Orlando Archives - Page 6 of 35 - Florida Politics

Pulse nightclub massacre is Florida’s top story of 2016

The massacre of 49 patrons of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando has been voted Florida’s top story of 2016.

The state’s newspaper editors said in an Associated Press poll that the second-biggest story of the year was Florida resident Donald Trump‘s defeat of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in Florida by 1.3 percentage points in the presidential race.

Florida’s two hurricanes, the impact of Cuban leader Fidel Castro‘s death and an outbreak of the Zika virus tied for third place.

In fourth place was the legal tussle over Florida’s death penalty.

Two solar power amendments and the indictment of U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown tied for fifth place.

The death of Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez and the death of a toddler by a Disney World alligator tied for sixth place.

Reprinted with permission of the Associated Press

3 Pulse families sue social media, alleging aid for IS

Families of three patrons killed in the Orlando nightclub massacre sued Facebook, Google and Twitter, claiming the gunman who killed their loved ones was radicalized through propaganda found through social media.

The families of Tevin Crosby, Juan Ramon Guerrero Jr. and Javier Jorge-Reyes filed the lawsuit Monday in federal court in Michigan. They are seeking an unnamed amount of money under a federal law that allows the estates of victims of terrorist attacks to sue anybody who provided “material support” to the terrorists.

The complaint said terrorist groups like the Islamic State group use social media to spread their propaganda, raise money and recruit potential terrorists like Pulse nightclub gunman Omar Mateen, who opened fire in the Pulse nightclub where 49 patrons were killed in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

During the June rampage, Mateen pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group in telephone conversations with a 911 operator and a police negotiator. He was killed in a shootout with SWAT team members after a three-hour standoff.

The social media companies should be doing more to delete the accounts of members of the Islamic group, also known as ISIS, and detect “replacement” accounts created after previous accounts are deleted, the lawsuit said.

“Most technology experts agree that defendants could and should be doing more to stop ISIS from using its social network,” the lawsuit said.

Facebook said in a statement the company takes the threat from terrorists seriously.

“Our Community Standards make clear that there is no place on Facebook for groups that engage in terrorist activity or for content that expresses support for such activity, and we take swift action to remove this content when it’s reported to us,” the Facebook statement said. “We sympathize with the victims and their families.”

Representatives of Google and Twitter didn’t respond to email inquiries.

A similar lawsuit against Twitter brought by the families of two men killed in Jordan was dismissed in August.

In that case, a federal judge in San Francisco agreed with Twitter that the company cannot be held liable because federal law protects service-providers that merely offer platforms for speech, without creating the speech itself.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

In Orlando, Donald Trump decries ‘reckless interventions;’ vows to crush ISIS

Decrying the horrors of atrocities in the Middle East, President-elect Donald Trump both denounced reckless interventions and pledged to destroy ISIS and radical Islam during his “Thank You” tour stop in Orlando Friday night.

Speaking before a huge outdoor crowd that he said numbered 22,000, Trump argued that the United States can’t get involved in foreign conflicts with unclear American interests anymore. The declaration harkens to Trump’s position that he was long an opponent of the Iraq War, which he blames for the rise of ISIS and the catastrophic civil war in Syria.

He also pledged to “stand with the people of Cuba,” though he didn’t elaborate as to whether that means attempts to roll back the opening of relations with that dictatorial, communist government begun under President Barack Obama.

Yet while promising to strengthen America’s military, the primary theme of  his “peace through strength” address appeared to be avoiding more international conflicts, Trump declared: “Our foreign policy needs a new direction.”

“For too long we’ve been moving from one reckless intervention to another in countries that most of you have never even heard of before.

“It’s crazy, and it’s going to stop.”

Trump expressed outrage apparently at the humanitarian meltdown occurring this week in Aleppo, Syria, though he didn’t name the location explicitly.

“We spent $6 trillion in the Middle East. And now it’s in worse shape than it’s ever been before. Years of horror. And now look what’s happening over there right now,” Trump said. “Six trillion dollars, and look what’s happening. It’s a horrible thing. We’re going to do everything we can. We’re going to get it straightened out.

“Just think of all of that money, all of those lives, and I mean lives on both sides … and you have nothing. So we’re going to start using our head. And we’re going to try to patch that up.”

He pledged to build safe zones in Syria and to get Middle Eastern countries to pay for them.

Meanwhile, American taxpayers will be called upon to rebuild American infrastructure and schools.

“Instead of rebuilding foreign nations,” he said, “it’s time to rebuild our nation.”

Yet Trump also declared his intention to wipe out ISIS and radical Islam threatening the United States and to do so immediately.

“The Trump administration will focus on the vital national security interests of the Untied States, and that means crushing ISIS rapidly and defeating radical Islamic terrorism,” Trump said.

He also repeated one of his more recent policies, opposition to people burning American flags.

“I don’t like when I see people burning our flag, I don’t like it. I don’t like it. And you don’t like it. And we’re going to try to do something about it,” Trump said.

Rick Scott to appear at Donald Trump rally in Orlando

Florida Governor Rick Scott will appear at Friday night’s “thank you” rally in Orlando for President-elect Donald Trump.

The governor’s schedule has him slotted for a 6:00 p.m. appearance at the Trump event, to be held at the Central Florida Fairgrounds’ Orlando Amphitheater.

Trump’s event officially starts at 7:00 p.m., however.

Friday night’s gubernatorial appearance at the Trump rally in Orlando will be the first one for Gov. Scott in some time.

Scott introduced Trump at a June rally in Tampa, but the governor made no other appearances with Trump on the campaign trail.

Scott ran a Super PAC for Trump, Rebuilding America Now, so he was still involved heavily in Trump’s path to the White House.

“I’ve known Donald for about 20 years, long before either of us ever ran for office. He is a businessman and an outsider and he will bring the major change to Washington that our country needs right now. Donald’s race is also a lot like my race for Governor. No one said I had a chance of beating the career politicians when I ran, but I won anyway. We are going to win this Presidential race too,” Scott predicted over the summer.

Scott, termed out in 2018, is eyeing his own next move.

A Senate run has been rumored, and Scott’s own state PAC, Let’s Get to Work, is fundraising appropriately, with a $442,500 haul reported in November.

Trump’s rally was described by Randy Ross, the Orange County chairman of his 2016 campaign, as having an “eye on 2020.”

The crowd reaction for Gov. Scott, whose eye is on 2018, will be worth noting.

Our own Scott Powers will be on hand at the Trump rally Friday night; check back with FloridaPolitics.com and its sister site, OrlandoRising.com, for coverage from the event.

Gov. Scott will also make his monthly jobs numbers announcement in Orlando Friday morning, and Scott Powers will be on hand for that one as well.

Donald Trump bringing victory tour to Orlando next week

President-elect Donald Trump is returning to Orlando next week on his victory tour, appearing at the spot he spoke at just a few days before winning Florida and the presidency.

Trump will be joined this time by vice president-elect Mike Pence, for a “U.S.A. Thank You Tour” rally at the Central Florida Fairgrounds at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16.

It’s the spot where Trump last visited Central Florida on Nov. 2, offering himself as a “better vision for America” and trashing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton as “the candidate of yesterday.”

Doors at the Orlando Amphitheater there will open at 4 p.m. Tickets will be required, and can be obtained through the Donald J. Trump website.

 

Buddy Dyer at State of Downtown address: ‘We have one downtown’

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer appeared before a crowd at the Bob Carr Theater to deliver his annual State of Downtown address, which focused not so much on new ideas as it did on refinement of old ones.

Namely, he spent most of the speech focused on the betterment of the Parramore neighborhood, long an area of concern for the city.

Once a thriving community, the neighborhood had sunk into crime and poverty by the time Dyer took office. Since then, local government organizations have put together programs to advance jobs and education in the area, intending to help the residents who need a hand.

Dyer said things have gotten better in Parramore this year, with lower crime rates (with juvenile crime down 61 percent as of Tuesday) and programs like Parramore Kidz Zone having helped many youths in the area go to school. There are more jobs, he said, and they’ve added new parks and amenities to make Parramore a more pleasant place to live.

“A lot communities would consider our work done,” he said. “But here in Orlando, we dream bigger, and the residents of Parramore have dreamed bigger, and they want more for their neighborhood. Our shared dream is to return Parramore to a neighborhood of opportunity that celebrates its rich history. We want Parramore to be a place where someone can grow up, have immediate access to education, and apply that education to a modern career, all without ever leaving downtown Orlando.”

Dyer then went on to speak of a number of improvements laid out for the years to come – UCF and Valencia’s new downtown campus, slated to open in 2019, and beyond that, a creative village poised to make downtown Orlando a hub of innovators, residents and businesses for as far in the future as one could imagine.

They’re also looking at more housing, especially with the intent of getting more people into Parramore – the numbers, as it has been reported in the past and as Dyer reiterated Tuesday, have shrunken drastically in the last few decades.

“In the 1960s, there were 18,000 residents in Parramore,” he said. “There are just over 6,000 today. The future of Parramore depends on bringing residents back. Anyone who wants to live here should be able to live here.”

Then he rattled off some of the city’s projects coming up: they’ll be putting out a RFP in 2017 for the development of over 20 city-owned lots into new affordable housing.

A vacant six-acre site will be transformed into a mixed-income housing development called Parramore Oaks, which will have 211 units split between affordable housing, permanent supportive housing and market-rate housing.

A new 256-unit multi-family development called Amelia Court at Creative Village will provide a new option for those looking to live near the Parramore Community School and the UCF/Valencia Downtown Campus, with groundbreaking expected late next year. That project will cost $56 million.

Dyer also touched on the fact that I-4 “divides” downtown into east and west factions, which is something he’d rather not have anymore.

“I-4, and the parking lot underneath, has been a barrier to downtown Orlando,” he said. “The overhaul going on – you’ve noticed it, right? – gives us an opportunity to transform that lot into a gathering space that will help tie downtown together, rather than divide us.”

The Under I project, as it’s been dubbed, will be a three-block park area full of various athletic, food, art and technology-based activities.

The underlying theme of everything Dyer brought up, from the city’s upcoming sports events to its efforts at helping the homeless the past few years, was unity. He posed that if the city could erase any semblance of being divided, that there was nothing that could stop it from growing and thriving into something of a modern Metropolis.

“We have one Downtown,” he said. “And every block, every street, every business every home is important to its prosperity and vitality.”

Owner of Pulse changes mind on selling club to City of Orlando

The owner of the Pulse nightclub, Barbara Poma, has decided not to sell the building to the City of Orlando – or anyone else for now, she said.

In a release issued by her lawyers, Benitez Law Group, Poma says the Pulse nightclub simply means too much to her to sell to anyone else.

“Pulse means so very much to my family and to our community,” she wrote. “And I can’t just walk away. I feel a personal obligation to ensure that a permanent space at Pulse be created so that all generations to come will remember those affected by, and taken on, June 12.

“I intend to create a space for everyone, a sanctuary of hope, and a welcoming area to remember all those affected by the tragedy. I plan to do that directly with the involvement of the communities impacted by this tragedy, the families of the victims and any private or public sector individuals or organizations who wish to assist. We must do this together as a community.”

She then goes on to express her hope that they can join together and “build a place to memorialize our Angels.”

On Monday morning, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said he had not talked to Poma personally yet, but that the city would be taking a step back and figuring out how to move forward in their own way in terms of creating a Pulse memorial. He spoke of the items collected by the Orange County Regional History Center and the memorial put up by Orlando Health, which is right down the street from Pulse – these were all things they could consider in terms of working to enact a permanent city memorial.

He also spoke of the dissent on the board in terms of purchasing Pulse.

“I know there were two commissioners who did not want to pay more than the asking price to buy the club,” he said. “But I consider that sacred ground. It’s important.”

He said whatever action they took would heavily involve public input – it wouldn’t be a decision made behind closed doors.

Steve Schale: Florida early vote, a retrospective

It is time for one last big data piece on Florida 2016.

For about 18 hours a day over 2+ weeks, I found myself living and breathing early voting data. So now that all the data have been reported from counties, I wanted to look back at some assumptions, and compare them to the actual voting data.

Before I begin, there are five things to keep in mind:

1. Every time I talk in percentages, those percentages are relative to the two-party, i.e., Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton numbers. I have no use or interest in playing the “what if” questions around third-party votes, so the data in here is just the two-party vote. For what it is worth, this is standard for my blogs.

2. I compiled this data over the entire month of November, often by pestering counties to provide data they don’t have on their website. Some of the data came before the final, final certified versions, so there might be exceptionally slight variances — like tens of votes in a county — from the state final counts. However, there is nothing that happened so significant to change any findings.

3. When I talk about early voting, that is both in-person and vote by mail combined, unless I specify otherwise.

4. For the sake of interpreting the data, everything that wasn’t an in-person or traditional vote by mail ballot was allocated to Election Day. So this means that there are likely provisional from in-person early, and VBM, as well as late military ballots in Election Day. I don’t think the impact of this is significant, but I’m flagging it regardless.

5. We know how people voted on Election Day, but we do not know yet who voted on Election Day. In terms of firm lessons and take-aways, some of that should wait.

And since I was wrong about the outcome, before we get started, here were some of my macro-assumptions going into Election Day.

When early voting started, I thought presidential turnout would fall about 9.2 million votes. Because of early vote turnout, and based on who was left to vote on Election Day — namely voters who voted on Election Day in 2012, I modified that projection to 9.5 million late during the second week of early voting, and assuming 3 percent of those would vote for someone else, this meant slightly over 9.2 million would vote for either Trump or Clinton.

I was assuming going into Election Day, we were at about 67-68 percent of our total turnout, and while the Democrats had a 96,000 lead among registered voters heading into Election Day, I was operating from a place that her lead was between 3-4 percent, largely due to the overwhelmingly diverse nature of the NPA vote, which would put her raw vote lead between 180-250K votes.

This meant Trump had to win Election Day, on the low-end by about 5.8 percent to upper end of 8 percent, just to break-even. Both numbers are above Mitt Romney’s Election Day win in 2012 (I can’t remember John McCain, but I suspect it is above McCain as well).

Here are two other things baked into my assumptions: Republicans had about 100,000 more “certain” voters left to vote, though when you looked at just 2012 voters, the number was about 40K.

So worst-case scenario, Democratic turnout struggled and only the certain voters turnout. the R versus D lands about even for the entire election, and the early vote strength combined with a more diverse NPA vote would carry the day. I think my final memo pegged her winning Florida by about 1.5 percent, which was about 130K votes, meaning on the more optimistic view of Clinton’s early vote lead, Trump could still win Election Day by more than Romney, and she’d still win.

Since Trump is a golfer, I described his challenge on Election Day in golf terms: a 250 yard shot over water.

So here are the toplines:

— 9.42 million Floridians cast a ballot for President. For what it is worth, 9.58 million Floridians cast a ballot, though it was only 9.3 million in the Senate race.

— 9,122,861 Floridians voted for either Trump or Clinton in 2016.

— Trump’s margin was about 113K votes, or roughly 1.2 percent out of the two-party voters.

— 69.3 percent of the vote was cast before Election Day.

— Of the VBM/early vote, Clinton won by just over 247K votes — roughly a 4 point edge (she won both VBM and early vote)

— On Election Day, Trump won by 360K, or a roughly 13 point margin over Clinton.

Toplines versus basic assumptions:

Turnout on Election Day was slightly lower than I expected, by about 80-100K votes. Given that my projection was based largely on the number of 2012 voters who had yet to vote, it was almost certainly lower because some share of 2012 Election Day Democrats didn’t show up, and, more than likely, another share voted for Trump. This is the big question I will be looking at when the state updates the final 2016 voter file.

Clinton’s nearly 250K vote lead was actually at the upper-end of my projections. Honestly, this surprised me. I suspected some of my optimism in the numbers leading up to the election was misplaced, and honestly thought as I put numbers into Excel, that we’d see she had gone into Election Day with a narrower lead. However, almost everything was landing right on target for her to win. As I get more into this, and look at some of the benchmarks I tracked throughout, you can see the pattern for my optimism going into Election Day.

However, Trump just crushed Election Day. There is no other way to look at it. And as I discussed in the first look back at the numbers, it really happened in just a handful of places: namely the Tampa and Orlando media markets. For example, his two-party vote share was 8.39 percent higher on Election Day (56.44) than Early Vote. (48.05), but in Tampa it was up 8.92 percent (51.5 percent EV, 60.42 ED), and Orlando was up 9.08 percent (48.8 percent EV, 57.88 percent ED). Less than 3 million voted for Bush or Clinton on Election Day, yet he won the day by 360K votes.

How big is that? Bush won Florida in 2004 by landslide for Florida proportions: 380K votes — out of 7.6 million cast. Trump’s Election Day margin almost matched it.

Benchmarks

For most of early voting, I tracked a variety of benchmarks, namely Hillsborough (the only county that voted for Bush and Obama both times), the I-4 corridor counties, South Florida and #Duuuval county.

So, for the sake of this exercise, let’s start there:

Hillsborough

Clinton went into Election Day with about a 29K partisan advantage among early voters, or a partisan lead of about 6.8 percent.

When the votes were cast, she carried the early voting period almost 44,000 votes, or almost 11 percent of the two-party vote. Trump won Election Day by just under 2 points, or right at 3,000 votes, so when all was done, Clinton carried the county by 41,000 votes. The final percentage margin, 6.8 percent was almost the same as Obama, and her raw vote win was about 5,000 votes larger.

The county was a little below where it should have been for turnout. Hillsborough is typically about 6. percent f the statewide vote, but it landed at 6.3 percent, largely because its Election Day share was down — only 29 percent of Hillsborough votes came on Election Day.

Long and short of it, Hillsborough could have been a little better, but that number is right at what a win for Democrats looks like.

I-4 Corridor

Hillary Clinton won the I-4 counties by almost 162K votes, but here the Trump surge on Election Day is very evident. She won these counties by almost 200,000 votes in the early/vbm phase, yet Trump won Election Day by almost 35,000 votes. Overall, Clinton won the early phase with 56.3 percent of the two-party vote, though only won 47.3 percent of the Election Day vote — a surge which exceeded his statewide average.

When you look at the Volusia and Polk numbers, you can see the seeds of how Trump won on Election Day. Compared to the state, both saw their Election Day turnout levels exceed Early Vote — with 34 percent of the Volusia vote coming on Election Day, and over 40 percent for Polk. Once fairly Democratic Volusia has been the canary in the coal mine for a few cycles — there is a reason I’ve highlighted it in blogs for years. If I was going to do qualitative research into 2016, I’d start with focus groups in Volusia.

Pinellas is a slightly different kind of animal, but his Election Day performance is probably indicative of late deciders breaking almost exclusively for Trump. Had the FBI Director not chosen to insert himself into the campaign with a week to ago, I suspect Clinton would have carried Pinellas (albeit very narrowly).

In total, 24.1 percent of the statewide vote came from these counties, of which 70.6 percent of the vote came before Election Day. Another way to look at it: while only 29.4 percent of the total vote from these counties came in on Election Day, 33.4 percent of Trumps’ vote total from these counties came in on Election Day. I suspect when Election Day voter data comes out, we will see a cratering of minority participation.

Volusia (Daytona)

Final early vote party spread: 39.6 R, 37.1 D, 23.3 NPA R + 4,302
Actual early vote spread: Trump +8.88 percent (+14,754 votes)
Actual Election Day spread: Trump +22.28 percent (+19,162 votes)
Results: Trump +33,916 (54.3-41.4 percent). In 12, Romney was +2700 (+1.15 percent)

Seminole — suburban Orlando

Final early vote party spread: 41.0 R, 35.0 D, 24.0 NPA R +10,316
Actual Early Vote spread: Clinton +1.84 percent (+2,989 votes)
Actual Election Day spread: Trump +12.36 percent (+6,518 votes)
Results: Trump +3,529 votes (48.1-46.5 percent). In 12, Romney was +13,500 (+6.5 percent)

Orange (Orlando)

Final early party spread: 45.8 D, 29.5 R, 24.7 NPA D +67,155
Actual Early Vote spread: Clinton +29.71 percent (+116,949 votes)
Actual Election Day spread: Clinton +13.49 percent (+17.729 votes)
Final spread: Clinton +134,678 votes (59.7 percent-35.4 percent). In 2012, Obama was +85,000 (+18.2 percent)

Osceola — heavy Hispanic suburban Orlando.

Final early vote party spread: 47.1 D, 26.2 R, 26.7 NPA D + 22,625
Actual Early Vote spread: Clinton +29.71 percent (+30,645 votes)
Actual Election Day spread: Clinton +13.98 percent (+4,512 votes)
Results: Clinton: +35,157 votes (60.4-30.6 percent). In 2012, Obama was roughly +27K (+24.4 percent)

Imperial Polk — between Tampa/Orlando

Final Early Vote Party Spread: 39.6 R, 39 D, 21.4 NPA R +1,085
Actual Early Vote Spread: Trump +7.55 percent (+12,424 votes)
Actual Election Day spread: Trump +25.01 percent (+27,573 votes)
Results: Trump +13.94 percent (+39,997 votes). In 2012, Romney was +19K votes (+6.8 percent)

Hillsborough (See Above)

Pinellas (Clearwater/St. Pete)

Final early vote party spread: 38.5 R, 38.2 D, 23.3 NPA D +752
Actual early vote spread: Clinton +4.58 percent (+14,460 votes)
Actual Election Day spread: Trump +12.72 percent (+19,960 votes)
Results: Trump +1.1 percent (+5,500 votes). In 2012, Obama won by about 26K votes (+5.5 percent)

South Florida

Going into Election Day, there was almost nothing that I didn’t feel good about in South Florida, and here is why: 87.7 percent of the entire 2012 election turnout voted early in Dade. In Broward, it was a respectable 81 percent. In fact, 11.9 percent of all early votes came in from Dade (should be 10.3 percent), and Broward was at 9.65 percent (should have been 8.75 percent).

And then Election Day happened. The issue here was different from I-4. Trump’s share of the two-party vote in Broward and Dade went from 32 percent to 38.7 percent, a growth of 6.7 percent, which while significant, is lower than his statewide average increase of 8.4 percent. What happened on Election Day is people didn’t vote. Statewide, 30.7 percent of the vote came on Election Day — in Broward and Dade, it was 23.2 percent. Another way of looking at it: these two counties made up 21.5 percent of early vote, and only 14.7 of Election Day

That said, these two counties both exceeded their projected share of the statewide vote, as well as set records for vote margins. Democrats cannot blame losing on Broward and Dade not doing their jobs.

On the flip side, I was concerned about Palm Beach County the entire early vote period. Even in my last memo, I called Palm Beach a “red flag” largely due to lagging turnout. While the Democratic margins were good, Palm Beach was only 5.9 percent of the statewide early vote, and it should have been 7 percent. Well it turned out on Election Day — 41.1 percent of the total Palm Beach County vote came in on Election Day, making up 9.5 percent of the total statewide vote, the biggest single jump in the state. And it was a Trump vote that showed up: after running up a 95K vote lead in the early vote, Clinton won Election Day by just over 7K.

When it boils down to it, Clinton won the county by about the same vote margin as Obama in 2012 (which was down from 08), but her vote share was down. Frankly going forward, Palm Beach is a place where Democrats need to up their game.

Palm Beach

Final early vote party spread: 47.3 D, 28.4 R, 24.3 NPA D +74,728
Actual early vote spread: Clinton +24.9 percent (+94,888 votes)
Actual Election Day spread: Clinton +2.78 (+7,383 votes)
Results: Clinton +15.1 percent (+102,271 votes). In 2012, Obama won by just over 102K (+17 percent).

Broward

Final early vote party spread: 55.4 D, 21.7 R, 22.9 NPA D +212,077
Actual early vote spread: Clinton +41.7 percent (+254,391 votes)
Actual Election Day spread: Clinton +18.6 (+37,978 votes)
Results: Clinton +34.9 percent (+292,369 votes). In 2012, Obama won by 264K votes (+34.9 percent)

Miami-Dade

Final early vote party spread: 43.9 D, 29.2 R, 26.9 NPA D +114,767
Actual early vote spread: Clinton +34.4 percent (+234,758 votes)
Actual Election Day spread: Clinton +26.7 percent (+55,389 votes)
Results: Clinton +29.4 percent (+290,147 votes). In 2012, Obama won by 208.5K votes (+23.6 percent)

#DUUUUVAL

Clinton had one job in Duval, keep it manageable. If you had given the Clinton campaign the option of spotting Trump a 20,000-vote win in Duval in exchange for both campaigns walking away, I would have urged them to take it. After all, this is a county where Bush in 04 won by 61,000 votes, and given that Trump exceeded the Bush 04 margins in most counties, running up a big number here was a real possibility.

But she did her job here, plus some. In keeping Trump’s Duval margins under 6,000 votes, she had the best showing in Duval for a presidential Democratic candidate since Jimmy Carter, and she held Trump well below the Marco Rubio numbers, who won the county by 70,000 votes. If #NeverTrump succeeded anywhere, it was in Duval.

Final early vote party spread: 42.5D, 41.1 R, 16.4 NPA D +4,279
Actual early vote spread: Clinton +1.9 percent (+5.439 votes)
Actual Election Day spread: Trump +8.9 percent (+11,407 votes)
Results: Trump +1.4 percent (+5,968 votes). In 2012, Romney won by 15K votes (+3.6 percent)

Final Thoughts

There isn’t much more to say — Clinton had the race where it needed to be, and Trump won it on Election Day.

First, one quick note on the votes before Election Day. Democrats had about 1.5 percent edge in the voters who had voted either in-person early or a vote by mail ballot, yet she won the early voting period by almost 4 percent. This was likely due to her over-performing with NPAs, given that nonwhite voters made up 37 percent of NPA voters (compared to 33 percent of partisans).

I suspect what we will see when the Election Day voter data comes out that white NPA participation was quite high, balancing out the racial makeup of the NPA voter to look more like the electorate at-large.

So where did Trump really win it? The data from the early vote/Election Day totals confirms my first glance: This was a win primarily in suburban/exurban I-4.

Here’s why.

Start with my favorite analogy, Florida as a scale. The GOP media market buckets (Pensacola, Panama City, Jacksonville and Fort Myers) and the Dem buckets (Tallahassee, Gainesville, West Palm and Miami) largely balance themselves out, and I-4 tilts it one way or the other. This year, in their core markets, Republicans did much better on Election Day than the Democrats, winning them by 188K votes, compared to the Democrats only winning theirs by 70K, carrying a margin of roughly 120K votes out of their core markets.

However, Democrats went into Election Day with a bigger margin, having crushed the Republicans in early vote, by almost 260K votes. In fact, Clinton’s 141K final margin over Trump in the core partisan markets was a few thousand votes higher than Barack Obama in 2012.

Then we get to I-4, and this time, we look at it not as just as the counties on I-4, but every county in the two media markets. Going into Election Day, I-4 was balanced, with Trump holding a 11K vote lead. But on Election Day, Trump won by 242K votes. In other words, 95.5 percent of Trump’s total margin in the Tampa and Orlando media markets came on Election Day. In total, Trump won 59 percent of the two-party vote in the Tampa and Orlando media markets on Election Day.

And of those 242K votes, 200K of that margin came from the nonurban counties in the media market, in other words. Just on Election Day.

And while it is true that Republicans always do better on Election Day, his Election Day “improvement”, particularly in the Tampa media markets, far exceeded Romney.

For example, in Pasco, his vote share was 7.69 percent higher on Election Day than in Early Vote, whereas Romney was 2.59 percent higher, or 5.1 percent greater than Romney. In Polk, he was also 5.1 percent higher, Seminole 5.1 percent, Sarasota 5.4 percent, and Pinellas 7.2 percent. We saw similar things in the outlying counties in the Palm Beach market, where in St. Lucie, his vote share was 11.1 percent higher on Election Day, a 5.2 percent increase on Romney, and in Martin County, where his Election Day improvement was 6.3 percent higher than Romney.

I could keep writing on this, but until we get actual voter data from Election Day back, there isn’t much else to add. I will do a piece on my thoughts on where the Democrats should go from here sometime in the next few weeks, but as I mentioned in my last piece, the Trump loss, at least regionally, looks a lot like the Bush win in 04 — and there is a road map for how to reverse it (see Obama).

And again, I don’t think it is as simple as Republicans had more voters left to vote, because best case scenario, that number was only about 100,000 more voters. No, this almost surely a cratering of Democratic turnout, all Election Day deciders going to Trump, and an Election Day surge contributing to the comeback.

The combination of two disliked candidates, Trump’s success at driving the narrative into the ground, and all the late-breaking issues going to Trump, it ended up being the perfect storm Nov. 8, or in Trump’s case, the perfect 3-wood over water to that green 250 yards away.

And I lied in the first sentence — I’ll be back once we have the full voter file with Election Day voters. Until then, happy holidays, unless you are a Jags fan, because we will surely all get a Gus Bradley extension for Christmas.

Orlando named ‘Gay City of the Year’ by gay travel site

Orlando has been named “Gay City of the Year” by the gay travel site GayCities.com, which praised the City Beautiful for its outpouring of compassion and unity following last summer’s horrific massacre at the Pulse nightclub and then noted Orlando had been a strong city for gays all along.

“GayCities honors the city & community of Orlando for its compassion and resiliency in the wake of the horrific Pulse Nightclub massacre of 2016,” the site declared in announcing the annual award. “We salute your bravery and spirit in the face of unspeakable cruelty & adversity, an example to us all.”

An earlier post on the site, since apparently removed, described Orlando as a place that has long been welcoming to the LGBT community, and noted the gay-tourism outreach provided by VisitOrlando, Orange County’s convention and visitors’ bureau. The Bureau publishes a “Gay Travel Guide” among its specialized-market efforts.

The official announcement is set for Dec. 12.

VisitOrlando President George Aguel boasted about the “City of the Year” designation Friday when he met with the county’s Tourist Development Council, which includes both Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.

“It is nice to get that news. It continues to favor the opportunity we see to expand our awareness that this is a place for what is a huge travel market,” Aguel said.

Orange County and Orlando get rosy tourist numbers, forecasts

The horrific Pulse nightclub massacre, the specter of Zika virus, and the uncertainty of politics and national policies aren’t slowing down tourists coming to Orlando.

At least not enough to hurt.

The Orange County Tourist Development Council received sparkling reports Tuesday showing record receipts from tourist taxes in the past fiscal year and forecasts that 2017 is also likely to be rosy.

According to the Orange County Comptroller’s Office the tourist tax brought in $239.5 million in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. That’s nearly 4 percent more than the county budgeted for, and 6 percent higher than the bed tax brought in 2015.

University of Central Florida economist Sean Snaith added to the optimism by updating his previously pessimistic forecasts and projecting solid economic growth for the nation, the state and Central Florida.

“I take both of those presentations with great optimism,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said later.

The reports come just weeks after Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and Dyer struck a deal and pushed it through to spend additional tourist tax money to fund the second phase of construction at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, and other projects around town.

“It puts us in a really good place. We’ve got the $45 million that we pledged to the performing arts center,” said Jacobs, who chairs the Tourist Development Council.

The rest of the increased tax receipts will be looked at next summer when the Orange County Board of County Commissioners prepares its 2017 budget.

“My expectation is we’ll have excess TDT to begin looking at other capital projects,” Jacobs said.

The reports had some mixed numbers. The tourist tax receipts grew largely because the price of an Orange County hotel room increased. Not including Walt Disney World hotel rooms – which are not reported in the numbers – the average price of a hotel room night went up 4 percent to $124.

There also was an increase in the total number of hotel rooms in Orange County, reaching a record 119,815, up 2 percent from the year before.

Yet the actual hotel room occupancy rate went down slightly more than 2 percent, to 78.1 percent.

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