Jack Latvala Archives - Page 2 of 35 - Florida Politics

Mitch Perry Report for 11.29.16 — Will President Trump ‘terminate’ Obama deal with Cuba?

The first regularly scheduled flight in more than 50 years flew from Miami to Havana yesterday morning, just in time to begin the formal mourning for Fidel Castro, which leads to the question du jour — What will Donald Trump do with the Cuba-U.S. relations?

The President-elect tweeted that “If Cuba is unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban people, the Cuban/American people and the U.S. as a whole, I will terminate deal.”

To date, Cuba hasn’t appeared to reciprocate very much in terms of the U.S.’s lifting of travel, banking, and commercial sanctions. The White House pushes back on that, but that is very much the perception, and that’s why Trump is saying Raul Castro needs to do something to ensure the new policy stays in place.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest also said with so many American companies now doing business in Cuba, it won’t be so easy to roll back the Obama policies. That includes 110 flights daily from the U.S. to Cuba from various American cities, including Tampa, that will soon commence.

You could argue that when Trump gets his national security team in place, Cuba will rank far below other hot spots they will be concerned about, with Syria, Afghanistan, the Middle East, China, and Russia taking the lead.

Yet Fidel’s death puts this situation in his face — and ours.

Like so much else with the PEOTUS, what will his foreign policy be, especially from such a business-oriented individual? It sounds lame, but nobody really has the answer now. Or do you?

In other news …

Luis Viera and Jim Davison will debate tonight in New Tampa. Viera has now raised more than five times as much money than Davison in the race, for whatever that’s worth in this small local election.

Jack Latvala is still upset that a handful of NFL players are choosing to sit down during the playing of the national anthem.

Although there are through analyses that debunk the theory that President Obama’s diplomatic moves towards Cuba alienated the Cuban-American community in this month’s presidential election, strident  Castro critic Ralph Fernandez thinks otherwise.

And House Minority Leader Janet Cruz says she’s good with the new rules voted on last week by the entire House that came from Speaker Richard Corcoran — except for that thing about allowing members to bring guns onto the floor.

Jack Latvala still upset about NFL players sitting during national anthem

Two weeks ago, Republican Jack Latvala posted a statement on his Facebook page blasting Tampa Bay Buccaneer wide receiver Mike Evans for choosing to sit on the bench during the playing of the national anthem. A day later, after being barraged with a firestorm of criticism, Evans said he would no longer do so.

Now, the Clearwater state Senator is calling on the public to sign a petition informing the National Football League that they proudly stand for the anthem.

“If NFL players are going to sit, let’s all sit,” Latvala wrote on his Facebook page Monday afternoon. “Sit on our wallets instead of spending money on NFL tickets and merchandise. Sit in our homes or somewhere else on Sunday instead of NFL stadiums. Sign our petition to tell the NFL that you proudly stand for our National Anthem.”

Only a small group of players have followed the lead of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision during the pre-season to sit during the anthem. Kaepernick says he is doing so to protest the treatment of blacks by law enforcement and the larger society. One of those players on Sunday who sat was Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane, who did so in Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium, situated across the bay from Latvala’s senate district.

While Latvala has received plenty of “thumbs-up” on his page indicating support for his position, he has also received some criticism, not surprising considering how emotional the issue is for some people.

“Are we now in a police state or is this still the United States of America,” asked Judy Micco. “We have so many more issues on which to spend our time and energy.”

But James Barker agreed, writing,” Do not tune into NFL – I enjoy the time not wasted on NFL any longer – enjoy our beaches instead!”

With NFL television ratings below the standard in recent years, there has been speculation that fans turned off by Kaepernick’s actions have been boycotting watching the league.  Others say the ratings were down because of the excitement about the presidential election.

A Yahoo/YouGov Poll conducted last month showed that 29 percent of NFL fans said they were watching less pro football than in recent years, which 40 percent blamed the national anthem protests. It was an especially popular reason for those 55 and over, with 53 percent of that demographic citing protests as their main reason for boycotting the league.

Mitch Perry Report for 11.16.16 — Who will be our next Secretary of State?

Now that the shock is starting to wear off over Donald Trump’s stunning upset in the presidential election a week ago, the biggest story in national politics is what he intends to do with his enormous power and who will help him do it.

That means the selection of cabinet officers, with the most high-profile position being that of secretary of state.

George W. Bush picked Colin Powell immediately after winning the recount election in late 2000; Barack Obama picked Hillary Clinton quick after his election in 2008 — what does Donald do?

The two names floated for the position are not being welcomed with universal approval, to say the least. I’m talking about Rudy Giuliani and John Bolton.

Because of his passionate advocacy for Trump during the campaign season (to put it politely), Rudy apparently has the pick of the litter of jobs in the new administration, and he wants State. But what’s his experience there? Apparently it consists of giving a lot of speeches and consulting work.

Then there’s his business background, which includes lobbying for Citgo, a U.S.-based subsidiary of the Venezuelan oil conglomerate, as well as business with Qatar, which could be problematic when he has his confirmation hearing before the Senate.

Then there’s the decision to invade Iraq, arguably the biggest foreign policy debacle in the U.S. since Vietnam.

Trump stood out during the campaign for his strident opposition to it, boasting he was always against it. Though that claim was disputed, the more salient point was how, more than any other Republican running in the race, he assailed the war in incendiary terms, freaking out some of the GOP establishment (i.e. Jeb Bush and friends).

Rudy was for the war. So was Bolton. Bigly.

Again, this comes down to: What Does Donald Believe? If he thinks that the invasion of Iraq was such a horrible thing, how could he choose as his top emissary to the world somebody who fervently believed it was the right thing to do?

Maybe this is a big head feint, or maybe there isn’t any prominent person in the GOP who was against the war with the credentials and gravitas to lead at State? It’s one of the many, many questions the whole world will be interested in learning about very rapidly.

In other news …

Dan Rather was in St. Petersburg last Friday night. The 85-year-old reporter said we’re now in a “post-truth” era.

For the first time in his time as president, Barack Obama endorsed more than 150 Democrats running for legislative seats around the nation. In Florida, he backed 13 Dems — and at best will come out 6-7 on those picks.

The Tampa Bay Bucs’ Mike Evans heard enough negative feedback, no doubt, to have a change of heart about sitting down for the national anthem in the Trump era. Among his leading critics was Pinellas County state Sen. Jack Latvala.

Lisa Montelione is backing Luis Viera to succeed her in the Tampa City Council District 7 seat.

Pam Bondi and attorneys general in four other states and the District of Columbia announced a deal regarding ticket pricing with the NFL.

 

Jack Latvala message heard: Bucs Mike Evans to resume standing for anthem

After igniting a firestorm of criticism for his decision to sit down during the playing of the national anthem Sunday to protest Donald Trump’s election, Tampa Bay Buccaneer wide receiver Mike Evans said on Tuesday that going forward he will focus on “more effective ways to communicate my message,” and will stand with his teammates once again this coming Sunday.

In a statement, the Bucs receiver began by apologizing to all members of the military, their families, and the fans who he offended, saying that was never his intention.

“I have very strong emotions regarding some of the many issues that exist in our society today,” he said. “I chose to sit as an expression of my frustration towards this year’s election. It was very personal for me, as it was for so many Americans.”

But the 23-year-old from Galveston added he won’t be sitting out the anthem this coming Sunday in Kansas City, saying, “I want to focus my efforts on finding more effective ways to communicate my message and bring about change by supporting organizations and movements that fight for equal rights for minorities. This Sunday, I will be back to standing with my teammates.”

Clearwater GOP state Sen. Jack Latvala lashed out at Evans on Monday in two posts on his Facebook page, writing that his decision to sit out the playing of the anthem was “a slap in the face to our veterans, our active duty military and every freedom-loving American in Tampa Bay. I am deeply offended and will not attend another Bucs game until Evans either apologies or is no longer on the team.”

To add insult to injury for Latvala and other critics, was the fact that Evans chose his form of dissent on the same day the NFL team honored military veterans was unacceptable.

“The military plays a special role in our community,” Latvala said. “We have 12,000 active duty military stationed at MacDill Air Force Base including the U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command, in addition to our more than 133,ooo retired military living here. We love and respect our military in Tampa Bay. Evans, who makes $3.6 million a year to play football, needs to better understand what we stand for here in Tampa Bay. I call on Buccaneer fans and our community to send him a loud message.”

The fact that Evans didn’t vote in last week’s election also angered some citizens.

Meanwhile, Latvala, never one to not stake out a position, received hundreds of “likes” on his Facebook page for his comments, but also took in his share of negative responses.

“If Donald Trump can say ANYTHING, no matter how hurtful, against a war hero like John McCain, against disabled people, against women, and you are OK with that, a man standing up (by sitting) for human rights is a breath of fresh air,” wrote Ginger Tatarzewski.

“As a Army Gulf War veteran, I can say I’m not exactly happy but certainly not offended,” wrote Bryan Parker. “I fought for everyone’s freedom of speech and I stand behind Mike Evans and anyone else’s right to not stand during the anthem. Why don’t you do us all a favor and come down off your high horse.”

“Evans didn’t swear an oath. Why should he have to stand?,” wrote Tasha Torrid. “They don’t play the silly anthem when I go to work, now it’s somehow part of his job requirement? He was hired to throw a ball, not worship some magical sky cloth.”
There were also plenty who sided with Latvala.
“As a veteran, I feel it’s a slap in the face when I see someone sitting during the national anthem unless you are wheelchair bound,” said Steve Kaplan. “Most of these protesters don’t even know what they are protesting about. They are just a bunch of sheep; get over it.”
‘Thank you for your stance on this,” Constance Wentworth writes on. “Yes we have our First Amendment right, but Mike Evans did not vote, nor has he followed politics (by his own saying ) that is a huge slap in the face! I am donating my season tickets to the Wounded Warrior project! Maybe if he spent time around Our Veterans he will understand! Better yet go to a Veteran’s Funeral as they are handing that Folded Flag while playing the National Anthem to a Mother who lost her son, or a wife who lost her husband! Our Veterans stood for us, We should stand for them!”

Mitch Perry Report for 11.15.16 — The non-voters speak out

Mike Evans is feeling the heat today — and so is his employer, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Evans decision to sit during the playing of the national anthem before Sunday’s game at Raymond James Stadium versus the Chicago Bears to protest the election of Donald Trump as president is predictably receiving negative reviews in Tampa — the home of MacDill Air Force Base — and the country.

Among those critics is Clearwater Republican Sen. Jack Latvala, who says he’s “tired of it.”

Since this was the first time Evans has done this, I’m assuming the legislator is referring to other incidents of NFL players sitting or kneeling down for the anthem this season, beginning with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. 

Their motivations are different, of course; Kaepernick wanted to shine attention on protest brutality and racial injustices. Evans’ issue is with Trump, whose appeal to black voters during the campaign was “what the hell do you have to lose?” in comparison to backing Democrat Hillary Clinton.

One thing both men didn’t do last week was take the time to vote, which has angered some folks who are sympathetic to their flexing of their First Amendment rights. In that respect, they’re not a minority, as roughly 100 million eligible Americans also chose not to exercise their franchise last week.

Although some folks disturbed by that number have made suggestions that could improve that figure — like holding elections on a Sunday (like many other nations do and Louisiana does with their primary) or automatically restoring voters. The fact is that shy of making it mandatory, some Americans — even those who say they care about the process — often choose to blow it off, for whatever reason.

Kaepernick makes $19 million this year; Evans a little less than $4 million, which might make it a little easier to think that whomever is elected, it’s not really going to affect their livelihood. Kaepernick said Sunday it would have been hypocritical for him to vote.

“I said from the beginning I was against oppression, I was against the system of oppression,” he said. “I’m not going to show support for that system. And to me, the oppressor isn’t going to allow you to vote your way out of your oppression.”

When it was revealed last week that Kaepernick hadn’t voted, noted ESPN talking head Stephen A. Smith went off and said Kaepernick was a hypocrite.

“After all this noise that you made, even though you didn’t intended to do so, by offending our military service men and women, and pointing out about how you wanted to bring attention to racial injustices and beyond in this country, to turn around and not even take your behind to the polls to vote for a particular candidate, it is shameful! Absolutely shameful!”

In other news …

The Progressive Democratic Caucus of Florida wants Florida Republicans to denounce the appointment of former Breitbart News Executive Chairman Steve Bannon to Donald Trump’s administration.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz is calling on her Democratic colleagues to wear a safety pin on their clothes to demonstrate solidarity with those fearful of Trump being in power.

A spokesman for St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman says the door is open for Trump to visit his city, a year after he (jokingly) tweeted he wasn’t welcome.

Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans’ decision to sit down during the playing of the national anthem on Sunday to protest Donald Trump’s election isn’t going down in some quarters, including with state Sen. Jack Latvala.

Vern Buchanan has contacted Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, pushing for serious tax reform under the Trump administration

Former State House District 59 Rep. Ed Narain is the latest name being bandied as the possible next chairman of the Florida Democratic Party.

Cyril Spiro is endorsing Jim Davison over Luis Viera in that special Tampa City Council District 7 seat runoff.

Jack Latvala blasts Mike Evans for sitting down during national anthem

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans‘ decision to sit during the national anthem before Sunday’s game to protest Donald Trump’s election as president is provoking strong reaction, including fierce criticism from Republican state Sen. Jack Latvala.

“I support the First Amendment and everyone’s right to protest,” Latvala wrote on his Facebook page. “But to disrespect our flag and national anthem especially on the day of the team’s salute to veterans is completely uncalled for.”

Evans told reporters after the Bucs 36-10 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday he meant no disrespect to veterans.

“The men and women that have served this country, I’m forever indebted to them,” said Evans. “But the things that have been going on in America lately, I’m not going to stand for that.”

Evans isn’t the first NFL player to sit during the anthem during the 2016 season. Unlike Colin Kaepernick and others, however, Evans isn’t doing it to protest the treatment of blacks and other people of color. He’s protesting the new president-elect.

“I’m not going to stand for something I don’t believe in,” Evans said to reporters inside the locker room at Raymond James Stadium. “I’m not big on politics. I told myself, ‘If this happens, then America’s not right, right now.’ I said this a long time ago. When (Trump) ran, I thought it was a joke. And the joke continues. I’m not a political person that much, but I’ve got common sense. I know when something’s not right.”

Latvala says he’ll personally boycott attending Bucs games until Evans apologizes — or is cut or traded by the team.

“I am making the choice to exercise my right to protest by not setting foot in Raymond James Stadium until this young man either apologizes or is off the team!” he writes. “I hope others who feel the same way will join me.”

The Bucs said in a statement they “encourage all members of our organization to respectfully honor our flag during the playing of the national anthem. We also recognize every individual’s constitutional right to freedom of speech.”

A rundown of the real winners and losers from Florida’s general election

Tuesday’s slate of general elections in Florida certainly provided a list of winners and losers, and I’m not just talking about the candidates. Here is my list of the real winners and losers coming out of Election Day.

Winners

Rick Scott — The Naples Republican was an early backer of the president-elect, comparing Trump’s rise to his own 2010 gubernatorial run and even penning an op-ed way back in January saying Trump captured “the frustration of many Americans.” No doubt he’s taking notes for his own rumored 2018 U.S. Senate bid.

Blaise Ingoglia — Republicans keep their majority in the Florida House and Senate. Rubio easily re-elected to a second term. And Florida helps send Trump to the White House. It’s a good time to be the head of the Republican Party of Florida.

Joe Gruters — The Sarasota GOP chairman stood by Trump through a series of controversies, and will go down as one of his most loyal supporters. Bonus: He cruised to victory in House District 73, crushing his Democratic opponent.

Brian Ballard — It took him three tries to find his winning horse, but what a bonanza is now in store for him. The president-elect of the United States of America is his client, for goodness’ sakes. The only question now is to which country does Ballard wish to serve as ambassador.

Susie Wiles — Does she know how to pick them? Wiles was an early supporter of Trump, even taking over his Florida operations. Like Gruters, she’ll go down as one of his most loyal supporters.

Roger Stone — All in on Team Trump from Day 1. He issued an ominous warning in early October about the WikiLeaks dump. Did he have inside info? Maybe. But his prediction of a Trump presidency was on point.

Steve Crisafulli — The outgoing House speaker dedicated much of his time to helping Trump in Florida, raising money for the president-elect and helping bring Trump to the Space Coast for campaign rallies. Could Speaker Crisafulli be on a short list for an administration post? He has said he would consider an offer if one came along.

Meredith O’Rourke, Trey McCarley, Kris Money — When Republican campaigns want to raise money in the Sunshine State, these are the fundraisers they turn to. So it’s no surprise the Trump team turned to O’Rourke, McCarley, and Money to help raise campaign cash from Florida donors.

Richard Corcoran — There will be a lot of friendly faces when the speaker-designate officially takes charge in a few weeks. No Republican incumbents lost their re-election bid, and the GOP even picked up a few seats.

Florida Senate Leadership — In a “Fair Districts” environment, there was talk that the GOP majority in the upper chamber was in jeopardy. Hardly. It’s now 25-15 Republican with sometimes-not-a-team-player Miguel Diaz de la Portilla not coming back.

Gwen Graham — By default, she is now the leader of the opposition to Republican hegemony in Florida AND, truly, the Florida Democrats’ only hope for redemptionBob Buckhorn and Phillip Levine should announce today they are not running for governor so that the field is clear for Graham to go to war against Putnam/Weatherford/Corcoran/Latvala/Beruff.

Matt Gaetz — He was already on his way to Congress, but something tells me he will thrive in a Trump’s Washington D.C.

Carole Crist — Eight years after marrying Charlie, she finally gets to celebrate at an election night party.

John Morgan — The only expletive-filled rant you’ll hear from this medical marijuana advocate today will be one of joy.

Ben Pollara and Brian Franklin — Beat off a serious opposition campaign to help guide the 2016 medical marijuana ballot initiative to a decisive victory.

Costa Farms — Floridians gave a resounding “yes” to medical marijuana, and the Miami-Dade grower is well-positioned to get a big boost in business from the growing market.

AFP-Florida — Knocked on more than one million doors, talked with more than three million voters by phone, flooded the airwaves and filled Floridians’ mailboxes all in the name of taking down “Pay More Patrick.” Looks like Americans for Prosperity’s $2.5 million investment in Florida’s Senate race worked.

Marion Hammer — Diaz de la Portilla single-handedly kept major pro-gun legislation from being heard in the Florida Senate. With DLP out of the way, Hammer should be locked-and-loaded next legislative session.

Team Rubio — If you separate the man from his machine, you have to give props to Rubio’s vaunted campaign staff, which led the Republican to a 717,000-vote margin over Murphy. Credit goes to Alberto MartinezTodd Harris, and Heath and Malorie Thompson.

Matthew Van Name – Crist is not the easiest candidate to manage, but in his first time as a CM, Van Name quarterbacked the former governor to victory.

Team Curbelo — Give Chris MilesNicole Rapanos, and Roy Schultheis a hand for Rep. Carlos Curbelo’s resounding victory in Florida’s 26th Congressional District. They’re young; they’re smart and they’re fiercely dedicated to Curbelo.

Team Mast — Jose Mallea and Zach Burr were part of the formidable team that helped turn Florida’s 18th Congressional District back to red, sending Republican Brian Mast, a combat veteran and political newcomer to Washington. This is one congressional seat you can’t buy.

Rob Bradley — Behind the scenes, he was a chief surrogate and top fundraiser for Keith Perry‘s narrow victory over Rod Smith in state Senate District 8.

Joel Springer — Perhaps the most underrated political brain in Florida politics, but the man behind the GOP’s Senate campaign operations seems always to win.

James Blair — Going into Tuesday, the talk was that the GOP would lose as many as 10 (!) seats in the Florida House. Not under Blair’s watch, as he laid claim to the title of “the new Frank Terraferma.”

Marc Reichelderfer and Chris Spencer — The consultant and the campaign manager for Dana Young helped fend off a strong challenge from a smart, well-financed Democrat. Of course, Young worked her tail off as her campaign made personal contact with 85,000 SD 18 voters.

Consensus Communications — The firm had its hand in more than 20 key races across four states, creating dozens of winning TV spots, digital ads and mail pieces. In Florida, the firm worked with worked with candidates up and down the ticket. The firm played a role in the campaigns of incoming U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, state Sens. Keith Perry and Dana Young, state Reps. Jayer Williamson and Mike Miller, and Pam Gould for Orange County School Board. They also were involved in the Osceola School Tax initiative, and Orange County Charter Questions 1, 2, 3.

Front Line Strategies — Came out on top Tuesday with a host of wins in their back pockets. Winners included first-time candidates Bobby PayneChuck ClemonsByron DonaldsDon HahnfeldtStan McClain, and Bob Rommel. They also helped bring home victories for Reps. Bob Cortes, Manny DiazJay FantTom GoodsonMaryLynn MagarElizabeth Porter, and Jay Trumbull, and Sens. Dennis Baxley and Doug Broxson.

Tim Baker, Brian Hughes — Another day, another victory for Jacksonville’s dynamic duo, this time getting conservative Northeast Florida voters to sign off on the possibility of slots.

Anthony Pedicini and Tom Piccolo — If you are the tip of the spear in Tampa Bay for the speaker-designate, you don’t lack for work. The two GOP operatives enjoyed several victories for their House campaign clients. Also, an attagirl to Ryan Wiggins for her work in HD 60 and other races.

St. Pete Polls — Despite what Marc Caputo thinks :-), the little polling shop that could nail the outcomes of Crist versus Jolly, Smith versus Perry, and Buesing versus Young. And, don’t forget, it was the first poll (back in July 2015) to predict Trump would win Florida.

Christian Ulvert — A rare bright spot for the Democratic consulting class, chalking up wins for Jose Javier RodriguezRobert AscencioBen Diamond, and Nick Duran.

Florida’s sugar cane growers — After ending up on the receiving end of attacks from Florida’s environmental activists, candidates receiving support from sugar cane farming companies like U.S. Sugar and Florida Crystals won big Tuesday. Sugar industry lobbyists picked winning horses including Sens. Bill MontfordDana YoungKelli StargelDarryl RousonVic TorresBobby PowellGary FarmerDaphne CampbellDoug BroxsonGeorge GainerTravis HutsonRandolph BracyDennis BaxleyDorothy HukillJack LatvalaVictor TorresDebbie MayfieldEd RoussonRene Garcia, and Frank Artiles. In the House, candidates included Reps. Matt CaldwellRay RodriguesManny DiazPepe Diaz, and Holly Raschein.

Christina Johnson — The public affairs pro is $1,000 richer after winning bets against David Johnson that Trump would win Florida and the presidency.

Mixed bag

Marco Rubio — Good news? He won his re-election bid bigly. Bad news? With Trump on his way to the White House, he’s stuck with the job for the next six years.

Pam Bondi — All her hard work for Trump paid off, but it wasn’t all celebratory parties for Bondi. Her former boss, Mark Ober, lost his seat as the Hillsborough County State Attorney, in a tight, tight race.

Sarah Bascom — Any time your cousin loses a congressional race, it’s a tough night, but when you are the PR firm sending out the official statements from both the speaker-designate and the Senate president-designate (along with wins in CD 2, SD 18, and 40) things have a way of working themselves out.

Kevin Cate — Finally helps delivers a victory for Crist, but that “Clinton will win Florida in a landslide” prediction could haunt him.

Eric Johnson — The Democratic consultant could be in the losers column, but just the fact that he got Murphy — who was shown to be a highly flawed candidate — this far is a testament to how smart he is.

Jack Latvala — His ally DLP went down, and he was way out front in his opposition to Amendment 2, but that was a principled stand that may turn out to be very right once there are pot shops on every corner.

Editorial boards — Among Florida newspapers, only the Florida Times-Union endorsed Trump. But the ed boards were the de facto opposition campaign to Amendment 1, which failed to reach 60 percent.

My predictions — Last Wednesday on “The Usual Suspects,” I predicted Trump would win Florida by two or three points. But then I let Schale and Co. and those damn memos get into my head and I backed off my prediction. Grrr. Down-ballot, I called Rubio’s big win, the right percentage Amendment 2 received, Crist’s win over Jolly and Murphy’s win over Mica, DLP going down, and was the only person to suggest Amanda Murphy was in trouble. But I also predicted that some South Florida Republicans, including Mike Bileca, would lose.

The Biggest Loser

Scott Arceneaux — The Washington Generals won more than the Louisiana native, whose sole talent — beyond convincing otherwise smart people to hire him — is finding new ways to make the Florida Democratic Party less relevant each cycle.

Losers

Bill Nelson — Not that he thought he’d go unchallenged in 2018, but after last night, the bull’s-eye on his back tripled in size.

Allison Tant — See above what’s written about Scott Arceneaux.

Florida Democrats — There are not enough dumpster fire gifs created to articulate how much the donkeys suck.

Oscar Braynon — The incoming Senate minority leader had the chance to pick up a few seats in South Florida, but couldn’t get it done. The reason? He blames Trump.

“The Fortress of Democracy” — We’re still not sure about what Matt Dixon reported about in May, but if the shadowy Democratic-aligned Florida Alliance was supposed to make the state go blue, it failed spectacularly.

The voters of House District 36 — Republican Amber Mariano may turn out to be the Doogie Howser of Florida politics, but she’s only 21 years old. Swapping her for the capable and decent Amanda Murphy seems like the worst kind of party-line voting.

Mike Fernandez — The Miami billionaire and mega-supporter of the Bush family went all-in on Clinton. Looks like that $2 million pledge to help the Democratic nominee could have been better spent elsewhere. He also backed Murphy and Jolly.

Tom Rooney — An early supporter of Trump, Rooney was one of a few Republicans who withdrew his support after tapes of the then-nominee making vulgar comments about women were released. Rooney won re-election by a margin of 28 percentage points, but you have to wonder how much bigger the lead would have been had he stayed on the Trump train.

Ryan Tyson, Steve Schale, and other handicappers — Don’t worry guys, we won’t hold it against you. You can’t always be right.

Quinnipiac University and almost all the other pollsters — Q-poll’s final call of Florida: Clinton +1. Bet polling director Peter Brown also predicted the Indians would beat the Cubs.

Laura Jolly’s friends on Facebook — The feed of the wife of U.S. Rep. David Jolly was filled with warm, optimistic photos and messages from the campaign trail. There were even puppies! We’ll miss hitting the like button underneath her posts.

Candidates supporting buying up sugar cane farmland — These candidates include Mary HigginsCrystal LucasRobert SimeoneJohn Scott, and Charles Messina. As with the primary, voters delivered a strong rebuke among state House candidates calling for buying sugar cane farmland. The lack of candidates who will support a land buy in the Legislature dealt a significant blow to environmental activists’ plans for action next session.

Duke, FPL, Gulf Power, TECO — Poured millions upon millions of dollars into Amendment 1, but it wasn’t even close when the results came in. The utility companies need to figure out a way to stop being made out as bogeymen when they’re actually pretty good at delivering their product.

Florida Education Association — The teachers union went all in for Dwight Bullard in SD 40 and came away empty-handed.

Redistricting — It was supposed to reset the Florida Legislature, but did anything but. Democrats only flipped one district, which means the new Florida Senate looks a whole heck of a lot like the old Florida Senate.

Ruth’s List — Marley Wilkes and her team raised beaucoup bucks for pro-choice women candidates, all of whom save Daisy Baez, lost.

Tampa Bay Democrats — So much for Hillsborough and Pinellas being bellwether counties. They were as red as hamburger meat. A lot of grassroots activists deserve credit here, but my paisano Nick DiCeglie and his lieutenants Todd Jennings and Matt Lettelier deserve a shoutout.

John Dowless and Alan Byrd — Faced with the toughest challenge of his 20-plus-year congressional career, Rep. John Mica’s team couldn’t seem to get their guy across the finish line.

Mac Stipanovich, Rick Wilson, and so many others — How did that #NeverTrump movement work out for you? At least Mac and Co. are established enough that they can still say “F*ck you” to anyone who gives them sh*t.

Final round-up of the money chase in Tampa Bay’s legislative races

On Friday, candidates released their final campaign finance reports before Election Day, and reports out of Senate District 18 show Tampa Republican Rep. Dana Young pressing her fundraising advantage in the race with $1.2 million in spending.

Young spent more than $500,000 of campaign’s war chest in between Oct. 22 and Nov. 3, most of it heading to a media buy with Mentzer Media Services.

The exiting House Majority Leader also raised $67,000 for her SD 18 campaign, leaving her with about $113,000 on hand in her campaign account heading into the final few days of the election cycle.

Her political committee, “Friends of Dana Young,” spent even more money, with $700,000 heading to the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee chaired by incoming Senate President Joe Negron. Young’s PAC had about $200,000 on hand Nov. 3.

Young is running against Democratic attorney Bob Buesing and a pair of NPA candidates for the Tampa-based seat, but none of her opponents have come close to competing in the money race.

Despite raising another $76,000 in contributions and putting another $35,000 of his own money into the race during the two-week reporting period, Buesing’s total fundraising is less than a quarter of what Young has been able to pull in through her campaign and committee accounts.

Buesing’s $111,000 performance was coupled with $119,000 in spending, mainly on media buys through Chicago-based AL Media. His campaign had about $53,000 in the bank heading into the final five days.

Joe Redner, the better funded of SD 18’s two NPA candidates, didn’t post any contributions during the period, though he did spend $35,000 on media. Fellow NPA candidate Sheldon Upthegrove also laid an egg in his report and showed a $100 account balance Nov. 3.

The other five Senate seats covering Hillsborough or Pinellas counties are pretty much decided, with Sens. Tom Lee, Bill Galvano and Jeff Brandes all winning re-election unopposed, and Clearwater Republican Sen. Jack Latvala only facing a write-in candidate.

The SD 19 race between Democratic Rep. Darryl Rouson and Republican John “Mr. Manners” Houman is also looking like a runaway.

Rouson raised another $41,000 during the reporting period and spent $23,000, leaving him with about $85,000 in the bank for the final stretch. Houman, best known for his nontraditional campaign website, added $0 during the period and has about $60 in the bank.

In the House, Republican Reps. Jake Raburn, Janet Cruz, and Jamie Grant have secured victory, and Sean Shaw is already on the list for the freshman class. Also expect to see Chris Latvala, Chris Sprowls, and Larry Ahern hang on to their seats with little fanfare.

In HD 63, Republican Rep. Shawn Harrison brought in about $46,000 and was outraised by Democrat Lisa Monelione, who added $55,500 to her campaign coffers.

Harrison still has the cash on hand lead with about $38,000 in the bank compared to about $10,000 for Montelione, though a money lead may not be enough to keep him in the swing seat come Tuesday.

South Pasadena Republican Rep. Kathleen Peters is also facing a decently funded Democrat, Jennifer Webb, though she out-raised her 3-to-1 in her new report.

Peters added about $61,500 and spent about $100,500, mainly on a TV buy, leaving her with about $113,000 in the bank. Webb took in another $21,000 and spent about $19,000, leaving her with about $13,000 on hand.

Republican HD 59 Rep. Ross Spano also outraised his opponent, Democratic attorney Rena Frazier, with $26,600 in contributions compared to her $13,500 haul. Both candidates spent nearly $60,000 during the reporting period, and Nov. 3 Spano had about $66,000 in the bank compared to $31,000 for Frazier.

 In HD 60, Republican Jackie Toledo crossed the $300,000 mark in total fundraising after bringing in another $38,000. Toledo, who is running to replace Young, spent $55,600 and had about $73,000 in the bank Nov. 3.

Her opponent, Democrat David Singer, raised about $8,800 and spent $8,300 leaving him with just $5,000 in the bank for the final stretch. At $161,00, his total fundraising is about half of Toledo’s.

Money flow shows teamwork between former rivals Jack Latvala, Joe Negron

Clearwater Republican Sen. Jack Latvala and incoming Senate President Joe Negron buried the hatchet long ago and, according to the most recent numbers from Latvala’s political committee, the two are very much playing on the same team.

On Nov. 2, the Florida Leadership Committee, which served as Latvala’s war chest during the race for the Senate presidency, put $300,000 into the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee chaired by Negron.

FRSCC has not updated its financials to reflect that, though at that point it had raised more than $16.6 million and had nearly $10 million of that money on hand.

The committee’s numbers are sure to be monstrous when released, especially with Latvala and the committees of other top Senate Republicans putting their fundraising might behind it.

Bradenton Sen. Bill Galvano’s committee shows an unofficial tally of $425,000 in transfers to the FRSCC since Oct. 28, while fellow future Senate President and Trilby Republican Sen. Wilton Simpson has also chipped in heavily in recent weeks. His committee, “Jobs for Florida,” shows $400,000 heading to FRSCC since Oct. 24.

The committee has a lot of state Senate candidates to support this cycle, with formerly safe Republican seats transformed into tight districts after Florida courts ordered that legislative maps be redrawn.

Among the top targets for both parties are the Senate District 8 contest between Republican Rep. Keith Perry and former Democratic Sen. Rod Smith; the SD 18 race between Republican Rep. Dana Young and Democratic attorney Bob Buesing; the battle between Republican Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla and Democratic Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez in SD 37; and Republican Rep. Frank Artiles, race against Democratic Sen. Dwight Bullard in SD 40.

Direct mail round-up: Jack Latvala reminds Pinellas voters what’s at stake this election

A new mailer from Clearwater Republican state Sen. Jack Latvala offers a simple message: “This election is not just about Washington D.C.”

Latvala’s mailer lets Pinellas County voters know what he believes is at stake this November — at both the state and local levels — with a handy voters’ guide for down-ballot races.

“It’s also about Florida and Pinellas County!” he says.

On the congressional level, the mailer suggests support for Republicans Marco Rubio for U.S. Senate and David Jolly for Florida’s 13th Congressional District. Photos of Democratic opponents — Congressman Patrick Murphy and former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist — are shown shadowed with their faces crossed out.

“Of these men, who can best be trusted to keep our taxes low, our nation secure and government out of our lives,” the flyer says. “YOUR VOTE could make the difference in these races.”

As for representing Pinellas in Tallahassee, Latvala is joined by state Reps. Chris Latvala of House District 67 and Chris Sprowls of HD 65.

“Do we want to turn back the clock on our state to a time when crime rates were skyrocketing, taxes were increased every year, and our public schools had no accountability?” Latvala asks. “YOUR VOTE can keep leaders like Jack Latvala, Chris Sprowls, and Chris Latvala fighting for us in Tallahassee!”

Locally, the flyer endorses Mike Mikruak for Pinellas County Commissioner; if he wins, it could result in a return to Republican majority on the board.

“YOUR VOTE for Mike Mikurak can help Republicans win back the majority on our County Commission that was lost in 2014 for the first time in 50 years!” the mailer says.

With such discord at the top of the presidential ticket this year, Latvala’s flyer reminds us that all politics — and good governance — is indeed local.

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