Peter Schorsch, Author at Florida Politics - Page 6 of 264

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,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been 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.

Sunburn for 8.9.17 – Fla. Chamber goes international; Insurers, trial lawyers spar; Don Gaetz still doing his thing; Jack Latvala talks opioid $; Andrew Gillum cleared; Happy b’day, Emmett Reed

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

By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, Mitch Perry and Jim Rosica.

The Florida Chamber Foundation is going international — at least for one day.

The Chamber is scheduled to kick-off its Florida International Trade and Investment Conference at the Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport, 9300 Jeff Fuqua Blvd. in Orlando at 8:30 a.m.

The one-day conference aims to connect trade experts, economists and industry professionals to discuss the international market as well as opportunities in foreign direct investment. This year’s conference is expected to include discussions about foreign direct investment strategies; trade markets access; and how Florida’s business climate and workforce position the state in the coming years.

“Foreign investment strategies, access to international markets, oh my!” Sen. Bill Galvano, a Bradenton Republican in line to become Senate President, will deliver the keynote address Wednesday at the Florida International Trade & Investment Conference at the Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport.

Heading to the conference? Sen. Bill Galvano, Reps. Larry Lee and Frank White, Crystal Stiles, the director of economic development at Florida Power & Light; and Tim Giuliani, the president and CEO of the Orlando Economic Partnership, are among those scheduled to speak.

Florida Chamber: International jobs equal more jobs — The Florida Chamber of Commerce is boasting about the connection between international trade and jobs in a new video. The video, which comes as the Florida Chamber Foundation kicks off its Florida International Trade and Investment Conference in Orlando today, talks about the impact international trade has on Florida, pointing out that “2.5 million high wage Florida jobs depend on international trade.” “More international trade equals more Florida jobs,” an announcer says in the 90 second video.  “When global trade increases, Florida wins.”

Click the image below to watch the video.

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Report estimates 2.3 million fewer Floridians will cast a ballot in 2018

A non-profit dedicated to boosting minorities’ and unmarried women’s share of the electorate said it expects 40 million voters who made it to the polls in 2016 will not vote in 2018.

The Voter Participation Center is predicting battleground states such as Florida will see the largest drop in turnout, with the Sunshine State expected to have 2.3 million fewer voters at the polls next year.

The group expects most of the drop-off to come from what it calls the “Rising American Electorate,” or RAE, which includes unmarried women, millennials, African Americans, Latinos and all other people of color as defined by the U.S. Census.

Their Florida data points to a 30 percent reduction in RAE voters in the Sunshine State next year, or about 1.4 million fewer votes, while non-RAE voters will see a dropoff of about 24 percent, or 929,000 votes.

VPC said the groups in the Rising American Electorate will make up about 61 percent of Florida’s electorate next year, but will cast 55.7 percent of the ballots.

In 2018, the governor’s mansion and a U.S. Senate seat are up for grabs, in addition to 140 state house and state senate seats.

The VPC report is based on research from Washington D.C.-based Lake Research Partners. The 2018 turnout predictions are based on the average of turnout in 2006, 2010, and 2014 applied to 2018 population estimates.

Sunburn for 8.8.17 – Fla. Chamber military summit comes to order; Claims bills piling up; Ag. Commish cand.’s raising dough; Lisa Edgar back in court; Fmr. Spkr. starts lobbying shop

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

By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, Mitch Perry and Jim Rosica.

Florida officials have long boasted the Sunshine State is one of the most military and veteran friendly states in the nation, and this week, their efforts are taking center stage.

The Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2017 Military Defense and Veterans Opportunity Summit kicks off at 8 a.m. at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld, 6677 Sea Harbor Dr. in Orlando. The annual event brings together leaders from Florida’s military and defense industries, economic development experts and business leaders, and policymakers to address the challenges facing Florida in the coming years.

The day-long event is scheduled to include discussions about how federal discussions could impact Florida’s bases; the role the business community plays in transition veterans from active community to the workforce; and how the military and defense community acts as an economic driver.

And those are critically important issues to tackle, especially considering the state’s military and defense industries help support nearly 775,000 Florida jobs. According to the Florida Chamber Foundation, the military and defense industries account for about 10 percent of the state’s economy.

While speakers include business and military leaders — including Mark Wilson, the president and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce; Wayne Peacock, the president of USAA Property and Casualty Insurance Group; Kellie Jo Kilberg, the chair of the Florida Defense Alliance; and Bobby Carbonell, the executive director of Veterans Florida — look for the main event to come first thing in the morning, when Agriculture Commissioner (and 2018 gubernatorial candidate) Adam Putnam takes the stage.

Adam Putnam speaking at the Florida Chamber’s 2016 Military, Defense and Veterans Opportunities Summit.

Putnam is scheduled to take the stage around 9 a.m. It isn’t his first time attending the summit; he spoke to the crowd last year, telling those in attendance the state’s goal should be to expand its footprint, and to continue to be one of the “most military and veteran friendly” states in the nation.  

Putnam might be the only 2018 hopeful taking the stage, but he isn’t the only elected official on the line-up. Rep. Sam Killebrew is scheduled to take part in a panel discussion about creating veteran-owned business opportunities.

The summit kicks off at 8 a.m. Want to tune in? The Chamber Foundation will livestream the 2017 Military Defense and Veterans Opportunity Summit at

First in Sunburn – New Chamber video asks Floridians to help ‘shine a bright light’ on defense industry — The Florida Chamber Foundation is hoping to raise awareness about the military, defense and veteran community in Florida, releasing a new video to coincide with the 2017 Military Defense and Veterans Opportunity Summit that highlights the military and defense industries. “It’s difficult for the military and defense industry to grow when there’s so much political and economic uncertainty,” a voice over says in the new 2-minute and 30-second digital video. “As we grow and diversify Florida’s economy, we must strengthen and improve on our already existing successes.” The video calls on Floridians to join the Chamber to “protect, support and grow Florida’s defense industry, military and veterans’ workforce.”

Click the image below to watch the video.

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What the f*ck is the matter with you people?

Authorities said three teenagers – one 14-year-old and two 16-year-olds – stole a sport utility vehicle, sped away from officers and died in a fiery, violent crash early Sunday morning.

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said in a news conference Sunday morning that a fourth teen in the SUV, who is 14, survived and is hospitalized. He said all the teens all had criminal histories – including one who had gotten out of jail on July 31.

Among the deceased: 16-year-olds Keontae Brown and Dejarae Thomas, and 14-year-old Jimmie Goshey.

You would think the unnecessary deaths of three teenagers — even those who had engaged in grand theft auto — would prompt the Tampa Bay community to think long and hard about the forces at work behind this senseless tragedy.

Unfortunately, if you assumed this, you are wrong.

The racist vitriol in the the comments section accompanying the Tampa Bay Times story about the crash is so horrible that moderators disabled commenting.

Times readers can still click on a bar that allows them to express their emotions about the story. They can choose to describe the story as “Important,” “Inspiring,” “Sad,” “Angry,” or “Happy.”

Sixty eight readers think this story is “Important,” while another 98 think its “Sad.” Another 86 are “Angry” about what happened. Yet 358 readers, presumably human beings like you and I, indicated that they were “Happy” about what happened Sunday morning.

358 readers are happy that three teenagers are dead.

Undoubtedly, the neanderthals who expressed their happiness with the death of three teenagers are rejoicing because the three teens are black.

Others will say that society is and will be better off because three kids who were well on their way to becoming serious criminals are no longer of this world.

You can go f*ck yourself if that’s how you think. I don’t even want to breathe the same air as you.

These were still children. Their lives could have improved. If nothing else, that 14-year-old still had years to go before his life was decided for him.

But that isn’t the point here, which is, even if you are relieved to see three people you view as menaces to society no longer committing crimes, how can anyone be “Happy” about the death of three kids? How do you have it in your heart to be happy that three children in the eyes of the law, however long their rap sheets, are dead?

Lock those kids up, sure. Punish them to the fullest extent of the law, undoubtedly. But a death sentence for stealing car? And 358 people are happy about that?

What the f*ck is the matter with you all?

Material from the Associated Press was used in this post.

Chris King political committee brings in $154K in July

Winter Park businessman Chris King will report $154,000 in contributions to his gubernatorial run in July, the campaign tells 

King’s haul makes for nearly $2.4 million raised since he entered the race in April, and his operation said he has $1.7 million of that total on hand between his campaign account and his political committee, “Rise and Lead, Florida.”

“We’re gratified that despite being a political newcomer, Chris’s fresh vision and plans for a better day for Florida is drawing continued support,” said Omar Khan, senior adviser to the King campaign.

Khan also asserted that Democrats’ chances at taking back the governor’s mansion in 2018 hinge on the economy, adding that “Chris is the best candidate on either side to win that debate.”

“We’re excited that people are consistently and powerfully responding to Chris’s fresh ideas to build an economy that will produce better days ahead for Florida,” said King’s Finance Director, Stephanie McClung.

King is running in the Democratic Primary for governor with his major competition being former Congresswoman Gwen Graham and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.

So far, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is the only major GOP candidate to enter the race, though he could be joined by Senate Appropriations Chair Jack Latvala as soon as next week. 

Both Republicans have millions on hand in their political committees.

King currently has more in the bank than Gillum, who had raised a total of $1.3 million between his campaign and “Forward Florida” committee through the end of June, though Graham is still firmly in the lead among declared Democrats with more than $3 million in total fundraising through the end of July.

Unofficial reports for Forward Florida on the committee’s website show just one contribution for $10,000 in July. Gillum has yet to report his July fundraising numbers for his campaign account. Graham’s campaign announced Sunday that she had brought in another $350,000 between her two accounts last month.

Gwen Graham has now raised $3 million for 2018 bid

Democrat Gwen Graham announced Sunday that she raised another $350,000 in July for her bid to be Florida’s next governor.

Graham raised $220,000 of that money through her campaign account, with the other $130,000 coming in through her political committee, “Our Florida.”

The former congresswoman ended June with $1.6 million in her committee account and $475,000 on hand in her campaign account, and while the campaign didn’t announce her on-hand total for July, it did note another 2,000 donors chipped in last month for a total of 6,700 unique donors thus far.

The haul keeps her far ahead of Democratic Primary rivals Chris King, a Winter Park businessman, and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, and her news release announcing the numbers indicates she’s more focused on her Republican competition than the more immediate primary battle.

“This summer has shown why electing a Democratic Governor is vital to our state’s future,” Graham said. “While Donald Trump wages a war against our health care, threatens our citrus industry, and moves forward with drilling off our beaches, Rick Scott and Adam Putnam refuse to stand up to the president and put Florida first.

“Instead, Adam Putnam has turned to copying the president by attacking the free press,” she added. “It’s a desperate attempt to appeal to the extreme right, and it won’t work. One Donald Trump in our state — even just part time — is more than enough.”

Putnam, the state’s term-limited Agriculture Commissioner, has nearly $12 million on hand. He recently made a hard turn to the right, much to the surprise of many of his moderate Republican supporters, and Graham is seizing the chance to kick him in the shins.

Among his recent displays are imploring his Twitter followers to sign a petition to “stop fake news on CNN” and declaring himself a “proud NRA sellout,” despite criticism from others in his party that his advocacy has been non-existent for most gun bills debated in the legislature during his time as Ag. Commissioner.

So far, Putnam is the only major GOP candidate to enter the race, though he could be joined by Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala of Clearwater as soon as next week.

Both have millions on hand in their political committees, as does House Speaker Richard Corcoran, a Land O’ Lakes Republican who will decide whether to throw his hat into the ring after the 2018 legislative session.

Graham’s fundraising announcement came shortly after King’s campaign said it added $154,000 in July. Those numbers bring the businessman up to $2.4 million raised since he entered the race in April, with $1.7 million of that total on hand between his campaign account and his political committee, “Rise and Lead, Florida.”

Gillum, who had raised a total of $1.3 million between his campaign and “Forward Florida” committee through the end of June, hasn’t reported his July numbers yet, though the unofficial tally for Forward Florida on the committee’s website show just one contribution for $10,000 in July.

Phil Levine raises another $500,000 in July for his political committee

With Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine traveling the state to speak with Floridians about the state’s direction and how to best position Florida for the future, his political committee, All About Florida, added another $500,000 in July.

Last month’s haul brings the total raised for the political committee to $4.6 million.

Christian Ulvert, an adviser to Levine, says the mayor’s strong fundraising stems from his “ability to connect our diverse state on issues that will propel communities across Florida to be on the forefront of the 21st-century economy is why All About Florida is well positioned today.”

The mayor — a Democrat and close friend of former President Bill Clinton — remains noncommittal about entering the governor’s race and has even floated the idea of running as an independent. Levine campaigned extensively for Hillary Clinton during last year’s presidential race.

“There’s one assumption that you made there — that somehow if I ran for Governor, I would be a Democratic governor,” Levine told a Tampa Tiger Bay audience in May. “Too much is about Democrat and Republican. It needs to be about the people; maybe possibly it’s time we do something different.”

Last week, Levine premiered a “real Florida” radio show “A Day in the Sun” on SiriusXM satellite radio that features interviews with innovative and offbeat Floridians. The mayor said he would also talk with other mayors about issues that face American cities: crime, the environment, and infrastructure and more.

“Mayor Philip Levine has both big ideas for his SiriusXM show and an equally big personality, and I’m confident his energy and sharp political mind will make ‘The Mayor’ a true asset to SiriusXM’s Talk lineup,” said SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein in a statement in March.

Levine’s show will feature his 22-city Florida road trip, part of a”listening tour” announced earlier in the year after Levine said he would not seek re-election as Miami Beach Mayor. The tour fueled speculation on a possible bid for governor.

A multimillionaire, the 55-year-old mayor made his fortune producing marketing campaigns for the cruise industry. Since his first election in 2013, Levine has made numerous waves, frequently clashing with law enforcement, backing a 2 a.m. alcohol curfew and passing a minimum-wage increase despite a ban imposed by state lawmakers.

Donald Trump taps Florida donor as next ambassador to Spain

President Donald Trump has nominated a major campaign donor from Palm Beach County as the next U.S. Ambassador to Spain, the White House announced.

Duke Buchan is a founder of private investment and management firm Hunter Global Investors. During Trump’s campaign for the White House, he and his wife Hannah Buchan gave nearly $900,000 to Trump’s joint fundraising committee with the RNC.

Buchan backed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in the Republican primary before throwing his support behind Trump.

The press release announcing Buchan’s hire notes that he is an alumnus of University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where he earned degrees in Spanish and business.

In addition to being appointed as U.S. Ambassador to Spain, Buchan will also serve concurrently as the U.S. Ambassador to Andorra. The White House said Buchan has a “working knowledge” of Catalan, the primary language of the landlocked microstate between France and Spain.

In 2011, the businessman founded the Buchan Excellence Fund, which supports UNC faculty, graduate students and undergraduates in Spanish languages, literature and culture.

The fund sponsors research into Spanish culture and linguistics and also provides opportunities for faculty and students to travel to Spain.

A majority of the U.S. Senate must vote to confirm ambassadors.

Report: Pro-Marco Rubio nonprofit primarily funded by two anonymous megadonors

A nonprofit organization that raised $22 million for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s failed presidential bid could be a two-man show that went a little too heavy on its support for the Florida Republican’s campaign, according to a report on Open Secrets Blog.

Conservative Solutions Project, a 501(c)(4) “social welfare” organization, brought in over 90 percent of its funds from one or possibly two anonymous donors according to tax documents obtained by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Of the $22 million raised, $20.5 million came in through two anonymous donations, one for $13.5 million in 2014 and another for $7 million in 2015. Social welfare organizations aren’t required to disclose donor information, so it is unclear whether the two multimillion dollar contributions came from the same source.

The bulk of the money raised was spent on ads and campaign research to boost Rubio’s presidential bid, and it appears that little if any money was doled out for activities that could be deemed “social welfare.”

The nomenclature of “Conservative Solutions Project” is also strikingly similar to Rubio’s own political committee, “Conservative Solutions PAC,” and the web only gets more tangled from there.

Both CSPs, along with the Rubio campaign and the Rubio Victory Joint Fundraising Committee passed money around to largely the same people during the course of the Florida Republican’s presidential campaign.

Team Rubio didn’t deny the close relationship between the two groups when asked about it in 2015.

“Absolutely, the two groups are related,” said Jeff Sadosky in an interview with National Journal. “But they are separate and distinct entities. One is focused on supporting Marco Rubio’s potential presidential campaign, and one is focused on issue education.”

Sadosky’s “issue education” frame may be a little misleading, though, since the bulk of the ads run by the social welfare group were shining a spotlight on Rubio’s positions on taxes and national security. And since the ads were more than 60 days before an election, none of them had to be reported to the FEC.

That also runs afoul of nonprofit rules, which outlaw groups that primarily benefit one person. The IRS rarely pursues such cases, but if they did a former head of the IRS exempt organizations division said investigators “would probably say there’s an overwhelming private benefit to its activities” as well as possible campaign intervention “depending on if the messages got close to ‘vote for’ or ‘vote against’” in substance.


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