Richard Corcoran Archives - Page 6 of 28 - Florida Politics

Richard Corcoran blazing his own leadership trail

House Speaker-designate Richard Corcoran grins widely when you suggest he’s stealing a page from the “progressive” politics playbook.

The Land O’ Lakes Republican held an impromptu press conference Tuesday after he welcomed new members at their two-day orientation session, another Corcoran innovation.

He was asked: Prohibiting state representatives from flying in lobbyists’ airplanes? Increasing the ban on former members lobbying their colleagues from two years to six years?

Aren’t these usually — dare we say — proposals that come from the other side of aisle? Corcoran would have none of it.

“I would just say, everything you just said, I reject,” he said with a laugh. “I don’t know where you got that concept. That is not who we are.”

Message delivered: Good government ideas don’t just belong to the Democrats.

Corcoran, who is expected to formally become Speaker at next Tuesday’s organization session, also said he doesn’t expect pushback from the Senate over his increased transparency plans for budgeting.

Even Janet Cruz, the incoming Democratic leader, has endorsed the new rules.

For instance, Corcoran is requiring lobbyists to disclose every bill, amendment, and individual appropriation they are trying to influence. Another rule requires House members to file separate bills for each budget request they make, such as for hometown projects.

Based on conversations he’s had with some senators, “I think that they understand what we are trying to accomplish,” he told reporters. “They’ve been supportive. It’s easy to understand the motive: We’re trying to have the most open, transparent process in the nation. I think we’ve achieved that.”

Why? Because “knowledge is power.”

“The more knowledge our members have, the less powerful the special interests,” Corcoran said. “And the less distracting the outside noise or circus is.”

Even the lobby corps hasn’t complained — yet. Or at least not to him.

The reaction to the new, stricter rules “has all been favorable,” Corcoran said. His brother Michael is a prominent state lobbyist. “Look, we were talking about these things all the way back in our ‘blueprint.'”

Corcoran and other members of his class of lawmakers elected in 2010 wrote their own good-government manifesto, “Blueprint Florida.” Many of the current rule reforms are taken straight from that 86-page policy paper.

“All of the stuff we’ve been working on has been meant to say, at the end of the day, we’re the enemies, we’re the problem,” he said. “The only reason they” — the special interests — “have power is because we voluntarily abdicate and give to them what (power) is rightfully ours.

“And what is rightfully ours belongs to the people.”

Corcoran also said he hadn’t responded to a recent letter from Dave Mica, chair of the Florida Association of Professional Lobbyists, asking to weigh in on the House rules before they were released.

“If Dave wanted to have input, there’s a process, and it’s called an election,” he said. “I like Dave; I don’t have anything against him. But he can go out there and knock on doors … if he wants to sit at the table.”

Finally, Corcoran was circumspect when asked about the need for “healing” after a particularly divisive election year, saying the division wasn’t as bad in Florida.

Candidates do “need to be true to the principles they espouse,” he said. “There’d be a greater healing in the public’s confidence in government … and I think you’d have a happier electorate.”

Florida TaxWatch blasts Sanford Burnham’s escape plan

Florida TaxWatch, a nonprofit government watchdog, has urged state leaders to hold Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute accountable for the $155 million in tax incentives they received to move to Florida.

The Florida Department of Economic Development (DEO) asked Sanford Burnham last month to return half, or $77 million in taxpayer money, if it leaves the state. Sanford Burnham fell short by 66 jobs of reaching a state-mandated July goal.

Knox Bell, the San Diego attorney representing Sanford Burnham, sent a letter responding to the DEO’s request saying the agreement only said that the institute should use “reasonable best efforts to create the 303 jobs” and there were no dollar damages or penalty if the target was not reached.

“Taxpayers must have faith that every dime they provide for public use is being spent wisely and prudently, said Dominic Calabro, executive director of Florida Taxwatch. “It is critical that all incentives include guarantees that hold recipients accountable for performance expectations while providing a mechanism for a refund when those promises aren’t kept.”

Calabro also applauded the efforts of Gov. Rick Scott, House Speaker-designate Richard Corcoran and the DEO for reviewing the contract and trying to recoup taxpayer funds.

Attorneys for both sides are in negotiations to resolve the conflict. Sanford Burnham leaders have said they are planning to leave the state because of “substantial financial losses” and are operating on an “as is” basis while they explore alternatives. The California-based research giant tried to strike a deal with the University of Florida to take over the facility, but UF leaders backed away from the arrangement after learning it needed legislative approval.

 

RAY RODRIGUES

Fla. House GOP releases new conference rules

The Florida House of Representatives’ new Republican Conference Rules should “end divisive intraparty races for leadership positions,” incoming Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues said Monday.

The new rules, which govern only the chamber’s GOP members, include a change that members must “serve at least one full session before directly or indirectly soliciting pledges of support,” Rodrigues said in a statement.

The rules are expected to be approved at a GOP Conference meeting next Monday, the day before the 2016 Organization Session.

Speaker-designate Richard Corcoran added, “I am proud of the changes to the Conference Rules, especially since they were an organic, member-driven initiative. These rule changes will enhance professionalism, sideline special interests, and lead to free and fair leadership elections based on merit.”

The party rules come a week after Corcoran rolled out new chamber rules covering all members that include lengthening the ban on former members lobbying their colleagues from two years to six years, and prohibiting state representatives from flying in aircraft owned, leased, or otherwise paid for by lobbyists.

Corcoran and his likely successor, state Rep. Jose Oliva, have derided the practice of incoming members lobbying their colleagues to become speaker even before being sworn in. Presiding officers often are selected by members of each class of lawmakers, often many years in advance of when they will serve.

Joe Henderson: New House rules put lobbyists in their place and increase transparency

Mike Fasano, the Pasco County Tax Collector and former state legislator, lives near incoming Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran. They are friends and they speak frequently with each other.

Sometimes they agree on policies, sometimes they don’t. But they are in total accord about the dramatic changes regarding lobbyists and other measures Corcoran has planned for the upcoming year in the Legislature.

“During my 20 years in the Legislature, I saw firsthand how much lobbyists were in control of the process,” Fasano said. “I told Richard that what he has done will help create a member-driven Legislature instead of one driven by the lobbyists.”

It’s about damn time.

Corcoran is regarded as no-nonsense conservative with zero tolerance for anything he considers a frivolous use of the public’s purse.

His list of proposed rules designed to keep lobbyists in their place and increase transparency is the way the affairs of state should be conducted.

This site and other news outlets around the state reported this week on what Rep. Jim Boyd of Sarasota called “a seismic shift in the balance of power in Tallahassee and a return to a more open, accountable, and responsive state government.”

Among other things, the Corcoran Plan would require lobbyists to declare publicly what bills they are supporting and how they will be paid for. It would prohibit text messages between lobbyists and representatives while business is being conducted on the House floor. That practice has led to lawmakers reading texted “suggestions” from lobbyists straight from their phone like it’s a teleprompter.

Lawmakers can no longer fly on jets provided by lobbyists, even if they pay the regular commercial flight rate.

For taxpayers though, the most important change is Corcoran’s pitch that would end the devious practice of tacking pet projects as conforming bills on to other laws being considered at the end of the session. Such bills would now have to be filed and considered separately.

“This absolutely will cut down on the horse-trading and last-minute deals,” Fasano said.

Loosely translated, that means many of them never will be filed because sponsors know they are turkeys with no chance of passage.

“We commend House Speaker-Designate Corcoran’s efforts to increase accountability and transparency in the budget process,” Florida TaxWatch head Dominic Calabro said in a statement.

“His goal of making sure every appropriation that is placed in the budget be scrutinized and debated is one we share. Floridians deserve assurance that their money is being invested in critical needs and projects that provide the best return.”

Give the man credit. He has seen the enemy — and it is those who view the Legislature as an ATM of self-enrichment.

Now, talk is easy and policing the rules can be hard because, as we know, there are always work-arounds. You can bet a steak dinner lobbyists will try to find them.

Anyone on the prowl for loopholes, though, should be reminded of whom they are dealing with. Corcoran says what he thinks and means what he says.

“The special interests have been put on notice,” Fasano said. “The members of the House have been put on notice. He is sincere about this. Members who might think, ‘OK, we’ll pass these rules and then put in our back pocket’ better think again.”

Martin Dyckman: Richard Corcoran brings wisdom to reign in Tallahassee lobbyists

On one of my earliest days covering the Florida Legislature, I was walking along the main hall a few feet behind Jack Lee, the lobbyist for Associated Industries, when a document dropped out of his portfolio. He didn’t seem to notice, so I picked it up, intending to return it to him.

I barely had time to realize that it was an amendment form for a Senate bill, neatly typed in the proper places, when he turned and snatched it from my hands with an unprintable curse.

I had assumed that legislators wrote their own bills and amendments. How naive.

Note, though, that I have identified him as the lobbyist for Associated Industries. Although it was the most muscular business lobby in Tallahassee, it made do with just Lee. So did nearly all the heavy hitters.

They worked together, of course, whenever something came along, like Gov. Reubin Askew‘s proposed corporate income tax in 1971, to threaten their common interests. They were all watching from the galleries as it passed one house and then the other. They were confident that they wouldn’t lose.

“They lied to us!” one of them shouted out as the Senate’s tote board signaled they were wrong about that.

Much has changed about lobbying, rarely for the better, in the ensuing 45 years. On the positive side, lobbyists now must report what they are paid and spend. Gift-taking restrictions put at least one restaurant out of business. But the worst of it is that the lobbyists now routinely work in teams — often very large teams.

Where there only a few hundred in the 1960s and 1970s, there were 1,914 registered during the 2016 session. That’s nearly 12 for each legislator. They represented 3,893 principals ranging from charities, cities, and trade associations to America’s largest corporations.

AT&T, for example, boasted 71 lobbyists last spring. Associated Industries, host to a lavish party before every session, hired 45.

Each lobbyist, in turn, had other clients. Ronald L. Book, whose influence is legendary, had 101.

How do the various teams keep from stumbling over one another? How do they keep from crushing legislators under a press of bodies? Considering how the Legislature is often a multi-ring circus, with simultaneous action in multiple committees or on both House and Senate floors, how does one person represent 101 interests?

To ask those questions is to see the wisdom of incoming House Speaker Richard Corcoran‘s proposal to ban lobbyists from sending text messages to representatives while they are in committee or in session.

The smartphone is another of those negative developments since the 1960s. The lobbyists don’t use theirs just to coordinate with other members of their teams and flash warnings when something unfriendly pops up. Each team has a designated leader to watch what’s coming up. There are services that monitor all the bills and amendments for them. Then the team members assigned to their respective lawmakers can use their iPhones, Androids, or BlackBerrys to pull their strings without ever being seen.

If Corcoran prevails, as he surely will, the lobbyists will have to go back to doing that the old way — by sending written notes into the chamber or sitting in the gallery to wag hand signals. It works, but not as effortlessly, efficiently, or secretly. We reporters loved to scan the gallery for those signals or stand by the chamber doors to see who was handing notes to the sergeants at arms.

There’s a lot else to like in the reforms that Corcoran, a Land O’ Lakes Republican, is expected to propose. One of the most significant would require a lobbyist to report each bill, amendment, or appropriation that he or she is trying to influence.

So when some turkey appears as if by magic in an appropriations committee conference report, it will be evident who put it there.

Corcoran is not so likely to get approval for a constitutional amendment requiring ex-legislators to wait six years, rather than only two as now, before lobbying their former colleagues.

For one thing, nearly everyone in the term-limited Florida Legislature is either thinking about becoming a lobbyist later or has at least thought about it.

For another, a constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds vote in each house, and that is a bridge very, very far.

But it will be fun to see who votes how.

___

Martin Dyckman is a retired associate editor of the newspaper formerly known as the Tampa Bay Times. He lives in suburban Asheville, North Carolina

 

Richard Corcoran rolls out new rules, says House will ‘set the standard for others’

The new rules of the Florida House of Representatives, among other things, will increase the ban on former members lobbying their colleagues from two years to six years, and prohibit state representatives from flying in aircraft owned, leased, or otherwise paid for by lobbyists.

That’s according to a final copy of the rules, released Thursday by incoming House Speaker Richard Corcoran.

“It is time that government embodies the very highest of standards and serve citizens and not self,” he said in a statement. “The Florida House, in adopting these rules, will take a transformational leap into a new era of accountability, professionalism, transparency, and fairness.

“Those who cannot live up to the highest ethical and professional standards will find the Florida House a difficult place to work or visit,” he added.

The new rules also were endorsed by incoming House Democratic Leader Janet Cruz of Tampa.

“While we will have our policy differences, one thing we can all agree on is that special interests enjoy far too much influence and not enough transparency in policymaking in our state,” she said. “I look forward to letting my constituents know about this first in a hopefully long line of bipartisan achievements.”

One of many new rules would let House members refuse to consider bill amendments on the floor if they are issues of “first impression” that haven’t been vetted through the committee process.

Other rules that have already leaked out include heightened lobbyist registration requirements, such as disclosing every bill, amendment, and individual appropriation they are trying to influence.

Another previously disclosed item requires House members to file separate bills for each budget request they make, such as for hometown projects.

Corcoran, a Land O’ Lakes Republican, had begun hinting at his program as early as his closing remarks on the budget during the 2015 session, calling the lobby corps “Gucci-loafing, shoe-wearing special interest powers-that-be.”

In his designation-as-Speaker speech last September, he went further.

“We must close the revolving door between the Legislature and the lobby corps,” said Corcoran, whose brother Michael is a prominent state lobbyist. “We need to restore the distance between those who seek to influence the laws and those of us who make the laws.”

He called for a constitutional amendment banning “any state elected official from lobbying the legislative or executive branch for a period of six years.”

Corcoran also said he wanted to toughen lobbyist registration rules by requiring lobbyists to specifically “disclose which bills, which amendments and which appropriations they are trying to influence.”

“Other states require such disclosure,” he said during his remarks. “It’s time Florida does too.”

Further rule changes include:

— Prohibiting lobbyists from sending text messages to House members while they sit in committee meetings or on the floor. Representatives should be focused on official business at hand, according to a commentary on the rules.

— Prohibiting members from entering into “business deals or financial relationships” with registered lobbyists or with businesses in which registered lobbyists have an ownership interest.

— Creating a new Committee on Public Integrity and Ethics, which would “consider legislation and exercise oversight on matters relating to the conduct and ethics standards of House members, state and local public officials, public employees, lobbyists, and candidates for public office, the regulation of political fundraising and the constitutional prerogatives of the Legislature.”

“We cannot say we are serious about ethics reform, lobbying reform, or judicial reform, without creating a mechanism to compel change,” the commentary says.

— Requiring members to disclose any new employment with a taxpayer-funded entity.

— Prohibiting sitting members from “lobbying local governments except to the degree that they are engaged in professional work,” such as “land planning.”

The House members will have to approve the new rules at a constitutionally required organization session on Nov. 22 before they go into effect.

Unless the Senate adopts them as joint rules, they will only govern the House.

“We can never create a perfect society,” Corcoran told reporters after his designation speech last year. “Our burden is to do as many checks and balances to make the process as pure as it can be.”

Richard Corcoran to lobbyists: Cool your jets

Florida House members better get used to flying commercial.

House Speaker-designate Richard Corcoran is expected to announce new rules Thursday, including one that would prohibit members from flying on planes owned, leased, or paid for by lobbyists. The proposed rule change is meant to end a common practice among lawmakers and the influence industry, according to a sources close to the incoming House speaker.

The practice of hopping a ride on a lobbyist’s plane is considered fairly common. Lawmakers often pay for their ride, but it could create the appearance of impropriety.

The prohibition is expected to billed as a commonsense measure toward a good government. Corcoran is expected to make the argument that lobbyists and their clients shouldn’t be covering the cost of travel for members to do their jobs.

But Tallahassee could be one of the most difficult state capitals to get to in the country, especially from South Florida. It would take you about eight hours to drive from the House District 120 office in Key Largo to Tallahassee.

Want to fly? According to Expedia there are four nonstop flights to Tallahassee from Miami International Airport, where many members of the South Florida delegation would fly from, on Monday, Dec. 5, the first day of the committee weeks in the Florida House. Most of the other flights have a layover in Atlanta.

And just in case you were wondering: It takes less than four hours to drive from Land O’Lakes, Corcoran’s hometown, to Tallahassee.

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.

Richard Corcoran rolls out leadership team, announces committee chairs appointments

House Speaker Designate Richard Corcoran rolled out his leadership team Wednesday afternoon, tapping Miami Rep. Jeanette Nunez as as his House speaker pro tempore and Rep. Carlos Trujillo to be chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

In a memo to House members Wednesday, the Land O’Lakes Republican rolled out Republican leadership and committee chairs. Corcoran encouraged members to “speak with the chair of the full committee” if they are interested in serving on the committee or as a subcommittee chair.

“It is my intention to break with past practice of the speaker making all appointments,” he said in a memo. “This means subcommittee chair appointments will be made in collaboration with the full committee chairs.”

Rep. Ray Rodrigues will serve as the House majority leader, while Rep. Jose Oliva will serve as the chairman of the Rules & Policy Committee. Corcoran tapped Rep. Jose Felix Diaz to serve as chairman of his Commerce Committee, while Rep. Mike Bileca will serve as the chairman of the Education Committee.

Rep. Matt Caldwell has been selected to head the Government Accountability Committee, while Rep. Travis Cummings will chair the Health & Human Services Committee. Rep. Chris Sprowls has been selected to oversee the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Larry Metz will head the Public Integrity & Ethics committee, and Rep. Jim Boyd will chair the Ways & Means Committee.

 

Richard Corcoran welcomes new House members

Please, Florida House members, no big flower arrangements.

Speaker-designate Richard Corcoran welcomed new and returning members of the Florida House on Wednesday, in advance of the Nov. 22 organization session.

“Each political party conference will meet on Monday, Nov. 21,” he said in a memo. “You will receive information regarding this event from your respective partisan office.” The House’s Organization Session will convene the next day at 11 a.m.

Here’s the rest of the memo, edited for publication:


The purpose of the Organization Session is to administer the Oath of Office to the Members of the Florida House of Representatives, select the officers for the 2016-2018 legislative term, and adopt House Rules. Traditionally, Organization Session is a family day. Each Member may bring either their spouse or one invited guest to join them at their desk. A child small enough to be held by your spouse or guest may also be present in the House Chamber. This information is provided to help you determine whether children can best be accommodated in the Chamber, gallery, or fifth floor Spouses’ Lounge.

1) Member Breakfast: On Tuesday, November 22, before the beginning of Organization Session, breakfast will be available for you and your immediate family from 8:30 a.m. until 10 a.m. in the Member Dining Hall.

2) Chamber Access: The Chamber will be open for you one hour before the session begins. In order to facilitate the security inspection of the House Chamber, we request that you refrain from bringing materials, including House-issued or personal computers, into the Chamber for Organization Session. Only reasonably-sized floral arrangements and live plants will be approved for distribution in the House Chamber for the Organization Session. We ask that you please remove all floral arrangements and plants from your Chamber desk at the conclusion of the Organization Session. All Member-to-Member gifts other than floral arrangements and plants need to be delivered to the Members’ offices. These policies are in place to protect the security and decorum of the House.

3) Gallery Passes: Seating in the Gallery for Organization Session will be limited … No Member may request more than two gallery passes. Additional guests are invited to watch the session by closed circuit television in Room 404 of the House Office Building.

4) Spouses’ Lounge and Childcare: The Spouses’ Lounge … will be open for Organization Session. The Spouses’ Lounge is an area where your spouse and children can relax while the Legislature is in session. We have arranged for a sitter service to be available for your children, as space allows, during Organization Session.

5) House and Senate Reception: On Tuesday, November 22, the House and Senate will have a joint reception to celebrate the beginning of the 2016-2018 legislative term. The reception will take place at The Edison (470 Suwannee Street in Tallahassee) from 4-7 p.m.  You and your family are invited to attend.

8) Travel Authorization for Organization Session: Members are authorized to travel to Tallahassee for Organization Session beginning Sunday, November 20.  If you have questions regarding travel, please contact House Administration.

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