Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.
By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Daniel McAuliffe, Jim Rosica, and Drew Wilson.
The race for Florida governor is essentially tied according to the first public poll conducted after Hurricane Michael devastated the Panhandle — and changed the course of state politics.
Twenty days before Election Day, Democrat Andrew Gillum is at 47 percent, while Republican Ron DeSantis is at 46. However, among those who say they have already voted, DeSantis is at 49 percent, while Gillum is at 45 percent.
Reform party candidate Darcy Richardson captures about 2 percent of the vote, while 5 percent of Florida voters are still undecided.
The poll comes with a definitive asterisk as respondents in the Panama City area, where Michael delivered his lethal blow, are under-sampled. A slight plurality of these voters typically support Republican candidates.
The survey was conducted by St. Pete Polls, has a sample size of 1,974 respondents and has a 2.2 percent margin of error.
The poll also ballot-tested the U.S. Senate race between Rick Scott and Bill Nelson and asked about voters felt about Scott and GIllum’s response to Hurricane Michael. To read those results, please click here.
— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —
—@APStylebook: Avoid the phrase “head to the polls.” It doesn’t account for the roughly 40 percent of the electorate that will cast a ballot before Election Day.
—@SeungMinKim: It appears POTUS has been in quite a chatty mood lately.
—@DeFede: This is the state of politics. On @cnn just now @WhiteHouse reporter @jeffzeleny said: “The many aides I talked to today simply did not want to address the question of horseface.” Let’s repeat that: “The question of horseface.” God save us.
—@CHeathWFTV: If @ScottforFlorida can use pics of him flying over damage and handing out water, can @AndrewGillum use video of him cutting up trees with a chainsaw? If disaster response action pics are fair, then they are fair.
—@JimRosicaFL: IF YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT FEMA ASSISTANCE, YOU DO NOW FROM THE SCREECHING @FLGovScott “GOVERNOR ALERT.”
—@SchmitzMedia: FEC filings for #FL18 show @laurenbaer handily out-fundraised @BrianMastFL last quarter: about $1.4 million compared to Mast’s $687,000. Mast campaign still has more cash on hand – $1.4 million compared to Baer’s $774,000.
—@NewsBySmiley: Tonight’s debate ended bizarrely, with Mayra Joli claiming that Salazar is funded by Illuminati.
—@Fineout: Six days after deadly Hurricane Michael ripped through Florida’s Panhandle nearly 137k customers in 11 counties remain without power. Several utilities have told state officials it will be at least 5 days before some of these customers get their electricity back
—@LMower3: This is stunning. It will be a week tomorrow since #HurricaneMichael made landfall, and 98% of Calhoun County is still without power. Hurricane Irma outages weren’t nearly that bad 6 days later.
—@Conarck: Washington Post has “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” TU’s new slogan should be, The Florida Times-Union: “Woke and broke.”
— LATEST TURNOUT NUMBERS —
— DAYS UNTIL —
MLB World Series begins — 6; ‘Before You Vote’ Florida Governor debate — 7; Early voting begins — 10; Halloween — 14; General Election Day — 20; Florida Blue Florida Classic: FAMU vs. BCU — 31; 2019 Legislature Organization Session meetings — 34; Thanksgiving — 36; Black Friday — 37; Florida Chamber Insurance Summit — 41; 2019 Session Interim Committee Meetings begin — 55; ‘Hamilton’ comes to the Straz Center — 118; 2019 Legislative Session starts — 139; ‘Captain Marvel’ release — 142; 2020 General Election — 748.
“Death toll rises to at least 26 across the South after Hurricane Michael blamed for 16 deaths in Florida alone” via Jay Reeves of The Associated Press — Hurricane Michael killed at least 16 people in Florida, most of them in the coastal county that took a direct hit from the storm, state emergency authorities said Tuesday. That’s in addition to at least 10 deaths elsewhere across the South. The scope of the storm’s fury became clearer after nearly a week of missing-persons reports and desperate searches of the Florida Panhandle neighborhoods devastated by the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental U.S. in nearly 50 years.
— AFTER MICHAEL —
“After Michael’s fury, hardest-hit counties say changes in voting are needed” via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times — Tens of thousands of voters in one of Florida’s strongest Republican regions have not yet returned their mail ballots. Early voting in the hardest-hit counties is set to begin one week from Saturday, on Oct. 27. Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections Paul Lux, chairman of the state association of supervisors, wants Scott to issue an executive order that provides greater flexibility to counties. Lux suggested that one solution is to allow counties to shift to an extended early voting system in which fewer bigger sites will remain open through 7 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 6. Lux said mail ballots might need to be sent to different counties because of disruptions in mail service, and he said provisions must also be made to assist relief workers stationed far from home who want to vote, and for displaced patients of nursing homes.
“FEMA chief makes surprise visit to staff in Panhandle: ‘I want you out on the street’” via Kimberly Miller of the Palm Beach Post — FEMA Administrator Brock Long made an impromptu visit to Mexico Beach on Tuesday, surprising city officials still scrambling nearly a week after the storm to streamline communications and resources. A makeshift city hall sign guided Long’s caravan through a neighborhood where a FEMA trailer sat out of sight of the main beach road. “You’re not doing any good here,” he said to a group of FEMA employees standing under a tent. “I want you out on the street.”
“Blackout: Florida towns face dark weeks without power” via Elizabeth Koh and Samantha Gross of the Tampa Bay Times — A week after Hurricane Michael’s rampage, large swaths of the Florida Panhandle and tens of thousands of residents face a dark, powerless future. Major utilities say it will still take weeks to repair downed lines and poles and reconnect customers — and that’s only for the homes and businesses in good enough shape to “take electrical service.” The reality is that mass damage left by Michael — which left a monster 80-mile-wide path of ruin — means it may take even more time to turn the lights back on in damaged structures.
“Lawmakers wait to see of storm action needed” via Jim Turner of the News Service of Florida — The next leaders of the Florida Legislature say they’re ready to assist Gov. Rick Scott or state agencies in the recovery from devastating Hurricane Michael. They just need to be asked. “If the governor identifies an unmet need that requires swift legislative action, we will certainly work with him to address it,” said incoming Senate President Bill Galvano. But Galvano and incoming House Speaker Jose Oliva are not expecting such action until more is known about the impacts of the storm. Michael plunged more than 400,000 utility customers into the dark and leveled homes and businesses in a deadly path that cut north across rural Panhandle communities into Southwest Georgia. “In the here and now, if the governor or any agency needs resources or assistance for issues created by Hurricane Michael, the Florida House stands ready to help,” Oliva said.
“Verizon gives customer credits in Bay, Gulf counties” via the News Service of Florida — Under scrutiny for outages after Hurricane Michael, Verizon said Tuesday its customers in hard-hit Bay and Gulf counties will be automatically credited for three months of mobile service. In recent days, officials including Gov. Rick Scott and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson — who are competing in the November election for Nelson’s Senate seat — have taken aim at Verizon’s storm response. “Verizon is 100 percent focused on repairing our network in the Florida Panhandle,” the company said in the news release. “We are making progress every hour, and we expect that trend to continue at a rapid pace. We won’t rest until service is completely restored.”
“Tallahassee power restoration to be ‘substantially complete’ by Wednesday, a week after Michael” via Ashley White of the Tallahassee Democrat — On the morning of Day Six, 5,000 City of Tallahassee Utilities customers were still without power. Midtown and West Tharpe Street had a large number of the lingering outages Tuesday morning, according to the outage map. The map showed there were 5,304 homes and businesses still in the dark. By 4 p.m., that number was down to about 2,200 customers. “We know for those 5,000 customers that are out there, they’re frustrated,” said Rob McGarrah, the general manager of city of Tallahassee electric. “We are working to get them back on., but as we’ve talked. We have to go through the priority process to get on as many customers as we can the quickest.”
JM Family Enterprises donates $100,000 to American Red Cross — Brent Burns, President and CEO of JM Family Enterprises, announced a $100,000 donation from the company to the American Red Cross to support disaster relief efforts following Hurricane Michael. The company is also matching up to $50,000 of associates’ contributions to four charities: American Red Cross, Samaritan’s Purse, Team Rubicon and the Florida Disaster Fund. Although company associates residing in Florida’s panhandle are safe, the storm severely affected states in which its dealer partners are located. JM Family’s subsidiary, Southeast Toyota Distributors, distributes vehicles, parts and accessories to 177 independent Toyota dealers in the five southeastern states. “Hurricane Michael was a devastating storm that left unimaginable damage in its wake,” Burns said. “Recovering from this level of storm can take months, even years. Responding to our communities during times of crisis is a part of who we are, and our thoughts will be with our neighbors to the north as they begin to recover and rebuild.”
UnitedHealth Group donates $500,000 to help residents of Florida Gulf coast region — UnitedHealth Group and its UnitedHealthcare and Optum businesses are donating $500,000 to help residents of the Florida Gulf Coast region recover and rebuild from Hurricane Michael. UnitedHealth Group will donate the funds to the Florida Disaster Fund. The company is matching dollar-for-dollar donations employees make to charities supporting recovery efforts. “We are deeply concerned for the people affected by Hurricane Michael, and we are committed to supporting local communities in the Gulf Coast region as they recover and rebuild,” said David S. Wichmann, chief executive officer of UnitedHealth Group. “We are also taking action to ensure the people we serve have access to the care they need, and have worked to ensure the safety and well-being of our colleagues in the region.”
— GILLUM VS. DESANTIS —
“Andrew Gillum goes high — and low — in two new ads” via Danny McAuliffe of Florida Politics — Gillum is confronting Florida voters with mixed messages as he approaches the home stretch of his Democratic bid for Governor. Gillum’s campaign debuted two new ads on Tuesday, the three-week mark ahead of the Nov. 6 Election Day. One, a negative attack on his Republican opponent Ron DeSantis, criticizes the former congressman’s voting record on Medicare and social security. Another features one of his closest surrogates, wife R. Jai Gillum, who offers an overwhelmingly positive overview of her husband and his quest for the Governor’s Mansion.
To watch the first ad, click here.
To watch the second ad, click here:
“More resiliency, preparation for high water needed, Ron DeSantis says” via Steve Patterson of the Florida Times-Union — As Florida’s Panhandle staggers under damage inflicted by Hurricane Michael, the state should take steps to increase its resiliency and prepare for the effects of higher seas, Republican gubernatorial candidate DeSantis said Tuesday. The state can incentivize local governments to strengthen building codes, but decisions to increase construction requirements should be made locally, DeSantis told the Florida Times-Union’s editorial board. Asked if he acknowledged the human impacts on climate change, the former three-term congressman answered that “I think humans contribute to what goes on around us.”
“Spanish spots forDeSantis” via Florida Politics — The Republican Party of Florida released on Tuesday a trio of Spanish-language ads on behalf of DeSantis. Making the pitches are two prominent Hispanic Republicans: U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Puerto Rican Congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón. Rubio actually recorded two spots, with the Congresswoman picking up the third. One Rubio pitch was soft-focus and positive, with Rubio maintaining DeSantis “understands the importance of the state helping your family prosper.” In his second spot, Rubio made a more express appeal to the base, warning of “special interests from the extreme left, that are not from our state, spending millions of dollars in the governor’s campaign race.” González-Colón, meanwhile, affirmed DeSantis’ credentials in her spot.
To watch the videos, click on the images below:
“Sheriffs back DeSantis, bash Gillum” via Florida Politics — A group of Republican Sheriffs from Central Florida endorsed DeSantis for Governor on Tuesday, spotlighting the alleged “anti-police” radicalism of Gillum in the bargain. Ahead of the primary, Adam Putnam was the runaway choice of most Sheriffs and police unions. Since late August, however, their support has largely (with the exception of a handful of Democratic Sheriffs) fallen in behind DeSantis. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd distilled the pro-DeSantis case neatly: “When I looked at this election, I asked myself a simple question that every voter should ask themselves: Do you want a governor who is a decorated veteran and former prosecutor, or a governor who ignored pleas from police for more support and more officers while crime skyrocketed in his city?”
Everglades Trust endorses DeSantis — Everglades Trust Executive Director Kimberly Mitchell issued a statement supporting DeSantis: “For some, there seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding of the importance of Everglades restoration, and the critical point we’ve reached. The tragic symptoms of a fatally-flawed water management system, kept broken to appease the sugar industry, are on full display for the world to see. Dead sea life and closed beaches on both coasts of Florida cannot be Florida’s new normal. And the days of the Everglades serving as a mere bullet point in an environmental platform should be over. They are in desperate need of a hero — and they found one in Ron DeSantis. Ron understands the critical infrastructure projects that must be undertaken and expedited, with the ability to make them a top priority, and already has a track record of standing up to an industry that is physically and politically blocking the reconnection of Lake Okeechobee to the Everglades – Big Sugar.”
Assignment editors — West Palm Beach health care professionals will hold a news conference to highlight DeSantis’ record and refusal to release a health care plan after 260 days on the campaign trail, 10:30 a.m., lot across from St. Mary’s Hospital, corner of 49th Street & Greenwood Avenue, West Palm Beach. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Assignment editors — Democratic Lt. Gov. nominee Chris King joins health care professionals and local leaders for a news conference on running mate Gillum’s plan to expand access to affordable health care, 11:30 a.m., Barnett Park, 4801 West Colonial Dr., Orlando.
Assignment editors — Republican Lt. Gov. nominee Jeanette Nuñez will attend several events in Central Florida: 10 a.m., Meet Your Candidates Day Event, Osceola Council on Aging, 700 Generation Pt., Kissimmee; 11:30 a.m., Venezuelan Round Table, Amaretto Bistro Latin Cuisine, 8001 S. Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando; 2 p.m., meet & greet with Nuñez & Bob Cortes, Iglesia Puertas Del Cielo, 650 Doyle Road, Deltona; 5:30 p.m., annual members meeting, Greater Orlando Builders Association, 1953 Clayton Heritage Way, Maitland; 7:30 p.m., meet your candidates day event, South Side Umatilla Community Center, 17107 Ball Park Road, Umatilla.
— NELSON VS. SCOTT —
Tweet, tweet — and a reminder that there are substantial policy differences between Bill Nelson and Rick Scott:
This is a stark reminder of what’s at stake in the Senate election: preserving and protecting Medicare and Social Security. https://t.co/nRFT078THy
— Nelson for U.S. Senate (@NelsonForSenate) October 16, 2018
“Bill Nelson raises $5M, spends $10M in last reporting period” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida – Nelson raised $5.2 million during the most recent reporting period, a massive haul for the veteran senator but well behind Scott, whose campaign is buttressed by his personal wealth. Nelson’s campaign spent more than $11 million during the most recent reporting period, which covers Aug. 9 through Sept. 30.
“Bill Nelson camp: Rick Scott’s dodging voters” via Florida Politics — Since Hurricane Michael became an imminent threat and then made a catastrophic landfall last week, Scott has been in emergency management mode. The Scott campaign has already teased the possibility of Scott no longer appearing on the trail at all, with his wife Ann Scott serving as a surrogate — of the sort who can’t be expected to answer policy questions. However, contends Dan McLaughlin (an adviser and former spox for Nelson), Scott leaving the trail is simply a “cynical attempt to avoid facing voters.” “We’re not going to let Rick Scott hide from voters in the last three weeks of a major election — especially while he’s significantly increasing his negative TV attack ads,” McLaughlin vowed.
“Scott uses storm relief in contrast ad” via Florida Politics — Scott is dedicated largely to post-Michael recovery these days, and a new ad from his campaign is designed to remind voters of that fact. One tripwire for this spot: a third-party group (VoteVets) accusing Scott of using his familiar Navy ball cap for political optics while he “cheated” veterans, in an ad that got national coverage in outlets like Fox News. Another tripwire: a senior Nelson campaign hand charging Scott with using storm recovery as a way to dodge voters and media on the campaign trail, while spending $18 million on ad buys … including negative ads targeted against the Democratic incumbent. The Scott campaign decried all of this, somehow invoking the Senate Minority Leader in the process.
To watch the video, click on the image below:
“New commercial fills Bill Nelson’s suit with scary things” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — The new 30-second television commercial “Lining” from New Republican Political Action Committee, the committee Republican Gov. Scott set up to support his U.S. Senate campaign, brings up all the charges previously pushed by the committee: Nelson voted to raise taxes; he’s collected government paychecks for 45 years, now totaling millions of dollars in pay; he voted to cut Medicare, and he made up a story about Russian interference … all because he’s confused.
To view the ad, click on the image below:
— NOTES FROM THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL —
Progress Florida releases ‘Informed Voters’ Guide’ — The new guide, at www.FloridaBallotGuide.com, features the positions of not only Progress Florida, but also the recommendations of other good government, civic, and public interest watchdog organizations. To help voters make choices, the guide to the proposed constitutional amendments includes voting recommendations; short, easy-to-read, plain language explanations for each amendment; links to more in-depth information on each amendment provided by the League of Women Voters of Florida. Voters also can get the Voters’ Guide via mobile phone, by texting FLBALLOT to 30644.
“Jimmy Patronis dominates in money chase in CFO campaign” via the News Service of Florida — Republican Chief Financial Officer Patronis and a closely linked political committee raised more than $950,000 during a two-week period in late September and early October, as Patronis continued to widen his financial edge over Democratic challenger Jeremy Ring, according to reports filed with the state Division of Elections. Patronis’ campaign raised $243,231 between Sept. 22 and Oct. 5, bringing the campaign’s overall total to $2.18 million since it began collecting contributions last November.
“Foes of gambling amendment bringing cash” via the News Service of Florida — The committee Citizens for the Truth About Amendment 3 had raised a total of $6.94 million as of Oct. 5. The contributions early this month included $750,000 from Gulfstream Park Racing Association and $100,000 each from FanDuel Inc. and DraftKings Inc. The committee also spent $1.367 million between Oct. 1 and Oct. 5, with most of the money going for advertising expenses. The committee is fighting a proposed constitutional amendment on the Nov. 6 ballot that would change the Florida Constitution and give voters the “exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling” in the state.
“Marsy’s Law group offers crime victims’ pleas in new Amendment 6 ads” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — The commercials are part of the $30 million campaign being run by Marsy’s Law for Florida, a group created to push for “Marsy’s Law” victims’ rights laws much like those adopted in California and other states, pushed for by the family of Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas, a California college student murdered in 1983. For the two new Florida campaign TV commercials, the fifth and sixth from Marsy’s Law of Florida, the real-life Florida victims are Ann Rowe of Tallahassee and Mary Futrill Petersen. In the first new 30-second ad, Rowe tells her own story, about how she was brutally raped and beaten outside her Tallahassee home two years ago. In the other ad, Petersen’s mother, Francis Futrill of Jacksonville, tells of her daughter, who was murdered in her own bed in 2002, her body discovered the next day by her 8-year-old son. The case remains unsolved.
To view Rowe’s ad, click on the image below:
To view Futrill’s ad, click on the image below:
“Stephanie Murphy swamping Mike Miller in CD 7 money race” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Democratic U.S. Rep. Murphy entered October with more than $1 million left to spend in her re-election bid, while her opponent Republican state Rep. Miller‘s campaign came into the home stretch almost broke. Miller managed to raise $304,000 since the pre-primary report filed Aug. 8, but he also spent a half-million dollars, in part on his Aug. 28 primary victory and in part on September and early October advertising to take on Murphy. As a result, his campaign had just $36,872 in the bank at the end of the third quarter … Murphy has both outraised and outspent Miller during the period, and still had $1.1 million in the bank left for more campaign spending on Sept. 30, according to the FEC reports. The latest reports show she raised $482,000 since the Aug. 8 pre-primary report and spent $967,000. Overall, Murphy has raised nearly $3 million; Miller, $869,000, including a $125,000 loan.
“New DCCC ad on health care: ‘We can’t afford Brian Mast’” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has released a new ad hitting U.S. Rep. Mast on his vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) last year. Mast, the Republican incumbent in Florida’s 18th Congressional District, is attempting to defend his seat against Democratic challenger Lauren Baer. The DCCC’s new 30-second spot, titled “Down Here,” highlights Mast’s vote in the House to repeal the ACA and replace it with the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Ultimately, a similar bill failed in the Senate, killing the GOP’s efforts. “Health care matters here in Florida,” the ad’s narrator begins. “The minute he got to Washington, Congressman Brian Mast forgot that.
To watch the video, click on the image below:
“Debbie Mucarsel-Powell ad features photo of slain father” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Mucarsel-Powell lost her dad at the age of 24 after he was gunned down in her native country of Ecuador. In her new 30-second ad, titled “Photo,” Mucarsel-Powell recounts that loss, and cites it as a motivator to strengthen gun control laws here in the U.S. “I never said goodbye,” Mucarsel-Powell begins, holding up a photo of her and her father. “My kids never met their grandfather. And this is the last photo I took with my father because he was killed by a criminal with a gun. So, when I tell you I’ll stand up to the NRA to protect our community, you can believe me.”
To view the ad, click on the image below:
“Donna Shalala ahead by five in new DCCC poll” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — A new survey of Florida’s 27th Congressional District shows Shalala in the lead. That’s according to a poll commissioned by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which helps elect Democrats to the U.S. House. The survey puts Shalala at 44 percent. That’s 5 percentage points ahead of her Republican opponent, Maria Elvira Salazar, who sits at 39 percent. Mayra Joli, a non-party affiliated candidate, earned 6 percent. The remaining 10 percent of voters are undecided.
“‘Monster’ much? PAC launched to bash Maria Elvira Salazar” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Salazar is now being bashed by a former rival in the Republican primary for Florida’s 27th Congressional District. Former candidate Stephen Marks, who came in fourth in the nine-person contest, has launched a new website and PAC, called MiamiAmerica. Marks’ aim appears to be hitting Salazar over her support, or lack thereof, of President Donald Trump. He also criticizes her conservative bona fides. The website aims to push voters toward third-party candidate Mayra Joli, who has made her support of Trump a pillar of her campaign. Among the claims made are that Salazar once called Trump a “monster,” that she does not see abortion as immoral, and that she proposed banning semi-automatic weapons.
“‘Donna Shalala is our for herself,’ new ad argues” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — A new ad from the Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF) is going after Shalala over a 2006 janitor strike at the University of Miami, where Shalala served as president. The janitors sought a wage increase and the ability to unionize during the nine-week strike. At the time, janitors at the university were paid less than $7 per hour, according to reports at the time. The CLF, a super PAC aligned with U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan that aims to elect Republicans to the House, recounts the episode in the Spanish-language ad, titled “$7.” “Donna Shalala is another politician who puts herself first,” the ad’s narrator begins in Spanish.
To watch the video, click on the image below:
“Sensing an upset, Paul Ryan-aligned super PAC attacks Donna Shalala” via Alex Daugherty of the Miami Herald — The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with House Speaker Ryan, is running a Spanish-language ad targeting Shalala. The six-figure buy on TV and digital platforms is the super PAC’s first foray into retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s district, a Miami-based seat where Trump lost to Clinton by nearly 20 points. The ad titled “$7” tries to portray Shalala as out of touch with working-class voters in the district, noting that she lived in a mansion that eventually sold for $9 million while serving as the president of the University of Miami and led the university when its janitorial staff went on strike because their wages amounted to about $7 an hour. Shalala’s Republican opponent, former TV journalist Maria Elvira Salazar, levied a similar attack on Shalala during a recent Telemundo debate.
To view the ad, click on the image below:
— DOWN BALLOT —
“Second complaint filed against Janet Cruz” via David Bishop of FLANewsOnline.com — In a 51 page document sent to House Speaker Richard Corcoran, and obtained by FLA News, Tampa resident Rocio Paulsen alleges Cruz actually lives in the 7800 square foot home owned by her husband on San Miguel Street in Hillsborough County, which is outside the House District Cruz currently represents. Paulsen’s letter to Speaker Corcoran alleges Cruz violates legislative rules and the Florida Constitution. Cruz rents a 1000 square foot home on Fremont Avenue inside the House District 62 boundaries she’s elected to represent. Rep. Cruz’ is also registered to vote at the Fremont Avenue rental home. But the complaint to House Speaker Corcoran raises several discrepancies. Another person is also registered to vote at the Fremont Avenue rental property.
Linda Jack hits Amber Mariano for ‘failed representation’ in new ad” via Florida Politics — New Port Richey Democrat Jack is out with a new ad hammering Republican Rep. Mariano in her quest to flip House District 36. The ad, titled “Better Leadership for West Pasco,” says Mariano has come up short in fulfilling the promises she made during her successful ouster of former Democratic Rep. Amanda Murphy two years ago. “Amber Mariano promised to prioritize education, she promised to provide millions of dollars for flood relief, she promised to represent us. West Pasco deserves better leadership,” the ad narrator says, over a title card reading “failed leadership.” The ad then shifts focus to Jack, a musician, educator, and veterinarian who has been campaigning for the state House since June 2017.
To view the ad, click on the image below:
Happening today — Republican Joe Wicker raises money for his campaign for Hillsborough County’s House District 59, 5:30 p.m., Curry Law Group, 750 West Lumsden Road, Brandon. Wicker and Democrat Adam Hattersley are competing to replace Rep. Ross Spano, a Dover Republican running for Congress.
Worth reading — How the gutting of the Voting Rights Act led to hundreds of closed polls” via Rob Arthur and Allison McCann of Vice News — In-person voting declined in Manatee County as a result of 30 percent reduction in the number of polling places proposed by supervisor of elections, Mike Bennett. A six-month investigation examined polling place data to determine that for every 10 polling places that closed in the rest of the country, 13 closed within the jurisdictions formerly under oversight. About a third of all counties that used to be subject to the Voting Rights Act reduced their number of polling places on average 2.6 percent from 2012 to 2016, compared to only a fifth of the rest of the jurisdictions in the country that closed 2.0 percent. Rapidly growing states like Arizona and Georgia closed around 150 polling places each, while a few states, including Virginia and South Carolina, opened additional polling places. VICE News also found that many of the closed polls were in neighborhoods with large minority populations within 18 counties in 13 states.
— KNOCK, KNOCK —
Who’s there? The Win Justice coalition. And its strategy is no joke.
The group is touting more than a million doors knocked as part of a seven-figure statewide canvass operation. It hopes to surpass the 1.3-million mark by Nov. 6.
The coalition is supporting Democrats at the top of the ticket like Nelson and Gillum, as well as Amendment 4 — the felon restoration push — and a “progressive ticket down the ballot.”
Coincidence?: Ahead of Gillum’s primary upset, the group passed the 500,000-door threshold, sharing a progressive message at every residence.
Familiar faces: Win Justice is comprised of SEIU, Planned Parenthood, Color of Change and Center for Community Change Action. It’s also looped in New Florida Majority, Organize Florida and Florida Immigrant Coalition Votes.
Expanding the base: “Canvass operations have been running in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Orange, Osceola, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Alachua, Leon, and Duval since earlier this year,” according to Win Justice. In part, it hopes to “engage infrequent voters in millennial, Gen Z, Black, and Latinx communities.” The program has nearly 1,600 staff and paid canvassers across 22 offices.
— STATEWIDE —
“State Senate now suing to stop federal harassment probe” via Florida Politics — A federal judge has set a hearing for next Tuesday in the state Senate’s lawsuit to put an end to an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigation into a top aide’s sexual harassment and retaliation claims. Rachel Perrin Rogers, the chief assistant to Senate Republican Leader and future Senate President Wilton Simpson, says former Sen. Jack Latvala repeatedly groped her and made unwelcome comments about her body over a four-year period. The Senate’s legal complaint, filled earlier this month, counters that “the ongoing EEOC action violates the Florida Senate’s sovereign and constitutional rights,” including “violat(ing) the Senate’s sovereign immunity.” The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. The Senate is first seeking a “temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction” to suspend that inquiry.
Insurance office postpones summit — Turns out that actually coping with the insurance side of a significant natural disaster trumps talking about it. “The Office of Insurance Regulation is postponing the 2018 OIR Summit to focus on the needs of those impacted by this disaster,” “Team OIR” said in a note circulated Tuesday. The reference, to belabor the point, was to Hurricane Michael. “Please stay tuned for additional details,” the note continued. “We appreciate your understanding as we continue to assist our neighbors in the Panhandle.” This year’s iteration of the annual summit was to have been held Oct. 24-25 in Tallahassee, featuring remarks by Sen. Jeff Brandes and Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier, and providing staff to brief industry players on the fine art of negotiating the regulatory structure. The office has been holding daily data calls for insurers to report claims to regulators. Additionally, “OIR team members will be actively working throughout the recovery phase with consumer advocates, industry stakeholders and entities licensed under OIR’s regulatory authority,” the agency website says.
“Workers’ comp rate hearing scrapped because of storm” via the News Service of Florida — Pointing to a need to stay focused on the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, the state Office of Insurance Regulation has canceled a public hearing on a proposed reduction in workers’ compensation insurance rates. The office will accept written comments until Oct. 26 about the proposed 13.4 percent average rate decrease, which would take effect in January. The National Council on Compensation Insurance, which proposes rates annually for workers’ compensation insurers, has said the proposal is in line with trends in other states.
“University performance funding set for changes” via Lloyd Dunkelberger of the News Service of Florida — Florida university leaders want to revise the system’s performance-funding model, looking to eliminate a dreaded “bottom three” that annually denies state money to the lowest-performing schools. In this academic year, Florida A&M University, the University of North Florida and New College of Florida missed out on shares of $265 million in state performance funding because they were ranked in the bottom three on a 100-point scale … even though two of them, Florida A&M and the University of North Florida, improved their performances on an evaluation in June, while New College maintained its performance level from the prior year. But that penalty would be eliminated under a plan discussed by the Budget and Finance Committee of the university system’s Board of Governors during a meeting in Tampa. The plan is a response to a new state law directing the university system to develop a “performance-based continuous improvement model focused on outcomes that provides for the equitable distribution of performance funds.”
“Zika cases rise; baby born with Zika syndrome” via the News Service of Florida — The number of reported Zika cases in Florida this year has increased to 80, while a baby has been born with a condition known as congenital Zika syndrome, according to newly updated information from the state Department of Health. The 80 cases reported Tuesday were up from 74 reported on Oct. 1, as a gradual increase in cases of the mosquito-borne disease continues. Zika is particularly dangerous to pregnant women because it can cause severe birth defects. The Department of Health said one baby has been born with the congenital Zika syndrome, which can involve brain damage and such conditions as microcephaly in which the skull has partially collapsed, according to a description on the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
— OPINIONS —
“Florida judge regrets sentencing man to die, says system is flawed” via Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel — Few things shore up a murder case like a confession. And in the case of a brutal double-murder in Seminole County, witnesses say a woman confessed to fatally stabbing the victims — the woman’s mother and grandmother — on five occasions. … Maybe it’s not shocking that a judge and jury convicted Clemente Javier Aguirre-Jarquin years ago — before someone else confessed and before evidence surfaced linking the confessor to the crime scene. … today, I can tell you about someone else who has stepped forward to say the effort to convict Aguirre-Jarquin has been fatally flawed — the judge who originally sentenced him to die.
“Joe Henderson: Supreme Court ruling brings out Mini-Me in Ron DeSantis” via Florida Politics — DeSantis hasn’t mentioned President Trump much now that the general election for Florida Governor is getting closer, but that might change after Monday’s stinging slap by the Florida Supreme Court at Gov. Scott. …. the state’s highest court ruled that Scott cannot nominate replacements for three justices set to retire at midnight on Jan. 8, 2019 … When in doubt, break out the boogeyman … DeSantis put on his best Mini-Me imitation after the ruling by quickly tweeting Gillum would be pressured by “out-of-state, radical groups” to appoint “activist judges” who would “legislate from the bench to fit their own ideology.” … I assume he means that would be any ruling with which he disagrees. … That is, of course, opposed to the good ol’ American conservative judges DeSantis would favor. … It’s the same fear-and-smear tactic President Trump used to push the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh … Anyone who opposed him, the president declared, and his supporters parroted, was part of a “liberal mob.”
— MOVEMENTS —
New and renewed lobbying registrations:
George Oscar Anderson, Southern Strategy Group: Waymo
Brian Ballard, Christina Brodeur, Ballard Partners: AshBritt, Windstorm Mitigation
Rachel Cone, Chris Dudley, Mercer Fearington, Seth McKeel, Clark Smith, Southern Strategy Group: Nucor Corporation
Megan Fay, Chris Schoonover, Nick Iarossi, Ashley Kalifeh, Ron LaFace, Capital City Consulting: Hygea Holdings
Paul Mitchell, Southern Strategy Group: IOA Re
Sean Pittman, Pittman Law Group: Uber Technologies and Affiliates
— ALOE —
“Uber proposals value company at $120 billion in possible IPO” via Liz Hoffman, Greg Bensinger and Maureen Farrell of The Wall Street Journal — That eye-popping figure is nearly double Uber’s valuation in a fundraising round just two months ago and more than General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV are worth combined. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley last month delivered the valuation proposals to Uber. These documents, which typically advise on how to position shares to potential investors, are a common step before banks are formally hired to underwrite IPOs. Bank presentations show Uber gathering momentum toward an IPO that is among the most hotly anticipated on Wall Street and Silicon Valley and could come sooner than expected as the new-issue market sizzles.
“Disney World raises theme-park parking prices” via Dewayne Bevil — The parking fee at Walt Disney World’s four theme parks has increased as of Tuesday. The standard charge is now $25, up from $22. It’s the second hike in parking charges at the resort this year. Preferred parking — slots closer to the entrance of the attractions — was increased to $50, up from $45. The changes coincide with Disney’s increased prices for its annual passes and a new date-specific strategy for theme-park admission. The changes coincide with Disney’s increased prices for its annual passes and a new date-specific strategy for theme-park admission.
Happy birthday to state Rep. Kristin Jacobs, former Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, Mark Hollis, former Rep. Scott Randolph, and Ray Seaman.