndra.

DeSantis spread George Soros fear days after a bomb was sent to Soros” via Sam Stein of The Daily Beast — Speaking at Inman Park Baptist Church in Winter Haven, DeSantis was in the midst of arguing that a victory by his opponent … would fundamentally destroy Florida’s economy, when he noted the ability of a governor to appoint swathes of people to statewide agencies and boards. “He could be seeding, into our state government, you know, Soros-backed activists,” DeSantis said of his opponent. DeSantis’ remarks came at a particularly delicate time. That Tuesday, news broke that an explosive device had been found at Soros’ suburban New York home. It was the first revelation of what turned out to be a mass assassination attempt on numerous leading Democrats. Just hours after DeSantis spoke, the suspect in those bombings — a Donald Trump-loving Florida man — was arrested by authorities.

More police backing for DeSantis” via Florida Politics — The polls say that the race for governor between DeSantis and Gillum is too close to call. However, the battle for the hearts and minds of law enforcement is no contest: On Monday, DeSantis rolled out yet another endorsement from a police union. The International Union of Police Associations, citing the “extreme positions” taken by Gillum during the campaign, said they “could not remain neutral.” DeSantis now has been endorsed by every major police union in the state and over 50 County Sheriffs.

—“Gillum’s slap-down of DeSantis for calling him ‘Andrew’ is rooted in Jim Crow-era custom” via Dana Sanchez of Moguldom

Gillum tells supporters to get off their couches, away from Twitter — and round up voters” via Anthony Man of the Sun-Sentinel — Gillum sought to fire up two key Democratic constituencies — black voters and union teachers — as he zipped through Broward and Miami-Dade counties Monday. “Listen everybody. Thank you so much for the support. With your help, we’re going to bring home this win. Don’t forget; we’ve got to vote. Election Day is a myth. Election Day is today and every day until November 6th. Get out there and vote like your lives depend on it. Because your lives do depend on who the next Governor is,” Gillum said. That was his message in a brief interview with Caribbean-American radio stations WZOP-FM 92.7 in Fort Lauderdale and WZPP-FM 96.1 in Miami, which were broadcasting from Gillum’s rally at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center in Fort Lauderdale.

Cops worried about Gillum” via Florida Politics — Gillum has the law enforcement community shook, per a new ad from a GOP group. “Worried,” the latest spot from the Republican Governors Association, paints a dispiriting picture of the Tallahassee Mayor. The RGA here plays into DeSantis’ stretch-run messaging. For the last week, the Republican has messaged about Gillum’s support from the criminal-justice reform group Dream Defenders, and now “Florida Facts” (a committee that has seen $7.5 million raised and spent since August) is providing an assist for a closing argument.

To view the ad, click on the image below:

Assignment editors — Before a “Women for DeSantis” news conference, Donna Deegan, a breast cancer survivor and activist, will hold a media availability to discuss DeSantis’ record of voting against women’s health care, 8 a.m., 1011 San Jose Boulevard, Jacksonville.

Assignment editors — DeSantis, wife Casey, Lt. Gov. nominee Jeanette Nuñez, and state Rep. Cyndi Stevenson will hold a news conference at his Jacksonville Victory Office, 8:30 a.m., 10111 San Jose Blvd., Unit 06, Jacksonville.

Assignment editors — DeSantis will be joining supporters for two get-out-the-vote events: 11 a.m., La Teresita Restaurant 3248 W Columbus Dr., Tampa; 1:30 p.m., Sun City Center Area Chamber of Commerce, 1651 Sun City Center Plaza, Sun City Center.

Assignment editors — The Gillum campaign bus tour continues with stops in both central and southern Florida: 10 a.m., New Port Richey Recreation & Aquatic Center, 6630 Van Buren St, New Port Richey; 11:45 a.m., Trinity Worship Center International, 2795 N 10th St., Haines City; 4 p.m., St. Mary’s Primitive Baptist Church, 605 Mary Street, Punta Gorda; 5 p.m., Environmentalists for Gillum early vote event, Riverside Community Center, 3061 E Riverside Dr., Fort Myers.


Super PAC backing Rick Scott piles up six-figure checks in October” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida — An additional nearly $2 million flowed into a super PAC supporting Scott’s Senate bid during the first three weeks of October, according to newly filed campaign finance reports. The super PAC, known as New Republican, has helped offset negative Scott ads being funded by Senate Majority PAC, a super PAC aligned with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer that supports Nelson. The latest New Republican filing period, which covers Oct. 1 through Oct. 17, is packed with checks of $100,000 or more, largely from major financial services industry firms. The biggest single check over the recent reporting period came from William Foley, chairman of Fidelity National Financial, who kicked in $206,100.

Bill Nelson compares current U.S. political climate to Rwanda before genocide” via Ryan Nobles of CNN — Nelson commented Sunday while stumping at the Covenant Missionary Baptist Church in Florida City. Nelson was accompanied at the event by Democratic California Sen. Kamala Harris. Nelson described his wife’s relationship with Rwanda’s current first lady, Jeannette Kagame, and said tribalism is sweeping through U.S. politics to a dangerous degree. He called the story of the Rwandan genocide “instructive” to Americans. “When a place gets so tribal that the two tribes won’t have anything to do with each other … that jealousy turns into hate,” Nelson said. “And we saw what happened to the Hutus and the Tutsis in Rwanda, it turned into a genocide. A million-people hacked to death within a few months. And we have got to watch what’s happening here.”

Voices’ want Nelson gone” via Florida Politics — Another day, another bit of new creative from the New Republican PAC. The Scott-supportive committee released a digital ad Monday that reminded voters of one of the Scott campaign’s central contentions; namely, that Sen. Nelson is nothing more than a party-line Democrat who has been in politics way too long. The fifteen-second digital spot, part of what the committee calls an “extensive digital media campaign,” uses the kind of average people one sees in political ads to shred Nelson for one failing or another. Among the charges: that Nelson voted to raise his own pay, then voted to raise taxes; that said tax raises hurt one voter’s “family and business;” that he only votes “party line;” and that “Bill Nelson’s been in Washington for longer than [the middle-aged man speaking] has been alive.

To view the ad, click on the image below:


First in Sunburn – Nikki Fried ad says it’s time for ‘Something New’ — Agriculture Commissioner candidate Fried is out with a new ad highlighting the issues facing Floridians — from green algae and red tide to the failure of the Department of Agriculture to complete background checks and more. “Fried offers a new direction on these issues, where water quality is prioritized, full background checks are performed, and patient access to medical marijuana is expanded to help the sick and suffering,” a campaign statement says.

To view the new ad, click on the image below:

Bernie Sanders to campaign with Sean Shaw in Tampa” via William March of the Tampa Bay Times — Sanders will campaign with Democrat Sean Shaw for attorney general in Tampa Wednesday. The event will include Sanders, Shaw and lieutenant governor candidate Chris King at Fowler Fields at the University of South Florida. Doors will open at 2 p.m., and the event will be 3:30-5:30 p.m. Shaw will also appear and speak at the campaign event in Miami Friday with Barack Obama, governor candidate Andrew Gillum and Senate candidate Nelson.

Third Ashley Moody ad touts experience, Sheriff support — Moody’s campaign unveiled its third campaign advertisement, a 30-second spot highlighting her experience as a federal prosecutor and circuit court judge, including the nearly 90 percent of Florida Sheriffs, both Republican and Democrat, who have endorsed her candidacy. The ad is part of significant media buy across the state.

To view the ad, click on the image below:

Gambling amendment backers top $40 million” via the News Service of Florida — With the Seminole Tribe of Florida pitching in another $3.285 million last week, a political committee backing a proposed constitutional amendment on gambling has raised more than $40 million, according to a newly filed finance report. The committee, known as Voters In Charge, raised $40,028,930 as of Sunday as it tries to pass Amendment 3 on the November ballot. The proposed constitutional amendment, which could make it harder to expand gambling, would change the Florida Constitution and give voters the “exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling” in the state.

Another $2.4 million flows to ‘Marsy’s Law’ campaign” via the News Service of Florida — The committee Marsy’s Law for Florida received the money during the past two weeks from the national Marsy’s Law for All Foundation, according to finance reports posted on the state Division of Elections website. In all, the Florida committee had raised $32.78 million as of Saturday, with almost all of that total coming from the California-based foundation. The committee had about $2.6 million in remaining cash on hand as of Saturday.

Shane Battier stars in new Amendment 6 ad — Former Miami Heat player Shane Battier, a two-time ringer from the “Big Three” era, took his support for the “crime victim bill of rights” amendment to the next level this week by appearing in a video ad pushing for the ballot measure … “I spent my entire career trying to defeat opponents on the basketball court, but no victim of crime should ever feel hurt, deflated or defeated,” he says in the 30-second spot. “Unfortunately, they often do because Florida law doesn’t give the victims of crime the equal rights they deserve.” … “Please vote ‘yes’ on Amendment 6,” he concludes. … Amendment 6, also known as “Marsy’s Law,” has earned the support of several Sunshine State celebs and politicians, though recent polling show voters are split on the proposal. Constitutional amendments must earn 60 percent support from voters to pass.

To view the ad, click on the image below:


New ad calls out Carlos Curbelo’s ‘extreme’ opponent” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — The Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF) is going on the offensive on behalf of Curbelo, labeling his Democratic opponent, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, “too extreme” and “too dangerous” for South Florida voters. The ad, titled “Extreme,” refers to Mucarsel-Powell as “Debbie Powell” throughout the ad, laying out her policy proposals that the group deems out-of-step with Florida’s 26th Congressional District. CLF is a Super PAC aimed at electing Republicans to the U.S. House. “Carlos Curbelo is an independent voice working across the aisle to fight for more jobs, lower taxes, and more economic growth,” the ad’s narrator says.

To view the ad, click on the image below:


Responding to Pittsburgh shooting, Lindsay Cross blasts Jeff Brandes on gun record” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — Cross is adding a new bullet point to her list of campaign priorities after the deadly mass shooting in a Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday that claimed 11 lives. … A minute-long video shared on social media shows a somber Cross sitting in a church pew wearing a black dress demanding “common sense” gun legislation aimed at reducing gun violence and mass shootings. “It is past time that we have leaders who will stand up and fight for the safety of our communities,” Cross said. … Cross blasts her opponent, Senate District 24 incumbent Jeff Brandes, for not standing up to the gun lobby. … “Jeff Brandes brags about being a lifetime member of the NRA and will never do what is truly needed to keep our community safe,” she said. … Cross shot the video one day after the Pittsburgh shooting at Tree of Life synagogue in which Robert Bowers used an AR-15 assault rifle to gun down members of the Jewish congregation. … Bowers was a legal gun owner.

Joe Gruters shifts into overdrive for himself, fellow Republicans” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Republican state Senate candidate Gruters knows his success this year relies on the strength of the GOP ticket as a whole. “We’re trying to drive turnout for the entire team,” he said. As the 10-year chairman of the Republican Party of Sarasota, Gruters knows the importance of lifting the entire slate more acutely than most politicians. This year, he says, base turnout will make or break certain campaigns. “You used to be able to identify voters that cared about education. You could send them something about what you would do to increase teacher pay, and maybe you could turn them,” he said. “In today’s environment, it’s ‘Do you support Trump or not’ ”

Republican ad seeks to tie Anna Eskamani to rage, declares ‘let’s rise above’” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — The Republican Party of Florida is releasing a new television commercial attacks Democratic House District 47 nominee Eskamani, seeking to tie her to anger and rage on the left, and Republican nominee Stockton Reeves as the candidate to help “rise above the rage.” The new 30-second spot, which technically is a three-for also supporting the re-election campaigns of state Reps. Mike La Rosa and Bobby Olszewski, recycles some stark, black-and-white images from previous RPOF commercials of a radical-looking Eskamani, plus some stock footage of some generic rioting somewhere. New to this ad are images from last year’s protests against Publix Supermarkets, in which Eskamani participated.

To view the ad, click on the image below:

From the political Hollywood filesActor Billy Crudup endorses Democrat Emma Collum for HD 93 — Collum shared Crudup’s endorsement in a tweet on Monday. He grew up in Broward County. “The decisions our local elected officials make are important to me and my family which is why I’m supporting Emma Collum for the state House District 93, which includes Fort Lauderdale up to Deerfield Beach,” said Crudup in a video. “I’ve gotten to know Emma, and I strongly believe that she is the right leader for the position … I believe in Emma Collum, and I hope you will join me in voting for her.”

Yankees and Moffitt help push donations to transportation group over $3 million” via Christopher O’Donnell of the Tampa Bay Times — The New York Yankees, Tampa Electric and the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center are the latest big names to weigh in with sizable campaign donations to the group pushing the transportation sales tax, which has now raised more than $3 million. The Yankees donated $100,000 to All for Transportation, matching earlier contributions by the region’s three major professional sports franchises. TECO and Moffitt both gave $50,000 and Adventist Health System, which owns Florida Hospital, donated $100,000. And there was another $150,000 donation from Strategic Property Partners, a development firm launched by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Cascade Investment, the capital fund owned by Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates.


Lawmakers ask FEMA for more housing for storm survivors” via The Associated Press — Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Democratic U.S. Sen. Nelson said in a letter to FEMA’s director that the alternative housing must be deployed immediately to the Panhandle to alleviate suffering. They were joined in their request by three U.S. congressmen who represent the Panhandle — Republicans Neal Dunn and Matt Gaetz and Democrat Al Lawson.

Lanie Eden and her husband Ron stand in the destroyed vacation home they rented every year as they look for their possessions in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach. (Image via AP/Gerald Herbert)

A Florida city, hit hard by Hurricane Michael, seeks more housing aid” via Glenn Thrush of The New York Times — So far, 2,273 homeowners and 6,145 renters have received FEMA rental assistance payouts, totaling about $16.5 million, according to the most recent statistics gathered by the agency’s Atlanta regional office. Another $17.5 million has been paid out to homeowners for repairs or replacement of their wind-battered houses, a small down payment on what is expected to be a multibillion-dollar federal recovery and rebuilding effort that will span years. FEMA’s main temporary housing initiative, the Transitional Sheltering Assistance program, provides cash payments to landlords willing to rent to people displaced by Michael. But so many of Panama City’s buildings were damaged that the pool of available apartments is nearing zero. Moreover, many owners of undamaged upscale condominiums and hotels in nearby Panama City Beach are simply unwilling to rent to low-income tenants.

Hurricane causes heavy losses for Panhandle farmers” via Jim Turner of the News Service of Florida — Hurricane Michael will cost Florida farmers an estimated $158 million because of damaged crops, including major damage sustained by cotton farmers, according to a University of Florida study. Economists with the university’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences projected that nearly 1 million acres of crops such as cotton, nuts and vegetables, along with beef, dairy and other animal products, were damaged across 25 counties. The study, calling the storm “the most serious natural disaster to impact agricultural and natural resources industries in the Florida Panhandle in decades,” did not include damage to timberland.

Panhandle ‘protector’ shot at truck, yelled slurs, police say” via Samantha Gross of the Tampa Bay Times — Carl Kuhn, a Callaway resident neighbors call the Fox Avenue “hero,” told reporters last week that he was arrested by Bay County deputies after he shot a rifle twice into the ground to scare off looters after Hurricane Michael. At the time of publication, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office said an official police report of the incident was inaccessible because of power-related issues in the building. Over the weekend, an arrest report and affidavit were released on the sheriff’s office Facebook page, alleging Kuhn had been drinking before the incident and shot the gun not into the ground, but at a man driving by.

Carl Kuhn is known as “the hero of Fox Avenue” after he rescued his neighbors from the wreckage of their trailer during Hurricane Michael. (Image via Miami Herald)

Assignment editors — Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam will hold an “agricultural recovery listening session” with members of Florida’s agriculture industry to discuss damage caused by Hurricane Michael and recovery efforts and needs. That’s at 3 p.m. (Central time), Rivertown Community Church, 19359 State Road 71 North, Blountstown.


Groups seek to extend Supreme Court selections” via Lloyd Dunkelberger of the News Service of Florida — The League of Women Voters of Florida and Common Cause are asking the Supreme Court to order a nominating commission to extend the application deadline and halt a current nomination process in light of a court order issued this month. The Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Oct. 15 that the winner of the Nov. 6 governor’s election has the “sole authority” to appoint the replacements for justices Barbara ParienteR. Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince, who are leaving the court in early January because they have reached a mandatory retirement age. In a filing on Friday, the League of Women Voters and Common Cause asked the state’s highest court to order the Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission to reopen the application process and extend the deadline to at least Jan. 8, which is when the new governor will take office.

Mailbomb suspect appears in Miami court, possible ‘hit list’ found in van” by Jay Weaver of the Miami Herald — Cesar Sayoc, a strident supporter of Trump charged with directing a mail-bomb campaign in South Florida against prominent Democrats, will be locked up in federal custody in Miami for at least a few more days … The 56-year-old Aventura man … made his first federal court appearance on Monday before an expected move to New York … Law enforcement sources told the Miami Herald that a “hit list” of more than 100 potential bomb recipients was found in the van where he had lived and is suspected of assembling his devices. … His initial hearing came as investigators continued to track more possible mailings, including one recovered Monday … The defendant, wearing a khaki prison jumpsuit, shackled and surrounded by U.S. marshals, said little about his case during the brief hearing but seemed to be fighting back tears. … So far, a total of 15 similar manila packages containing crudely made explosives have been linked to Sayoc’s alleged mail-bomb campaign.

Appeals court orders judge to review Scott records” via Michael Moline of Florida Politics — A state appeals court has overruled a Tallahassee trial judge who ordered Scott to disclose details of his official and campaign schedules, ordering that judge first to review the material privately. State law clearly requires such “in camera” scrutiny of the disputed material, a unanimous three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal said. Judge Lori Rowe signed the opinion and wrote separately to stress that disclosure of some of Scott’s travel plans might compromise his security. She cited an affidavit signed by Darrick Walker, of Scott’s security detail, attesting that those details “could reveal surveillance techniques, procedures, and the identity of law enforcement officers, which would compromise the safety and security of the governor.”

Slot machine dispute heads to Supreme Court” via the News Service of Florida — The 1st District Court of Appeal in August upheld a circuit judge’s ruling that the so-called “pre-reveal” games are illegal slot machines. But Blue Sky Games, which developed the games, and Jacksonville-based Gator Coin, which leased the games to businesses, have filed notices that are a first step in asking the Supreme Court to take up the issue. The legal wrangling began when the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco ordered two businesses to remove the machines, prompting challenges from Blue Sky Games and Gator Coin. Supporters of the games have contended that the machines are legal because they include a “preview” feature that advises players of the outcome of the games. But regulators and other critics have argued the preview feature doesn’t matter because the “random number generator” used to create the games equates to the definition of slot machines, which are games of “chance,” under state law.

Tallahassee man accused of flashing gun at FAMU students gets fine, community service” via Karl Etters of the Tallahassee Democrat — Don Crandall Jr., 49, was arrested on charges of improper exhibition of a firearm, but if he completes 50 hours of community service, pays a $100 fine and agrees not to possess any firearms within six months, those charges will be dropped. “This agreement is a deferral of prosecution and not a contract of immunity,” Assistant State Attorney Adrian Mood wrote in the agreement. “Should (Crandall) fail to meet the terms and conditions of this agreement, the agreement shall be void at the discretion of the state attorney.” Crandall was seen on video at the Stadium Center apartments on Gaines Street holding the pistol while he told a group of FAMU students they were not allowed on the elevator. He questioned who they were and why they were at the complex, according to court records.

Don Crandall Jr., was arrested on charges of improper exhibition of a firearm, but he could have those charges dropped. (Image via Leon County Detention Center)

Tampa Electric wins PSC clearance for solar power projects” via Michael Moline of Florida Politics — The Public Service Commission approved a deal that allows Tampa Electric Co. to build five solar-generating plants and pass along the $46 million tab to its ratepayers. The hit to the average homeowner will be $2.46 cents, effective on Jan. 1. Customers would be entitled to refunds if any of the projects are delayed. Under the settlement agreement between TECO and the Office of Public Counsel, customers also could save money on natural gas and coal the utility no longer would need to burn.

Next governor should leave corporate tax rate alone, influencers say” via Adam Wollner of the Miami Herald — A new survey of the Florida Influencers, comprised of 50 of the state’s leading political and policy figures, found that more than half of respondents (54 percent) believe the next governor should not alter the state’s current corporate tax rate of 5.5 percent. Meanwhile, 25 percent said the rate should be raised to provide more funding for education, and 21 percent said it should be lowered to spur greater business development. “I don’t believe a change in the corporate tax rate, either up or down, is warranted at this time,” said Brian Keeley, the president and CEO of Baptist Health South Florida. “The Florida economy, in general, is currently doing just fine.”

Pam Bondi sued over Florida Expressway amendments” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — The Miami-Dade County Expressway Authority says it’s being bullied by the Legislature. Now, MDX has filed suit to see if the courts agree. MDX filed suit in Tallahassee against Attorney General Pam Bondi, seeking a finding that recent changes to the Florida Expressway Authority Act are unconstitutional and invalid. Bondi’s office says they have not been served with the lawsuit. The amendments, among other things, mandated a reduction in toll rates, limited the amount of toll revenue that can be used for administrative expenses, and changed auditing procedures, according to the complaint. … Thus, MDX is asking for a declaratory judgment that the amendments are unconstitutional. … The suit also refers to the legal concept of “home rule,” an issue which has earned a lot of attention due to actions by the state legislature. … MDX asserts that concept, along with the 1996 transfer agreement, grant it full authority to operate the county’s toll systems on the five expressways within the board’s jurisdiction.

Top union official Randi Weingarten says schools need more money; and health care is paramount” via Mitch Perry of the Florida Phoenix — Several of Florida’s largest school districts … have referendums on the ballot next week to raise funds for operating expenses, school buildings and security. That makes the Sunshine State a microcosm of the nation overall, says Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers … “There are 200 ballot initiatives around the country regarding school funding,” Weingarten told the Phoenix … Weingarten said that there are two things that the public believes government should do — ensure that every child has a right to quality public education, and every person in the country has access to health care. … Weingarten, an outspoken liberal, is critical of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Scott and gubernatorial candidate DeSantis for advocating for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act … “Both Scott and DeSantis are lying about their records because they know what the public wants is completely different from what their record is,” she said.

‘Protect Our Care’ bus rally rolls into Orlando — Community leaders, patients, and residents gathered at Lake Eola Park to call for an end to the GOP’s continued war on Floridians’ health care — the second of five Florida stops, in Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour. Traveling 11,303 miles with 49 events in 24 states, the “Care Force One” bus tour is giving Americans, elected officials and health care experts who are “sick and tired of Republicans’ constant attacks on the health care they rely on,” including the 7.8 million Floridians across the state with pre-existing conditions. “Governor Rick Scott and Republicans in the State Legislature aren’t sticking up for health care protections or working with Democrats to lower costs,” said Democratic House candidate Anna Eskamani. “Instead, Republicans are ending protections for people with pre-existing conditions, driving up costs and cutting coverage.” Following the Orlando rally, “Care Force One” heads to Miami. Check out for the latest information.

Local leaders, patients & community activists rally for affordable health care at protect our care bus rally in Orlando.

Tampa Electric wins PSC clearance for solar power projects” by Michael Moline of Florida Politics — The Public Service Commission approved a deal Monday that allows Tampa Electric Co. to build five solar-generating plants and pass along the $46 million tab to its ratepayers. The hit to the average homeowner will be $2.46, effective on Jan. 1. Customers will be entitled to refunds if any of the projects are delayed. Under the settlement agreement between TECO and the Office of Public Counsel, customers also could save money on natural gas and coal the utility no longer would need to burn. “All the power that’s generated from the solar facilities, obviously, Tampa Electric has to purchase less fuel to generate power from their other facilities,” Public Counsel J.R. Kelly said following the vote.

USF trustees give praise — and a $210,000 bonus — to outgoing President Judy Genshaft” via Megan Reeves of the Tampa Bay Times — Genshaft, the outgoing University of South Florida president, received a glowing performance review Monday from the school’s board of trustees — and a $210,000 stipend to go with it. … “This is a well-oiled machine with a great team, and we are losing the captain of our team,” trustee Jordan Zimmerman said. “Nothing could make me prouder than having the president we’ve had.” During her tenure at USF, Genshaft has become one of the highest-paid university presidents in the nation. She collected nearly $1.2 million in pay bonuses and other benefits in 2016-17, ranking seventh for pay in the country … Genshaft makes about double what most U.S. university presidents do … For the last two years, her contract has paid up to $925,000, including $300,000 tied to performance. The agreement gives trustees the power to award up to 70 percent of that … Board Chairman Brian Lamb will decide how much of the remaining 30 percent Genshaft will receive in December.


Trulieve to open shop in West Palm Beach, the 21st in Florida — Leading medical marijuana provider Trulieve his opening its second Palm Beach location this week, its 21st outlet in the state. This grand opening comes after Trulieve’s official listing on the Canadian Securities Exchange (TRUL) and the fifth dispensary storefront in South Florida. “With every dispensary, our main focus is creating an environment that is comfortable, safe, and reliable, and we’re proud to continue cultivating those spaces in South Florida,” says Kim Rivers, Trulieve CEO. The company plans to have 30 locations in Florida by February 2019, the maximum presently allowed by state law. Recently, the Office of Medical Marijuana Use announced the registry had surpassed 140,000 registered medical marijuana patients with an active ID card, with Trulieve consistently selling more than two-thirds of the state’s overall volume. To celebrate, Trulieve representatives will be holding a news conference with Victoria Walker, Director of Community Relations at 10 a.m., and offer tours of the new dispensary at 1322 North Military Trail, West Palm Beach.


Joe Henderson: Marco Rubio tweet about anger misses the point” via Florida Politics — In an apparent response to the atrocious events over the weekend in Pittsburgh, Rubio wrote: “Our core problem isn’t Incendiary rhetoric. It’s the anger it taps into & stokes. Anger moves people to donate & vote. And outrage is good for media ratings & online traffic. Because anger is one of our most powerful emotions. But it is also one of our most destructive.” If I’m reading the Senator’s point correctly, he seems to be saying that if the media wasn’t transmitting anger 24/7, we might not have to deal with so much tragedy. With all respect Senator, you are wrong on that point. First off, the accused shooter in the Pittsburgh massacre sounds like one sick individual. He clearly was filled with irrational hate for Jewish people. The media had nothing to do with that. Neither did President Trump, for what that’s worth. The accused shooter apparently was no fan of the President. If anger is the dynamite, incendiary rhetoric is the fuse. And President Trump is the burning match. He is doing it deliberately.

Ed Moore: Not everything belongs in a state Constitution” via the Tallahassee Democrat — Watching the Constitutional Revision Commission in action this year reminded me of many issues that have been before the Florida Legislature over the years. Most of the issues remain without a satisfactory resolution, but they are not resolved because they are highly complex and without easy solutions. The purpose and call of a Constitution Revision Commission is not to grapple over these types of exceptionally complicated matters. This is not how a reasonable republic or branch of government transacts business.

Hey, Kelsey Grammer! If Amendment 6 were in place in Florida, as many as 27 innocent people would now be dead” via the Sun-Sentinel editorial board — What the ballot language doesn’t say is that most of Amendment 6’s long list of victims’ benefits are already in Florida law, thanks to a victim’s rights amendment adopted 30 years ago. Neither does it mention that this proposal is aimed at diminishing defendants’ rights, such as sufficient time to prepare for a fair trial. Florida’s speedy trial rule presently entitles the defendant to a trial within 90 days for a misdemeanor and 175 days — just short of six months — for a felony, unless the deadline is extended for a good reason. Amendment 6, however, would allow the prosecution and also the victims — to demand a trial within 60 days unless the trial judge enters an order “justifying a later trial date.” Because the right to a fair trial is established in both the federal and state Constitutions, Amendment 6 also would guarantee endless and expensive litigation. You might call Marsy’s law a “lawyer relief” bill, because it will generate more legal fees than public benefits.

— ALOE —

Twitter to remove ‘like’ tool in a bid to improve the quality of debate” via Margi Murphy of The Telegraph — Founder Jack Dorsey last week admitted at a Twitter event that he was not a fan of the heart-shaped button and that it would be getting rid of it “soon.” The feature was introduced in 2015 to replace “favorites,” a star-shaped button that allowed people to bookmark tweets to read later. Similar buttons to “like” or show appreciation of people’s status updates, pictures and videos have become a central function of every popular social media service since Facebook introduced them.

Jack Dorsey considers dumping the Twitter ‘like’ button.

Universal files infrastructure plans for potential expansion” via John Gregory of Orlando Rising — The 24-page plan, filed by Universal City Development Partners, Ltd., deals with 541.5 acres of land Universal owns off Universal Boulevard and south of Sand Lake Road. It details where new roadways, drainage, and utilities need to be placed on the property. Much of the proposed road work centers on the southwestern edge of the property, close to the North Concourse of the Orange County Convention Center. At least one large roundabout is included in the plans, located to the west of a large gray-colored area. This could be the site of a large parking structure — with up to 5,089 parking spaces slated to be part of the project.


Happy birthday to Josh Gabel, former Rep. Ron Saunders, and Tyler Winik.

Last Call for 10.29.18 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

Last Call – A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

Gov. Rick Scott on Monday ordered flags at half-staff for the victims of Tree of Life Synagogue mass shooting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The alleged gunman was charged with killing 11 people Saturday — the Jewish holy day — in what is believed to be the deadliest single attack on Jews in U.S. history, according to the AP.

Scott directed the U.S. and state flags to be flown at half-staff at “all local and state buildings, installations, and grounds throughout the State of Florida.”

“The flags shall be lowered immediately and remain at half-staff until the expiration of President Donald J. Trump’s national directive at sunset on Wednesday, Oct. 31,” a statement from the Governor’s Office said.

“The shooting at a synagogue in Pennsylvania was an act of pure evil and hatred,” Scott said. “There is no place in America for intolerance and violence, and we will do everything in our power to protect Floridians who are peacefully gathered to worship.

“My wife, Ann, and I are heartbroken that someone would harm families gathered at a place of love and community.

“As Governor, I will take any action necessary to protect our communities. I appreciate our state troopers and Florida’s law enforcement community for their dedication to keeping people safe. Everyone deserves to be able to express their religious freedom safely and peacefully.”

Evening Reads

Sunshine State showdown: Barack Obama heads to Florida in between Donald Trump visits” via Marc Caputo of POLITICO Florida

Voter-turnout efforts go into overdrive entering homestretch” via John Kennedy of GateHouse Capital Bureau

Republicans hold slight edge in early voting in midterms” via Skyler Swisher of the Sun Sentinel

Super PAC backing Rick Scott piles up six-figure checks in October” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida

Latest haul pushes matching funds over $8 million” via Jim Turner of the News Service of Florida

Andrew Gillum’s Dilemma: Florida is actually five states” via Steve Bousquet for the New York Times

Andrew Gillum hits back at Trump after president calls him a ‘thief’” via Matthew Choi of POLITICO

Tallahassee lawyer releases more records on previously reported Andrew Gillum trip” via Lawrence Mower of the Tampa Bay Times

Cops ‘worried’ about Gillum, new ad from Republican governors claims” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

Ron DeSantis spread George Soros fear days after a bomb was sent to Soros” via Sam Stein of The Daily Beast

The winner of Governor’s race is a woman with no formal education” via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times

Attorney General showdown presents two distinct and different visions” via CD Davidson-Hiers of the Florida Phoenix

After Parkland, guns were to dominate politics. Here’s the one race where that’s true.” via Samantha Gross of the Miami Herald

Republican Party headquarters vandalized by gunfire in Volusia” via Patricio Balona of the Daytona Beach News-Journal

Direct mail round-up: Jeffrey Solomon’s ‘record is downright scary’” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics

Quote of the Day

What’s happening is Rick Scott’s lawyer is coordinating to the detriment of his client on behalf of Ron DeSantis. It makes me almost agree with Trump about the FBI. It’s like, what are these m*****f***ers doing? We got ISIS, Al-Qaeda and Russia, and they’re out there doing a sting buying Adam Corey’s food at Adam Corey’s restaurant.” — Attorney John Morgan, quoted by The Miami Herald’s David Smiley.

Bill Day’s Latest

Breakthrough Insights

Wake Up Early?

Republican nominee for Governor DeSantis, wife Casey, Lt. Gov. nominee Jeanette Nuñez, and state Rep. Cyndi Stevenson will hold a news conference at his Jacksonville Victory Office. That’s at 8:30 a.m., 10111 San Jose Blvd. – Unit 06, Jacksonville.

The Governor’s Panel on Excellence in Long-Term Care will hold a conference call to review nursing-home applications for “Gold Seal” awards. That’s at 9 a.m. Call-in number: 1-888-670-3525. Code: 8050334011.

The Florida Public Service Commission will take up numerous issues, including a proposal by Duke Energy Florida to spend $34.5 million to end electricity purchases from a Polk County power plant. That’s at 9:30 a.m., Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.

The Andrew Gillum for Governor campaign bus tour will continue with stops in central and southern Florida. They’re at:

— 10 a.m., New Port Richey Recreation & Aquatic Center, 6630 Van Buren St., New Port Richey.

— 11:45 a.m., Trinity Worship Center International, 2795 N. 10th St., Haines City.

— 4 p.m., St. Mary’s Primitive Baptist Church, 605 Mary St., Punta Gorda.

— 5 p.m., Riverside Community Center, 3061 E Riverside Drive, Fort Myers.

Florida TaxWatch will hold a news conference to release a handbook designed to provide information to the next governor to help with the transition after the Nov. 6 election. That’s at 11 a.m., Florida TaxWatch, 106 North Bronough St., Tallahassee.

DeSantis will be joining supporters for two get-out-the-vote events. They’re at:

— 11:00 a.m., La Teresita Restaurant 3248 W Columbus Dr., Tampa.

— 1:30 p.m., Sun City Center Area Chamber of Commerce, 1651 Sun City Center Plaza, Sun City Center.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam will hold an “agricultural recovery listening session” with members of Florida’s agriculture industry to discuss damage caused by Hurricane Michael and recovery efforts and needs. That’s at 3 p.m. (Central time), Rivertown Community Church, 19359 State Road 71 North, Blountstown.

The Visit Florida Board of Directors is scheduled to hold a conference call to discuss “crisis-related spending and funding.” That’s at 4 p.m. Call-in number: 1-888-354-0094. Code: 699912.

Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 10.29.18

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

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

Donald Trump making landfall in Pensacola Nov. 3 — President Trump will make his fourth appearance in Pensacola this week with a Saturday campaign rally just three days ahead of the 2018 elections.

Trump’s presidential campaign announced the “MAGA Rally” on Sunday, saying the Republican president will touchdown at Pensacola International Airport in time to start the Saturday event at 6:30 p.m.  On the agenda: “Trump is expected to discuss the booming economy, his tough stance on immigration, free market solutions for healthcare, and more.”

The Pensacola event makes for two Trump rallies in the Sunshine State ahead of the Nov. 6 election — on Wednesday, Trump will be in Fort Myers alongside Gov. Rick Scott, who is running for U.S. Senate, and former Congressman Ron DeSantis, the GOP nominee to succeed Scott in the governor’s mansion. The Fort Myers rally will be held at the Hertz Arena starting at 7 p.m.

Former President Barack Obama will campaign alongside Florida’s leading Democratic candidates on Nov. 2 in Miami at Ice Palace Films Studios, the Florida Democratic Party announced Monday morning.

Further details, including the details of media logistics, will be announced in the coming days.

All good things must end, eventually.

In this case, the end is near for fundraising in Florida for the 2018 election cycle.

As we enter the final days of the race, Christina Johnson and her team at On 3 Public Relations have released their latest comprehensive campaign finance report.

For the Governor and Cabinet races, totals are through Oct. 26, as now candidates are required to file daily reports until Nov. 1.

In legislative contests, totals are through Oct. 19, with a final report due Friday, Nov. 2. After midnight Thursday, Nov. 1, candidates are prohibited from raising funds for this cycle.

Top fundraisers in the Senate are Republicans Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg ($978K), and Dana Young of Tampa ($927K).

Leading the money races in the House are Republican HD 93 candidate Chip LaMarca, who comes in at $516K, and Sarasota Democratic state Rep. Margaret Good at $479K.

Thanks again to Christina and her crew, who have been furnishing clients with these invaluable stats for nearly 10 cycles.


@SenBillNelson: Every time this happens, we’re shocked — and say it mustn’t happen again. When will opponents of common-sense gun safety work with us? We need to get assault weapons off the streets and out of the hands of those who would do us harm.

—@JaredEMoskowitz: Those who have targeted us for thousands of years have all failed. So shall those who come after

@SLRoss528: Reading about the victims of yesterday’s tragedy. Rose Mallinger was a 97-year-old Holocaust survivor who fought for her life during one of the worlds great horrors only to come to our country and 70 years later get murdered by the same awful hatred.

@JorgeRamosNews: This week demonstrates that the real enemies of the United States are not coming in a caravan with children. No. They were born here, are heavily armed, they are full of hatred, and are killing us in synagogues, churches, schools, movie theaters …

@MarcACaputo: Florida’s first African-American nominee for governor speaks to a crowd in Florida’s oldest city in the shadow of a Confederate monument

—@Fineout: Chris Kise to Gillum camp: “Facts are not partisan. since there is no way to refute the plain and obvious facts printed on the page, or to explain why you would thank someone for something he did not do, they now attack the messenger. But the facts remain the facts.”

@KevinCate#RagingRon now has his crowd chanting “lock him up.” They are just as angry as him because he’s been lying from day one of this general election – stoking fear, anger, and division. It’s a truely pathetic way to close his failing campaign. 9 days.

@ElectionSmith: In Florida, we’re up to 13.6k of VBM ballots cast that currently have a missing signature or some other problem. 44% cast by Ds, 22% by NPAs, and 33% by Rs. Of total with problems, 26% (3.6k) in DAD; 8% (1k) in BRO; 7% in ORA; 6% in VOL; 5% in HIL; 4% in MAN & LEE

@NateSilver538: Maybe I’m wrong, but between there not having been that much polling over the past few days and the polling we’ve seen having pretty much gone to form, it seems unlikely that polling in the final week is going to radically change the outlook.


As of Sunday afternoon, county supervisors of election offices have received more than 2.5 million mail ballots and early votes.

Of the 2,580,347 ballots reported, 1,659,250 were delivered by post and 921,097 have been cast at the polls — and Republican voters are leading the way in both methods, accounting for 43 percent of the VBM tally and 42 percent of early votes.

Overall, 1,097,151 registered Republicans have already ticked a box, giving them a 42.5 percent share of the total vote so far. Registered Democrats broke the million-vote mark over the weekend but are 70,000 votes behind the GOP with a total of 1,026,736 ballots cast. That accounts 39.8 percent of the total vote.

The remainder of the vote has come in from third-party and unaffiliated voters, who have combined to cast 456,460 votes, two-thirds of them by mail.

Of the more than 1.75 million mail ballots still in the wild, 729,442 are in the hands of registered Democrats, 610,840 went to registered Republicans, and 415,503 went to independent voters. Of the 3.4 million VBM ballots requested, about 48.5 percent have completed the return trip.

Quarter million Floridians registered since primary election” via The Associated Press — The Division of Elections reported this week that almost 265,000 Floridians registered to vote from the last deadline at the end of July through the Oct. 9 deadline for the general election. More than 13.2 million Floridians are registered to vote for the Nov. 6 election featuring high-profile races for governor and the U.S. Senate. More than 4.9 million Floridians are registered as Democrats, 4.6 million are registered as Republicans, and 3.5 million have no party affiliation. Democrats gained more than 105,000 new voters, compared to the Republicans’ 87,000 new voters, in the two months between the deadlines for the primary and general election registrations.

Puerto Rico voter outreach groups claim thousands registered, but how many will vote?” via Steven Lemongello and Adelaide Chen of the Orlando Sentinel — “I can tell you we are seeing significant enthusiasm among Puerto Ricans and Latinos in Central Florida,” said Jose Calderón, president of the Hispanic Federation. “We’re not leaving anything to chance. We’re tripling down on efforts to get them to come out and vote.” Conservatives, though, are skeptical of the many outside groups that have come into Florida. A Pew Research study shows that of the 14 of the 18 Florida counties with the largest Puerto Rican populations, including Polk, Osceola, Lake, Volusia and Seminole, Hispanic voter registration grew faster than the statewide Hispanic average of 6.2 percent. But in Orange, which has one of the largest Puerto Rican populations in Florida, Hispanic voter growth was equal to or slower than the state average.


Florida bomb suspect frequently tweeted about Andrew Gillum, Ron DeSantis” via Ana Ceballos of the Naples Daily News — Recent activity in what appear to be two social media accounts of suspect Cesar Sayoc Jr., paints a picture of a staunch supporter of Donald Trump and DeSantis, the GOP nominee for governor who the president has endorsed, as well as Republican Gov. Rick Scott. Other posts vilify Gillum … A Wednesday post included an anti-Gillum meme with the caption “$500,000 SOROS PUPPET” and a photo of the liberal philanthropist George Soros, who has contributed to Gillum’s campaign and had a bomb delivered to his home this week, holding a puppet meant to resemble Gillum.

’He felt that somebody was finally talking to him’: How the package-bomb suspect found inspiration in Trump” via Danielle Paquette, Lori Rozsa and Matt Zapotosky of The Washington Post — Sayoc, who friends and other associates say had never shown any interest in politics, suddenly began sharing images of himself on Facebook at Trump campaign events. He signed up for Twitter, where he trafficked in conspiracy theories and conservative memes. He registered as a Republican to vote in Florida in 2016. He traded out his Native American decals for ones that supported Trump. “Had no interest in politics, was always at the nightclubs, the gyms, wherever he thought he could meet people, impress people. And along came the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, who welcomed all extremists, all outsiders, all outliers, and he felt that somebody was finally talking to him,” said lawyer Ronald Lowy, who once represented him in a fraud case. “This is someone who didn’t fit into society,” Lowy said. “This is someone that needed to be reached out to. He got lost, and sadly, he got found by the wrong group.”

Estranged Family of Cesar Sayoc wants him to get help” via Alan Blinder and Patricia Mazzei of The New York Times — The estranged family of Cesar Sayoc … tried to plead with him on Sunday to accept mental health care and hire a proficient lawyer to represent him in the case, which could lead to his imprisonment for decades. … “I thank God he hasn’t hurt anybody,” Tina Villasana, Mr. Sayoc’s youngest sister … The family’s attempted intervention came the day before Mr. Sayoc was scheduled to appear before a federal judge in Miami … The family made an appeal to Mr. Sayoc in a handwritten card that Ronald S. Lowy, a longtime lawyer for the family, tried to deliver to Mr. Sayoc at a detention center on Sunday. Mr. Lowy said the card asked Mr. Sayoc “to trust professionals and not listen to just anyone, because there are a lot of people who will try to take advantage of him at this time.” … Ms. Villasana and Mr. Lowy both suggested that the state’s safety net had failed Mr. Sayoc, and that formal efforts to help him could have prevented at least some of his troubles of recent years.

Cesar Sayoc found the Trump movement was finally speaking to him.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz: ‘Bastard’ who sent mail bombs doesn’t represent character of South Florida” via Anthony Man of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Wasserman Schultz wouldn’t speculate about the motive of the person who mailed the packages. “It’s very difficult to know [why] someone who is clearly insane and who was that much of a madman … could do this, it’s impossible to ascribe motives. It’s sinister and evil,” she said. She said the “bastard” who sent the packages would be brought to justice. Wasserman Schultz’s office was listed as the return address for the pipe bombs shipped around the country. The one that arrived in Sunrise was sent there because it could not be delivered.

Meanwhile …Rick Scott orders more patrols after synagogue deaths” via The Associated Press — In a statement, Gov. Scott said the shooting that killed 11 people at The Tree of Life Synagogue was “an act of pure evil and hatred.” Scott said the Florida Highway Patrol would work with local law enforcement agencies to bolster community safety. He said everyone deserved to express their religious beliefs safely and peacefully. In a separate statement, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said his deputies would conduct extra patrols at Jewish centers and synagogues until further notice.


–“NY Times poll shows Andrew Gillum lead, narrow path for Ron DeSantis” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

DeSantis fires back: Gillum ‘called me a dog’ at debate” via Mark Skoneki of the Orlando Sentinel — Republican DeSantis had a fiery response to the flap over him calling his Democratic opponent by his first name at two statewide debates. “He called me a dog at the debate,” DeSantis said after Fox News 13 Tampa reporter Jennifer Holton asked him about the issue. “Did you watch that?” “So what, he has his own standard, and I have a different standard? … OK, fine. Crooked Mayor Gillum, how about that? He took bribes,’’ DeSantis continued. “How about failed Mayor Gillum? He has the highest crime in Tallahassee, the highest number of murders in history.”

DeSantis goes after Charlie Crist in Pinellas County” via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times — “If we win Pinellas County, the rest of everything will take care of itself, and we’ll be victorious,” the Republican gubernatorial nominee told roughly 150 people who gathered to see him at Saint Nicholas Community Center & Conference Hall in Tarpon Springs. “I promise this as well: I will be a better governor than the last governor we had from Pinellas County, Charlie Crist. So I think give Pinellas County a chance to have a mulligan,” DeSantis, 40, said of former Gov. Crist of St. Petersburg, who in the last governor’s race won Pinellas County by more than 11 percentage points. Rather than cheering, audience members warmly applauded periodically as DeSantis spent most of his 20-minute remarks criticizing Gillum.

—“Andrew Gillum capitalizes on ‘Manatee Momentum’ in Bradenton campaign stop” via Ryan Callihan of the Bradenton Herald

This is excellent work:

Rich donors give DeSantis slight lead in fundraising for Governor’s race” via Melanie Payne of the Naples Daily News — DeSantis tops Gillum with about a $1 million head start in cash remaining from the primary and greater in-kind contributions for things like campaign staff and polling services. DeSantis reported about $2 million so far in in-kind support, compared to Gillum’s $748,000, according to campaign finance records. DeSantis leads Gillum in big-money donors, too. Gillum has had only about 40 donors who have written checks of $50,000 or more for the general election campaign, totaling about $13.8 million. DeSantis has received $23.4 million from about 100 donors who have given $50,000 or more at one time. For DeSantis, those donors are wealthy conservatives who have interests in Florida. For Gillum, it’s mostly out-of-state liberals, national unions and progressive organizations who are betting on a Florida flip.

Assignment editorsCasey DeSantis will be speaking at the Pasco County Republican Federated Women Breakfast, 9 a.m., Hyatt Place Tampa/Wesley Chapel, Sierra Conference Room, 26000 Sierra Center Blvd., Lutz.

Assignment editors — DeSantis holds a rally with supporters, 2 p.m., The Center at Deltona, Ballroom C, 1640 Doctor MLK. Blvd., Deltona.


FiveThirtyEight bullish on Bill Nelson — Though Democrats’ hopes of flipping the U.S. Senate have flatlined in the run-up to Election Day, elections forecaster FiveThirtyEight is confident Nelson will pull out the W in his re-election battle. … “The Democratic outlook has brightened in Florida, for example, where incumbent Bill Nelson now has a lead in most polls and is roughly a 3-1 favorite to defeat Republican Gov. Rick Scott,” Nate Silver wrote in a Friday election update … As of Sunday afternoon, Silver’s model was just as bullish on the third-term Senator’s re-election odds, maintain the Sunshine State Senate showdown was a “Lean D” and giving Nelson a 5-in-7 chance of victory. The projected vote is still expected to be close, however, with the current prediction estimating Nelson will pull 51.8 percent of the vote to Scott’s 48.2 percent.

New CBS poll shows Senate race tighter than ever” via Anthony Salvanto, Jennifer De Pinto, Kabir Khanna, Fred Backus and Jennie Kamin of CBS News — Nelson and Scott are tied among likely voters, 46 percent to 46 percent including those who have cast ballots already. Scott, the sitting governor, gets positive marks from voters on his handling of the recent hurricane and benefits from Republicans reporting that they’re more likely to vote than the Democrats who haven’t already. Nelson’s support, meanwhile, is underpinned by voters who place health care atop their issues list. The Republicans have a favorable map in their effort to hold their Senate majority and winning two or three of these states would probably put them in strong position to hold it. Democrats would probably need wins in all three to have a good shot at taking the Senate.

Whoa – Newest Scott ad blasts Nelson real-estate deal as ‘Corruption: Washington Style’ — Scott’s latest statewide TV and digital ad questions a 1989 real estate deal with Nelson, accusing the Democrat of using the profits as a potentially illegal campaign contribution. “Senator Nelson built a Washington mansion for $1.2 million bucks, then sold it to a corrupt Middle East tycoon for $3.4 million … $2 million more than its assessed value,” the ad says. “Nelson pockets $2 million. The corrupt tycoon later offloads it for just $1.9 million … a huge loss. That’s corruption: Washington style.” The ad then questions if it was an “illegal campaign contribution disguised as a real estate deal?”

To view the ad, click on the image below:

Chuck Schumer-affiliated super PAC continues hammering Scott” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida — Senate Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC, released a new ad as part of its $4 million Florida campaign hitting Gov. Scott for what the group calls using the governor’s mansion to “enrich himself.” The ad ties together two popular hits used against Scott during the 2014 midterms. It starts by noting Scott raked in millions after being forced out of Columbia/HCA, a hospital company he ran, that later inked the largest Medicare fraud settlement in U.S. history. The new spot then quickly transitions to waves of media reports about the Scott administration taking official actions that affected investments held by either him or his wife. “Rick Scott built his fortune from a company that defrauded Floridians, and as Governor, he increased that fortune by over $230 million while profiting from sweetheart deals that helped his bottom line but hurt Floridians,” Hannah Hurley, a Senate Majority PAC spokeswoman, said in an email.

To view the ad, click on the image below:

Scott could profit from helping Chinese firm move to Florida” via John Kennedy of the GateHouse Capital Bureau — Courting a Chinese company to open its first solar panel manufacturing plant on Jacksonville’s west side, Gov. Scott praised the promise of 200 good-paying Florida jobs. But JinkoSolar’s soon-to-debut facility also could pad Scott’s vast, personal bottom line. He’s an investor in a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, the parent of utility giant Florida Power & Light. And NextEra has said it plans to buy 7 million solar panels from JinkoSolar over the next four years. In the case of JinkoSolar, the governor played a very public role in bringing the company to Jacksonville. According to the Senate disclosure of his investments, Scott owns as much as $250,000 in NextEra Partners stock, and his wife has holdings up to $500,000. The couple’s net worth, based on financial ranges reported to the Senate, is $254.3 million to $510 million.

New Scott ad says ‘it’s time to retire’ Nelson” via Florida Politics — The ad, titled “46 years,” beats the drum on several of the Scott campaign’s criticisms of Nelson, from his status as a “career politician” to Team Scott’s opinion that Nelson hasn’t accomplished much during his tenure in the U.S. House and Senate. “46 years as a politician. Of political speeches. Of broken promises to clean up the environment. Of living off the taxpayers. 46 years of Bill Nelson. And nothing got done. No bills. No action. Just talk,” the ad narrator says. “And now Nelson rarely shows up for work. In the past 18 years, Nelson skipped 45 percent of the hearings on national security.”

To view the ad, click on the image below:


Soaring confidence — and few liberal protesters — inside Trump’s midterm campaign rallies” via Ben Schreckinger of POLITICO — The campaign events that once incubated anger and disenfranchisement have taken on an air of joyous celebration. Trump’s supporters see his presidency as an undisputed, historic success. And writing off polls that favor Democrats as the handiwork of the fake news media, they betray little concern for the risk of a potential electoral disaster and are taking an early victory lap. In Houston, as well as Missoula and Mesa, Arizona, there were other new themes since 2016, and, of course, new internet memes. Young men have become a more visible presence at the rallies, while liberal protesters have faded into the background — a sign, some Trump fans insisted, that the anti-Trump “resistance” is growing weaker, not stronger. But a prevailing feeling was not so much that Trump is surrounded by enemies and needs help. Instead, it was that president has already won.

Donald Trump arrives for a campaign rally for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at Houston Toyota Center. (Image via AP/Evan Vucci)

Meanwhile … Steve Bannon speaks to Hillsborough GOP, but big names stay away” via William March of the Tampa Bay Times — No elected officeholders and only two candidates attended the event — Ray Young, candidate for the soil and water board, and Anthony Sabatini, a state House candidate from Lake County. Hillsborough’s GOP chairman, however, did say that state Sen. Tom Lee donated money for the event. Bannon spoke to a crowd of 250 or more in an event arranged by Hillsborough County Republican Party Chairman Jim Waurishuk and local Tea Party-style GOP activist Tom Gaitens. Bannon said the Brett Kavanaugh hearings had unified the establishment and Trump wings of the GOP. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and establishment Republicans “did not cut and run,” he said. “They hung tough. … That was a proxy on Trump’s presidency.” Bannon said he would “leave aside” the issue of the accusation of attempted rape against Kavanaugh by Christine Ford, but that the important thing was the GOP win.

Women’s issues fall off campaign radar in ‘Year of the Woman’” via Gray Rohrer of the Orlando Sentinel — It’s a consequence, Democrats say, of other high-profile issues coming to the forefront as the urgency of the #MeToo movement has faded from the headlines. “The issue that’s going to win these elections for Democrats are the issues that are close to home right now,” said Rep. Janet Cruz. “This algae in our water is scaring people to death.” The #MeToo movement in response to a series of reports of powerful men in entertainment, media and politics sexually harassing women over the course of decades generated a surge of female candidates for office this year. The issue affected the Legislature, too. National media outlets wrote articles detailing how the issue, along with a reaction among liberal women to President Trump, helped lead the surge in female candidates. The surge held true in Florida, too, but at the top of the ticket, Gillum pulled off a surprising upset of Gwen Graham, leaving a slate of men leading the Democratic and Republican parties for the governor and U.S. Senate races.’’

Assignment editors — Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will host a roundtable discussion focused on protecting voting rights, and the importance of winning the Florida Senate to end gerrymandering in the state, 1 p.m., Firefighters Memorial Building, 8000 NW. 21st St., Doral.

Eric Holder to visit Florida about voting rights.

Prison company bets big on Ashley Moody” via William March of the Tampa Bay Times — On the same day that Sean Shaw blasted her in a debate for taking contributions from for-profit prison company GEO Group, Republican candidate for Attorney General Moody reported receiving another $20,000 from the company, bringing her total from GEO and its employees to nearly $50,000. The company has given $3,000 to Moody’s campaign and $45,000 to her independent political committee, Friends of Ashley Moody, which doesn’t have contribution limits. Employees of the company have contributed another $1,500. Democrats say private for-profit prison companies create an incentive for potentially excessive incarceration. Some news reports have said GEO argued for laws allowing their detention centers to be licensed as child care facilities for young detainees. GEO has contributed more than $1.2 million to Florida political candidates and causes, nearly all Republican, during the 2018 campaign.

Jimmy Patronis outraises, outspends Jeremy Ring in CFO race” via Florida Politics — Incumbent CFO Patronis has reached the part of the campaign where his spending outpaces his fundraising. Between Oct. 13-19 (the most recent week of reported receipts), Patronis raised $128,800 between his campaign account and that of his Treasure Florida political committee. All told, Patronis has raised $6,655,235 and had $1,988,095 on hand as of Oct. 19. Democrat Ring, a former state senator and retired Yahoo executive from Margate, lags: Though $1.6 million has been raised, Ring has just $132,781 to work with down the stretch.

Exclusive — “Latest poll shows gambling amendment still poised to pass” via Florida Politics — An Associated Industries of Florida poll showed 69 percent of voters plan to vote in favor of Amendment 3, also known as the “Voter Control of Gambling in Florida” amendment, while only 17 percent say they’re a hard no. One in seven polled said they were unsure how they’d vote. AIF’s prior poll of the proposed amendment put 70 percent of voters in the “yes” column while “no” and “unsure” voters accounted for 15 percent apiece.

Amendment 3 foes poor money into ballot fight” via the News Service of Florida — A political committee raised $7.75 million during a weeklong period … The contributions were made between Oct. 13 and Oct. 19 to a committee known as Citizens for the Truth About Amendment 3. The money came from a variety of gambling interests, such as $2 million from MGM Resorts International, $1 million from Jacksonville Greyhound Racing, Inc. and $250,000 from Tampa Bay Downs, Inc., according to the report posted on the state Division of Elections website. The committee, which had raised an overall total of $14.69 million as of Oct. 19, also spent nearly $8.89 million during the weeklong period.

Christian Coalition of America presents conservative argument for Amendment 4” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — “Redemption and second chances are really at the heart of the Christian faith,” says Keith den Hollander, national field director. So now the famously conservative organization stands with liberal organizations, like the ACLU, in championing Amendment 4, which would automatically restore the voting rights of most felons upon completing their restitution to the state. A new ad cut by Christian Coalition of America features Brett Ramsden, Florida Justice Initiatives director, discussing his own experience being stripped of the right to vote. Ramsden, a recovering opioid abuser, said during 12 years of serious addiction, it never occurred to him he might be putting his right to vote on the line.

— “Bernie Sanders backs Amendment 4” via Florida Politics

Florida Sheriffs Association packs mailboxes with pro-amendment 10 fliers” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — The Florida Sheriff’s Association flier features Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri on the front. Gualtieri is a board member on the statewide group backing Amendment 10. “The importance of our Sheriffs in protecting Florida’s families is widely acknowledged. But believe it or not, there are some who would take away people’s right to elect your Sheriff. One county has already done that,” Gualtieri says in the mailer. The flyer highlights benefits that would come from the amendment, including: Protecting citizens’ right to vote. Protecting families through a counterterrorism office it would create. Protecting tax dollars by starting budgeting earlier in the year.

Amendment 11 enjoys bipartisan support but faces ‘voter fatigue’ challenge” via John Haughey of — “This proposal is way down a very long ballot,” James Madison Institute (JMI) Vice President for Policy Sal Nuzzo told Watchdog News. “Voter fatigue makes it less likely” the proposal will pass. Too bad, Nuzzo said, because it contains three good measures that merit adoption — particularly one that would repeal the state’s ’Savings Clause,’ which prohibits retroactively adjusting criminal sentences after new laws are passed reducing them. Amendment 11’s ballot language reads: “Removes discriminatory language related to real property rights. Removes obsolete language repealed by voters.” While it is not spelled out on the ballot, that “obsolete language” is a 2004 authorization of a high-speed rail, a repeal of the 1926 Alien Land Law that prohibits immigrants ineligible for American citizenship from owning, inheriting or possessing property — which was declared unconstitutional in 1948 by the U.S. Supreme Court and has never been enforced in Florida — and the repeal of the 1885 “Savings Clause.”

Dog racing ban: ‘Yes on 13’ adviser confident of November win” via Florida Politics — “With 11 days remaining, Amendment 13 is poised to pass,” said a top counselor to the Protect Dogs-Yes on 13 campaign on Friday, “and the race is trending our way.” The proposed constitutional amendment aims at ending live dog racing in the state. It needs no less than 60 percent approval from voters to be added to the state’s governing document. Specifically, it would ban betting on greyhound racing by the beginning of 2021. Carey M. Theil, a senior adviser to the campaign, released a statement with several bullet points, including that their “fundraising advantage is now nearly 10 to 1.”

Assignment editors — A coalition of local pastors, faith leaders, and community leaders, along with the Tallahassee chapter of the National Action Network will hold a news conference “to announce their support for Amendment 4 (on voting rights restoration for felons) and offer prayers for Andrew Gillum.” That’s at 2 p.m., Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, 224 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Tallahassee.


Stephanie Murphy front-and-center in Time magazine ‘Guns in America’ project” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — The magazine’s latest issue features Democratic U.S. Rep. Murphy of Winter Park almost front-and-center in a huge crowd of gun law debaters, in a digitally-created photo collage depicting America’s gun debate. The photo with Murphy in the center graces the cover of the paper magazine and is used as an interactive video on the magazine’s webpage. She also is quoted in the magazine. Coincidentally her campaign says, Murphy’s campaign also is releasing a new television commercial in which she briefly talks about her views on gun laws.

To view the ad, click on the image below:

Gus Bilirakis attack ad makes false claims against challenger Chris Hunter” via Tracy McManus of the Tampa Bay Times — The ad states Hunter, a former FBI agent who quit his job as a federal prosecutor in December to run for Congress, has a “plan” to increase power bills by $1,200 a year. Hunter has never proposed such a plan. Bilirakis backs the claim with a 2010 study by the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank, which estimated a cap and trade bill that passed the House in 2009 but never made it to a vote in the Senate would have increased energy bills for a family of four by $1,200. Hunter said he supports concepts like cap and trade, which provide economic incentives for reducing pollution with a cap on greenhouse gas emissions and a market for companies to buy and sell emission allowances. But to tie him to a failed piece of legislation from 2009, when he wasn’t in office, is “partisan political gamesmanship,” Hunter said.

To view the ad, click on the image below:

Kristen Carlson collects $400K in final push against Ross Spano” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — Carlson raised more than $400,000 from Oct. 1-17, bringing her overall fundraising total to $1.2 million. That’s nearly triple what her Republican opponent Spano raised in the same period, and only $83,000 less than Spano has raised throughout his entire campaign. The latest campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission come as Carlson continues to show gains in the polls. An internal poll showed Carlson tied with Spano. It was the third poll this week showing a close race, according to her campaign. FiveThirtyEight and Cook Political Report both list the race as a toss-up.”

Bare-knuckle tactics in Vern Buchanan-David Shapiro race” via Zac Anderson of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — The bare-knuckle tactics in the District 16 congressional race reflect the intensity and polarization of this political moment, even as they contrast with the congenial dispositions of both candidates and their pledges to work with the other party to find bipartisan solutions. But the paeans to bipartisanship belie the reality of Congress, where the tax cut passed without any Democratic votes, just as Democrats pushed through their most significant legislative achievement of the last decade — the Affordable Care Act — without any GOP votes. And just like the ACA, the tax bill has been unpopular early on, giving Shapiro plenty of ammo as he tries to unseat Buchanan.

Assignment editors — Democratic CD 16 candidate Shapiro and Olivia Babis, a state Senate candidate running to be the first disabled member of the Florida Legislature, join health care advocates and residents at the first of five Florida stops, as part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour, 10 a.m., Five Points Park, N Pineapple Ave, Sarasota.

Environmental group adds support for Lauren Baer bid in CD 18” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Environment America Action Fund (EAAF), an environmental group which has supported Democrats in previous election cycles, is now announcing it’s throwing resources behind Baer‘s bid in Florida’s 18th Congressional District. The group has pledged to spend more than $1 million across 10 congressional races; hers is one. EAAF says it is targeting races “where voters have a clear choice as to which candidate will best protect our environment.” EAAF argues one of those races is CD 18: “Protecting the environment is the challenge of our time,” said Jennifer Rubiello, state director for the group’s Florida arm. “We need to act now, as climate change brings increasingly dangerous hurricanes, sea surge and heat waves to Florida and the administration rolls back clean air and water laws that were passed with broad bipartisan support.”

New ad hits Maria Elvira Salazar over ‘shameless’ comments” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — The Donna Shalala campaign has released a new Spanish-language ad criticizing Salazar for her previous remarks made to both Fidel Castro and a relative of Che Guevara. The new ad from Shalala, titled “Shameless,” runs back a clip from Salazar’s broadcasting career when she interviewed Castro, then the Cuban president. In that interview, she called Castro “El Comandante.” The ad then closes with a clip of Salazar interviewing Che Guevara’s nephew. She closes the interview by calling it a “privilege” and “honor” to interview someone with Che’s DNA. “Enough!” shouts the narrator to close the ad.

To watch the video, click on the image below:


Mel Martin seeks to upset GOP, Tom Wright, in Senate District 14” via Mark Harper of the Daytona Beach News-Journal — Can that upstart Democrat, Melissa “Mel” Martin, win in a red district? Republicans hold a 6-percentage-point advantage over Democrats in registered voters in District 14, which covers much of Volusia from Port Orange south, including Deltona and DeLand, plus northern Brevard County. But Martin’s long odds would appear to have gotten shorter. Matthew Isbell, a Tallahassee-based data analyst who consults for political campaigns and organizations, recently changed the race from “safe GOP” to “leans Republican.” Further, Isbell cited Republicans’ choice of Wright, made in part because the businessman pledged he could self-fund his campaign, which “shows the GOP did not feel comfortable staying off the air. Airwaves right now are filled with anti-Martin ads — the GOP is clearly nervous.”

Melissa ‘Mel’ Martin is hoping to turn a longtime red Senate district blue.

Cruz lying about Dana Young, new complaint alleges” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — Young has personally filed a complaint against Cruz, alleging she spread false information in a television ad that claims Young was under investigation for supporting legislation that directly benefited her family business. “This statement is blatantly false. There is NO current ethics investigation against (me),” the complaint reads. Young is asking for an expedited hearing into the matter. The violation carries a maximum $5,000 penalty. Also at issue is a previous ethics complaint filed by Cruz supporter Milton Marquez that claims a series of craft beer industry-related bills were directly benefiting Young’s husband’s business, manufacturing bottling and canning equipment.

Spotted — Democrat Anna Eskamani, running for HD 47, on MTV News — Eskamani is featured in an MTV News series about “young candidates and their perspectives of controversial issues. In the latest episode, guns are the subject of discussion … Anna share(s) her perspectives on gun safety legislation, which includes not arming teachers and providing meaningful mental health resources. She even speaks to her support of having armed security at our public schools, a policy that her opponent has accused her of not supporting….”

—“Hot seat: race to succeed Jay Fant exceeds $1 million in fundraising” via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics

—“Randy Fine pulls in $10K for final push in HD 53, leading all Brevard House candidates” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

—“Jim Bonfiglio laps Mike Caruso in fundraising — thanks to self-loan” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

—“Frank Mingo winning the money race in HD 103” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

—“Javier Fernandez continues strong fundraising spree in HD 114” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

Chip LaMarca supporters say ‘Chip has always been there for us’” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — The 30-second spot from LaMarca, titled “For Us,” shows several of LaMarca’s family members and other supporters selling HD 93 voters on LaMarca’s purported strengths. The ad begins by cutting to several of those supporters stating, “I know Chip LaMarca.” “Chip puts people over politics,” argues Suzanne Citere, a teacher and dance studio owner. LaMarca has served on the Broward County Commission before his run for state House. “He’s stood up to the special interests,” adds Bill Gallo, an architect and chairman of the Broward Historic Preservation Board. “Chip cares about our community,” says Henri Crockett, a former NFL Player who also won a national championship at Florida State University. “Chip has always been there for us.”

To view the video, click on the image below:

What Ken Detzner is reading — “How cryptocurrency is sneaking into state elections” via Center for Public Integrity — In an era of Russian hackers, super PACs and shell corporations being used by foreign entities to influence voting, officials tasked with maintaining the integrity of state and local elections have one more thing to worry about: crypto-candidates. The Center for Public Integrity found 20 crypto-candidates of various political stripes, seeking all levels of office, who have been requesting or have received cryptocurrency to fund their efforts. At least three were candidates in a state that has since banned such donations. Another was accepting cryptocurrencies marketed as untraceable. The confusion over campaign cryptocurrency is widespread, and the implications are far from isolated. But the effort to establish uniform rules is lagging behind … (Florida has no policy on cryptocurrency contributions, the story says, and the only candidate accepting crypto-contributions this year was Libertarian Alison Foxall, the candidate in House District 72’s special election. Democrat Margaret Good won the seat.)

Jeff Vinik ponies up $600K for Hillsborough transportation referendum” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — Tampa Bay Lightning owner Vinik brought his total contributions from his personal account and business interests to $600,000 for Hillsborough County’s transportation referendum, Supervisor of Elections reports show. Vinik’s Strategic Property Partners, which is behind the $3 billion Water Street Tampa development, contributed $150,000 during the most recent campaign fundraising period of Oct. 13-19. SPP already donated $100,000 to the All For Transportation campaign committee. Vinik personally donated $250,000 and the Tampa Bay Lightning, which he owns, kicked in $100,000 previously. The group backing a 1 percent sales tax referendum to fund transit and transportation improvements for 30 years has now collected more than $3 million.

Escambia County voters to decide future of elected vs. appointed superintendents” via Kevin Robinson of the Pensacola News-Journal — In Florida, 21 counties have made the shift to appointing. Escambia County is the second largest school district that still votes for its superintendent, having voted five times since 1967 to keep the system in place. Noting Escambia County’s less than stellar ranking among Florida’s 67 school districts, D.C. Reeves, chief of staff for the Studer Family of Companies and chairman of the Yes For Escambia Schools political committee, argues it is time for us to try something different. “We can’t pretend that ranking 53 out of 67 school districts doesn’t matter,” Reeves said. “Whether you are a parent who has a kid in our school system, or whether you don’t have kids, but you want to see our community grow, this matters. This (referendum) could be the first domino to improving our school system.”


Shifting sands: Here’s how Hurricane Michael’s storm surge carved up the coastline” via Karl Etters of the Tallahassee Democrat — Now you need a boat to get out to the end of St. Joseph Peninsula State Park. Dunes that protected St. George Island from the sea have been shorn clean. Dog Island was completely washed over by the ocean moving an entire house. The same double-digit storm surge accompanying Hurricane Michael’s landfall has also altered the Forgotten Coast’s shoreline by moving tons and tons of sand. Just how much is still being determined, but the U.S. Geological Survey has no doubt it will be a lot. “It takes a little time to comb through the coast to see how much was affected,” said Kara Doran, USGS’s Coastal Change team leader. “We were not surprised by the coastal change with a 9 to 14-foot storm surge. We knew the coastal impacts would be severe.”

Before and after photos show Hurricane Michael’s devastation along the Florida panhandle.

Without power and living in tents: Panhandle struggles after Michael” via Jamiles Lartey of The Guardian — Despite the best efforts of recovery workers, life is still extremely precarious for the remaining residents of the hardest hit coastal towns, chiefly Panama City, Mexico Beach and Port St Joe. Amid piles of debris, the landscape looks little different from the shattered state immediately after the hurricane that made it look like a bomb had hit. Many who have returned since the storm are living in campers, tents or bunking with neighbors, and relying on portable toilets and boxed ready-to-eat meals provided by FEMA, the Red Cross or other volunteers. The schedule for the return of utilities such as electricity, gas and internet service are being measured in months, not days or weeks. Many roads are still blocked across the area, commercial services minimal to none.

Courts, FSU campus to reopen after Michael” via the News Service of Florida — All courts in Northwest Florida’s 14th Judicial Circuit and the Florida State University Panama City campus are slated to be open Monday, nearly three weeks after Hurricane Michael tore through the region. The 14th Judicial Circuit is made up of Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson and Washington counties. While some courts have already opened, a news release from the circuit said all courts would be open by Monday. Florida State University also announced its Panama City campus would reopen, though Gulf Coast State College is expected to remain closed. Public schools in Jackson and Liberty counties are slated to resume Monday, while schools in Bay and Calhoun counties will remain closed, according to a storm update issued by Gov. Scott’s office.

’How can I be effective?’: Teachers suffering after Michael” via Freida Frisaro and Tamara Lush of The Associated Press — Regina Ferrell, a fourth-grade teacher in Bay County, stood before the local school board this week and pleaded: Please be flexible with teachers returning to classrooms after Hurricane Michael. The hurricane severely damaged her condo, leaving her without water, sewer service or electricity. Except for one night that she slept in a tent in the parking lot, she has stayed in her water-damaged unit. The inside is stacked with food and other necessities in plastic tubs, and some of her possessions are stuffed into black trash bags. “What little I do have, I’m worried somebody’s going to steal it,” she said, adding that she spends nights with a flashlight and a 9 mm gun at her side. “We have a delicate balance between the humanitarian needs and the need to open schools in order to show our community that normal will exist again,” said district spokeswoman Sharon Michalik.


Flags at half-staff for Skip Campbell” via Florida Politics — Gov. Scott on Friday ordered flags at half-staff for Former Democratic state Sen. Walter “Skip” Campbell of Broward County. Campbell, a 69-year-old lawyer, died Tuesday. Scott directed flying the U.S. and state flags half-staff at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale; City Hall in Coral Springs; and at the Capitol in Tallahassee from sunrise to sunset on Saturday. Campbell represented Senate District 32, which covered the northwest part of Broward County, 1996-2006. He later was elected mayor of Coral Springs in 2014 and served until his death.

Walter ‘Skip’ Campbell, Broward Mayor and former state Senator, died this week at 69.

Assignment editors — ReThink Energy Florida, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and First Street Foundation will host an environmental forum “focused on sea level rise and flood risk, red tide, and other major environmental concerns for Sarasota County residents.” The “Tidal Town Hall,” featuring an array of local, state and federal candidates, is tonight at 6 p.m., 3975 Fruitville Road, Sarasota. A livestream will be available here.

Happening today — Representatives of the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation and CFO Jimmy Patronis’ office are expected to take part in a town-hall meeting in Holmes County to assess insurance-related needs after Hurricane Michael, 6:30 p.m. Central time, Ponce de Leon High School, 1477 Ammons Road, Ponce de Leon.

In picking new leader, JEA will have to reckon with turbulent year” via Nate Monroe of the Florida Times-Union — Aaron Zahn — the 38-year-old interim CEO of Jacksonville’s electric, water and sewer utility — is a remarkably audacious man for someone who started the job roughly seven months ago with limited experience in the industry and no guarantee he’d be there in the long run. Zahn has put JEA’s reputation within the industry on the line by spearheading combative public-relations tactics and legal challenges in hopes of canceling a contract that has financially entangled JEA ratepayers in an expensive project to build two nuclear reactors in Georgia. The hits to JEA’s image and credit rating would be worth it if those strategies work, he has said. Zahn appears to believe in his ability to win people over, and his short history at JEA — where he went from a newcomer on the board of directors to the interim leader in just a few months time — has borne that out.


The Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) on Friday afternoon announced it was moving forward with interviewing 59 applicants to be the next three justices.

Then the League of Women Voters of Florida and Common Cause filed suit Friday evening, essentially saying ‘oh, hell no’ and seeking to stop that process.

The court itself, in an unsigned order earlier this month, quashed the hopes of term-limited GOP Gov. Scott of taking part in picking the next justices on his last day in office, which coincides with the three justices’ last day.

Liberal-leaning jurists Barbara ParienteR. Fred Lewis, and Peggy Quince face mandatory retirement in January.

Scott had hoped to flip the ideological balance of the seven-member court, naming another three conservatives to add to the three now serving: Chief Justice Charles Canady and Justices Ricky Polston and Alan Lawson.

But progressives fear that the JNC, which includes Scott loyalists, will force the next governor to pick from a list of right-leaning legal eagles; Friday’s filing warns that the list of applicants is a “who’s who of conservative judges.”

As of now, the JNC will meet Nov. 3 and Nov. 4 in Miami, and Nov. 8 and Nov. 9 in Tampa. The interviews are planned to be broadcast on WFSU-TV/The FLORIDA Channel.

After the panel “certifies” its recommendations, there’s a 60-day period in which the governor is required to make his appointments, but it will “run only when the governor with the authority to appoint has taken office,” the high court said in its previous order.

Still to come is a hearing before the court of exactly “when the JNC can certify its nominations.”

Oral argument on that question is set for 9 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 8 — two days after Election Day.


Gov. Scott’s blindness to conflict” via the Tampa Bay Times editorial board — During his eight years in office, Scott’s personal wealth has intersected multiple times with companies that do business with the state. The latest tangle: Scott owns considerable holdings in the company that operates the SunPass toll system, and he waited two months to take action when the system failed. The revelations elicited the same tired response that Scott is immune from any conflict because his assets are held in a blind trust, which has never been an adequate explanation because the trust isn’t exactly blind. Yet instead of being forthright and transparent, Scott, both as governor and U.S. Senate candidate, sticks by his blind trust claim. It’s up to the voters to see through the charade, and Florida should adopt new financial disclosure requirements for state offices that are at least as comprehensive as the federal requirements.

DeSantis is better choice for Florida’s future” via Mark Wilson for the Palm Beach Post — The Florida Chamber of Commerce is a non-partisan, pro-jobs organization, and we’ve analyzed the economic and education plans of Ron DeSantis and Andrew Gillum. We encourage Floridians to set political divisions aside, focus on the policies of the two candidates, and cast your vote based on policies to continue moving Florida forward. The right policies and team leaders for Florida’s future are DeSantis and Jeanette Nunez. DeSantis is concerned about jobs and families, and is willing to fight for policies supporting high-wage jobs, improving Florida’s education system and protecting Florida’s environment. His detailed economic and education policies will keep Florida’s economy moving forward. On balance, DeSantis’ policies are clearly better for our children, small and local businesses, and our collective future. If you want to keep Florida’s momentum moving forward, DeSantis is the best choice for Florida’s future.

Vote for marijuana reforms, not for red or blue” via John Morgan for the Tampa Bay Times — I am thankful every day for being able to have helped so many people — with so many more to benefit in the future — by bringing medical marijuana to Florida, and being part of this important conversation on marijuana reform more broadly, at this critical time in our country. In Florida, like many states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana, we had to do it with the voices, and votes, of the people, because our elected leaders lacked the courage to do it themselves. Make no mistake. Marijuana is on the ballot in this election, and not just in Florida. North Dakota and Michigan could legalize it this year, and Utah and Missouri could pass medical marijuana laws. And marijuana has become a campaign issue in competitive Senate races in Missouri, Nevada and elsewhere. I left the Democratic Party last year. Partisan politics disgust me. This year, forget red or blue. I am only voting green.

No, a vote to ban greyhound racing is not a vote to end fishing, hunting and life as we know it in Florida, no matter what they tell you” via Sue Carlton of the Tampa Bay Times — Florida voters get to decide whether to ban gambling on commercial dog racing, effectively ending it by 2020. They’ll decide if old-school betting on racing greyhounds — and the way the dogs have sometimes been treated — is a pastime past its time. So here’s where the politics of politics got interesting. You know that part about all of us all agreeing that animals should be treated humanely? Apparently, something dark and insidious lay within those words. Who knew? By the way, a similar sentence — “inhumane treatment of animals is a concern of Florida citizens” — is already in our Constitution. Thus far, no one has craftily used those words to legally prevent you from wetting a line at your favorite fishing pier or lunching on a burger made from Florida beef.

Forget money, party or platform — here’s what makes or breaks a candidate” via Gary Yordon for the Tallahassee Democrat — Negative campaigning will always have a place in politics. As long as two people want the same thing, there will be a temptation to tell someone why the other person shouldn’t have it. But no clever political trick, vicious attack or misleading pivot is more powerful than one simple political truth: A candidate must be someone voters like. With few exceptions, if a candidate is not likable, they can promise voters they’re going to poop gold on every doorstep, and it won’t matter. Political longevity demands likability. Being authentic, genuine — and toss in a little humble. My gut tells me likability will be what decides the governor’s race in Florida … Gillum has something DeSantis can’t manufacture with all the red-faced screaming he can muster: likability.


Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho gets big national award” via Colleen Wright of the Miami Herald — The Council of Great City Schools Thursday night honored Carvalho with the Green-Garner award, the highest honor for an urban educator, at its 62nd annual conference in Baltimore. He was one of nine finalists, all big-city school superintendents, from 74 of the largest urban public-school systems in the country. The honor, sponsored by the council as well as Aramark Education, Scholastic Inc., and Cenergistic, also comes with $10,000 in scholarships for Miami-Dade students. The top prize, given to a superintendent every other year, is presented each year in memory of Richard R. Green, the first African-American chancellor of the New York City school system, and businessman Edward Garner, who served on the Denver school board.

New and renewed lobbying registrations:

Lisa Aaron, Mark Maxwell, SCG Governmental Affairs: Grant Thorton, PanCare of Florida, Step CG

Brian Ballard, William Turbeville, Ballard Partners: White’s Ford Timber

Matt Bryan, Lisa Hurley, Smith Bryan & Myers: CompTIA Member Services

Hayden Dempsey, Greenberg Traurig: TrueCore Behavioral Solutions

— ALOE —

Love it or hate it, there are more varieties of candy corn than ever this Halloween” via Maura Judkis of The Washington Post — Recently, candy corn makers have been switching it up with new flavors. And other candy-makers have been trying to capitalize on nostalgia for the flavor by offering candy corn-flavored treats — whatever that means: Brach’s Naturally-Flavored Candy Corn (Gluten Free). If candy corn is just a little too orange for your liking, there’s an all-natural alternative; Brach’s Maple Candy Corn. These candy corns come in varying flavors of khaki, and they look a little like coffee-stained teeth; Brach’s Pie Favorites Candy Corn; Brach’s S’mores Candy Corn; Sour Patch Kids Candy Corn: We were expecting this to be a gummy Sour Patch Kid molded into a seasonally-appropriate Halloween shape. Instead, it was fruit-flavored candy corn covered in Sour Patch dust, a marriage of texture and flavor that was slightly unsettling.

Fall is on its way, and here are the flavors.

Pumpkin spice has infiltrated America’s zoos” via Karin Brulliard of The Washington Post — The powder is sprinkled in lion enclosures at Smithsonian’s National Zoo. It is dotted in the exhibit that’s home to Fred, an American elk at the Oklahoma City Zoo. It is dusted about the living space of bears and foxes at the Cincinnati Zoo. And these animals love it, keepers say. But few furry creatures embrace the pumpkin spice lifestyle as enthusiastically as Bei Bei, the National Zoo’s young panda, who was introduced to the autumnal additive last year and immediately doused his head with it. His caretakers sometimes use pumpkin spice to lace a rotted log, creating a combination that Bei Bei finds bewitching. Pumpkin spice is one of about 30 to 40 scents used in the National Zoo’s great cats exhibit. All are used for what’s known in zoo lingo as “scent enrichment” — the practice of exposing animals, many of which rely on their sensitive noses to gather information, to smells that encourage natural behaviors, keep them interested in their surroundings or get them moving.

A good day to read a book instead: Florida State eviscerated by Clemson” via Tashan Reed of — Bruce Thyer sat hunched over and shirtless on the top row at Doak Campbell Stadium on Saturday afternoon. With Florida State trailing Clemson 52-3 with seconds remaining in the third quarter, the FSU professor was reading a book. It was a Gillian Flynn novel appropriately titled “Dark Places.” Thyer went to the game with his 18-year-old daughter, who’s a sophomore at Florida State, and four of her girlfriends. They originally were seated on the shadier, cooler west side of the stadium, but the women left at halftime after the Seminoles fell behind 28-0. Thyer decided to move to the other side. “I was cold sitting over there,” Thyer said. “I took my shirt off to get some sun. There aren’t going to be many days like this anymore this fall.”

At Doak Campbell Stadium, it was a good day for a book.

Next clash over ‘sharing’ business models — cars — being waged at Orlando airport” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Yet again, a 21st-century business model is clashing with how business always has been done – creat—ng a running battle at Orlando International Airport and other airports where authorities are trying to stop emerging car-sharing operations from acting, in the airports’ views, as unpermitted, unregulated rental-car companies. Specifically, the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority and Turo, a San Francisco-based company, are butting heads in what is now nearly a yearlong dispute. Now the skirmish, perhaps an early battle in a potential full-out turf war for a huge, multibillion-dollar rental-car business sector in Florida, is drawing the attention of state lawmakers.

What Ben Pollara is reading – “New York liquor stores want to sell marijuana” via Marijuana Moment — Instead of creating a whole new system of specialized stores to distribute marijuana when it becomes legal, New York should just allow existing liquor and wine retail outlets to sell cannabis to adults. That’s the position of a new advocacy effort launched by owners of booze shops this month. “With more than 2,000 wine and liquor stores from Buffalo to Montauk, we offer existing retail space with quick and cheap access to the market in every corner of the state,” reads the website for the group, which is called The Last Store on Main Street. “That means more tax revenue, and sooner, for the state to fulfill basic responsibilities and invest in the future of our neighborhoods.”

Happy birthday belatedly to our wonderful friend Alia Faraj-Johnson, managing director at Hill+Knowlton Strategies – Flori—a, an INFLUENCE 100 alum, and, most important, mom to future LPGA star Peyton and wife to Rob. Also celebrating over the weekend to Rep. Byron Donalds (happy 40th), the super-sharp David Childs of Hopping Green & Sams, and our old friend, Bill Pfeiffer. Celebrating today is Rep. George Moraitis, the lovely and talented Kristen Bridges of Bascom Communications & Consulting, Rivers Buford, and the Florida Democratic Party’s Caroline Rowland.

generic casino photo

Don’t fall for it: Casinos are not good for children, education

Did you know gambling casinos are good for children?

Spoiler alert: They’re not.

Yet that is the exact claim casino operators are making in an attempt to block Amendment 3, which would put voters in charge of any gambling expansion in Florida.

Using that logic, if politicians were not allowed to populate Florida with casinos, education funding will be gutted, and our children will resemble the poor, forlorn souls pictured on campaign propaganda.

At its foundation, the premise is a lie: Amendment 3 has nothing to do with education.

As a recent Miami Herald headline noted: “Don’t let the gambling industry confuse you on Amendment 3. It’s not about schools.”

The casinos are exploiting people’s natural tendency to support children and education. It’s disinformation honed by the industry’s political operatives in state after state, year after year.

Whenever they want to expand casinos, out come the “poor” children and schools.

And what happens if casinos win and set up shop? The money goes to them and politicians, and not schools.

Florida saw this in 2004 when South Florida pari-mutuels promised $500 million windfalls for public education if they were allowed to have slot machines. In fact, they said it was an “absolute guarantee” that they would back.

They got their slots, but the schools never got the half-billion.

Add to that the Florida Lottery windfall (which schools also never got), and Florida currently ranks 42nd nationally in school funding.

Florida teachers, who also rank 42nd in salary, are forced to pay for school supplies (nearly $500 a year) out of their own meager paychecks.

Of course, all that will turn around if only Floridians allow — wait for it — even more gambling.

Joining the big lie this time is MGM Resorts International, a gambling conglomerate based in Las Vegas, looking for a jackpot in Florida.

If you want to know how casinos helped schools in Nevada, consider this: The state’s education system has ranked dead last in the nation for the past three years, according to the prestigious Quality Counts analysis performed by Education Week. It ranks below Mississippi in per-pupil spending — by more than $1,000 a student.

Does anyone seriously believe MGM Resorts cares anything about Florida school children?

MGM had done this before, spending millions on a casino referendum in Maryland in 2012. That campaign promised, “millions for Maryland schools, guaranteed.”

Critics called it “slots for tots.” The Baltimore Sun called it “nothing more than Las Vegas casino hooey.”

And that’s what it turned out to be.

The massive MGM National Harbor Casino and Hotel is now up and running in Maryland, while schools struggle without the money that never arrived.

State Comptroller Peter Franchot told Baltimore’s WJZ-TV: “The problem is, it was always a hoax and it’s still a hoax perpetrated on the public.”

report in CityLab noted: “Experts on gambling and state funding say that Maryland is only one of the dozens of states taking gambling revenue meant for education and using it for other purposes.”

Are voters going to fall for this again?

Will we let the same people who guaranteed schools $500 million from South Florida slot machines, and the same Las Vegas casino conglomerate that guaranteed millions for Maryland schools, pull the same old scam again?

Casino interests are populating their flyers and TV advertisements against Amendment 3 with pictures of children who look like their cellphones have been confiscated takes cynicism to a new level.

Perhaps it’s desperation setting in.

A recent Associated Industries of Florida poll is showing 69 percent of voters support Amendment 3, with only 17 percent opposed. AIF has been tracking the amendment since April with only small variations in those numbers.

Apparently, Florida voters are beginning to recognize “Las Vegas casino BS” when they see it.

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