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Florida Realtors announce their picks for statewide races: Adam Putnam, Ashley Moody, Jimmy Patronis, Denise Grimsley

The political arm of the state’s largest professional trade association, Florida Realtors, handed out endorsements Monday in the statewide races for Florida Governor and Cabinet.

“The health of Florida’s real estate industry and its economy go hand-in-hand,” said Bill Martin, CEO of Florida Realtors. “We need elected officials who understand this relationship and will work tirelessly to enact laws and policies that promote homeownership and protect the rights of homeowners throughout the state.”

Republicans currently have a monopoly on Florida’s four elected offices in the executive branch, and according to Florida Realtors’ endorsements they’d like it to stay that way.

Sitting CFO Jimmy Patronis, the only Republican running in that race, got the nod from Florida Realtors. He’s heading toward a Nov. 6 showdown with former Democratic Sen. Jeremy Ring.

The other statewide races feature competitive primaries.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is the trade association’s pick in the race for Governor. The realtor endorsement is the latest in a long line of endorsements for the Polk County pol, who has previously earned the support of 45 county sheriffs and the Florida Chamber of Commerce, among others.

His primary opponent is U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, who has staked out the Trump lane — including an official endorsement — in the race to replace term-limited Gov. Rick Scott.

The contest to replace Putnam is the most crowded of the lot — Sebring Sen. Denise Grimsley, Lehigh Acres Rep. Matt Caldwell, retired U.S. Army Col. Mike McCalister and former Winter Haven Rep. Baxter Troutman are vying for the GOP nom, with Caldwell, Grimsley and Troutman all having seven-figure war chests.

Of the four, Grimsley got the endorsement. It’s her third of the day, following her announcement that another two county sheriffs are backing her bid for Ag Commissioner.

For Attorney General, Florida Realtors PAC prefers former circuit court judge Ashley Moody. The Hillsborough native, who has locked up support from more than 40 county sheriffs and current AG Pam Bondi, is up against Pensacola state Rep. Frank White in the Aug. 28 primary.

Florida Realtors said it evaluated candidates on numerous factors, including their voting record on issues that are relevant to the real estate profession.

“Florida is a beacon of success in the nation, but we need dedicated elected officials rolling up their sleeves and working with organizations like ours to ensure that success continues,” said Carrie O’Rourke, vice president of public policy for Florida Realtors. “We believe these candidates will do just that and hope Florida voters agree in November.”

New Jeff Greene ads target Donald Trump, promote education reform

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jeff Greene is out with two new TV ads as he continues his push to make up ground in the 2018 primary.

Fresh off an interview Monday with Florida Politics in which he questioned his opponents’ ability to challenge the eventual Republican nominee, Greene’s new ads focus on his planned actions as governor, and include a jab at President Donald Trump‘s frequent visits to the Sunshine State.

The first of the two 30-second ads is titled “3 Reasons,” and invokes Greene’s three children as motivators for his fight for education reform.

“With three small children, education becomes personal,” the ad’s narrator notes. The ad highlights “The Greene School,” which was opened by the billionaire back in 2016.

He started the nonprofit West Palm Beach school due to frustrations with the existing state school system.

But the ad notes Greene will bring what he’s learned from his own experience of heading a school to Florida’s public school system. That includes a proposal for two years of pre-K education for all children.

The ad is in line with what Greene told us during an interview last month at the Democrats’ Leadership Blue conference in Hollywood. Greene kept coming back to education changes throughout the talk, noting an improvement in the state’s educational system would lead to widespread benefits in other areas, such as job creation and criminal justice reform.

The desire to improve the state’s schools was also included in Greene’s second ad, which was primarily aimed at Trump’s frequent visits to Palm Beach.

Titled “Trump Golf,” the ad’s narrator bashes Trump for those taxpayer-funded visits.

“Trump’s president and we’re paying the price. Literally. Every time Trump comes here to play golf, Florida taxpayers are paying for it. Millions wasted in road closures and overtime.”

Greene promised to end that practice as governor, “and put that money where Florida needs it: to fully fund Planned Parenthood and help our struggling schools with more teachers and resources.”

Recent polling has shown Greene trailing Philip Levine and Gwen Graham in the race for the Democratic nomination. But large numbers of voters are also undecided, leaving Greene with hope he can make up the gap in time for the Aug. 28 primary.

That’s in part due to Greene’s ability to self-fund all the way to the general election, a fact noted by Greene spokeswoman Claire VanSusteren.

“Greene’s unique appeal to Florida Democrats lies in his ability to spend whatever it takes to go toe-to-toe with historically better-funded Republicans in the general election to help Democrats regain control of the Governor’s mansion for the first time in 20 years without being beholden to special interest groups.”

Democratic gubernatorial candidates on SCOTUS pick: Elect one of us

Following President Donald Trump‘s announcement Monday night that Brett Kavanaugh is his nominee to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, the Democratic candidates for Florida Governor coalesced around one message: there’s a lot at stake in November.

Per The Associated Press: “The 53-year-old Kavanaugh is a longtime fixture of the Republican establishment. He has been a judge on the federal appeals court in Washington since 2006. He also was a key aide to Kenneth Starr during the investigation of President Bill Clinton. Kavanaugh also worked in the White House during George W. Bush’s presidency.”

Democratic candidates fear these GOP accolades and Kavanaugh’s resume of ruling to the right could mean the state is primed to start reversing course on issues ranging from abortion and health care to workers’ and LGBT rights.

They worry that these changes would be fast-tracked if another Republican Governor — either Adam Putnam or Ron DeSantis — is elected to fill Rick Scott‘s current shoes.

Each responded as follows:

Gwen Graham

The lone woman in the race focused solely on the issue of abortion in her response to the nomination.

“Donald Trump has nominated another Supreme Court justice who does not believe women have the right to make our own health care decisions.

“If Brett Kavanaugh is appointed to the court, Roe v. Wade is gravely at risk of being overturned. Florida: this is not a drill. If Roe v. Wade is overturned and Adam Putnam or Ron DeSantis are elected governor, women will lose our rights to make our own health care decisions.

“They would outlaw abortion within a year and appoint judges who will decimate Florida’s constitutionally guaranteed right to privacy.

“As governor, I will veto any legislation that limits a woman’s right to choose and I will appoint state Supreme Court justices who will uphold our right to make our own health care decisions.”

Andrew Gillum

The Tallahassee mayor, who’s backed by the progressive flank of the party, in his response feared that a Kavanaugh confirmation will disturb not just the status quo of abortion, but other issues as well. He also emphasized the need to halt Scott’s effort to “stack” the state Supreme Court before leaving office.

“With his pick of Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump has done everything in his power to push the Supreme Court into the world of ultra-conservatism.

“A woman’s right to make her own health care decisions is at risk. Voting rights are at risk. Collective bargaining is at risk. Here in Florida, Rick Scott will try to stack our Supreme Court in his final hours in office.

“We must hold the line on the three impending Florida Supreme Court vacancies, and when I am Governor-elect, my administration will use every tool available to ensure Floridians have their voices heard in their justice system.”

Chris King

Like Gillum, King emphasized a wide range of issues that now “falls to the states.”

“In Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump has picked a nominee who threatens to roll back the clock on America — and with few allies in Washington, this fight now falls to the states.

“We’ve got to elect bold, progressive leaders who will stand up to the political establishment and fight for civil rights, workers’ rights and women’s health care — no matter what Donald Trump and his nominee have to say about it.”

Philip Levine

The former Miami Beach mayor shied away from the conversation of electing a Democratic governor. Instead, he encouraged Senate Republicans — likely the moderate ones — to “complete a thorough vetting,” suggesting that he is confident that blocking the pick in the imminent Senate confirmation process isn’t too far-fetched a plan.

“It’s more imperative than ever that reasonable Republicans join Democrats to complete a thorough vetting.

“Too much legal precedent is at stake — from preserving Roe v. Wade to LGBT protections — we refuse to turn the clock back on the protections enshrined by a balanced court!”

(Image via Getty.)


Florida political groups split on SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh

President Donald Trump announced his nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy Monday night: Brett Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh, 53, has been a judge on the federal appeals court in Washington since 2006. And depending on which side of the aisle is asked, his nomination is either a godsend or a nightmare.

For conservative group Americans for Prosperity-Florida, it’s the former. Minutes after Trump introduced Kavanaugh on live TV, the Koch brothers-backed group lauded the president and his nominee.

“We commend President Trump for nominating Judge Kavanaugh and keeping his promise to select a jurist with a sterling record of judicial restraint and a commitment to the Constitution, both of which are vital to serving on the highest court,” the group said in a statement.

AFP-FL also put Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson on notice —it plans to spend seven-figures on ads and grassroots mobilization to drum up support for Trump’s second SCOTUS pick.

“Sen. Nelson put politics above country when he stated before a nominee was even announced that he was likely to oppose the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh. But Judge Kavanaugh’s record deserves his consideration and support. Floridians deserve Senators with objectivity during this process – Senators who will assess the nominee based on his interpretation of the Constitution, instead of coming to a pre-determined conclusion based on D.C. politics. We urge Sen. Nelson to support Judge Kavanaugh and put Floridians over politics.”

For Floridians for a Fair Shake, Kavanaugh’s nomination is seen as a “grave threat health care access.”

“Unable to repeal health care outright, the president and Congressional Republicans have resorted to sabotage, which is driving up costs, limiting access, and creating instability in the health care market,” said the progressive group’s communications director, Stephen Gaskill.

“Now, President Trump has the opportunity to deliver a death blow to the Affordable Care Act and reproductive rights. Brett Kavanaugh’s record proves him to be an extremist who will undercut the progress we’ve made in bringing affordable health care to everyone. His nomination must not lead to confirmation for this lifetime seat.”

The Florida Why Courts Matter Coalition was equally dour, with executive director Mark Ferrulo saying the nomination would “roll back a century of progress on civil and human rights.”

“Whether you care about access to health care, reproductive rights, voting rights, protecting our environment, LGBT equality, or criminal justice reform, the fate of them all hang in the balance,” he said.

“Kavanaugh tried to sabotage the Affordable Care Act. He believes the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is unconstitutional and time and time again he has sided with large companies over the interests of consumers. And Kavanaugh’s writings clearly demonstrate that he would allow Donald Trump’s abuses of power to go unchecked.

“Recent Supreme Court decisions are a stark reminder of the damage already wrought by one Trump appointment to the high court. Worker’s rights, women’s access to health care and voting rights have all been diminished during the just concluded Supreme Court term.”

Due to changes made during the confirmation process for Justice Neil Gorsuch, it will only take 51 votes to confirm Kavanaugh in the Senate.

Republicans hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate, and even with the extended absence of Arizona U.S. Sen. John McCain, a GOP senator would have to break rank in order for Kavanaugh’s nomination to not result in him getting a seat on the Supreme Court.

Adam Putnam in new ad: ‘Deport violent criminals now’

A new ad from Adam Putnam‘s political committee shows the candidate talking tough on illegal immigration as he continues his run to be Florida’s next governor.

The ad, released by Florida Grown PC, features Putnam in front of a prison while discussing his plans to change Florida’s immigration approach.

“There are many reasons to be mad about illegal immigration,” says Putnam in the ad.

“Here’s one we can’t stand for: Today, taxpayers in Florida are paying nearly a hundred million dollars a year to imprison criminal illegal aliens. A hundred million dollars to feed, clothe and house criminal illegal aliens.”

The ad gives no citation for that $100 million figure, though the campaign pointed to Putnam’s own “Secure Florida First Agenda” plan. While that document has citations throughout, no source is given for that exact figure.

The Florida Democratic Party pounced on Putnam for the claim. Its spokesman, Kevin Donohoe, said “Adam Putnam isn’t just running against Ron DeSantis — he’s running against the truth.”

He pointed to fact-checkers’ analysis of the $100 million figure, saying, “It’s a blatantly false claim that has already been debunked by PolitiFact. But that didn’t seem to bother Putnam, whose campaign has officially gone fact-free.”

Nevertheless, Putnam feels that any amount spent is too much. “We need to support President [Donald] Trump’s plan to secure our borders and ban sanctuary cities. We need to protect taxpayers and deport violent criminals now.”

The 30-second ad will appear on cable and broadcast statewide beginning Tuesday. It also features Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco and Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods, all of whom have endorsed Putnam is his primary challenge against Ron DeSantis.

Notably, DeSantis has earned the support of President Trump, whom Putnam cites in his new ad.

The DeSantis campaign slammed Putnam’s new ad. “There’s no doubt that Ron DeSantis exposed Putnam’s weak record on immigration in front of millions of viewers during the debate and now he’s on the defensive,” said David Vasquez, press secretary for the DeSantis campaign.

“Putnam’s record on immigration is crystal clear. He voted with Nancy Pelosi against securing our southern border, supported the Gang of Eight amnesty bill and fought against E-Verify in Florida. Suddenly facing a conservative opponent, Putnam is convinced he can somehow rewrite his own record to win over Florida conservatives.”

Recent polling has shown the race all over the place, though higher-rated pollsters have Putnam in the lead.

Richard Corcoran committee reports more than $1.4M in bank

A political committee tied to House Speaker Richard Corcoran, a Land O’ Lakes Republican, spent nearly $200,000 in June — but still had more than $1.4 million in the bank, according to a newly filed finance report.

Corcoran raised $6.9 million for the committee, known as Watchdog PAC, in 2017 and early 2018 as he considered a possible run for governor. But Corcoran announced this spring that he would not run for governor and stopped raising money for the committee.

From June 1 through June 29, the committee spent $196,540, according to the report, with the largest single expenditure a $50,000 contribution to the Republican Party of Florida. The committee also paid tens of thousands of dollars to consultants.

As of June 29, the committee had about $1.44 million on hand.

Jeff Greene says Democratic opponents ‘not electable,’ generate ‘no excitement’

Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene entered the race for Florida Governor late, days before qualifying ended late last month.

Since active, the Democrat has made up for lost time, running television ads in markets like Jacksonville where the only other opponent to buy time has been Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine.

Can Greene run a sprint toward the finish line and win this race? Despite running a different kind of campaign than the other four in the Democratic field, he asserts that it’s possible.

And, in what has to be considered a shiv at the conventional wisdom, he claims he’s the best-positioned candidate to go up against a Republican who will be well-funded and backed by outside forces that would overwhelm the rest of the field.

We caught up with Greene in Jacksonville at a coffee shop in the hipster-heavy King Street Corridor, and the candidate seemed unfazed by going up against primary opponents, such as Gwen Graham and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who have had a year and a half to ramp up, both in Northeast Florida and throughout the state.

“If people are running for a year, a year and a half, whatever it may be,” Greene added, “by two months before the election, there [should be] some real excitement about at least one of the candidates.”

“There’s no excitement about any of the candidates,” Greene continued. “They haven’t raised any money.”

“You look at the amount of money Andrew Gillum has raised: two-and-a-half million dollars,” Greene said, calling that “pretty pathetic.”

“Gwen Graham, a few million dollars, but she’s got her dad — a very popular former Governor, U.S. Senator, running around the country, and she’s only able to raise three or four million dollars,” Greene said, later noting that the Grahams made the drive to Palm Beach to hit him up for cash before he got in the race.

(A member of the Graham campaign noted, upon reading this, that they’ve raised approximately $10 million.)

“Philip Levine, he’s put a lot of his own liquidity in the race, but same kinds of numbers,” Greene continued, noting that much of what Levine raised was brought in when he was Mayor of Miami Beach from “people wanting to do business with Miami Beach.”

“Look what Adam Putnam’s raised: he’s raised 30 million dollars,” Greene said.

“So the reality is: it’s not just whether they’re electable. Of course, they’re not electable, because they can’t possibly compete against the kind of Republican right-wing machine we’ve been competing against as Democrats for the past 20 years. We’ve been losing,” Greene said.

“To win the race … you have to be a great candidate. If you have the benefit of money, you can use it to get your message out,” Greene said. “That’s what I know I can do.”

Greene noted that his opponents weren’t creating “excitement” and can’t “get their message right,” and that’s why they are languishing behind Republicans in fundraising.

“If any of these candidates were great candidates,” Greene said, “they would have raised 30 million dollars. They haven’t raised the money because they haven’t been the kinds of candidates who inspired the Democratic base [even though] they’ve been running around the country for a year and a half.”

A discussion of money — specifically, the funding of Gillum by left-wing billionaires George Soros and Tom Steyer — soon followed, with Greene amplifying critiques that Soros and Steyer wouldn’t back Gillum without expectations of quid pro quo.

“George Soros has been to my home for dinner. I’ve been to his apartment in New York for dinner. I know George Soros, OK? He has an agenda. He’s a smart guy. He knows what he wants to get done, and he puts money behind people who are going to support his agenda,” Greene said.

“If Andrew Gillum thinks somebody’s giving him a million dollars to just go do what he wants,” Greene said, “I think he’s very naive.”

“Tom Steyer … we’re both in similar circumstances financially, we both want to make a difference, and it’s the same thing. Tom Steyer has a very specific agenda,” Greene asserted.

“I’m a very wealthy guy,” Greene said. “Before I gave somebody a million dollars, I would absolutely want to know where it’s going … when people write checks, any philanthropy, they do their homework.”

“I can’t tell you what arrangement anyone has,” Greene said. “[Gillum] keeps attacking me for my success, which I think is really unacceptable. I’ve worked my whole life to be successful … I’ve done this all on my own.”

Greene has polled in single digits in public surveys. When asked if his television ad buys had moved the needle, however, he said “absolutely” — though he demurred from sharing specific numbers.

“We’re doing better than we even expected.”

“We got in late, admittedly. But I think that my message is the one that will resonate with Florida voters,” Greene said. “We’ve absolutely tested it. We know that who I am, what I can do, is absolutely what’s good for Florida and what Floridians need and want.”

“We will get traction. None of the other candidates have,” Greene added.

Noting that nearly half of surveyed likely voters are undecided, Greene asserts that his campaign can get those voters “off the fence.”

“I’m not some guy in his 30s. I’m 63 years old. I’ve made some mistakes in my life,” Greene said, adding that he knows “how to get from Point A to Point B.”

“The best thing for Democrats is they have someone who can win this race,” Greene said. “I’m going to spend what’s needed to go against Republicans.”

The others, Greene said, lack the resources to go up against the tentacles of the Republican octopus: the “Donald Trump, David Koch, Shel Adelson, Tea Party funded Republican machine.”

Greene, who lacks the grassroots infrastructure of the more established campaigns, vowed to make up for lost time, to “work harder than any other candidate, to be in more cities, to spend time meeting voters.”

Ultimately, Greene believes the requisite financial resources are there for him in a way they aren’t for others in the field. And the grassroots will follow.

Democrats, he said, “are looking for a new kind of leader.”

Greene, eight years ago, presented a challenge to an establishment Democrat in the Senate race. Greene lost by 26 points to Kendrick Meek, who himself went on to finish third in the general election.

Greene, despite spending more on advertising (to quote Rick Wilson, Greene was “killing” Meek in mail and television), couldn’t get over the hump.

It remains to be seen if history will repeat itself. Greene (who made a chunk of his fortune off credit default swaps) has entered this race late, with enough personal resources to buy name ID, but expect that if he gets close, opponents will have oppo (such as his past as a Republican Congressional candidate) at the ready.

More sheriffs back Denise Grimsley for Ag Commissioner

Sebring Sen. Denise Grimsley has added two more lawmen to her stable of supporters in the four-way Republican primary to succeed term-limited Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam

Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis and Sumter County Sheriff William Farmer were the new additions. They join 29 other county sheriffs in declaring their support for the 14-year state lawmaker.

“We know that Denise is prepared to make the tough calls on Day One in office and that she will do what it takes to hold criminals and fraudsters accountable with the help of Florida law enforcement,” Nienhuis said.  “Her passion for Florida and protecting its citizens is unparalleled and I stand behind her 100 percent.”

Farmer added, “Denise has been a consistent champion of law enforcement and I know that as Florida’s next Commissioner of Agriculture she will stand by us more than ever. I look forward to lending her my endorsement and spreading the word in the law enforcement community that Denise is the right candidate for the job.”

Grimsley said it was a “true privilige to say that more than 30 of Florida’s sheriffs have endorsed our campaign for Florida Commissioner of Agriculture.”

“Blue lives are sacred; and, as a cabinet member, I pledge to stand behind the honorable women and men in law enforcement that have dedicated their lives to upholding the rule of law and, in turn, keeping our families safe and secure,” she said.

Grimsley faces Lehigh Acres Rep. Matt Caldwell, retired U.S. Army Col. Mike McCalister and former Winter Haven Rep. Baxter Troutman in the Republican primary for the Cabinet position. Also running are Democrats Nikki Fried, Jeff Porter and David Walker.

Through June 29, Caldwell had about $1.2 million in the bank between his campaign and committee accounts, followed by Grimsley with about $975,000. Troutman leads the field with $1.45 million banked, though nearly all of his campaign cash has come in through self-funding.

The primary election is Aug. 28. The general election is Nov. 6.

Banning the beach? Locals start enforcing new access law

“It is so confusing.”

That’s the takeaway of Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson Jr., regarding the state of public access to private beaches following the enactment of HB 631.

Adkinson spoke with Florida Politics after a Facebook posting over the weekend appeared to show a confrontation resulting from the new law in Walton County’s Santa Rosa Beach area.

According to Ryan Nesset, who authored the post and appears to oppose the law actively, “The two ladies were told they were trespassing on a private beach in Walton County, Florida today.

“They were told if they did not move they would be arrested, all thanks to the new private beach law that went into effect on July 1. The law removed the customary use ordinance that the county had that said all the beaches are for the public.”

His post had nearly two thousand shares at the time of this article’s publishing.

Adkinson, however, says the characterization is overblown, noting the women agreed to leave before ever being threatened with arrest.

In the past, the public has been allowed to use certain portions of these private beaches under what’s known as “customary use.”

The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that private beachside property owners cannot restrict access to the beach for people who have used the area for years, so long as that use had been “ancient, reasonable, without interruption and free from dispute.”

Many feared HB 631 would change that reality. The bill went into effect on July 1 after being signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott back in March.

The law aimed to change the process by which local governments could ensure public access to privately-owned beaches.

Previously, city and county governments were able just to pass an ordinance granting public access to those privately-owned beaches.

But HB 631 pre-empted local governments from taking that action the future. Instead, if a local government wanted to make those beaches available to the public, it would must first to sue the private landowners and obtain approval for a new ordinance from a judge.

To be clear, this law did not affect publicly-owned beaches. Examples include Miami Beach, which is owned by the city, or any beaches which are part of Florida’s state parks system. Those beaches have always been, and will remain, open to the public.

But access to private beaches has changed, according to Adkinson: “You can’t be on these beaches without permission.”

He says under HB 631, beaches that are part of private property are now equivalent to a person’s backyard. “There’s absolutely no difference between a neighborhood home in the middle of somewhere, and walking on the beach.”

That stands in stark contrast to statements from some supporters of the bill.

“Our right to enjoy the beaches is protected by the Florida Constitution,” wrote GOP state Rep. Paul Renner of Flagler County, a supporter of HB 631. “Neither the Legislature nor the county can interfere, period.” Renner also is slated to be House Speaker in 2022-24.

He made those comments in a guest article for the Palm Coast Observer. In it, he argued public access to these beaches would remain.

“The new law does not change Florida law relating to customary use, so the outcome is the same; but it does streamline the process to save time and money for everyone involved, including the government and the taxpayers who fund it.”

The only changes, he argued, would be the process by which local governments could enact “customary use” ordinances.

“Through the courts, Florida law has recognized our right to the ‘customary use’ of that private property because we have been using it for years. Those rights are completely preserved under the law just passed. Stated differently, your rights and mine to use the beach have not changed one bit.”

Scott’s Communications Director John Tupps also issued a statement to Florida Politics disputing the law’s effect. “This law does not ‘ban’ or privatize in any beach in Florida. If a local government wants to expand the public beach area, this bill simply outlines the legal process to accomplish that.”

Tupps also noted the bill received support from Democrats as well, including state Rep. Katie Edwards-Walpole. “We’re not talking about privatizing beaches,” she said to the House Judiciary Committee, in comments reported by the Tampa Bay Times.

Not so, Adkinson says. And he warns other counties may be dealing with this issue in the future.

“Anybody that is saying this doesn’t affect them, or ‘we don’t have this problem,’ simply does not understand the issue.”

Further complicating matters, there remain areas on private beaches where public access is still allowed, even under the new law. Regions undergoing nourishment are one such exception, and Adkinson says this was the source of the confusion regarding the women from Nesset’s Facebook post.

“They were saying where they were was re-nourished. And it actually was not.” The sheriff says after the women were informed they were not in a nourishment area, they voluntarily left.

But Adkinson also says he hopes Walton County settles this issue soon, even if that means going to court to secure the ability to pass a new ordinance.

He made clear he’s not taking a public position on the law, and is there to enforce the rules either way. But he says the public should be spared from such confusing changes regarding what is and isn’t allowed.

Case in point, the 1st Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office, which covers Walton County, reversed positions in a week over whether to prosecute trespassing on private beaches.

After originally saying prosecuting such offenses would be unfair before a court’s decision on a new ordinance, the office changed course and said decisions would be made on a case-by-case basis to “determine if criminal charges are appropriate.”

Nevertheless, Adkinson says his sheriffs aren’t looking to arrest anyone outright.

“We are not going to be actively arresting people for trespassing. We are going to mediate, and we are going to find ways to mitigate this issue and balance the best interests of the public and the rights of the private property owner.”

#FlaPol in Review: A weekend roundup

A social media highlight reel from Saturday and Sunday.

As the election nears, more and more candidates are making use of Twitter to get their messages out.

In an attack towards incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, Gov. Rick Scott released this video via his campaign account:

On the re-election trail, Sen. Nelson found himself in St. Petersburg on Saturday:

Sen. Marco Rubio corresponded with President Donald Trump about reevaluating Army Corps discharges from Lake Okeechobee:

Now onto the candidates in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.

Gwen Graham is pictured here giving out her trademarked hugs on the campaign trail:

Andrew Gillum returned home to South Florida on Saturday:

Chris King tweeted about Florida’s wages:

This graphic from Jeff Greene’s campaign highlights his “working class roots”:

In Martin County, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine messaged on an issue close to home:

On the Republican side of the governor’s race, Adam Putnam touted an endorsement from a Miami-Dade commissioner:

Ron DeSantis, the other Republican, sent this pro-life accolade out this morning:

Now to the Cabinet races.

Agriculture Commissioner candidate Denise Grimsley stumped through the Space Coast on Sunday:

On Saturday, Ag Comish hopeful Matt Caldwell found himself in Indian River County:

Attorney General candidate Frank White responded to a political cartoonist’s rendering:

Now to the Florida Delegation.

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, running for re-election this year, is flanked by veterans in this photo:

Congressman Ted Deutch, who represents the Parkland area in the U.S. House, is continuing his criticism of Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam:

And lastly, some bits from down the ballot.

Nearby Democrats came out in full for state Rep. Jared Moskowitz‘ re-election bid:

State Rep. Dane Eagle is putting the algae on notice:

State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith met up with the survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting:

State Sen. Dana Young is working hard for re-election, and has the Fitbit data to prove it:

Last year’s Senate budget chief Rob Bradley is happy the feds are coming through for the Herbert Hoover Dike:

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