Winner and Loser of the Week in Florida politics — Week of February 23

We have a two-way tie for the biggest loser of the week. Look and see!

So, how’s your portfolio and 401k doing? No reply necessary. Besides, it’s hard to type with jittery fingers, even when it’s your job. I mean, I’ve sat here all day trying to type words, but they keep coming out !!X@!!**! – and worse.

I’ll get it together, though, or at least I’ll ttttrrrrrryyy. That’s because it’s time for this week’s installment of Florida Politics’ “Winners and Losers” of the week.

Thus, we proceed with a hand over one eye and not daring to look at the latest Dow Jones dive.


Amandi Makki: She is running hard to win the CD 13 Republican primary so she can challenge incumbent Charlie Crist in the general election. With the endorsement of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Macki is emerging as a strong bet to take that next step.

Makki is a former Senior Health Adviser to Alaska Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

“Amanda’s life is the story of the American dream, and her commitment to our conservative principles, passion to serve, and willingness to fight for what is right are exactly what the people of South Pinellas County are looking for in their next congressman,” McCarthy said.

One of her rivals for the nomination in a crowded GOP field is Anna Paulina Luna, who has grabbed the endorsement from Republican flame-thrower Charlie Kirk. He is the founder of Turning Point USA and chair of Students for Trump, neither of which is noted for genteel comportment.

Science and rational people: A new poll by Florida Atlantic University seems to show that Floridians are perfectly capable of sizing up climate-change deniers and going pppffffffffffftttt.

According to the poll, more than 86 percent of the respondents agree that climate change is happening. A divide still exists on whether humans are primarily to blame, though. Democrats (69 percent) and independents (51 percent) say human activity is the culprit, but just 44 percent of Republicans agree. That latter figure is inching up, though, despite the resounding cry of “HOAX” from the Commander In Chief.

But the unrivaled big winner of the week is….

Travis Cummings: Let’s give it up for the Republican state Rep. from Clay County. Be honest: we all wanted to do what Travis accomplished during an Appropriations Committee meeting last week.

During a public comment period, Greg Pound – aka “Gadfly” – went on a jag about the LGBTQ community. Pound is well-known for utterances that appear to be transmitted directly to his vocal cords by aliens from the planet Zortron.

Most of the time, officials can only sigh as he rambles. But then Pound said of LGBTQ, “The L is for lesbians, the G is for gay, B is for bisexual, T is for transgender, Q is queer, and then P would be pedophile. Now, let me ask you this … where do these people get their children?”

Cummings immediately had him escorted out of the meeting as the audience, media included, applauded.

Bravo, sir!


The Tampa Bay Times: The self-styled “Florida’s Best Newspaper” imposed an immediate 10 percent pay cut on employees that will last for 13 weeks. The Tampa Bay Business Journal was first to report that grim news.

Top executives, including CEO Paul Tash, will take a 15 percent cut.

You know the story by now. Declining revenues for repeated cutbacks to stem the bleeding. It’s happening to once-invincible big-city daily newspapers all over the country. The debt-ridden Times has been following the scrip of large papers struggling to stay afloat.

Cutbacks, layoffs, more cutbacks, more layoffs.

Oh, the announcement also said future layoffs are likely.


Donna Shalala and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell: If there ever was a time to raise your hand across party lines, it came for these two South Florida Democrats last week. Instead, they went M.I.A.

Republican U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart called for the House to condemn remarks by presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, where he praised the late murderous Cuban dictator Fidel Castro for starting a literacy program on the island. Sanders said, “It’s unfair to simply say everything is bad.”

When it comes to Castro, no criticism is unfair. So it would have been nice for the two aforementioned Democrats to join in the chorus denouncing Sanders’ comments. Alas, they missed the votes and were promptly slammed – deservedly so – by a Republican Super PAC.

That was bad. But it didn’t quite rise to the level of the biggest of the week. And for the first, we have a tie.

Donald Trump and Sanders: Trump is grandfathered in for this discussion because he is a part-time Florida Man. And Sanders soon will be professing his love for Florida.

At a campaign rally, Trump belittled media reports about the deadly coronavirus and said Democrats claimed it as “their new hoax.” As of Saturday, that “hoax” had killed nearly 3,000 people worldwide. That’s approximately the same number of people who died on 9/11.

The butcher’s bill also reached the American mainland when a victim in Washington state died of the disease. But it’s a made-up threat, right Mr. President?

But Sanders doesn’t get a pass. His depiction of Castro, noted above, as not quite the monster the world knows he was, is unacceptable in any form.

One of these two men could be the next President of the United States.


Joe Henderson

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.


  • Ron

    March 1, 2020 at 9:41 am

    No, no, no, Joe–you don’t get away with this one. Here is what Trump actually said:

    Said Trump: “The Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. They’re politicizing it. They don’t have any clue. They can’t even count their votes in Iowa. No, they can’t. They can’t count their votes. One of my people came up to me and said, ‘Mr. President, they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia.’ That did not work out too well. They could not do it. They tried the impeachment hoax.”

    Then Trump called the coronavirus “their new hoax.”

    He recognizes the reality of it. What he said is the Democrats are politicizing it. The Democras use of a potential pandemic is a “hoax” just like their politicization of fake collusion was a hoax.

    That is what the President said, Joe. You should have known. But The Democrats and their minions–like you–will lie with bald faces to denigrate President Trump, just like you have been for three and a half years.

    FAKE NEWS, Joe.

    • Pria

      March 1, 2020 at 5:36 pm

      Not fake news. It was a dangerous and stupid statement from a dangerous and stupid president.

      What the hell was he doing having a campaign style event like that during the initial outbreak? The election is in November. Pathetic.

    • WHOsAHoaxNow

      March 12, 2020 at 5:04 am

      Well this comment aged badly, didn’t it Ron.

  • lara

    March 9, 2020 at 11:12 am

    I really liked this post, Carly! Well, I like most of your posts, haha, I can always count on you to have something interesting to read. My literal thought every day is “Carly won’t let me down.” Talking about money is taboo but you did a great job of making it about your choices and I completely agree, what works for one person won’t work for the next. Thanks for sharing!

Comments are closed.


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

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

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

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn