Sunburn for 10.13.16 – Polls galore

Republican and Democrat

Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.

By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, Mitch Perry and Jim Rosica.

Before we dive into the latest titillation from the presidential race, we want to share the latest data from three exclusive polls commissioned by Florida Politics.

Republicans in two important state Senate districts have big leads over their Democratic opponents, while a third faces a tough race to the finish line. Yet in all three races many voters remain undecided.

St. Pete Polls gauged voter support in Senate Districts 8, 18 and 23 this week. The polls show Majority Leader Dana Young has a 6-point lead over Democrat Bob Buesing in Senate District 18; while Rep. Greg Steube has a 9-point lead over Democrat Frank Alcock in Senate District 23.

While those races have clear front-runners, the Senate District 8 race remains tight. With one month until Election Day, St. Pete Polls found just two points separate Rep. Keith Perry and Rod Smith.

The three polls come at a key point in the campaign. More than 2.7 million ballots have been requested ahead of the Nov. 8 election. State records show 101,736 of those ballots have already been returned.

That means campaigns now shift their focus to chasing ballots and convincing undecided voters, whom still appear very prevalent in all three races.

The survey 43 percent of voters in Senate District 8 were backing Perry, compared to 41 percent who said they were backing Smith. About 16 percent of respondents haven’t decided.

The automated poll of 771 voters was conducted on Oct. 10. It has a margin of error of 3.5 percent.

About 11 percent of voters in Senate District 18 signaled they had yet to choose a candidate, according to the survey. Young leads with nearly 38 percent of the vote, followed by Buesing at 32 percent. Joe Redner, a no party affiliation candidate, received 16 percent support, while Sheldon Upthegrove, also a no party affiliation candidate, received 3 percent support.

St. Pete Polls surveyed 1,237 likely voters in Senate District 18 using an automated poll on Oct. 11. It has a margin of error of 2.8 percent.

Although Steube has a big lead over Alcock that could change as nearly 20 percent of Senate District 23 voters were still undecided.

According to that survey, 19 percent of likely Senate District 23 respondents said they were still weighing their options. Steube had support from 45 percent of likely voters, while 36 percent said they backed Alcock. The automated poll of 1,070 likely voters was conducted on Oct. 11, and has margin of error of 3 percent.

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DAYS UNTIL: First day of early voting – 15; Election Day – 25; first Legislative Organization Session – 39; premiere of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – 63; start of 2017 Legislative Session – 144.

STATE OF THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE – POST-DEBATE POLLS SHOW DONALD TRUMP STILL IN BIG TROUBLE via Nate Silver with FiveThirtyEight — Most of the evidence … (falls) into the “still getting worse” bucket.” (Donald) Trump’s chances are down to 14 percent in … polls-only forecast (against an 86 percent chance for Hillary Clinton) and to 17 percent, a record low for Trump, in … polls-plus forecast. … A Baldwin Wallace University poll showed Trump trailing Clinton by 9 percentage points in Ohio. That’s obviously an awful result for Trump — his worst poll of Ohio all year — although hard to put into context because Baldwin Wallace University hasn’t done a lot of election polling before. Their previous poll of Ohio, in February, showed Trump up by 2 points. ..Another unsightly number for Trump came from a Y2 Analytics poll of Utah, which … Mitt Romney won by 48 points. It showed Trump tied with Clinton at just 26 percent of the vote, with the independent candidate Evan McMullin at 22 percent and the Libertarian Gary Johnson at 14 percent. … Although polling there in the spring sometimes showed a tight race, Trump pulled ahead by margins ranging from 7 to 15 points in a series of Utah polls in August and September. If McMullin is really polling in the 20s, however — and taking most of his voters from Trump — he could create an unpredictable finish. … An Opinion Savvy poll of Florida put Clinton up by 3 percentage points. This is the least-worst of the post-debate polls for Trump, but still not good — it shows a slight uptick for Clinton from a late September poll, when Opinion Savvy had her ahead by less than a percentage point. Trump now trails Clinton by 6.5 percentage points in our popular vote forecast — by comparison, he was 4.6 points back of Clinton a week ago, on Oct. 5, before the videotape or the second debate. … While a Trump comeback is still mathematically feasible — Trump’s 17 percent chance in the polls-plus model, as we’ve pointed out before, is the same as your chances of losing a “game” of Russian roulette — it wouldn’t really have any good precedent in recent American presidential elections.

SPLIT OVER TRUMP THREATENS TO TILT REPUBLICAN STATES via Alex Burns and Jonathan Martin of The New York Times – Trump‘s intensifying battle with his own party is tearing open the nation’s political map, pulling Republicans across the country into a self-destructive feud that could imperil dozens of lawmakers in Congress and potentially throw conservative-leaning states into Clinton‘s column … Clinton’s campaign has concluded that at least two traditionally Republican states, Georgia and Arizona, are realistic targets for her campaign to win over. And Republican polling has found that Trump is at dire risk of losing Georgia, according to people briefed on the polls. Clinton now holds such a strong upper hand that Priorities USA, a “super PAC” backing her campaign, may direct some of its war chest into Senate races, two people said, and may begin broadcasting ads for those contests as soon as next week. Congressional Democrats also hope to persuade Clinton to continue pouring money and campaign resources into states like Virginia and Colorado, where they believe her victory is assured, in order to lift other Democratic candidates.

2016 RACE DEVOLVES INTO UGLY FIGHT OVER TREATMENT OF WOMEN via Julie Pace of the Associated Press – Trump’s campaign is now openly signaling it will spend the election’s final month relitigating Bill Clinton‘s marital affairs and unproven charges of sexual assault, as well as his wife and Hillary Clinton’s unverified role in intimidating the women who were involved. But Trump is a deeply imperfect messenger, given that his attacks on the Clintons’ treatment of women are being overshadowed by a flood of allegations that he kissed and groped women without their consent. On Wednesday, The New York Times and the Palm Beach Post reported stories about three women who alleged Trump had inappropriately touched them. Separately, a People Magazine reporter wrote a detailed first-person account of being attacked by Trump while interviewing the businessman and his wife, Melania Trump. The stories come less than a week after the publication of a 2005 recording in which the Republican nominee boasted of using his fame to kiss and grab women. The revelation prompted a flood of Republicans to revoke their support for Trump, with some even calling for him to drop out of the race — though a handful of GOP officials have since switched back to supporting their party’s nominee.

TODAY: TRUMP CAMPAIGNS AT SOUTH FLORIDA FAIRGROUNDS IN WEST PALM BEACH via George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post – Just a 10-mile drive from his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Trump today will campaign at the South Florida Fair Expo Center. It’ll be the Republican nominee’s fourth rally in less than 48 hours in Florida.

LABOR GIANT SEIU PUMPS RESOURCES INTO ANTI-TRUMP EFFORT IN FLA., OTHER BATTLEGROUND STATES via Gabriel Debenedetti of POLITICO Florida – According to a member poll conducted by the nearly 2 million-member Service Employees International Union last month … Trump‘s support among the group was 17 percent – 51 points behind Hillary Clinton, far lower than even Jeb Bush‘s 24 percent in the spring, and behind both Mitt Romney and John McCain during their presidential bids. Armed with that data and the belief that union voters will make up roughly one-fifth of voters in key battlegrounds like Ohio and Pennsylvania, the SEIU has re-doubled its paid and volunteer efforts in the campaign’s home-stretch to churn up a base wave for Clinton, unleashing its largest ever independent expenditure campaign, partnering with other political organizations, such as Color of Change and NextGen Climate, and following through on its plan to spend more than half of its $70 million campaign season political budget on engagement with African-American, Latino, and Asian and Pacific Islander communities. “The notion that Trump is performing well with union households? We’re seeing it in the AFL-CIO, we’re seeing it across the labor movement: it’s just not there. Trump is actually underperforming Romney and McCain among SEIU members, which is pretty extraordinary,” said Steve Rosenthal, the group’s interim political director.

OVER 100,000 VOTE-BY-MAIL BALLOTS NOW HAVE BEEN TURNED IN via Florida Politics – As of Wednesday, 101,736 ballots have been returned for the November general election. The exact tally was posted on the state’s Division of Elections website. That includes ballots to service members and others outside the country. Registered Republicans lead in voted ballots to Democrats by 43,409 to 40,093, a difference of 3,316. Other party and no-party voters have returned another 18,234 ballots to their local supervisors of elections. Lawmakers recently changed the name of such ballots to “vote-by-mail” ballots from the traditional “absentee” ballots. The state’s website for vote-by-mail and early voting statistics is here.

FACT CHECK: HILLARY CLINTON ON HURRICANE MATTHEW, CLIMATE CHANGE via The Associated Press – During a campaign rally in Miami … Clinton said Hurricane Matthew was “likely more destructive because of climate change” … She said near record high ocean temperatures “contributed to the torrential rainfall and the flash flooding” from the storm, particularly in the Carolinas. Clinton is generally right in a big picture way, but scientists who study hurricanes and climate change were not quite as comfortable when it comes to attributing significantly worse harm from a single storm like Matthew. MIT meteorology professor Kerry Emanuel, an expert on hurricanes and climate, called Clinton’s assessment “a simplification of the truth.” Brian McNoldy, a hurricane researcher at the University of Miami, said the signs of climate change are only seen in “the long-term average.” Clinton’s statement, he said, was “a little bit strongly worded for a single event.” But as for the storm surge being worse, Emanuel called that a “no brainer” because sea level is higher. “The same storm in terms of a wind and pressure event 50 years ago would have produced a lower surge because sea level is lower,” said Emanuel, who was a registered Republican from 1976 till about seven or eight years ago. McNoldy noted the differences are small. “If Matthew had occurred 20 years ago the storm surge instead of being 8 feet might have been 7 feet 9 inches,” he said.

DEMAND FOR CLINTON AND TRUMP COSTUMES ARE KEEPING HALLOWEEN SHOPS BUSY via Alli Knothe of the Tampa Bay Times – Costume shops and other retailers are bracing themselves for what likely will be a record-setting season by stocking up not only on witches and super hero costumes, but on Trump and Clinton masks and outfits. “This year is different,” said Erika Taylor, general manager of the Halloween Megastore on West Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa. She said sales have “tripled or quadrupled” for the candidate masks. She has already sold about half of the 50 Donald Trump masks she ordered for the season. She said the store has carried Trump masks and wigs for years, and customers seem to be gravitating to his character more than ever. “Donald Trump is a walking, talking joke on legs,” she said. Meanwhile, she has about 25 Clinton masks, which haven’t been as popular so far. In past campaign years, she might stock just a handful for each candidate. Spirit Halloween, a New Jersey-based retailer with 1,200 stores nationwide, has rolled out a full line of Trump and Clinton masks. “We always have a mask for whatever candidate is running,” said Mike Windsor, area manager for Spirit Halloween. “The ongoing joke is that we predict the election by whatever mask sells more, though I’m not sure if that will be the case this year.”

PINELLAS WOMAN SUES TRUMP FOR OWNERSHIP OF WHITE HOUSE via Florida Politics – Lillie R. Daniels filed her one-and-a-half-page complaint in the Pinellas-Pasco Sixth Judicial Circuit last week. Her demand is plain: She asserts she is the “owner of the railroad track, (and) that makes me owner of the White House.” Which railroad track? We know not. She does helpfully give the address of the property in question: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington D.C. 20500. So we know it’s not just any white house. But it seems Daniels doesn’t know that Trump, the GOP nominee, hasn’t yet won the presidency and hasn’t taken up residence in the executive mansion. Moreover, it’s not clear how Daniels thinks the circuit court can assert jurisdiction over the case or the defendant, Mr. Trump. She filed the suit on her own, without an attorney. She “demands judgment … in excess of $15,000” and seeks a jury trial, according to the suit’s boilerplate. It looks like a preprinted legal form. A Trump spokesperson probably could be reached for comment, but really, why bother?

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PATRICK MURPHY SAYS HE ACCEPTED UNIVISION DEBATE INVITATION MARCO RUBIO AGREED TO A MONTH AGO via Kristen Clark of the Tampa Bay Times – Murphy’s campaign — which has escalated its Hispanic outreach since late September — announced … the Jupiter congressman had accepted a weeks-old invitation from Univision for a “Spanish-language debate.” But Murphy — who isn’t fluent in the language — doesn’t want the debate to actually be in Spanish. The campaign said Murphy “has requested that the debate be conducted in English and then dubbed in Spanish, like the 2014 [gubernatorial] debate between Rick Scott and Charlie Crist, in order to ensure a fair playing field for both candidates.” Rubio, who is Cuban-American, is fluent in Spanish and would be likely to speak in that language before a Hispanic viewing audience, as he has in previous debates.

CD 2 CONTENDERS WEIGH IN ON GUNS, REGULATIONS AND OBAMACARE via James Call of the Tallahassee Democrat – Democrat Walt Dartland took a different view than his opponents on regulations, gun restrictions and the Affordable Care Act when he, Republican Neil Dunn and Libertarian Rob Lapham met with the Tallahassee Democrat editorial board … Dunn and Lapham say they want to go to Washington and repeal regulations. The one consistent complaint Dunn said he hears on the campaign trail is the over regulation of the American economy. Lapham said the “country is drowning in a sea of regulations.” Dartland disagreed saying industry needs to abide by certain rules. “Regulations happen for a reason,” said Dartland. “Do you want anyone to (design) a driverless car or do you want somebody to say here is what you have to do to have a driverless car?” Dunn and Lapham ripped into the Affordable Care Act with Dunn decrying Obamacare as the prime driver of costs in the health industry. Lapham called for replacing it with a free-market solution. Dartland conceded it needs to be amended. Despite the policy disagreements, the three candidates kept the discussion civil, on point and exchanged quips with each other. After listening to Lapham discuss economic development Dunn turned to the Libertarian Lapham and said he was talking like “a good Republican.” Lapham replied, “Not only do I sound like a good Republican I am a legitimate conservative.”

AL LAWSON, GLO SMITH DISAGREE OVER MILITARY SPENDING, TRADE AT CONGRESSIONAL DEBATE via Michelle Corum of WJCT – Lawson said his top three priorities are education, the environment and jobs. Smithput jobs first, followed by military affairs and education. Smith also supports increased military spending by cutting the IRS or Department of Education, while Lawson said the U.S. already has the best military in the world. Lawson was asked whether he believes the military is as strong as it was eight years ago, and he drew groans from the audience when he replied, “Yes.” Both candidates said they favor deepening the St. Johns River to bring cargo ships into Jaxport and create jobs. About international trade, Lawson said he’s in favor of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Smith said she would vote against the TPP as it is now, but would be in favor of it, if it were made fairer to Americans.

STEPHANIE MURPHY EDGING OUT JOHN MICA IN NEW DCCC POLL — The survey of likely voters in Florida’s 7th Congressional District showed Rep. Mica trails Murphy, 45 percent to 43 percent. The survey found 12 percent of voters were still undecided. The poll of 499 likely general election voters was conducted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Oct. 10 and has a margin of error of nearly 4.4 percent. According to a polling memo, Murphy’s name ID “continues to grow and she is currently known by 50% of the electorate, up 16 points from mid-September polling. … As more voters learn about Murphy, she has been able to turn an 18-point deficit (36% Murphy to 54% Mica) into a two-point lead (45% Murphy to 43% Mica) in just two short months. Murphy still has room to grow, considering that 50% of voters who are still undecided in the Congressional race plan to vote for Hillary Clinton in the Presidential race, compared to just 15% who plan to vote for Donald Trump.” The polling memo notes Mica’s support for Trump is “a liability … 51% of voters say they are less likely to support Mica due to his support of Trump and just 30% say it makes them more likely to support Mica. Independent voters are especially uncomfortable with Mica’s support of Trump, with 62%of them saying it makes them less likely to support Mica.”

SHOCK POLLCHARLIE CRIST AT 54%, DAVID JOLLY AT 36% — Former Gov. Charlie Crist has an 18-point lead in Florida’s 13th Congressional District, according to a new survey from the University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Laboratory. The survey found 54 percent of respondents said they were backing Crist, compared to 36 percent who said they were voting for Rep. David Jolly. The poll found 9 percent of voters said they “didn’t know.” The poll of 611 registered likely voters was conducted from Oct. 9 through Oct. 11, and has a margin of error of 4 percent. “This relatively large lead for Crist is due, in part, to name recognition, and I think this will play out in other races as well,” said Michael Binder, faculty director of the PORL. “Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have dominated the media, making it a struggle in this environment for candidates without highly recognized names.” The poll showed 87 percent of African Americans and 72 percent of Hispanics voters living in the district are backing Crist. He’s also received significant support from 47 percent of white voters, compared to 42 percent backing Jolly. Crist also has strong support across all age groups, with 66 percent of 18-24 year olds and 58 percent of 25-34 year olds backing him.

JOLLY DEMANDS STATIONS TO PULL ‘FALSE’ PHOTOSHOPPED AD WITH DONALD TRUMP via Allison Nielsen of the Sunshine State News – The DCCC ad, which is part of a larger $2 million ad buy in the race for Florida’s 13th Congressional District, juxtaposes controversial Republican presidential nominee with Jolly in various situations. “Imagine Donald Trump being sworn in as president, and imagine David Jolly in Congress supporting Donald Trump’s dangerous agenda,” the narrator reads. The ad Photoshops both Jolly and Trump together in a variety of shots which flash by as the ad attacks Jolly over filing legislation to restrict a woman’s right to choose and to defund Planned Parenthood. Jolly’s campaign team has not taken the ad lightly. Jolly has repeatedly said he does not support Trump’s candidacy, a position he has echoed since December of last year. According to his team, Jolly and Trump have never met or spoken to each other, which the campaign team says is evidenced by the fact the DCCC had to Photoshop images to portray the two together. “This ad is a new low, even for the DCCC and Charlie Crist,” said Sarah Bascom, spokesperson for the David Jolly for Congress campaign. “This ad not only falsely attempts to link David Jolly to Donald Trump, even though he has publicly said he does not support a Trump candidacy.” In a letter to WFLA, legal counsel for Jolly explains the ad is not protected political speech since it is not paid for, authorized or offered by a candidate. Therefore, TV stations are not under any obligation to accept or air the ad.

NRCC TAKES AIM AT JOE GARCIA IN NEW TV, RADIO SPOTS via Florida Politics —  The National Republican Congressional Committee has its sights set on defeating Joe Garcia. The committee released TV and radio spots Wednesday targeting the former congressman. In a new television ad, the NRCC is hoping to paint Garcia a danger to South Florida residents if he’s elected. “We fired Joe Garcia once because he embarrassed us. But sending him back to Congress could actually be dangerous,” an announcer says in the 30-second spot. “Garcia said its been proven that communism works. But there’s more. Garcia supports the nuclear deal with Ira, allowing $150 billion to flow to the world’s biggest sponsor of terrorism, giving Iran a path to nuclear weapons. Joe Garcia: He’s not just embarrassing, he’s dangerous.” The radio spot — called “You Heard Right,” — follows along the same vein as the television ad. The 60-second spot not only focuses on Garcia’s support of the Iran deal, but also tries to highlight remarks he made about communism. During a Google Hangout chat in 2014, Garcia said “we’ve proved that communism works” when talking about immigration. The comments were part of larger comment on the Republican approach to immigration reform, according to Click on the image below to watch the ad.

SUPER PAC SWOOPS IN TO DEFEND CARLOS CURBELO’S ENVIRONMENTAL RECORD via Daniel Ducassi of POLITICO Florida – ClearPath Action Fund, a super PAC that supports Republicans who want to fight climate change, is throwing down big bucks to push back against ads attacking Curbelo‘s record on energy and the environment. A recent ad by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee tries to tie Curbelo’s energy policies to … Donald Trump‘s views, claiming “Curbelo supports drilling offshore just like Trump, and Curbelo repeatedly voted against President Obama’s ability to fight pollution and combat climate change.” That ad got a “mostly false” rating from PolitiFact, which reported that though Curbelo supports current drilling, he opposes expanding near the Florida coastline and “has been one of the more outspoken Republicans about combating climate change.” A ClearPath ad aimed at rebutting the attacks is set to start running on cable channels and online through election day. “Carlos Curbelo puts South Florida and the environment first,” the ad states. “And he has the record to prove it.” The ad touts Curbelo’s efforts for having “stood up to his own party and worked with Democrats to oppose drilling off the Florida coast and fought to pass a bill that would protect Florida from any harmful international oil spills that may occur in the future.” The new ad puts the group’s cash commitments to Curbelo’s race at more than half a million dollars.

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FACEBOOK STATUS OF THE DAY via Ed Narain: “There are upsides to losing a close election. In the last few nights we’ve had a lip sync contest, played video games, had a pro wrestling match (and rematch) and tonight we planted a little garden. #MissedMyGirls#BestCampaign

HAPPENING TODAYGreg Steube will hold a fundraising reception in support of his bid for Senate District 23. The event begins 5:30 p.m. at the Siesta Key Rum Tasting Room, 2212 Industrial Blvd. in Sarasota. For more information or to RSVP contact Kelly at [email protected] or 941-312-1817.

GUN-CONTROL GROUP TO SPEND $85K BACKING MIGUEL DIAZ DE LA PORTILLA via Newsby Smiley of the Miami Herald – Republican Sen. Diaz de la Portilla is reminding voters at every turn that he blocked open-carry and guns-on-campus legislation the last two years by using his role as Senate Judiciary Committee chairman to deny the bills a hearing … Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun-control advocacy group backed by former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, has announced it will help him spread the message. Through a newly formed political committee called the Florida Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund, the organization said it will spend $85,000 on online ads, bus shelter ads and a digital billboard. The effort is part of a $25 million national campaign to support candidates and ballot initiatives that further its cause. Diaz de la Portilla represents Senate District 37, which spans from Key Biscayne to West Miami and south to Palmetto Bay. He faces stiff opposition from State Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez.

GOP AD FEATURING 9/11 FOOTAGE ACCUSES DWIGHT BULLARD OF MEETING WITH ‘TERRORIST’ via Kristen Clark and Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald – The mostly black-and-white ad features footage from the 9/11 terrorist attacks — specifically, of the second plane erupting into a ball of fire as it strikes the South Tower of the World Trade Center — as well as news clips from the San Bernardino shooting last year and last month’s explosion in Manhattan. It also shows men with cloths over their faces holding guns and waving flags with Arabic script on them. “If images used in this ad are offensive or extreme, it’s probably because meeting with terrorists in the Middle East is both offensive and extreme,” said Erin Isaac, a spokeswoman for the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, which paid for the ad and is backing Bullard’s opponent.

JIM MESSER SAYS HE’S NO ‘TRUMPANZEE’ via Sean Rossman of the Tallahassee Democrat – Messer … the Florida House District 9 candidate takes issue with the “Trumpanzee” label found scrawled on two of his campaign signs … Urban Dictionary, the internet’s unofficial slang explainer, defined a Trumpanzee as a “mindless follower and believer” of the real estate mogul turned GOP presidential candidate — something Messer insists he’s not. “I’m a Republican, but I’m a moderate Republican,” he said. “I guess I’m moderate socially and fiscally pretty careful. And in a district that does have a high percentage of Democrats, the Trump effect is worrisome.” Messer said he’s found party affiliation means little once voters are able to talk with him about his views. “Some people assume that if you’re a Republican, you automatically support Trump and I’ve never been a supporter of Trump” said Messer, who goes head-to-head with Democrat Loranne Ausley … “My party is not the only thing that defines who I am.”

LISA MONTELIONE GHOSTS HER OWN TV AD via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – House District 63 Democratic candidate Montelione is up on the air with a television ad, and it’s a little more unconventional than what you’re used to seeing. The ad begins with what is described by the narrator as a “commercial film set,” where we quickly meet the director, cameraman, as well as a technical crew — but no actual candidate. Montelione’s face then does show up inside a picture frame, with the narrator saying that “she’s busy working on things that matter” … “So yes, Lisa wants a commercial,” the narrator concludes. “She’s just too busy working on things that matter, to being in one.” Montelione is running against Republican incumbent Shawn Harrison is what is expected to be a close contest.

DAVID RIVERA IS BACK AND HE’S GOT DIRT, BUT IT’S NOT SUBSTANTIATED via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald – A political committee supporting David Rivera is sponsoring a website and running robo calls accusing his challenger for House District 118, Robert Asencio, of being a “child abuser” based on an unsubstantiated 2003 complaint. … The allegation, promoted by Rivera’s backers, is based on a complaint by a Hialeah parent in 2003 who said the officer pulled her son “out of her seat by the neck and shirt” while riding on a school bus in February 2003 because she said her son was “disrespectful.” The school district investigated the complaint and closed the case with a memo to the file, as required by law, said Raul Correa, public information officer for Miami-Dade Schools’ chief of police this week. “It basically means no violations of law, policy, procedures or guidelines occurred — nothing here — but we’re going to put a memo in the file,’’ he said. “It wasn’t even a violation of minimum standards.”

DAISY BAEZ RELEASES FIRST CAMPAIGN AD IN HD 114 — The Miami Democrat released her first campaign ad Monday, and is asking supporters to donate to her campaign to help fund “campaign ads and get out the vote.” The 30-second spot, called “A Chance to Create the Future We All Want,” is autobiographical, and giving voters a chance to learn a little bit more about Baez and her positions. In an email to supporters Wednesday, Baez also touted internal numbers that, she said, shows her campaign is in “a dead heat with our opponent.” She continues, however, by saying “he’s receiving massive contributions from special interests who want more of the same cookie cutter politicians in Tallahassee that don’t care about the needs of our community.” Baez faces Republican John Couriel in House District 114. Click the image below to see the ad.


Neal Dunn, running for Florida’s 2nd Congressional District, has received an “AQ” rating from the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF), the highest possible rating for a non-incumbent.

Alex Miller, running for Florida House District 72, has been endorsed by the Florida Retail Federation (FRF) PAC.

MEANWHILE … 67% OF FLORIDIANS SUPPORT MOVING TO OPEN PRIMARIES via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics — About two-thirds (67 percent) of self-identified registered voters believe Florida should move to an open primary system, according to a new USF-Nielsen Sunshine State Survey. The survey found 30 percent of respondents think the state should keep the current system. More than 3.2 million Floridians were registered with a minor party or no party affiliation as of Aug. 1. There are more than 4. million registered Republicans and nearly 4.7 million registered Democrats. The Sunshine State Survey found broad support for a switch to an open primary system across most demographics. The survey found 70 percent of women, 80 percent of millennials and 62 percent of college graduates supported moving to an open primary system. About 93 percent of respondents said they were registered to vote. The … most common reason among those not registered to vote was the person wasn’t eligible. About 23 percent of respondents cited that as a reason.

PRO-SLOTS POLITICAL COMMITTEE GEARS UP IN JACKSONVILLE via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics – November County Referendum 1 … first mailer selling the slots vote looks just like the ones selling the pension tax over the summer. This and other promotional efforts to come will, as was the case with the pension tax push, be micro-targeted, with extensive polling to turn out the vote of supporters and potential supporters, while not marketing to those inclined to oppose the matter. A different committee is doing the work: “Families for Safety and Prosperity,” which sees Venice’s Eric Robinson as treasurer, and Brian Hughes and Tim Baker running the campaign, as is so often the case with successful political efforts in Northeast Florida … Hughes offered this synopsis of the marketing effort. “We are excited to start the campaign making it clear to Duval voters this small addition to gaming entertainment for adults will have great benefit for all of Jacksonville,” Hughes wrote in an email. “It keeps the new game only where the pari-mutuel license already exists,” Hughes added, “and adds millions of additional revenue to the city’s bottom line. That means more jobs and more money for quality of life priorities. “But as of Sept. 30, this committee didn’t quite have the $2.1 million raised to sell the pension tax.”

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INVESTIGATE SEWER RELEASES, RICK SCOTT TELLS FLORIDA ENVIRONMENTAL AGENCY via Steve Patterson of the Florida Times-Union – Scott told state environmental officials to investigate sewage releases that happened around the state during Hurricanes Matthew and Hermine. “We must do all we can to protect our natural resources to ensure everyone in our state has access to clean and safe water,” Scott said in a written statement. Scott said he wanted the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to evaluate the underlying causes for the sewage releases and determine steps to prevent future problems. JEA reported about 70 releases of sewage in its territory, caused by power outages at sewage treatment equipment or lift stations that pump sewage to the stations. The city-owned utility reported about 11 million gallons of sewage being released either on the ground or into waterways, although in a number of cases JEA said it didn’t know how much was lost. Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, who had earlier expressed frustration over spills in his city, quickly praised Scott’s order.

ON TEXAS PANEL, RICHARD CORCORAN DEFENDS NOT GIVING BUSINESSES INCENTIVES TO MOVE OR EXPAND IN FLA. via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida – Corcoran took his anti-taxpayer funded economic incentives into a debate arena … joining a panel debate in Texas over offering direct subsidies for attracting and expanding businesses. Corcoran is a becoming a national voice in the push against funding economic development with taxpayer incentives. As House appropriations chair last session, he led the fight against the creation of a pot of $250 million in economic development incentives. It put him at odds with Republican Gov. Scott and the GOP-led Senate. The debate was hosted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation and also featured elected officials who favor the use of incentives because of the competitiveness of the economic development industry. They fear without incentives, companies – and jobs – will settle in other states that can offer better financial packages. Corcoran called incentives “defacto socialism” and said the House evolved into a chamber that opposes them as more conservative members replaced term-limited lawmakers. “I’m not ready to throw in the towel on economic development,” he said. “Some of these big projects are going go to Oklahoma or Louisiana.”

ANITERE FLORES WILL SUPPORT BAN ON LGBT DISCRIMINATION via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – Signaling its return next legislative session, state Sen. Flores “pledged to co-sponsor the Competitive Workforce Act,” a bill banning discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Floridians. She said the legislation is especially appropriate after this June’s hate-crime mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, in which 49 people were killed and 53 others wounded. The bill “simply updates Florida’s existing nondiscrimination law by adding sexual orientation and gender identity and expression,” she said in a statement. “More than half of Floridians live in communities that have these protections, and they are better because of them,” Flores added. “It is time for the state of Florida to ensure these protections exist statewide.” She also noted that North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law spurred the National Collegiate Athletic Association to pull its championship events from that state, contributing to a loss of more than $395 million in revenue.

ETHICS COMMISSION: 308 LATE OR ABSENT GOVERNMENT FINANCIAL DISCLOSURES via William Patrick of – About two-thirds of the late filers submitted disclosure forms after the Sept. 1 final deadline, while 99 still haven’t filed at all. Financial disclosures are due every year July 1, with the commission offering multiple reminders and a 60-day grace period. The required information applies to the preceding calendar year. Non-compliance isn’t taken lightly. According to the commission, financial transparency is critical to identify potential conflicts of interest, deter corruption and increase public confidence in government. The commission aims to get the attention of delinquent filers by hitting them where it hurts: the pocket book. Late submissions incur a $25-per-day fine until the appropriate forms are received, or a maximum penalty of $1,500 is reached. Even then, disclosures must be filed. As of Oct. 7, those who’ve yet to file have racked up $875 fines each. Elected officials, local public officers, appointed government board members and state and local employees either working directly for officeholders or with purchasing authority exceeding $20,000 must comply. Three state House of Representatives staffers and three state Senate staffers also are listed, as are four members of Enterprise Florida’s board of directors.

BROWARD HEALTH BEGINS LOBBYIST REGISTRATION-12 YEARS AND MILLIONS IN CONTRACTS LATE via Dan Christiansen of the Florida Bulldog – Broward Health’s long-lost lobbyist registration policy is, at last, resurrected. Lobbyists looking to influence district policy or the award of profitable contracts must now publicly identify themselves and their clients. Six lobbyists have registered since the program began Sept. 12 – all representatives of large, out-of-state pharmaceutical or hospital and medical supply companies like Sandoz, Genentech and Carefusion. Who to watch out for going forward: politically connected local lobbyists like William ‘Billy’ Rubin and Fred Karlinsky, who’ve operated behind the scenes at Broward Health in the past. Rubin is a confidant of Gov. Scott. Karlinsky was co-chair of Scott’s 2014 statewide campaign finance committee. The governor appoints the board of commissioners that governs the billion-dollar public health system whose legal name is the North Broward Hospital District.

THE FLORIDA ORANGE INDUSTRY ENTERS THE SUNSET YEARS via Justin Fox of Bloomberg – It’s going to be another terrible orange harvest this winter in Florida. The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast that growers in the state will collect just 70 million boxes of the fruit in the coming months, down from 81.6 million in the previous harvest — and down from the all-time peak of 244 million boxes in 1998. The main cause of Florida’s big orange-production decline is huanglongbing, or citrus greening disease. As you might guess, huanglongbing has its roots in China, where it was first reported in 1919 (the name means “yellow dragon disease”). It was detected in Florida in 2005, and has been decimating citrus groves ever since. It shows up first as a yellowish discoloration of the leaves, then turns the fruit lopsided and bitter and finally kills the tree. There is no cure once a tree is infected, but huanglongbing is caused by a bacteria spread by an insect called the Asian citrus psyllid, so growers have had some success in controlling the disease’s spread by killing off psyllids with pesticides. And while the disease is probably not a death sentence for the Florida citrus industry — China is still the world’s No. 2 orange producer, after all — it may leave it permanently smaller. Then again, the Florida citrus industry was probably headed for a big decline in any case. That’s because its main product is orange juice (95 percent of Florida oranges are turned into juice), and orange juice has fallen out of favor as American consumers have come to perceive it less as a source of vitamin C than a source of sugar. The USDA’s measure of “orange juice availability per capita,” a proxy for consumption, has fallen from a peak of 6.27 gallons in 1997-98 to 2.74 gallons in 2015-2016. As a result, orange juice prices have held steady despite the production collapse in Florida and a similar huanglongbing-induced decline in Brazil, the world’s top producer of oranges and of orange juice.

TIM TEBOW COMFORTS MAN WHO COLLAPSES AFTER GAME via Karen Crouse of The New York Times – Playing outfield for the Scottsdale Scorpions, Tebow, a Mets prospect, went 0 for 3 at the plate, with three ground outs. The most solid contact Tebow made was with the left-field wall, which he crashed into face first while in pursuit of a fly ball that had eluded his outstretched glove. Tebow’s afternoon took an intense turn after the game when a man standing in a crush of fans seeking autographs along the third-base line collapsed and appeared to have a seizure. Tebow stopped signing and cautiously made his way over to where people had gathered. He sat on the concrete retaining wall that separates the field from the first row of seats and prayed silently as a medic in a Bryce Harper T-shirt and a Detroit Tigers baseball cap tended to the man. As the man was slowly coming to, Tebow leaned over and placed his right hand on the man’s left knee while Daniel Kelly, a former Jets scout who left football to become a debt counselor and minister, prayed out loud. Kelly, who was wearing a Mets Tebow jersey, attended the game with his wife, Samantha, to celebrate his 43rd birthday, and had been seated next to the fan who collapsed. As the man regained his bearings, Tebow engaged him in conversation while waiting for paramedics from the Phoenix Fire Department to arrive. The man had dropped a baseball as he collapsed and it was near the crook of his arm as he lay on his right side with his head resting on a black backpack. Tebow leaned over, picked up the ball and signed it. He returned it to him saying, “I signed it for you if you want it.” He also took off the gray sweat bands that he had on each wrist, signed them and gave them to the man.

COLLEGE-BOUND BEAR? AUTHORITIES CAPTURE BEAR NEAR FSU CAMPUS via The Associated Press – Wildlife officials have tranquilized a black bear that wandered close to the campus of Florida State University… Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission [said] authorities removed the bear Wednesday morning. It will be relocated to a different area … there was “no reason to believe” that there are any other bears nearby. Wildlife officials found the bear about three blocks west of FSU and the school’s football stadium. The bear was also close to a Cuban restaurant. The agency’s spokeswoman Susan Smith said bear was likely looking for food. She says bears usually consume 20,000 calories a day in the fall to prepare for winter hibernation.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our friends Adam Corey and Cesar Fernandez. Those in Tallahassee should celebrate their birthdays by taking an Uber to The Edison Restaurant.

WELCOME TO THE WORLDHenry Sage Francis Faust Pollara. Born 10.12.16 at 10:01 am. 8 lbs 7 oz. 21 inches. Proud papa Ben writes that both Henry and Mommy are happy and healthy.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

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