The pro-business political action committee Americans for Prosperity — Florida continues to make waves this Session as it prepares to distribute mailers to a handful of legislators thanking them for their advocacy on charter school expansion.
The move to gain good will among members of the Florida GOP majority serves as the carrot to AFP’s punitive stick, which they have also brandished freely this year.
The Charles and David Koch-funded group has criticized some Republican state senators for trying to advance a plan that would allow Florida to draw down billions of federal dollars to expand Medicaid, as well as a pair of Senate moderates — Sens. Jack Latvala and Nancy Detert — for their attempt to increase state incentives for the film industry.
That tension in particular got testy during a Senate hearing last week, when Detert called out AFP State Deputy Director Skylar Zander for opposing that effort in committee though not specifying the group’s objections. Latvala summoned Zander to the podium after he waived his time in opposition of Detert’s SB 1046, which would create the Division of Film & Entertainment within the Department of Economic Opportunity. Detert took Zander to task for sending out attack mailers against her and for offering “meaningless” critiques of her plan.
For now, it appears AFP is choosing to accentuate the positive aspects of its advocacy, which has been considerable this year. Besides the Medicaid and film incentives issues the group has applauded the House for its audacious $690 million tax-cut package and praised Rep. Janet Adkins for her conservative approach to pension reform, another ongoing years-long battle in which AFP has jumped into the fray.
The pro-school choice mailers are seemingly another step in that direction. AFP will drop supportive mailers in the districts represented by Sens. Lizbeth Benacquisto, John Legg and Jeff Brandes as well as Reps. Dane Eagle, Frank Artiles, Bob Cortes and Manny Diaz.
A representative example implores the recipient to “Call Senator Legg and thank him for standing up for Florida’s families!”