Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.
By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, Mitch Perry and Jim Rosica.
FIRST & FOREMOST — GOOD NEWS FOR A GREAT PERSON: ASHLEY WALKER NAMED PARTNER AT MERCURY — The bipartisan public strategy firm announced Walker, who has led the public affairs operation for Mercury in Florida since 2013, is the first woman at the company to be named a partner. “Ashley’s work, and the top-tier bipartisan team she has built in Florida, clearly demonstrates the dynamic leadership befitting a Mercury partner,” said Mercury CEO Kieran Mahoney in a statement. “We are thrilled to add her to the leadership of this firm.”
According to the firm, Walker currently serves as strategic advisor for several super PACs, including one supporting Patrick Murphy’s Senate race and ones focused on voter mobilization for the presidential and U.S. Senate campaigns. In addition to her political work, she manages national and state-wide campaigns across several key issue areas including healthcare, real estate development and education.
TIM KAINE COMES TO THE SUNSHINE STATE
Welcome back to Florida, Tim Kaine.
The Virginia Democrat will be at Daytona Beach College at 3 p.m., marking his first solo campaign swing through Florida since joining the Democratic ticket. And with 98 days until Election Day, voters — especially those living in the I-4 corridor — should prepare themselves for regular visits from presidential hopefuls and their big name surrogates.
Donald Trump is scheduled to hold an event at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach on Wednesday, before traveling to Jacksonville for a rally at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.
While both Trump and Hillary Clinton have visited the Tampa Bay area, their campaign’s back-to-back visits to Daytona Beach may show just how important the I-4 corridor will be to this election.
Election records show the county voted for Gov. Rick Scott in both 2010 and 2014. In 2012, Mitt Romney won Volusia County by 2,742 votes. Four years earlier, Barack Obama came out on top, besting John McCain by more than 13,800 votes.
And while there are more registered Democrats than Republicans in Volusia, all but one of the state legislators who represent the area are Republicans.
That could be why the Clinton campaign is deploying Kaine to the area. He’s well-liked among establishment Republicans, and could help woo GOPers who are leery about voting for Trump.
The trip also marks the beginning of the general election sprint, as candidates focus their time and resources on battleground states. With 29 electoral votes, Florida is the crown jewel of swing states. The Clinton campaign already has a presence the state, opening office across the state and pouring millions into advertising.
And since Florida may be a must-win state for both candidates, expect to see high profile surrogates hit the road as Election Day gets closer. For Democrats, that could mean more visits from President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
Some big name Republicans might be hesitant to support Trump, it’s probably safe to say Mike Pence, the Indiana governor and Republican vice presidential candidate, and Chris Christie, New Jersey’s governor and Trump backer, will be making an appearance in the Sunshine State before Nov. 8.
— MORE ON TIM KAINE —
AT HARVARD LAW, KAINE WAS DRIVEN BY FAITH via Michael Levenson of the Boston Globe – He was a year younger than most of his classmates, a state-school graduate and devout Catholic from the Midwest suddenly surrounded by Ivy Leaguers on a secular East Coast campus. It was clear, when Tim Kaine arrived at Harvard Law School in the fall of 1979, that he was not exactly in his natural element. And it didn’t take long for him to lose faith in his chosen field on the cutthroat campus of career-minded law students. “He had a crisis of purpose during his first year in law school when he realized most of his fellow classmates went on to become corporate lawyers with practices and principles with which he didn’t agree,” said Scott Brown … “I encouraged him to veer off.” Kaine’s bumpy years at Harvard helped clarify what he wanted — and didn’t want — in life, friends said … [and] on a campus brimming with aspiring politicians, no one predicted Kaine would run for office, let alone second-in-command at the White House.”
KAINE RECALLED FOR COMMITMENT TO RICHMOND’S AFRICAN-AMERICANS via Jonathan Mahler of The New York Times – No one here will forget the giant picture of Robert E. Lee. It briefly graced a prominent downtown wall in the spring of 1999, setting off an angry backlash from many African-Americans in the city. Soon, Mayor Kaine was putting forward a compromise inside Richmond’s packed City Council chambers: a revised image, this time of a decidedly downcast General Lee … that would be part of a series of murals featuring … Powhatan Beaty, a black man who won the Medal of Honor fighting for the Union. One after another, [African-Americans] rose to their feet to insist that any image of Lee would be, in the words of one protester, “a last slap in the face.” But the mural went up. In a matter of months, someone had set fire to it. During Tim Kaine’s six years in Richmond’s local government, he became known for his commitment to the city’s African-Americans. But there were also stumbles as he began to fashion himself as the centrist conciliator that he is known as today.
LATEST POLLING – A new CBS News poll finds Clinton leading Trump by seven points, 46% to 39%, after being tied last week. In addition, Clinton’s favorability rating climbed to 36% from 31% a week ago.
SALLY BRADSHAW, SENIOR JEB BUSH CONFIDANTE, LEAVES THE GOP via the Washington Post – Bradshaw made the announcement in an interview with CNN, saying that despite decades of work on behalf of GOP candidates — most prominently Bush, the former Florida governor, and his father’s 1988 presidential campaign — she might vote for Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate, if the race in her home state of Florida is close.
Bradshaw told CNN in an email that the GOP is “at a crossroads and have nominated a total narcissist — a misogynist — a bigot.” … “This is a time when country has to take priority over political parties. Donald Trump cannot be elected president,” Bradshaw wrote.
“This election cycle is a test,” she added in her email. “As much as I don’t want another four years of Obama’s policies, I can’t look my children in the eye and tell them I voted for Donald Trump. I can’t tell them to love their neighbor and treat others the way they wanted to be treated, and then vote for Donald Trump. I won’t do it.”
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ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Sen. Marco Rubio hold press availability at 2:15 p.m. at Costa Del Mar, 2361 Mason Avenue, Suite 100 in Daytona Beach. Prior to the media availability, he is expected tour Costa Del Mar’s headquarters and discuss the importance of manufacturing and recreational fishing in Florida’s economy. Media interested in covering the event should RSVP to Alex_Burgos@rubio.senate.gov. Members of the press should indicate whether they are interested in participating in the tour, which will begin around 1 p.m.
“Senator Rubio or candidate Rubio” via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times
MARCO RUBIO PRAISES MUSLIM SOLDIER WHOSE FATHER BASHED DONALD TRUMP AT DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION via Amy Sherman and Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald – Rubio gave … a statement on Humayun Khan, the solidier who was slain in the Iraq War. Khan’s father, Khizr Khan, gave a speech at the Democratic convention attacking Trump. Khan was a captain in the Army. “I think it’s unfortunate. Look, Sergeant Khan is a hero, for every measure … He is, I’ve often talked about, Americans who also are Muslims, who have served this country in uniform, 14 of whom have died between 2001 and recently … I think his parents are heroes and they have a First Amendment right to speak out on their politics, as all Americans do. Their son died for the Constitution and I honor that … let’s remember that Sergeant Khan lost his life in the hands of radical jihadists. They took their view of their faith and used it to justify killing innocents and attacking them. So that’s why it’s a complex issue … we have Americans who are Muslims who are patriotic and love this country, as evidenced by the Khan family … We live in a world now where we have to know exactly who’s coming in, why they’re coming, who they are and what they’re up to. And that becomes harder when they’re coming from countries that don’t even have a functional government.”
— DEM REAX —
Patrick Murphy: “The candidate Marco Rubio endorsed for President is attacking a family who lost their son in Iraq and the best Rubio can muster is ‘I think it’s unfortunate.’ In his shockingly tone-deaf and inadequate response, Rubio failed to even mention Donald Trump’s name. This was not a condemnation of Trump. This was Marco Rubio once again proving that he would rather pursue his political ambition and abandon this country’s values than stand up to his party’s racist nominee for President.”
Allison Tant: “No, Marco, Donald Trump’s attacks on a Gold Star family are not ‘unfortunate.’ They’re vile, cruel, and demonstrate a fundamental lack of judgment and character. In Rubio’s desperation to appeal to Trump voters, he’s proven himself yet again to be nothing more than a opportunist focused only on helping himself. No amount tepid policy criticism or belated handwringing will change the fact that Marco Rubio still believes Donald Trump should be our Commander in Chief.”
PATRICK MURPHY RELEASES NEW AD BLASTING RUBIO’S ATTENDANCE RECORD – Rubio’s record of missing votes became an issue while he was running for president earlier this year. And the Tampa Bay Times reported last month that he also has a poor record of attending classified Intelligence Meetings as well, missing 20 of 23 such events.The new ad attacks Rubio for missing a specific vote that he boasted about in an ad for his campaign that was released on his behalf last week. The ad said that “Rubio wrote the toughest sanctions on Hezbollah ever passed.”
MYSTERY PUSH POLL CASTS MURPHY AS RACIST, LIAR via Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald – The anonymous, automated telephone recording asks a few questions to gauge what would make the listener more or less likely to vote for … Murphy. One of the questions lands like a bombshell: What if you knew his old super PAC had run “a racist TV ad falsely showing his African-American opponent with a gold tooth punching a white woman in the face?” That’s what some Florida Democrats heard over the weekend when they answered the push poll against Murphy, a Jupiter congressman running to challenge Marco Rubio. Murphy’s chief rival is Alan Grayson … Polls intended to disseminate negative information about opponents — rather than to objectively sample public opinion — are known as “push” polls, because they “push” a particular message. The “racist” ad mentioned in the anti-Murphy call appears to refer to a 2012 TV spot by American Sunrise, a super PAC that backed Murphy against then-incumbent Republican Rep. Allen West. The controversial ad showed a cartoon image of West wearing boxing gloves. It accused him of fighting for women’s health care funding — while showing Cartoon West jabbing a woman in the chin. The same ad showed a glint on West’s smile, as if he had a gold tooth. (West and his supporters argued at the time that the ad was racist, but the NAACP disagreed.) Another push-poll question mentions that Murphy “claimed that he cleaned up the BP Gulf oil spill, but neither he nor his company ever received a single cleanup contract.” (PolitiFact reviewed that claim.) “Thank you for participating in our poll regarding the Aug. 30 Democratic primary,” the call concludes. Who’s behind the call is a mystery.
CARLOS BERUFF CAPABLE OF SPENDING MILLIONS MORE AGAINST RUBIO via Zac Anderson of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune – newly released financial disclosure forms indicate the Manatee County homebuilder likely has the resources to do so. The development business has proven extremely lucrative for Beruff, who is challenging Rubio in the GOP primary. He has assets worth between $53 million and $216 million. Beruff reported 28 assets – mostly land holdings and development-related business entities – worth between $1 million and $5 million and two assets worth between $5 million and $25 million. And he has dozens of assets worth less than $1 million. But he also has significant liabilities, with his total debt somewhere between $13 million and $56 million. If that figure is even close to accurate – a source with knowledge of Beruff’s finances said his net worth is actually greater than $100 million – then Beruff may be able to spend significantly more than the $7.6 million he already has put into the race, although a large portion of his wealth is tied up in assets such as land that are not liquid.
MATT GAETZ TOUTS CONSERVATIVE CREDENTIALS IN NEW CD 1 AD — The Gaetz campaign is set to release a new advertisement, called “The Most Conservative,” that highlights the Fort Walton Beach Republican’s conservative record in the Florida Legislature. “Government is rigged against people. More and more, it doesn’t matter which political party wins an election because the same special interests are still in charge. I know what it takes to fight and win against big government,” he says in the 30-second spot. The advertisement also points out Gaetz is “100 percent pro-life” and was “one of only two Republicans to vote against drivers’ licenses” for Floridians living in the country illegally.”
CHARLIE CRIST EMERGES AS A WEDGE ISSUE IN NORTH FLORIDA CONGRESSIONAL RACE via Bruce Ritchie of POLITICO Florida – Associations with former Republican Gov. Crist and his efforts to address climate change are becoming litmus test issues in the Republican primary for a North Florida congressional seat. After a political committee accused him of being a “Charlie Crist Republican,” congressional candidate Neal Dunn fired back by accusing one of his primary opponents, Mary Thomas, of pushing Crist’s “radical climate change agenda” when she worked for the state. The Republican hopefuls are competing to face incumbent Democrat Gwen Graham in Florida’s 2nd Congressional District. A majority of scientists say increasing carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels is causing climate change, warmer global temperatures and sea level rise. In April, Dunn told the News Herald, “I am sure human activity plays some role, but I don’t think the science is clear on how much is man-made and how much is natural. Ken Sukhia, a former U. S. attorney who also is running in the Republican primary, said through a campaign spokesman that the science behind climate change had become discredited. “Charlie Crist and his attorneys at the Department of Community Affairs pursued that radical environmental agenda in the last two years of his administration, after he abandoned his conservative roots,” Sukhia said without mentioning his primary opponents.
FIREWORKS FLY AS CORRINE BROWN DEFENDS HER HOME TURF via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics – Brown, incumbent Democrat in Florida’s 5th Congressional District, faced off with Democrats Al Lawson and L.J. Holloway and Republican Glo Smith, the only one of the four guaranteed to be around in November. Brown hugged Smith and Lawson both before the forum began. There were no hugs during the forum, as Brown showed that no matter what her legal situation might be, she has no peer in the race when it comes to the business of politics itself. She commanded the mike. She commanded the forum. It was classic Corrine Brown. And it was classic Corrine from start to finish. Brown, grabbing the dead mike, quipped that “people are trying to [silence] my voice,” before giving her biography and then working the crowd. “Are there any veterans in the house? Stand up! Let’s give them a hand!” That was the highlight of the introductory statements. The question went to Brown’s criminal charges … “Let’s be clear,” Brown said, loosely paraphrasing Proverbs 18, citing The Florida Star as a character reference, and then pointing out “last summer at this time, I sent 22 kids to China. Gave 60 kids scholarships. Over 1,000 kids received computers from Corrine Brown. I guess you didn’t know about that,” Brown said, saying the media didn’t report it, echoing comments she made to POLITICO.
WOMEN FOR DARREN SOTO LASH BACK AGAINST SUSANNAH RANDOLPH’S ALLEGATIONS OVER SEXUAL ASSAULT BILL via Larry Griffin of Orlando Rising – In a mailer sent out last week, Florida’s 9th Congressional District candidate Randolph claimed that her opponent Soto tried to lower the time victims of sexual assault had to report their crime … Soto appeared with a group of women supporting him to refute that claim — and in fact, state the opposite: that Soto had actually worked to double the amount of time victims had to come forward after a sexual assault in SB 1270 last year. The cause was spurred initially by a grassroots supporter, Danielle Sullivan, who had tried to come forward after a sexual assault but found she was 43 days too late from the four-year statute of limitations — leading Sullivan to name the effort “43 Days Initiative.” Then she found a backing in Soto, who, along with Rene Plasencia in the House of Representatives, took the case to Tallahassee, trying to amend the statute of limitations to 10 years rather than four. Randolph … wasn’t present at the event Monday due to a scheduling conflict, but Democratic Hispanic Caucus President Vivian Rodriguez read her statement aloud. “I am disgusted that Susannah Randolph twisted my work around,” Sullivan wrote. “What she did was wrong. When she was confronted about it, she did not apologize. She doubled down on her lie. Susannah Randolph cannot be trusted.”
SAVE THE DATE: Daniel Webster will be fundraising for his campaign for Florida’s 11th Congressional District Monday, Aug. 8, beginning 6:30 p.m. at the Fechtel Residence, 531 E. County Line Road in Lutz. RSVP and questions to Kirsten Borman Dougherty at Kirsten@kbstrategic.comor 703-822-3814.
KATHY CASTOR SAYS DNC MESSAGE OF OPTIMISM IS IN TUNE WITH WHERE AMERICA IS AT via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – Castor says her party’s message IS in sync with the mood of the country. “We have a lot going for us,” Castor said after attending a news conference regarding the restoration of voting rights for ex-felons in Florida. “If you look at how far we’ve come since the Great Recession: unemployment is low, inflation is low, gas prices are low, the housing market has recovered. But that doesn’t mean that everything is going fabulously; yes, we have work to do,” she says. The Tampa representative says the key is to focus on higher wages for workers in Florida. “The Democrats have a plan to do that, and (Donald) Trump has no plan at all. Everyone has the right to be optimistic in the United States of America. This is the greatest country on Earth. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have challenges that we’ve got to work on and right here in Florida, that means higher wages, support for public education and then fundamentally we’ve got to keep our neighbors safe here at home and abroad.”
HEATHER FITZENHAGEN, OTHER SWFL RESIDENTS FEATURED IN NEW CHAUNCEY GOSS AD — The 30-second spot, called SWFL Values, features local residents talking about what they want in a congressman. Among those featured in the advertisement is Fitzenhagen, a Fort Myers Republican who endorsed Goss in July. “We deserve a congressman who will take our values to Washington, and not the other way around,” the Sanibel Island Republican says in the advertisement. Goss is vying to replace Rep. Curt Clawson in Florida’s 19th Congressional District. He’ll face Francis Rooney and Dan Bongino in the Aug. 30 Republican primary.
DAN BONGINO GOES AFTER FRANCIS ROONEY IN NEW CD 19 RADIO AD — In a new radio advertisement, Bongino attacks Rooney, calling him a former Democrat and questions his position on immigration. “Here’s the truth … I left a promising career in the Secret Service to dedicate my life to fighting the scourge of Obamacare and Obama’s destruction of America. And while I was on the front lines of this fight, Rooney was fighting for immigration amnesty. That’ the hard truth. Look it up yourself,” he says in the advertisement. In May, Rooney wrote an editorial for The Hill, that, among other things, said Republicans should consider and debate “a range of options to deal responsibly with people living illegal in the United States right now.” Bongino faces Rooney and Chauncey Goss in the Aug. 30 Republican primary in Florida’s 19th Congressional District.
TIM CANOVA HAS RAISED $2.8 MILLION IN RACE AGAINST DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ via Amy Sherman of the Miami Herald – Canovaraised $2,798,041.27 including $260,985 since Wasserman Schultz announced she would step down as Democratic National Committee chair … Her decision followed WikiLeaks posting thousands of DNC emails showing that the party favored Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders — something Wasserman Schultz had denied doing for months. Wasserman Schultz raised about $3.1 million while Canova raised about $2.3 million through June … The Democrats are competing in Congressional District 23 which spans from western Broward to northern Miami-Dade County. Canova released a summary of a poll Sunday showing that he is eight points behind Wasserman Schultz. Wasserman Schultz is facing the first primary of her career since 1992 when she ran for state House.
STOP PLAYING FAVORITES PAC – NO ON AMENDMENT 4 EFFORT LAUNCHES via Press Release – Conservative activist Jason Hoyt announced the creation of Stop Playing Favorites Political Action Committee (Stop Playing Favorites PAC), an effort meant to discourage Florida lawmakers and voters from creating carve-outs while picking winners and losers in the economy. The first mission of the Stop Playing Favorites PAC is focused on asking Florida voters to reject Amendment 4 on the Aug. 30 Florida Primary. “Amendment 4, Florida Tax Exemptions for Renewable Energy … was not lead by the people, but by the legislature itself, in an attempt to carve out additional exemptions in the tax code for one industry.” Hoyt said: “Voters are tired of big government cronyism where legislators and lobbyists play favorites by manipulating the tax code for their friends. Stop Playing Favorites was created to defeat measures just like Amendment 4 which will shortchange taxpayers while lining the pockets of big solar, big utility corporations and big business. No matter the industry or issue, when the legislature makes exemptions, someone has to pay for it … I’m for solar and I want solar to be competitive, innovative and successful but it needs to do so in an open market without government exemptions. Tax code exemptions that play favorites, including those for big solar and big utilities, are not the solution to our dated and broken tax system.” Hoyt and Stop Playing Favorites PAC is launching with the support of several well-known conservative activists and party leaders and will continue to recruit more as they move forward.
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ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Ben Diamond, a Democrat running in House District 68, will host an event at 9 a.m. at Northshore Park, 901 North Shore Drive NE in St. Petersburg. Diamond will be joined by the League of Conservation Voters and other local environmental activists to talk about his work on Amendment 1 and his first proposed legislative initiatives.
10 PICKS THAT STAND OUT AMONG THE FLORIDA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE’S 2016 LEGISLATIVE ENDORSEMENTS via Peter Schorsch – In the ultracompetitive race for Senate District 1, the Chamber is backing Doug Broxson over Mike Hill … polling indicates the race remains too close to call. It’s no surprise the Chamber is backing Republican Keith Perry over Democrat Rod Smith in SD 8. Perry’s been a reliable vote for the Chamber … In HDs 11-14, there is an abundance of candidates running. Some organizations are taking a wait-and-see approach before endorsing in these races. The Chamber is backing Sheri Treadwell in HD 11 and Clay Yarborough in HD 12 … In HD 21, the Chamber is endorsing Chuck Clemons … In Tampa Bay, the Chamber made some interesting picks. It’s backing Republican Rebecca Smith over Jackie Toledo in the GOP primary, giving Smith additional establishment support. It’s getting behind Dianne Hart in HD 61 Democratic primary, presumably as a block versus Sean Shaw, who would be a thorn in the Chamber’s side. In the battleground HD 68 race, Ben Diamond wins the Chamber’s nod … Most surprising is the Chamber’s support of Wengay Newton in HD 70, further signaling the former St. Petersburg City Councilman’s political evolution … Really, Florida Chamber, you endorsed David Rivera? Yes, he’s a Republican, but, jeez, aren’t all of his recent shenanigans too much to accept?
Rebecca Negron, running for Florida 18th Congressional District, has been endorsed by the American Medical Association Political Action Committee (AMPAC).
Francis Rooney, running for Florida’s 19th Congressional District, has been endorsed by Let Freedom Ring, a leading conservative public policy organization.
Matt Hudson, running for Senate District 28, has been endorsed by the North Collier Professional Firefighters and Paramedics
Rena Frazier, running for House District 59, has been endorsed by the Florida Sentinel Bulletin.
Wengay Newton, running for House District 70, has been endorsed the Fraternal Order Of Police.
HAPPENING TODAY — AN ACCOUNTABLE MIAMI-DADE PUSHES TO SUBMIT 125K SIGNATURES FOR BALLOT INITIATIVE — The organization will hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m. at the Miami-Dade Supervisors of Elections Office, 2700 NW 8th Avenue in Doral to deliver 125,000 signed petitions calling for a ballot initiative to create more accountable and transparent count elections. Bettina Rodriguez Alguilar, the former Doral vice-mayor; Marcus Dixon, SEIU’s political director, and Gihan Perera, the executive director of the New Florida Majority, will be on hand to talk about the initiative. Among other things, the initiative aims to set strict limits on contributions by reducing the maximum contribution to $250 per election for county candidates.
HAPPENING THURSDAY — LAWMAKERS, SUPPORTERS RALLY SUPPORT FOR AMENDMENT 4 — Sen. Jeff Brandes will be joined by business and environmental leaders during a press conference at 9:30 a.m. at the Florida Press Center, 336 E. College Avenue, Suite 100, in Tallahassee. The group is expected to voice their support for Amendment 4, which will amend the state Constitution to make the value of solar panels, and other renewable energy equipment, exempt from tangible personal property tax and real property tax. The initiative is on the Aug. 30 ballot.
2018 WATCH – MIKE HUCKABEE FOR FLORIDA GOV.? via Florida Politics – That’s what two prominent Florida Republicans with statewide cachet (one a top-ranking lobbyist, the other a well-known member of the Florida Legislature) have told FloridaPolitics.com in recent days. Although it’s difficult to game-out a path to victory for Huckabee, the former presidential candidate has taken an active role in Panhandle politics, endorsing Matt Gaetz for Congress and getting linked to a political committee in Walton County … Huckabee, who lives in the Panhandle, served as the governor of Arkansas from 1996 until 2007. He was one of the longest serving governors in the state’s history, and, according to his website, he left a legacy of “tax cuts, jobs creation, the reconstruction of his state’s road system,” and education reforms. He has remained politically active … So far this year, his political committee has given $12,000 to campaigns. That sum includes a $1,000 contribution to Matt Gaetz’s congressional campaign. Huckabee endorsed Gaetz in Florida’s 1st Congressional District this week. If he were take the plunge (and win), Huckabee would follow Sam Houston to be the second governor elected in two states.
— MORE 2018 RUMBLINGS —
DEMOCRATIC MAYOR DINGS TOP FLORIDA PRO-TRUMP OFFICIALS, BUT IS HE AIMING AT ONE IN PARTICULAR? via Richard Danielson of the Tampa Bay Times – Clinton supporter Bob Buckhorn took to Twitter to zing three top Florida supporters of GOP presidential nominee Trump over his criticism of Khizr and Ghazala Khan, who spoke of their son’s death in combat at last week’s Democratic National Convention. Buckhorn’s tweet: “Silence from Donald Trump supporters @RickScott, @adamputnam, @PamBondi after his attack on Gold Star family. Still proud of your man?” It’s an interesting dig because the Tampa mayor has been on cordial terms — considering that he’s a Democrat and they’re all Republicans — with two of the officials and could be seeing a lot of the third in the future. Buckhorn has had a good working relationship with Gov. Scott, whom he has worked with closely on economic development initiatives, and Attorney General Pam Bondi, a former Hillsborough prosecutor and a longtime friend from Tampa whose campaign listed Buckhorn as a host for a controversial fundraiser in 2013. That leaves the third, Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam, who, like Buckhorn, is expected to be a candidate for governor in 2018, and who, unlike Buckhorn, has a personal political committee that’s raised a ton of money (nearly $5.4 million, at last count, to less than $140,000 by Buckhorn’s PAC). So maybe it’s a tweet about the election this fall. And maybe it’s about 2018, too.
ON CUBA, BOB BUCKHORN’S OUT OF STEP WITH MANY AROUND TAMPA BAY, AND HE’S OK WITH THAT via Richard Danielson and Christopher O’Donnell of the Tampa Bay Times – When Cuban officials searching for a possible consulate location toured St. Petersburg but not Tampa over the weekend, Tampa City Council member Yvonne Yolie Capin said Buckhorn, unlike St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, was hurting his city’s chances of getting the consulate … Buckhorn is on vacation this week, but his views on the consulate and Tampa’s opportunities — and responsibilities — amid an opening to Cuba are well-documented. In essence, Buckhorn is not inclined to embrace more economic engagement with Cuba until the Castro government in Havana institutes democratic reforms and guarantees that its citizens have broader rights to speak their minds and dissent. He doesn’t oppose other people doing it, but he’s not taking part himself. This puts Buckhorn, a possible Democratic candidate for governor in 2018, out of step with much of the bay area’s business and political establishment, which is organizing itself to chase opportunities in Cuba. It is, however, consistent with Bob Buckhorn being Bob Buckhorn. One of the mayor’s core political principles is that he does not turn his back on his friends. And over three decades in Tampa politics, Buckhorn has worked hard to build friendships with Cuban families in West Tampa who suffered when Fidel Castro came to power … in an interview with the Times July 13, Buckhorn said his position is not changing, and his office said his comments stand.
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RUBIO JOINS CALL FOR CONGRESS TO RECONVENE ON ZIKA VIRUS via John Kennedy of the Palm Beach Post – It’s been mostly Democrats urging Congress to return from summer recess to deal with the spreading outbreak of the Zika virus. But Rubio … also joined the chorus … The first four cases in the continental U.S. of the illness being transmitted through a local mosquito bit occurred in Rubio’s home Miami-Dade County. “I hope we’ll return to Washington quickly, take a day and just pass this funding measure so we can start to get funds flowing,” Rubio said. “A week ago, before the cases were announced, I had asked President Obama to take $300 million that’s disposable, that he has under his control, and fully utilize that to get ahead of it.”
TWEET, TWEET: @AllisonNielsen: Pregnant women mourn bc they can no longer take artsy @instagram & @facebook photos in #Wynwood due to #Zika.
IN FLORIDA ZIKA PROBE, FEDERAL SCIENTISTS KEPT AT ARM’S LENGTH via Julie Steenhuysen of Reuters – Coordination with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since the state reported possible local Zika transmission July 19 has been conducted largely at a distance, they said. That is surprising to some infectious disease experts, who say a less robust response could lead to a higher number of infections. While Florida has a strong record of battling limited outbreaks of similar mosquito-borne viruses, including dengue and chikungunya, the risk of birth defects caused by Zika adds greater urgency to containing its spread with every available means, they say. Other states have quickly called in CDC teams to help track high-profile diseases.
RICK SCOTT TO POLICE CHIEFS: ‘WHAT YOU DO EVERY DAY IS IMPORTANT TO EVERY FAMILY’ via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics– “We have the ability to do more,” said Scott … on hand to kick off the Florida Police Chiefs Association annual summer training conference in Bonita Springs. During his speech, Scott thanked law enforcement officers, and said their work is what has allowed Florida to grow the economy. “What you do every day impacts so many lives, and so, from the bottom of my heart I thank you,” said Scott, who went on to say companies and families wouldn’t move “to places where they don’t think it is safe … What you do every day is important to every family.” Scott told the group he would continue to work for law enforcement officers and their families. Earlier this year, Scott signed a bill into law to help families of first responders killed in the line of duty.
HAPPENING TODAY: Gov. Scott and the Florida Cabinet meet 9 a.m. in the Cabinet Meeting Room of the Capitol. Among the agenda items are state bonding and legislative priorities for insurance regulators.
ENVIRONMENTALIST RALLYING CRY VERSUS BLUE-GREEN ALGAE IN COASTAL WATERS: ‘BUY THE LAND’ via Bruce Ritchie of POLITICO Florida – It’s a simple message, repeated over and over. It’s on the signs they wave at public meetings in Martin County and at the South Florida Water Management District. And supporters spelled it out on the beach July 3 in Martin County. “Buy the Land!” Environmentalists say it’s a clear and precise demand for action. The blue-green algae washing up on beaches along Martin County starting in late June has renewed calls from environmentalists to buy land south of Lake Okeechobee. But what land? Where? And at what cost? The answers differ and they have changed. For some, “Buy the Land!” doesn’t necessarily mean buy any specific land – just some land in the Everglades Agricultural Area for water storage, possibly for a flow-way to the Everglades.
FLORIDA LOTTERY OVERHAULS LONG-RUNNING DAILY GAMES via The Associated Press – Lottery officials announced … it is launching two new daily games called Pick 2 and Pick 5 … At the same time the Florida Lottery is changing the name of its Cash 3 and Play 4 games to Pick 3 and Pick 4. Each Pick game costs 0.50 cents or $1 to play and prizes range from $50 to $50,000. Both Cash 3 and Play 4 have been offered by the Florida Lottery for more than two decades. Cash 3 was first introduced in 1988 while Play 4 was added three years later in 1991. State economists anticipate that the additional two games should boost overall sales by nearly $31 million in the first year.
THEY TOOK TOO DAMN LONG’: INSIDE THE POLICE RESPONSE TO THE ORLANDO SHOOTING via Adam Goldman and Mark Berman of The Washington Post – When Omar Mateen finished pumping bullets into dozens of people sprawled on the dance floor inside the Pulse nightclub June 12, he walked toward the bathrooms, where many patrons had hidden. It was just minutes after Orlando police were called about the gunfire, and law enforcement officers began descending on the club. Four of them entered the building through one patio, while six others shot out a window to get inside. Among the 10 officers who went into Pulse, some had powerful military-style rifles and one had a shield. At least two had tactical experience. Police fired at Mateen when he popped his head out of one the bathrooms. The shooter was outgunned and outnumbered. But then, police decided not to pursue him … The decision not to follow Mateen into the bathroom proved critical. Because Mateen was not subdued or killed sooner, wounded victims remained trapped inside the bathroom for hours, pleading for the police to rescue them. Emergency medical personnel did not enter the club to treat victims, because it was deemed too dangerous. And during the final standoff, in which police initially failed to breach the club wall and struggled to make entry, Mateen apparently shot more victims, according to witnesses. Orlando Police Chief John Mina defended the actions of officers inside the club and the rationale for not ending the attack sooner. The reason police did not pursue the shooter immediately, Mina said, was that Mateen stopped shooting after he entered the bathroom and he had hostages. “He went from an active shooter to a barricaded gunman,” Mina said. “If he had continued shooting, our officers would have went in there.” How Orlando police responded to the shooting will be studied closely as other departments across the country try to prepare their officers for the next mass shooting.
OWNERS: BOGUS INSTAGRAM REPORT SAID PULSE WAS REOPENING via Terrance Harris of The Associated Press – A spokeswoman says the Pulse nightclub in Orlando will not reopen as a memorial to the dozens of people who died at the gay venue during an attack last month. Sara Brady of the OnePulseFoundation said in a statement Monday that a bogus Instagram posting from the day before that had announced the memorial has been taken down. The foundation was set up to help raise funds for the victims of the June 12 attack.
CORRECTIONS CHIEF OF STAFF LEAVES TO GO LOBBY FOR SSG via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald – After 23 years in state government, Stacy Arias is trading in her state job to move into lobbying at the Tallahassee-based firm, Southern Strategy Group. Arias joins what the firm calls its “Jedis of Government” a group of “highly successful former public officials drawn from the top ranks of government.” The growing lobbying firm has expanded by snatching up former government officials in five Florida cities — often to handle vendors whose contracts they previously managed — but it has turned the transactional value of relationship-building into a sales pitch. Arias, who served with FDC Secretary Julie Jones at the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, began her career in government in 1993, according to the Southern Strategy statement. She will be replaced at Corrections by Steven Fielder, who also served at DHSMV as director of administrative services. “Stacy will leverage her extensive operations expertise to help Southern Strategy Group’s clients develop effective strategies to achieve meaningful change in Florida’s ever-evolving system of administrative policy,” the statement said.
NEW LOBBYING REGISTRATIONS
Gregory Black, James Daughton, Patricia Greene, Warren Husband, Aimee Diaz Lyon, Andrew Palmer, Metz Husband & Daughton: Florida Health Organization, Inc.
Nick Iarossi, Jennifer Gaviria, Kenneth Granger, Ashley Kalifeh, Scott Ross, Christopher Schoonover, Gerald Wester, Capital City Consulting: Oportun
WHAT JEFF SHARKEY & TAYLOR BIEHL IS READING TESLA LOOKING AT CAMERAS, RADAR IN FLORIDA CRASH via Tom Krishner of The Associated Press –Tesla engineers told members of a Senate committee they are looking into the role cameras and radar played in the fatal crash of a Model S using self-driving mode … The engineers have two main theories, the people said. Either the car’s cameras and radar failed to spot a crossing tractor-trailer. Or the cameras didn’t see the rig and the car’s computer thought the radar signal was false, possibly from an overpass or sign. Tesla officials disclosed these theories to U.S. Senate Commerce Committee staff members during an hourlong meeting, said the people, who didn’t want to be identified because the meeting was private. The meeting came at the request of Committee Chairman Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., whose committee oversees transportation and could hold a hearing on self-driving technology at a later date. The driver of the Model S, Joshua Brown of Canton, Ohio, was killed when the sedan hit the side of a tractor-trailer while traveling 9 mph above the speed limit on a highway near Gainesville, Florida, federal accident investigators have said. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is investigating the May 7 crash, has said that the car’s Autopilot system was engaged. Tesla is still working to pinpoint what system failures caused the crash and still believes the safety benefits of semi-autonomous driving systems like Autopilot far outweigh any risks, the people said. Representatives … also told committee staffers that cross traffic remains a challenge for automated driving systems … A Tesla spokeswoman confirmed that the meeting took place and said in a statement that the Florida crash fell “within a unique set of circumstances for which the camera and radar were not able to provide the appropriate warning or braking support.”
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DISNEY WORLD EXPLORING FOOT TRACKING TECHNOLOGY via the Associated Press – Disney World may one day be able to keep track of its theme-park visitors by their feet … Walt Disney World Company recently received a patent for the new technology from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The technology would involve a sensor and cameras, which would help identify visitors. The data received could customize the guest experience. Currently, Disney World can track guests by MagicBands, hotel keys, RFID bracelets, FastPasses and credit cards.
MORE BRADSHAW NEWS – RAILROAD AVENUE PROPERTIES GET NEW OWNERS via Sean Rossman of the Tallahassee Democrat –Three weeks ago, the Nahoom family, beneficiaries of the late businessman and restaurant supply store owner F. Joseph Nahoom, sold 1.5 acres of prime Railroad Avenue real estate to Blue Dog Investments. The Havana-based company is controlled by lobbyist Paul Bradshaw, founder of Southern Strategy Group, and wife Sally Bradshaw, a Republican political consultant who was once chief of staff to former Gov. Jeb Bush. The $2.45 million purchase gives the Bradshaws the properties along the east side of Railroad Avenue from Gaines Street south to All Saints Street — including the Crepevine, The Side Bar Theatre, All Saints Cafe and a group of local shops and restaurants at the corner of All Saints Street. The Bradshaws will have to win over an All Saints neighborhood with a healthy skepticism toward development. The area has struggled to maintain its funky, independent ecosystem as developers erect apartment buildings, hotels, grocery stores and restaurants along Gaines Street. But Paul Bradshaw said there are no immediate redevelopment plans and the current tenants aren’t going anywhere for now. “It is not our intention to displace the tenants that are there,” he said, “and we’re going to be reaching out to them to negotiate leases and keep them in place.” Any changes to the site, Bradshaw said, wouldn’t happen for years.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to two of the best men in Florida politics, former Speaker Dean Cannon and communications genius Kevin Cate. Also celebrating today is Skylar Zander’s soon-to-be better half, Lindsey Perkins.