Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.
By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Daniel McAuliffe, Jim Rosica, and Drew Wilson.
If Florida voters wanted a contrast in the election for Governor, they have it. The choice in the November election couldn’t be more contrasting.
Andrew Gillum, the candidate who was continually overlooked but never went away, shocked pollsters, pundits and everyone but himself Tuesday night in winning the Democratic primary.
Ron DeSantis was the anointed acolyte of Donald Trump who surged on the president’s endorsement and blew out Adam Putnam to secure the Republican nomination.
DeSantis had a 20-plus point lead in the polls leading to Election Day.
It is setting up as a national referendum on the president, and maybe it was always going to be that — just not like this, though.
Gillum lagged well behind early in the polls. Even as he surged at the end behind a populist and positive message of change against the status quo, he was basically dismissed by the pundits.
DeSantis cruised in the closing days of the primary, seemingly at ease and assured.
He ran hard the entire way.
He didn’t have enough money, at least until a late infusion of cash from George Soros, progressive billionaire Tom Steyer, and Collective PAC, a group dedicated to electing African-Americans.
He didn’t have enough experience.
It wasn’t his “time” in 2018. Maybe later.
But something about his campaign connected with voters. His upbeat message, his unabashed progressive platform — it all worked and set up the November showdown against DeSantis and/or Trump, depending on how you view the race.
Yes, Florida politics rarely ceases to astonish, and we greet this morning with the news that the son of a bus driver is now the Democratic nominee for Governor.
We witnessed history in this result. Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, now can become the first black Governor in Florida’s history.
Gillum never stopped believing, even if most others did.
Even as late polls showed Gillum was surging, he still trailed Gwen Graham by 5 points. She was trying to make history, too, by becoming the first woman to hold Florida’s top office.
So, what happened?
An endorsement by Bernie Sanders certainly helped. Gillum pushes a populist agenda — a $1 billion increased commitment to public education. Increased vocational training. A ban on assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and bump stocks, and tougher background checks.
He will actually use the words “climate change” from the Governor’s pulpit, if elected.
He proposes raising corporate taxes or, as he calls it, “ask the richest corporations to pay a little more of their fair share.”
It is a reliably progressively agenda, against what is sure to be a 180-degree opposite in DeSantis.
But let’s leave the policy wonk stuff for another day and focus on what we just saw.
While Gillum might have been mayor of Florida’s capitol city, he still was largely an unknown through the rest of the state. He called himself the only “non-millionaire” in the race. It’s true he was out-moneyed by billionaires Philip Levine and Jeff Greene.
Graham had a famous last name; her father, Bob Graham, served both as Governor of Florida and in the U.S. Senate.
How could the son of a bus driver overcome that?
It started with a message that resonated. His Democratic rivals stressed many of the same points, but Gillum’s progressive and “why not now?” platform seemed to connect. Voters clearly saw him as the face and voice of change they were looking for.
It’s a remarkable achievement to get this far.
The journey isn’t done, though.
To break 20 years of Republican rule in Tallahassee, Gillum will have to convince a statewide electorate that he is more than a fresh face, and more than just the latest face of history. It will be his challenge to prove he has answers, as well as a great story.
Tuesday was a night for Gillum and his supporters to celebrate and reflect. They have accomplished something that wasn’t supposed to happen. They proved the experts wrong. They believed when few others did.
The son of a bus driver is the Democratic nominee for Governor in Florida.
They made history. But as the primary result proved, anyone who believes Gillum is satisfied with getting that far is mistaken.
— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —
—@realDonaldTrump: Such a fantastic win for Ron DeSantis and the people of the Great State of Florida. Ron will be a fantastic Governor. On to November!
—@BernieSanders: Congratulations to @AndrewGillum on his victory. Tonight, Floridians joined Andrew in standing up and demanding real change and showed our nation what is possible when we stand together. Let’s make history this November and make Andrew Gillum the next Governor of Florida.
—@AndrewGillum: Tonight, we proved what’s possible when people come together & show up to build FL into a better state for all. I’m truly honored to represent people across the state as the Democratic nominee — and I promise to stand up for everyday Floridians and the issues that matter most.
—@RonDeSantisFL: Thanks to all of the great volunteers and supporters across our state who helped us win tonight!
—@AdamPutnam: Thank you for your love, your tireless efforts and for your prayers, which have sustained me and my family. God bless you, and may God continue to bless our great state.
—@PatriciaMazzei: Graham said she telephoned Gillum, whom she called her friend before, during and after the campaign. “I said, ‘Now, Andrew, go out and win this damn thing,'” she said. “Because this is too important.” “I give you my word that anything Andrew asks of me, I will do.”
—@MarcCaputo: ok @KevinCate & @GeoffBurgan. I said I wouldn’t believe the surge until I saw it. I saw the surge
—@TroyKinsey: Now, time for @AndrewGillum’s camp to pick a running mate. Someone who can help balance his progressivism & woo independents & crossover Republicans, perhaps? @BobBuckhorn? Buddy Dyer? Or, just maybe, @GwenGraham?
—@MattDixon55: A lot of lieutenant governor auditions going on in Orlando tonight
—@Fineout: Numbers may change a little, but overall turnout for this year’s primary was 27 percent. Higher than last few primaries in Florida, but the 2002 primary featuring Janet Reno against Bill McBride was nearly 29 percent. Reno lost in tight election. McBride then lost to Jeb Bush
—@LearyReports: Florida Democratic primary spending: Philip Levine: $37.7 million Jeff Greene: $34.7 million Gwen Graham: $16.3 million Chris King: $7.8 million Andrew Gillum: $6.6 million Candidate only; Gillum had decent outside support. But still …
—@MaryEllenKlas: Gillum — Florida Primary winner — was solidly ranked at #3 and #4 in every statewide poll, on either side. Can anyone explain to me why we trust this failed industry?
—@RealDonaldTrump: Google search results for “Trump News” shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake New Media. In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD. Fake CNN is prominent. Republican/Conservative & Fair Media is shut out. Illegal? 96% of results on “Trump News” are from National Left-Wing Media, very dangerous. Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good. They are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation — will be addressed!
—@NelsonforSenate: It’s a shame when our beautiful beaches have to be closed to the public due to the toxic algae crisis, but it’s a necessary step to protect people’s health. This is what happens after years of slashing critical environmental protections.
—@FredPiccoloJr: There’s a special place in political purgatory for people who endorse on Election Day. “sure I’ll endorse you. Right after half the electorate has already voted And enough time is left to let my endorsement penetrate one half of a neighborhood.”
—@RealJacobPerry: [email protected]JeffGreeneFL could’ve done so much for Florida had he donated that $40 mil to various charities instead of wasting it on a vanity play for governor. What a fool.
—@ErinGaetz: Just got my first Don and Vicky Gaetz sign-waving sighting. They’ve been spotted near Niceville High School — the same place we’ve waved every Election Day since 1994. Honk if you see them!
—@APantazi: When will newsrooms shed off the tradition of pizza and instead order newsroom fajitas for election nights?
— DAYS UNTIL —
College Football opening weekend — 1; Labor Day — 5; Gubernatorial candidates must choose a running mate — 8; NFL regular season starts — 8; First general election mail ballots go out — 24; First day of fall — 24; Future of Florida Forum — 28; FSU vs. UM football game — 38; ‘Before You Vote’ Florida U.S. Senate debate — 55; MLB World Series begins — 55; ‘Before You Vote’ Florida Governor debate — 56; Halloween — 63; General Election Day — 69; 2019 Legislature Organization Session meetings — 83; Thanksgiving — 85; Black Friday — 86; Florida Chamber Insurance Summit — 90; ‘Hamilton’ comes to the Straz Center — 167; 2019 Legislative Session starts — 189; 2020 General Election — 797.
— POSTGAME ANALYSIS —
“How Ron DeSantis won the Fox News primary” via Marc Caputo of POLITICO Florida — One of the key ingredients in DeSantis’ victory in the Florida GOP governor’s race turned out to be makeup. The once little-known congressman spent so much time broadcasting Fox News TV hits from Washington this year that he learned to apply his own powder so he could look as polished as he sounded. In his primary election campaign against Florida Agriculture Commissioner Putnam, DeSantis’ cultivation of his Fox relationship made all the difference. It powered him to a double-digit win over a once better-known and better-funded candidate whose nomination appeared inevitable months ago. Just as important, the cable network introduced the Harvard-educated lawyer to his most useful patron —Trump, who endorsed him on Dec. 22. Since then, DeSantis made 121 appearances on Fox and Fox Business — his campaign estimates it would have cost his campaign $9.3 million to purchase all that air time. It’s impossible to overstate the value of a steady stream of Fox appearances among Florida Republicans: 70 percent of likely Florida GOP voters regularly watch Fox News and Fox Business channels, according to the DeSantis campaign’s polling.
“Florida Chamber’s Marian Johnson on Trump and ‘blue waves’ on primary day” via Michael Moline of Florida Politics — Trump was a definite player in the Republican primaries, according to Johnson, the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s political analyst. “If you’re in a Republican primary, you want to love Trump more than your opponent does,” Johnson said in an interview. “You’ll be surprised by the direct mail pieces that have gone out with Trump’s picture somewhere. It may not say anything about him. But Republicans love him, in all parts of the state. He was even improving in Miami-Dade.
“Steve Vancore: Finding the ‘blue wave’ elusive in Florida’s primary” via Michael Moline of Florida Politics — Political consultant Vancore dismissed suggestions that a surge in the Democratic early vote presaged a “blue wave.” One, Vancore said in an interview, there simply are more Democrats in Florida. But there also are more Republicans and no-party-affiliation voters. Two, “When you have these gubernatorial races spending well over $100 million, of course, there’s going to be a larger turnout. But it really isn’t that much larger.” Three, early voting is now the norm. “In 2016, in the presidential general election, you saw 70 percent of people vote before Election Day. I think the number was 50 percent in 2014,” he said. “You take those three variables, I think, overall, you’re looking at 1 or 2 percent more in turnout. That’s not a blue wave.”
— NELSON VS. SCOTT —
Rick Scott dispatches primary opponent in U.S. Senate race — An already-expensive and nasty U.S. Senate contest between Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson and Gov. Scott is now officially on. Scott easily dispatched San Diego businessman Rocky De La Fuente in a Republican primary Tuesday. Scott was up by about 80 percentage points as statewide results started to be posted on the Florida Division of Elections website. “Thanks to everyone who voted to make me the Republican nominee for US Senate! Together, we will Make Washington Work,” Scott tweeted after results were first posted. Florida Democratic Party spokesman Nate Evans wasted little time calling Scott a “horrible” governor. For De La Fuente, Florida became the latest state where his Senate dreams have been quashed. He went down to defeat in Senate bids this year in California, Minnesota, Washington and Wyoming.
Scott goes personal in ‘Fair Opportunity’ — Scott released one of the most personal campaign ads in his bid for the U.S. Senate. Titled “Fair Opportunity,” the Governor discusses growing up poor and how that’s influenced his life.
To watch the ad, click on the image below:
“Bill Nelson stays positive in first ad of Florida’s big-spending Senate race” via Marc Caputo of POLITICO Florida — The ad, called “Oath,” is part of an $18 million ad campaign for the general election, which officially begins with the end of Tuesday’s primary. But practically speaking, Nelson’s race against Gov. Scott has been a full-blown campaign for months as the Republican and his allies have outspent Nelson and Democrats on air $34 million to $12 million. In keeping with his moderate temperament, Nelson stays strictly positive and biography-oriented in his commercial. “From the day I took the oath in the military to when I flew in space to today in the Senate, it has been a privilege to serve our country,” Nelson says in the spot. “I believe a public office is a public trust. You are there to serve the people, not the special interests. Just wake up every day and do what’s right. If you know who you’re fighting for and you’re willing to put the politics aside, you can get a lot done.”
“After a hammering from Scott, Bill Nelson going on TV with his first ad” via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times — “I believe a public office is a public trust. You’re there to serve the people, not the special interests. Just wake up every day and do what’s right,” the three-term incumbent Democrat says in the ad, titled “Oath,” which touches on Nelson’s service in the Army, his voyage to space and political office. The statewide ad, in English and Spanish, begins the day after the primary, and is the opening salvo in an $18 million ad buy from Nelson. Senate Majority PAC has put down another $23 million for ads to begin in October. It’s an answer to the onslaught from Gov. Scott, who has been churning out ads since he entered the race in April. Scott and his allies have spent more than $47 million on ads, according to Kantar Media research reviewed by USA Today, and three-quarters have been negative toward Nelson.
To view the ad, click on the image below:
First in Sunburn – New pro-Scott ad slams Nelson as ‘confused puppet’ — The New Republican Super PAC TV will run the new ad “Puppet” statewide on digital media and TV starting this week. “Why are Democrats spending almost $50 million to re-elect Bill Nelson?” an announcer asks. “Simple. They control this confused puppet nearly 90 percent of the time. Have for years.”
To view the ad, click on the image below:
“A Scott tweet on transportation hits a major speed bump” via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times — On his campaign’s Twitter account, Scott lamented Florida’s reputation as a donor state that sends more federal money to Washington than it gets back in return, a reflection in some cases of decades-old federal funding formulas. Scott was talking specifically about federal gas taxes that help pay for roads, bridges and other transportation-related projects. “Florida hasn’t received its fair share of federal transportation funding for decades,” Scott tweeted. “That’s wrong, and as your Senator I’ll fight to secure real results for our state.” Scott’s assertion brought swift contradictions from others and immediate reminders of the governor’s decision to reject billions of dollars in high-speed rail money in 2011. (Scott also opposed Medicaid expansion after originally supporting it, which would have sent billions to Florida for a three-year period).
Assignment editors — Gov. Scott will host a “Let’s Get to Work” rally, 2:45 p.m., Sorensen Moving & Storage, 950 W Eau Gallie Blvd., Melbourne.
— NOTES FROM THE PRIMARY —
Wasting no time: American Bridge launches first general election ad blasting ‘Trump yes-man’ DeSantis — “Ron DeSantis has been a spineless yes-man for Donald Trump in Washington, and he’d continue to be one as Governor,” said American Bridge spokesperson Zach Hudson. “Ron DeSantis voted for Trump’s tax giveaway to the wealthy, supported Trump’s plan to take away health care from millions of Floridians, and seems more interested in defending Trump from a Washington television studio than improving the lives of Florida families.” The ad will target swing voters on social media in Tampa, Orlando, and Miami.
To view the ad, click on the image below:
“For Gwen Graham, loss is a rejection of her family’s centrist politics” via Lawrence Mower of the Tampa Bay Times — From the beginning of Graham‘s campaign, she seemed to be at the crossroads of the two big waves crashing the Democratic Party this year. One of them was the “year of the woman.” The other was the rise of liberal candidates. The first one she rode. The second one wiped her out. As Graham took the stage to cheers and backed by her solemn-faced family, she told Gillum that she had a message for him. “Andrew and I have been friends for a very long time,” she said. “We were friends before this race began, and we are friends today and we will be friends in the future. And I said, Now, Andrew, go out an win this damned thing.” Graham’s loss Tuesday was a rejection of the Graham family style of politics: bipartisanship and a rejection of party-line politics. Compared to Gillum, Graham’s campaign ideas were less bold, her rhetoric less fiery, her celebrity endorsements less flashy.
“As Adam Putnam’s rising star fades, his supporters blame one person: Trump” via Steve Contorno of the Tampa Bay Times — In defeat, his supporters — some of which have voted for Putnam since he ran for the Florida House 22 years ago — blamed one person: President Donald Trump. In his concession speech, Putnam didn’t mention Trump. But his supporters quickly pointed to the president’s intrusion into party politics as a deathblow to Putnam. Rep. Jim Boyd, a Republican representing Manatee County and a Putnam supporter, said he wish Trump hadn’t “put his thumb on scale” in a primary. Lakeland banker Robert King said he’ll get behind DeSantis in November, but couldn’t help shake his head at Trump on Tuesday. Others weren’t ready to come together as a party yet. Keith Rupp, a Republican strategist, said he is leaving the GOP after Tuesday’s results.
“Jeff Greene: ‘I don’t think progressives like billionaires’” via George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post — Billionaire Palm Beach real estate investor Greene sounded genuinely excited late Tuesday night by rival Gillum‘s stunning upset victory in the Florida Democratic primary for governor. “I’m thrilled at the outcome…I’ve always felt that if I couldn’t be the Democratic nominee my second choice would absolutely be Andrew Gillum … He absolutely was the best speaker among all of us, me included. And I think Gwen Graham was the worst speaker among all of us. I think she was the worst candidate.” Greene said he and Gillum agreed on most issues. But Greene conceded that his $3.3 billion net worth made him a tough sell to the Bernie Sanders wing of the party. “Even though I have these beliefs, it’s very hard for someone with my status today as a billionaire to get support from progressives. It was a real challenge…I don’t think progressives like billionaires.”
“The race that almost wasn’t: How Sean Shaw won Democratic Attorney General bid” via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics — Shaw captured the Democratic nomination for state Attorney General in a historic fashion. First, he sued and won in having his only same-party opponent knocked off the primary ballot, the first time that had happened. Then, after an appellate court suspended the effect of that ruling pending review, Shaw overcame Ryan Torrens on Primary Election Day. By 8:30 p.m., the span was 73 percent to 27 percent. Shaw’s campaign quickly emailed he had again “made history” as the “first African-American nominee in Florida’s history” to be the state’s chief legal officer. Torrens had not publicly conceded. “When I entered this race I noted that for too long the Florida Supreme Court has been the only institution that has stood up for the principles of our Constitution,” he said in a statement. “Tonight we took one step closer to electing a fighter for Floridians to the Attorney General’s office.”
Florida Medical Association scores big with primary picks — The FMA PAC was a big winner Tuesday night for a slew of reasons. It was the first and only statewide organization to endorse DeSantis for Governor. It endorsed Ashley Moody early for the GOP pick for Attorney General. It scored a major victory in the state Senate with Gayle Harrell beating Chamber board member (and some would say carpetbagger) Belinda Kaiser. A round of applause to Dr. Mike Patete.
— NOTES FROM THE PRIMARY, PART 2 —
“‘Absolute warrior’ Matt Gaetz wins primary in Panhandle’s CD 1” via Florida Politics — U.S. Rep. Gaetz won the GOP primary election for Florida’s 1st Congressional District on Tuesday. As of 8:45 p.m., Gaetz had a little over 61 percent of the vote, with Republican challengers Cris Dosev and John Mills at 33.5 percent and 5 percent, respectively. “I am proud that Northwest Florida voters continue to place their trust in me to represent our community in the U.S. Congress,” Gaetz said in a statement … Gaetz banked on an array of endorsements from the National Rifle Association, anti-abortion group Florida Right to Life but also from the Humane Society Legislative Fund, the political arm of the Humane Society. Gaetz supports a ban on live dog racing in the state. He also managed to land a coveted nod from Trump, who referred to Gaetz as an “absolute warrior,” as well as from fellow U.S. Rep. and Republican candidate for Governor DeSantis, and Gov. Scott.
“Mike Miller, Stephanie Murphy, Darren Soto win Central Florida congressional primaries” via Ryan Gillespie of the Orlando Sentinel — Miller’s victory over Scott Sturgill and Vennia Francois sets up what could be the region’s most competitive race in November against Murphy, who beat progressive Chardo Richardson with 86 percent of the vote. All three freshmen Democrats that Central Florida voters sent to Congress in 2016 — Soto, Murphy and Val Demings — were victorious in their primaries. Demings, unlike the others, was re-elected to a second term with 75 percent of the vote since she has no Republican opponent in November. Soto credited his campaigning on issues such as affordable housing and bringing higher-paying jobs to the region for his victory.
Scoop – “George Soros-backed Latino PAC: We spent $500K to help Darren Soto” via Scott Powers of Orlando Rising — The Soros-backed Latino Victory Fund declared its independent campaign spending to support Soto reached $500,000 entering the Democratic primary against his challenger, former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, in Florida’s 9th Congressional District. That amount, which Latino Victory Fund described as “an investment,” bought more than 500 television spots that have run in recent weeks on Spanish-language television stations and networks in Central Florida; commercials on Spanish radio stations; Spanish-language social media; several mailers targeting Hispanic audiences in CD 9; and other campaign advertising and grassroots organizing efforts on Soto’s behalf.
“Republican Vern Buchanan’s ad takes deceptive tactics to a new low” via Josh Israel of ThinkProgress.org — Last month, Buchanan launched an ad attacking David Shapiro, who is seeking the Democratic nomination, of being “two-faced” and hypocritical. Now Buchanan is pretending news articles covering that ad is evidence of its claims. This month, he launched a new ad, indirectly citing his first ad’s claim as proof of the claim. The original story said: “The ad claims that Shapiro owns stock in “two companies responsible for the Gulf Oil spill” (Transocean and Halliburton), “drugmakers accused of fueling” the opiate epidemic (Johnson & Johnson), and “companies that make assault weapons and cop-killer bullets” (Savage Arms).” Buchanan’s campaign took this totally out of context in the new spot, including the words “‘ … Shapiro owns stock in two companies responsible for the Gulf Oil spill’ — Think Progress,” alongside an image of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon fire. This sneaky move leads the viewer to believe that the report was the source of that claim.
To view the new ad, click on the image below:
“Lauren Baer to challenge Brian Mast for the CD 18 seat” via Florida Politics — Baer coasted to a clear win Tuesday night in the Democratic primary for Florida’s 18th Congressional District, defeating her opponent, Pam Keith. With 99 percent of precincts reported, Baer had a 20-point lead over Keith, earning 60 percent of the vote to Keith’s 40 percent. “I am humbled by the support I’ve received from the people of our district and awed by the weighty responsibility they have put in my hands,” Baer said in a statement Tuesday night. “As a public school kid in this community, I never imagined that I would one day be our nominee. But as a daughter of this district, I can think of no greater honor.”
“Nicolas Kimaz sends Javier Manjarres packing in CD 22” via Florida Politics — Kimaz has knocked off blogger Manjarres in the GOP primary for Florida’s 22nd Congressional District. With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Kimaz sits at 41 percent of the vote. Manjarres earned just 34 percent, with Eddison Walters in third place with 25 percent. The primary got heated at times, with Manjarres facing criticism over his representation of his time in the U.S. Air Force. The organization’s records show him separated before completing basic training. Manjarres disputed that record posting a photo he says is from graduation, but it appeared to be a flight photo that would have been taken before completion of basic training. Kimaz called for Manjarres to release his DD-214 to clear up his records or drop out of the race. Manjarres refused.
“Carlos Curbelo’s election dilemma: Walking the line between love and hate for Donald Trump” via Andrew Desiderio of The Daily Beast — “You’re not really doing this, are you?” House Speaker Paul Ryan had not yet come to grips with the fact that Curbelo was about to undertake an extraordinary effort to defy the speaker and his leadership team by forcing the House to vote on immigration reform, an effort that has been stalled for decades. Ryan wanted to try one last time to stop Curbelo in his tracks. It was too late. “I already did,” Curbelo responded. “You stood here and said we were going to address this. And we’ve waited for months. And nothing has happened. It’s the only option we feel we have left.” Curbelo is one of the few congressional Republicans routinely going rogue out of a party that has largely been deferential to the president. His actions are owed, at least partly, to his desire to shape the party’s post-Trump future — in other words, pull the GOP away from Trumpism.
“A sporty Carlos Curbelo goes up on TV” via Alex Daugherty of the Miami Herald — Curbelo‘s first TV spot is an extended metaphor on his two terms in Congress that also serves to let voters know his first occupation: basketball referee. Curbelo shows off his postgame and launches some midrange jumpers as he criticizes Democrats for not getting behind his conservative alternative to the DREAM Act and Republicans for not doing enough to help the environment or push for certain gun control measures. “My first job was refereeing basketball. I called a fair game,” Curbelo says, as he spins a whistle around his finger. “But Washington politicians don’t play fair. And I just call ‘em like I see ‘em … In Washington, many politicians play for their party, but I play for you.”
To view the ad, click on the image below:
“Donna Shalala wins Democratic primary for Ros-Lehtinen’s seat” via Alex Daugherty and Charles Rabin — The 77-year-old Shalala bested state Rep. David Richardson, her closest competition for the Democratic nomination, who argued that Shalala wasn’t liberal enough for a Democratic electorate angry with Donald Trump’s presidency. Shalala’s long career included stints as the president of the University of Miami and the Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton in the 1990s. Shalala won close to 32 percent of the vote compared to Richardson’s 27.5 percent. Shalala spent her five-minute victory speech throwing shade on Republicans and touting her decades of experience in government and academia. The Democratic primary turned into a proxy for the ongoing national debate between the party’s liberal and centrist wings on issues like instituting Medicare for all, abolishing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and impeaching Trump.
— NOTES FROM THE PRIMARY, PART 3 —
“Gayle Harrell tops Belinda Keiser in SD 25” via Florida Politics — State Rep. Harrell has earned the chance for a promotion to the state Senate in November, defeating Keiser in the GOP primary for Senate District 25. Harrell ended the night with 56 percent of the vote, while Keiser earned 44 percent. The pair were running for the right to compete for the seat held by Senate President Joe Negron, whose term ends this year. Negron decided to retire rather than serve out the remainder of his Senate term, which runs through 2020. Bill Galvano, the Senate-President-designate, issued a statement Tuesday night congratulating Harrell on her victory. “Gayle has been a tireless leader on the Treasure Coast, and having served with her in the Florida House, I have seen her hard work and commitment as a public servant firsthand. I look forward to campaigning with her as we head toward the general election,” Galvano said.
“Gary Farmer wins easy in SD 34” via Florida Politics — Farmer has lapped Jim Waldman in the Democratic primary for Senate District 34. With 98 of precincts reporting, Farmer was miles ahead of Waldman, leading him 70 percent to 30 percent. This contest was a rematch of 2016, when Waldman, along with Gwyndolen Clarke-Reed, challenged Farmer for the Democratic nomination. Farmer faced a barrage of attack ads throughout this campaign. Multiple mysterious money groups commissioned those ads against Farmer. Waldman denied any ties to those groups. One, in particular, paid by political committee Moms Speak Out, labeled Farmer a “sexist” and “obnoxious” over comments he made regarding state Sen. Lauren Book.
“Scandal-plagued Daphne Campbell loses state enate seat to Jason Pizzo” via Alex Harris of the Miami Herald — Campbell was outflanked on the left in a district that leans so Democratic that Republicans didn’t bother putting up a challenger. Eight years of conservative-leaning votes on abortion, gay rights, school prayer and charter schools left her on the outs with Democrats. The Miami-Dade party recently sent her a letter highlighting her “questionable ethics” and asking that she answer for an illegal mailer sent to Republicans that urged a vote for Campbell in District 38. The diverse northeast Miami-Dade district, which includes the largest Haitian population in the country, is now headed by Pizzo, who spent more than a million dollars of his own money on a campaign emphasizing public safety, climate change and a living wage for workers. The last election he came in second in a crowded six-way primary that Campbell narrowly won. This time, with all the votes tallied late Tuesday, Pizzo walked away easily with nearly a 9-percent victory margin.
“Mike Hill wins House comeback bid by a narrow margin” via Florida Politics — Hill received 48 percent of the vote in the three-way primary, defeating rising GOP star Rebekah Bydlak by three points, while and Lisa Doss took the balance of the vote. He is now set to succeed term-limited Rep. Clay Ingram in November and return to the House after a two-year absence. Bydlak proved early that she had some fundraising prowess, and overall ran a much more public campaign than either of her competitors. When it comes to endorsements, Bydlak again led. A few months out from primary Election Day Bydlak landed Ingram’s endorsement, and Republican pols had already turned out in force to help her raise campaign cash. Later on, came the endorsements from major groups including the Florida Medical Association and the National Rifle Association. But fundraising and endorsements only go so far.
“Ardian Zika secures HD 37 Republican nomination with ease” via Florida Politics — Zika led his closest opponent, Elle Rudisill, 57-26 percent. The third Republican vying for the seat, Ryan Patrick Boney, received about 17 percent of the vote. Zika, who immigrated to the U.S. from Kosovo in the 1990s, held a consistent lead in fundraising and in endorsements throughout his campaign to replace Richard Corcoran, who could not run again due to term limits. Five days ahead of the primary, Zika had raised more than $227,000 for his campaign and had more than $85,000 left to spend.
“Stockton Reeves grabs Republican nod in HD 47” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Reeves, largely representing more traditional business interests in Winter Park and Central Florida, defeated upstart Mikaela Nix, a lawyer, 55 percent to 45 percent after the two had battled for weeks about each other’s police records, voting records and past histories in elections. Reeves, a longtime fixture in Central Florida politics and a former political consultant who now runs a company that helps first responder agencies plan their facilities, gets a fresh start now heading toward the November election.
“Rene Plasencia, Geraldine Thompson among winners in Central Florida House races” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — State Rep. Plasencia easily put away a Republican primary challenge from the right from George Collins, former State Sen. Thompson took a step in her political comeback attempt, and Democratic nominees were sorted out for two other Republican-held seats in Central Florida … Plasencia, a two-term Representative seeking to hold onto House District 50 easily dispatched Collins for the second Republican primary season in a row. He gets Democrat Pam Dirschka in the Nov. 6 election. Thompson, who served in both the Florida House and the Florida Senate before giving that seat up to run unsuccessfully for Congress in 2016, dispatched Margaret “Melanie” Gold in a close race for the Democratic nomination to run in House District 44, in southwest Orange County. Thompson now gets a shot at Republican state Rep. Bobby Olszewski in November.
“Dianne Hart holds lead in four-way race to replace Sean Shaw” via Philip Morgan of the Tampa Bay Times — With most precincts reporting, community activist and beauty shop owner Dianne Hart was in the lead among four Democrats vying for the State House District 61 seat. Hart, 63, was out-polling Tampa lawyer Karen Skyers, 45, in the race to represent the largely black East Tampa district. There is no Republican in the race so the winner of the Democratic primary takes the seat. Hart serves as the chief executive officer of the East Tampa Business and Civic Association. On her website, she lists among her legislative priorities restoring civil and voting rights to ex-felons, vocational training, and empowering small business and local commerce.
“Ray Pilon, James Buchanan wins Sarasota House primaries” via the News Service of Florida — former state Rep. Pilon will face Rep. Margaret Good in the November election, according to results posted on the Sarasota County supervisor of elections website. With all precincts reporting, Pilon captured 65 percent of the vote, while his GOP primary opponent, Jason Miller, had 35 percent in House District 72. Also in Sarasota County, Republican Buchanan won 59 percent of the vote as he moved on to the general election for an open seat in House District 74. He will face Democrat Tony Mowry and unaffiliated candidate Robert Kaplan in November.
“Toby Overdorf edges Sasha Dadan in HD 83” via Florida Politics — Overdorf came out on top Tuesday over Dadan thanks in large part to Martin County voters With all precincts reporting, Overdorf stood at 54 percent of the vote to Dadan’s 46 percent. But that margin masks a razor-thin margin in St. Lucie County, where Overdorf led by just 11 votes, 3,677 to 3,666. It’s Overdorf’s margin in Martin County that took this contest out of recount territory.
“Jim Bonfiglio to face Mike Caruso in HD 89” via Florida Politics — Bonfiglio and Caruso came out ahead in their respective primaries Tuesday night, setting up a showdown between the pair this November. Bonfiglio defeated Ryan Rossi 57 percent to 43 percent. Caruso ended the night with a similar margin, leading Matt Spritz 56 percent to 44 percent. Bonfiglio, the vice mayor of Ocean Ridge, appeared to be the favorite in the primary. He earned a string of endorsements from local officials and advocacy organizations and maintained a fundraising lead throughout his time in the race.
“Andrew Dolberg concedes HD 98 race to Michael Gottlieb” via Florida Politics — Gottlieb is likely the next representative from House District 98 after winning the Democratic primary race Tuesday night. Gottlieb finished the night with a 39 percent to 27 percent lead over Dolberg, who issued a statement conceding the race. “I’m proud of the campaign we’ve run and thankful for everyone who made this effort possible,” Dolberg said. “I fully endorse Michael Gottlieb in the general election and I will work with him to ensure we send a Democratic Representative to Tallahassee. Between now and November, I will work my hardest to help Democrats win across the state.”
“Cindy Polo wins in HD 103, Dotie Joseph knocks off Roy Hardemon in HD 108” via Florida Politics — A pair of new faces will likely be headed to Tallahassee after Polo and Joseph emerged victorious from their respective Democratic primary races Tuesday night. Polo finished well ahead of Rick Tapia in House District 103. Polo pulled in 65 percent of the vote to Tapia’s 35 percent. Over in HD 108, Joseph earned 49 percent of the vote to incumbent state Rep. Roy Hardemon‘s 36 percent. Joseph Beauvil ended the night in third with 15 percent of the vote.
“Michael Grieco wins Democratic primary for state House; Hardemon loses re-election bid” via Nicholas Nehamas of the Miami Herald — Voters in a South Florida Democratic primary looked into Grieco’s soul — and decided they wanted to send him to Tallahassee as a state representative. Grieco, a former Miami Beach commissioner who resigned over a campaign-finance scandal last year, won the Democratic primary Tuesday for state House District 113. His opponents were Deede Weithorn, also a former Beach commissioner, and Kubs Lalchandani, an attorney. In another hard-fought Democratic primary, attorney Dotie Joseph beat one-term incumbent Roy Hardemon to represent a district in eastern Miami-Dade. Also in the race: immigration consultant Joseph Beauvil. With all the votes tallied, Joseph had 49 percent of the vote, compared to 36 percent for Hardemon and 15 percent for Beauvil.
— DOWN BALLOT —
“Jerry Demings elected Mayor of Orange County” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Demings, sheriff for 10 years, easily defeated Orange County Commissioner Pete Clarke and businessman Rob Panepinto. The only hope that either of those challengers had was that Demings might not top 50 percent of the vote in the three-way field, forcing a runoff election and allowing the second-place finisher another nine weeks to mount a challenge to the longtime front-runner. It wasn’t close. Demings captured 61 percent of the vote. Clarke, who ran a shoestring campaign but relied on his popularity, took 22 percent. Panepinto, once seen as the darling of the business community, was able to raise credible amounts of money but it bought little, and he finished with just 16 percent.
“Tommy Minkoff holds seat in Pinellas-Pasco judicial race” via Florida Politics — Incumbent Circuit Judge Minkoff of Pinellas County has beaten back a challenge from Mike Trentalange, a medical malpractice lawyer. The circuit includes Pinellas and Pasco counties … Minkoff was first appointed to the bench by then-Gov. Charlie Crist in 2009. Before becoming a judge, he was “a business owner and operator of a regional home health care company,” his judicial bio says. “After selling the company, Minkoff developed several real estate projects and was of counsel with a local law firm and served as Interim City Attorney for Gulfport.” He graduated from Rutgers College in New Jersey and St. Mary’s University College of Law. He’s also an inactive member of the The Texas Bar.
“Mixed results for Parkland parents in races for Broward School Board” via Florida Politics — Lori Alhadeff, the mother of one of the 17 victims of February’s Parkland shooting, is set to take her place on the Broward School Board following a resounding win Tuesday night. Alhadeff earned 65 percent of the vote with 99 percent of precincts reporting. That’s well over the 50-percent threshold required to avoid a runoff in November. “I will now use the mandate that the voters have given me to go and ensure that all kids and teachers are safe in all schools,” Alhadeff said. “I will fight for our amazing teachers to ensure that they have a larger role in the major decisions that the School Board makes, and to make sure that they have the resources they need to do their job.”
“Orange County schools tax passes easily, winning more than 83 percent of the vote” via Leslie Postal of the Orlando Sentinel — Orange County voters Tuesday again approved a special property tax to help pay for teacher raises and to maintain academic, arts and sports programs at the county’s nearly 200 public schools. More than 83 percent of voters voted to continue the tax. The tax was first approved in 2010, then reauthorized in 2014. Tuesday’s vote means it will be in place for another four years. The tax faced no organized opposition this year and won by its widest margin yet.
Half-cent sales tax measure passes in Washington County — An initiative to pass a half-cent sales tax for Washington County public schools passed at the ballot box Tuesday. The measure, aimed at funding facility and technology improvements in the school district, received nearly 58 percent of the vote, with all precincts reporting. The rural county, about 100 miles west of Tallahassee, has a population of roughly 24,500, the latest Census figures show. As Superintendent of Schools Joseph Taylor told wtvy.com last week, “Most of our funding comes from the State of Florida and so their priorities become our priorities … (But) we have computer systems … coming up for replacement.”
— OTHER NOTES FROM THE TRAIL —
Happening today: “Florida Senate Republicans to raise cash at the U.S. Open” via Florida Politics — According to an invitation from the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, the main committee supporting GOP state Senate campaigns, donors will get to attend a “VIP Dinner” at Quality Italian before catching Day Four of the hard court tennis tournament … donors will also get a private tennis lesson with Nick Bollettieri, the Hall Of Fame tennis coach who developed tennis legends Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Monica Seles and others.
“Group supporting amendment to end dog racing calls on opponents to disavow accused animal abuser” via CD Davidson-Hiers of Florida Phoenix — The Yes on 13 campaign — the group that wants to ban dog racing — said Jesse James Hodges, accused of animal cruelty in Louisiana, had joined the official “No on 13” Facebook group, which required administrative approval to join. Hodges was arrested and charged when 11 of his dogs showed “obvious signs of being neglected” with “ribs and backbones showing and skin clinging,” according to a police report. The dogs were kept on chains without adequate shelter, or in a cage built around a tree. Dog racing ban advocates also said Hodges “appears to be linked to a website used by dog fighters,” and said the main photo on his Facebook page depicts two young puppies with a severed pig head.
“Supreme Court passes on ‘bundling’ challenge to constitutional amendments” via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics — The state’s highest court has punted a challenge that six proposed constitutional amendments were wrongfully “bundled.” Without explanation, the Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday unanimously kicked the case to the 2nd Judicial Circuit in Tallahassee, with a proviso that the trial judge assigned the case “should not interpret the transfer of this case as an indication that it must or should reach the merits of the petition.” Retired Supreme Court Justice Harry Lee Anstead filed a challenge to the amendments earlier this month. He said six amendments placed on the ballot by the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) were “logrolled.” That is, they could force people to vote for an amendment because they’re in favor of one policy in it, but not others.
“Gambling opposition group spends $15 million on ads” via The News Service of Florida — A political committee leading a drive to pass a ballot proposal that could make it harder to expand gambling in Florida spent $15 million on advertising this month, according to finance reports. The committee known as Voters In Charge, which has been primarily funded by Disney Worldwide Services, Inc. and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, paid $15 million to the Virginia-based firm National Media Research, Planning & Placement. The report posted on the state Division of Elections website indicates the payment was made Aug. 8 and lists “advertising” as the purpose of the expenditure … The committee is backing a proposal on the November ballot that would change the Florida Constitution and give voters the “exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling” in the state.
“Felons’ rights initiative continues building cash” via the News Service of Florida — With a $750,000 infusion from a California group, a political committee backing a proposed constitutional amendment on felons’ rights has continued building a stockpile of cash for the November campaign. The committee Floridians for a Fair Democracy raised slightly more than $1.25 million from Aug. 11 through Thursday and had about $8.46 million in cash on hand, a new finance report shows. The proposed constitutional amendment, which will appear on the November ballot as Amendment 4, would automatically restore voting rights for all nonviolent felons who have served their sentences, completed parole or probation and paid restitution. Felons convicted of murder and sexual offenses would not be eligible.
“Leon elections supervisor reverses decision, sets early voting site for FSU, FAMU and TCC” via Byron Dobson of the Tallahassee Democrat — Faced with a firestorm of criticism, Leon County Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley reversed his decision to not set up early voting sites on college campuses for the November General Election. Earley said students from Florida State, Florida A&M and Tallahassee Community College will have use of the Tucker Civic Center for early voting. While other activities scheduled at the Tucker Center during the Early Voting period may present some challenges, it is the only campus location offered that can serve multiple student populations for the two-week duration of Early Voting, Earley said.
“Florida GOP chairman accuses Broward election chief of ‘shenanigans’ in absentee ballot court fight” via Marc Caputo of POLITICO Florida — The election supervisor in Florida’s second-most populous county filed a late afternoon appeal on Election Day that effectively short-circuited a judge’s order concerning the way she opens vote-by-mail absentee ballots. The decision by Broward Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes to appeal an early-August injunction at 4:07 p.m. Tuesday — less than an hour before the courts shut for the day and less than three hours before polls closed — was denounced by the Republican Party of Florida’s chairman, state Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, who accused Snipes of lawbreaking “shenanigans.” Snipes’ lawyer denied the charge. Under state law, a public official who appeals a court order gets an automatic stay that halts the ruling in question. In this case, a judge on Aug. 10 issued a declaratory injunction preventing Snipes from opening the mail-in ballots in secret or before the county’s three-member Canvassing Board meets to determine the ballots’ validity. At least 86,000 absentee ballots have been cast in Broward. After the GOP prevailed, Snipes waited until Election Day to file the appeal.
— STATEWIDE —
Happening today — Gov. Scott will honor a number of Florida veterans with the Governor’s Veteran’s Service Medal. The award ceremony is 9 a.m., National Guard Armory, 900 SW 20th St., Ocala.
ICYMI: “NCCI recommends significant drop in workers’ compensation premiums” via Michael Moline of Florida Politics — The ratings agency that recommends workers’ compensation insurance premium levels in Florida on Monday recommended a 13.4 percent reduction, to take effect Jan. 1. A summary released by the National Council on Compensation Insurance, or NCCI, cites “continued significant improvement in loss experience.” “This is consistent with prior experience filings in Florida and in line with most filings submitted thus far by NCCI in other states in 2018,” the document says. “More specifically, the long-term decline in claim frequency has continued to more than offset moderate increases in claim severity. This has resulted in continued downward pressure on the overall average rate level need and is consistent with trends across most NCCI states.” The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation will review the proposed rates in October.
“Hurricane Irma cost Florida fishing industries almost $200 million” via Nancy Klingener of WUSF — According to a damage assessment released by the state and federal governments, Florida’s seafood industry is worth $5.9 billion a year, while the recreational fishery is worth $7 billion. Irma wrecked plenty of boats, but that wasn’t its only impact. It also damaged fish houses, bait-and-tackle shops, marinas and hotels booked by charter boat clients. “Some for-hire operations in the Keys reported losing all their pre-booked charters through the middle of January 2018,” the report states.
“Parkland parent says Wells Fargo’s conduct on guns and marijuana is dishonest” via Alex Daugherty of the Miami Herald — Fred Guttenberg wasn’t happy with Wells Fargo’s decision to keep banking with the gun industry after the Parkland shooting, in which his daughter Jaime was one of the 17 people killed, but he was willing to continue talking when the bank’s CEO told him they wanted to remain politically neutral. Then came the bank’s decision to shut down Florida Agriculture Commissioner candidate Nikki Fried’s campaign account due to the financial support she received from the medical marijuana industry. Guttenberg, angrier still with what he perceived as the bank’s hypocritical stance, emailed Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan asking him to reconsider their gun policy now that they waded into marijuana politics. He didn’t get a response. “I think people ought to move their accounts. We’ve seen what Wells Fargo will do to consumers in the past and now we see what they do to those who disagree with them,” Guttenberg said in an interview. “I could have gone public multiple times. When I read today that they’re actually seeking to punish people for covering their bad behavior when it comes to guns, now I’m going to go public because I’m angry.”
“State representative argues anti-bullying scholarship neglects LGBTQ students” via Alejandra Martinez of WLRN — Carlos Guillermo Smith of Orlando argues a new anti-bullying scholarship fails to protect LGBTQ victims. The Florida Hope Scholarship is a voucher program that gives parents the option to transfer their children to alternative private schools if they have been a victim of bullying. The program is available for students starting the 2018-2019 school year. Earlier this month, Huffington Post reporter Rebecca Klein investigated the scholarship and found that 10 percent of private schools signed up for the Florida Hope Scholarship have a zero-tolerance policy toward LGBTQ students. Rep. Smith: “For those who really understand the challenges that LGBTQ youth face, we understand LGBTQ students are more likely to be bullied and are subject to institutional bullying, which in this case can happen at the private schools that receive the scholarship.”
Notes from elsewhere: “Medicaid expansion to be on the November ballot in Nebraska” via the Lincoln Journal Star — A petition that would put the question of whether to expand Medicaid to about 90,000 uninsured adult Nebraskans has enough certified signatures to put it on the Nov. 6 ballot, Secretary of State John Gale confirmed Friday. County election officials completed their review of 136,791 signatures submitted for the petition to expand Medicaid eligibility, Gale said, and found state law requirements for valid signatures have been met. “The measure will be placed on the 2018 general election ballot, barring an order from the district court handling the pending lawsuit that challenges the initiative petition,” Gale said.
“Possible McCain replacement hails from Gainesville” via Kevin Brockway of the Gainesville Sun — A possible candidate to fill John McCain’s open U.S. Senate seat in Arizona has Gainesville ties. Eileen Klein, who serves on Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s staff as state treasurer, has been mentioned by multiple publications as a potential successor to McCain, who died Saturday night at 81 after a yearlong bout with brain cancer. Klein attended Stephen Foster Elementary, Fort Clarke Middle School and graduated from Gainesville High School. She went on to spend two years at what was then Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville, where her father, the late Jean Georges Klein, was a geology and physical science instructor. After Santa Fe, Klein earned her undergraduate degree at Florida State University and a master’s degree in public administration at Arizona State University. Klein returned to Gainesville in April 2016 to give the commencement address at Santa Fe College.
— OPINIONS —
“DeSantis victory, Putnam flameout shows that, in Florida, the GOP is Trump’s party” via Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel — For Putnam, 2018 was supposed to be more of a coronation than a campaign. It was all derailed by a single tweet. Trump formally endorsed DeSantis on June 22, saying: “He will be a Great Governor & has my full Endorsement!” Before then, many Floridians didn’t even know what a DeSantis was. Virtually every deep-pocketed interest had its hooks in Putnam. Sugar, lawyers, insurance, Realtors, developers, grocers, theme parks. If there was an industry with an army of lobbyists, that army was rallying behind Adam Putnam. Heading into November, DeSantis will have the challenge of convincing independent voters that he offers something more than just a bromance with Trump. But in an August primary, the Trump seal of approval — coupled with Putnam’s personification of the status quo — was enough.
— MOVEMENTS —
Personnel note: Katie Sanders promoted at PolitiFact — PolitiFact, the Poynter Institute’s fact-checking arm, has named its first managing editor: Sanders, currently the organization’s deputy editor. Executive editor Aaron Sharockman made the announcement on his Twitter feed. Sanders is a former member of the Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald’s combined capital bureau. She helped launch PunditFact in 2013, and has held the deputy position at PolitiFact since November 2015. “Katie will have expanded responsibilities over the daily work on PolitiFact (more on that as things shake out), and we are going to ask her to take on a bit more formal role managing our state partners across the country,” Sharockman wrote. Sanders majored in Journalism at the University of Florida, where she graduated summa cum laude.
Rebecca Kapusta made interim DCF Secretary” via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics — Kapusta will become interim Secretary of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) after the resignation of Secretary Mike Carroll, who’s leaving the post Sept. 6. Gov. Scott announced the move Tuesday afternoon. He did not say when he expected to name a full-time replacement, if any; the term-limited governor departs office in January. “Rebecca has served the Department for more than 10 years, and I’m sure she’ll continue to work to better our communities and protect Florida’s most vulnerable citizens,” Scott said in a statement. Kapusta was most recently Assistant Secretary for Operations after being the department’s General Counsel.
Timothy Niermann named Juvenile Justice chief — Niermann, a veteran administrator at the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, will become interim secretary of the agency effective Friday. Gov. Scott announced the appointment Tuesday. Niermann replaces Christina Daly, who has served in the department since 2006. “I am confident that he will continue to faithfully serve the families and youths that DJJ works to protect every day,” Scott said of Niermann in a statement. Niermann is a 40-year veteran of Florida’s juvenile justice apparatus, most recently serving as deputy secretary since December 2015.
Appointed — Douglas Bournique (reappointed), Robert Lowe, Sr. and Erica Whitfield to the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council.
New and renewed lobbying registrations:
Robert Schenck, The Legis Group: Inmar
Hector Alcalde, Danielle McBeth, Alcalde & Fay: Informa USA
French Brown IV, Dean Mead: Florida Retail Federation
Leslie Dughi, Greenberg Traurig: The Hartford Financial Services Group
Karl Rasmussen, Meenan: Florida Fire Sprinkler Association
— ALOE —
“Disney World’s Halloween line lets families trick-or-treat in style” via Terri Peters of Today — Steven Miller, communications manager for Walt Disney World merchandise, says that in recent years, Disney Parks have noticed an increased interest in celebrating Halloween with both apparel and home decor. So, Walt Disney World comes up with new holiday-themed merchandise — from light-up Mickey pumpkin necklaces to candy corn Minnie ears — each year. “One thing you’re going to see a lot of this year is the Mickey pumpkin,” said Miller. “We’ve introduced Mickey pumpkin designs for a few years now — there’s a votive candle shaped like a Mickey pumpkin and light up pumpkin trick-or-treat bucket from past years — but it’s become such a great well-established item that we wanted to expand that.” The Halloween shirts, hats, headbands and necklaces will disappear when the Halloween season ends, but a new product line also created for Halloween — based on the Haunted Mansion attraction — will remain in the parks long after the holiday.
Happy birthday to our great friend, Nancy Watkins. I wish I could write more about her right now, but I am exhausted. Just know that we love you, Nancy.