Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.
By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Daniel McAuliffe, Jim Rosica, and Drew Wilson.
Good morning. Let’s begin the day with two scoops.
(Yes, that is a weird gif, but it works!)
The first is a big get for the Gwen Graham campaign.
“For too long, too many Floridians have been left behind by their governor and the politicians in Tallahassee. Our communities have been forgotten, our voting rights have been attacked and our civil rights weakened,” Joyner said. “Enough is enough. In 2018, we are going to reverse the trend and elect a Democrat who will fight for all Floridians — and that governor will be Gwen Graham.
Joyner served in the state Legislature for 16 years beginning in 2000, though her impressive CV includes becoming the first black attorney in Polk County, the first black female attorney in Hillsborough County and the longest practicing black female lawyer in Florida history. … “Senator Arthenia Joyner is a living legend and trailblazer. She has dedicated her life to fighting for Florida families — and it is an honor to have her support,” Graham said.
The second scoop is veteran communications pro Stephen Lawson is joining the Ron DeSantis campaign.
From “rapid response director” on Gov. Rick Scott’s 2014 campaign, to Enterprise Florida, to the to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, to VISIT FLORIDA, Lawson has worked in several positions quite a bit over the last four years.
On Monday, he made another jump: Communications Director for DeSantis’ gubernatorial campaign.
DeSantis campaign manager Brad Herold made the announcement Monday evening, saying that the campaign would be making a load of hires ahead of the Aug. 28 Republican primary contest, where DeSantis holds a major polling advantage and is eating away at the cash advantage of his lone opponent, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.
“I’m proud to have a seasoned communications professional like Stephen join our team as our campaign continues to build momentum,” Herold said. “Stephen’s experience helping reelect Governor Scott shows he knows how to communicate a strong, conservative, winning message to voters across Florida. We look forward to continuing to share Ron’s vision for making Florida the best state in the country as its next Governor.”
— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —
–@RealDonaldTrump: While I know it’s “not presidential” to take on a lowlife like Omarosa, and while I would rather not be doing so, this is a modern day form of communication and I know the Fake News Media will be working overtime to make even Wacky Omarosa look legitimate as possible. Sorry!
–@BrianStelter: Even with all this media attention, Omarosa’s book still has not cracked the top 10 on Amazon’s best-selling books page. Right now it’s at #17… Bob Woodward’s ‘Fear’ is at #11, and it’s not out for another month…
–@Fineout: Before campaign stop in Gadsden County @ says he will likely meet with SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh in the next 2 weeks. Still has not made up his mind. Says he votes for who he thinks “will enforce the law.”
–@Scott_Maxwell: Now I love me some @J I have the 2-disc “Meet me in Margaritaville” in my car & Landshark in the fridge. But man, with his recent guv endorsement track record (McBride, Sink, etc.), it’s more like “Why Don’t We Get Endorsed … and Get Screwed.”
–@AnaCeballos_: @Adamputnam‘s political committee weekly campaign finance report shows he has raised a little over $54,000, the lowest weekly total since the 2018 election cycle began.
–@MDixon55: Dems (more than one) have been sending these emails all cycle not realizing the degree to which reporters giggle at the idea of spox people (spoxes?) telling them how to ask questions
–@CarlosGSmith: Some relief for the fam of #, but the fact his murderer was able to use ‘Stand Your Ground’ to avoid arrest for so long is absurd. We all know he’s still gonna try to use SYG as a get outta murder free card to avoid trial.
–@SShawFL: Neither of the two major Rs running to replace Scott, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis and Ag Comm. Adam Putnam, commented on the arrest, nor did current Attorney General Pam Bondi or the two R candidates vying to succeed her, Pensacola state Rep. Frank White and Ashley Moody…
–@MarcACaputo: This isn’t to say the law is perfect. But part of the problem in this Stand Your Ground case is the Tampa Bay Times favorite sheriff just so happened to share its incorrect bias against the law and didnt charge the shooter. But the prosecutor today set that straight by charging
–@MearKat00: To every Floridian who is standing on a street corner waving a campaign sign in 1000° weather with 110% humidity… I salute you.
— LATEST TURNOUT FIGURES —
— DAYS UNTIL —
Start of the U.S. Open — 13; Primary Election Day — 14; College Football opening weekend — 16; Labor Day — 20; Gubernatorial candidates must choose a running mate — 23; NFL regular season starts — 23; First general election mail ballots go out — 39; Future of Florida Forum — 43; FSU vs. UM football game — 53; ‘Before You Vote’ Florida U.S. Senate debate — 70; ‘Before You Vote’ Florida Governor debate — 71; General Election Day — 84; 2019 Legislature Organization Session meetings — 98; Black Friday — 101; Florida Chamber Insurance Summit — 105; ‘Hamilton’ comes to the Straz Center — 182; 2019 Legislative Session starts — 203; 2020 General Election — 812.
— THIS IS WHY DEMOCRATS LOSE —
“Democrats more positive about socialism than capitalism” via Gallup – Attitudes toward socialism among Democrats have not changed materially since 2010, with 57% today having a positive view. The major change among Democrats has been a less upbeat attitude toward capitalism, dropping to 47% positive this year.
— “Democratic socialism is a scam” via Giancarlo Sopo for Quillette
— NELSON VS. SCOTT —
“Where is Bill Nelson?” via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times – Nelson (did) several events in the Panhandle (Monday), we’re told, after initial publication of this item. The campaign says Nelson was doing ad production work on Friday and Saturday. Nelson has remained out of public view since raising alarms about Russian hacking last Wednesday. His campaign isn’t responding to reporters and Nelson hasn’t commented except for a statement released from his Senate office just before 5 p.m. Friday. “I and several of my Senate colleagues are trying to make sure Florida officials are aware of the ongoing Russian threat so they take the steps necessary to safeguard our elections. It’s unfortunate that some Florida officials would try to use this issue for personal, political gain,” Nelson said.
“Nelson’s narrow lead with Florida Latinos worries Democrats” via Marc Caputo of POLITICO Florida – Nelson holds a narrow 44-41 percent lead over Gov. Rick Scott among Latino voters in Florida’s Senate race, according to a new poll that’s raising fresh concerns among Democrats that the incumbent is in a dicey position with a core group of voters he needs to carry by bigger margins. The poll of 400 Florida Hispanics, commissioned by a coalition of Democratic-leaning Latino outreach groups, showed Scott topped Nelson among Cuban-American voters, who tend to vote Republican, by 24 percentage points. But Nelson’s advantage over Scott among voters of Puerto Ricans, who tend to vote Democrat, was smaller: 7 points. For Democrats, those numbers are a problem for Nelson because a Republican who wins as much of the Hispanic vote as Scott is taking usually wins statewide in Florida. Democrats outnumbered Republicans in the survey by 40-33 percent. Still, they say, there’s time. But it’s running out.
— NOTES FROM THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL —
“Ron DeSantis, Matt Gaetz to campaign with Freedom Caucus founder Jim Jordan” via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times – Florida’s top two Trump supporters in Congress will campaign Saturday alongside Rep. Jim Jordan, who is making a push to be House speaker. Rep. Matt Gaetz, who is running for re-election, and Rep. Ron DeSantis, the Trump-backed candidate for governor, will make three stops in the Panhandle: Pensacola, Navarre and Destin. They’re calling it the Freedom Tour. Jordan has been embroiled in a controversy over whether he knew about sexual abuse of Ohio State wrestlers by a team doctor while he was an assistant coach there years ago. Jordan denies knowing anything. Last week, former wrestler Mark Coleman told CNN he no longer stands by his previous statement that Jordan must have known.
Happening today – DeSantis and CD 27 hopeful Bruno Barreiro will speak during a meeting of the Miami Young Republicans, 6:30 p.m., Cubaocho Museum, 1465 S.W. Eighth St., Miami.
“Adam Putnam pushes ‘Florida First’ message in new ad” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics – Putnam is out with a new TV spot, pushing his “Florida First” message as the GOP primary race for Governor nears a close. The 30-second ad, titled “God’s Country,” features several iconic images of the state as Putnam narrates what he views as the strengths of the state. “In Florida, anything is possible,” Putnam begins. “We launched a man to the moon. Our beaches bring the world to our doorstep and our farms feed the nation. The sunshine is bright in Florida because this is God’s country.” Putnam then pivots to his vision for Florida under his leadership. “Together we’ll make Florida the launchpad for the American Dream, cutting taxes and keeping government out of our way; ensuring our kids are career-ready; and attracting new industries. For me, it will always be Florida First.”
“Gwen Graham seeks Parrothead vote with Jimmy Buffett endorsement” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics – Graham is going after votes in Margaritaville: Musician and environmentalist Jimmy Buffett says he’s backing Graham’s gubernatorial campaign. The campaign announced the endorsement by Buffett on Monday. “Like her dad, Gwen will put the interests of everyday Floridians first,” Buffett said in a statement. “She has a heart for people and a passion for the Sunshine State. “She’ll protect our precious natural environment, ensure we have strong public schools and affordable health care. It’s been too long since we have had a Governor for all the people.” Buffett has been a staple in Florida since moving to Key West in the 1970s.
“Philip Levine: Jeff Greene attacking me because he doesn’t have a record” via Steve Contorno of the Tampa Bay Times – Levine on Monday said television stations should take down an “absolutely wrong” attack ad from the campaign of Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene. But he wouldn’t say if he would sue stations that don’t remove them. “We’ve got to get through this primary,” Levine said. “We want to win the primary. I want to win the governorship and we’ll deal with it at that point.” Levine sent a cease and desist letter to the television stations airing the campaign commercial. Greene’s campaign yesterday defended the ad.”We never claimed the images were from Biscayne Bay,” Greene spokeswoman Claire VanSusteren told the Miami Herald. Levine responded: “There should be truth in advertising.” “Unfortunately when you don’t have a record, and you want to tear someone else’s record down, but you’ve actually never done anything in that field and you resort to tactics that are untruthful and borderline fraudulent,” Levine said.
Assignment editors – Levine will be visiting political “hob nobs.” The event is 4:30 p.m., Tampa Convention Center, 333 S. Franklin St. A Lakeland event is 6:30 p.m., Rocking H Ranch, 2200 Ewell Road.
“Matt Caldwell’s gun rights ad draws NRA rebuke” via Jim Saunders of the News Service of Florida – An NRA-endorsed candidate for agriculture commissioner is “retooling” an ad after the gun-rights group said he made a “mistake” in assigning a failing grade to a primary opponent. Marion Hammer, the National Rifle Association’s longtime Florida lobbyist, requested that the endorsed candidate, Matt Caldwell, apologize for the ad against Republican primary opponent Denise Grimsley. Caldwell’s campaign recently sent out a print ad that assigned to Grimsley a “D” grade … But the gun-rights group … actually gave Grimsley, a state senator from Sebring, a grade of “B” that year, according to Hammer. “In order to avoid confusion, I asked my team to retool the ad this weekend, but we will not back down from the clear contrast between ourselves and our opponents when it comes to defending the Second Amendment,” Caldwell said in the statement.
Denise Grimsley announces more endorsements – The Republican candidate for Agriculture Commissioner on Monday added to her list of backers from the Legislature. They now include Sens. Dennis Baxley, Aaron Bean, Anitere Flores, George Gainer, Rene Garcia, Dorothy Hukill, Debbie Mayfield, David Simmons, Kelli Stargel, and Reps. Sam Killebrew, Cary Pigman, Elizabeth Porter, Charlie Stone and many former lawmakers, including former House Speakers Allan Bense, Dean Cannon, Larry Cretul and H. Lee Moffitt. “With my diverse background raising cattle, growing citrus, helping people, running a business and managing a budget, paired with my dedication to solving problems that face Florida, I know I am the most qualified and best candidate in this race, and I look forward to the opportunity to continue my work serving Floridians as their Commissioner of Agriculture,” Grimsley said in a statement.
“Felons’ rights drive gets major financial boost” via the News Service of Florida – A political committee leading efforts to pass a constitutional amendment about restoring felons’ voting rights received nearly $7 million in contributions during a week-long period in late July and early August, a new finance report shows. The committee Floridians for a Fair Democracy raised $6,988,054 from July 28 to Aug. 3 and had almost $7.1 million in cash on hand at the end of the period. The largest contribution, $3.4 million, came from the American Civil Liberties Union. But the committee also received six-figure checks from nine donors across the country. The proposal, which would require approval from 60 percent of voters to pass, comes after years of political and legal fights about restoring the rights of felons who have served their sentences.
“Ballot measure on county offices goes to Supreme Court” via the News Service of Florida – The 1st District Court of Appeal on Monday forwarded the dispute to the Supreme Court, pointing to a “question of great public importance” that it said needs “immediate resolution by the Supreme Court of Florida.” The dispute stems from a proposed constitutional amendment that the state Constitution Revision Commission placed on the Nov. 6 ballot. The measure, known as Amendment 10, would make the five local constitutional offices — sheriff, tax collector, supervisor of elections, clerk of the court and property appraiser — mandatory and require elections for the offices in all 67 counties. It would also prohibit charter counties from abolishing or modifying those offices. While it is somewhat unusual for the appeals court to quickly pass cases to the Supreme Court, it took a similar step last week in a dispute about a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at banning greyhound racing at Florida dog tracks.
— NOTES FROM THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL, PART 2 —
“Al Lawson leads Alvin Brown by 22 points, according to new poll” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — If the election in Florida’s 5th Congressional District were held today, U.S. Rep. Al Lawson would cruise to victory, according to a St. Pete Polls survey of the race released Monday. A survey of 445 likely Democratic primary voters shows Lawson with 50 percent of the vote, with opponent Alvin Brown at 28 percent. The balance of voters are undecided. The margin of error is 4.6 percent. … Lawson has strong leads of 15 percent and up among all surveyed demographics with appreciable data: whites and blacks, men and women, and every age cohort. … Among those who already voted (13 percent), Lawson is up 52-42; among those yet to vote (87 percent), Lawson’s lead balloons to 49-26. … The winner of the primary election will face Republican Virginia Fuller, a first-time candidate without an appreciable campaign infrastructure.
Darren Soto gets nurses’ backing – National Nurses United, the nation’s largest registered nurses organization, endorsed the Orlando-area Democratic congressman on Monday. Soto is seeking re-election to his 9th Congressional District seat. He was described in the organization’s press release as someone who “embodies nurses’ values of caring, compassion and community.”
“Neil Combee takes lead in CD 15 Republican primary, poll shows” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics — Combee isn’t leading by double digits, as a recent poll commissioned by his campaign showed, but he does have an outside the margins lead in the Republican primary for Florida’s 15th Congressional District. … According to a new survey from St. Pete Polls, Combee has the support of nearly 36 percent of likely primary voters followed by Dover state Rep. Ross Spano at 30 percent. … Combee’s 6-point lead mainly comes from running up the score among the two-thirds of Republicans who said they plan to vote but haven’t cast their ballot yet. Among the third who have already voted, his lead over Spano shrinks to 36-35 percent … Spano’s slippage compared to past polls can likely be attributed to the “mild cardiac event” he suffered late last month … though he’s recovered, the health scare kept him grounded from campaigning for at least a week during the critical leadup to primary Election Day. He has since come back to the campaign trail at full force, announcing his first 30-second TV spot on Friday.
“Julio Gonzalez releases video deposition in malpractice case” via John Kennedy of the GateHouse Capital Bureau – Gonzalez, an orthopaedic surgeon, is not personally named in the suit and initially opposed release of the deposition in the case involving John Green, a patient who died in 2015. Green’s widow, Ruth, is suing the Orthopaedic Center of Venice and Dr. Tracy Ng for alleged malpractice after her husband suffered an infection and died following treatment for a broken arm. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported on the case over the weekend and Gonzalez – in releasing the deposition – blasted the paper for coverage and accused his Republican primary rival, state Sen. Greg Steube of Sarasota, of planting the story.
“Labor unions back Lauren Baer in CD 18” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics – Baer is touting a series of endorsements from labor unions as she continues to campaign for Brian Mast‘s seat in Florida’s 18th Congressional District. Baer already earned the backing of the AFL-CIO Florida chapter. Now, at least eight other unions have thrown their support behind the Baer campaign. Those organizations range from local to international representation and show strong support of Baer’s campaign as she competes with former Navy JAG Pam Keith for the Democratic nomination. “At a time when workers’ rights are increasingly under assault, I am proud to have the endorsement of the Florida AFL-CIO and a growing list of unions, representing workers from every segment of the economy,” Baer said.
Spotted: CD 18 candidate Pam Keith in “Female veterans run for US Congress in record numbers to solve America’s ‘leadership crisis” via The Daily Telegraph of London – Keith defended troops who were court-martialed … The candidates are part of a new wave of female veterans who want to be on Capitol Hill after the 2018 mid-terms in November. Currently just four of the 535 sitting senators and congressmen are women who served in the military. But in this cycle no fewer than 32 have ran for office … For Ms. Keith, a 49-year-old former naval lawyer, having a military background could help women political candidates smash through the stereotypes that still hold sway today. She spent much of the 1990s as a naval judge advocate, defending sailors who were facing everything from expulsion to discrimination cases. Now running for Florida’s 18th district, she hopes her background can avoid the gendered slurs that Hillary Clinton, the former Democratic presidential candidate, faced in 2016.
— NOTES FROM THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL, PART 3 —
“Internal poll gives Robert Doyel a 5-point lead over Kelli Stargel in SD 22” via Bill Rufty of Florida Politics — Retired Circuit Judge Robert Doyel has the largest competitive edge of any of the six Republican-held Senate seats specifically targeted by the Florida Democratic Party, according to a recent internal survey. … FDP’s internal poll numbers show Doyel has a higher name recognition in his district than any other Democratic Senate candidate in a targeted race at 54 percent … The internal survey also shows Doyel with a 5-point advantage over incumbent Republican Sen. Kelli Stargel, 45-40 percent, giving him the heretofore largest lead among the six contested races… The Winter Haven Democrat is running for Senate District 22, which covers northern Polk County and southern Lake County. … In addition to SD 22, the state party is targeting Gainesville-based SD 8, Pinellas and Pasco-based SD 16, Tampa-based SD 18, St. Petersburg-based SD 24 and Hialeah-based SD 36.
“Jeff Brandes up big in first SD 24 poll since Lindsay Cross tagged in” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics – Knocking off St. Pete Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes was always a long shot, and the first measure of the race since Lindsay Cross subbed in for Carrie Pilon shows those slim chances dwindling further. According to a new survey from St. Pete Polls, Brandes has the support of nearly 39 percent of Senate District 24 voters, giving him a better than 2-to-1 lead over Cross, who was the pick for an even 19 percent of those polled. With 42 percent of voters undecided, there’s room for growth for both candidates. Brandes is a known quantity to 59 percent of SD 24 voters, and they find him favorable by a margin of 39-20. Cross, meanwhile, is known by just 27 percent of the district and those who offered their opinion gave her a somewhat lukewarm 21-16 favorability rating.
“Orange Republicans pick George Chandler to run in HD 48” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – Chandler, 62, of Orlando, is the county Republican’s choice as the replacement candidate for Scotland Calhoun, who initially filed in June to run for the post but withdrew two weeks ago after officials learned she is too young to qualify, not turning 21 until next spring. If all goes well, Chandler will enter the Nov. 6 election battle with incumbent Democratic state Rep. Amy Mercado of Orlando. The latest voter registrations show the district is strongly Democrat: 47 percent of registered voters are Democrats; 17 percent are Republicans … He is a real estate agent, and a former officer for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and for the U.S. Department of Justice, who had, as a young man, served in the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry.
— “LGBTA group endorses Karen Skyers for HD 61” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics
“Melissa Howard admits to lying about degree but says she won’t quit race” via Zac Anderson of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune – Howard admitted Monday that she lied about having a degree from Miami University, apologized and declared she intends to stay in a race that has drawn national attention after it came out she was displaying a fake diploma and had gone to great lengths to deceive people about her college credentials. “I would like to apologize to my family and my supporters for this situation,” Howard said in a statement. “It was not my intent to deceive or mislead anyone. I made a mistake in saying that I completed my degree. What I did was wrong and set a bad example for someone seeking public service. I am staying in the race and intend to win and lead by example from now on.” Howard did not address the question about how she obtained a diploma stating she has a degree in marketing from Miami University, a degree the school doesn’t even offer. Howard’s admission means there is now no question the diploma is a fake, but it’s unclear who forged the document.
FMA PAC endorses Michael Grieco in House District 113 – The Florida Medical Association PAC (FMA PAC) Monday endorsed the Democrat in his race for HD 113. “Grieco has a proven record of working hard for his constituents and we look forward to working with him to enhance and improve health care for Florida patients,” said Dr. Mike Patete, FMA PAC President. Grieco said, “As the son of an MD and a longtime member of both the Mount Sinai and Nicklaus Children’s Hospitals Foundations, I promise to not let the medical community down in Tallahassee.” HD 113 is in Miami-Dade County. It’s an open seat currently held by state Rep. David Richardson, a Miami Beach Democrat running for Congress.
“Gov. Scott declares state of emergency because of red tide outbreak in Southwest Florida” via Chad Gillis of the News-Press – The declaration will provide funding and resources for Sarasota, Pinellas, Hillsborough and Manatee … A strong red tide has lingered along the Southwest Florida coast since October, at times stretching from Tampa Bay to the Florida Keys. It has killed manatees, hundreds of sea turtles and an untold amount of fish measured in the millions of pounds. Lee County will receive $900,000 in grants for cleanup, bringing total red tide grant funding for Lee County to more than $1.3 million. Mote Marine Laboratory will receive $100,000 to help with animal rescues and VISIT FLORIDA will receive $500,000 to create an emergency grant program to help communities promote tourism. Biologists and scientists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission also will be available to assist in cleanup and animal rescue efforts, according to a news release by the governor’s office.
“A hurricane may be only way to get rid of red tide, expert says” via Nicole Rodriguez of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune – The killer menace, which has turned the emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico into a soft-drink brown hue and transformed pristine white sand beaches into ghastly graveyards of rotting sea turtles, manatees, dolphins and whale sharks in recent weeks, doesn’t look like it will loosen its grip on the area, scientists say. A major weather system — such as a hurricane — could potentially rid Southwest Florida of the persistent bloom … The tropics, however, remain quiet, and U.S. forecasters say the Atlantic hurricane season may be less active than they previously predicted, thanks to cooler waters in the Atlantic Ocean, stronger wind shear and drier air — all factors that suppress storms.
— STATEWIDE —
“Economists find good news for schools, bad news for Medicaid” via Michael Moline of Florida Politics – State economists on Monday found millions of extra dollars for the state’s public schools, but also a $29 million shortfall in takings from tobacco taxes and a landmark legal settlement with the tobacco companies. The Revenue Estimating Conference projected that $128.4 million would remain unspent at the end of this fiscal year … That means the Legislature will start out in the black when setting school spending priorities for the 2019-2020 fiscal year, said Amy Baker, coordinator for the Florida Office of Economic and Demographic Research. On the other hand, the outlook for Medicaid — the primary recipient of the tobacco money — “is not good news. It’s showing that they actually have a projected hard deficit,” Baker said.
Happening today – The Florida Elections Commission will consider a proposed legislative budget request and a legislative recommendation, 9 a.m., 1st District Court of Appeal, 2000 Drayton Dr., Tallahassee.
“How prosecutors decided to charge Michael Drejka, shooter in controversial stand your ground case” via Kathryn Varn and Zachary Sampson of the Tampa Bay Times – The case is likely to hinge on whether Drejka did, in fact, have reasonable fear for his life when he shot McGlockton, who had shoved him to the ground upon seeing Drejka yell at his girlfriend. The first filing offers a window into why prosecutors believe Drejka did not have reason to pull the trigger, noting his “confrontational” approach and the distance between him and McGlockton, who had turned away when Drejka pulled out his gun. As investigators continued looking into the case, they heard from another man, Richard Kelly, who said Drejka had threatened to shoot him in the same parking lot over the same handicap-reserved spot months before. They also learned of two police reports, which did not lead to any arrests but involved people accusing Drejka of showing a gun in road rage incidents.
— MEET CRUMP —
Six years ago, he represented the parents of Trayvon Martin. Today he’s advocating for those who were close to Markeis McGlockton, the man gunned down in Clearwater last month.
Attorney Benjamin Crump is described by peers as “the real deal” when it comes to advocating for civil rights, both in the court of law and the court of opinion.
“Ask people who know him best, and they will tell you Crump’s ascension is rooted in a moral conviction to vigorously oppose racial injustice,” writes Dan Sullivan for the Tampa Bay Times.
Spotlight: When Crump takes a case like Martin’s or McGlockton’s, he wages two fights. “Ben realized that there are two courtrooms,” another attorney tells Sullivan. “And he knew that the media can be used to force the courts to do something.”
Sharpton’s words: “I thought when we lost Johnnie Cochran, in my lifetime we’d never see the likes of that again,” Sharpton said at a recent rally with Crump. “But I’ve been all over the country and Benjamin Crump is the Johnnie Cochran of our generation.”
Worth noting: At the rally Sullivan attended, he observed, “Some fans bore the image of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But not all of them. Some instead carried a picture of Crump.”
— D.C. MATTERS —
“Immigration cases tossed in fallout from high court ruling” via Amy Taxin of The Associated Press – Immigration courts from Boston to Los Angeles have been experiencing fallout from a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that has caused some deportation orders to be tossed and cases thrown out, bringing more chaos to a system that was already besieged by ballooning dockets and lengthy backlogs. Since the decision was issued in June, immigration attorneys have been asking judges to throw out their clients’ cases. Some immigration judges have refused to issue deportation orders for immigrants. And in a recent case in Washington state, a Mexican farmworker had an indictment for illegally re-entering the country tossed out. It isn’t clear how many people’s immigration cases could be affected. Some immigration judges have denied attorneys’ requests, but others in states including Tennessee, New Jersey and California have granted them.
“New coalition plans seven-figure campaign aimed at Puerto Rican voters” via Ed O’Keefe of CBS News – Critics of the Trump administration’s response to the hurricanes that ravaged Puerto Rico last year are launching a seven-figure campaign to mobilize displaced Puerto Rican voters ahead of the midterm elections – and planning big demonstrations in New York and Florida to mark the anniversary of Hurricane Maria. The events are part of a new project launched by the Latino Victory Project (LVP), a liberal group that supports Latino Democratic political candidates and works to register and mobilize Latinos to vote, and Power 4 Puerto Rico (P4P), an upstart organization that has spent the last year working to draw more attention to the stunted recovery on the island.
“Marco Rubio looks for his place in Trump’s Republican Party” via Lisa Mascaro of the Associated Press – The once-rising star used to be criticized for being in too much of a hurry, but now he’s hunkered down in the Senate with nothing, it seems, but time. … [P]eople who have observed Rubio during his career see a more mindful, even liberated, politician who no longer carries the weight of being “The Republican Savior,” as Time magazine once called the charismatic young son of immigrants. Instead, the 47-year-old is keeping his head down and doing the grunt work of governing, answering head-on the criticism that he was more flash than substance as a candidate.
Spotted: Rubio in “A Tea Party movement to overhaul the Constitution is quietly gaining steam” via Time – Most supporters of a convention of states say the process is necessary for states to wrestle power back from Congress and the courts … The Constitution notes that three-quarters of all states must ratify any amendments proposed at a convention … Republican skeptics mainly worry that gun rights enumerated in the Second Amendment could come under siege. Democrats are concerned largely about how constitutional tinkering might affect issues like abortion and immigration … On the other side, the movement for a convention of states has won major endorsements from Republican leaders and conservative personalities across the country, including … Rubio, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
Assignment editors – The Marion County Children’s Alliance and the Marion County Heroin/Opioid Task Force will host an opioid crisis roundtable, with special guest U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster. That’s at 11:30 a.m., Marion County Sheriff’s Office Jail/Visitation Administration Building, 3300 NW 10th St., Ocala.
— OPINIONS —
“Joe Henderson: What’s reasonable? ‘Stand Your Ground’ trial may provide answer” via Florida Politics – Under the heading “justifiable use of force,” it says deadly force is permissible if a person “reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.” But state Sen. Dennis Baxley, a long-time champion of gun rights and the NRA, told Politico, the law uses a “reasonable-person standard. It’s not that you were just afraid.” I imagine Drejka’s attorney will have a different take. A “reasonable person” might conclude Drejka was scared out of his wits. And the twist to SYG now is that prosecutors will have to prove that wasn’t true, no matter what the video shows or seems to show. That is exactly what backers of that law had in mind when they pushed it through the Legislature in 2017.
— MOVEMENTS —
Personnel note: Amanda Gorman joins Adams St. Advocates – The Tallahassee-based governmental affairs and business development consulting firm announced her hiring on Monday. Most recently, Gorman was at the Department of Management Services in the Legislative Affairs office. Before that, she was a campaign fundraiser for Gov. Scott’s re-election and later served nearly three years in his administration. The Tallahassee native is a graduate of Florida State University with a master’s degree in Applied American Politics and Policy, and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Affairs, with a focus in Philosophy. Claudia Davant, president of Adams St. Advocates said “Amanda’s impressive background and experience in both the government and private sectors will tie in nicely with the forward-thinking advocacy services we offer our clients.”
— ALOE —
Happy birthday to John Konkus and Meredith Stanfield.