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Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 11.8.18

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

By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Daniel McAuliffe, Jim Rosica, and Drew Wilson.

Breaking overnight –  The races for Florida Governor, U.S. Senate, and Agriculture Commissioner all tightened, perhaps significantly.

Bill Nelson now trails Rick Scott by just 21,899 votes (0.26 percent), while Andrew Gillum is now down 42,498 votes to Ron DeSantis. That’s a margin of 0.52 percent, meaning it’s increasingly likely that race will also have to be recounted. Democrats really shouldn’t get their hopes up in either of those races.

However, in the race for Florida Agriculture Commissioner, Nikki Fried is now just 4,109 votes behind Matt Caldwell. She started Wednesday down just over 12,000 votes. Several Democratic consultants and election lawyers now believe Fried will pass by Caldwell by the time election results are certified.


Alright, alright, alright. We are getting back to business.

The day after the midterm election, incoming House Speaker Jose Oliva announced his lieutenants and major committee chairs.

Jose Oliva waited until the House was securely in Republican hands, before announcing committee heads.

Clearly, the Miami Lakes Republican had these sussed out before the election but first needed to ensure the party’s hold on the chamber.

Here’s a look at the names by, for a twist, focusing on each pick’s “recreational interests”:

— Speaker Pro Tempore MaryLynn Magar: “boating, golf, softball mom.”

— Majority Leader Dane Eagle: “boating, fishing, fitness.”

— Appropriations Chair Travis Cummings: “attending sporting events, boating, jogging, spending time with family.”

— Commerce Chair Mike La Rosa: (none listed).

— Economic Affairs Chair Bryan Avila: “exercising, playing sports, reading, spending time with family, traveling.”

— Education Committee Chair Jennifer Sullivan: “biking, deep sea fishing, kayaking, running.”

— Health & Human Services Chair Ray Rodrigues: (none listed).

— Judiciary Chair Paul Renner: “reading, sports, travel.”

— Public Integrity & Ethics Chair Tom Leek: “boating, college football, fishing.”

— Rules Chair Chris Sprowls: “boating, cycling, tennis, traveling.”

— State Affairs Chair Blaise Ingoglia: (none listed).

— Ways & Means Chair Halsey Beshears: (none listed).


@NancyPelosi: It is impossible to read Attorney General Sessions’ firing as anything other than another blatant attempt by @realDonaldTrump to undermine & end Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation.

@ClintSmithIII: jeff sessions is the only confederate monument trump was willing to take down

@Rob_Bradley: In all seriousness, the resignation of Jeff Sessions is a positive step toward real cannabis reform at the federal level.

—@Acosta: Trump @PressSec confirms that White House has suspended the hard pass of a reporter because it doesn’t like the way he does his job. This is something I’ve never seen since I started covering the White House in 1996. Other presidents did not fear tough questioning.

—@JebBush: The media is not the enemy of the people. The freedom of the press is protected by the Constitution. Presidents never enjoy pointed questions from the press, but President Trump should respect their right to ask them and respect Americans enough to answer them.

@AliciaZuckerman: Someone on Facebook I think (apologies for not remembering who), wrote that Florida could be deciding between ice cream and a punch in the head and the results would be split 50.5%-49.5%. Astute commentary, whoever you are.

@shahed: If you feel sad today, just imagine Mike Pence swearing 2 women into Congress with the Qur’an

@MostBoringGirl: I hope they call the movie “Florida Recount 2: Electric Boogaloo.”

@NateSilver: You have 506 races between the House, Senate and governor. Polls have gotten the large majority of those right. Moreover, they’ve gotten the overall direction of the House and Senate almost exactly right. There have been about as many upsets as you’d expect.

@LennyCurry: Those opining on the death of polling. Here’s what I know. My pollster told me where I would be in March 15 election. Told me I won the May election at 6pm the night of. Told me we would exceed 60% on pension reform. I’m watching all he told me would happen actually happen Tonight.

@TracySaur: Greyhound racing was banned in Florida yesterday. Regardless of your views on racing, this means about 8000 hounds will be looking for homes in the coming months. They are wonderful, kind, sweet, and sleepy dogs, and in the wake of this please consider opening your home to one.

—@SteveSchale: Hey @steveschale — your VM box is full. Must be all those calls of congratulations on @FSUHoops win last night.


Florida Blue Florida Classic: FAMU vs. BCU — 9; 2019 Legislature Organization Session meetings — 12; Thanksgiving — 14; Black Friday — 16; Florida Chamber Insurance Summit — 19; 2019 Session Interim Committee Meetings begin — 34; ‘Hamilton’ comes to the Straz Center — 96; 2019 Legislative Session starts — 117; ‘Captain Marvel’ release — 121; Iowa Caucuses — 452; 2020 General Election — 726.


Broward still counting votes, but elections supervisor doesn’t know how many are left” via Stephen Hobbs and Larry Barszewski of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — With a razor-thin margin separating Senate candidates Scott and Nelson, Broward County — a Democratic bastion — was still counting votes Wednesday, with no idea how many are left. “I can’t give you an exact number. I’m not sure. I’m really not sure,” Broward Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes said. Broward election officials said repeatedly throughout the day that they didn’t know how many mail-in ballots were still being counted. “But we are working on those and whatever they are, we anticipate completing them today,” Snipes said. The elections office plans to review provisional ballots at 5 p.m. Thursday and have first unofficial results by 1 p.m. Friday.

Florida recount redux: facing razor-thin margins, Broward County officials really don’t know how many ballots are left to count.

—”‘Florida’s being Florida’: Senate race may be heading to what else? A recount.” via Patricia Mazzei of The New York Times

Bill Nelson’s moonshot: Can a recount find 30,000 votes to keep his Senate seat from going to Rick Scott?” via Steve Contorno of the Tampa Bay Times — Scott was clinging to a 30,175-vote advantage over Nelson as of Wednesday evening — or just 0.38 percent of the 8.1 million ballots cast by Floridians. State law allows for a machine recount of the results if the two candidates are separated by one-half of a percentage point or less. The race is well within that margin. The earliest a recount could begin is Saturday after all 67 counties have counted any provisional ballots and certified the results of the election. If a machine recount ends with the two candidates separated by one-quarter of a percentage point or less, then a manual recount would take place.

Assignment editors — Marc Elias, lawyer for the Nelson campaign, will hold a conference call with reporters on the recount in Florida’s U.S. Senate race, 10:30 a.m., register at here.

Tweet, tweet:


Could Ron DeSantis, Andrew Gillum race for Governor face recount?” Via Gray Rohrer of the Orlando Sentinel — Additional votes counted had cut Republican DeSantis’ lead over the Democratic Mayor of Tallahassee to 0.62 percent. An automatic recount would be done if the margin of victory falls below 0.5 percent. The notice for a recount would come from Secretary of State Ken Detzner, an appointee of Republican Gov. Scott, who also faces a recount in his campaign against incumbent U.S. Sen. Nelson. DeSantis claimed victory in the hard-fought campaign against Gillum on Tuesday night.

Could Ron DeSantis, Andrew Gillum be the next recount?

Automatic recount looms in Ag Commissioner race with 0.16 percent vote margin” via Michael Braun of the Tallahassee Democrat — That close margin is likely to trigger an automatic recount with just 12,521 votes between them. An automatic recount happens when the difference is less than half a percentage point, and this race is at 0.16 percent. “This is the closest race we’ve seen here in Florida since Bush v. Gore in 2000 — we’re heading into a recount,” said Fried, a lawyer and lobbyist from Fort Lauderdale. “We are going to ensure that every vote is counted; in a race this close, everyone’s voices must be heard, so the will of the people is upheld.” Brian Swensen, spokesman for the Caldwell campaign, said, “We will be going through the state’s mandated recount and do not expect the results to change.”

Janet Cruz declares victory over Dana Young in Florida Senate race, despite thin margin” via Paul Guzzo of the Tampa Bay Times — Just 289 of the 207,057 votes cast separate Cruz and Young in their race for the Florida Senate District 18 seat, and the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections will likely declare a recount. But on Wednesday morning, Cruz said she isn’t waiting to declare victory. “Sure, it will go to a recount,” said the Democratic challenger. “I believe in our system and in our system of recounts. I am feeling quite comfortable the number will be the same. It is time to declare victory.” Sarah Bascom, a spokesperson for the Young campaign, said “the Senate District 18 race is still a razor-thin margin with additional provisional ballots to be reviewed and will be headed to a state-mandated recount. We will continue to monitor the process and wait for the official results to be certified.”

—“HD 26, HD 89 recounts to decide final split in Florida House” via Florida Politics

Democrats fear recount is already amiss” via Alexandra Glorioso of POLITICO Florida — This is all new territory. And Democrats are worried they’re starting on the wrong foot. “Florida Democrats are reaching out to every Supervisor of Elections office to receive data on provisional ballots to ensure that everyone who voted has the information they need for their vote to be counted,” Florida Democratic Party Executive Director Juan Peñalosa said. The party had received partial data from just 22 counties by Thursday afternoon, and the others have refused to give the Democrats any information, Peñalosa said. Provisional ballots are due by 5 p.m. on Thursday. Peñalosa’s concern underscores just how unprecedented this will be. Contrary to what many believe, Florida has never been through a statewide recount — not even during the infamous 2000 election.

Tweet, tweet:


Recount possible in Tallahassee City Commission Seat 3 race” via Jeffrey Schweers of the Tallahassee Democrat — After appearing to throw in the towel to opponent Jeremy Matlow in the Tallahassee City Commission Seat 3 race, Lisa Brown is breathing new hope among her supporters. According to the summary report posted by the Leon County Supervisor of Elections, Matlow won by 334 votes — well within the half-percent of the 74,616 votes cast in that race needed to trigger a recount under state law. “As a result, there is a recount that will take place, and we estimate that it will take a couple of days,” Brown posted on Facebook. “We will keep you posted on the results. Once again, thank you all for your support.” Brown told the Democrat, “It’s just a matter of making sure we’re doing the right thing.”


Everyone from Team Nelson down to Team Bonfiglio is brushing up on the Sunshine State’s recount rules. Here’s how it works.

All 67 county supervisors of elections offices have to report their final totals to the state. Given all the flavors of nonstandard ballots, such as provisional or overseas ballots, that’s going to take a couple of days. Once all those ballots are in and there’s a tabulation, then comes the decision on a recount.

Oh no, not again. (Image via Getty)

If the gap between the top two candidates in a race within 0.5 percentage points, Secretary of State Detzner is required to order a machine recount. Once the order is handed down, voting machines are tested for errors. If no errors are found, the ballots are fed back into the voting machines.

Counties with electronic voting machines simply compare the number of votes they reported to the state Division of Elections with the number of votes the machines say they received. If they match up, it’s all good.

In either case, the post-recount totals must be turned in to the state by 3 p.m. Nov. 15. If the post-recount margin is greater than 0.25 percentage points, the race can be called. If not, it’s time for a manual recount. That process can take quite a while, and includes examining disputed or unclear (a la the 2000 Bush v. Gore contest) to determine if and how they should be counted.

Hunker down, 2018 ain’t over.


What can we expect from Gov. Ron DeSantis?” via Skyler Swisher of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Expect more of the same under DeSantis’ watch. New restrictions on guns likely will face an insurmountable climb. DeSantis has been critical of Broward Sheriff Scott Israel and schools Superintendent Robert Runcie. He’s questioned their leadership because of failures before and after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. With the caveat that he is not a “left-wing tree hugger,” DeSantis touted his support for the environment at campaign events, saying he would work to reduce toxic algae discharges, prevent offshore oil drilling and restore the Everglades. DeSantis says he’ll expand voucher programs that provided publicly funded scholarships for low- and moderate-income students to attend private schools. DeSantis says he’ll fully implement the wishes of voters to allow the use of medical marijuana, but he said he has concerns about legalizing the drug for recreational use.

What can we expect from a Governor Ron DeSantis? (Image via Getty)

Experience counts on DeSantis transition team” via Florida Politics — Governor-elect DeSantis rolled out his transition team chairs Wednesday, and interesting names abounded. Congressman Matt Gaetz, an unstinting DeSantis advocate from the time he launched his campaign, will fill one of the slots. Outgoing House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who originally backed Adam Putnam in the primaries before mending fences after August, will fill another spot. Senator George LeMieux, who served as a U.S. Senator from 2009 through 2011, will fill another slot. Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings, a former Senate president who served as LG for Jeb Bush, fills yet another spot. All four have extensive Tallahassee experience, helping DeSantis to conquer the learning curve.

Susie Wiles named to lead DeSantis transition” via the News Service of Florida — Wiles, who also managed Gov. Scott’s successful 2010 campaign and played a key role in 2016 for President Donald Trump in Florida, will be the DeSantis transition team’s executive director. “I’m confident these individuals will ensure our administration is ready to lead on day one to make our state cleaner, safer and stronger for all Floridians,” DeSantis said in a prepared statement.

DeSantis win paves way for conservative court” via Lloyd Dunkelberger of the News Service of Florida — With DeSantis’ election, that conservative Republican influence will extend to the Florida Supreme Court, which has a 4-3 liberal majority that has blocked many initiatives advanced by the Republican-led Legislature and Gov. Scott. DeSantis said his court appointees “will be very, very smart, very principled people, but they’re going to understand that their role is to apply the law and not rewrite the law.” He said the appointments would bring an end to “judicial activism” on the court.


Donald Trump mocks Miami Republicans who tried to run their own campaigns — and lost” via Alex Daugherty of the Miami Herald — The president, who spent the final stages of the campaign demonizing immigrants, couldn’t bother to pronounce Carlos Curbelo’s name correctly 14 hours after the Cuban-American lawmaker, who voted to repeal Obamacare and helped draft a tax bill that was Trump’s signature legislative achievement, paid for it at the ballot box. “On the other hand, you had some who decided, ‘Let’s stay away let’s stay away.’ They did very poorly,” Trump said, referring to lawmakers who tried to campaign on their own brand instead of his. “I’m not sure that I should be happy or sad, but I feel just fine about it.” He then mispronounced the Miami congressman’s name as Cue-bella.

Donald Trump began a contentious post-midterm press conference mocking those candidates who failed to embrace him and lost, including Carlos ‘Cue-bella.’

High voter turnout isn’t helping Democrats. Here’s why.” via Langston Taylor and Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times — “This was a base election on both sides, and the president is a very big motivator,” said Susie Wiles, the senior campaign adviser for the DeSantis campaign. “The fact that he was willing to come two times made a big difference.” Republican turnout surged along with the Democrats’. What’s more, the biggest Democratic stronghold counties of Broward and Miami-Dade failed to deliver nearly as many votes as they have. Republican areas, like usual, turned out more. DeSantis won 26 of the top 30 counties by turnout. He kept it close in Pinellas, the most populous of those 30, which former President Barack Obama won in 2008 and 2012 and Trump in 2016.

How an FBI investigation and a broken relationship tanked Andrew Gillum’s campaign” via David Smiley of the Miami Herald — The FBI’s interest in Tallahassee — which seemed to revolve around the activities of a public redevelopment agency — was especially damaging to Gillum because his campaign was based so heavily on his personality, life story and charm. For more than a year, Gillum was his campaign’s greatest asset, using his gift of gab to sell voters on a liberal agenda in a moderate state. “We put him on the road all the time,” said a person familiar with the campaign. “If there were voters to talk to, or if there was money to be raised, he was there.” But Gillum’s campaign appeared to have a blind spot. Gillum was already walking a tightrope — selling the nation’s largest swing state on a liberal agenda he adopted in the primary. Not only were they wrong about his ability to rally Democrats enough to overcome a historical midterm malaise and capitalize on anti-Trump sentiment, but they were also wrong about the liability posed by the FBI investigation.

DeSantis’ victory over Gillum shows Republicans can win without Jacksonville” via Andrew Pantazi of the Florida Times-Union — Even though Duval gave a comfortable margin to Tallahassee Mayor Gillum, and it voted for Sen. Nelson and Agriculture Commissioner hopeful Nikki Fried, those margins were wiped out by suburban parts of the state. In no county did Gillum gain a larger share of his vote than in Duval County when compared to Charlie Crist’s share four years ago. Gillum earned 52 percent of the vote compared to Crist’s 41 percent in 2014. But ultimately, that didn’t matter. DeSantis didn’t need to worry about the large urban counties. While Duval’s margin shifted by a whopping 50,855 votes, that wasn’t enough to handle the Republican growth in the state’s suburban and exurban counties. In Pasco County, DeSantis earned about 31,000 more votes over Scott’s 2014 margin. He kept Pinellas County closer by about 27,000 votes. He ran up the scores in Brevard, Volusia and Hernando counties.

Florida A&M alums say Gillum’s loss hits hard” via TaMaryn Waters of the Tallahassee Democrat — LaDray Gilbert, 36, stood among the sea of supporters near the steps of Lee Hall on FAMU’s campus Tuesday night for what was to be an exuberant victory watch party. He was among the hundreds who braved torrential rain, muggy night air and a roller coaster of emotions that ended with seeing Gillum lose. Gilbert was dismayed. “We saw the writing on the wall,” said the Jackson County attorney who graduated from FAMU’s School of Business and Industry and law school. Among the disappointed faces he saw was Gillum’s brother. It was clear he’d been crying and unbothered by who noticed. Gillum’s campaign always starred stories of his family. “That pierced me to the core,” Gilbert said. “Those tears that you saw and the reaction that you saw gave authenticity to the stories that Andrew told. It’s personal to me like it was personal to everybody else.”

—“Four factors that dragged Gillum down” via James Call of the Tallahassee Democrat

Here’s why the one Florida amendment that might have saved you money failed” via Mark Puente of the Tampa Bay Times — When state lawmakers placed an amendment on the 2018 ballot to slash property taxes, local leaders across Florida expected to lose hundreds of millions each year in tax revenues. Voters rejected Amendment 1. Why didn’t it pass? “People heard local officials everyday talk about raising taxes or cutting services,” said Susan MacManus, USF Distinguished University Professor Emerita. “The best advertisement and information came from local officials. They all talked about it. Everybody was told what this would do to them.” The amendment language, she said, was also one “of the most difficult to understand on the ballot.”

Lenny Curry taunts ‘opponents’ after GOP wins” via Florida Politics — When so inclined, Jacksonville Mayor Curry offers some very direct quotes. On Tuesday evening, Curry spiked the ball on local exponents of the “Blue Wave” theory, reminding them of his endorsements of DeSantis and Scott. Money quote? “From my years in Sports, coaching, business, parenting, life & government, I’ve never understood those that lose the battle then find something to celebrate. Odd and a recipe for serial losing. Losing sucks. I’m glad my opponents haven’t figured that out.” Curry faces the voters in March 2019’s Jacksonville city elections.

Lenny Curry finished the 2018 election cycle taunting his political opponents.

—“Straw ballot win sparks move to give voters final say on JEA” via David Bauerlein of the Florida Times-Union

Key West elects the first openly lesbian mayor in Florida history” via Gwen Filosa of the Miami Herald — Teri Johnston is the new mayor of Key West, the first open lesbian to be elected as a city mayor in Florida history. The former city commissioner defeated Margaret Romero Tuesday by taking 66 percent of the vote. “We said from the very start we were going to run an issue-oriented campaign,” Johnston said Tuesday night, as both candidates complimented each other on campaigns well run. Johnston received 6,635 votes to Romero’s 3,398 votes. “Tonight Teri Johnston made history when voters elected her mayor of Key West,” Stratton Pollitzer, chair of Equality Florida Action PAC, told WLRN.

Milestone: Sarah Fortney elected first openly gay School Board member in Florida” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Fortney, an incoming Polk County School Board member, will become Florida’s first openly lesbian member of a Florida school district. Joe Saunders of Equality Florida Action PAC celebrated Fortney’s win in a statement: “Sarah has made history as the first out lesbian elected to a School Board in the State of Florida. Equality Florida Action PAC is committed to electing pro-equality champions like Sarah who will fight for all Polk County students.” Fortney, a 34-year teaching veteran, won her election last night in a landslide, taking almost 61 percent of the vote in Polk County over Scott Jones, a Publix manager.

—“Despite local GOP resistance, Collier County passes first-ever penny tax” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

Richard DeNapoli nabs Broward conservation district seat” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — The sole open seat on the Broward Soil & Water Conservation District is changing hands after DeNapoli came out on top in the race for Seat 2 Tuesday night. DeNapoli, the former chairman of the Broward County Republican Party, defeated incumbent Richard Leys in the race. The conservation district works with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to create “ways to conserve water, prevent soil erosion, convert irrigation systems and inform the public about conservation problems,” according to its website. The Broward district has suffered from money problems recently.


Gulf Power storm repairs could top $350 million” via the News Service of Florida — The largest utility in Northwest Florida expects a final tab of hundreds of millions of dollars from Hurricane Michael. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing by the utility’s parent company, Gulf estimated that costs of repairing transmission and distribution lines and “uninsured facilities” will total $350 million to $400 million. “The ultimate outcome of this matter cannot be determined at this time,” the filing said.

State continues work to reopen storm-damage parks” via the News Service of Florida — Portions of Falling Waters State Park, which features Florida’s highest waterfall, reopened as work continues to clean and repair damages from last month’s Hurricane Michael. The Washington County park sustained facility, boardwalk, road and trail damages in the Oct. 10 storm. The park remains closed to overnight camping. “Florida State Parks staff continue to work as quickly as possible to finish remaining cleanup and repairs,” the state agency said. “Amenities and access to certain areas of the parks may be limited until the work is completed.” Seven other state parks remain closed due to storm damages.

Parts of Falling Waters State Park are now open again after Hurricane Michael.

Why won’t red tide go away? After Michael, toxic algae has again spread” via Jenny Staletovich of the Miami Herald — In most places, with the wet season winding down and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers easing up on releasing polluted water from Lake Okeechobee, the toxic algae had dropped to relatively low levels. Fish kills were down and so were the coughing fits among beachgoers. But in the weeks following the storm, red tide that is already considered the worst in a decade has roared back. On Monday, state wildlife officials logged high to medium levels along beaches from Clearwater to waters off Everglades City and in the Panhandle. Why that remains is a little bit of mystery. Red tides have many factors at play, and remain tricky to predict. But it’s likely a combination of wind, pollution and the tiny algae that cause the blooms, one of the few with the ability to swim, conspired to revive the tide.


Pam Bondi is being talked about as Trump’s next Attorney General” via Lawrence Mower of the Tampa Bay Times — Multiple media outlets have named Bondi to Trump’s short list, touting her strong ties to the president and the fact that she’ll be out of a job soon. Does Bondi want the job, though? Has she discussed it with Trump? Her office wouldn’t say.

Some are talking (again) about Pam Bondi is taking a White House job.

State challenged again on marijuana licenses” via the News Service of Florida — A Winter Springs company has filed the latest in a series of legal challenges arguing that the state is violating a 2016 constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana. K N Y Medical Care, LLC, which does business as AKESOE, filed the case in Leon County circuit court after unsuccessfully seeking state approval to enter the medical-marijuana industry. The wide-ranging lawsuit targets actions by the Florida Department of Health, which regulates medical marijuana, and a 2017 law that was designed to carry out the voter-approved constitutional amendment. “The defendants’ (state agencies and officials) failure to comply with their constitutional duties is … severely harming competition in the marketplace by delaying the entrance of new businesses, like AKESOE, into the market and thereby strengthening the improper monopoly hold that the current (licensed operators) has on the market,” the lawsuit said.

Board of Governors to discuss performance funding” via the News Service of Florida — The Florida Board of Governors is set to discuss some controversial changes to the state’s higher education during its meeting, including performance funding and mental health care. Performance funding has been a long-disputed issue for the state’s universities. The current system ranks the schools’ performances based on a series of metrics and dishes out bonus funding based on the rank, with the bottom three schools receive no additional money.


Florida Press Club Winners 2018 — The Sarasota Herald-Tribune snagged the Florida Press Club’s top honor, the Frances DeVore Award for Public Service with its exploration of how the war on drugs has meted out unfair sentences for people of color. The Miami Herald, the Daytona Beach News-Journal, the Panama City News Herald won in their categories for the club’s Lucy Morgan Award for In-Depth Reporting. And Tessa Duvall, Nate Monroe, Ben Conrack and Mary Kelli Palka of the Florida Times-Union swept all classes to get the special Freedom of Information Award. The awards were distributed at the 68th annual meeting of the Florida Press Club in Mount Dora on Saturday.



Republicans broke Florida politics. Things won’t be better there next time.” via Adam Weinstein of The Washington Post — As pundits go crazy trying to reconcile the Sunshine State’s turnout with the national results, let me offer my own theory: “Florida” is increasingly a meaningless political entity except in Republican electoral win columns. It is not a purple state, but a dystopian Republican frontier of America’s systematic “Big Sort” — a collection of ultra-blue principalities surrounded by and alienated from an entrenched ultra red state government. Do you seek a bellwether for the United States’ chances of surviving Trumpism? Look to Florida, where the Mar-a-Lago spirit has been a governing ethos for many years already. So you want to know how Florida survives; the answer is it probably won’t, not as a functioning state that tends to the needs of its 21 million people. Florida is going to get more divided, less governable, and probably more susceptible to oligarchs and fiefdoms than it already is.

Florida turns red with Republican wins” via the Tampa Bay Times editorial board — For Republicans, their control of Florida now is virtually complete. They will hold both U.S. Senate seats for the first time in modern history. They will keep the Governor’s Mansion they have held for 20 years. They will continue to hold the three statewide Cabinet offices. They still firmly control the Legislature, and they still have one more U.S. House member than the Democrats. For Democrats, Tuesday’s election is the final indignity. Except for a few big-city mayors, they have nowhere to turn and nowhere to go but up. Who will emerge as the progressive voice to answer the conservative chorus of DeSantis, Scott and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio? Florida’s government has turned entirely red even as the electorate remains narrowly divided. It’s up to Scott and DeSantis to be consensus-builders rather than partisans and uniters rather than dividers.

Voters clearly stood up to incivility and cynicism. Not in Florida.” via John Romano of the Tampa Bay Times — Midterms say that Florida is a purple state in theory only. The truth is you live in a Republican stronghold, and it is folly to argue otherwise. That goes for the state Legislature, the congressional delegation and the Governor’s Mansion, too. Florida Democrats have a sizable lead in registered voters, and a fatal deficit in enthusiasm. Or brains. Or money. Or all three. Elsewhere, voters clearly stood up to incivility and cynicism. Not in Florida. DeSantis, your new governor, ran a campaign that was comically bereft of vision or details. And it didn’t matter. He beat a more charismatic candidate. He beat a candidate who had led in most of the polls.


New and renewed lobbying registrations:

Melanie Bostick, Jennifer Green, Timothy Parson, Liberty Partners of Tallahassee: Best Buy Purchasing

Evan Hoffman: Organization For International Investment

Francisco Penela: Florida Commission on Human Relations

Ashley Kalifeh, Capital City Consulting: Combined Insurance

Seth McKeel, David Shepp, Southern Strategy Group: ST Enterprises

Robert Stuart, GrayRobinson: WellFlorida Council

— ALOE —

World’s largest cruise ship, Symphony of the Seas, to make its U.S. debut at Port Canaveral” via Dave Berman of FLORIDA TODAY — The ship — Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas — has a capacity of 6,680 passengers and 2,200 cruise members. It cost more than $1 billion to build. It had its maiden voyage in April, and has been sailing short Mediterranean cruises this summer out of Barcelona, Spain. It will now be based at Royal Caribbean’s new cruise terminal at the Port of Miami. While the ship will be based in Miami, Royal Caribbean opted to make its first U.S. stop at Port Canaveral to clear customs and for a required U.S. Coast Guard inspection.

Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas — the world’s largest cruise ship — will homeport at Port Canaveral.

Happy birthday to Leah Bickley and Emily Sitzberger.

Written By

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.

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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

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