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Staff Reports

Daniel Perez defeats Jose Mallea in HD 116 GOP primary

Daniel Anthony Perez is heading to the general.

Perez defeated Jose Mallea in the special Republican primary to replace Rep. Jose Felix Diaz in House District 116. Unofficial election results posted to the Florida Division of Elections website show Perez received nearly 55 percent of the vote, compared to Mallea’s 45 percent.

Perez will face Democrat Gabriela Mayaudon in the special general election on Sept. 26.

Perez is an associate at Cole, Scott & Kissane in Miami. The first-time candidate is the former vice-chair of the Miami-Dade County Hispanic Affairs Advisory Board and is a member of the Cuban American Bar Association. He took heat early in the campaign after the Miami Herald reported he took his engagement photos in Havana earlier this year.

Mallea has an extensive background in politics, including running Sen. Marco Rubio’s successful U.S. Senate campaign in 2010. He also served as chief of staff to former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, and served stints in the federal government, working at the U.S. Department of State and the White House.

His political background influenced his campaign — both positively and negatively. He scored endorsements from former Gov. Jeb Bush, former House Speaker Will Weatherford, state Sen. Rene Garcia, and the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

But outside groups attacked Mallea for his work in the mayor’s office, saying he helped usher in massive tax increases; while Perez released a Spanish language ad saying he betrayed Rubio when he worked as Bush’s Hispanic outreach director during his 2016 presidential campaign.

First elected in 2010, Diaz resigned his seat, effective Sept. 26, to run in the Senate District 40 special election, which was also Tuesday. Diaz received nearly 58 percent of the vote to defeat former state Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla, who received nearly 26 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.

Jose Felix Diaz defeats Alex Diaz de la Portilla, will face Annette Taddeo in general election

The ballot is set.

Jose Felix Diaz will face Annette Taddeo in the special general election to replace Sen. Frank Artiles in Senate District 40. Both Diaz and Taddeo came out on top, defeating well-known opponents in their respective primaries

Diaz, a state representative, leads former state Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla, nearly 58 percent to nearly 26 percent, according to unofficial election results posted to thee Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections website. Republican Lorenzo Palomares is pulling about 16 percent of the vote.

“Thank you to all my friends, family, and constituents for their support,” said Diaz on Twitter, before congratulating Diaz de la Portilla and Palomares “on a hard fought race.”

The GOP primary was particularly nasty, with outside groups pouring money into the race to saying Diaz de la Portilla — who served in the Florida House from 1994 until 2000, when he was elected to serve in the Florida Senate — was “not a conservative” and attacking his legislative record.

Diaz de la Portilla also faced other difficulties. In the midst of the campaign, the Miami-Dade Executive Committee removed him and eight other members because they missed three consecutive meetings without an excuse. He appeared to struggle to raise money, leading Diaz de la Portilla to loan his own campaign $433,500.

First elected in the Florida House in 2010, Diaz was the establishment favorite in the GOP primary. He raised $809,725 for his official campaign account and another $420,500 for Rebuild Florida, his political committee, since jumping into the race. He had the backing of many of his House colleagues, received support from Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, and was endorsed by the Florida Medical Association PAC and the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

“I applaud Jose, Alex and Lorenzo for running spirited campaigns to represent their community,” said Sen. Bill Galvano in a statement Tuesday. “Jose has earned the confidence of the people of Senate District 40 and now is the time for Senate Republicans to work together to ensure victory on September 26th.”

A well-liked and respected member of the House, Diaz served as the chairman of the Regulatory Affairs Committee and was the chamber’s point man on gambling legislation. He resigned his seat, effective Sept 26, to run for the Senate seat.

The race between Taddeo and Rivas Logan was tamer, at least until the final stretch.

Taddeo last ran for office in 2016 in Florida’s 26th Congressional District, when she faced former U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia in the Democratic primary. In 2014, she was former Gov. Charlie Crist’s running mate when he ran for governor as a Democrat.

Taddeo outraised Rivas Logan, and pulled in endorsements from the AFL-CIO and the United Teaches of Dade. But in the final days of the primary, Taddeo was the target of mailers from a political committee tied to Rivas Logan.

The attack didn’t appear to work. Despite her name recognition, Rivas Logan — who challenged then-Sen. Dwight Bullard in Senate District 40 in 2016, but eventually withdrew from the race — fell short, receiving 29 percent to Taddeo’s more than 70 percent of the vote.

“I am truly grateful to my fellow Democrats in District 40 who elected me today to be our nominee in September. Our campaign is ready to take our people powered message to every voter in our district so we can bring change to Tallahassee. It’s time our community rejects the special interests and their lobbyist, Jose Felix Diaz and elect a champion who will fight for our public schools, take on traffic gridlock and enhance our healthcare system,” said Taddeo in a statement. “With tonight’s decisive victory, we can, and will, send a loud message in September that the politics of division coming from President Trump and Washington, D.C. will not be tolerated in South Florida. Together, we will make history by electing the first Hispanic Democratic woman to the Florida Senate and a champion for our families.”

The general election is scheduled for Sept. 26, and Democrats see Senate District 40 as a potential pick-up. It could be a tough for Democrats, though. While Hillary Clinton won the district by a 57 percent to 40 percent margin, it backed Republican Marco Rubio 50 percent to 47 percent.

“Jose is a strong candidate with broad community support and the experience to best represent the values and needs of this district,” said Senate President Joe Negron. “The Republican majority has made tremendous gains in Tallahassee on behalf of hard-working Floridians, and Jose’s victory in September is an important step in continuing those achievements.”

Negron, Galvano and Majority Leader Wilton Simpson have pledged the full support of the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee in the weeks leading up to the general election.

“The work to ensure the people of Senate District 40 have the strong leader they deserve begins right now,” said Simpson in a statement. “Jose’s heart and compassion for the people he serves make him a perfect fit for the Florida Senate, and we look forward to making that case over the next nine weeks.”

Diaz and Taddeo will face no-party affiliation candidate Christian “He-Man” Schlaerth in September.

Report: Dan Raulerson resigning from Florida House in August

Dan Raulerson is resigning from the Florida House.

The Tampa Bay Times reported Tuesday that the Plant City Republican has announced he will resign his seat effective Aug. 15. The announcement, according to the report, comes about a month after he made public comments critical of House leadership.

Raulerson had back surgery, which kept him away from the Capitol this year, leading some members to speculate that he was planning to resign. But Raulerson dismissed the rumors, telling Florida Politics Capitol correspondent Jim Rosica in December it was “absolutely untrue.”

Raulerson, who was first elected to the Florida House in 2012, filed to run for re-election in February. State records show he has only raised $2,000 toward his re-election bid since filing to run.

Raulerson told the Tampa Bay Times that he changed his mind about running for re-election, saying he needed to focus on his health and his business.

Gov. Rick Scott will likely call a special election to replace Raulerson, but the timing could be tricky. The 2018 Legislative Session begins in January, and the first committee is scheduled for September.

Shawn Mathis Gilliam, a no-party affiliation candidate, is the only candidate who has filed to run for the House District 58 seat in 2018.

Steny Hoyer endorses Gwen Graham

Democratic candidate for governor Gwen Graham now has snagged the endorsement of the U.S. House of Representatives’ second-highest ranking figure.

Graham’s campaign Tuesday announced House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer‘s endorsement. Graham, of Tallahassee, was Florida’s 2nd Congressional District’s congresswoman in 2015-17. 

“After raising three children as a working mom, PTA president and public school official, Gwen Graham ran for office to get things done for hardworking families,” Hoyer said in a statement.

“Just like Washington, Tallahassee badly needs Gwen’s voice of reason, and I’m proud to enthusiastically support her campaign for governor,” he added. “Gwen is smart, disciplined, tough, caring and compassionate. She is the best candidate to win this race and the best qualified to serve the people of Florida as their next governor.”

Hoyer, 78, has been in Congress since 1981 and represents Maryland’s 5th Congressional District. He also was House Majority Leader in 2007-11.

“Whip Hoyer’s friendship and support were an incredible help in my first race and throughout my service in the House,” Graham said. “I’m honored to have his support again as we fight to repair the damage from the last twenty years of neglect and failed leadership coming out of Tallahassee.”

Raquel Regalado files to run for Congress in CD 27

Raquel Regalado is officially in.

The Miami Herald reported the former Miami-Dade school board mayor filed her paperwork to run in the Republican primary to replace Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in Congress. She’ll face Bruno Barreiro, who has already announced his campaign.

Regalado announced in May she planned to throw her hat in the race to replace Ros-Lehtinen, who is retiring in 2018, in Florida’s 27th Congressional District. By filing the official paperwork, Regalado can now begin fundraising for the seat. The Herald reported Barreiro raised $176,000 in the more recent fundraising cycle.

Regalado, a mother of two, has a history of crossing party lines POLITICO Florida reported Regalado, the daughter of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, backed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink in 2010 over Republican Rick Scott. She endorsed Scott in his 2014 re-election grid. And in 2016, she challenged Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, a fellow Republican. Gimenez won, 56 percent to Regalado’s 44 percent.

Ros-Lehtinen announced earlier this year she plans to retire when her term ends in 2018. Democrats look at the seat as a possible pick-up, since Hillary Clinton won the district by 20 percentage points. The district includes parts of coastal Miami-Dade, including Miami Beach.

A host of Democrats, including state Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez and state Rep. David Richardson, have either announced or expressed interest in the seat.

50 Florida lawmakers earn A+ on AFP-FL scorecard

Fifty legislators received top marks from Americans for Prosperity-Florida, the largest number of A+ legislators since the organization began issuing its annual legislative scorecard.

The organization released its 2017 Economic Freedom Scorecard, which graded 5,500 votes on 96 issues, on Tuesday. The scorecard showed 50 legislators — 11 senators and 39 representatives — received an A+. That means legislators scoring an A+ voted with AFP-FL received a score of 100 percent or higher.

“I am thrilled to see that this year, 50 legislators earned an A+ on our Economic Freedom Scorecard,” said Chris Hudson, the state director for AFP-FL, in a statement. “That’s the most A+’s the Florida legislature has earned since we began publishing our annual report. Our activist base is growing, our network is expanding and always finding ways to maximize our impact, but we are far from done. I believe the best days are ahead of us, and we are committed to deliver even more victories in 2018.”

Sen. Greg Steube scored the highest in the Senate, with a score of 140 percent, followed by Sen. Tom Lee at 114.29 percent; Sen. Jeff Brandes with a score of 113.33 percent; Sen. Denise Grimsley with a score of 110.53 percent; and Sen. Dennis Baxley with a score of 106.67 percent.

Over in the House, Rep. Bryan Avila received the highest score with 108.1 percent, followed by Rep. Paul Renner at 106.1 percent; Rep. Jason Fischer at 105.7 percent; Rep. James Grant at 105.4 percent; and Rep. Chris Sprowls at 105.4 percent.

Both Senate President Joe Negron and House Speaker Richard Corcoran received scores of 100 percent, according to the scorecard.

The organizations factors in committee and floor votes, with each vote carrying the same weight regardless of the issue, to calculate the score. This year, the group looked at how lawmakers voted on 96 key bills, including $600 million in tax cuts, school choice, and economic incentives.

“The state of Florida is embracing economic freedom, and our families and businesses will be better off because of it,” said Hudson.

It’s official: Pete Antonacci hired as Enterprise Florida CEO

Without surprise or intrigue, the full board of Enterprise Florida (EFI) on Monday hired lawyer and Gov. Rick Scott loyalist Pete Antonacci to be its next leader.

The former lobbyist had been recommended as the new CEO by the jobs-recruiting agency’s executive committee during a conference call last week. Scott chairs the EFI board of directors as governor.

In another 15-minute conference call, plagued by static and audio distortions, the board voted unanimously to hire Antonacci, who will be paid $165,000 a year (all in private funds) and will start Aug. 2. State Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, also appointed by Scott, made the motion to hire Antonacci.

Antonacci was formerly Scott’s general counsel and was most recently head of the South Florida Water Management District, where he “advised scientists to stay in their lane rather than criticize his water agency’s work on Everglades restoration,” the Tampa Bay Times reported last week.

He was also Scott’s personal pick to run the water district after his predecessor was forced out.

Antonacci, 68, “has no prior experience at recruiting businesses, just as he had no prior experience at running a water agency overseeing flood control and the Everglades restoration project before Scott tapped him for that job,” the Times added.

But EFI vice chair Stan Connally, president and CEO of Gulf Power Co., said Antonacci’s work experience has caused him to “touch virtually every corner of the state,” making him a “fantastic candidate.”

“He’s a quick study and knows our state and how to sell our state,” he said. “He has an energy and passion to move quickly.”

Scott praised Antonacci, saying he “builds good relationships” and did a “really good job” at the water district.

He replaces Chris Hart IV, a former state representative and head of CareerSource Florida, who stepped down this March after less than three months as Enterprise Florida CEO, citing a lack of “common vision” with Scott. Hart is now Executive Vice President of Florida TaxWatch.

Mike Grissom has been interim CEO. The agency’s head also carries the title of Florida’s Secretary of Commerce.

House Speaker Richard Corcoran tried to scuttle the organization and a multitude of its business incentives this Legislative Session, saying EFI was little more than a dispenser of “corporate welfare.” Though a public-private partnership, it doles out mostly public dollars.

Scott supports EFI, saying it helps bring companies and their jobs to the state. Scott and lawmakers eventually worked out a deal to save the agency this year by creating an $85 million Florida Job Growth Grant Fund, focused on promoting public infrastructure and job training. 

Bill Johnson, the agency’s leader before Hart, had taken hits over his people skills as a proposed $250 million incentives fund crashed and burned during the 2016 Legislative Session. Johnson also was questioned over his hiring and office expenses.

Antonacci has been in a plethora of government jobs, including as an assistant prosecutor in Tallahassee, a special assistant federal prosecutor, Florida’s statewide prosecutor and the chief deputy to former Attorney General Bob Butterworth.

Butterworth did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

In 2012, Scott made Antonacci acting state attorney in Palm Beach County for the rest of the term of Michael McAuliffe, who quit for a job in private practice. Antonacci also was a member of the state ethics commission in 2001-05.

Andrew Gillum committee upside down $88K through first two weeks of July

July could be shaping up to be another slow month for Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.

Forward Florida, the political committee backing the Democrat’s 2018 gubernatorial bid, has raised just $10,000 so far this month. The committee received the sole contribution on July 14, according to rolling donation data posted to the committee’s website.

During the same time period, the committee spent $98,573, meaning it has spent $88,000 more than it has brought in.

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docs vs. Glocks

Florida will pay $1M in legal fees over ‘docs vs. Glocks’

Gov. Rick Scott approved a deal to pay $1.1 million in legal fees to groups that “successfully challenged an NRA-backed Florida law that prevented doctors from talking to their patients about the risks of guns in the home,” according to a Sunday news release from the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

One of the law firms, Ropes & Gray, “announced it would donate $100,000 of its fee award to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, enabling the center to expand its initiatives to protect children from the risks posed by guns,” the release said.

Florida officials last month declined to appeal a federal ruling striking down the so-called “docs versus Glocks” law. In 2011, Florida lawmakers passed a bill which prevents doctors from asking patients about guns. Since then, a federal court invalidated several parts of the law.

The National Rifle Association supported the “gag law,” which put several restrictions on doctors and other health care professionals.

Florida had to pay the attorneys’ fees because “the law was found to violate constitutional rights,” the release said.

“Florida taxpayers just paid $1.1 million because of the gun industry’s unconstitutional, anti-truth agenda designed to increase gun sales at any cost — including children’s lives,” said Dan Gross, president of the Brady Center, in a statement.

“Physicians have a critical role to play in preventing these deaths by talking to patients about the true dangers of guns in the home, and we will not allow their voices to be silenced by the gun industry,” he added. “This award is a message to states to think twice before enacting or defending laws that put lives at risk just to boost the gun industry’s bottom line.”

What Florida politicos are reading this summer

The dog days of summer are here.

While July is generally considered one of the slowest months in Florida politics, that doesn’t seem to be the case this year.

Two special elections in South Florida mean election season is already in full swing, and 2018 hopes are keeping pace, even with rising temperatures. And with committee meetings starting in just over two months, it seems as if we’re already racing toward the start of the 2018 Legislative Session.

Still, summer is a time to kick back by the pool or on the beach, enjoy some down time, and maybe even read a good book. So we reached out to Florida politicos to find out what they were reading for pleasure this summer.

Here are their responses:

Andrew Gillum, Tallahassee mayor and 2018 Democratic gubernatorial hopeful

“Like Trees, Walking,” by Ravi Howard. Written by the mayor’s brother-in-law, the novel is inspired by a 1980s lynching in Alabama.

Gwen Graham, former congresswoman from Tallahassee and 2018 Democratic gubernatorial hopeful

“Giant of the Senate,” by Sen. Al Franken. “Sometimes we all need to take a step back and laugh a little. Senator Franken’s journey from Saturday Night Live to progressive champion is hilarious and inspiring,” she said. “I hope it encourages more people to enter public service. No matter what your background is, Al Franken proves we all have a contribution to make in the public square.

Adam Putnam, Agriculture Commissioner and 2018 Republican gubernatorial hopeful

Putnam said he’s reading three books on the road this summer: “The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey,” by Candice Millard; “Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill,” by Candice Millard; and “Rum Punch: A Novel,” by Elmore Leonard. “I love books about history, but I like to toss in a good fiction that has deep roots in Florida,” he said.

Matt Caldwell, state representative and 2018 Republican candidate for Agriculture Commissioner

An avid reader, Caldwell said he is currently reading three books as he travels across the Sunshine State: “Hard Scrabble,” by John Graves, which is on loan from his uncle; “Cracker History of Okeechobee,” by Lawrence Will, which was a gift to him from Rep. Ray Rodrigues; and “The Plantagenets,” Dan Jones, which he picked at a bookstore.

Denise Grimsley, state senator and 2018 Republican candidate for Agriculture Commissioner

Currently reading: “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World: Finding Intimacy with God in the Busyness of Life,” by Joanna Weaver. Grimsley said she’s reading it because “in the fast pace of a statewide race and my professional career, I need to stay focused on the real reason I do what I do. Martha was more concerned about cleaning and Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and learned. All I do is meaningless without my faith. I don’t want to be a Martha, I want to be a Mary.”

Jeremy Ring, former state senator and Democratic candidate for CFO

Ring is currently reading two books by Michael Singer — “The Untethered Soul” and the “Surrender Experiment.” The Margate Democrat got the chance to meet with the author this summer and really enjoyed the conversation, and getting to know him and understanding his teachings.

Jay Fant, state representative and Republican candidate for Attorney General

Just finished: “The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For,” by David McCullough. “Anything he writes is worth reading, and this is a short compilation of his best speeches,” said Fant.

“I always read baseball books in the summer, too, and am a few pages into Terry McDermott‘s ‘Off Speed,'” he continued.  “What’s missing is a good fiction to round it out, but I’m still in the hunt for that.”

Jim Boyd, state representative

Current read: “Bare Knuckles and Back Rooms: My Life in American Politics,” by Ed Rollins. Up next: Hamilton.

Dane Eagle, state representative

“Sunburn. Every morning. #plug”

Jason Fischer, state representative

“Making Modern Florida: How the Spirit of Reform Shaped a New State Constitution,” by Mary E. Adkins. “It came highly recommended by a friend, and for me, it’s a very timely read,” said Fischer about his summer read. “I’m new to the legislature, just served my first Session (and special), and I’m watching the Constitutional Revision Commission with great interest. Definitely worth it!”

Chris Latvala, state representative

“Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign,” by Jonathan Allen and Aime Parnes.

Evan Axelbank, a reporter with Fox 13 in Tampa Bay

“Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution” by Diane McWhorter. Axelbank called it an “amazing history of the civil rights movement in Birmingham.”

Heather Beaven, CEO of the Florida Endowment Foundation

Beaven said she’s taking “The Rise of a Praise Statesman: The Life and Times of George McGovern,” by Thomas Knock; “All the Gallant Men, An American Sailor’s Firsthand Account of Pearl Harbor,” by Donald Stratton; and “The True Flag” on vacation with her.

Katie Bohnett

Looking forward to finishing: “Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign,” by Jonathan Allen and Aime Parnes. “Troy gave me his copy after he finished it, and it reminds me a lot of ‘Game Change’ in that despite most sources choosing to remain anonymous, it is obvious from the level of detail that most of it is accurate,” she said. “It is also well-written, especially considering how quickly it was published after the election. It contains many lessons (so far) for both sides of the aisle to help make sense of … where we are at.”

She’s also planning to give the “2017 Government-in-the-Sunshine Manual” a read. “As a new-ish employee of the First Amendment Foundation and a longtime supporter, there is no better time than the present to educate myself further on the specifics of our state’s all-too important Sunshine Law,” she said. “You can still order a copy at Floridafaf.org to add some ‘sunshine’ to your stay/vacation or to add this resource to your personal library.”

Candace Bunker, manager of legislative and Cabinet Affairs for Citizens Property Insurance Corp.

“Devotion,” by Adam Markos.

Rivers Buford, with the American Heart Association|American Stroke Association

“I’m reading Sunburn and Florida Politics on my iPad.”

Lyndsey Brzozowski, senior vice president at Bascom Communications & Consulting

Just finished: “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis,” by J.D. Vance. “I thought it was a truly fascinating and insightful read and am telling everyone to check it out,” she said.

Gayle Cannon, Columbia County Republican state committeewoman

Just finished: “Use of Force,” by Brad Thor. Now starting: “The Swamp: Washington’s Murky Pool of Corruption and Cronyism and How Trump Can Drain It,” by Eric Bolling.

Jennings Cooksey, an attorney with Hopping Green & Sams

Current reads: “A Brief History of Time,” by Stephen Hawking; “Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World,” by Gen. Stanley McChrystal and Tantum Collins; and “House of Spies,” by Daniel Silva.

Gus Corbella, senior director of government law & policy at Greenberg Traurig

Corbella’s summer reading list includes “Fifty Inventions That Shaped The Modern Economy,” by Tim Harford; “American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House,” by Jon Meacham; “Just Kids,” by Patti Smith; “Fresh Off the Boat” and “Double Cup of Love,” both by Eddie Huag.

Dan Daley, Coral Springs vice mayor and an attorney at Shutts & Bowen

Currently reading (well, listening to) “Great Expectations,” by Charles Dickens. “I’d like to say it’s because I have ‘great expectations for the coming Legislative Session, but really, I just wanted to expand my literary knowledge,” he said when asked what prompted him to pick up the classic read this summer.

Julie Delegal, a contributing writer at Jacksonville Magazine and Folio Weekly

Liane Moriarty has me mesmerized: “The Hypnotist’s Love Story,” “What Alice Forgot,” “The Husband’s Secret.”

Christopher Emmanuel, director of infrastructure and governance policy at the Florida Chamber of Commerce

Currently reading: “The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For,” by David McCullough.

“David McCullough’s newest book is a collection of his speeches throughout the years — which is perfect for those looking for a series of short, powerful reads,” said Emmanuel, when asked why he decided to pick it up this summer. “The unifying theory of ‘The American Spirit’ is that the future has always been uncertain and is always shaped by the actions of individuals. By looking back at historical events through this lens, the reader leaves with an appreciation of our shared American history and a renewed motivation to act.”

Sally Everett, the director of legislative and intergovernmental affairs for the City of St. Petersburg

It’s the summer of David McCollough for Everett, who is reading “The Path Between the Seas” and “The American Spirit.”

“I love everything he’s written,” she said.

Cesar Fernandez, senior public policy associate at Uber

“The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency,” by Chris Whipple.

“I have always loved reading about the history of U.S. Presidents, and for a political junkie like myself, there’s no better way to absorb this history than through the lens of the White House Chief of Staff,” said Fernandez when asked why it made it onto his reading list. “Without giving too much away, the book opens with a scene from December 2007, when outgoing Chief of Staff to President Bush, Josh Bolton, convened a meeting of almost every living former Chiefs of Staff to give advice to President Obama’s incoming Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel. It has always fascinated me that despite being the highest profile job in American politics, White House Chiefs of Staff from both parties have guided US Presidents through unpopular political decisions to do what’s best for the American people.”

Keith Fernandez, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s counsel and communications director

“Death on the Nile” by Agatha Christie.

Chris Hand, co-author of “America, the Owner’s Manual: You Can Fight City Hall — and Win” with former Gov. Bob Graham

Currently reading: “Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America,” by Gilbert King.

Hand also joked he’s giving his own book another read. “It’s so informative that I keep reading it over and over again,” he quipped.

Carrie Henriquez, a governmental affairs consultant with Henriquez Consulting

“Rereading A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. Obviously fiction but the title alone is indicative of the Trump administration.”

Clayton Hinson, director of accounts at Harris Media

“A Will to Win: The Manager’s Diary,” by Sir Alex Ferguson and David Meek.

Chris Hudson, state director for Americans for Prosperity-Florida

“The Prince by my favorite Florentine … again. Next up the ‘Vanishing American Adult’ by Ben Sasse.

Carolyn Johnson, director of business economic development and innovation policy at the Florida Chamber of Commerce

Currently reading: “The Child,” by Fiona Barton.

David Johnson, Republican political consultant

Currently reading: “The Road to Camelot: Inside JFK’s Five Year Campaign,” by Thomas Oliphant and Curtis Wilkie; and “Boss: Richard J. Daley of Chicago,” by Mike Royko.

Johnson also recommends “The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Ever Presidency,” by Chris Whipple.

Jeff Johnson, state director for AARP Florida

“Tattoos on the Heart,” by Gregory Boyle, S.J., which Johnson called a “great and challenging perspective on living out what it means to be Church in the center of the gang capital of the U.S.;” and “The Exceptional Seven Percent,” by Gregory Popcak, which Johnson said is a “very interactive book on how to build an exceptional marriage based on studies of the blissfully happy.”

In case you’re wondering: Johnson said he doesn’t just read books by people named Gregory, and these books are ones he has “read multiple times and often give to friends because they’re so valuable.”

He also said he’s reading the Hamilton book over his daughter’s shoulder.

Charlie Justice, Pinellas County Commissioner

Current read: The latest from Randy Wayne White.

Collin Kenline, staffer for the Florida House of Representatives

Current read: “American Gods,” by Neil Gaiman; recently reread “Ready Player One,” by Ernest Cline.

William Large, president of the Florida Justice Reform Institute

“Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are,” by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz.

Lara Medley, legislative aide to Rep. Colleen Burton

Medley said it’s the summer of Dan Jones — she read “The Plantagenets” and just started “The Hollow Crown.”

Timothy Meenan, managing shareholder Meenan PA

“Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain” by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner.

Samuel McCall, Samsson Construction and A Civil Design Group

Currently reading: “Signing The Lives Away: The Fame and Misfortune of the Men Who Signed the Declaration of Independence,” by Denise Kiernan and Joseph D’Agnese.

Sal Nuzzo, vice president of policy for the James Madison Institute

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid — but in fairness I’m reading it to my daughters at night.”

Samantha Padgett, vice president and general counsel at the Florida Retail Federation

Just finished: “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action,” by Simon Sinek. Padgett said she “loved it!!”

Connie Prince, wife of Sen. Jack Latvala

Current read: “A Man Called Ove,” by Fredrik Backman. Prince said it is a “great read … funny, sad, enjoyable … I think it reminds me of what my dad would have been like if still alive and that would have been 101.”

Jim Potter

Currently reading “Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon,” by Jeffrey Kluger; and has “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry,” by Neil deGrasse Tyson on CD to listen to.

Chris Quinn, vice president of industry and government affairs for JAX Chamber

“The Return of George Washington: Uniting the States 1783-1789,” by Ed Larson.

Tara Reid, an associate with Strategos Group

“Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis,” by J.D. Vance.

Ralph Reid

“It Can’t Happen Here,” by Sinclair Lewis.

Ashley Ross

Ross is in a book club with several other women in “The Process,” and they are currently reading “All the Missing Girls,” by Megan Miranda.

Preston Rudie, founder of Catalyst Communications Group and former communications director for former Rep. David Jolly

“Drain the Swamp: How Washington Corruption is Worse than You Think,” by Rep. Ken Buck.

Tim Stapleton, CEO of the Florida Medical Association

Currently reading: “The Cubs Way: The Zen of Building the Best Team in Baseball and Breaking the Curse,” by Tom Verducci.

“I’m a long-suffering fan of the Cubs. This book offers a behind the scenes view of how the World Series championship team was built from the ground up,” said Stapleton about his selection. “It’s very similar to ‘Moneyball’ by Michael Lewis because it is not only a book about baseball but also about leadership and business!”

Mac Stipanovich, a Republican lawyer and lobbyist

“All things Virginia Woolf — diaries, essays, short fiction, reviews, novels, biography — but don’t know why.”

Kevin Sweeny, operations director for the Florida Justice PAC

Summer reads: “ Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are,” by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz; “the Road to Somewhere: The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics,” by David Goodhart; “Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success,” by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness; and “White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America,” by Joan C. Williams.

Stephen Urgo

“A Land Remembered,” by Patrick Smith. Urgo called the book a “fascinating story covering three generations of a Florida family beginning in the mid-1800s.”

Steve Vancore, partner at VancoreJones Communications and president of Clearview Research

Currently reading: “Public Opinion Quarterly: Survey Research, Today and Tomorrow.” Vancore says this about his summer selection: “A real page turner filled with romance and conflict. It also explores which form of polling is most valid and reliable. I won’t spoil the ending but it looks good for live operator phone polls.”

Erin VanSickle, director of external affairs at Volunteer Florida

Currently reading: “The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency,” by Chris Whipple; “Behind the Red Door: Unlock Your Advocacy, Influence, and Success,” by Florida PR maven Karen More. And to keep things in perspective, VanSickle said she’s reading “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind,” by Yuval Noah Harari, which was recommended by Saif Ishoof, the vice president for engagement at Florida International University.

Sean White, a legislative analyst in the Senate Majority Office

‘The Gatekeepers’ by Chris Whipple, which was a gift from family back in the district.

Larry Williams, the owner and managing partner at Larry Williams Consulting

“My genre of preference is thrillers, with my favorite author being the late Vince Flynn and his protagonist Mitch Rapp. I am currently reading the 13th book in the Mitch Rapp Series, ‘Order to Kill’ written by Kyle Mills who took over the Rapp franchise when Vince passed away. Looking forward to reading the 14th book in the series, ‘Enemy of the State’ to be released in early September.

“I also like Ben Coes (protagonist is Dewey Andreas) and Brad Thor (protagonist is Scot Harvath) both characters similar to Mitch Rapp. I just finished reading Coes’ 7th book, ‘Trap the Devil’ and will be downloading Brad Thor’s 17th Harvath novel titled ‘Use of Force.’”

Michael Williams, managing director of media relations at CoreMessage

Current reads: “The Great Divorce” by C.S. Lewis and John Sandford’s “Prey” Detective series.

Tyler Winik, legal affairs & special projects for the Brevard County Clerk of Circuit Court

“Rereading ‘The Fault in Our Stars,’ by John Green. Over and over again. Favorite summer read.”

Brian Yablonski, chair of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

“English Creek” by Ivan Doig. “I allow myself to divert from non-fiction once or twice a year. This is my 2017 diversion.”

Amy Young, managing partner at Ballard Partners in West Palm Beach

“Like everyone else, I keep ‘Make Your Bed,’ by Adm. William McRaven on my nightstand. And, while I am on the beach, I’m reading ‘The Lose Your Belly Diet,’ by Travis Stork.”

Skylar Zander, the deputy state director, Florida for Americans for Prosperity

“The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida and the Politics of Paradise,” by Michael Grunwald.

Frank Zilaitis, an attorney at Zilaitis Law in Indialantic

Zilaitis said his copy of “The Ayn Rand Lexicon: Objectivism from A to Z,” edited by Harry Binswanger, has been by his side all summer. “Pleasure reading? Yes, the ARL is pleasure reading in the sense that the results of the 2018 election cycle will dramatically affect the futures of Floridians,” he said. “The contents of the ARL are an effective tool for understanding the issues and passing judgment on politicians’ past performance and new candidates’ political platforms, from within Ms. Rand’s four-pronged paradigm of reality, reason, egoism, and capitalism.

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