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Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 6.18.19

Here’s the day that was — and will be — in Florida politics.

ICYMI — Florida Politics scooped Monday that “Miami Republican Daniel Perez has won the 2024-26 race for House Speaker” — In a text message, Perez’s chief rival for the position, Bradenton state Rep. Will Robinson, informed his colleagues that he was withdrawing from the race. Robinson said that was after he received the following promises from Perez: That he “1) not be vindictive to anyone on the team but yet be inclusive; 2) allow members to get positions based on merit, and 3) personally would not make me violate my conservative principles.” Sources close to both men insist that Robinson did not receive — nor did he ask for — a promise of a position within Perez’s leadership team. Robinson said he “fought the good fight and just came up a bit short.”

Daniel Perez will become House Speaker in 2024-2026. Image via Florida House. 

We don’t need Russian hacks to tell us President Donald Trump considers Florida vital to his reelection campaign.

Even with the 2020 election about 17 months away, it doesn’t take great political insight to know a second term is highly unlikely if he doesn’t carry our state.

So, get ready everyone to see a lot of the Tweeter-in-Chief, starting Tuesday, sources confirm, with the official campaign kickoff in Orlando. OK, so the source was the news release from Trump’s campaign. It will be quite the spectacle, as over-the-top gaudy, showy, and loud as you will expect from the man who once said, “I alone can fix it.”

Something called “45 Fest” will commence outside the Amway Center seven hours before arena doors open for the rally. There will be food, music, merriment, and Trump-sized video screens to carry his speech, scheduled to start at 8 p.m.

Guaranteed: Trump will send multiple tweets about the size of the crowd. Expect “BIGGEST EVER” to be the theme.

And the gang’s all there, too. The President will be joined there by First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Second Lady Karen Pence.

Then he’s off to the Trump National Doral in Miami on Wednesday for a fundraiser. For $100,000, you get lunch and a photo with the big fella. For $250,000, you get that plus access to a roundtable. Details available upon RSVP.

Did we mention that Trump needs to win Florida?

Polls have shown him losing to top-tier Democrats, notably Joe Biden, in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. That makes for a conversation starter, but not much else at this point. We all remember what happened in 2016.

But whether you believe the polls are accurate or fake, the importance of Florida for Trump doesn’t change. He won here over Hillary Clinton by just 113,000 votes, and recent statewide elections in Florida have been close. Trump has a lot of cards to play here, though.

Both Florida U.S. Senators are Republicans. Gov. Ron DeSantis is popular and a Trump acolyte. By kicking off his campaign in Orlando, Trump underscores the importance of the I-4 corridor. You can bet he will be a frequent visitor there and Tampa between now and November 2020.

As he defends his Florida turf, though, Trump also has to defend his record in office. He will tell you it’s great and his supporters wholeheartedly agree. The President will tell supporters that critical news accounts are fake, and they will agree.

But it won’t take much of a swing the other way to turn Florida blue, and therein lies the X-factor over which Trump has no control. How will the seething contempt by opponents play out on Election Day?

In 2016, Democrats ran a campaign that, loosely translated, had the premise that no one would be stupid enough to vote for this rogue candidate. They won’t make the same mistake twice, will they?

No matter what course they take or who they nominate, Democrats have to hope people are listening. A single Trump tweet can dominate the news cycle for days, potentially drowning their message.

We have lots of time to talk about that, though. For now, it’s time to get this party started with Tuesday’s announcement. If you miss it though, don’t worry.

He’ll be back.

Trump’s Orlando rally: There will be roads closed, protests and likely rain.” via Ryan Gillespie of the Orlando Sentinel — The National Weather Service in Melbourne says showers and thunderstorms are likely, with a half-inch possible. The chance of rain is 60 percent. Weather forecasts also show the potential for typical summer conditions — intense heat and strong afternoon storms. Police Chief Orlando Rolón and Fire Chief Rich Wales reminded attendees to wear light clothing and pack plenty of water to be ready for the conditions. Rolón said that while many of his officers will be part of security for the event, police presence elsewhere in the city won’t be lessened.

Just off embargo —It’s on: As Trump launches campaign, the attack ads against him begin” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — American Bridge, the national Democratic group that backed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, is launching a radio commercial on the popular music streaming service Pandora that brings up audio reminders of refugee families being separated at the border, and children being put in cages. Most of the commercial is recorded audio of young children crying “Mama” and “Papa” in terror and anguish. The 30-second ads, “Heartbreaking: The Admin Still Puts Kids in Cages,” run in Orlando not just on the date of Trump’s Orlando rally, but on the anniversary of ProPublica publishing audio of crying children who had been separated from their families.

To listen to the ad, click on the image below:

— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —

@RealDonaldTrump: Big Rally tomorrow night in Orlando, Florida, looks to be setting records. We are building large movie screens outside to take care of everybody. Over 100,000 requests. Our Country is doing great, far beyond what the haters & losers thought possible — and it will only get better!

@psephologistSteve Schale 2008: It’s all about I-4 Steve Schale 2019: It’s all about I-4 in a totally different way

@VP: Tomorrow I am traveling to Miami, FL to tour the USNS Comfort as it embarks on a five-month deployment to Latin America & the Caribbean to address the humanitarian crisis [Nicolás] Maduro created & strengthen our partnerships. Maduro must go so democracy and prosperity can return!

@JamesGrantFL: Having fought long and hard alongside some of my colleagues to see meaningful and strategic investments in STEM, today was a very fun day. And a great day for Florida. Major credit to @GovRonDeSantis for being committed to an innovative Florida.

@JimRosicaFL: Unnamed reporter after Governor’s press conference: “ … I put on pants for this?”

@SunshineEmpire: The City of London has experienced 56 murders so far this year. The City of Jacksonville has experienced 70 murders so far this year. Jacksonville has 7,243,938 fewer people than London.

@Marilyn_Payne: If you’re rooting for a team other than Florida State to win the College World Series this year, you better have a degree from that school or a family member on that team. (Many of y’all — especially from Florida — may object to this statement. I simply do not care to hear it.)

@BillyCorben: When did Delta turn into @SpiritAirlines? I paid extra for an exit row seat and, as I boarded, they printed out a different downgraded seat for me. Are there any good reliable airlines left? Can someone please refer me?

— DAYS UNTIL —

“Yellowstone” Season 2 premieres — 1; “Toy Story 4” opens — 2; First Democratic presidential debates in Miami — 8; “The Loudest Voice,” about Fox News and Roger Ailes, premieres — 12; “Spider-Man: Far From Home” opens — 14; Independence Day — 16; 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 moon landing — 32; “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” premieres — 38; Second Democratic presidential debates in Detroit — 42; “Beverly Hills 90210” reboot premieres — 50; Taylor Swift’s new album, ‘Lover,’ released — 66; Florida Gators opens vs. Miami football — 67; St. Petersburg primary election — 69; UCF Knights football opens vs. Florida A&M — 72; USF Bulls football opens vs. Wisconsin Badgers — 73; FSU Seminoles football opens vs. Boise State — 74; Labor Day — 76; First Interim Committee Week for 2020 Session — 70; Morning” Joe Scarborough releases “This Ends Badly: How Donald Trump Conned America” — 91; “Joker” opens — 108; Florida Chamber Future of Florida Forum begins — 132; Scott Maddox trial begins — 139; 2019 General Election — 140; 3rd Annual Florida Internet and Television FITCon starts — 142; 2020 Session begins — 210; Iowa Caucuses — 230; New Hampshire Primaries — 238; Florida’s presidential primary — 273; 2020 General Election — 504.

— TOP STORIES —

Inside Donald Trump’s Florida obsession” via Marc Caputo of POLITICO — Trump campaigned relentlessly to make DeSantis governor and Scott senator, marking the first time since Reconstruction that the state has had two GOP senators and a Republican governor. Under Trump, the state and national Republican parties are integrated into his campaign, which classifies Florida as an independent region in a nod to its make-or-break importance. Then there’s the personal factor for Trump. He owns the Mar-a-Lago club and three golf clubs in South Florida that he frequently visits in the winter months. His campaign manager and chief pollster also live in Florida, and his campaign’s chief spokeswoman grew up in the state, which Trump narrowly carried in 2016. “For all practical purposes, Florida is the president’s home. It has outsize importance to him personally,” said Susie Wiles, who led Trump’s successful 2016 campaign in Florida and advises his reelection campaign.

Trump supporters line up 40 hours before Florida rally” via WTSP — Eight Trump supporters were camping out Monday morning, with the first one showing up at 2:30 a.m. The rally is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. Tuesday. Trump tweeted that the rally “looks to be setting records,” with more than 100,000 ticket requests. The Amway Center seats 20,000. “We are building large movie screens outside to take care of everybody,” Trump tweeted.

Donald Trump supporters are lining up a day-and-a-half early for the big Orlando rally. Image via Rich Pope.

Top Dem super PAC launches ad campaign in Florida ahead of Trump reelection launch” via Jonathan Easley of The Hill — Priorities USA is launching a six-figure digital ad campaign in Florida that will highlight rising health insurance premiums in Florida and will make the case that the GOP tax cuts only benefited the wealthy. They will run on the websites of the state’s largest newspapers, including The Orlando Sentinel, the Palm Beach Post and the Tampa Bay Times. The ads will run statewide June 17 to 24 and are part of $100 million that Priorities USA will spend on digital advertising and infrastructure in Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania this cycle.

Nikki Fried goes for the GOP jugular: ‘don’t grab us’ and more …” via Dara Kam of the News Service of Florida — Florida’s top Democrat issued a scathing “welcome” to Trump in advance of the part-time Florida Man’s campaign rally in the Sunshine State this week. Fried lambasted Trump — and the rest of his party — for his now-notorious remarks about women, caught on a hot mike several years ago. “It has become the party that says not only is it OK to grab a woman’s pussy, but we’re going to legislate it and tell you what you can and, more importantly, what you can’t do with it,” Fried said in the video.

To view the video, click on the image below:

Voter registration push at Trump event” via Florida Politics — A voter-registration drive is slated for Tuesday in Orlando. Trump is slated to have a campaign kickoff rally that evening at the 20,000 capacity Amway Center, and pro-Trump America First Policies is kicking off its own voter registration efforts … The group expects to spend $20 million on efforts in Florida, as well as in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Georgia … all battleground states that the President will need for his reelection.

Orlando counterprotest ‘Win With Love’ rally will host the baby Trump balloon” via Xander Peters of The Orlando Weekly — The President will most surely blush when he arrives in the City Beautiful to find the Trump baby balloon that gained notoriety when it was featured at an anti-Trump protest in London last year. “We plan to win with love, and we LOVE Baby Trump,” says Ida Eskamani, one of the organizers of the Trump rally counterprotest Win With Love, which used a GoFundMe account to raise money to rent the hot air-filled infant. “The Baby Trump balloon has become an internationally recognized symbol of President Trump’s regular temper tantrums that endanger this country and our desperate need for an adult in the White House.”

The Trump Baby balloon will make its Orlando debut.

Undocumented immigrants fired from Trump golf clubs to crash his 2020 campaign kickoff” via Chris Sommerfeldt of the New York Daily News — Undocumented immigrants canned from Trump’s ritzy golf clubs in New York and New Jersey are crashing his campaign kickoff to shed light on what they consider his “cruelty and hypocrisy.” The five workers were set to travel to Orlando to hold a news conference outside the Amway Center, where the president is expected to announce his reelection bid officially, said Anibal Romero, a lawyer for the immigrants. “No one knows better than Trump himself that immigrants are hardworking individuals who support a multitude of industries across the country, including his restaurants, golf courses, wineries and hotels,” said Romero.

’Fox & Friends’ takes in Orlando breakfast after Trump rally” via Hal Boedeker of the Orlando Sentinel — Todd Piro will be the reporter for the “Breakfast With Friends” segment. He will ask café patrons about the rally and other news at Dixie Belle’s Café, 7125 S. Orange Ave., Orlando. The hosts in New York will toss to the segment every hour from 6 to 9 a.m. ET on Fox News Channel. “Fox & Friends” is one of the president’s favorite programs. He called the hosts on Friday, his 73rd birthday, and spoke for 50 minutes. For “Breakfast With Friends,” correspondents travel the country to ask locals about hot-button topics. Orlando was chosen because of the Trump rally.

— DATELINE: TALLY —

Ron DeSantis announces more money for election security to protect against hacking” via Florida Politics — Gov. DeSantis said he was “redistributing” $2.3 million from the federal government to counties to boost election systems security. He appeared at the Capitol to announce with several county elections supervisors and Secretary of State Laurel Lee, the state’s chief elections officer. The move is “to ensure the safest, most up-to-date modifications are made to our (elections) infrastructure,” he said.

DeSantis visits Pinellas, commits $10 million to computer science education” via Megan Reeves of the Tampa Bay Times — DeSantis made a stop at Ridgecrest Elementary School to tout lawmakers’ commitment of $10 million to recruit, train and retain computer science teachers. The funding is believed to be the nation’s most substantial one-time investment in computer science education. Flanked by Florida education commissioner Richard Corcoran and a handful of legislators in the school’s library, DeSantis called the bill a commitment to making the state No. 1 in technology education and jobs. “The governor saw the need and came with a bold proposal,” Corcoran said of the funding, which is part of a large workforce education bill that DeSantis said he would sign “soon.” It will go toward training and bonuses for teachers of computer science.

Ron DeSantis stops by Pinellas County to promote a multimillion-dollar investment in computer science and technical education.

Jeanette Nuñez holds roundtable with CDC on ending HIV epidemic — Lt. Gov. Nuñez and the Florida Department of Health held a roundtable discussion with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding the first phase of the “Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative,” the CDC’s proposal that seeks to reduce new HIV transmission by 75 percent in five years and 90 percent in 10 years. “HIV is not a partisan issue, but a very problematic health concern that affects our communities greatly,” Nuñez said. “With assistance from our federal partners at CDC, we are confident that the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative will reduce HIV transmission in our state.”

Jeanette Nuñez and the Florida Department of Health held a roundtable discussion with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the first phase of the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative.

Bobby Powell, Vic Torres push for committee to encourage participation in 2020 Census” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Democratic Sens. Powell and Torres are calling on DeSantis to set up a committee aimed at encouraging Floridians to participate in the 2020 Census. The data acquired during the Census, which is conducted every 10 years, is used for several government initiatives such as allocating seats in the U.S. House and helping local governments understand where resources are needed. “It cannot be understated how critical a complete and accurate count is for our state,” Powell said. “In 2016, Florida received over 44 billion dollars through federal spending programs that were guided by data derived from the 2010 census.”

Happening today — Senate Special Master Dudley Goodlette will hold a final hearing in an appeal by suspended Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, 9 a.m., 110 Senate Office Building.

Assignment editors — State Rep. Joy Goff-Marcil hosts a legislative town hall to discuss the 2019 Session, 6 p.m., Maitland City Hall, 1776 Independence Ln., Maitland.

What state Rep. (and firefighter/paramedic) Matt Willhite is reading The fight to recruit and retain paramedics” via RouteFifty.com — The EMT shortage is difficult to quantify, but agency officials agree it’s an issue across the country. In emergency medical services, people staying in the field for their whole career is increasingly rare. Across the country, local emergency services are struggling to recruit and retain EMTs and paramedics in the face of ongoing shortages, stagnating wages and increasing call volumes. Staffing shortages “have taxed our response system, increased response times, and left patients without adequate levels of care,” according to a 2015 article in the Journal of Emergency Medicine. But assessing the scope of the problem is difficult.

— STATEWIDE —

Health care ‘shared savings’ off to slow start” via Christine Sexton of the News Service of Florida — The early results show that despite efforts to publicize the programs, they have had little impact on the $2.6 billion health care program for current and former state employees. The idea of the shared-savings programs is to give policyholders an incentive to look for cheaper health services. State employees receive rewards after the services have been delivered and claims paid. As of May 21, $63,000 in rewards had been earned by employees who enrolled in what is known as the Healthcare Bluebook program, according to the Florida Department of Management Services, which oversees the employee health insurance.

Report downgrades Florida on child well-being” via the News Service of Florida — Florida ranks 37th in the country in child well-being and is “not moving in the right direction,” according to a report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Florida ranked 34th in the country in a report released last year. The new report, for example, showed Florida ranked 40th in health care, with poor marks in areas such as the percentage of low birth-weight babies and teen and child deaths. Florida also ranked 45th in economic well-being. It did best in education, where it ranked 24th. “Florida is now home to 1,213,176 more children than it had in 1990, and population projections show the number will increase by an additional 1.1 million by 2045,” the foundation said.

BIG, NON-TRUMP EVENT OF THE DAY — 

The Florida Chamber of Commerce’s “Learners to Earners Workforce Summit,” scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday in Orlando, aims to bolster the state’s talent pipeline, a major focus of Gov. DeSantis.

Nicole Washington is one of the featured speakers. Washington, a member of the 2017-18 Constitution Revision Commission, has long been an education policy consultant interested in integrating the conversation between education and work.

Nicole Washington, a member of the 2017-18 Constitution Revision Commission, is a featured speaker at the Florida Chamber ‘Learners to Earners ‘ Summit. Image via the University of Florida. 

The two worlds “don’t always speak the same language,” she explained in an interview, “and when you have different languages, you have different intended outcomes. So one thing we need to do as a state is better integrate education and learning with the workplace and the workforce.”

The summit is “a great opportunity every year for education and business to come together and talk about solutions across the cradle to career continuum,” Washington said. “I will be on a panel talking about policies and practice, how state policy is contributing to our talent pipeline.

“I’ve been very interested in and very excited about looking at our education talent pipeline more comprehensively and create policies and practices across silos,” she added. “So for me, it’s an opportunity to talk about the good things that are happening, to increase awareness.”

Ultimately, Washington and others want to help “business leaders find meaningful ways to engage and increase the talent pipeline in their communities and across the state, whether that’s tuition reimbursement, more job training, more internships or externships … I hope we’ll start to see examples of best practices of collaboration and then expanding those, hopefully, incentivized by state policy.”

The summit was sold out as of Monday but to inquire about last-minute cancellations, call the Florida Chamber at (850) 521-1200 or send an email to summits@FLFoundation.org.

— THE TRAIL —

Citizenship voting proposal clears threshold” via the News Service of Florida — The Jacksonville-based political committee Florida Citizen Voters submitted 85,695 valid petition signatures to the state Division of Elections, topping a 76,632-signature threshold to trigger a Supreme Court review. The proposal would change part of the state Constitution that now says, “Every citizen of the United States who is at least eighteen years of age and who is a permanent resident of the state … shall be an elector of the county where registered.” The proposal would change that wording to: “Only a citizen of the United States who is at least eighteen years of age and who is a permanent resident of the state …”

Voter turnout barely enters double digits on the eve of Pasco House special election” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — With early voting closed, a little more than 10 percent of eligible voters have cast a ballot in the race between Republican Randy Maggard and Democrat Kelly Smith. Nearly 11,000 voters cast a ballot by mail while another nearly 1,100 voted early. The district has almost 119,000 registered voters. Most of the votes cast, 5,553, were by Republicans. Only 4,366 Democrats have cast a ballot so far. Another nearly 2,100 no party and third-party affiliated voters cast a ballot in the race. The Special Election between Maggard and Smith is to replace former Rep. Danny Burgess who left office to head the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Kelly Smith faces Randy Maggard in Tuesday’s House District 38 Special Election.

Wilton Simpson committee gets chunks of cash” via the News Service of Florida — The committee, known as Jobs for Florida, had pulled in $190,000 as of June 13, with most of the money coming in three checks. Those contributions were $75,000 from a Florida Chamber of Commerce PAC; $50,000 from an Associated Industries of Florida PAC; and $50,000 from Harvest Enterprises, Inc., an Arizona-based cannabis company. The Simpson committee had about $735,000 in cash on hand as of May 31, according to a filing with the state Division of Elections.

Republican citrus grower Ned Hancock enters race for HD 55” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Hancock, a fifth-generation citrus grower in Sebring, has entered the race to replace term-limited state Rep. Cary Pigman. Hancock is the second Republican to join the contest. He’s served as a commissioner for the Florida Department of Citrus and has also worked on the Highlands County School Board. “I’m a lifelong conservative running for the Florida House because we need more people with a farmer’s work ethic and Heartland values in Tallahassee,” Hancock said in a release.

— ELECTION DAY —

The District 2 seat on the Coral Springs City Commission will be up for grabs Tuesday night, as voters prepare to pick a replacement for former Commissioner and now-state Rep. Dan Daley.

The race is on to replace now-state Rep. Dan Dailey on the Coral Springs City Commission.

Daley left his Commission post to file for the House District 97 seat, vacated by Jared Moskowitz after he was chosen by DeSantis to lead the state’s Division of Emergency Management.

Running to replace Daley on the Commission are Shawn Cerra, Director of Athletics and Student Activities for Broward County Schools, engineer Melissa Martinez Cipriano, pastor Randal Cutter, accountant Diane Gonzalez Simpson, attorney Khurrum Wahid and former prosecutor Camille Wallace.

Simpson has some experience running for the seat. She lost to Daley in 2018, the last time this seat was up for grabs. She’s posted the second-highest fundraising numbers in the race, bringing in more than $42,000. Cutter and Cerra followed behind, earning $41,000 and $30,000, respectively.

But Wahid was well ahead of the pack, more than doubling Simpson’s numbers. Wahid has raised more than $90,000, according to the latest fundraising report filed with the city. He has also earned the endorsement of the Sun Sentinel editorial board.

Whether that translates to a win remains to be seen. Voters will have from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Tuesday to make their decision.

— 2020 —

Joe Biden’s campaign approach: Run like it’s a primary of one” via Katie Glueck of The New York Times — Biden’s choices underscore his determination to play by his own rules in the Democratic primary, gambling that his widespread name recognition and status as early poll-leader free him to set a pace and tone sharply distinct from his competitors. [His] emphasis on Trump — and brush off of his opponents — is the right approach for Biden right now, many political veterans say. Whether he can maintain that strategy is another question. The first debates, too, will place Biden in the same arena as his rivals while providing them the chance to pressure him on his record of relatively moderate political stances.

Joe Biden is running a ‘primary of one.’

Pete Buttigieg raised staggering $7 million in April alone” via Daniel Strauss and Alayna Schneider of POLITICO — The huge April haul highlights Buttigieg’s explosive rise in the Democratic presidential race — and Buttigieg hopes to do it again next month by announcing a top-tier second-quarter haul that at least doubles his last campaign finance report, putting the 37-year-old among the biggest fundraisers seeking the presidency in 2020 and cementing his leap from long shot status at the beginning this year. Buttigieg has scheduled 21 fundraising events around the country before the end-of-June deadline with multiple stops in donor-rich locations like Los Angeles, New York and Washington D.C.

This isn’t going according to plan for Kirsten Gillibrand” via Edward-Isaac Dovere of The Atlantic — This isn’t going well for Gillibrand. She has failed at some basics. For someone who’s always been a voracious fundraiser, she raised just $3 million in the first quarter of the year, less than half of what Buttigieg raised. And she was weeks behind the self-help author Marianne Williamson and the automation alarmist Andrew Yang in getting the 65,000 donors needed to guarantee her a spot on the Democratic debate stage later this month. Gillibrand is a United States Senator from New York, and this is the best she can do. A mess, maybe. But it’s no more of a mess than at least a dozen other candidates who are underperforming just as much, or worse.

Steve Bullock heading to Tampa to raise cash” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Justin Day, one of the top Democratic bundlers in Florida, will host a reception June 25 for the Montana Governor. Day notably came out in favor of Bullock immediately after the candidate announced his White House campaign. “Gov. Bullock could have jumped in the race earlier like so many other candidates, he could have spent time speaking to political insiders on cable news, he could have traveled the country raising money, but he didn’t,” Day wrote. “Because he did his job, he will miss the first Democratic debate in Miami, and if I know the Governor, he wouldn’t change any of it.”

Spotted — Miramar Mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Wayne Messam on a Monday morning JetBlue flight to Reagan National Airport in Washington D.C.

— D.C. MATTERS —

Marco Rubio and Rick Scott stand with Donald Trump on China trade war. Florida businesses aren’t happy.” via Alex Daugherty of the Miami Herald — Rubio responded to a letter by a group of 600 businesses opposed to the tariffs, including major retailers like Walmart and Target, who are concerned about the increased cost of doing business with China. “600 U.S. companies ask Trump to surrender to China,” Rubio tweeted. “Basically, they ask him to allow China to continue to cheat on trade & steal intellectual property, even if doing so would damage America long term because Chinese retaliation is hurting their business.” The list of 600 includes 19 Florida-based companies. At least one of them said a 25 percent tariff on Chinese imports would force it to close.

Rick Scott and Marco Rubio are standing with Donald Trump on Chinese tariffs. Florida businesses are not happy.

What would it take for Scott & Rubio to support a zombie campaign ban?” via Noah Pransky for Florida Politics — When Scott ran for Senate, he repeatedly claimed the lack of term limits on members of Congress contributed to the morass in Washington. Now in his sixth month in DC, Scott has not lent any support to a bipartisan House effort that would prevent former lawmakers from cashing in on leftover campaign funds long after they left office. Similarly, Rubio has not responded to three months of questions about zombie campaigns, either. While Scott’s campaign platform specifically mentioned a promise to “stop Congress members from cashing in as lobbyists,” he would not comment from the campaign trail on the bill that would prohibit those same politicians from cashing in on campaign contributions.

Brian Mast retools bill to make Army Corps consider public health before Lake O discharges” via Tyler Treadway of the TC Palm — Mast is making another run at stopping harmful Lake Okeechobee discharges by requiring the Army Corps of Engineers to consider the health and safety of people downstream before releasing water. On Monday, the Palm City Republican announced he’s filing the Prioritizing Revised Operations to Eliminate Cyanobacteria Toxins in Florida Act, aka the PROTECT Florida Act.

— LOCAL —

Harvard pulls Parkland grad’s admission over racist comments” via Collin Binkley of The Associated Press — Kyle Kashuv says the Ivy League school asked him in May to explain the comments he made months before the February 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He apologized for his private comments that had surfaced online. He says he told Harvard officials the comments were “idiotic and hurtful” but don’t represent who he is now. In a June 3 letter that Kashuv shared online, Harvard said it had rescinded his admission because of his comments. A spokeswoman says the school does not comment on admissions decisions.

Harvard has rescinded the admission of Parkland shooting survivor, Kyle Kashuv, weeks after he apologized for posing racial slurs on social media years ago.

Pasco Sheriff’s Office to introduce new team focused on mental health” via Sarah Verschoor of the Tampa Bay Times — “This is definitely the wave of the future,” Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said at a news conference. The Mental Health and Threat Assessment Team plans to interact directly with people who are experiencing mental health crises with emphasis on those who have been repeatedly detained under the Baker Act. Lt. Toni Roach, who will lead the new unit, has traveled to Houston, Salt Lake City and Arlington, Virginia, to see how law enforcement agencies are managing the intersection of mental health and policing across the country.

Virgin Trains gives updates on both its planned routes in Orlando” via Ryan Lynch of the Tampa Bay Business Journal — Virgin Trains USA presented additional info to the Central Florida Expressway Authority for its $4 billion Orlando-to-Miami route and proposed alignments for its Phase 3 Orlando-to-Tampa route. Proposed paths for the Tampa line include a potential connection to the Orange County Convention Center, which would add extra cost to the project, along with eight additional miles on Interstate 4 to connect to Tampa. The other proposed alignment would go from below the airport and down to Interstate 4 near the State Road 417 corridor, which Virgin representatives said makes more business sense for them because of the lower cost and less distance required on the I-4 right of way.

AT&T touts millions invested to boost Tampa networks — From 2016-2018, AT&T has invested more than $175 million in its Tampa area wireless and wired networks to increase reliability, coverage, speed and overall performance for both consumers and businesses. There were enhancements also to public safety and first responders using the FirstNet communications platform. In 2018, AT&T made nearly 450 wireless network upgrades in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Hernando and Pasco counties. Enhancements include adding extra capacity and bandwidth to more than 350 cell sites to increase speed and boost performance; turning on seven new cell sites; adding a new Distributed Antenna System (DAS) in Pinellas and expanding two existing DAS in Hillsborough.

— OPINIONS & ANALYSIS —

Why Trump is starting in Orlando” via Steve Schale of SteveSchale.com — Simply, his presidency runs through Florida, and his win here runs through the suburban and exurban counties on I-4. Replicate it, as DeSantis and Scott largely did in 2018, and he will win. In 14 counties within the I-4 markets, Trump set the modern era Republican presidential percentage margin of victory, and in 15, he set the record for largest raw vote margin of victory — in virtually every case. Statewide, Trump’s percentage share margin was better than George W. Bush’s 2004 margins in 48 counties, and his raw vote margins were better in 55. If Bush had seen Trump-like numbers in those counties, he would have won Florida by 8-9 points.

Due to shady backdoor deals, DeSantis must consider vetoing a José Oliva priority” via Florida Politics — Dr. Daniel Dosoretz has quite a history. An amendment tucked into the House’s health care omnibus bill (House Bill 843) would grant exemptions to noncompete clauses that meet specific requirements. Those requirements, strangely enough, mirror the requirements of Dosoretz and three other doctors in noncompete clauses by which they are currently bound. However, while letting them out of their noncompetes, the new legislation would not restrict Dosoretz from including non-competes in agreements with physicians in his new company. Indeed, Dosoretz is at the center of this highly controversial bill, which could put several of Speaker Oliva’s legislative priorities unnecessarily in jeopardy. If Dosoretz gets what he wants and the legislation gets a signature from DeSantis, unfair and inconsistent restraints will be placed on the ability of Florida’s health care providers to recruit and retain highly skilled physicians. It will do so at the state level, handicapping critical health care providers in rural counties, as well as on a national level, putting Florida’s providers at a disadvantage in competing against other states for top talent. Dosoretz and his cohorts will benefit, but Florida patients will not.

— MOVEMENTS —

Personnel note: Veloria Kelly out at Division of Certified Public Accounting — The division provides administrative support to the Board of Accountancy; Kelly had been its longtime Director. The board regulates Certified Public Accountants and Certified Public Accounting Firms in the state. By requirement of state law, it is in Gainesville. A source had emailed Florida Politics earlier this month: “She had to leave. No idea why. Her board is shocked.” On Monday, Patrick R. Fargason, acting communications director for the department, said Kelly “tendered her resignation effective June 5. The Department does not comment on personnel matters.”

Personnel note: Lindsay Cross joins Florida Conservation VotersCross will serve as the group’s Government Relations Director. The Tallahassee-based environmental policy non-profit recently welcomed Cross to this new role; she previously served as FCV’s Public Lands Advocate before accepting a formal, full-time position. She “will communicate and coordinate with governmental partners and legislators as an advocate for conserved lands, clean water, climate action and clean energy, and civic engagement,” a news release said. Cross joins the organization after an 18-year career in environmental science and policy, hailing from the Tampa Bay Estuary Program and Florida Wildlife Corridor. She ran unsuccessfully for Senate District 24 in 2018 against incumbent Republican Jeff Brandes.

— ALOE —

What Rubio is reading —He’s 15 and blind. And this Miami teen is about to compete on Braille’s biggest stage” via Martin Vassolo of the Miami Herald — At 15 years old, Silvio Plata’s exceptionally skilled at typing and reading Braille. And later this month, the G. Holmes Braddock Senior High School student will fly to Los Angeles to represent Florida at the 2019 Braille Challenge National Finals. Participants in the Braille Challenge are tested on reading comprehension, spelling, speed and accuracy, proofreading, and charts and graphs. After competing in any of the 51 regional competitions across the U.S. and Canada, the top 50 students — 10 for each of five age groups — with the highest scores are invited to the National Finals. Silvio, a member of the junior varsity age group, is the only student from South Florida in the competition.

Silvio Plata is competing at the 2019 Braille Challenge National Finals. 

Trulieve embraces Pride Month with ‘Rainbow’ strain — Florida’s leading medical cannabis provider is partnering with Equality Florida for Pride Month. Throughout June, a portion of proceeds from sales of a select strain and merchandise will go to Equality Florida. “We have worked hard to create an environment where everyone — regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity — feels safe, comfortable, and welcome,” said Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers. In June, Trulieve will sell special, limited edition TruPOD vaporizer cartridges in the strain ‘Rainbow.’ There will also be a rainbow-colored “TruSTIK” vaporizer pen, and various Pride-focused Trulieve merchandise will be sold, with a portion of proceeds also going to Equality Florida.

’On Becoming a God in Central Florida’ debuts on Showtime in August” via Hal Boedeker of the Orlando Sentinel — The premium cable channel has picked up “On Becoming a God in Central Florida,” a nine-episode series starring Kirsten Dunst. The one-hour show — which did not film in Central Florida but in Louisiana — will debut at 10 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 25. Showtime announced the acquisition from YouTube and the scheduling. The show initially started at AMC before shifting to YouTube. Showtime described the series as “a darkly comedic story about the cult of free enterprise and one woman’s relentless pursuit of the American dream.”

— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —

Best wishes to Cary Aungst and Wendy Bitner Rodin.

Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jim Rosica, and Drew Wilson.

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

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jim Rosica, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Dan McAuliffe, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
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St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

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